• Burying the Nakba: How Israel systematically hides evidence of 1948 expulsion of Arabs
    By Hagar Shezaf Jul 05, 2019 - Israel News -

    International forces overseeing the evacuation of Iraq al-Manshiyya, near today’s Kiryat Gat, in March, 1949. Collection of Benno Rothenberg/Israel State Archives

    Four years ago, historian Tamar Novick was jolted by a document she found in the file of Yosef Vashitz, from the Arab Department of the left-wing Mapam Party, in the Yad Yaari archive at Givat Haviva. The document, which seemed to describe events that took place during the 1948 war, began:

    “Safsaf [former Palestinian village near Safed] – 52 men were caught, tied them to one another, dug a pit and shot them. 10 were still twitching. Women came, begged for mercy. Found bodies of 6 elderly men. There were 61 bodies. 3 cases of rape, one east of from Safed, girl of 14, 4 men shot and killed. From one they cut off his fingers with a knife to take the ring.”

    The writer goes on to describe additional massacres, looting and abuse perpetrated by Israeli forces in Israel’s War of Independence. “There’s no name on the document and it’s not clear who’s behind it,” Dr. Novick tells Haaretz. “It also breaks off in the middle. I found it very disturbing. I knew that finding a document like this made me responsible for clarifying what happened.”

    The Upper Galilee village of Safsaf was captured by the Israel Defense Forces in Operation Hiram toward the end of 1948. Moshav Safsufa was established on its ruins. Allegations were made over the years that the Seventh Brigade committed war crimes in the village. Those charges are supported by the document Novick found, which was not previously known to scholars. It could also constitute additional evidence that the Israeli top brass knew about what was going on in real time.

    Novick decided to consult with other historians about the document. Benny Morris, whose books are basic texts in the study of the Nakba – the “calamity,” as the Palestinians refer to the mass emigration of Arabs from the country during the 1948 war – told her that he, too, had come across similar documentation in the past. He was referring to notes made by Mapam Central Committee member Aharon Cohen on the basis of a briefing given in November 1948 by Israel Galili, the former chief of staff of the Haganah militia, which became the IDF. Cohen’s notes in this instance, which Morris published, stated: “Safsaf 52 men tied with a rope. Dropped into a pit and shot. 10 were killed. Women pleaded for mercy. [There were] 3 cases of rape. Caught and released. A girl of 14 was raped. Another 4 were killed. Rings of knives.”

    Morris’ footnote (in his seminal “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949”) states that this document was also found in the Yad Yaari Archive. But when Novick returned to examine the document, she was surprised to discover that it was no longer there.

    Palestine refugees initially displaced to Gaza board boats to Lebanon or Egypt, in 1949. Hrant Nakashian/1949 UN Archives

    “At first I thought that maybe Morris hadn’t been accurate in his footnote, that perhaps he had made a mistake,” Novick recalls. “It took me time to consider the possibility that the document had simply disappeared.” When she asked those in charge where the document was, she was told that it had been placed behind lock and key at Yad Yaari – by order of the Ministry of Defense.

    Since the start of the last decade, Defense Ministry teams have been scouring Israel’s archives and removing historic documents. But it’s not just papers relating to Israel’s nuclear project or to the country’s foreign relations that are being transferred to vaults: Hundreds of documents have been concealed as part of a systematic effort to hide evidence of the Nakba.

    The phenomenon was first detected by the Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research. According to a report drawn up by the institute, the operation is being spearheaded by Malmab, the Defense Ministry’s secretive security department (the name is a Hebrew acronym for “director of security of the defense establishment”), whose activities and budget are classified. The report asserts that Malmab removed historical documentation illegally and with no authority, and at least in some cases has sealed documents that had previously been cleared for publication by the military censor. Some of the documents that were placed in vaults had already been published.
    An investigative report by Haaretz found that Malmab has concealed testimony from IDF generals about the killing of civilians and the demolition of villages, as well as documentation of the expulsion of Bedouin during the first decade of statehood. Conversations conducted by Haaretz with directors of public and private archives alike revealed that staff of the security department had treated the archives as their property, in some cases threatening the directors themselves.

    Yehiel Horev, who headed Malmab for two decades, until 2007, acknowledged to Haaretz that he launched the project, which is still ongoing. He maintains that it makes sense to conceal the events of 1948, because uncovering them could generate unrest among the country’s Arab population. Asked what the point is of removing documents that have already been published, he explained that the objective is to undermine the credibility of studies about the history of the refugee problem. In Horev’s view, an allegation made by a researcher that’s backed up by an original document is not the same as an allegation that cannot be proved or refuted.

    The document Novick was looking for might have reinforced Morris’ work. During the investigation, Haaretz was in fact able to find the Aharon Cohen memo, which sums up a meeting of Mapam’s Political Committee on the subject of massacres and expulsions in 1948. Participants in the meeting called for cooperation with a commission of inquiry that would investigate the events. One case the committee discussed concerned “grave actions” carried out in the village of Al-Dawayima, east of Kiryat Gat. One participant mentioned the then-disbanded Lehi underground militia in this connection. Acts of looting were also reported: “Lod and Ramle, Be’er Sheva, there isn’t [an Arab] store that hasn’t been broken into. 9th Brigade says 7, 7th Brigade says 8.”
    “The party,” the document states near the end, “is against expulsion if there is no military necessity for it. There are different approaches concerning the evaluation of necessity. And further clarification is best. What happened in Galilee – those are Nazi acts! Every one of our members must report what he knows.”

    The Israeli version
    One of the most fascinating documents about the origin of the Palestinian refugee problem was written by an officer in Shai, the precursor to the Shin Bet security service. It discusses why the country was emptied of so many of its Arab inhabitants, dwelling on the circumstances of each village. Compiled in late June 1948, it was titled “The Emigration of the Arabs of Palestine.”

    Read a translation of the document here (1)

    This document was the basis for an article that Benny Morris published in 1986. After the article appeared, the document was removed from the archive and rendered inaccessible to researchers. Years later, the Malmab team reexamined the document, and ordered that it remain classified. They could not have known that a few years later researchers from Akevot would find a copy of the text and run it past the military censors – who authorized its publication unconditionally. Now, after years of concealment, the gist of the document is being revealed here.

    The 25-page document begins with an introduction that unabashedly approves of the evacuation of the Arab villages. According to the author, the month of April “excelled in an increase of emigration,” while May “was blessed with the evacuation of maximum places.” The report then addresses “the causes of the Arab emigration.” According to the Israeli narrative that was disseminated over the years, responsibility for the exodus from Israel rests with Arab politicians who encouraged the population to leave. However, according to the document, 70 percent of the Arabs left as a result of Jewish military operations.

    Palestinian children awaiting distribution of milk by UNICEF at the Nazareth Franciscan Sisters’ convent, on January 1, 1950. AW / UN Photo

    The unnamed author of the text ranks the reasons for the Arabs’ departure in order of importance. The first reason: “Direct Jewish acts of hostility against Arab places of settlement.” The second reason was the impact of those actions on neighboring villages. Third in importance came “operations by the breakaways,” namely the Irgun and Lehi undergrounds. The fourth reason for the Arab exodus was orders issued by Arab institutions and “gangs” (as the document refers to all Arab fighting groups); fifth was “Jewish ’whispering operations’ to induce the Arab inhabitants to flee”; and the sixth factor was “evacuation ultimatums.”

    The author asserts that, “without a doubt, the hostile operations were the main cause of the movement of the population.” In addition, “Loudspeakers in the Arabic language proved their effectiveness on the occasions when they were utilized properly.” As for Irgun and Lehi operations, the report observes that “many in the villages of central Galilee started to flee following the abduction of the notables of Sheikh Muwannis [a village north of Tel Aviv]. The Arab learned that it is not enough to forge an agreement with the Haganah and that there are other Jews [i.e., the breakaway militias] to beware of.”

    The author notes that ultimatums to leave were especially employed in central Galilee, less so in the Mount Gilboa region. “Naturally, the act of this ultimatum, like the effect of the ’friendly advice,’ came after a certain preparing of the ground by means of hostile actions in the area.”
    An appendix to the document describes the specific causes of the exodus from each of scores of Arab locales: Ein Zeitun – “our destruction of the village”; Qeitiya – “harassment, threat of action”; Almaniya – “our action, many killed”; Tira – “friendly Jewish advice”; Al’Amarir – “after robbery and murder carried out by the breakaways”; Sumsum – “our ultimatum”; Bir Salim – “attack on the orphanage”; and Zarnuga – “conquest and expulsion.”

    Short fuse
    In the early 2000s, the Yitzhak Rabin Center conducted a series of interviews with former public and military figures as part of a project to document their activity in the service of the state. The long arm of Malmab seized on these interviews, too. Haaretz, which obtained the original texts of several of the interviews, compared them to the versions that are now available to the public, after large swaths of them were declared classified.

    These included, for example, sections of the testimony of Brig. Gen. (res.) Aryeh Shalev about the expulsion across the border of the residents of a village he called “Sabra.” Later in the interview, the following sentences were deleted: “There was a very serious problem in the valley. There were refugees who wanted to return to the valley, to the Triangle [a concentration of Arab towns and villages in eastern Israel]. We expelled them. I met with them to persuade them not to want that. I have papers about it.”

    In another case, Malmab decided to conceal the following segment from an interview that historian Boaz Lev Tov conducted with Maj. Gen. (res.) Elad Peled:
    Lev Tov: “We’re talking about a population – women and children?”
    Peled: “All, all. Yes.”
    Lev Tov: “Don’t you distinguish between them?”
    Peled: “The problem is very simple. The war is between two populations. They come out of their home.”
    Lev Tov: “If the home exists, they have somewhere to return to?”
    Peled: “It’s not armies yet, it’s gangs. We’re also actually gangs. We come out of the house and return to the house. They come out of the house and return to the house. It’s either their house or our house.”
    Lev Tov: “Qualms belong to the more recent generation?”
    Peled: “Yes, today. When I sit in an armchair here and think about what happened, all kinds of thoughts come to mind.”
    Lev Tov: “Wasn’t that the case then?”
    Peled: “Look, let me tell you something even less nice and cruel, about the big raid in Sasa [Palestinian village in Upper Galilee]. The goal was actually to deter them, to tell them, ‘Dear friends, the Palmach [the Haganah “shock troops”] can reach every place, you are not immune.’ That was the heart of the Arab settlement. But what did we do? My platoon blew up 20 homes with everything that was there.”
    Lev Tov: “While people were sleeping there?”
    Peled: “I suppose so. What happened there, we came, we entered the village, planted a bomb next to every house, and afterward Homesh blew on a trumpet, because we didn’t have radios, and that was the signal [for our forces] to leave. We’re running in reverse, the sappers stay, they pull, it’s all primitive. They light the fuse or pull the detonator and all those houses are gone.”

    IDF soldiers guarding Palestinians in Ramle, in 1948. Collection of Benno Rothenberg/The IDF and Defense Establishment Archives

    Another passage that the Defense Ministry wanted to keep from the public came from Dr. Lev Tov’s conversation with Maj. Gen. Avraham Tamir:
    Tamir: “I was under Chera [Maj. Gen. Tzvi Tzur, later IDF chief of staff], and I had excellent working relations with him. He gave me freedom of action – don’t ask – and I happened to be in charge of staff and operations work during two developments deriving from [Prime Minister David] Ben-Gurion’s policy. One development was when reports arrived about marches of refugees from Jordan toward the abandoned villages [in Israel]. And then Ben-Gurion lays down as policy that we have to demolish [the villages] so they won’t have anywhere to return to. That is, all the Arab villages, most of which were in [the area covered by] Central Command, most of them.”
    Lev Tov: “The ones that were still standing?”
    Tamir: “The ones that weren’t yet inhabited by Israelis. There were places where we had already settled Israelis, like Zakariyya and others. But most of them were still abandoned villages.”
    Lev Tov: “That were standing?”
    Tamir: “Standing. It was necessary for there to be no place for them to return to, so I mobilized all the engineering battalions of Central Command, and within 48 hours I knocked all those villages to the ground. Period. There’s no place to return to.”
    Lev Tov: “Without hesitation, I imagine.”
    Tamir: “Without hesitation. That was the policy. I mobilized, I carried it out and I did it.”

    Crates in vaults
    The vault of the Yad Yaari Research and Documentation Center is one floor below ground level. In the vault, which is actually a small, well-secured room, are stacks of crates containing classified documents. The archive houses the materials of the Hashomer Hatzair movement, the Kibbutz Ha’artzi kibbutz movement, Mapam, Meretz and other bodies, such as Peace Now.
    The archive’s director is Dudu Amitai, who is also chairman of the Association of Israel Archivists. According to Amitai, Malmab personnel visited the archive regularly between 2009 and 2011. Staff of the archive relate that security department teams – two Defense Ministry retirees with no archival training – would show up two or three times a week. They searched for documents according to such keywords as “nuclear,” “security” and “censorship,” and also devoted considerable time to the War of Independence and the fate of the pre-1948 Arab villages.
    “In the end, they submitted a summary to us, saying that they had located a few dozen sensitive documents,” Amitai says. “We don’t usually take apart files, so dozens of files, in their entirety, found their way into our vault and were removed from the public catalog.” A file might contain more than 100 documents.
    One of the files that was sealed deals with the military government that controlled the lives of Israel’s Arab citizens from 1948 until 1966. For years, the documents were stored in the same vault, inaccessible to scholars. Recently, in the wake of a request by Prof. Gadi Algazi, a historian from Tel Aviv University, Amitai examined the file himself and ruled that there was no reason not to unseal it, Malmab’s opinion notwithstanding.

    According to Algazi, there could be several reasons for Malmab’s decision to keep the file classified. One of them has to do with a secret annex it contains to a report by a committee that examined the operation of the military government. The report deals almost entirely with land-ownership battles between the state and Arab citizens, and barely touches on security matters.

    Another possibility is a 1958 report by the ministerial committee that oversaw the military government. In one of the report’s secret appendixes, Col. Mishael Shaham, a senior officer in the military government, explains that one reason for not dismantling the martial law apparatus is the need to restrict Arab citizens’ access to the labor market and to prevent the reestablishment of destroyed villages.
    A third possible explanation for hiding the file concerns previously unpublished historical testimony about the expulsion of Bedouin. On the eve of Israel’s establishment, nearly 100,000 Bedouin lived in the Negev. Three years later, their number was down to 13,000. In the years during and after the independence war, a number of expulsion operations were carried out in the country’s south. In one case, United Nations observers reported that Israel had expelled 400 Bedouin from the Azazma tribe and cited testimonies of tents being burned. The letter that appears in the classified file describes a similar expulsion carried out as late as 1956, as related by geologist Avraham Parnes:

    The evacuation of Iraq al-Manshiyya, near today’s Kiryat Gat, in March, 1949. Collection of Benno Rothenberg/The IDF and Defense Establishment Archives

    “A month ago we toured Ramon [crater]. The Bedouin in the Mohila area came to us with their flocks and their families and asked us to break bread with them. I replied that we had a great deal of work to do and didn’t have time. In our visit this week, we headed toward Mohila again. Instead of the Bedouin and their flocks, there was deathly silence. Scores of camel carcasses were scattered in the area. We learned that three days earlier the IDF had ‘screwed’ the Bedouin, and their flocks were destroyed – the camels by shooting, the sheep with grenades. One of the Bedouin, who started to complain, was killed, the rest fled.”

    The testimony continued, “Two weeks earlier, they’d been ordered to stay where they were for the time being, afterward they were ordered to leave, and to speed things up 500 head were slaughtered.... The expulsion was executed ‘efficiently.’” The letter goes on to quote what one of the soldiers said to Parnes, according to his testimony: “They won’t go unless we’ve screwed their flocks. A young girl of about 16 approached us. She had a beaded necklace of brass snakes. We tore the necklace and each of us took a bead for a souvenir.”

    The letter was originally sent to MK Yaakov Uri, from Mapai (forerunner of Labor), who passed it on to Development Minister Mordechai Bentov (Mapam). “His letter shocked me,” Uri wrote Bentov. The latter circulated the letter among all the cabinet ministers, writing, “It is my opinion that the government cannot simply ignore the facts related in the letter.” Bentov added that, in light of the appalling contents of the letter, he asked security experts to check its credibility. They had confirmed that the contents “do in fact generally conform to the truth.”

    Nuclear excuse
    It was during the tenure of historian Tuvia Friling as Israel’s chief archivist, from 2001 to 2004, that Malmab carried out its first archival incursions. What began as an operation to prevent the leakage of nuclear secrets, he says, became, in time, a large-scale censorship project.
    “I resigned after three years, and that was one of the reasons,” Prof. Friling says. “The classification placed on the document about the Arabs’ emigration in 1948 is precisely an example of what I was apprehensive about. The storage and archival system is not an arm of the state’s public relations. If there’s something you don’t like – well, that’s life. A healthy society also learns from its mistakes.”

    Why did Friling allow the Defense Ministry to have access the archives? The reason, he says, was the intention to give the public access to archival material via the internet. In discussions about the implications of digitizing the material, concern was expressed that references in the documents to a “certain topic” would be made public by mistake. The topic, of course, is Israel’s nuclear project. Friling insists that the only authorization Malmab received was to search for documents on that subject.

    But Malmab’s activity is only one example of a broader problem, Friling notes: “In 1998, the confidentiality of the [oldest documents in the] Shin Bet and Mossad archives expired. For years those two institutions disdained the chief archivist. When I took over, they requested that the confidentiality of all the material be extended [from 50] to 70 years, which is ridiculous – most of the material can be opened.”

    In 2010, the confidentiality period was extended to 70 years; last February it was extended again, to 90 years, despite the opposition of the Supreme Council of Archives. “The state may impose confidentiality on some of its documentation,” Friling says. “The question is whether the issue of security doesn’t act as a kind of cover. In many cases, it’s already become a joke.”
    In the view of Yad Yaari’s Dudu Amitai, the confidentiality imposed by the Defense Ministry must be challenged. In his period at the helm, he says, one of the documents placed in the vault was an order issued by an IDF general, during a truce in the War of Independence, for his troops to refrain from rape and looting. Amitai now intends to go over the documents that were deposited in the vault, especially 1948 documents, and open whatever is possible. “We’ll do it cautiously and responsibly, but recognizing that the State of Israel has to learn how to cope with the less pleasant aspects of its history.”
    In contrast to Yad Yaari, where ministry personnel no longer visit, they are continuing to peruse documents at Yad Tabenkin, the research and documentation center of the United Kibbutz Movement. The director, Aharon Azati, reached an agreement with the Malmab teams under which documents will be transferred to the vault only if he is convinced that this is justified. But in Yad Tabenkin, too, Malmab has broadened its searches beyond the realm of nuclear project to encompass interviews conducted by archival staff with former members of the Palmach, and has even perused material about the history of the settlements in the occupied territories.

    Malmab has, for example, shown interest in the Hebrew-language book “A Decade of Discretion: Settlement Policy in the Territories 1967-1977,” published by Yad Tabenkin in 1992, and written by Yehiel Admoni, director of the Jewish Agency’s Settlement Department during the decade he writes about. The book mentions a plan to settle Palestinian refugees in the Jordan Valley and to the uprooting of 1,540 Bedouin families from the Rafah area of the Gaza Strip in 1972, including an operation that included the sealing of wells by the IDF. Ironically, in the case of the Bedouin, Admoni quotes former Justice Minister Yaakov Shimshon Shapira as saying, “It is not necessary to stretch the security rationale too far. The whole Bedouin episode is not a glorious chapter of the State of Israel.”

    Palestinian refugees leaving their village, unknown location, 1948. UNRWA

    According to Azati, “We are moving increasingly to a tightening of the ranks. Although this is an era of openness and transparency, there are apparently forces that are pulling in the opposite direction.”
    Unauthorized secrecy
    About a year ago, the legal adviser to the State Archives, attorney Naomi Aldouby, wrote an opinion titled “Files Closed Without Authorization in Public Archives.” According to her, the accessibility policy of public archives is the exclusive purview of the director of each institution.
    Despite Aldouby’s opinion, however, in the vast majority of cases, archivists who encountered unreasonable decisions by Malmab did not raise objections – that is, until 2014, when Defense Ministry personnel arrived at the archive of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. To the visitors’ surprise, their request to examine the archive – which contains collections of former minister and diplomat Abba Eban and Maj. Gen. (res.) Shlomo Gazit – was turned down by its then director, Menahem Blondheim.

    According to Blondheim, “I told them that the documents in question were decades old, and that I could not imagine that there was any security problem that would warrant restricting their access to researchers. In response, they said, ‘And let’s say there is testimony here that wells were poisoned in the War of Independence?’ I replied, ‘Fine, those people should be brought to trial.’”
    Blondheim’s refusal led to a meeting with a more senior ministry official, only this time the attitude he encountered was different and explicit threats were made. Finally the two sides reached an accommodation.
    Benny Morris is not surprised at Malmab’s activity. “I knew about it,” he says “Not officially, no one informed me, but I encountered it when I discovered that documents I had seen in the past are now sealed. There were documents from the IDF Archive that I used for an article about Deir Yassin, and which are now sealed. When I came to the archive, I was no longer allowed to see the original, so I pointed out in a footnote [in the article] that the State Archive had denied access to documents that I had published 15 years earlier.”
    The Malmab case is only one example of the battle being waged for access to archives in Israel. According to the executive director of the Akevot Institute, Lior Yavne, “The IDF Archive, which is the largest archive in Israel, is sealed almost hermetically. About 1 percent of the material is open. The Shin Bet archive, which contains materials of immense importance [to scholars], is totally closed apart from a handful of documents.”

    A report written by Yaacov Lozowick, the previous chief archivist at the State Archives, upon his retirement, refers to the defense establishment’s grip on the country’s archival materials. In it, he writes, “A democracy must not conceal information because it is liable to embarrass the state. In practice, the security establishment in Israel, and to a certain extent that of foreign relations as well, are interfering with the [public] discussion.”

    Advocates of concealment put forward several arguments, Lozowick notes: “The uncovering of the facts could provide our enemies with a battering ram against us and weaken the determination of our friends; it’s liable to stir up the Arab population; it could enfeeble the state’s arguments in courts of law; and what is revealed could be interpreted as Israeli war crimes.” However, he says, “All these arguments must be rejected. This is an attempt to hide part of the historical truth in order to construct a more convenient version.”

    What Malmab says
    Yehiel Horev was the keeper of the security establishment’s secrets for more than two decades. He headed the Defense Ministry’s security department from 1986 until 2007 and naturally kept out of the limelight. To his credit, he now agreed to talk forthrightly to Haaretz about the archives project.
    “I don’t remember when it began,” Horev says, “but I do know that I started it. If I’m not mistaken, it started when people wanted to publish documents from the archives. We had to set up teams to examine all outgoing material.”
    From conversations with archive directors, it’s clear that a good deal of the documents on which confidentiality was imposed relate to the War of Independence. Is concealing the events of 1948 part of the purpose of Malmab?

    Palestinian refugees in the Ramle area, 1948. Boris Carmi / The IDF and Defense Establishment Archives

    “What does ‘part of the purpose’ mean? The subject is examined based on an approach of whether it could harm Israel’s foreign relations and the defense establishment. Those are the criteria. I think it’s still relevant. There has not been peace since 1948. I may be wrong, but to the best of my knowledge the Arab-Israeli conflict has not been resolved. So yes, it could be that problematic subjects remain.”

    Asked in what way such documents might be problematic, Horev speaks of the possibility of agitation among the country’s Arab citizens. From his point of view, every document must be perused and every case decided on its merits.

    If the events of 1948 weren’t known, we could argue about whether this approach is the right one. That is not the case. Many testimonies and studies have appeared about the history of the refugee problem. What’s the point of hiding things?
    “The question is whether it can do harm or not. It’s a very sensitive matter. Not everything has been published about the refugee issue, and there are all kinds of narratives. Some say there was no flight at all, only expulsion. Others say there was flight. It’s not black-and-white. There’s a difference between flight and those who say they were forcibly expelled. It’s a different picture. I can’t say now if it merits total confidentiality, but it’s a subject that definitely has to be discussed before a decision is made about what to publish.”

    For years, the Defense Ministry has imposed confidentiality on a detailed document that describes the reasons for the departure of those who became refugees. Benny Morris has already written about the document, so what’s the logic of keeping it hidden?
    “I don’t remember the document you’re referring to, but if he quoted from it and the document itself is not there [i.e., where Morris says it is], then his facts aren’t strong. If he says, ‘Yes, I have the document,’ I can’t argue with that. But if he says that it’s written there, that could be right and it could be wrong. If the document were already outside and were sealed in the archive, I would say that that’s folly. But if someone quoted from it – there’s a difference of day and night in terms of the validity of the evidence he cited.”

    In this case, we’re talking about the most quoted scholar when it comes to the Palestinian refugees.
    “The fact that you say ‘scholar’ makes no impression on me. I know people in academia who spout nonsense about subjects that I know from A to Z. When the state imposes confidentiality, the published work is weakened, because he doesn’t have the document.”

    But isn’t concealing documents based on footnotes in books an attempt to lock the barn door after the horses have bolted?
    “I gave you an example that this needn’t be the case. If someone writes that the horse is black, if the horse isn’t outside the barn, you can’t prove that it’s really black.”

    There are legal opinions stating that Malmab’s activity in the archives is illegal and unauthorized.
    “If I know that an archive contains classified material, I am empowered to tell the police to go there and confiscate the material. I can also utilize the courts. I don’t need the archivist’s authorization. If there is classified material, I have the authority to act. Look, there’s policy. Documents aren’t sealed for no reason. And despite it all, I won’t say to you that everything that’s sealed is 100 percent justified [in being sealed].”

    The Defense Ministry refused to respond to specific questions regarding the findings of this investigative report and made do with the following response: “The director of security of the defense establishment operates by virtue of his responsibility to protect the state’s secrets and its security assets. The Malmab does not provide details about its mode of activity or its missions.”

    Lee Rotbart assisted in providing visual research for this article.


  • Cette semaine, le journal israélien Haaretz a confirmé une chose dont l’Electronic Intifada fait état depuis des années...

    Confirmation du rôle du Mossad dans la guerre d’Israël contre BDS
    Asa Winstanley, Electronic Intifada, le 14 juin 2019

    En privé les forces israéliennes anti-BDS admettent que leur campagne ne marche pas malgré les dizaines de millions de dollars lancés dans cette guerre contre des militants de la société civile œuvrant pour la justice et l’égalité. Un rapport secret de 2017 émanant d’un think tank lié au ministère, admet avec candeur l’échec d’Israël à stopper « une croissance impressionnante » et des « succès significatifs » de BDS. Le rapport qu’a obtenu l’Electronic Intifada, établit qu’en dépit de la multiplication par 20 des dépenses anti BDS, « les résultats restent hors d’atteinte ».

    L’article en question de Haaretz :

    Mossad Involved in Anti-boycott Activity, Israeli Minister’s Datebooks Reveal
    Noa Landau, Haaretz, le 12 juin 2019

    #Palestine #BDS #mossad

  • Une page oubliée de l’histoire : comment 12 000 volontaires palestiniens se sont battus aux côtés des Britanniques durant la seconde guerre mondiale.

    12,000 Palestinians fought for U.K. in WWII alongside Jewish volunteers, historian finds - Israel News -

    In 2015, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sparked an uproar when he claimed that Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini was the one who’d urged Hitler to annihilate the Jews. In the wake of the criticism this elicited, Netanyahu said his intention was not to absolve Hitler of responsibility for the Holocaust, but to note that “the Mufti played an important role in the Final Solution.”

    But it turns out that there was another side to the story that also escaped mention by Netanyahu, the historian’s son: the forgotten role played by thousands of Palestinians who did not heed the Mufti of Jerusalem’s call to support the Axis countries, and went so far as to take up arms to fight the Nazis, often shoulder to shoulder with young Jews from Mandatory Palestine.

    Professor Mustafa Abbasi, a historian at Tel Hai Academic College, has spent years tracing their story. Having recently published an academic article on the subject, this week he suggested an opposite narrative to the one that Netanyahu put forward. The prime minister had sought to paint the Palestinians as supporters of the Third Reich, but Abbasi says, “The Mufti did not find a receptive audience among the Palestinians for his call to aid the Nazis. Not at all.”

    >> Read more: Moments before their fatal mission, Jewish WWII soldiers took these incredible photos of Egypt ■ 76 years later, stories of Jewish soldiers killed in Nazi bombing can finally be told

    The subject of Abbasi’s research is unusual. Many studies have been published about Jewish volunteerism in the war against the Nazis, which reached a peak with the formation of the Jewish Brigade. But “the thousands of Arab volunteers are hardly mentioned and sometimes the record is often distorted,” Abbasi says.

    In an article in the latest issue of the periodical Cathedra (“Palestinians Fighting the Nazis: The Story of Palestinian Volunteers in World War II”), he explains why these Palestinian fighters have been left out of the history books.

    On the one hand, Zionist historians naturally placed an emphasis on the role played by Jewish volunteers in the fight against the Nazis. On the other hand, their Palestinian counterparts were focusing on the struggle against British rule and were not eager to glorify the names of those who cooperated with Britain not so many years after the British put down the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939, and thereby indirectly helped the Jews establish a state.
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    “Neither side wished to highlight this subject,” says Professor Abbasi. “But I think it’s the historian’s job to be faithful to the sources and to try to describe history as it was, without being hostage to any national narrative that would limit him and prevent him from writing history freely.”
    Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem
    Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, greeting Muslim Waffen-SS volunteers with a Nazi salute, November 1943. Bundesarchiv / Wikimedia Commons

    One has to wonder why no organization was ever established to commemorate the actions of these Palestinian volunteers. “Many of them were killed and many others are still listed as missing. But no memorial has ever been established for them,” says Abbasi. In fact, the records of the Palestinian volunteers, along with much of their personal archives and papers, have disappeared, much of it lost in the War of Independence.

    Over the last few years, Abbasi was able to learn of their story in Palestinian newspapers from the Mandate era, in memoirs and personal journals, and through interviews he conducted with a few of the last remaining volunteers who are still alive. He also collected material from various British archives, from the Zionist Archive, and the archives of the Haganah and the IDF.

    Abbasi estimates that about 12,000 young Palestinians enlisted in the British Army in World War II. Hundreds became POWs, many others (the exact figure is unknown) were killed. “Compared to other peoples, this is not an insignificant number,” he says, and also points out that, unlike other groups, the Palestinians volunteered for the British Army from the first stage of the war.

    Initially, the Palestinian and Jewish volunteers served in mixed units. “They received training and drilled at the same bases and in many instances fought shoulder to shoulder, and were also taken prisoner together,” says Abbasi. And as reported here two years ago, the proximity of the Jewish and Palestinian fighters sometimes led to unusual outcomes, as in the case of Shehab Hadjaj, a Palestinian who enlisted in the British Army, was taken prisoner in Germany and died in 1943. To this day, he is listed at Mount Herzl as “a casualty of Israel’s wars” because someone mistakenly thought his surname indicated that he was Jewish.

    “Relations among the fighters were generally good, and if there was any friction it was mainly over service conditions, like mail and food,” Abbasi says. However, there were certain key differences between the two groups, too. For example, while the Jews were united in their goal of fighting the Nazis to promote the establishment of the Jewish state, the Palestinians “had no clear national agenda,” Abbasi writes. For this reason, unlike the Jews, they did not seek to form separate Palestinian units and there was no “Palestinian Brigade” parallel to the Jewish Brigade, in which thousands of Jews from Mandatory Palestine served.

    So who were the Palestinians who volunteered for the British Army to fight the Nazis? Abbasi says they mostly came from the Palestinian elite and that, contrary to what many think, represented “an important and central part of the Palestinian public.” A part of the public that believed it was necessary to stand by Britain at this time, and to temporarily put aside the Palestinian national aspirations – akin to the Jewish idea to “fight Hitler as if there were no White Paper, and fight the White Paper as if there were no Hitler.”

    They did this at a time when the Mufti of Jerusalem had left Palestine for exile in the Arab countries and Europe, where he met with Hitler and congratulated the Muslim volunteers of the Free Arab Legion – an Arab unit established in the army of Nazi Germany. “He left Palestine for a decade in 1937. What kind of leader abandons his people at such a time?” Abbasi wonders. “He had no influence on the public. He was detached and the public was already tired of him and his methods. They didn’t see him as a leader,” he says. “Anyone who says differently is distorting history,” he adds in a not so subtle dig at certain politicians.

    In his research, he documented pro-British propaganda conferences that were held from 1940 on in Abu Dis (next to Jerusalem), in Jenin, in villages in the Nablus area, in Tul Karm and in Lod. Among the supporters of Britain’s fight against the Nazis were the mayors of Nablus and Gaza. Radio Palestine broadcast the comments of an Egyptian writer who said, “The war is between the lofty and humane values represented by England and the forces of darkness represented by the Nazis.”
    Britain’s then-Home Secretary Winston Churchill, right, escorted by High Commissioner Herbert Samuel in Jerusalem during the British Mandate era, March 1921.
    Britain’s then-Home Secretary Winston Churchill, right, escorted by High Commissioner Herbert Samuel in Jerusalem during the British Mandate era, March 1921.GPO

    Motivations for volunteering were varied. “Some did it for ideological reasons, out of opposition to the Nazi ideology and loyalty to the British and the values that they represented,” says Abbasi. This motivation was common among upper middle class and highly educated Palestinian volunteers from urban backgrounds. Rural Palestinians were motivated largely by financial reasons. “And there were also those who were seeking adventure and wanted a chance to travel abroad,” he says.

    Abbasi found that some Palestinian women also volunteered to fight the Nazis. Almost 120 young women did so as part of the

    Auxiliary Territorial Service, the women’s branch of the British Army, alongside Jewish women. A British recruiting poster in Arabic, published in the Falastin newspaper in January 1942, read: “She couldn’t stop thinking about contribution and sacrifice, she felt ongoing pride and exaltation of spirit – when she did what she saw as her sacred duty for her nation and its sons. When your country is crying out to you and asking for your service, when your country makes it plain that our Arab men need your love and support, and when your country reminds you of how cruel the enemy is – when your country is calling you, can you stand by and do nothing?”

    Abbasi is one of the only researchers in Palestinian society who is studying this area, which was also the subject of a 2015 article by Dalia Karpel in Haaretz Magazine. He came to it thanks to his maternal grandfather, Sa’id Abbasi, who was one of the volunteers in the British Army during the war. “The family didn’t talk about it, until one day when I asked my grandmother why there was such a big age difference between her children,” he says. “Her answer was: ‘Don’t remind me of the time your grandfather left me for so many years.’” Abbasi decided to find out more about that time, and came to see that his family story was part of his people’s history.

    In the future, he hopes, the original material he has collected will be developed into a book that, for the first time, will tell the optimistic story of a rare moment in history in which Jews and Palestinians joined forces for a lofty shared goal.
    Ofer Aderet

    Ofer Aderet

    Haaretz Correspondent

  • ’Entrance not permitted to minorities’: Jerusalem City Hall’s discriminatory regulations to kindergartens
    The Reform movement in Israel’s advocacy arm is demanding that the city change the instructions it distributed, which violate the law
    Nir Hasson | Apr 20, 2019 9:22 PM |

    The Israel Reform movement’s anti-racism organization is demanding the Jerusalem Municipality immediately cancel instructions ordering kindergarten teachers and support staff deny entry to people belonging to minority groups.

    The instructions, published by the emergency and security department of the Jerusalem municipality and distributed to the city’s kindergartens and pre-schools, order that “outsiders many not enter kindergarten premises,” adding that “as a rule, entrance is not permitted to minority groups.”

    According to the instructions, if minority groups want to enter the school, “the local security officer must be notified.” In Israel, the Hebrew term “minority groups” usually refers to Arabs and other non-Jews.

    In its appeal, the Racism Crisis Center, operated by the Israel Religious Action Center - the advocacy arm of the Reform movement in Israel - said that the municipality instructions to comprehensively prohibit outsiders and non-Jewish minorities from entering kindergartens harm their right to human dignity and equality, and therefore is wrong, illegal and forbidden.

    “Arabs in Israel are viewed as dangerous as it is, even in the absence of any real and specific indication that they pose a potential threat. As a result, they become immediate suspects, and are targeted, more than any other sector, due to alleged security reasons which are based on religious and ethnic stereotypes,” the letter states.

    “אין לאפשר כניסת זרים לגן. ככל, אין אישור לכניסת מיעוטים”
    זו ההוראה של עיירית ירושליםם לגנים. בני מיעוטים, גם אם הינם אזרחי ותושבי המדינה, הם בגדר זרים, ומסוכנים בברירת המחדל!.
    בעירייה אמרו שיתקנו את ההוראה - אבל מה עוד צפוי לנו אם הגזען סמוטריץ’ יעמוד בראש משרד החינוך?
    — MK Aida Touma-Sliman (@AidaTuma) April 18, 2019

    Tweet by Touma-Sliman with a photo of the Jerusalem Municipality instructions.

    The appeal adds that “protecting the security of kindergarten children and personnel is of the utmost importance. However, the security considerations, as important and worthy as they may be, don’t justify the gross discrimination against non-Jews. We request that the municipality reexamine the matter and retract any instruction that discriminates against minorities.”

    The Jerusalem municipality said in response that “security procedures for educational facilities are set by the Israel Police and the Education Ministry. The Jerusalem municipality operates in accordance with those procedures. The instructions you are referring to were distributed a year and a half ago. We are grateful for the attention paid to the manner the instruction was written and we will act to fix it soon.”

    Arab Member of Knesset Aida Touma-Sliman tweeted in response, “Minority groups, even if they are citizens and residents of the country, are seen as foreigners and dangerous by default … What else awaits us if that racist [MK Bezalel] Smotrich is appointed as head of the education ministry?” - referring to far-right, newly reelected Knesset member, who is said to likely be the next education minister


    • « Entrée interdite aux minorités » : les règlements discriminatoires imposés aux jardins d’enfants par l’Hôtel de Ville de Jérusalem
      22 avril | Nir Hasson pour Haaretz |Traduction SM pour l’AURDIP

      La branche du mouvement réformiste israélien chargée du plaidoyer demande à la Ville de modifier des directives qui violent la loi

      L’organisme antiraciste du mouvement réformiste israélien demande à la municipalité de Jérusalem d’annuler immédiatement des directives enjoignant au personnel enseignant et de service des jardins d’enfants de refuser l’accès aux personnes qui appartiennent à des groupes minoritaires.
      Ces directives, publiées par le département Urgence et sécurité de la municipalité de Jérusalem et distribuées aux jardins d’enfants et écoles maternelles de la ville, indiquent que « les personnes extérieures à l’établissement ne doivent pas pénétrer dans ses locaux », précisant qu’« en règle générale, l’entrée n’est pas autorisée aux membres de groupes minoritaires ».

      Selon les directives, si des membres de groupes minoritaires souhaitent pénétrer dans l’école, « l’agent de sécurité local doit être prévenu ». En Israël, le terme hébreu « groupes minoritaires » désigne habituellement les Arabes et autres non-Juifs.

      Dans sa demande, le Centre de lutte contre le racisme (IRAC), qui dépend du Centre israélien d’action religieuse - branche du mouvement réformiste israélien chargée du plaidoyer – souligne que les directives de la municipalité interdisant globalement aux personnes extérieures à l’établissement et aux minorités non juives de pénétrer dans les jardins d’enfants bafouent leur droit à la dignité humaine et à l’égalité, et qu’elles sont donc condamnables, illégales et inadmissibles.

  • The director who won’t take money from Israel but wants Israelis to see his films
    Yasmin Zaher - Feb 27, 2019 4:25 PM

    Kamal Aljafari was born in Ramle but works from Berlin. In a conversation with Haaretz, he explains how his work is about the place he left: ‘I use cinema as an act of reclamation’

    When filmmaker Kamal Aljafari talks about Palestinian cinema and where it is going, he begins with an important clarification. “It’s becoming clear that Palestinian art and cinema is now coming from all over the world. We’re not talking about historic Palestine anymore.”

    Why the Palestinian art scene is increasingly being seen as an international movement has obvious political reasons related to the absence of a Palestinian state and the unresolved status of refugees. The majority of Palestinians today – over 6 million – live in the diaspora. But the case of Aljafari, who has Israeli-German citizenship, is different: It touches on the universal relationship between art and exile, and attests to an inability to create from within.

    Aljafari, 47, was born in Ramle, in “what Israelis call the Arab ghetto,” he tells Haaretz by phone. In 1998, after completing his studies at Hebrew University, he went to study film in Germany and has stayed there ever since. He lives and works in Berlin, but continues to visit Israeli regularly – because “my work is about the place that I left.”

    He says he simply couldn’t accept the conditions of his existence in Israel anymore. “I was fed up with being a second-class citizen. We come from there, but it is not our country anymore,” he says.

    Reality as sci-fi

    Two weeks ago, Aljafari premiered his new film, “It’s a Long Way From Amphioxus,” at the Berlin International Film Festival. Continuing his objective of “taking people from the margins” and making them the main focus, his 17-minute short was filmed in a West Berlin center for processing asylum seekers – one of the largest of its kind.

    The film presents dark, crowded scenes from the waiting room, with only the bright red numbers of the queue-management system shining brightly. In the film’s only moment of dialogue, a Syrian woman turns to a young man and asks him “What are they distributing here?” “Numbers,” he responds.
    What we imagine for ourselves

    In his bio on the Berlinale website, the filmmaker is described as “Kamal Aljafari, born in Palestine in 1972.” In Germany, he says, he can be a Palestinian and not have to submit to a system that compromises his identity.

    “I couldn’t accept a situation where I was being renamed, to have to use another name that someone gave me,” he says. “It’s not about facts, it’s about what we imagine for ourselves – and I try to do the same in my films.”

    He reiterates that he is not talking about a national identity. “I’m talking about what it means to be a person from the margins – geographic margins, gender margins, whatever they are. It’s more natural for me to be an immigrant here [in Germany], where there are other immigrants. But I couldn’t accept being an immigrant in my own country. I needed to free myself. Saying ‘Born in Palestine in 1972’ is abstract, it’s poetic.”

    His films may be experimental but Aljafari is an extremely down-to-earth artist, able to soberly diagnose the challenges facing Palestinian filmmakers. “We are a fragmented, diasporic nation,” he reflects. “The problem of cinema is that it relies heavily on money. If you look at national cinema – in Europe, Asia or in Israel itself – there’s a state behind it. We are stateless, and this makes it a lot more difficult to gather the means to make films. History is written by the powerful, and as an oppressed people it’s harder for us to tell our stories.”

    The financing dilemma is especially pertinent for Palestinians in Israel. As Aljafari explains, “The Israeli state pours a lot of money into cinema, and it’s becoming more and more difficult to make critical films. They intervene in the content. We see this with the ‘loyalty law,’” he says, referring to the legislation that allows Israel’s Culture Ministry to withhold funding on political grounds.

    “Imagine a film fund asking German or French artists to declare loyalty to the German or French state,” Kamal continues, “It’s crazy. It’s against art.”

    There is also another obstacle, with this one coming from a surprising source. The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement makes no concessions for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and in theory applies the same regulations to them as it does to their Jewish-Israeli counterparts. It appears that disenfranchisement, in some cases, can be just as bad, if not worse, than statelessness.

    Aljafari, though, has a typically original take on the problem. “I want my films to be shown to Israeli audiences, but I’m just not interested in cooperating with Israeli government institutions,” he says. “The system didn’t grant me a place to live and create, so I chose to work outside it. I made the decision to never take money from the Israeli state a long time before BDS existed. It’s related to a personal decision to restore who I am.”

  • For Israel’s golden intel boys, it starts with terror and ends with greed Veterans of Israel’s famed signal intelligence corps, already well versed in violence against the helpless, are now indulging in rotten meddling abroad
    Gideon Levy - Feb 16, 2019 10:53 PM

    A coincidence brought together two stories in Haaretz last Wednesday. One reported on the sadistic abuse of two Palestinians by soldiers from the Netzah Yehuda Battalion, while the other told of astonishing meddling abroad by Israeli intelligence companies.

    Ostensibly the conduct of the battalion is more sickening. But actually the actions of veterans of the Mossad and the military’s signal intelligence unit, 8200, is much more disturbing.

    The abusive soldiers will be punished to some extent; usually they come from the margins of society. But the veterans of Israel’s top secret cyber-agencies are the new elite, the heroes of our time, beautiful and promising, the proud future of innovation and high-tech. Who doesn’t want their son or daughter to serve in 8200? Who isn’t proud of the Mossad’s work?

    But some of these good people do very bad things, no less infuriating than punching a blindfolded Palestinian in front of his son. At 8200 they don’t kill people or beat them up, but the damage the unit’s veterans do can be no less severe.

    The success stories are many. The name of the game is to start up a company, exit quickly and take the money. In T-shirts, sneakers and jeans they make money hand over fist. During their afternoon breaks they order sushi and play the video games “FIFA 17” and “Mortal Kombat.”

    Most of them come from 8200. Beneath their impressive successes, there is rot. The veterans of the biggest and maybe the most prestigious unit in the army, the new pilots, know everything. Sometimes too much.

    A long, disturbing article by Adam Entous and Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker tells about these companies, particularly Psy-Group, made up of Mossad and 8200 veterans. There’s no place in the world they’re not interfering – from Gabon to Romania, from the Netherlands to the U.S. elections.

    There’s also nothing they won’t do; money covers everything. Project Butterfly, the war declared by Israeli cyber-mercenaries on U.S. campuses against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, was particularly disgusting. Psy-Group, with members of the old boys’ club – Ram Ben-Barak, a former deputy head of the Mossad and a Yesh Atid Knesset candidate, and Yaakov Amidror, a general and a former national security adviser – spied on anti-Israel activists on U.S. campuses and collected dirt on them.

    It’s like a war, the hero Ben-Barak told The New Yorker. The private Israeli firm works on U.S. campuses against political activists for $2.5 million a year. This money was contributed by Jews (who were promised they were “investing in Israel’s future”), some of whose children are students on those same campuses.

    Imagine if a foreign company spied on right-wing students in Israel and spread slander about them. But Israel is allowed to do anything. Uzi Arad, a former national security adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a Mossad veteran, told The New Yorker that he was ashamed of these mercenaries.

    These actions are being carried out by the best of our young people. According to The New Yorker, the Israeli companies control the global disinformation and manipulation market. They have a huge advantage. As Gadi Aviran, founder of the intelligence firm Terrogence, told the magazine: “There was this huge pipeline of talent coming out of the military every year,” and “All a company like mine had to do was stand at the gate and say, ‘You look interesting.’” It always starts with terror, real or imagined, and ends with greed.

    First we have a “huge pipeline of talent” familiar with the alleyways of Jabalya and Jenin in the West Bank, well experienced in violence against the helpless. The training grounds of the Israeli arms industry, unmanned bombers and lethal joysticks have led to lots of prestige and money for the state.

    Now, in the spirit of the times, we have the meddlers from the high-ups of the Mossad and 8200. And when one day somebody asks where the temerity came from to meddle like that, we’ll quote Amidror, who said: “If people are ready to finance it, it is O.K. with me.” Before we keep encouraging young people to join 8200 and take pride in the unit, we should remember that this rot also emerged from it.

  • The secret letter detailing Israel’s plan to expel Arabs, ’without unnecessary brutality’ - Israel News -

    Contrary to its obligations, the archives does not explain in the file why documents have been removed from it and makes do instead with leaving a blank page on which is written only the word “classified.” Sheetrit’s censored letter mentions the Riftin report, which was the subject of an article by Ofer Aderet in Haaretz earlier this year (“Why is Israel still covering up extrajudicial executions committed by a Jewish militia in ‘48?”). Sheetrit’s letter, headed “Minorities in the State of Israel,” signals its theme. The writer warns, among other points, about “ theft and plunder [of Arab property] both by the army and by civilians […] violation of surrender agreements about preserving property [and adds that] the lust for robbery has turned the heads of army personnel .”

    Why were two documents suddenly censored after having been available to the public for years? Answers are not forthcoming. A few months ago, I wrote in these pages (“What is Israel hiding about its nuclear program in the ’50s?”) that in a great many cases, the state’s representatives who are in charge of releasing historical documentation (in this case, the chief press and media censor) do not distinguish between documents that may adversely affect state security and foreign policy, and those that may simply embarrass the state.

    The fact that, half a year after the end of the 1948 war, Ben-Gurion considered expelling thousands of Arabs from their homes is not very flattering (the more so because they were Christian Arabs, whose welfare would probably carry more weight in world public opinion). However, whereas the study of history is amenable (to a certain degree) to an individual’s choice, the uncovering of historical documentation should not be amenable to political considerations, must not become a privilege in a democracy and must never be susceptible to considerations that are not directly related to security.

  • Palestinian teen shot, killed by Israeli forces in al-Bireh
    Dec. 14, 2018 5:39 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 14, 2018 5:55 P.M.)

    RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A 16-year-old Palestinian was shot and killed by Israeli forces during clashes that erupted in the al-Jalazun refugee camp north of al-Bireh in the central occupied West Bank, on Friday evening.

    The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that a Palestinian from the al-Jalazun refugee camp arrived to the Palestine Medical Center in a critical condition.

    Sources added that the teen was injured with live bullets in the abdomen.

    The ministry identified the killed teen as Mahmoud Youssef Nakhleh.

    Israeli forces opened fire at the teen from a very close range; from less than 10 meters away.

    Israeli soldiers attempted to detain Nakhleh afterwards, however, Palestinian Red Crescent paramedics were able to take him and transfer him to the Palestine Medical Center after having to quarrel Israeli soldiers for more than 30 minutes.

    Nakhleh was later pronounced dead at the hospital.


    • After Shooting a Palestinian Teen, Israeli Troops Dragged Him Around – and Chased an Ambulance Away

      A Palestinian from the Jalazun refugee camp was shot in the back and died after soldiers kept him from receiving medical care
      Gideon Levy and Alex Levac Dec 20, 2018

      What goes through the head of soldiers, young Israelis, after they shoot an unarmed Palestinian teenager in the back with live ammunition, prevent him from getting medical treatment, move him around, putting him on the ground and then picking him up again – and chase away an ambulance at gunpoint? For 15 minutes, the Israel Defense Forces soldiers carried the dying Mahmoud Nakhle , pulling him by his hands and feet, it’s not clear why or where, before allowing him to be evacuated. They had already shot him and wounded him badly. He was dying. Why not let the Palestinian ambulance that arrived at the site rush him to the hospital and possibly save his life? Nakhle died from a bullet in his liver and loss of blood. He was two weeks after his 18th birthday, the only son of parents who are descendants of refugees, and he lived in the Jalazun refugee camp adjacent to Ramallah, in the West Bank.

      Nakhle was killed last Friday, December 14.

      Getting to Jalazun took a long time this week; it was a long and stressful trip. Overnight, terror attacks and other sights of the intifada had returned simultaneously: innumerable surprise checkpoints, such as we hadn’t seen for years; long lines of Palestinian vehicles, forced to wait for hours; drivers emerging from their cars and waiting in desperation by the side of the road, anger and frustration etched on their faces; roads blocked arbitrarily, with people signaling each other as to which was open and which was closed; some cars making their way cross-country via boulder-strewn areas and dirt paths to bypass the roadblocks, until those options, too, were sealed off by the army. And also aggressive, edgy, frightened soldiers, carrying weapons that threatened just about anyone who made a move near them.

      Welcome back to the days of the intifada, welcome to a trip into the past: Even if only for a moment, the West Bank this week regressed 15 years, to the start of the millennium.

      The wind blows cold at the Jalazun camp. A throng of thousands of children and teenagers is streaming down the road, heading home from their schools run by UNRWA, the United Nations refugee agency. The two schools, one for boys and one for girls, are situated at the camp’s entrance, on both sides of the main Ramallah-Nablus road. We were here a year and a half ago, after IDF soldiers shot up a car stolen from Israel when it stopped outside the settlement of Beit El, spraying it with at least 10 rounds, and killing two of its passengers. About half a year ago, we returned to the camp to meet Mohammed Nakhle, the bereaved father of 16-year-old Jassem, one of those fatalities. The father cried through our entire meeting, even though this was a year after he had lost Jassem.

      Mahmoud Nakhle, who was killed last week, was a relative of Jassem’s.

      Last Friday, there was stone throwing in the valley between Jalazun’s boys’ school and the first houses of Beit El, across the way. The soldiers fired tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets at the young Palestinians. Quite a few of the camp’s residents have been killed at this spot, which has become a main arena of the struggle against the large, veteran settlement that looms through every window in poverty-stricken, overcrowded Jalazun, situated below.

      The stone throwing had slowed down in the afternoon and had just about stopped when an IDF force, arriving in two vehicles, began chasing after the youths, who were now on their way back to the camp, at about 4 P.M. The latter numbered about 15 teens, aged 14 to 18. Suddenly the soldiers started shooting, using live ammunition – even as calm was apparently about to be restored. A video clip, one of several that captured the event, shows the soldiers walking along the road and firing into the air.

      The wail of an ambulance slashes the air now, as we stand at the site of the incident with Iyad Hadad, a field investigator for the Israeli human-rights organization B’Tselem, who collected testimony from eyewitnesses. Nakhle chose to return home by way of a dirt path that passes above the camp. The soldiers ran after him and one of them shot him once, in the lower back. Nakhle fell to the ground, bleeding.

      The occupant of the first-floor apartment in the closest building in Jalazun, just meters from the site of the incident, heard the shot, the groans and a call for help. She assumed someone had been wounded, but wasn’t sure where or who he was. From her window she saw a group of soldiers standing in a circle, though she couldn’t see the wounded person who lay on the ground between them. A second eyewitness saw one soldier nudge Nakhle with his foot, apparently to see if the teen was still alive. They then pulled up his shirt and pulled down his pants, apparently to check whether the stone-throwing youth was a dangerous, booby-trapped terrorist. As the video accounts show, he was left lying like that, exposed in his blue underwear. The woman from the apartment rushed out to summon help, but the soldiers fired toward her to drive her off. One bullet struck her husband’s car.

      The soldiers lifted Nakhle up and carried him a few dozen meters from where he’d fallen, laying him down at the side of the road. One of the eyewitnesses related that they carried him “like you haul a slaughtered sheep.” The video clip shows them carrying him not in the prescribed way for moving someone who is seriously wounded, but by his hands and his feet, his back sagging.

      Before the soldiers shot at the first eyewitness – whose identity is known to the B’Tselem investigator – to scare her off, she shouted at them to let the wounded person be and to allow him to be taken to hospital in an ambulance. “Leave him alone, do you want to kill him… give him aid.” She also shouted at the soldiers that she was his mother – apparently hoping that the lie would stir pity in them – but to no avail. In the video shot by her daughter on her cell phone, the woman sounds overwrought, gasping for breath as she cries out, “In God’s name, call an ambulance!”

      After five to seven minutes, the soldiers again lifted Nakhle, once more by his extremities, and carried him a few dozen meters more, in the direction of the main road, and again laid him by the roadside. A Palestinian ambulance that had arrived at the scene was chased off by the soldiers, who threatened the driver with their rifles. As far as is known, the soldiers did not give Nakhle any sort of medical aid. The woman from the house again shouted, now from her window: “In God’s name, let the ambulance take him away.” But still to no avail.

      It was only after a quarter of an hour, during which Nakhle continued to bleed, that the soldiers allowed an ambulance to be summoned. A video clip shows Nakhle raising one hand limply to the back of his neck, proof that he was still alive. Half-naked, he’s placed on a stretcher and put in the ambulance, which speeds off, its siren wailing, to the Government Hospital in Ramallah.

      The teen apparently breathed his last en route, arriving at the hospital with no pulse. Attempts were made to resuscitate him in the ER and to perform emergency surgery, but after half an hour, he was pronounced dead. Dr. Muayad Bader, a physician in the hospital, wrote on the death certificate that Mahmoud Nakhle died from loss of blood after a bullet entered his lower back, struck his liver and hit a main artery, damaging other internal organs.

      A group of children is now standing at the site where Nakhle fell, practicing stone throwing on the way back from school. They hurl the stones to the ground in a demonstrative fit of anger. In the mourning tent that was erected in the courtyard of the camp, adorned with huge posters of the deceased, the men sit, grim-faced, with the bereaved father, Yusuf Nakhle, 41, in the center. Disabled from birth, he is partially paralyzed in his left arm and leg. We asked him to tell us about Mahmoud’s life.

      “What life? He hadn’t yet lived his life, they robbed him of his life,” he replies softly. Mahmoud attended school until the 10th grade and then studied electrical engineering at a professional college in Qalandiyah. He completed his studies and afterward a year of apprenticeship, and was waiting to find a job as an electrician. His father was waiting for him to help provide for the family. Yusuf is a technician at a pharmaceuticals company in Bir Zeit, near Ramallah. He and his wife, Ismahan, 45, have two more daughters, aged 14 and 4. Mahmoud was their only son.

      In response to an inquiry, the IDF Spokesman’s Office gave Haaretz the following statement this week: “On December 14, 2018, there was a violent disturbance adjacent to Jalazun, during which dozens of Palestinians threw rocks at IDF soldiers. The soldiers responded with demonstration-dispersal measures.

      “During the disturbance, a Palestinian holding a suspicious object approached one of the soldiers. The soldier fired at him. Later, it was reported that the Palestinian had been killed. The Military Police have launched an investigation into the incident. Upon its completion, the findings will be transferred to the military advocate general’s office.”

      The spokesman’s office did not respond to a question regarding the denial of medical assistance to Mahmoud Nahle.

      Last Friday, the hours passed normally in the home of Nakhle family in the Jalazun camp. Breakfast, a shower; the son asks his father if he needs anything before going out around midday. Never to return. At 4:30, Yusuf’s brother called to inform him that his son had been wounded and was in the Government Hospital. By the time his father arrived, Mahmoud had been pronounced dead.

      “We are human beings and it is our right to live and to look after our children. We too have feelings, like all people,” says Rabah, Mahmoud’s uncle, the brother of his father. Yusuf has watched the video clips that document the shooting and the hauling of his dying son dozens of times, over and over. Ismahan can’t bring herself to look at them.

  • L’article d’une DJ israélienne à propos des annulations récentes. Quelques points à noter :
    1) elle n’est pas surprise de l’annulation de Lana del Rey
    2) elle est surprise en revanche de l’annulation de DJs, car ce milieu n’était pas touché par la politique et BDS, et elle se demande si ce n’est pas le début de quelque chose...
    3) elle cite Gaza, la loi sur l’Etat Nation, les arrestations d’activistes à l’aéroport, mais aussi la proximité entre Trump et Netanyahu, qui influence surtout les artistes américains
    4) on apprend que tout le monde sait qu’il y a des artistes, et non des moindres, qui même s’ils ne le disent pas ouvertement, ne viendront jamais en israel : Beyoncé, The Knife, Grizzly Bear, Arcade Fire, Deerhunter, Sonic Youth, Lil Yachty, Tyler the Creator, Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, Vince Staples, Moodymann, Kyle Hall, the Martinez Brothers, Ben UFO, DJ Ricardo Villalobos, Matthew Herbert, Andrew Weatherall... C’est ce qu’on appelle le boycott silencieux...
    5) il y a aussi le cas de ceux qui ne viennent que si les concerts sont organisés par des Palestiniens : Acid Arab et Nicolas Jaar
    6) même si cela me semble faux, le fait d’accuser certains artistes de boycotter parce que c’est à la mode est un aveu que BDS a le vent en poupe dans le milieu de la musique

    The Day the Music Died : Will BDS Bring Tel Aviv’s Club Scene to a Standstill ?
    Idit Frenkel, Haaretz, le 7 septembre 2018

    Lana Del Rey should have known better. And if not Del Rey herself, then at least her managers, PR people and agents.

    As the highest-profile artist who was scheduled to appear at the Meteor Festival over the weekend in the north, it was clear she’d be the one caught in the crossfire , the one boycott groups would try to convince to ditch an appearance in Israel. That’s the same crossfire with diplomatic, moral and economic implications that confronted Lorde, Lauryn Hill and Tyler, the Creator: musicians who announced performances in Israel and changed their minds because of political pressure.

    Del Rey, however, isn’t the story. Her cancellation , which included some mental gymnastics as far as her positions were concerned, could have been expected. Unfortunately, we’ve been there many times and in many different circumstances.

    Tsunami of cancellations

    The ones who caught us unprepared by drafting an agenda for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict turned out to be DJs like Shanti Celeste, Volvox, DJ Seinfeld, Python and Leon Vynehall, who also dropped out of Meteor. Why was this unexpected? Because Israel’s nightlife and clubbing scene – especially in Tel Aviv – had been an oasis regarding cultural boycotts, an extraterritorial hedonistic space with no room for politics.

    The current tsunami of cancellations, while it might sound trivial if you’re untutored in trance music, could reflect a trend with effects far beyond the Meteor Festival. In the optimistic scenario, this is a one-off event that has cast the spotlight on lesser-known musicians as well. In the pessimistic scenario, this is the end of an era in which the clubbing scene has been an exception.

    Adding credence to the change-in-direction theory are the cancellations by DJs who have spun in Tel Aviv in recent years; Volvox, Shanti Celeste and Leon Vynehall have all had their passports stamped at Ben-Gurion Airport. And those times the situation wasn’t very different: Benjamin Netanyahu was prime minister, the occupation was decades long and there were sporadic exchanges of fire between the sides.

    Moreover, two of the DJs spearheading the struggle on the nightlife scene regarding Mideast politics – the Black Madonna and Anthony Naples – have been here, enjoyed themselves, been honored and promised to return, until they discovered there’s such a thing as the occupation.

    Americans and Brits cancel more

    So what has changed since 2015? First, there has been a change on the Gaza border, with civilians getting shot. These incidents have multiplied in the past three months and don’t exactly photograph well.

    Second, news reports about the nation-state law and the discrimination that comes with it have done their bit. Third, the arrests and detentions of left-wing activists entering Israel haven’t remained in a vacuum.

    Fourth, and most importantly, is Donald Trump’s presidency and his unconditional embrace of Netanyahu, including, of course, the controversial opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. As in the case of Natalie Portman’s refusal to accept a prize from the state, the closeness between the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government – under the sponsorship of evangelical Christians – has made Israel a country non grata in the liberal community, of which Hollywood is one pole and nightlife the other.

    It’s no coincidence that the DJs canceling are either Americans or Brits on the left; that is, Democrats or Jeremy Corbyn supporters in Labour – people who see cooperation with Israel as collaboration with Trump and Britain’s Conservative government.

    Different from them is Honey Dijon, the black trans DJ from Chicago who in response to the protest against her appearance at the Meteor Festival tweeted: “All of you people criticizing me about playing in Israel, when you come to America and stand up for the murder of black trans women and the prison industrial complex of black men then we can debate. I play for people not governments.” Not many people tried to argue with her. Say what you will, contrarianism is always effective.

    The case of DJ Jackmaster

    Beyond the issue of values, at the image level, alleged collaboration can be a career killer, just as declaring a boycott is the last word in chic for your image nowadays. That’s exactly what has happened with Scotland’s DJ Jackmaster, who has gone viral with his eventual refusal to perform at Tel Aviv’s Block club. He posted a picture of the Palestinian flag with a caption saying you have to exploit a platform in order to stand up for those who need it. The flood of responses included talk about boycotting all Tel Aviv, not just the Block.

    Yaron Trax is the owner of the Block; his club is considered not only the largest and most influential venue in town but also an international brand. Trax didn’t remain silent; on his personal Facebook account he mentioned how a few weeks before Jackmaster’s post his agent was still trying to secure the gig for him at the Block.

    “Not my finest hour, but calling for a boycott of my club at a time when an artist is trying to play there felt to me like crossing a line,” Trax says. “Only after the fact, and especially when I saw how his post was attracting dozens of hurtful, belligerent and racist responses – and generating a violent discourse that I oppose – did I realize how significant it was.”

    Trax talks about the hatred that has welled up in support of Jackmaster’s Israel boycott – just between us, not the sharpest tool in the shed and someone who has recently been accused of sexual harassment. As Trax puts it, “The next day it was important to me to admonish myself, first off, and then all those who chose to respond the way they responded.”

    In a further well-reasoned post, Trax wrote, “I have always thought that people who take a risk and use the platform that is given to them to transmit a message they believe in, especially one that isn’t popular, deserve admiration and not intimidation or silencing.” Unsurprisingly, the reactions to this message were mostly positive.

    Notwithstanding the boycotters who have acceded to the demands of Roger Waters and Brian Eno – the most prominent musicians linked to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement – there are plenty of superstar musicians like Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake and the Rolling Stones who have come to Israel as part of their concert tours, even though they suffered the same pressures. The performers most vocal about their decision to appear in Israel have been Radiohead and Nick Cave.

    At a press conference on the eve of his concert, Cave expressed his opinion on the demand to boycott Israel: “It suddenly became very important to make a stand, to me, against those people who are trying to shut down musicians, to bully musicians, to censor musicians and to silence musicians.”

    Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke took the message one step further and tweeted: “Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government. We’ve played in Israel for over 20 years through a succession of governments, some more liberal than others. As we have in America. We don’t endorse Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America.” As Yorke put it, music, art and academia are “about crossing borders, not building them.”

    There’s a lot of truth in Yorke’s declaration, but whether or not musicians like it, appearances in Israel tend to acquire a political dimension; any statement becomes a potential international incident. Thus, for example, after Radiohead’s statement, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan saluted the band, and after Cave’s press conference, Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon tweeted “Bravo Nick Cave!”

    The trend continues when we step down a league from the A-listers, like Beyoncé, who doesn’t intend to perform in Israel despite her annual declaration that she’ll come “next year.” There’s the second level, the cream of international alternative rock and pop – refusals to appear in Israel by bands “of good conscience” like the Knife, Grizzly Bear, Arcade Fire and Deerhunter.

    The most prominent voice from this territory is that of former Sonic Youth guitarist and vocalist Thurston Moore. Yes, he appeared with his band in Tel Aviv 23 years ago, but since then he has become an avid supporter of BDS, so much so that he says it’s not okay to eat hummus because it’s a product of the occupation.

    ’Apartheid state’

    At the next level of refusers are the major – and minor – hip-hop stars. In addition to Lil Yachty and Tyler, who canceled appearances, other heroes of the genre like Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper and Vince Staples have refused from the outset to accept invitations to Israel. It’s quite possible that the connection between BDS and Black Lives Matter is influential. As early as 2016, Black Lives Matter published a statement supporting BDS and declaring Israel an “apartheid state.”

    Which brings us to electronic music and the cultural phenomenon that goes with it – the club culture. In numerical terms, club culture is smaller, but the information that flows from it on the ground or online flows much faster.

    Moreover, not only is club culture more sensitive to changes and far more alert to ideas and technological advances, its history is marked by struggles by oppressed groups. It can be said that African-Americans, Hispanics and gay people were the first to adopt the “night” way of life, back in the days of New York’s clubs and underground parties in the ‘70s. Accordingly, these groups have been the ones to nurture this lifestyle into today’s popular culture. Hence also the association with movements like BDS.

    Boiler Room Palestine

    Indeed, the current trend points to a step-up in the discourse; in the past year the top alternative culture magazines – of which the electronic music magazines play a key role – have published articles surveying musical and cultural happenings in Palestinian society.

    The online music magazine Resident Advisor has had two such stories, the first about a workshop for artists with the participation of the Block 9 production team, musicians Brian Eno and Róisín Murphy (formerly of Moloko) and American DJ the Black Madonna. The workshop, which included tours, discussion groups and joint musical work, was held at the Walled Off Hotel in Ramallah, also known as Banksy’s hotel because of the street artist’s involvement in its planning in the shadow of the separation barrier.

    The second article surveyed the Palestinian electronic scene and its leading players – promoters, DJs and producers who are operating despite the restrictive military regime. In addition, the writer accompanied the production of Boiler Room Palestine in Ramallah in June. (The wider Boiler Room franchise has been the world’s most popular pop party for the past five years.)

    Another example includes the style magazine Dazed, which wrote about the cultural boycott movement immediately after the cancellation of Lorde’s concert, and just last month New York Magazine’s culture supplement Vulture set forth its philosophy on the boycott (also in the context of Lana Del Rey). It predicted that the awakening we’re seeing today is only in its infancy.

    This partial list isn’t a clear declaration about “taking a stance” – after all, progressive media outlets in culture laud Israeli artists (for example Red Axes, Moscoman and Guy Gerber) or local venues, like the Block club. But if you add to these the scores of Facebook battles or Twitter discussions (like the one Del Rey found herself in), you’ll get noise. And noise generates questions, which generate more noise and raise consciousness. And from there to change on the ground is a modest distance.

    ’These are people who slept on my sofa’

    Refusals of invitations or cancellations of concerts in Israel by artists didn’t begin with BDS or the increasing volume of the past two years. After all, a visit to Israel all too often requires an intrusive security check. It’s hard to complain about a DJ who isn’t keen to have his underwear probed.

    Also, there’s a stratum of artists who’ve appeared in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or Haifa and have decided to stop coming – unless there’s a Palestinian production. Two examples are the French band Acid Arab (Parisians Guido Minisky and Hervé Carvalho) and the American producer – and darling of the hipster community – Nicolas Jaar . Jaar appeared in Tel Aviv a bit under a decade ago, just before he became a star, while Acid Arab not only performed in Tel Aviv but was also involved in projects with Israeli musicians – so plenty of people called the duo hypocrites.

    “I have no problem with strong opinions, but in the case of Acid Arab it annoyed me at the personal level – these are people who slept on my sofa, recorded with local musicians, and the day they put up their post announcing they wouldn’t play in Tel Aviv, they also asked me to send them some music,” says Maor Anava, aka DJ Hectik.

    “I have no problem with people changing their minds on the go; it’s clear to me that a visit to the separation fence can do it, but what bothered me is that it’s entirely a PR and image move, apparently at the advice of their agent,” he adds.

    “We’ve reached a situation in which a boycott of Israel is the trendiest thing and situates you in the right place in the scene – as a supporter of the Palestinian freedom fighters against the terrible Zionist occupier, something that can get you to another three big festivals. If you performed in Tel Aviv, apparently they’d do without you.”

    Thus at the end of last year, Acid Arab and Nicolas Jaar appeared in Haifa and Ramallah at parties produced by Jazar Crew, the only electronic collective in Israel that isn’t afraid to mix in politics.. So it surprised no one when Jazar received laudatory – and justified – coverage not only in Bar Peleg’s Haaretz piece but also in Resident Advisor.

    Is the party over?

    So are we seeing the onset of the electronic boycott of Tel Aviv, one of the world’s clubbing capitals? Well, the city is still a flourishing center of parties and club events every week. “ As of today it hasn’t yet happened that we’ve directly encountered an attempt by the cultural boycott to influence artists who are slated to appear at the club,” Trax says.

    “But we’re definitely seeing a change in the surrounding behavior. Nasty responses that people are leaving for a DJ who announced an upcoming gig with us have led to fewer famous DJs announcing appearances at the Block – even those who always promote themselves.”

    He notes a slowdown in the past two years. “A number of DJs who used to appear with us – Moodymann, Kyle Hall, the Martinez Brothers – have announced they won’t be returning, ” Trax says, referring to three American acts. “But there isn’t any set reason why. If the cultural boycott has an influence here I wouldn’t be surprised, because the Detroit junta is very political. And this also applies to UFO,” a successful British DJ and a high-profile voice in the European underground arena.

    Not all DJs who have chosen not to come to Israel have taken their stance amid the strengthening of the BDS movement. Some of the top people in the dance industry – including star Chilean-German DJ Ricardo Villalobos and British DJs and producers like Matthew Herbert and Andrew Weatherall – have for years been refusing to spin in Israel. They’ve made clear that this is their way of opposing Israel’s activities in the territories.

    Another great DJ, Tunisian-born Loco Dice who lives in Germany, is also considered a vocal opponent of Israel. But in December he played at the Block, and Trax doesn’t recall any signs that his guest was hostile to the country. This shows that a change of awareness works both ways.

    There’s a similar story: the decision by DJ Tama Sumo of the Berghain club in Berlin to play in Israel after a long boycott. She and her partner DJ Lakuti, a pillar of the industry, donated the proceeds of her Tel Aviv set to an organization for human rights in the territories.

    “As of now I don’t feel that the names who have decided to stop coming will change anything regarding the Block, because our lineup of VIPs isn’t based on them,” Trax says. “But if the more commercial cream of the clubs – DJs like Dixon, Ame and Damian Lazarus, or the big names in techno like Nina Kraviz, Ben Klock, Jeff Mills or Adam Beyer – change their minds, that will be a real blow to us, and not just us.”

    Amotz Tokatly, who’s responsible for bringing DJs to Tel Aviv’s Beit Maariv club, isn’t feeling much of a change. “The cancellations or refusals by DJs and artists based on a political platform didn’t begin just this year. I’ve been encountering this for many years now. There are even specific countries where we know the prevailing mood is political and tending toward the boycott movement. For example England. The rhetoric there is a priori much stronger,” Tokatly says.

    “But take Ben UFO, who has played in Tel Aviv in the past. When we got back to him about another spinning gig he said explicitly, ‘It simply isn’t worth it for me from a public relations perspective, and it could hurt me later on.’ DJs like him make their own calculations.”

    Tokatly doesn’t believe in a “Meteor effect” that will send the visiting DJ economy to the brink of an abyss. “I’m giving it a few weeks to calm down, and in the worst case we won’t be seeing here the level of minor league DJs who have canceled due to the circumstances,” he says.

    “In any case, they’re names who would have come here – if at all – once a year. Regarding artists who have a long-term and stable relationship with the local scene, we haven’t seen any change in approach yet.”

    Unlike Trax and Tokatly, Doron “Charly” Mastey of the techno duo TV.OUT and content director at Tel Aviv’s Alphabet Club says the recent goings-on haven’t affected him too much; his club is unusual in that doesn’t base itself on names from abroad.

    “I don’t remember any case of a refusal or cancellation because of political leanings,” he says. “But with everything that’s happening now regarding Meteor, and if that affects the scene down the road and the airlift to Tel Aviv stops, I’m not at all sure that’s a bad thing.”

    Mastey has in mind the gap between the size of the audience and the number of events, parties and festivals happening in Israel right now. “The audience is tired, and indifferent,” he says.. “And if this kick in the pants – of cancellations – is what’s going to dismantle the scene in its current format, then it will simply rebuild itself. I hope in a way that’s healthier for everyone.”

    In any case, if the rest of the world has realized that it’s impossible to separate politics from anything, and definitely not from club culture, which started out as a political and social movement, then the best thing we can do is try to hold the discussion in an inclusive a way as possible. An Israeli DJ working in Berlin who requested anonymity thinks that these ideas should be taken one step further.

    “Nowadays, for artists who want to go to Israel, two proposals are on the table,” he says. “Support the boycott or support the occupation. These two things are depicted even if they aren’t accurate, and between the two options there are a thousand more levels.”

    He believes there is scope for taking action. “The local scene must know how to fill the vacuum and craft alternatives to the boycott’s demands,” he says. “For example, by showing artists other ways to take a stand, whether by cooperating with Palestinians or suggesting that they donate the proceeds of their Tel Aviv appearances to a human rights group.”

    The voices calling for a cultural boycott of Israel, whether in sports, concerts or the subfield of electronic music, aren’t going to disappear. If anything, they’re only going to grow louder.

    Moreover, if we take into account the complexity of the conflict, maybe we should seek to communicate these insights in a way that drops the imagery of absolutes like left-right, bad-good, Zionist-anti-Semitic. The club culture exists to connect extremes, not separate people. Our demand to continue a vibrant electronic scene is just as legitimate as that of the boycott supporters’ attempts to create awareness.

    Even if we don’t agree with the idea of the boycott, it’s still possible to accept the realization that there are people who think differently – who want to perform for the other side as much as they want to perform for us. This doesn’t make them an existential danger.

    Moreover, as the Israeli DJ working in Berlin says, the Israeli scene needs an arsenal of proposals for constructive activism; it must provide alternatives to the BDS call to boycott – and not automatically flex an insulted patriotic muscle. This might not be the easiest thing to do, but hey, this is Israel. It’s not going to be easy.

    #Palestine #BDS #Boycott_culturel

  • Turkey must release prisoners to mend ties with EU, German FM says - Turkey -

    Turkey cannot revive its strained relationship with the European Union until it frees German citizens it has detained, Germany’s foreign minister said on Friday as his Turkish counterpart called for a fresh start with the bloc.
    Turkey, which has had awkward relations with Europe for several years, is seeking to mend them at a time when its currency has been falling and its ties with the United States have sharply deteriorated.
    Germany says 50 of its citizens are being held in Turkish prisons following a crackdown after a failed coup in July 2016. Only seven have been charged. Another 35 are blocked from leaving the country.

  • Silwan, a model for oppression - Haaretz Editorial
    The state and a right-wing group are shamefully fighting to evict Palestinians from a Jerusalem neighborhood, citing technical grounds

    Haaretz EditorialSendSend me email alerts
    Jun 11, 2018 4:42 AM

    Even given the corruption and legal chicanery typical of the settlement enterprise, the case of the Silwan neighborhood’s Batan al-Hawa section stands out. In this case, the state, through the Justice Ministry’s administrator general, transferred an entire neighborhood of 700 people to right-wing group Ateret Cohanim without bothering to inform the Palestinians living in this part of Jerusalem.
    To be more precise, in 2002 the administrator general released the land in the center of Silwan to a trust established way back in 1899. A year earlier, with the administrator’s approval, three Ateret Cohanim activists were appointed trustees. Since then, the organization has invested considerable efforts to get rid of the Palestinian families; to date a number of families have been evicted and dozens are conducting legal battles to fight eviction.
    On Sunday, around 100 Silwan residents came to the Supreme Court building for a hearing on their petition to the High Court of Justice against the original decision to release the land to the trust. The petition addresses the question of whether the original trust was for the land or for the buildings on it, all but one of which was demolished in the 1940s.

  • #Israel deliberately provoked the latest #violence in #Gaza, but you won’t learn that in the ’NY Times’

    You can turn to Haaretz, the distinguished Israeli newspaper, to see how the #New_York_Times slanted today’s article about the increase in violence inside Gaza and across the border in Israel. Haaretz quotes Jamal Zahalka, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, who blames Benjamin Netanyahu’s government for the escalation:

    The Israeli government is being pushed into a corner by the non-violent demonstrations in Gaza and is initiating a military confrontation to stop them.

    The timeline proves that Israeli is provoking the latest violence. On Sunday, Israeli tanks killed 3 members of the small Islamic Jihad group who were inside Gaza. (The Israeli military said it killed the 3 because a bomb had been planted overnight near the border; it offered no proof the dead had anything to do with the alleged bomb.)

  • Israël hanté par la Nakba
    Thomas Vescovi, Monde diplomatique, mai 2018

    « La marche du grand retour » : c’est ainsi que les organisations politiques palestiniennes nomment les actions menées chaque année depuis 2009 entre le 30 mars et le 15 mai. Pour l’État d’Israël, le 14 mai marque le souvenir de ce jour de 1948 où David Ben Gourion déclara l’indépendance. La société palestinienne, elle, commémore le lendemain la Nakba (« catastrophe », en arabe) : l’expulsion des 805 000 Palestiniens dont les descendants attendent encore l’application de la résolution 194, votée le 11 décembre 1948 par l’Assemblée générale de l’Organisation des Nations unies (ONU). Ce texte fonde leur « droit au retour » : c’est-à-dire de pouvoir rentrer dans leurs foyers ou de recevoir une compensation. Enfin, c’est à cette date que l’administration de M. Donald Trump entend inaugurer la nouvelle ambassade des États-Unis à Jérusalem.

    Au terme de la première guerre israélo-arabe, des centaines de milliers de Palestiniens se retrouvent éparpillés aux quatre coins de la région. Des historiens enregistrent les événements, conscients que la version du vainqueur risque de s’imposer. Les écrits de Walid Khalidi ou Sami Hadawi sont sans ambiguïté : qu’il ait préféré fuir de lui-même pour se protéger ou qu’il y ait été forcé, le peuple palestinien a été chassé de sa terre (1). Mais, pour que cette version des événements de 1948 se diffuse au-delà du monde arabe, il a fallu attendre 1987 et la publication des premiers ouvrages des « nouveaux historiens » israéliens, parmi lesquels Benny Morris, Tom Segev, Ilan Pappé et Avi Shlaïm (2). En s’appuyant sur les archives de leur État, ces chercheurs ébranlèrent un à un les piliers de l’historiographie officielle.

    La temporalité de ces publications n’est pas anodine. Le premier ouvrage paraît lorsque se déclenche la première Intifada, près d’une décennie après l’arrivée au pouvoir de la droite et le début du mouvement refuznik, qui voit des objecteurs de conscience refuser de servir dans les territoires occupés tandis que des militaires israéliens s’interrogent à propos des pratiques de leur armée. Les pacifistes entrent dans une phase d’ouverture et d’interrogation sur leur société, leur État et leur rapport à l’autre. L’accession d’Itzhak Rabin au poste de premier ministre en 1992 et le début des négociations avec l’Organisation de libération de la Palestine (OLP), qui conduisent à la signature des accords d’Oslo en septembre 1993, s’inscrivent dans ce cadre. C’est l’époque où la guerre froide se termine et où le soutien de nombreux pays arabes à la coalition anti-irakienne durant la guerre du Golfe de 1991 sonne le glas d’un panarabisme longtemps opposé à toute négociation avec Israël.

    Au cours de la première moitié des années 1990, les travaux des « nouveaux historiens » suscitent un réel intérêt au sein d’une partie de la société israélienne. Conférences, séminaires, débats dans les médias : sans être acceptées par tous, les thèses avancées dans ces ouvrages sont du moins discutées. Des projets d’écriture d’une histoire israélo-palestinienne surgissent, de même que des commissions visant à revoir les programmes d’histoire dans les écoles. Cependant, les discussions restent cantonnées aux milieux intellectuels. L’assassinat de Rabin par un extrémiste juif en 1995, puis l’arrivée au pouvoir de M. Benyamin Netanyahou en 1996 et le début des attentats-suicides sur le sol israélien mettent à mal ce processus d’ouverture, mais ne l’interrompent pas.

    Le déclenchement de la seconde Intifada, fin septembre 2000, referme néanmoins les derniers espaces d’échange et de dialogue entre Israéliens et Palestiniens au sujet de leurs récits historiques. Principaux promoteurs de ces relations, les mouvements pacifistes s’effondrent à la suite de l’échec, en juillet 2000, du sommet de Camp David ; un échec dont le premier ministre travailliste Ehoud Barak, par un tour de passe-passe masquant sa propre intransigeance (il reconnaîtra plus tard n’avoir rien proposé au dirigeant palestinien), impute la responsabilité au seul Yasser Arafat. Sans représenter l’avant-garde du mouvement, les militants de la gauche sioniste parvenaient à rassembler de larges secteurs de la société israélienne. Avec les déclarations de M. Barak et le déclenchement d’un second soulèvement palestinien bien plus meurtrier et militarisé que le premier, la majeure partie d’entre eux cessent toute activité pacifiste ; leurs organisations s’essoufflent.

    Pour la société juive, il n’y aurait alors « plus de partenaire » avec qui faire la paix. Les Israéliens perçoivent la seconde Intifada comme une attaque sans sommation des Palestiniens, qui plus est marquée par la mobilisation du Hamas, nouvelle force politique à tendance islamiste, ce qui fait écho à une actualité mondiale anxiogène. En 2001, Ariel Sharon, chef de file de la droite, remporte les élections en proposant une autre issue : puisque la cohabitation est impossible, la séparation amènera la paix. Conformément à cette logique unilatérale, un mur est construit en Cisjordanie entre Palestiniens et colons israéliens et l’armée se retire de la bande de Gaza.

    La mémoire de la Nakba est à nouveau profondément enfouie au profit de la vieille propagande : les Palestiniens auraient quitté leur terre pour ne pas vivre avec des Juifs ; Israël a droit à cette terre que Dieu aurait donnée à Abraham. Dès sa prise de fonctions, Sharon fait retirer des écoles le manuel d’histoire d’Eyal Naveh, qui introduisait une vision hétérodoxe de 1948. À l’université, les travaux des « nouveaux historiens » sont combattus avec virulence. Aujourd’hui, cette bataille est au cœur des actions d’Im Tirtzu, une organisation estudiantine proche du dirigeant d’extrême droite et actuel ministre de l’éducation Naftali Bennett, dont les militants ont mené ces dernières années une campagne baptisée « La Nakba est un mensonge » (3). Les Israéliens refusent de se considérer comme partie prenante de l’histoire palestinienne, et les institutions leur martèlent qu’ils sont les héritiers d’idées émancipatrices et progressistes.

    La création d’Israël a lieu au lendemain de la guerre la plus meurtrière de l’histoire, à l’issue de laquelle les idéaux de liberté ont triomphé du fascisme. Les Juifs incarnent les principales victimes de la terreur nazie, et la fondation d’un État-refuge au Proche-Orient doit venir réparer cette tragédie pourtant européenne. Dès lors, la défense d’Israël devient un enjeu à la fois politique et civilisationnel. La mémoire de la Nakba risque de ternir la totale innocence qu’affiche l’appareil d’État israélien. Accepter qu’à la création du pays ses combattants n’aient pas été des victimes, mais des bourreaux, ruinerait la « pureté des armes » dont se targue l’armée dite « de défense » d’Israël.

    La logique de séparation a entraîné dans la société juive israélienne un profond désintérêt pour la question palestinienne. Lors des élections législatives de mars 2015, seuls 9 % considéraient l’obtention d’un accord de paix avec les Palestiniens comme une priorité pour le prochain gouvernement (4). Ce sujet devenant invisible à leurs yeux, une forte proportion d’Israéliens se rallient aux idées les plus nationalistes. En 2001, lorsque la violence de la seconde Intifada était à son paroxysme, 35 % d’entre eux se disaient favorables à un « transfert » de la population arabe hors d’Israël vers la Cisjordanie ou la Jordanie (5). En 2015, 58 % soutiennent cette proposition, et 59 % la mise en place d’un régime d’apartheid privilégiant les Juifs en cas d’annexion de la Cisjordanie.

    Sur les ruines du grand mouvement pour la paix ont toutefois émergé de petites organisations agissant sur des questions plus ciblées. Ainsi Zochrot, fondée en 2001, se donne pour objectif d’enseigner la Nakba à la société israélienne. Elle a pris l’initiative de la première conférence sur le droit au retour des réfugiés palestiniens en Israël et organise depuis 2013 un festival annuel de films intitulé « De la Nakba au retour ». Elle propose également des visites de sites palestiniens « abandonnés » en 1948. La résidence d’un cheikh devenue cafétéria de l’université de Tel-Aviv, des maisons palestiniennes transformées en centre psychiatrique à Kfar Shaul : autant d’éléments du paysage israélien qui rappellent l’arabité de la terre. Pour les fondateurs du centre de recherche alternatif De-Colonizer (décoloniser), Éléonore Merza et Eitan Bronstein, la Nakba reste un tabou en Israël. En pratique, « la discussion se limite généralement à la question de savoir s’il est souhaitable ou même permis d’en discuter ». Cependant, ils notent que la situation a évolué, puisque le mot bénéficie d’un écho suffisant pour inquiéter les responsables politiques.

    Le 23 mars 2011, la Knesset, le Parlement israélien, adopte un amendement au budget prévoyant qu’aucune organisation commémorant le jour de la fête nationale comme un deuil ne reçoive plus de subventions. Naturellement, ces associations n’en bénéficiaient pas auparavant, mais il s’agit de les stigmatiser et de diffuser le sentiment que prendre part à ce type de manifestations vous place en dehors de la société. Par ailleurs, l’amendement dénie à la population arabe d’Israël, soit un habitant sur cinq, le droit d’honorer son histoire. D’ailleurs, depuis 2009, les écoles arabes n’ont officiellement plus le droit d’utiliser le terme « Nakba » dans leurs programmes.

    Pour la sociologue Ronit Lentin, il existe en Israël trois manières de considérer la Nakba (6). Une minorité ressasse la vision fantasmée de la Palestine comme « terre sans peuple pour un peuple sans terre ». D’autres reconnaissent partiellement la tragédie vécue par les Palestiniens, mais refusent d’admettre une quelconque responsabilité juive, voire répètent les arguments éculés sur les liens entre les Arabes et les nazis (7). Enfin, certains reconnaissent explicitement l’expulsion, mais refusent l’idée de présenter des excuses, ou regrettent même que le transfert n’ait pas été total — comme le « nouvel historien » repenti Benny Morris, qui a fini par affirmer : « Un État juif n’aurait pas pu être créé sans déraciner les Palestiniens (8). »

    Le Likoud, quant à lui, s’en tient à la version officielle niant toute expulsion, et par conséquent tout droit des Palestiniens sur la terre. La gauche sioniste reconnaît des massacres et des expulsions, mais en attribue la responsabilité aux milices nationalistes du Parti révisionniste, l’Irgoun et le Lehi.

    Pour certains militants anti-occupation, la découverte de la réalité de 1948 a marqué le début d’une remise en question plus générale de l’État d’Israël. D’où la réticence de beaucoup de leurs concitoyens à s’interroger sur cette période. Accepter de voir s’effondrer le récit inculqué depuis l’école les condamnerait à une marginalisation, voire à une stigmatisation ; on les accuserait d’accepter le discours de l’adversaire. Ainsi, certains parviennent à enfouir ces vérités au plus profond d’eux-mêmes afin de poursuivre normalement leur vie.

    Conformément à la théorie freudienne (9), Israël agit avec la Nakba comme un esprit traumatisé qui tente de refouler ce qui le hante. Une sorte d’« inquiétante étrangeté », à la source d’un sentiment de honte ressenti à l’égard d’actes passés, provoque un malaise qui pousse à vouloir les faire disparaître. Ce passé dérangeant revient, selon Freud, lorsque s’effacent les limites entre l’imagination et la réalité. La mémoire de la Nakba remonte à la surface par l’intermédiaire de divers acteurs qui détruisent les créations imaginaires pour montrer la réalité, et de Palestiniens qui saisissent toutes les occasions de resurgir dans l’espace public.

    La marche du 30 mars et celles qui ont suivi, avec leur lourd bilan humain, sont un cauchemar pour l’État d’Israël ; un rappel du fait que cinq millions de Palestiniens, les réfugiés et leurs descendants qui vivent à Gaza, en Cisjordanie ou dans d’autres pays de la région continuent de s’accrocher à leur droit au retour, ou à une indemnité à titre de compensation pour avoir été chassés de leur terre et de leurs demeures. Ils incarnent une injustice dont les Israéliens restent comptables.

    Thomas Vescovi Chercheur indépendant en histoire contemporaine, auteur de La Mémoire de la Nakba en Israël, L’Harmattan, coll. « Comprendre le Moyen-Orient », Paris, 2015.

    (1) Walid Khalidi, Nakba, 1947-1948, Sindbad - Actes sud - Institut des études palestiniennes, Arles, 2012.
    (2) Lire Dominique Vidal, « L’expulsion des Palestiniens revisitée par des historiens israéliens », Le Monde diplomatique, décembre 1997.
    (3) Lire Charles Enderlin, « Israël à l’heure de l’Inquisition », Le Monde diplomatique, mars 2016.
    (4) The Times of Israel, Jérusalem, 25 janvier 2015.
    (5) Gideon Levy, « Survey : Most Israeli Jews wouldn’t give Palestinians vote if West Bank was annexed », Haaretz, Tel-Aviv, 23 octobre 2012.
    (6) Ronit Lentin, Co-memory and Melancholia. Israelis memorialising the Palestinian Nakba, Manchester University Press, 2010.
    (7) Lire Gilbert Achcar, « Inusable grand mufti de Jérusalem », Le Monde diplomatique, mai 2010.
    (8) Haaretz, 9 janvier 2004.
    (9) Sigmund Freud, L’Inquiétante Étrangeté et autres essais, Gallimard, coll. « Folio essais », Paris, 1985 (1re éd. : 1919).

    #Palestine #Nakba #Histoire

      « Il aurai fallu tirer sur Ahed Tamimi » , a déclaré samedi Bezalel Smotrich, un député israélien, au sujet de la jeune Palestinienne devenue une icône de la lutte contre l’occupation israélienne. (...)
      « Il aurait fallu lui tirer dessus, ne fut-ce que dans le genou. Au moins, elle aurait été assignée à résidence pour le reste de sa vie », a écrit le député Smotrich sur son compte Twitter, rapporte aujourd’hui le quotidien israélien Haaretz. (...)
      La déclaration de Bezalel Smotrich a provoqué la colère de sa collègue au Parlement israélien, Michal Rozin, qui a évoqué un incident survenu samedi dernier, au cours duquel des colons israéliens ont jeté des pierres sur un convoi de l’armée israélienne. « Vous devriez avoir honte ! Aurait-il fallu également tirer sur les jeunes » colons israéliens « de Samarie qui ont jeté des pierres sur les soldats de l’armée ? a-t-elle interrogé. Mais non, j’oubliais, la loi est différente pour les ennemis ». Et Mme Rozin d’ajouter : « Je n’accepte ni vos excuses ni vos explications, vous êtes un malfrat et vous incitez à la violence ».

  • ’Shoot anyone breaching the fence’: Israeli army gears up for Gaza mass protest -
    Israeli army calling up snipers and extra soldiers to help local troops deal with Friday’s demonstration ■ Defense officials certain army can prevent Palestinian from crossing Gaza border

    Yaniv Kubovich Mar 29, 2018 10:07 AM

    The defense establishment believes that the army will succeed in preventing Gazans from crossing the border into Israel during the March of Return scheduled for Friday, even if that means Palestinian deaths.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    Defense officials said Gaza residents do not seem eager to take part in the event, but Hamas is making efforts to bring as many of them as possible to the fence on Friday. As a result, the troops may have to deal with a particularly large demonstration.
    <<This Friday, Israel’s Tear Gas and Tanks Will Confront Palestinian Marchers. But Brute Force Can’t Be Israel’s Only Answer |Opinion

    A Palestinian poster calling for people to join ’The Great March of Return’ on the Gaza-Israel border on Friday, March 30 2018
    Over the last few days the Israel Defense Forces has warned that it would open fire on anyone who tries to breach the border fence and enter Israel.
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    The IDF has brought a brigade, snipers and soldiers from various courses, to help local troops deal with Friday’s demonstration. The snipers have been instructed to shoot demonstrators who breach the fence.
    In a ceremony marking a change of Military Intelligence commanders on Wednesday, Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot said that the situation in Gaza is “highly explosive” and “threatens to damage the sensitive life fabric and safety of the region’s residents.”

    <<Israel’s Defense Minister Says There’s No Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza. Here Are the Facts<<
    Eizenkot visited the Gaza division several times this week to supervise the preparations. On Wednesday he and Shin Bet chief Argaman presented to the cabinet ministers preparations and intelligence evaluations ahead of the events, noting that stopping the Palestinians from crossing the fence and entering Israel was the troops’ main task.
    They also presented a scenario in which a large crowd comes to the tent compound on the other side of the fence. The assessment is that the army will manage to handle the event, though possibly only at the cost of Palestinian fatalities.

    ’Grandfather, we will return soon’ - Palestinian poster ahead of ’The Great Return March’
    On Wednesday, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major General Yoav Mordechai, warned the Palestinian bus companies slated to carry demonstrators to the fence that their entry permits would be revoked.
    “We contacted more than 20 bus companies in Gaza, who were paid by Hamas to take people to violent demonstrations and warned that we’ll take personal steps against their owners,” he said.
    Preparations for Friday’s event come in the wake of growing tension along the Gaza border and several attempts — some successful — to cross it.
    On Wednesday, the army struck two Hamas observation posts in the northern Gaza Strip after two Palestinians set a fire near the border fence. The suspects did not cross into Israel.
    Also Wednesday, a Palestinian from Gaza was arrested on the Zikim beach in Israel near the Gaza border and taken in for questioning. He was unarmed.
    On Tuesday, three Palestinians, armed with grenades and knives, were found and arrested after infiltrating 20 kilometers into Israeli territory. On Saturday, Israel struck Hamas targets after four Palestinians carrying bottles filled with flammable material approached the fence on foot and managed to cross the border into Israel near Kibbutz Kissufim.
    The army also said it will impose a closure on the West Bank and Gaza crossings for the duration of the Passover holiday. The closure will begin Thursday at midnight and be lifted on Saturday, April 7. The army added that passage will be allowed for humanitarian and medical cases, pending approval by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.

  • Israel’s big lie revealed: Deported asylum seekers in Uganda lament broken promises and a grim future

    Haaretz met with deported asylum seekers who were left with no papers or work permits; they can’t even enter refugee camps as they have no status. One option is to risk death and head for Europe
    By Uzi Dann (Kampala, Uganda) Mar 04, 2018

    KAMPALA, Uganda – It’s around noon in Uganda’s capital Kampala. The streets are bustling and traffic is heavy. Meles looks out of place, and he certainly feels it. “I don’t have a future here,” he tells Haaretz. “I have no hope, no job. My life is ruined.”
    He’s a relative newcomer here. He has been here for around two and a half months and says it’s just a matter of time until he’s on the road again. “I’m already 31 and prefer to try my luck elsewhere rather than live this way, God willing,” he says, pointing upward and not at the two crosses on his chest. “This time I’ll be lucky.”
    The last time he tried his luck nearly a decade ago he deserted his unlimited military service in the Eritrean army and started walking north. Ultimately he reached Israel, where he lived for more than seven and a half years, from the beginning of 2010 until last November. Then he was forced to “leave voluntarily.”

    In addition to the threat of prison if he didn’t leave, there was the $3,500 that Israel gave and the laissez-passer document, ensuring him legal status in a third country and the right to work. There were also verbal assurances that things would be all right – that he’d be able to make a living and integrate into his new country.
    Soon after Meles landed at Uganda’s Entebbe Airport, he discovered there wasn’t much substance to the assurances, not even a way to contact the government clerk who sent him there. And regarding the documents, someone in Uganda was there to take them away from him as soon as he landed.
    Haaretz on the ground in Uganda - דלג

    Haaretz has heard this story repeatedly from former asylum seekers in Israel who went to Rwanda (and from there took a circuitous path to neighboring Uganda), and from those whose airplane ticket took them straight to Entebbe. Haaretz met with more than 15 of them in Kampala and spoke with several others by phone. No Israeli official contacted them once they had left Israel, or took any interest in them once they had reached Africa.
    Meles has no documents and no job, and has no status in Uganda letting him work. He has spent some of the $3,500, and it looks like the rest will be gone soon. He regrets that he didn’t opt for the Holot detention center in the south.

    Meles in Kampala. Uzi Dan
    “It would be better to be in jail in Israel, where at least I would get food,” he says, adding that he advises asylum seekers still in Israel not to accept the offer of passage to a third country.
    Meles’ Hebrew is excellent, an indication that he adjusted well during his seven and a half years in Israel. He worked three years for one employer and four years for another, the owner of a grocery store near Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market. From the very beginning he tried to obtain legal status in Israel.
    When he arrived at the Saharonim detention facility in 2010, he gave details about his travails. He repeated them a month later when he left Saharonim and was granted a temporary visa. And he repeated them five years later when he submitted an asylum request. Like many others, he never received an answer on his request, but around that time he was told that his residence visa would not be renewed.

  • Honor roll: Israel’s BDS blacklist
    The blacklist’s authors are preparing the ground for worse steps – not against foreign nationals, but against Palestinians.
    Amira Hass Jan 08, 2018

    The ban on entering the country that was imposed on activists from 20 international organizations is a badge of honor for them. For all the differences among these organizations in size, experience and background, and for all the political disagreements among them and with them, they deserve praise. They are successfully sabotaging the tendency to present the Palestinian problem as a purely humanitarian one, or as a symmetrical conflict between two supposedly equal powers.

    That this blacklist was prepared by an Israeli ministry already proves one of the organizations’ claims: Israel isn’t a democratic state. A state that has ruled for 50 years already over millions of people who have no right to vote and are denied basic human rights like freedom of movement, the right to earn a living and freedom to demonstrate, doesn’t deserve the name democracy, even if its Jewish citizens can write for Haaretz and protest against corruption.

    Israel’s sadistic rule over the Palestinians (including those within the pre-1967 lines) has millions of agents and tools. Human rights organizations can’t compete with all the resources of the state, which have been invested in agents and methods of dispossession. So the political call for sanctions and boycotts makes the necessary leap and proposes a single, conclusive and suitable response to Israeli oppression and persecution.

    It is unlikely that the Strategic Affairs Ministry bureaucrats deluded themselves that a ban on entering Israel and the occupied territories would stop these organizations from continuing to call for international boycotts and sanctions against Israel, or against the settlements and their produce. After all, the activists base their political analysis and their program for stopping Israeli colonialism on information and testimony from readily available sources, and those sources will continue to be available even without the activists’ physical presence in the country.

    But the authors of this blacklist aren’t stupid people bent on macho vengeance. They, too, are political thinkers, and they are continuing to prepare the ground for even worse steps – not against foreign nationals, but against the Palestinian people.

    Publication of the blacklist puts the countries where these organizations are based to a new test. Israel has been preventing their citizens from entering the West Bank and Gaza Strip (and not just its own sovereign territory) for a long time now, even if they never supported the BDS movement. It’s enough for them to be of Palestinian origin and to have relatives and property in the West Bank, or to want to study or teach at educational institutions in the West Bank, for their entry to be banned.

    Many of the people who have been denied entry are American or Jordanian citizens. But the United States, Europe and Jordan haven’t made much effort to defend two basic principles: equal treatment for their citizens regardless of differences in their ethnicity, i.e. Jews versus non-Jews, or differences in the purpose of their visit, i.e. a visit to Ramallah versus a visit to the settlement of Beit El; and symmetrical application of the right of visa-free entry. After all, millions of Israelis enter Europe and Jordan with no problem, including some who were involved in perpetrating war crimes or other violations of international law: pilots, army commanders, settlers.

    Donald Trump’s America won’t be shocked if Jewish members of the pacifist organization Code Pink or Quaker Christians are barred from entering Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. But what about France, England, Norway and other European countries? Several European countries, under pressure from or at the instigation of Israeli and Jewish lobbies, already ban democratic calls for sanctions on Israel due to the disgraceful equation of criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. It’s hard to imagine them taking action against the new blacklist.

    Israel is taking the international community’s pulse. The measuring device is the sanctions against these organizations, and the goal is our freedom to uproot people, to demolish and steal. In this shrewd manner, Israel is examining how it can deprive the Palestinians of additional basic rights – including through mass expulsions – without the so-called democratic world stopping it.


  • Jerusalem A poisoned gift - Haaretz Editorial -

    Violating the status quo in Jerusalem, like expanding the settlement enterprise, is moving Israel further from the only possible solution, the two-state solution

    Haaretz Editorial Dec 08, 2017
    read more:

    U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital could have been joyful news for Israel. But it’s no coincidence that Israel is the only country in the world whose capital hasn’t been recognized by the international community. Jerusalem’s status remains a core issue in the negotiations for a final-status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
    In this sense, disrupting the status quo in the world’s most explosive city is a poisoned gift to the Israeli and Arab peace camp. It’s hard to understand how such a move fits with Trump’s declarations about his desire to bring about peace in the region, a feat his predecessors in the White House failed to achieve.
    Trump boasted that he didn’t follow in the footsteps of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who did not change U.S. policy toward Jerusalem. But previous administrations’ refusal to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital did not stem from hostility to Israel or excessive sympathy for the Muslims. These administrations heeded the advice of the National Security Council and Israeli defense officials, who warned that a policy change regarding Jerusalem would sabotage the peace process.
    The decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital plays into the hands of radical Arab groups, which don’t miss an opportunity to portray the two-state solution as deception, and portray the leaders of Egypt and Jordan, the only Arab states that recognize Israel, as collaborators with the enemies of Islam.

  • 8-year-old Palestinian girl dies after being struck by Israeli settler car in Nablus
    Aug. 26, 2017 1:45 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 26, 2017 5:39 P.M.)

    BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — An 8-year-old Palestinian girl was killed on Saturday after being struck by an Israeli vehicle in the Nablus district of the nerthern occupied West Bank, according to Israeli sources.

    According to Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri, the child was hit around noon on Route 90 in the Jordan Valley area of the West Bank, while Palestinian medical sources said that the girl was run over by an Israeli settler’s vehicle near the Furush Beit Dajan village in the Nablus district.

    A crew from Israel’s Magen David Adom national emergency service arrived at the scene and evacuated the girl to the hospital, according to al-Samri. However, the girl was pronounced dead on arrival.

    Palestinian medical sources later identified the child as Asil Tariq Abu Oun from the village of Jaba in the northern West Bank Jenin district.

    It remained unknown whether the driver had fled or remained at the scene.


    • Aseel Abu Oun, 8 ans, assassinée par un colon israélien…
      par Linah Alsaafin - 27 août 2017 – Al-Jazeera – Traduction : Chronique de Palestine

      Les parents doutent que la police israélienne enquête sérieusement sur le meurtre de la fillette de huit ans, dont la maison familiale était sur le point d’être confisquée.

      Une fillette palestinienne âgée de huit ans et qui a été écrasée par la voiture d’un colon israélien en Cisjordanie occupée, a été enterrée dimanche.

      Aseel Abu Oun a été tuée un jour plus tôt par un colon en voiture, près du village de Foroush Beit Dajan, dans le district de Naplouse.

      Elle a été renversée par la voiture alors qu’elle quittait un supermarché vers midi avec une amie.

      Le quotidien israélien Haaretz a signalé que la police a arrêté le conducteur du véhicule pour un interrogatoire. Toujours selon Haaretz, la police a déclaré avoir ouvert une enquête mais sans préciser si le colon avait été relâché ou non.

      Mais es membres de la famille d’Aseel ont déclaré que l’annonce d’une enquête policière était simplement une tentative du gouvernement israélien de détourner la colère des habitants.

      « Nous sommes habitués aux manigances la police israélienne lors des agressions ou attaques de colons contre des Palestiniens », a déclaré à Al Jazeera Jawdat Abu Oun, un parent d’Aseel.

      « Nous avons demandé que ce soit un organisme indépendant qui supervise l’enquête, mais nous ne pensons pas que cela aboutisse », a-t-il dit, ajoutant qu’il croyait que le colon avait déjà été libéré.

      Tareq Abu Oun, le père de la fillette, a été témoin du moment où Aseel a été renversée et avec l’aide d’autres personnes présentes, il a réussi à empêcher la voiture de s’enfuir.

      « Le colon était armé et nous avons confisqué son arme jusqu’à ce que la police israélienne soit arrivée », a déclaré Jawdat.

      Alors que les colons sont autorisés à porter des armes en Cisjordanie occupée, les Palestiniens n’ont pas le droit d’être armés. (...)

  • Testimony from the censored massacre
    A young fellow tied to a tree and set on fire. A woman and an old man shot in back. Girls lined up against a wall and shot with a submachine gun. The testimonies Neta Shoshani collected about the massacre in Deir Yassin make for difficult reading even 70 years after the fact. Some of them will be shown in her new film ’Born in Deir Yassin’ and others are being published here for the first time. To this day, the state is censoring the photographs from the massacre
    read more:

    For two years now a document that makes for difficult reading has been lying in the archives of the association to commemorate the heritage of Lehi – the Fighters for the Freedom of Israel pre-state underground militia. It was written by a member of the underground about 70 years ago. Reading it could reopen a bleeding wound from the days of the War of Independence that to this day stirs a great deal of emotion in Israeli society.
    “Last Friday together with Etzel” – the acronym for the National Military Organization, also known as the Irgun, another pre-state underground militia, led by Menachem Begin – “our movement carried out a tremendous operation to occupy the Arab village on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv road – Deir Yassin. I participated in this operation in the most active way,” wrote Yehuda Feder, whose nom de guerre in Lehi (also known as the Stern Gang) was “Giora.”
    Further along in the letter, he describes in detail his part in the massacre that took place there. “This was the first time in my life that at my hands and before my eyes Arabs fell. In the village I killed an armed Arab man and two Arab girls of 16 or 17 who were helping the Arab who was shooting. I stood them against a wall and blasted them with two rounds from the Tommy gun,” he wrote, describing how he carried out the execution of the girls with a submachine gun.
    Along with that, he tells about looting in the village with his buddies after it was occupied. “We confiscated a lot of money and silver and gold jewelry fell into our hands,” he wrote. He concludes the letter with the words: “This was a really tremendous operation and it is with reason that the left is vilifying us again.”

    Pictures of the occupation of Deir Yassin. Most researchers state that 110 inhabitants of the village were killed there. IDF archive / Defense Ministry
    This letter is one of the historical documents revealed in a new documentary film entitled “Born in Deir Yassin” by director Neta Shoshani, who devoted the past several years to comprehensive historical research on the Deir Yassin massacre, one of the constitutive incidents of the War of Independence, which has remained a blot on Israel to this day.
    In advance of the premiere screening of the film at the Jerusalem Film Festival, Shoshani showed Haaretz the testimonies she has gathered about the incident, the result of extensive digging in archives along with in-depth interviews with the last living participants in the action. Some of them broke a silence of decades when they spoke to her, often for the first time in front of a camera.

  • «Tiens, et si on défendait la cause du gentil hacker Ulcan?» Oui, c’est le Haaretz. The French hacker who took his ’hack back’ against anti-Semites too far

    Gregory Chelli, known by the nickname Ulcan, worked to undermine the online efforts of notorious anti-Jewish activists but his actions seemed to have crossed a line. Now France wants him extradited from Israel

    Pauvre chou, va:

    “I realize that I may have gone too far with Benoit Le Corre, but he himself behaved thuggishly toward me. If my mother had read his article and suffered a heart attack because they wrote there that her son is a racist militant, would anyone have accused him of violence that caused death? Had I called his father and caused him to suffer a heart attack on the spot, I would have extradited myself to France and confessed my sins, but that’s not what happened.

    “I agree that there’s a difference between my behavior toward anti-Semites and what I did to Le Corre, but the French media plays a big role in anti-Semitism and its dissemination in public opinion. I couldn’t help but react, because he damaged my credibility, but I didn’t want to harm people’s lives. Today, I don’t do those things anymore. I’m afraid of an unanticipated reaction. I no longer call the police, because I’m afraid that a bullet could be discharged and hit someone, and for the past three years, I have not hacked anti-Israeli websites.”

    • Le lobby israélien impose le retrait d’un deuxième candidat aux élections législatives françaises
      Par Ali Abunimah, le 22 Mai 2017 |traduction J. Ch. pour l’Agence Média Palestine

      (...) La France demande l’extradition d’un Juif extrémiste

      Cependant, les autorités françaises font preuve d’une rare propension à défier Israël dans le cas de l’extrémiste juif français Gregory Chelli.

      G. Chelli, qui se fait appeler Ulcan, opère depuis Israël. Il a été accusé d’une série d’appels canulars qui ont provoqué de violentes descentes de police chez des gens innocents.

      Dans l’incident le plus notoire, G. Chelli avait ciblé la famille d’un journaliste français Benoît Le Corre, précipitant peut-être la mort de son père.

      Le journal de Tel Aviv Haaretz écrivait dimanche que G. Chelli, qui vit dans un appartement du front de mer de la ville d’Ashdod, fait l’objet d’une demande d’extradition pour 50 accusations pénales.

      G. Chelli est maintenant « au cœur d’un litige entre la France et Israël, qui refuse de l’extrader, en dépit de pressions sérieuses et même d’une visite spéciale ici du ministre français des Affaires étrangères », a dit Haaretz.(...)

  • Après une comparaison des religieux nationaux au Hezbollah, Liberman appelle au boycott de Haaretz
    The Times of Israël | By Times of Israel Staff | avril 13, 2017,

    Le ministre de la Défense Avigdor Liberman a appelé jeudi les Israéliens à cesser de lire le quotidien Haaretz après la publication par le journal de gauche d’un éditorial qui affirmait que la communauté nationale religieuse d’Israël était plus dangereuse que le groupe terroriste du Hezbollah.

    L’article de Yossi Klein [lien en hébreu], publié dans l’édition de mercredi de Haaretz, accusait la communauté nationale religieuse d’Israël, généralement caractérisée par son opinion belliqueuse et son attachement aux implantations, de tenter de prendre le contrôle du pays et de le soumettre tout en menant une campagne de nettoyage ethnique.

    « Haaretz est devenu depuis un certain temps une plate-forme qui accorde une expression totale des opinions de ceux qui haïssent Israël, mais la publication de l’article de Yossi Klein, un journaliste frustré et sans importance, franchit toutes les lignes rouges », a écrit Liberman sur sa page Facebook.

    « J’appelle immédiatement chaque citoyen d’Israël à cesser d’acheter et de lire Haaretz. » (...)

  • Inside the clandestine world of Israel’s ’BDS-busting’ ministry

    The Strategic Affairs Ministry’s leaders see themselves as the heads of a commando unit, gathering and disseminating information about ’supporters of the delegitimization of Israel’ – and they prefer their actions be kept secret.
    By Uri Blau Mar 26, 2017
    read more:

    The Haaretz report that Minister Gilad Erdan wants to set up a database of Israeli citizens who support the BDS movement has led to questions about the boundaries of freedom of expression and the government’s use of its resources to surveille people of differing opinions. The report also shone a light on the Strategic Affairs Ministry, which Erdan heads, and cast doubt about its ambiguous activities and goals.
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    Now, through official documents, Haaretz reveals some elements of the ministry’s clandestine activities, whereby even its location is a secret, described only as “greater Tel Aviv.” Its internal terminology comes from the world of espionage and security; its leading figures appear to see themselves as the heads of a public affairs commando unit engaged in multiple fronts, gathering and disseminating information about people they define as “supporters of the delegitimization of Israel.”
    That definition does not necessarily include only supporters of BDS, but intentional ambiguity remains, alongside campaigns and public diplomacy activities against these individuals in Israel and abroad.

    Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan. Olivier Fitoussi
    “If you want to win the campaign you have to do it with a great deal of ambiguity," the ministry’s director general, Sima Vaknin-Gil, who is a former IDF chief censor, explained to a Knesset panel recently. “The way I worked with military issues like Hezbollah or terror funds or Syria or any other country against which I conducted a campaign as an intelligence officer – we didn’t tell the other side what we intended to do; we left it ambiguous.”
    The ministry spends tens of millions of shekels on cooperative efforts with the Histadrut labor federation, the Jewish Agency and various nongovernmental organizations in training representatives of the “true pluralistic face” of Israel in various forums.

    The Strategic Affairs Ministry was established mainly as a consolation prize for ministers when the need arose to pad them with a semi-security portfolio during the formation of governing coalitions, and has taken on various forms. It was founded in 2006 as a portfolio tailored to Avigdor Lieberman. It was dismantled two years later and reestablished in 2009 in a different format. Under each ministry it was given new meaning and content.

    Strategic Affairs Ministry Director General Sima Vaknin. Alon Ron
    During Lieberman’s tenure, its authority was defined mainly as “thwarting the Iranian nuclear program.” In addition, Nativ, which maintained contact with Jews in Eastern Europe during the Cold War and encouraged aliyah, came under its aegis. Then, under Moshe Ya’alon (2009-2013), the ministry focused on “Palestinian incitement” as well as the Iranian threat. During the term of Yuval Steinitz (2013-2015), the ministry was unified with the Intelligence Affairs Ministry into the “Intelligence Ministry.” In May 2015, it was once again separated out and given to Erdan, incorporating the Public Diplomacy Ministry, which had been removed from the Prime Minister’s Office.
    A harsh state comptroller’s report in 2016 concerning the “diplomatic-media struggle against the boycott movement and manifestations of anti-Semitism abroad,” noted that the transfer of authority to fight BDS from the Foreign Ministry to the Strategic Affairs Ministry was damaging to the powers of the Foreign Ministry and created unnecessary duplication that paralyzed government action in that area, as Barak Ravid reported extensively at the time.
    According to the comptroller, after years of contention and mutual entrenchment, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had given in to pressure and shifted more powers for fighting BDS from the Foreign Ministry to the Strategic Affairs Ministry, together with major funding.
    In October 2015, the security cabinet finally gave the Strategic Affairs Ministry responsibility to “guide, coordinate and integrate the activities of all the ministers and the government and of civil entities in Israel and abroad on the subject of the struggle against attempts to delegitimize Israel and the boycott movement.”
    Nevertheless, tensions with the Foreign Ministry remained. The reason for this might also be a difference in approach. According to the comptroller’s report, the Foreign Ministry’s strategy of action against BDS “focuses on expanding dialogue with individuals, bodies, organizations, corporations and institutions abroad” – i.e., dialogue – as opposed to surveillance and more aggressive public diplomacy activities by the Strategic Affairs Ministry.

    Tzahi Gavrieli. Tomer Appelbaum

  • Kerry offered Netanyahu regional peace plan in secret 2016 summit with al-Sissi, King Abdullah - Israel News -

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took part in a secret summit in Aqaba a year ago where then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry presented a plan for a regional peace initiative including recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and a renewal of talks with the Palestinians with the support of the Arab countries.
    >> Get all updates on Israel and the U.S.: Download our free App, and Subscribe >>
    Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi were also present at the meeting in the Jordanian city.
    Netanyahu did not accept Kerry’s proposal and said he would have difficulty getting it approved by his governing coalition. Still, the Aqaba summit was the basis for the talks that began two weeks later between Netanyahu and opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) on establishing a unity government.
    Details about the summit and the plan emerged from conversations between Haaretz and former senior officials in the Obama administration who asked to remain anonymous. The Prime Minister’s Bureau refused to comment.
    It was Kerry who initiated the conference. In April 2014, the peace initiative he had led collapsed, negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians entered a deep freeze and U.S. President Barack Obama declared a time-out in U.S. attempts to restart the peace process. Over the next 18 months Kerry focused on attaining an agreement with Iran over its nuclear program; an agreement was reached in July 2015 and ratified by Congress in mid-September.
    In October that year, Kerry renewed his work on the Israeli-Palestinian process following an escalation of tensions over the Temple Mount and a wave of violence in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
    At the end of October, Kerry was able to achieve understandings confirming the status quo on the Temple Mount by Israel, the Palestinians and Jordan. As part of these understandings, Israel and Jordan launched talks over the placement of closed-circuit cameras on the Temple Mount, an idea that was never implemented.
    Two weeks later, Netanyahu came to Washington for his first meeting with Obama in more than a year – a period when the two leaders badly clashed over the nuclear deal with Iran.

  • Will the last newspaper editor to leave Beirut please turn out the lights - Middle East News - Haaretz

    The Lebanese newspaper As-Safir printed its final edition last Saturday. In a short video posted on YouTube, founder and editor-in-chief Talal Salman can be seen taking his scarf and turning off the lights in his office. Darkness falls as he leaves the building of the newspaper he founded in 1974.
    As-Safir, published in Beirut, used to be one of the most important Arabic-language papers in Lebanon. It took a pro-Syrian stance (and, as a result, was suspected of being funded by the Assad regime) but in its early days, the daily opposed Syrian involvement in the long Lebanese civil war. When the first Lebanon war with Israel broke out in 1982, and when the confrontations between Israel and Hezbollah began, the newspaper stood behind the militant Shi’ite organization – even though Salman’s ideology was, and remained, pan-Arab and left-wing. Salman saw As-Safir as a Lebanese national paper, obliged to support the resistance to foreign occupation, especially that of Israel.
    Salman blames the paper’s closure on financial reasons and its shrinking circulation figures. Even the newspaper’s website didn’t help to turns things around. As-Safir is a family newspaper: the CEO is one of Salman’s sons, his daughter is the managing editor, while another daughter runs the archive. Unlike other dailies in Lebanon, which enjoy the support of political parties or aid from foreign Arab governments, As-Safir had no stable financial base, especially after the Syrian regime – which probably did provide some funding in the past – ran into its own financial difficulties.
    As-Safir is not the only Lebanese newspaper that has failed to go up against online competition. An-Nahar, which was founded in 1933 and was once the most prominent, best-selling paper in Lebanon, is also facing an uncertain future. It recently announced that nearly 100 staffers were to be laid off, and it has had problems paying salaries for over a year.