naturalfeature:jordan valley

  • 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.


  • The steal of the century: stolen land, stolen water, stolen images – Middle East Monitor

    Jared Kushner and Benjamin Netanyahu must have considered it the longest of long shots but what if the Palestinians by some wild stretch of the imagination had called their bluff on the “deal of the century”; what if they had suddenly decided to turn up in Bahrain for the “Peace to Prosperity” workshop this week?

    To guard against any such thing happening, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, wrote a deliberately offensive and insulting opinion piece on 24 June that the #New_York_Times was happy to publish. “What’s wrong with Palestinian surrender?” mused Ambassador Danon. “Surrender is the recognition that in a contest, staying the course will prove costlier than submission.” Having backed the Palestinians into a corner from which they could only say no, Kushner then had Danon stick the knife in.

    The message, in all its arrogance, was clear: if you don’t take what is on offer, it is going to get a hell of a lot worse. However, we know we have made it impossible for you to take what is on offer, so guess what? The two state solution is well and truly dead; the path to a greater Israel is secured; welcome to the new reality of Palestinian Bantustans in the West Bank and Gaza. And, oh yes, we promise to throw cash at you, $50 billion; that’s a lot of dosh, if you do what is commanded of you. If you don’t, well that money is off the table.

    While many commentators have rightly attacked the New York Times for publishing an openly racist and hate-mongering piece, they may have missed the larger significance of what is happening at speed in the killing of the two-state solution. The day before the Danon article, US National Security Advisor John Bolton accompanied the Israeli Prime Minister to land overlooking the Jordan Valley, the most fertile region of the West Bank. Nearly 90 per cent of the valley has been allocated to Israeli settlements and agriculture, in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 242 and international law.

    #vol #voleurs #sans_vergogne #Palestine #impunité #etats-unis #sionisme

  • » Israeli Military Training Causes Fire In Dozens Of Dunams Of Palestinian Lands
    May 15, 2019 12:22 AM - IMEMC News

    Large areas of Palestinian grazing lands were burnt, Tuesday, after the Israeli army conducted military drills in the West Bank’s Northern Plains.

    The WAFA Palestinian News Agency said the soldiers carried out military training, including the use of explosives, in the al-Boqei’a ash-Sharqiya and Hamsa areas in the Northern Plains of the occupied West Bank.

    Human Rights activist Aref Daraghma, told WAFA that the military training led to burning vast areas of grazing lands used by the Palestinian shepherds in the Jordan Valley.

    He added that the locals, along with several firefighting trucks, started extinguishing the fire to prevent it from spreading to more lands.

  • Cent des cent vingt députés élus mardi en Israël seront les partisans de l’apartheid. Une tribune de Gideon Levy

    Israel is voting apartheid - Opinion - Israel News |

    There will be one certain result from Tuesday’s election: Around 100 members of the next Knesset will be supporters of apartheid. This has no precedent in any democracy. A hundred out of 120 legislators, an absolute of absolute majorities, one that supports maintaining the current situation, which is apartheid.

    With such a majority, it will be possible in the next Knesset to officially declare Israel an apartheid state. With such support for apartheid and considering the durability of the occupation, no propaganda will be able to refute the simple truth: Nearly all Israelis want the apartheid to continue. In the height of chutzpah, they call this democracy, even though more than 4 million people who live alongside them and under their control have no right to vote in the election.

    Of course, no one is talking about this, but in no other regime around the world is there one community next to another where the residents of one, referred to as a West Bank settlement, have the right to vote, while the residents of the other, a Palestinian village, don’t. This is apartheid in all its splendor, whose existence nearly all the country’s Jewish citizens want to continue.

    >> Even for the wild West Bank, this is a shocking story

    A hundred Knesset members will be elected from slates referred to as either right-wing, left-wing or centrist, but what they have in common surpasses any difference: None intend to end the occupation. The right wing proudly says so, while the center-left resorts to futile illusions to obscure the picture, listing proposals for a “regional conference” or “secure separation.” The difference between the two groupings is negligible. In unison, the right and left are singing “say yes to apartheid.”

    As a result, this election is so unimportant, so far from crucial. So let’s cut the hysteria and the pathos over the outcome. Neither civil war nor even a rift is in the offing. The people are more united than ever, casting their vote for apartheid. Whatever Tuesday’s results may be, the country of the occupier will remain the country of the occupier. Nothing defines it better than all the other marginal issues, including the Zehut party’s campaign to legalize marijuana.

    So there’s no reason to hold our breath over Tuesday’s results. The election is lost in advance. For the country’s Jews, it will shape the tone, the level of democracy, the rule of law, the corruption in which they live, but it won’t do a thing to change Israel’s basic essence as a colonialist country.
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    The far right wants the annexation of the West Bank, a step that would make permanent in law a situation that has long been permanent in practice. Such a step would present a tempting advantage. It would finally rip off Israel’s mask of democracy and might finally generate opposition both in the country and abroad.

    But no person of conscience can vote for the fascist right wing, which includes people who advocate the expulsion of the Palestinians or the construction of a Third Temple on the Temple Mount, the destruction of the mosques there, or who even dream about extermination. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s allegedly more moderate Likud party wishes only to maintain the current situation, meaning undeclared apartheid.

    The center-left seeks to engage in deception, with not a word about an end to the occupation from either Kahol Lavan or Labor, or even about lifting the blockade on the Gaza Strip. Benny Gantz’s party has ambitious plans for a regional conference, making history, and “deepening the process of separation from the Palestinians along with uncompromisingly maintaining … the Israeli army’s freedom of action everywhere.”

    It has been a long time since such a document whitewashing the occupation has been written in all its disgrace. And the Labor Party isn’t lagging behind. The most daring step it’s proposing is a referendum on the refugee camps around Jerusalem in which only Israel’s would vote, of course.

    And that comes on top of well-worn declarations about settlement blocs, Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and a halt to settlement construction outside the blocs, meaning continuing settlement construction with full force. “Paths toward separation,” this party, the self-righteous founder of the settlement enterprise, calls it. Paths toward deception.

    Peace? Withdrawal? Dismantling settlements? Don’t make the Zionist left laugh. Not much is left, two and a half tickets, the fringe: Meretz and Hadash-Ta’al, which support a two-state solution — that faltering train that has already left the station — and Balad-United Arab List, which is closest to advocating a one-state solution, the only solution left.

    Vote apartheid.

  • Israel cuts off water supply for 2600 Palestinians in Jordan Valley
    March 6, 2019 4:17 P.M.

    TUBAS (Ma’an) — Israeli forces and the Israeli Civil Administration cut off water supply for dozens of Palestinians living in communities in Bardala village in the Jordan Valley in the northern occupied West Bank, on Wednesday.

    Mutaz Bisharat, an official who monitors settlement activity in Tubas/Jordan Valley, told Ma’an that Israeli forces cut off water supply for 60% of residents of the Bardala village; that is 2600 people.

    Israeli forces also cut off water supply for 1800-2000 dunams of Palestinian agricultural lands that must be continuously irrigated.

    Bisharat added that Israel claims that water sources supplying residents with water are illegal, stressing that the water comes from water wills in the village and inside Palestinian lands.

    He pointed out that as Israeli forces cut off water supply for Palestinians, they construct water wills for Israeli settlers.

    Bisharat called upon international and humanitarian institutions to immediately intervene to stop Israeli violations of human rights.
    The Jordan Valley forms a third of the occupied West Bank, with 88 percent of its land classified as Area C — under full Israeli military control.
    Water allocations are very necessary for the increase of agricultural production, in order to support the economic growth of many Palestinian farmers.
    Jordan Valley residents mostly live in enclaves closed off by Israeli military zones, checkpoints, and more than 30 illegal Israeli settlements.

    #eau #colonialisme_de_peuplement

  • Israeli minister planned eviction of West Bank Bedouin 40 years ago, document reveals
    Now agriculture minister, then settler activist, Uri Ariel was already planning in the 1970s the eviction of Bedouin living east of Jerusalem that is taking place now in Khan al-Ahmar
    Amira Hass Jul 12, 2018 2:57 AM

    Forty years ago Uri Ariel, now agriculture minister, was already planning the eviction of Bedouin living east of Jerusalem. This emerges from a document signed by him titled, “A proposal to plan the Ma’aleh Adumim region and establish the community settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim B.”

    The document outlines a plan to turn some 100,000 to 120,000 dunams (25,000 to 30,000 acres) of Palestinian land into an area of Jewish settlement and develop it as a “Jewish corridor,” as he put it, from the coast to the Jordan River. In fact, a large part of the plan has been executed, except for the eviction of all the area’s Bedouin.

    Now the Civil Administration and the police are expediting the demolition of the homes of the Jahalin in Khan al-Ahmar. This is one of approximately 25 Bedouin communities in the area that have become a flagship of the Bedouin resistance in the West Bank’s Area C against the efforts by the Israeli occupation to uproot them, gather them in a few compounds adjacent to Area A, and impose a semi-urban lifestyle on them.

    The boundaries of the area that Ariel sets for his plan are the Palestinian villages of Hizme, Anata, Al-Azariya and Abu Dis to the west, the hills overlooking the Jordan Valley to the east, Wadi Qelt to the north and the Kidron Valley and Horkania Valley to the south. “In the area there are many Bedouin involved in the cultivation of land,” he writes, contrary to the claims voiced today by settlers that the Bedouin only recently popped up and “took over” the land.

    But Ariel has a solution: “Since the area is used by the military and a large part of the industry there serves the defense establishment, the area must be closed to Bedouin settlement and evacuated.”

    This document, exposed here for the first time, was found by Dr. Yaron Ovadia in the Kfar Adumim archives when he was doing research for a book he’s writing about the Judean Desert. Ovadia wrote his doctorate about the Jahalin tribe.

    “Since [the area] is unsettled, it is now possible to plan it entirely,” Ariel wrote, about an area that constituted the land reserves for construction, industry, agriculture and grazing for the Palestinian towns and villages east of Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Ramallah. “Arab urban/rural settlement is spreading at an amazing pace along the route from Jerusalem eastward, and this linear spread must be stopped immediately.”

    His solutions: to build urban neighborhoods that will become part of Jerusalem and to “administratively close the area of the Arab villages by means of an appropriate plan.” This administrative closure by an appropriate plan can be discerned in the reality perpetuated by the Interim Agreement of 1995, which artificially divided the West Bank into Areas A and B, to be administered by the Palestinians, and Area C, which covers 60 percent of the West Bank, to be administered by Israel. That’s how Palestinian enclaves were created with limited development potential within a large Jewish expanse.

    Ariel’s plan was apparently written between late 1978 and the beginning of 1979, and he said that as far as he recalls, it was submitted to Brig. Gen. Avraham Tamir, the IDF’s head of planning. “We have been living for three years in the existing settlement at Mishor Adumim,” writes Ariel, referring to a settlement nucleus that was established in 1975 and was portrayed as a work camp near the Mishor Adumim industrial zone. Even before Ma’aleh Adumim was officially inaugurated, Ariel was proposing to build “Ma’aleh Adumim B,” i.e., Kfar Adumim, which was established in September 1979.

    Some Jahalin families were indeed evicted from their homes in 1977 and 1980. In 1994, expulsion orders were issued against dozens more, and they were evicted in the late 1990s, with the approval of the High Court of Justice. But thousands of Bedouin and their flocks remained in the area, albeit under increasingly difficult conditions as firing zones, settlements and roads reduced their grazing areas and their access to water. From the early 2000s the Civil Administration has been planning to evacuate the Bedouin and forcibly resettle them in permanent townships.

    It’s tempting to present Ariel’s 40-year-old suggestions as an example of the personal and political determination that characterizes many religious Zionist activists and was facilitated by the Likud electoral victory in 1977. But it was Yitzhak Rabin’s first government that decided to build a 4,500-dunam industrial zone for Jerusalem in Khan al-Amar. In 1975 it expropriated a huge area of 30,000 dunams from the Palestinian towns and villages in the area and built a settlement there disguised as a work camp for employees of the industrial zone.

    In a study (“The Hidden Agenda,” 2009) written by Nir Shalev for the nonprofit associations Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights and B’tselem, he notes that the Housing and Construction Ministry’s Jerusalem district director when Ma’aleh Adumim was first being built in 1975 said that the objective behind it was political – “to block the entrance way to Jerusalem from a Jordanian threat.” But since the objective was political, it was clear that he wasn’t referring to a military threat, but to demographic growth that would require additional construction.

    The planning for Ma’aleh Adumim actually began in Golda Meir’s time in the early 1970s; at the time, minister Israel Galili advised Davar reporter Hagai Eshed that it would be best if the press didn’t deal with this “exciting and interesting” issue, “because it could cause damage.” Both the Meir and Rabin governments considered the planned settlement to be part of metropolitan Jerusalem. Moreover, during Rabin’s second government, the period of the Oslo Accords, Bedouin were evicted, in the spirit of Ariel’s proposal.

    Perhaps the most crucial move was actually made in 1971, when under that same government of Meir, Galili and Moshe Dayan, military order No. 418 was issued, which made drastic changes to the planning apparatus in the West Bank. The order removed the rights of Palestinian local councils to plan and build. As explained in another study by Bimkom (“The Prohibted Zone,” 2008) this prepared the legal infrastructure for the separate planning systems – the miserly, restrictive system for the Palestinians and the generous, encouraging one for the settlements. This distorted planning system refused to take into account the longtime Bedouin communities that had been expelled from the Negev and had been living in the area long before the settlements were built.

    The settlement part of Ariel’s proposal succeeded because it was merely a link in a chain of plans and ideas had already been discussed when the Labor Alignment was still in power, and which were advanced by a bureaucratic infrastructure that had been in place even before 1948. Today, under a government in which Ariel’s Habayit Hayehudi party is so powerful, the open expulsion of Bedouin is possible. But the expulsion of Palestinians in general is hardly a Habayit Hayehudi invention.

  • A law that tells the truth about Israel
    The nation-state law makes it plain. Israel is for Jews only, on the books. It’s easier this way for everyone
    Gideon Levy Jul 12, 2018 5:01 AM -

    The Knesset is about to legislate one of its most important laws ever, and the one most in keeping with reality. The nation-state law will put an end to Israel’s vague nationalism and present Zionism as it is. The law will also put an end to the farce about Israel being “Jewish and democratic,” a combination that never existed and could never exist because of the inherent contradiction between the two values that cannot be reconciled, except by deception.

    If the state is Jewish, it cannot be democratic, because of the lack of equality; if it’s democratic, it cannot be Jewish, because a democracy does not bestow privilege based on ethnicity. So now the Knesset has decided: Israel is Jewish. Israel is declaring that it is the nation-state of the Jewish people, not a state of its citizens, not a state of the two peoples that live within it, and has therefore ceased to be an egalitarian democracy, not just in practice but also in theory. That’s why this law is so important. It is a truthful law.

    The uproar over the bill was intended mainly as an effort to continue the policy of national ambiguity. The president and the attorney general, the ostensible guardians of decency, protested and received compliments from the liberal camp. The president shouted that the law would be “a weapon in the hands of Israel’s enemies,” and the attorney general warned about the “international ramifications.”

    The prospect of Israel’s veil being removed before the world prompted them to act. Reuven Rivlin, it must be said, cried out with great vigor and courage against the clause allowing community-acceptance committees to screen residents and its implications for the regime, but most liberals were simply horrified to read the reality when it was worded as a law.

    Mordechai Kremnitzer, in Tuesday’s Haaretz, also cried out in vain when he said the bill would “foment a revolution, no less. It will spell the end of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state ...” He added that the bill would make Israel “a leader among nationalist countries like Poland and Hungary,” as if it isn’t already and hasn’t been for a long time. In Poland and Hungary there is no tyranny over another people lacking rights, which has become a permanent reality and an inseparable part of how this state and its regime operate, with no end in sight.

    All those years of hypocrisy were pleasant. It was nice to say that apartheid was only in South Africa, because there everything was rooted in racial laws, and we had no such laws. To say that Hebron is not apartheid, the Jordan Valley is not apartheid, and that the occupation really isn’t part of the regime. To say that we were the only democracy in the region, even with the occupation.

    It was nice to claim that since Israeli Arabs can vote, we are an egalitarian democracy. To point out that there’s an Arab party, even if it’s excluded from any influence. To point out that Arabs can be admitted to the Jews’ hospitals; that they can study in the Jews’ universities and live anywhere they choose. (You bet.)

    How enlightened we are; our Supreme Court ruled in the Kaadan case that an Arab family could buy a home in Katzir, after years of litigation and endless evasion. How tolerant we are that the Arabs are permitted to speak Arabic, an official language. The latter was certainly a fiction; Arabic never was remotely treated as an official language, the way Swedish is in Finland, where the minority is far smaller than the Arab minority here.

    It was comfortable to ignore that the lands owned by the Jewish National Fund, which include most of the state’s lands, were for Jews only – with the progressive Supreme Court backing that stance – and claim we’re a democracy. It was much more pleasant to think of ourselves as egalitarian.

    Now there will be a law that tells the truth. Israel is for Jews only, on the books. The nation-state of the Jewish people, not of its residents. Its Arabs are second-class citizens and its Palestinian subjects are hollow, nonexistent. Their fate is determined in Jerusalem, but they aren’t part of the state. It’s easier this way for everyone.

    There remains a small problem with the rest of the world, and with Israel’s image, which this law will tarnish somewhat. It’s no big deal. Israel’s new friends will be proud of this law. For them it will be a light unto the nations. And people of conscience all over the world already know the truth and have long been struggling against it. A weapon for the BDS movement? Certainly. Israel has earned it, and will now legislate it.

  • Trump ME peace plan : Half West Bank for Palestinians, Abu Dis as capital - DEBKAfile

    The president had discussed the peace plan’s content with three Arab leaders, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, UAE emir Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed, the Qatari ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi, as well as thoroughly briefing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was invited to come aboard, but he rebuffed the offer – and that was even before he generated a crisis with Israel for its deadly confrontation with Hamas in Gaza.
    A Palestinian state will be established with limited sovereignty across about half of the West Bank and all the Gaza Strip.
    Israel will retain security responsibility for most of the West Bank and the border crossings.
    The Jordan Valley will remain under Israel sovereignty and military control.
    .The Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem will pass to the Palestinian state, excepting the Old City, which will be part of Israeli Jerusalem.
    Abu Dis east of Jerusalem is the proposed capital of Palestine.
    Palestine and Jordan will share religious jurisdiction over the city’s mosques.
    Gaza will be integrated in the new Palestinian state provided Hamas agrees to disarm.
    There is no provision in the plan for the Palestinian refugees’ “right of return” – but a compensation mechanism will be established and managed by the international community.
    The Trump plan mandates Israel’s recognition as the homeland of the Jewish people, and Palestine with limited sovereignty as the Palestinian homeland.

    Debka est un site « d’intelligence » qui sert souvent aux Israéliens à faire passer des infos à confirmer par la suite... Les choses seraient décidées à la fin du mois de ramadan...


  • Along the Break - Photographs and text by Roei Greenberg | LensCulture

    Along the Break
    Searching for the intersection of geography and history, a photographer from Tel Aviv traversed the vast landscape of Israel in a poetic exploration of boundaries.

    Photographs and text by Roei Greenberg

    The “Syrian-African Break” is the popular name for the Israeli part of the Great Rift Valley which crosses Israel from its northernmost point to its southernmost tip.

    En route, it carves its way through the Golan Heights, Hula Valley, Sea of Galilee, Jordan Valley, Dead Sea, Arava Valley and Red Sea. This geographic phenomenon also plays a key role in the way physical borders have been drawn. The break shapes the borders with Lebanon and Syria in the north and the border with Jordan and Egypt in the south.

    #photographie #géographie #histoire #frontière #Liban #Syrie #Palestine #Israël

  • Israeli forces demolish homes, school in Bedouin village in the Jordan Valley

    Comme d’habitude en toute impunité.

    NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli forces demolished some 15 structures in Khirbet Tana on Tuesday morning, including homes and the only school in the small hamlet, which is located on the outskirts of the village of Beit Furik in the Jordan Valley in the northeastern occupied West Bank.

    The village was demolished at least four times over the course of 2016, leaving scores of Bedouin Palestinians homeless, sparking condemnation from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), who warned that the village was at risk of “forcible transfer” by Israeli authorities.

    #israël #bédouins #démolition #occupation #colonisation

  • In West Bank, layers of institutionalized violence

    A look at a West Bank checkpoint ’that provides the Jews land and rights that it deprives the Palestinians of, a violence of the overlord that is intravenously fed into the veins of every Israeli.’
    Amira Hass Oct 25, 2016 10:36 PM

    A file photo of the DCO checkpoint near Ramallah, 2010.Emil Salman

    The two men, dressed in black pants, white shirts and Jewish religious skullcaps, standing and taking pictures with their cell phones, would not have stood out if not for where they were, near the vehicle lane at the DCO/Beit El checkpoint in the West Bank, at the eastern entrance to the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

    They weren’t taking pictures of the view on a Sunday morning or of the Israeli Civil Administration building that sits on a hill to the rear. They were photographing cars streaming into Ramallah.

    Whether or not there was a connection, a few moments after they noticed that this reporter was photographing them taking pictures, they left the location and got into a car parked further behind, where a driver with a thick beard was waiting for them.

    What did they have to do with the hundreds of Palestinians making the morning commute to work in the city? What did they have to do with the checkpoint, where in recent months its conditions for crossing have eased, and at which time there were no soldiers stationed?

    The men taking pictures were not physically violent but the entire situation reflected layers of arrogant entitlement.

    The checkpoint is a scene of layers and years of bureaucratic and military violence that has limited Palestinian freedom of movement in favor of the Jewish invaders. It’s violence that provides the Jews land and rights that it deprives the Palestinians of, a violence of the overlord that is intravenously fed into the veins of every Israeli.

    A few dozen kilometers from there, on Monday, a young man with side locks hidden under a black hat sicced a German shepherd on several members of the Arab-Jewish Ta’ayush (Living Together) organization who have been monitoring the illegal and unauthorized new West Bank Jewish outpost being built in the Al-Hama area of the northern Jordan Valley.

    Petrified by the unleashed dog, a solidarity activist from abroad who had joined the Ta’ayush patrol stumbled and fell into thorn bushes.

    A photo shows the show the dog coming from behind and almost biting one of the activists (who exhibited impressive composure). At that moment the young man with the hidden side locks was holding the dog by its collar, it should be noted: Pent-up violence, reserved at least for the time being for non-Arabs.

    The dog, an openly visible gun, in addition to concealed guns, threats and the entitled arrogance have for nearly two weeks denied Palestinian shepherds access to grazing land on the hill.

    The site is a storehouse of deep layers of Israeli violence. The Mehola settlement across the road is built on land owned by Palestinians who unfortunately were not in the West Bank when it was occupied by Israel in 1967. These legal owners are now deemed absentees.

    The settlement is not defined as illegal, adding additional layers of linguistic abuse. The road is called Gandhi Road, a reference to the nickname of the late Israeli Rehavam Ze’evi, who preached the physical expulsion of Palestinians and whose memory is sanctified in Israel today.

    On the west side of the road lies the illegal, unauthorized outpost of Givat Salit, which has already taken control of privately owned Palestinian land, planting date palms and olive trees at the site, as well. And now comes the turn of a brand-new outpost, set up just five or six weeks ago.

    The authorities are aware of it, and the unit of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories has said that stop-work orders have been issued against it, and that last Thursday it was found that the construction work had stopped. Really? This reporter on that same Thursday saw construction work expanding up the hill.

    And wonder of wonders, shortly after the outpost was erected, forces from the Israeli Civil Administration came and demolished huts and animal pens where the community of Palestinian shepherds lived.

    A joint operation, we should call it. The deception that is meant to obscure the close cooperation between the lawlessness of the authorities and that of individuals is another layer of institutionalized violence.

    Members of Ta’ayush took pictures of Mehola’s grandchild outpost and the people at the outpost called the police, who showed up immediately.

    In what way are the Ta’ayush members any different from the Jews taking pictures at the entry checkpoint to Ramallah? The Jews that are a part of the Israeli aggressive fabric that Ta’ayush is trying to unravel.

    #colonialisme_de_peuplement_israélien #violence

  • Settlers build new illegal outpost on private Palestinian land - with Israeli authorities’ knowledge
    Israeli army says stop-work orders have been issued and further enforcement efforts will be taken in Jordan Valley, but Haaretz saw work continuing on Thursday.
    By Amira Hass | Oct. 23, 2016 | 3:38 AM

    A new, unauthorized outpost is being constructed in the northern Jordan Valley on privately owned Palestinian land. The outpost has been established in close proximity to another illegal outpost, Givat Salit, which was created in 2001.

    A man identified as “Tzuriel” and who was said by his associates to be the “boss” of the new outpost, refused to answer questions from Haaretz on the matter last Thursday.

    The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said a stop-work order has been issued at the outpost. It added that a patrol conducted on Thursday revealed construction at the site had ceased, and that further enforcement activity will be carried out as necessary.

    However, a visit by Haaretz the same day revealed that construction was continuing.

    The area in which construction was being carried out had expanded to an adjacent hilltop and included the laying of a water pipe and the initial construction of a livestock pen. The hilltop, it should be noted, is considered state-owned and not privately owned Palestinian land.

    On Thursday, COGAT issued a statement saying: “At the end of September, illegal construction was noted, against which stop-work orders have been issued. Continued enforcement will be carried out in accordance with professional and operational considerations. A patrol today found that work had stopped. After the [Sukkot] holiday, an additional patrol will be arranged and any additional enforcement steps required will be taken.”

    More than a week ago, the people at the outpost allegedly began threatening Palestinian shepherds, preventing them from bringing their flocks to their regular grazing lands on the hilltop. One of the settlers, Tzuriel, was allegedly seen armed with a gun.

    On September 27, shortly after the outpost was established, forces from the Israeli Civil Administration demolished a Palestinian family’s entire tent encampment. The Ayoubs, a family of shepherds, have lived at the site for many years.

    Shepherds from the area, as well as members of the Arab-Jewish activist group Ta’ayush, have told Haaretz that the outpost was established about five weeks ago in an area of eucalyptus trees. It consists of a large, curved wooden hut and a structure serving as a sukkah. Sofas and armchairs have been set up outside, along with an exterior kitchen with a refrigerator, sink and running water.

    Last Thursday morning, there were 11 Israelis at the site: a couple who looked to be in their 40s, a baby, a boy, four older girls and three young men. Two of the girls took sheep out to graze. An older man and several young men dug a channel from the top of the hill to the outpost and ran the water pipe down the hill through it. “We’ve managed to do a lot today,” one of them remarked on Thursday morning.

    Prior to that, they pounded iron fencing into the ground for what appeared to be a future livestock pen, as well as posts for what was seemingly the beginning of another structure. On Thursday afternoon, about 10 Israelis continued to carry out construction work at the site, Haaretz has learned. On Friday, sources told Haaretz that a water tank was installed at the site and additional iron posts installed.

    Thursday morning also saw an Israeli jeep speed into a flock of livestock owned by the Ayoub family. The vehicle was identified as belonging to a resident of Shadmot Mehola, a settlement on the other side of the road in the area. It was built on land owned by Palestinians who have lived abroad since 1967. Members of the shepherd family said they are now concerned that the people from the outpost and their associates will physically harm their flocks, in addition to barring access to their pastures.

    The separate unauthorized outpost of Givat Salit sits on 41 dunams (just over 10 acres) of land, some of which has been designated state-owned (and was registered as such before 1967). Another part, however, was built on privately owned Palestinian land. In recent years, settlers from Givat Salit have assumed control of another 33 dunams of private Palestinian land and planted olive trees and date palms there. Some of the grove is within an Israel Defense Forces firing zone.


    • Report: Settlers continue building new illegal outpost despite stop-work orders
      Oct. 23, 2016 5:35 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 23, 2016 5:35 P.M.)

      TUBAS (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities ordered settlers to stop construction on a new illegal outpost in the Jordan valley district of Tubas in the northern occupied West Bank, according Israeli authorities.

      Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the body responsible for implementing Israeli government policies in the occupied West Bank, told Ma’an on Sunday that the “illegal construction” began at the end of September, and that COGAT issued "stop-work orders” to the settlers in the area.

      Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Sunday that their reporters visited the site of the outpost — which was established on privately owned Palestinian land, in close proximity to the illegal outpost of Givat Salit — and that construction was still ongoing, despite the stop-work orders that were issued, and COGAT’s claim that construction was halted.

      In its statement to Ma’an, COGAT reiterated its assertion that construction had stopped, saying that “further inspection of the illegal construction found that the construction halted only after the orders were issued.”

      “Enforcement measures will continue and will be carried out in accordance with professional and operational considerations,” the statement said, adding that “immediately after” the current Jewish holidays, “there will be another inspection by the Inspection Unit and enforcement proceedings will be taken accordingly.”

  • Two Palestinians, From Different Walks of Life, Brought Together in Death at a Checkpoint -
    Gideon Levy and Alex Levac Jan 16, 2016 11:24 AM

    One man was the well-to-do owner of a company, the other a poor student. Israeli soldiers killed both of them at a West Bank checkpoint. Why did they die? Was there a connection between them?

    A poster hanging in Al-Jadida, where Ali Abu Maryam resided. Alex Levac

    They were not “from the same village,” as the Naomi Shemer song goes, nor did they have the same iconic forelock, as it continues. In fact, they probably never met. One was a very affluent businessman, propertied and with a family; the other was an abjectly poor student and occasional farmhand.

    They lived in two neighboring villages, Zawiya and Al-Jadida, outside Jenin in the northern West Bank. People in Zawiya say it’s possible that the wealthy resident of their village gave the poor worker a lift last Saturday in the rain and cold. People in Al-Jadida believe that they never met – until their deaths – and that the student arrived at the checkpoint in a vehicle carrying laborers.

    What is not in doubt is that these two people were killed together, by volleys of live fire unleashed by Israel Defense Forces soldiers last Shabbat morning at the Beka’ot checkpoint – called Hamra by the Palestinians – that abuts the partially annexed Jordan Valley. Rich and poor were unequal in death, too: The soldiers fired a total of 11 rounds into the affluent man but made do with three for the needier one.

    Much about the incident is not clear, beyond the oppressive thought that, as in most cases of deaths caused by Israeli security forces in recent months, here too there was no need to shoot to kill, certainly not both men. But the lives of Palestinians continue to be cheap: Their deaths were barely reported in the Israeli media.

    Said Abu al-Wafa owned one company that imports and sells food, and another that imports cars from Germany. It’s important for his family to elaborate on his financial situation, to show that their loved one could not possibly have been involved in terrorism.

    They bring us to the jam-packed food warehouses belonging to Wafa Brothers, of which Said was the founder and driving spirit. Inside the warehouses, situated not far from one of the brothers’ homes, there are snacks from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, candy from India and China, cooking oil and flour from Egypt, cookies from Belgium and soft drinks from Ramallah. Parked outside are Said’s Mitsubishi Pajero SUV and the new Hyundai he bought his brother-in-law as a present two days before he was killed. His own spacious home is situated in the valley below, amid his olive groves.

    This week the courtyard outside the Wafas’ warehouses was converted into a mourning site, with a huge poster of the deceased hanging in the center.

    Said was 35, married to Ghadir and the father of Mohammed, 8; Shirin, 6; Darin, 5; and Jaudath, 4. All are now cuddling up to their uncle Shaher, their father’s brother, a lawyer of 30.

    Said Abu al-Wafa’s family.Alex Levac

    Shaher recounts what happened on Saturday. It was his brother’s day to distribute merchandise in Jericho. Twice a week, on Saturday and Monday, Said would drive there through the Jordan Valley in his 2015 Mercedes van, loaded with food products. The last day of his life was no different.

    Said apparently left home around 5 A.M., by himself, as usual. People in the village of Farah, abutting the valley, saw him driving alone. Did he pick up someone on the way? Shaher says it’s possible, though only because of the cold and the heavy rain; his brother did not generally pick up hitchhikers.

    Said arrived at Beka’ot around 6. About an hour later, Shaher got a call from the Palestinian security forces asking who was driving the company’s Mercedes, which had stopped at the checkpoint. Shaher set out for there immediately, filled with foreboding. The checkpoint was closed. The Mercedes was parked in the middle of the road, where soldiers usually stand. The only damage seemed to be to the two front windows on both sides, which were shattered.

    After Shaher identified himself, the soldiers allowed him to approach the vehicle. Next to it there was a body – that of his brother. Shaher remembers now that he thought to himself that the soldiers had, unusually, behaved respectfully: They had placed the body on a stretcher and covered it with a blanket.

    The Shin Bet security men and police officers who were at the site questioned Shaher about the identity of another dead man, whose body he was shown only in the form of a photo on a cell phone. Did he know him? Did his brother know him? Did he work for their company? Shaher replied that he had no idea who the person was. “I know my brother,” he told his interlocutors. “He knew the rules at the checkpoint. I’m positive he did not make a mistake of any kind.”

    According to Shaher, a Shin Bet man said they knew his brother was a prominent businessman. “Allah yerhamo,” one officer said. God have mercy on him.

    Someone told Shaher that his brother was killed while he was still behind the wheel. The van was standing at exactly the spot where it was supposed to stop when approaching the checkpoint.

    About an hour later the family received Said’s body. That’s an important detail, because the IDF typically takes its time when it comes to returning the bodies of terrorists.

    Shaher hurried to the home of their elderly mother, Adila, to be with her in the ordeal.

    The courtyard is now filling up with mourners, dozens of them. Shaher says he thinks his brother was killed because of something the other dead man did. The body of that man, whom Said apparently did not know, was also returned immediately to his family. But Shaher still has no idea what happened at the Beka’ot checkpoint.

    About 15 minutes away from Zawiya is a different village, a different mourners’ tent, a different reality. Here, in Al-Jadida, poverty is rampant. While Said was on his way to Jericho, Ali Abu Maryam, in his early twenties and unmarried, was also heading for the Jordan Valley, where he worked in the fields of herbs owned by the Israeli settlement of Beka’ot. A third-year management student at Al-Quds Open University, he provided for his family as well: His father, Mohammed, has been ill and unemployed for years. Now Mohammed, his features ravaged by illness or grief, mourns his dead son.

    The locals dismiss the idea that Ali got a lift with Said; they say he got to work in a vehicle that picked up laborers. These villagers seem to know even less (or are saying less) than the residents of Zawiya about what happened at the checkpoint on Saturday. Mohammed thinks Ali left the house at 4 A.M. and wanted to recite the morning prayers at work. At about 6, a worker called Mohammed to say Ali had been wounded. The caller added that he hadn’t seen what happened, he only heard shots.

    The checkpoint has two lanes for vehicles and a fenced-off walkway for workers. What happened there? Did Ali pull a knife? No one has any answers.

    An oppressive pall due to the death of a son of this remote village hovers almost palpably over the yard in which dozens of mourners have gathered. Israel Air Force planes slice through the skies, with an earsplitting din.

    The IDF Spokesman’s Office told Haaretz this week, in reply to a request for information about the incident: “During the course of a routine security check of a car at the Beka’ot checkpoint, there was a stabbing attempt. The incident is still under investigation, and for that reason, cannot be discussed in detail. When the investigation is complete, its findings will be sent to the office of the military advocate general.”

    During the week, Israeli security forces arrived in the middle of the night at the poor dwelling belonging to the Abu Maryam family and, according to the bereaved father, measured and photographed the house, signaling its imminent demolition. The family relates that Ali had just paid his tuition for the next semester, a sure sign he wasn’t planning a terrorist attack. One bullet penetrated his eye and from there entered his brain, they said; the eye had been covered in the photograph we saw. His father says Ali was thinking of becoming a bus driver. Meanwhile, Mohammed adds, no one has told him what happened to his son. Mohammed’s brother, Ali’s uncle, was also killed by Israeli soldiers. Back in 1993.

    Later on, at the checkpoint, one of the two lanes was closed and traffic was sparse. Bored-looking soldiers were standing around, seemingly in all innocence, as if two people hadn’t been killed there two days earlier, apparently for no reason.


  • Netanyahou déclare que les propos de Wallström sont « scandaleux et injustes » | i24news - Voir plus loin

    Benyamin Netanyahou, s’est adressé aux journalistes lors d’un événement annuel organisé pour le Nouvel An du Bureau de presse du gouvernement (GPO) à Jérusalem, où il a déclaré que les commentaires de la ministre étaient « scandaleux, injustes et tout simplement faux ».

    « Je pense que ce qu’a dit la ministre suédoise des Affaires étrangères est scandaleux, je pense que c’est immoral, que c’est injuste et que c’est tout bonnement faux », a dit M. Netanyahou à la presse.

    "L’autre jour à Paris, un terroriste brandissant un couteau a été abattu, est-ce que ça, c’était une exécution extra-judiciaire ?

    OUI !

    • Yes, Israel Is Executing Palestinians Without Trial
      Gideon Levy Jan 17, 2016

      We should call it like it is: Israel executes people without trial nearly every day. Any other description is a lie. If there was once discussion here about the death penalty for terrorists, now they are executed even without trial (and without discussion). If once there was debate over the rules of engagement, today it’s clear: we shoot to kill – any suspicious Palestinian.

      Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan outlined the situation clearly when he said, “Every terrorist should know he will not survive the attack he is about to commit” – and almost every politician joined him in nauseating unison, from Yair Lapid on up. Never have so many licenses to kill been handed out here, nor has the finger been so itchy on the trigger.

      In 2016, one doesn’t have to be Adolf Eichmann to be executed here – it’s enough to be a teenage Palestinian girl with scissors. The firing squads are active every day. Soldiers, police and civilians shoot those who stabbed Israelis, or tried to stab them or were suspected of doing so, and at those who run down Israelis in their cars or appear to have done so.

      In most cases, there was no need to shoot – and certainly not to kill. In a good many of the cases, the shooters’ lives were not in danger. They shot people to death who were holding a knife or even scissors, or people who just put their hands in their pockets or lost control of their car.

      They shot them to death indiscriminately – women, men, teenage girls, teenage boys. They shot them when they were standing, and even after they were no longer a threat. They shot to kill, to punish, to release their anger, and to take revenge. There is such contempt here that these incidents are barely covered in the media.

      Last Saturday, soldiers at the Beka’ot checkpoint (called Hamra by the Palestinians) in the Jordan Valley killed businessman Said Abu al-Wafa, 35, a father of four, with 11 bullets. At the same time, they also killed Ali Abu Maryam, a 21-year-old farm laborer and student, with three bullets. The Israel Defense Forces did not explain the killing of the two men, except to say there was a suspicion that someone had drawn a knife. There are security cameras at the site, but the IDF has not released video footage of the incident.

      Last month, other IDF soldiers killed Nashat Asfur, a father of three who worked at an Israeli chicken slaughterhouse. They shot him in his village, Sinjil, from 150 meters away, while he was walking home from a wedding. Earlier this month, Mahdia Hammad – a 40-year-old mother of four – was driving home through her village, Silwad. Border Police officers sprayed her car with dozens of bullets after they suspected she intended to run them over.

      The soldiers didn’t even suspect cosmetology student Samah Abdallah, 18, of anything. Soldiers shot her father’s car “by mistake,” killing her; they had suspected a 16-year-old pedestrian, Alaa al-Hashash, of trying to stab them. They executed him as well, of course.

      They also killed Ashrakat Qattanani, 16, who was holding a knife and running after an Israeli woman. First a settler ran her over with his car, and when she was lying injured on the ground, soldiers and settlers shot her at least four times. Execution – what else?

      And when soldiers shot Lafi Awad, 20, in his back while he was fleeing after throwing stones, was that not an execution?

      These are only a few of the cases I have documented over the past few weeks in Haaretz. The website of the human rights group B’Tselem has a list of 12 more cases of executions.

      Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, one of the few ministers with a conscience left in the world, demanded that these killings be investigated. There is no demand more moral and just than this. It should have come from our own justice minister.

      Israel responded with its usual howls. The prime minister said this was “outrageous, immoral and unjust.” And Benjamin Netanyahu understands those terms: That is exactly how to describe Israel’s campaign of criminal executions under his leadership.

  • A Flagship of Israeli Journalism Joins the Ranks of False Propaganda -
    The investigative TV program ‘Uvda’ should be ashamed of the report it aired which depicted human rights activists as dangerous, while ignoring the occupation.

    Gideon Levy Haaretz - Jan 10, 2016 1
    read more:

    Channel 2’s investigative television program “Uvda” (“Fact”) broadcast its 600th show last week, paying homage to itself by reminding us of a few of its greatest moments.
    But the 600th show itself is something it will want to erase from its memory, something it will be embarrassed about some day.
    It marked the passage from intentionally avoiding dealing with the issue of the occupation, which could anger the viewers and reduce ratings, to actively contributing to propaganda and incitement. The fig leaf withered away in the 600th program. As did the loss of any semblance of fairness and professionalism.
    In a report on left-wing groups which operate in the West Bank, Uvda aired secretly recorded footage of Israeli activist Ezra Nawi saying that he had exposed Palestinian land brokers who sold West Bank land to Jews, and turned them over to the Palestinian Authority.The right wing and the settlers celebrated the event of course. Another outpost has fallen into their hands. They have already compared the left-wing activist Nawi to the Duma murderers, no less. The rightists and settlers, known for their deep concern about the lives of Palestinians, were shocked by Nawi’s statements. But the right is not the story. The story is how a lethal virus has penetrated what is almost the last outpost of real journalism.
    How has a McCarthyist right-wing organization, whose motives are clear (and despicable) and whose sources are unknown, succeeded with such ease in enticing such respected journalists as Ilana Dayan and Omri Assenheim? How has this flagship joined the ranks of the false propaganda which masquerades as journalism?
    That is how to conduct delegitimization. That is how it is done to liberal organizations in the darkest of regimes, and now here too, and on Uvda – no less.
    Presenting the human rights organizations as dangerous groups, and penetrating them, is compared to penetrating ISIS. The McCarthyists are glorified, depicted as heroes of Israel who excelled in battles in Gaza. All these are well-known ploys. And against this background, all that is left is to record Nawi boasting, to catch him uttering the taboo words, to present him as a “senior” activist, to ignore the entire context — the crimes of the occupation and the expulsion form the Southern Hebron Hills, which you never heard about on Uvda. Just ignore the holy work done by left-wing activists in this battered region, spice it with a few lies such as “execution” by the Palestinian Authority, add a few generalizations, suspicions and slander – and the dish is ready.
    There is an “investigation.” Ofir Akunis and Miri Regev are already calling for a trial. In normal times such actions should trouble every advocate of journalism. When the witch hunt is at its height, those who support democracy should lose sleep. Why did Uvda do this? Because there is no show better at adapting itself to the spirit of the times — its secret of survival for over 22 years. And when the times are dark, Uvda too is in the darkness. How characteristic and self-righteous are the confessions of the talented Assenheim on the show’s Facebook page: On the day of the broadcast he wrote: “I am considered a leftist. Israeli patriot, maybe more than ever, but a leftist.”
    That is how it is when the ground is burning under your feet, and you somehow need to save your lost honor. A “leftist” who does not see what the settlers are plotting every day there, in the place where he “revealed” Nawi’s “crimes,” where activists and soldiers need to accompany children to school out of fear of violence.
    The women activists of Machsom Watch offer humanitarian aid to those driven from the Jordan Valley; B’Tselem reports the truth about every killing in the West Bank, and documents for Israelis what is being done in their name; Physicians for Human Rights delivers medical care every week to those who have none; and Anarchists Against the Wall participates every week with unbelievable dedication in righteous protests.
    They are the last moral lighthouse of Israel. They are the insignificant minority that preserves the remnants of Israel’s honor in the world. The right has declared despicable war against them. Now Uvda has joined them. The curtain falls.

  • 2 Palestinians killed at checkpoint after alleged stab attempt
    Jan. 9, 2016 10:38 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 9, 2016 6:27 P.M.)

    BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Saturday shot and killed two Palestinian men at the al-Hamra military checkpoint in the northern Jordan Valley, witnesses said.

    Witnesses told Ma’an that the two men were stopped at the checkpoint — also known as Beqaot — and asked by military forces to exit their vehicle, at which point the forces shot them dead.

    The witnesses said they did not see the men wielding knives, and told Ma’an the two were “killed in cold blood.” The men sold wholesale goods and were reportedly on their way to distribute merchandise to grocery shops, witnesses added.

    An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma’an that two assailants attempted to stab Israeli soldiers stationed at the security crossing who opened fire in response to the attack.

    The two Palestinians received medical treatment on site but were pronounced dead, the spokeswoman said.

    No Israelis were injured in the incident.

    The men were identified as as 26-year-old Ali Abu Maryam from the village of al-Jadida and 38-year-old Said Abu al-Wafa from the village of al-Zawiya, both southwest of Jenin in the northern West Bank.

    The al-Hamra military checkpoint is located in the eastern outskirts of the Nablus district, south of the illegal Israeli settlements of Beqaot and Roi.


  • Israeli forces kill Palestinian teenager near Ramallah

    JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian teenager in the West Bank on Friday after he threw stones at their patrol, Palestinian medical and security sources said.

    Muhammad Hani al-Kasbah,17 , was killed by two bullets after allegedly throwing stones at a Israeli military vehicle close to the Qalandiya checkpoint, south of Ramallah, the sources said.

    An Israeli army spokeswoman said the soldiers had opened fire after their vehicle was damaged.

    “The forces called the suspect to halt and shot warning shots in the air. Once he continued hurling rocks at close range and in response to the imminent danger the forces fired towards the suspect,” the spokeswoman told AFP.

    Israeli news source Haaretz cited eyewitnesses reporting that al-Kasbah was shot in the upper body after attempting to climb the separation wall. He had reportedly left his home early that morning to reach the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

    Al-Kasbah was shot at around 7.30 a.m. and fell to the ground before a group of Palestinians took him to hospital in Ramallah.

    Hundreds of Palestinians from the Qalandiya refugee camp gathered at the Palestine Medical Center to mourn his death.

    Israeli forces deployed in large numbers around Qalandiya checkpoint following the killing.

    Al-Kasbah’s two brothers, Yasser and Samer, were killed by Israeli forces in the Qalandiya refugee camp in May 2002.

    Al-Kasbah was the second Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces in the last week, after forces shot dead a Palestinian man last Friday when he opened fire at soldiers at the Beqaot checkpoint in the Jordan Valley.

    L’AFP reprend juste la version de la porte-parole de l’armée israélienne

    Un Palestinien tué dans des heurts avec des soldats israéliens près de Ramallah
    AFP / 03 juillet 2015

    • Israeli General Kills Palestinian Teen North of Jerusalem

      The Israeli army alleged that General Yisrael Shomer, the commander of the Binyamin Brigade, was driving in a military jeep, along with other soldiers, when their vehicle “was attacked by stone-throwing Palestinians,” causing damage to the windshield.

      The shooter claimed the slain teen was among those who hurled stones on his car.

      Eyewitnesses denied the Israeli allegation, and said Mohammad Hani al-Kasba, 17 years of age, was shot while climbing the Annexation Wall, along with dozens of residents, in an attempt to reach the Al-Aqsa Mosque for Friday prayers.

      After being shot, the teen fell from a high altitude and slammed onto the ground; the slain Palestinian is from the Qalandia refugee camp, north of occupied Jerusalem.

      The eyewitnesses said the military is trying to justify the killing of the teen, who was not involved in any clashes with the military, but was simply trying to reach the Al-Aqsa Mosque, on the third Friday of the Holy Muslim Month of Ramadan.

      The soldiers did not allow any person to approach him, and later a Palestinian ambulance arrived at the scene and moved him to the Palestine Medical Center, in Ramallah, where he died of his serious injuries.

    • Mort d’un Palestinien : une vidéo contredit la version de l’armée israélienne
      AFP 13 juillet 2015

      Une ONG israélienne a diffusé lundi une vidéo montrant un officier abattant de plusieurs balles dans le dos un jeune Palestinien, des images contredisant la version de l’armée israélienne selon qui le militaire avait tiré car il était face à un « danger imminent ».

      Mohammed Kasbeh, 17 ans, a été abattu le 3 juillet par le colonel Israel Shomer après avoir lancé des pierres sur un véhicule militaire israélien en patrouille, au point de contrôle de Qalandia reliant Ramallah à Jérusalem, que des milliers de Palestiniens tentaient de traverser pour accomplir la prière musulmane hebdomadaire dans la Ville sainte.

      Selon l’armée, le colonel Shomer et un autre soldat ont tiré en réponse à un « danger imminent » après que leur véhicule blindé a été la cible de jets de pierres.

      Une affirmation « irrationnelle », accuse l’ONG B’Tselem qui dénonce régulièrement les exactions de l’armée israélienne dans les Territoires occupés. « Se sentir en danger ne suffit pas à justifier quelque action que ce soit », poursuit l’ONG qui s’appuie sur des images de vidéosurveillance dévoilées lundi.

      Sur ces images, captées par une caméra de la station-service devant laquelle Mohammed Kasbeh a été tué, on voit un homme courir vers un véhicule militaire et apparemment lui jeter une pierre avant de s’enfuir en courant. Aussitôt, le véhicule s’arrête et deux hommes, armes pointées, sortent pour le poursuivre.

      La suite se passe hors du cadre de la caméra. Mais des témoins ont indiqué à B’Tselem que le colonel Shomer avait tiré sur l’adolescent « à environ 10 mètres de distance » avant de repartir sans appeler de secours. Faute d’aide médicale, Mohammed Kasbeh est mort de ses blessures.

  • Palestinian Center for Human Rights
    Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (26 June- 01 July 2015)
    Thursday, 02 July 2015

    Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian at al-Hamra checkpoint in the Jordan Valley. Hammad Romanin, 23 ans
    Friday, 26 June 2015

    In the morning, Israeli forces stationed at al-Hamrah checkpoint, south of Tubas, killed a Palestinian civilian from all-’Oja village, north of Jericho. They claimed that a Palestinian gunman opened fire from a passing vehicle at the Israeli soldiers stationed at the aforementioned checkpoint, but no injuries were reported. Therefore, the Israeli soldiers in response opened fire at him wounding him seriously, and he later died.

    According to PCHR’s investigations and the father’s account, Jom’ah ’Atah Romanin, to a PCHR fieldworker, at approximately 09:00 on Friday, 26 June 2015, his son, Hammad (23), from al-’Oja village, north of Jericho, headed to Nablus via al-Hamrah checkpoint to bring some civilians as he works on his white Skoda car transporting passengers. At approximately 10:00 and while passing the checkpoint, his car approached the soldiers, who were searching Palestinian cars, and then an Israeli soldier stationed in an observation tower established at the checkpoint opened fire at him. As a result, Hammad was wounded with two bullets to the abdomen and left thigh. The Israeli soldiers forced the civilians who were in the area to stay meters away from the checkpoint and prevented them from approaching the wounded person. At approximately 11:20, an ambulance crew belonging to the ICRC from Tubas arrived at the scene, but the Israeli soldiers prevented them from approaching the wounded person and closed the checkpoint for more than two hours. Meanwhile, the Israeli soldiers brought a robot which pulled the corpse and took it to an unknown destination. At approximately 15:00, the corpse was given to his elder brother, Zuhair (33), from an Israeli camp I “Meswah” settlement established on the lands of al-Jaftalak, north of Jericho. It should be noted that the Israeli forces continued to keep the victim’s car.

    At approximately 13:30, Israeli forces moved into al-’Oja village. They raided and searched the house of the victim’s family. A number of young men and boys gathered and threw stones at the Israeli vehicles, and the Israeli soldiers in response fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, a number of civilians suffered tear gas inhalation, and 18-year-old Yousif Amatin sustained bruises in the left hand due to being beaten with by the Israeli soldiers using their gun butts. He was taken to Jericho Hospital to receive medical treatment. Israeli soldiers withdrew later and no further incidents were reported.

  • The Jewish state has no more room for ’good Arabs’
    There were once so-called good Arabs, and they are no more. Israel finished off the genre. Norman Issa, a man of the theater who dared boycott settlers, is finding out.
    By Gideon Levy 01:33 1Haaretz Daily

    Norman Issa did almost everything possible to be a good Arab. He was born a Christian (not a Muslim, like all the terrorists; Israelis love Christian Arabs); studied at the Beit Zvi School for the Performing Arts; married Gidona, a Jew; cooked a dumpling and added pomegranates for the refreshment on “Master Chef VIP;” acted on stage in Hebrew; played Amjad, a good Arab, of course, on the TV series “Arab Labor,” which was written by another good Arab, Sayed Kashua, whom Israelis so love to love.

    If only we had a few more such Normans and Sayeds, then we certainly would already have had peace. That is how we like them, the Arabs, when they make us laugh in Hebrew. Hummus, chips, salad and comedy series on Channel 2.

    There were once good Arabs, and they are no more. Israel finished off the genre. If there is an Israeli patriot, then Issa is the man. If there was an Arab who could serve as a model for living in coexistence, then he is the character. Trying to preserve his honor and identity, balancing on a thin line. In interviews he told me how he loves the land and also its residents; what more could we ask for?

    “There is nothing worth going to war over as far as I’m concerned,” said this charming man in an interview with Haaretz Magazine two years ago. He may vote for Hadash, but he has never been Mohammad Bakri. Not Lucy Aharish either, of course. He once said he feels “not here and not there.” When soldiers hugged him at the checkpoints and wanted to take their pictures with him, he felt uncomfortable.

    The seventh contestant eliminated from “Master Chef” did not hesitate to say this. Issa was born with the occupation, in June 1967, and tried to close one eye facing it. His father was expelled from the Galilee village Biram and not allowed to return despite all the promises – and Issa tried to forgive the country for that too.

    Now it is over. Norman’s path has been blocked. The end of the good Arabs who are not total collaborators. Issa dared to follow his conscience and asked the theater where he performs to be excused from appearing before settlers in the Jordan Valley in a play with the symbolic name “Boomerang.” And his request came flying right back at him, that’s for sure: Nationalistic Israel knocked him down. In the dying spasms of the good Arab, he pleaded on Tuesday: “You cannot expect that I, as an Israeli Arab, will go against my conscience and appear in places that are subject to dispute.”

    “Places that are subject to dispute,” Issa called the clearest province of apartheid and ethnic cleansing in the territories – the Jordan Valley, with its exploitative and abusive settlers dressed up as members of innocent kibbutzim and moshavim. In the Jordan Valley they expel shepherds and destroy their villages, deny them electricity and water, and imprison them behind hills of dirt. There in the Jordan Valley stand facing each another the green settlements and the arid villages. There the apartheid is pure, visible to everyone. That is where Issa did not want to perform. These people, who live in this reality and are to a great extent responsible for its creation, he is not able to entertain.

    Issa is worthy of praise for that. It is not his right, it is his obligation. In a country that was confident of the justice of its cause, the prime minister would have invited him and lauded him for his civic and moral awareness.

    Now the Cossacks of culture are threatening the apple of Issa’s eye: The Elmina Theater in Jaffa. A multicultural theater for children and young people, which he runs with his wife. The minister is already “examining” the allocation; such is life in the mafia. The rest is clear: Issa is finished. The man who said there is no war worth fighting will be forced to wage a losing battle.

    No more “Master Chef,” no more Channel 2 series, no more performances in the Arab theater. The regime and its collaborators have already shown him what it means to boycott settlers.

    This is the end of the story that’s known in advance: We are a Jewish state, there is no room here, not for Issa and not for Kashua. They should have known it from the start.

  • Soldier pays the price for criticizing the Israel army - Twilight Zone - - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News | By Gideon Levy and Alex Levac | May 21, 2015 | 1:52 PM

    Berrin. ’We see every day how soldiers… look at these people not as human beings, not as someone who is equal, but someone who is less than them.’ Courtesy of the Berrin family

    IDF soldier Shachar Berrin was sentenced to a week in prison after he attended the taping of an international TV program, during which he stood up and expressed his opinion of the occupation.

    Corporal Shachar Berrin, an immigrant from Australia and a religiously observant lone soldier – he has no family in Israel – is waiting to be sent to military prison. Berrin is a member of the rescue unit of the Home Front Command, and is stationed in the Jordan Valley.

    The punishment, delayed for the time being, was meted out by his battalion commander. The charge: taking part in a political meeting and in an interview the media, without permission from the army.

    But Berrin did not take part in any sort of “political meeting,” nor did he give an interview. Last Thursday, the 19-year-old soldier was in the audience in the hall of the Mishkenot Sha’ananim conference center, in Jerusalem, for a taping of “The New Arab Debates” – a program of the German television network Deutsche Welle that’s broadcast around the world, moderated by former BBC interviewer Tim Sebastian.

    The proposition debated by the panel appearing on the show was: “The occupation is destroying Israel.” The speakers consisted of the settler-activist Dani Dayan and a member of the left-wing Meretz party, Uri Zaki. Berrin, who was in uniform, stood up to address Dayan. The settlers and right-wing activists in the audience filmed him, and in less than 12 hours he was ordered to return to his base, where he was tried and convicted – even before the program was broadcast. (It aired this week.) Berrin makes his comment at minute 43 of the hour-long show.

    This whole incident shows that when rapid, determined action is called for, the Israel Defense Forces knows how to act. When soldiers kill Palestinian children, the investigation is stretched out over years, gathering dust before usually going nowhere. When soldiers are filmed holding abusive slogans, or when they identify publicly with “David Hanahalawi” – the soldier from the Nahal Brigade who threatened a Palestinian youth with his rifle and roughed him up a year ago, prompting hundreds of soldiers to express solidarity with him on the social networks – no one considers putting them on trial. But if a soldier dares to attest publicly that his fellow soldiers are humiliating Palestinians, the IDF mobilizes rapidly to trample, punish and silence. That’s what happened to Shachar Berrin.

    In the question-and-answer segment, after Dayan remarked that the fact that Israel is in 11th place in the World Happiness Report demonstrated that the occupation is not destroying it, Berrin asked for the floor and said (in English): “My name is Shachar Berrin and my question is for Dani Dayan. It was mentioned that Israel is the 11th happiest country in the world… I propose that what makes a country good isn’t whether it is happy or not, it’s the ethics and morality of the country. When soldiers are conditioned and persuaded on a daily basis to subjugate and humiliate people and consider other human beings as less than human, I think that seeps in, and I think that when the soldiers go home… they bring that back with them.”

    Tim Sebastian asked Berrin whether he was speaking “from personal experience.”

    Berrin: “Sure. Definitely. Just the other week, when some Border Police soldiers were rough with Christian tourists, another soldier, a colleague, said she couldn’t believe what they were doing: ‘I mean, come on, they are people, not Palestinians.’ I think that resonates throughout the occupied territories. I serve in the Jordan Valley, and we see every day how soldiers… look at these people not as human beings, not as someone who is equal, but someone who is less than them. And to think that we can just leave the racism and the xenophobia – that they will only be racist when they humiliate Palestinians – of course not… I think that once you are conditioned to think something, you bring it back with you and that it deeply affects Israeli society and causes it, as our president says, to be more racist.”

    Murmurs were heard in the audience: “He’s a jobnik [derogatory term for noncombat soldier], he’s a liar.” Dayan also lashed out: “You’re not the only person who was in the army. I was in the army, I have a daughter in the army. It’s demagogy. I think the guy is lying.”

    Sebastian: “You think he’s lying? On the basis of what? Because you don’t like it?”

    Dayan: “I challenge him to bring one example in which a [commanding officer] gave him an order to treat Palestinians inhumanely.”

    Sebastian: “You’ve never seen the reports from [the organization] Breaking the Silence?”

    Dayan: “Breaking the Silence is also one of those groups that are part of an orchestrated effort against Israel.”

    Sebastian: “They’re all liars?”

    The event ended. The audience vote on whether to support the motion for the debate ended in a tie. But even before that, it was clear that some of those present would immediately report Cpl. Berrin’s subversive behavior to the IDF authorities. The program’s producer, Tanya Sakzewski, asked Berrin whether he wanted his face scrambled in the broadcast. But he told her he had nothing to hide.

    Berrin was born in Israel to Jewish-American parents and moved with them as an infant to Australia, where he lived approximately until bar-mitzvah age, when he moved back to Israel with his mother, brother and sister. His brother, Seraphya, told me this week from Melbourne, where he lives, that Shachar had agonized at length over whether to serve in the IDF, primarily because of the occupation. (...)

  • Ripe for abuse - Palestinian child labour in Israel’s West Bank settlement farms - The Ecologist

    Hundreds of Palestinian children work on Israeli settlement farms in the occupied West Bank, the majority located in the Jordan Valley.

    Human Rights Watch (HRW) has documented human rights abuses against Palestinian children as young as 11 years old, who earn around US $19 for a full day working in the settlement agricultural industry.

    Many drop out of school and work in conditions that can be hazardous due to pesticides, dangerous equipment, and extreme heat. Children working on Israeli settlements pick, clean, and pack asparagus, tomatoes, eggplants, sweet peppers, onions, and dates, among other crops.

    #enfants #Palestine #colonisation #Israël #agro-industrie #exploitation #santé #pesticides

  • Settlers farming land Israeli army has closed off to its Palestinian owners - Diplomacy and Defense - Israel News | Haaretz

    Settlers in the northern Jordan Valley are farming large tracts of land owned by Palestinians, who are being denied access to it by a military order. The Palestinians submitted a petition to the High Court of Justice last month asking for the return of their land.

    After the West Bank’s occupation in 1967, the Israel Defense Forces forbade Palestinians in the Jordan Valley from encroaching on the Jordanian border. In 1969, Israel issued an order forbidding Palestinians from entering a wide strip of land between the border fence and the Jordan River.

    This policy remained unaltered even after the peace agreement with Jordan was signed in 1994. Over the years, and despite the government order not to touch the private land in the area, settlers began to farm it.

    In January 2013, following a Haaretz report about the settlers’ activity, a number of Palestinian families – whose land near the Hamra settlement was turned into a date plantation – petitioned the High Court. The court issued a conditional order asking the state to explain why the land owners should not be allowed to farm the land.

    Last month, another group of Palestinians, from Tubas, also petitioned the High Court, requesting their land back. The petitioners said they own 800 dunams (nearly 200 acres) in an area they are forbidden to enter, near the Mehola settlement.

    They had tried to farm the land last December but a settler blocked their path, they said. The next day, they were told by the IDF that they were forbidden to enter the area. Aerial photographs of the land showed that some 200 dunams (nearly 50 acres) of it was being cultivated for crops.

    In its response to the petition last month, the state confirmed that the lands in question belonged to Palestinians. However, it said it had “not completed sorting out the claim” that the land was being cultivated. The state sought to present its broader position at a later date. Justice Zvi Zylbertal instructed that a panel of justices hear the case.

    Aerial photographs seemingly show that some 5,000 dunams (over 1,200 acres) of Palestinian land are being farmed by settlers in the fertile Jordan Valley. Some of the settlers were allocated fields by the World Zionist Organization, on the alleged order of the defense minister’s assistant in 1981. Another part of the land has apparently been seized by the settlers.

    The state will have to decide whether the land belongs to the people registered as its owners in the Land Registry, or to those who received it from WZO. In the meantime, the state is trying to reach compensation agreements with the Palestinian owners.

    Last week, Supreme Court President Miriam Naor and justices Daphne Barak-Erez and Menachem Mazuz, who heard the petition, criticized the state. “Someone decided to ignore [state] decisions and took rights in private land,” said Mazuz, while Naor noted, “I don’t understand how this can happen.”

    Justice Barak-Erez, meanwhile, said, “If it’s a military area and a possibility to farm it, why aren’t those who are entering it the owners? In some closed areas, the owners receive a permit to farm the land. The people should be allowed to exercise their ownership, subject to security regulations.”

    “The situation is, in fact, clear,” said Mazuz. “You [the state] admit it’s private land. Handing it over [to the settlers] was apparently contrary to the decisions of the ministerial committee for defense affairs. So the state’s first obligation is to restore the situation to its previous condition ... then we must think about the financial aspects.”

  • #Israel demolishes EU-funded irrigation pools in Jordan Valley | Maan News Agency

    NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli forces demolished EU-funded irrigation pools in the northern Jordan Valley on Thursday, locals told Ma’an.

    Israeli military vehicles arrived in the area of al-Jiftlik accompanied by bulldozers and demolished six irrigation pools used by Palestinian farmers.

    The construction of the pools was funded by grants from European donor countries.

    The pretext for the demolition was based on a “military order,” locals said.

    L’#union_européenne remboursera l’essence et les heures supp aux démolisseurs.