publishedmedium:haaretz

  • Israeli cyber firm negotiated advanced attack capabilities sale with Saudis, Haaretz reveals

    Just months before crown prince launched a purge against his opponents, NSO offered Saudi intelligence officials a system to hack into cellular phones ■ NSO: We abide the law, our products are used to combat crime and terrorism

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israeli-company-negotiated-to-sell-advanced-cybertech-to-the-saudi

    The Israeli company NSO Group Technologies offered Saudi Arabia a system that hacks cellphones, a few months before Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began his purge of regime opponents, according to a complaint to the Israel Police now under investigation.
    But NSO, whose development headquarters is in Herzliya, says that it has acted according to the law and its products are used in the fight against crime and terror.
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    Either way, a Haaretz investigation based on testimony and photos, as well as travel and legal documents, reveals the Saudis’ behind-the-scenes attempts to buy Israeli technology.
    In June 2017, a diverse group gathered in a hotel room in Vienna, a city between East and West that for decades has been a center for espionage, defense-procurement contacts and unofficial diplomatic meetings.
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    Arriving at the hotel were Abdullah al-Malihi, a close associate of Prince Turki al-Faisal – a former head of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence services – and another senior Saudi official, Nasser al-Qahtani, who presented himself as the deputy of the current intelligence chief. Their interlocutors were two Israeli businessmen, representatives of NSO, who presented to the Saudis highly advanced technology.

    >> Israel’s cyber-spy industry helps world dictators hunt dissidents and gays | Revealed
    In 2017, NSO was avidly promoting its new technology, its Pegasus 3 software, an espionage tool so sophisticated that it does not depend on the victim clicking on a link before the phone is breached.
    During the June 2017 meeting, NSO officials showed a PowerPoint presentation of the system’s capabilities. To demonstrate it, they asked Qahtani to go to a nearby mall, buy an iPhone and give them its number. During that meeting they showed how this was enough to hack into the new phone and record and photograph the participants in the meeting.
    The meeting in Vienna wasn’t the first one between the two sides. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recently expressed pride in the tightening ties with Gulf states, with Israel’s strength its technology. The message is clear: Israel is willing to sell these countries security-related technologies, and they forge closer ties with Israel in the strategic battle against Iran.
    >> $6 billion of Iranian money: Why Israeli firm Black Cube really went after Obama’s team
    According to the complaint, the affair began with a phone call received by a man identified as a European businessman with connections in the Gulf states. On the line was W., an Israeli dealing in defense-related technologies and who operates through Cyprus-based companies. (Many defense-related companies do business in Cyprus because of its favorable tax laws.) W. asked his European interlocutor to help him do business in the Gulf.

    FILE Photo: Two of the founders of NSO, Shalev Julio and Omri Lavi.
    Among the European businessman’s acquaintances were the two senior Saudi officials, Malihi and Qahtani.
    On February 1, 2017, W. and the businessman met for the first time. The main topic was the marketing of cyberattack software. Unlike ordinary weapons systems, the price depends only on a customer’s eagerness to buy the system.
    The following month, the European businessman traveled to a weapons exhibition in the United Arab Emirates, where a friend introduced him to Malihi, the Saudi businessman.
    In April 2017, a meeting was arranged in Vienna between Malihi, Qahtani and representatives of Israeli companies. Two more meetings subsequently took place with officials of Israeli companies in which other Israelis were present. These meetings took place at the Four Seasons Hotel in Limassol, Cyprus, where Israeli cybercompanies often meet with foreign clients.
    >> Snowden: Israeli firm’s spyware was used to track Khashoggi
    The meetings were attended by W. and his son. They were apparently friendly: In photographs documenting one of them, W. and Qahtani are shown after a hunting trip, with the Saudi aiming a rifle at a dead animal.
    In the Vienna meeting of April 2017, the Saudis presented a list of 23 systems they sought to acquire. Their main interest was cybersystems. For a few dozens of millions of dollars, they would be able to hack into the phones of regime opponents in Saudi Arabia and around the world and collect classified information about them.
    According to the European businessman, the Saudis, already at the first meeting, passed along to the representatives of one of the companies details of a Twitter account of a person who had tweeted against the regime. They wanted to know who was behind the account, but the Israeli company refused to say.

    Offices of Israeli NSO Group company in Herzliya, Israel, Aug. 25, 2016Daniella Cheslow/AP
    In the June 2017 meeting, the Saudis expressed interest in NSO’s technology.
    According to the European businessman, in July 2017 another meeting was held between the parties, the first at W.’s home in Cyprus. W. proposed selling Pegasus 3 software to the Saudis for $208 million.
    Malihi subsequently contacted W. and invited him to Riyadh to present the software to members of the royal family. The department that oversees defense exports in Israel’s Defense Ministry and the ministry’s department for defense assistance, responsible for encouraging exports, refused to approve W.’s trip.
    Using the initials for the defense assistance department, W. reportedly said “screw the D.A.” and chartered a small plane, taking with him NSO’s founder, Shalev Hulio, to the meetings in the Gulf. According to the European businessman, the pair were there for three days, beginning on July 18, 2017.
    At these meetings, the European businessman said, an agreement was made to sell the Pegasus 3 to the Saudis for $55 million.
    According to the European businessman, the details of the deal became known to him only through his contacts in the defense assistance department. He said he had agreed orally with W. that his commission in the deal would be 5 percent – $2.75 million.
    But W. and his son stopped answering the European businessman’s phone calls. Later, the businessman told the police, he received an email from W.’s lawyer that contained a fake contract in which the company would agree to pay only his expenses and to consider whether to pay him a bonus if the deal went through.
    The European businessman, assisted by an Israeli lawyer, filed a complaint in April 2018. He was questioned by the police’s national fraud squad and was told that the affair had been transferred to another unit specializing in such matters. Since then he has been contacted by the income tax authorities, who are apparently checking whether there has been any unreported income from the deal.
    The European businessman’s claims seem to be substantiated by correspondence Haaretz has obtained between Cem Koksal, a Turkish businessman living in the UAE, and W.’s lawyers in Israel. The European businessman said in his complaint that Koksal was involved in mediating the deal.
    In a letter sent by Koksal’s lawyer in February of this year, he demanded his portion from W. In a response letter, sent in early March, W.’s attorney denied the existence of the deal. The deal had not been signed, the letter claimed, due to Koksal’s negligence, therefore he was due no commission or compensation of any kind.
    These issues have a wider context. From the claims by the European businessman and Koksal’s letter, it emerges that the deal was signed in the summer of 2017, a few months before Crown Prince Mohammed began his purge of regime opponents. During that purge, the Saudi regime arrested and tortured members of the royal family and Saudi businessmen accused of corruption. The Saudis also held Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri for a few days in a Riyadh hotel.
    In the following months the Saudis continued their hunt for regime opponents living abroad, which raised international attention only when the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul came to light in October.
    It has recently been claimed that NSO helped the Saudi regime surveil its opponents. According to an article in Forbes magazine and reports from the Canadian cyber-related think tank Citizen Lab, among the surveillance targets were the satirist Ghanem Almasrir and human rights activist Yahya Asiri, who live in London, and Omar Abdulaziz, who lives in exile in Canada.
    These three men were in contact with Khashoggi. Last month, Edward Snowden, who uncovered the classified surveillance program of the U.S. National Security Agency, claimed that Pegasus had been used by the Saudi authorities to surveil Khashoggi.
    “They are the worst of the worst,” Snowden said of NSO, whose people he accused of aiding and abetting human rights violations.
    NSO’s founders and chief executives are Omri Lavie and Shalev Hulio. The company is registered in Cyprus but its development headquarters is in Herzliya. In 2014 the company was sold to private equity firm Francisco Partners based on a valuation of $250 million.
    Francisco Partners did not respond to Haaretz’s request for comment.
    In May, Verint Systems offered to buy NSO for $1 billion, but the offer was rejected. The company is awash in cash. Earlier this month all its employees went on vacation in Phuket, Thailand. Netta Barzilai, Lior Suchard, the Ma Kashur Trio and the band Infected Mushroom were also flown there to entertain them.
    The Pegasus system developed by NSO was a “one-click system,” meaning that the victim had to press on a link sent to him through phishing. The new system no longer requires this. Only the number of the SIM card is needed to hack into the phone. It’s unknown how Pegasus does this.
    Technology sources believe that the technology either exploits breaches in the cellphone’s modem, the part that receives messages from the antenna, or security breaches in the apps installed on a phone. As soon as a phone is hacked, the speaker and camera can be used for recording conversations. Even encoded apps such as WhatsApp can be monitored.
    NSO’s operations are extremely profitable.
    The company, which conceals its client list, has been linked to countries that violate human rights. NSO says its products are used in the fight against crime and terror, but in certain countries the authorities identify anti-regime activists and journalists as terrorists and subject them to surveillance.
    In 2012, NSO sold an earlier version of Pegasus to Mexico to help it combat the drug cartel in that country. According to the company, all its contracts include a clause specifically permitting the use of its software only to “investigate and prevent crime or acts of terror.” But The New York Times reported in 2016 that the Mexican authorities also surveilled journalists and lawyers.
    Following that report, Mexican victims of the surveillance filed a lawsuit in Israel against NSO last September. This year, The New York Times reported that the software had been sold to the UAE, where it helped the authorities track leaders of neighboring countries as well as a London newspaper editor.
    In response to these reports, NSO said it “operated and operates solely in compliance with defense export laws and under the guidelines and close oversight of all elements of the defense establishment, including all matters relating to export policies and licenses.
    “The information presented by Haaretz about the company and its products and their use is wrong, based on partial rumors and gossip. The presentation distorts reality.
    “The company has an independent, external ethics committee such as no other company like it has. It includes experts in legal affairs and international relations. The committee examines every deal so that the use of the system will take place only according to permitted objectives of investigating and preventing terror and crime.
    “The company’s products assist law enforcement agencies in protecting people around the world from terror attacks, drug cartels, child kidnappers for ransom, pedophiles, and other criminals and terrorists.
    “In contrast to newspaper reports, the company does not sell its products or allow their use in many countries. Moreover, the company greatly limits the extent to which its customers use its products and is not involved in the operation of the systems by customers.”
    A statement on W.’s behalf said: “This is a false and completely baseless complaint, leverage for an act of extortion by the complainants, knowing that there is no basis for their claims and that if they would turn to the relevant courts they would be immediately rejected.”


  • Des universitaires et des artistes israéliens mettent en garde contre une mise en équation de l’antisionisme et de l’antisémitisme
    22 novembre | Ofer Aderet pour Haaretz |Traduction J.Ch. pour l’AURDIP
    https://www.aurdip.org/des-universitaires-et-des-artistes.html

    Une lettre ouverte de 34 éminents Israéliens, dont des chercheurs en histoire juive et des lauréats du Prix Israël, a été publiée mardi dans les média autrichiens appelant à faire une différence entre critique légitime d’Israël, « aussi dure puisse-t-elle être », et antisémitisme.

    Cette lettre a été émise avant un rassemblement international à Vienne sur antisémitisme et antisionisme en Europe.

    L’ événement de cette semaine, « L’Europe par delà l’antisémitisme et l’antisionisme », se tient sous les auspices du Chancelier autrichien Sebastian Kurz. Son homologue israélien, Benjamin Netanyahu, devait y prendre part, mais est resté en Israël pour s’occuper de la crise dans sa coalition gouvernementale.

    « Nous adoptons et soutenons totalement le combat intransigeant [de l’Union Européenne] contre l’antisémitisme. La montée de l’antisémitisme nous inquiète. Comme nous l’a enseigné l’histoire, elle a souvent été l’annonce de désastres ultérieurs pour toute l’humanité », déclare la lettre.

    « Cependant, l’UE défend les droits de l’Homme et doit les protéger avec autant de force qu’elle combat l’antisémitisme. Il ne faudrait pas instrumentaliser ce combat contre l’antisémitisme pour réprimer la critique légitime de l’occupation par Israël et ses graves violations des droits fondamentaux des Palestiniens. » (...)

    #antisionisme #antisémitisme

    • La liste des signataires:
      Moshe Zimmerman, an emeritus professor at Hebrew University and a former director of the university’s Koebner Center for German History; Moshe Zukermann, emeritus professor of history and philosophy of science at Tel Aviv University; Zeev Sternhell, a Hebrew University emeritus professor in political science and a current Haaretz columnist; Israel Prize laureate, sculptor Dani Karavan; Israel Prize laureate, photographer Alex Levac; Israel Prize laureate, artist Michal Naaman; Gadi Algazi, a history professor at Tel Aviv University; Eva Illouz, a professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and former President of Bezalel Academy of Art and Design; Gideon Freudenthal, a professor in the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University; Rachel Elior, an Israeli professor of Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Anat Matar, philosophy professor at Tel Aviv University; Yael Barda, a professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; Miki Kratsman, a former chairman of the photography department at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design; Jose Brunner, an emeritus professor at Tel Aviv University and a former director of the Minerva Institute for German History; Alon Confino, a professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; Israel Prize laureate, graphic designer David Tartakover; Arie M. Dubnov, Chair of Israel Studies at George Washington University; David Enoch, history, philosophy and Judaic Studies professor at Israel’s Open University; Amos Goldberg, Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Israel Prize laureate and vice-president of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities David Harel; Hannan Hever, comparative literature and Judaic Studies professor at Yale University; Hannah Kasher, professor emerita in Jewish Thought at Bar-Ilan University; Michael Keren, emeritus professor of economics at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Israel Prize laureate, Yehoshua Kolodny, professor emeritus in the Institute of Earth Sciences at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Nitzan Lebovic, professor of Holocaust studies at Lehigh University; Idith Zertal, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Dmitry Shumsky, professor of Jewish History at Hebrew University; Israel Prize laureate David Shulman, professor emeritus of Asian studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Ishay Rosen-Zvi, Jewish philosophy professor at Tel Aviv University; Dalia Ofer, professor emerita in Jewry and Holocaust Studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Paul Mendes-Flohr, professor emeritus for Jewish thoughts at the Hebrew University; Jacob Metzer, former president of Israel’s Open University; and Israel Prize laureate Yehuda Judd Ne’eman, professor emeritus at Tel Aviv University arts faculty

      #Palestine


  • Israeli academics and artists warn against equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism
    Their open letter ahead of a conference in Vienna advises against giving Israel immunity for ‘grave and widespread violations of human rights and international law’

    Ofer Aderet
    Nov 20, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israeli-professors-warn-against-equating-anti-zionism-with-anti-se

    An open letter from 35 prominent Israelis, including Jewish-history scholars and Israel Prize laureates, was published Tuesday in the Austrian media calling for a distinction between legitimate criticism of Israel, “harsh as it may be,” and anti-Semitism.
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    The letter was released before an international gathering in Vienna on anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in Europe.
    The event this week, “Europe beyond anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism: Securing Jewish life in Europe,” is being held under the auspices of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. His Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, had been due to take part but stayed in Israel to deal with the crisis in his coalition government. 
    “We fully embrace and support the [European Union’s] uncompromising fight against anti-Semitism. The rise of anti-Semitism worries us. As we know from history, it has often signaled future disasters to all mankind,” the letter states. 
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    “However, the EU also stands for human rights and has to protect them as forcefully as it fights anti-Semitism. This fight against anti-Semitism should not be instrumentalized to suppress legitimate criticism of Israel’s occupation and severe violations of Palestinian human rights.” 

    The signatories accuse Netanyahu of suggesting an equivalence between anti-Israel criticism and anti-Semitism. The official declaration by the conference also notes that anti-Semitism is often expressed through disproportionate criticism of Israel, but the letter warns that such an approach could “afford Israel immunity against criticism for grave and widespread violations of human rights and international law.”
    The signatories object to the declaration’s alleged “identifying” of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. “Zionism, like all other modern Jewish movements in the 20th century, was harshly opposed by many Jews, as well as by non-Jews who were not anti-Semitic,” they write. “Many victims of the Holocaust opposed Zionism. On the other hand, many anti-Semites supported Zionism. It is nonsensical and inappropriate to identify anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.”
    Among the signatories are Moshe Zimmerman, an emeritus professor at Hebrew University and a former director of the university’s Koebner Center for German History; Zeev Sternhell, a Hebrew University emeritus professor in political science and a current Haaretz columnist; sculptor Dani Karavan; Miki Kratsman, a former chairman of the photography department at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design; Jose Brunner, an emeritus professor at Tel Aviv University and a former director of the Minerva Institute for German History; Alon Confino, a professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; and graphic designer David Tartakover.

    Ofer Aderet
    Haaretz Correspondent

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    • La liste des signataires:
      Moshe Zimmerman, an emeritus professor at Hebrew University and a former director of the university’s Koebner Center for German History; Moshe Zukermann, emeritus professor of history and philosophy of science at Tel Aviv University; Zeev Sternhell, a Hebrew University emeritus professor in political science and a current Haaretz columnist; Israel Prize laureate, sculptor Dani Karavan; Israel Prize laureate, photographer Alex Levac; Israel Prize laureate, artist Michal Naaman; Gadi Algazi, a history professor at Tel Aviv University; Eva Illouz, a professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and former President of Bezalel Academy of Art and Design; Gideon Freudenthal, a professor in the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University; Rachel Elior, an Israeli professor of Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Anat Matar, philosophy professor at Tel Aviv University; Yael Barda, a professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; Miki Kratsman, a former chairman of the photography department at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design; Jose Brunner, an emeritus professor at Tel Aviv University and a former director of the Minerva Institute for German History; Alon Confino, a professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; Israel Prize laureate, graphic designer David Tartakover; Arie M. Dubnov, Chair of Israel Studies at George Washington University; David Enoch, history, philosophy and Judaic Studies professor at Israel’s Open University; Amos Goldberg, Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Israel Prize laureate and vice-president of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities David Harel; Hannan Hever, comparative literature and Judaic Studies professor at Yale University; Hannah Kasher, professor emerita in Jewish Thought at Bar-Ilan University; Michael Keren, emeritus professor of economics at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Israel Prize laureate, Yehoshua Kolodny, professor emeritus in the Institute of Earth Sciences at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Nitzan Lebovic, professor of Holocaust studies at Lehigh University; Idith Zertal, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Dmitry Shumsky, professor of Jewish History at Hebrew University; Israel Prize laureate David Shulman, professor emeritus of Asian studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Ishay Rosen-Zvi, Jewish philosophy professor at Tel Aviv University; Dalia Ofer, professor emerita in Jewry and Holocaust Studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Paul Mendes-Flohr, professor emeritus for Jewish thoughts at the Hebrew University; Jacob Metzer, former president of Israel’s Open University; and Israel Prize laureate Yehuda Judd Ne’eman, professor emeritus at Tel Aviv University arts faculty


  • The Shin Bet’s disgrace veiled in secrecy - Haaretz Editorial

    An invasive search of a woman by the organization shows that the security services must tell their people there are orders they should refuse to obey

    Haaretz Editorial
    Nov 03, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/.premium-the-shin-bet-s-disgrace-veiled-in-secrecy-1.6616497

    The Shin Bet security service’s activities in the West Bank are generally carried out under a veil of secrecy. Only on rare occasions are they revealed to the public, and it’s very rare for the public to find out about crimes apparently committed by one of the secret services in the name of national security.
    The first criminal investigation ordered by the ombudsman for complaints by people interrogated by the Shin Bet – after more than 1,000 complaints had been closed – attests once again to the need for closer supervision of what Shin Bet agents and members of the other security services do to Palestinians living under the occupation.
    The details of the incident, as reported by Haaretz’s Josh Breiner and Yotam Berger on Friday, are shocking. While arresting a Palestinian woman in 2015, a Shin Bet agent ordered soldiers to conduct a vaginal and anal search of the woman, apparently without any justification. Two female soldiers were assigned to conduct this invasive search that no member of the task force appears to have been authorized to make. The search produced nothing but humiliation and offense for the woman arrested.


  • Israël cherche à expulser l’auteure Susan Abulhawa
    Nicolas Gary - 02.11.2018
    https://www.actualitte.com/article/monde-edition/israel-cherche-a-expulser-l-auteure-susan-abulhawa/91690

    Susan Abulhawa a 48 ans : elle devrait intervenir au festival de littérature palestinienne qui se tient du 3 au 7 novembre, invitée par le British Council, sponsor de la manifestation. Mais outre son activité d’auteure, elle est également partisane de la campagne BDS, Boycott, Désinvestissement et Sanctions.
    (...)

    Les autorités israéliennes avaient surtout en mémoire qu’elle avait été expulsée d’Israël et qu’elle aurait, pour y revenir, dû demander l’octroi d’un visa. Un point légal que l’écrivaine ignorait totalement, assure son amie. C’est pourtant en mars 2017 que le Parlement a adopté une législation très controversée interdisant littéralement aux membres de BDS de séjourner sur le sol israélien.
    Elle devait comparaître devant le juge ce 2 novembre – avec une certaine clémence, toutefois, ayant appris que le festival dépendait en grande partie de sa présence.

    Expulsion actée, en attente de l’appel

    Pour autant, le juge a décidé de son expulsion, sans autre forme de procès. Susans Abulhawa a fait appel de la décision, mais personne ne sait quand ce dernier sera entendu. Un avocat du British Council ainsi que l’ambassade des États-Unis se sont rapprochés des organisateurs de la manifestation, mais n’ont pas pu prendre attache avec elle.

    Le problème vient également de ce que l’auteure est un best-seller parmi les plus importantes chez les écrivains arabes. Son livre Mornings in Jenin est devenu un succès mondial, traduit en 28 langues.

    #frontières #expulsion #Susan_Abulhawa

    • Susan Abulhawa’s statement to Kalimat Palestinian Literature Festival after the Israeli authorities have denied her entry into her country and she was therefore unable to attend the festival.
      https://www.facebook.com/susan.abulhawa/posts/10156481100262254

      I would like to express my deep gratitude to the Kalimat Palestinian Literature Festival, Mahmoud Muna in particular, and to the Kenyon Institute of the British Council for inviting me and undertaking the expense for me to participate in this year’s literature festival in Palestine.

      As you all know by now, Israeli authorities have denied me entry into my country and I am therefore unable to attend the festival. It pains me greatly not to be with my friends and fellow writers to explore and celebrate our literary traditions with readers and with each other in our homeland. It pains me that we can meet anywhere in the world except in Palestine, the place to which we belong, from whence our stories emerge and where all our turns eventually lead. We cannot meet on soil that has been fertilized for millennia by the bodies of our ancestors and watered by the tears and blood of Palestine’s sons and daughters who daily fight for her.

      Since my deportation, I read that Israeli authorities indicated that I was required to “coordinate” my travel with them in advance. This is a lie. In fact, I was told upon arrival at the airport that I had been required to apply for a visa to my US passport, and that this application would not be accepted until 2020, at least five years after the first time they denied me entry. They said it was my responsibility to know this even though I was never given any indication of being banned. Then they said my first deportation in 2015 was because I refused to give them the reason for my visit. This, too, is a lie. Here are the facts:

      In 2015, I traveled to Palestine to build playgrounds in several villages and to hold opening ceremonies at playgrounds we had already built in the months previous. Another member of our organization was traveling with me. She happened to be Jewish and they allowed her in. Several Israeli interrogators asked me the same questions in different ways over the course of approximately 7.5 hours. I answered them all, as Palestinians must if we are to stand a chance of going home, even as visitors. But I was not sufficiently deferential, nor was I capable of that in the moment. But I was certainly composed and – the requirement for all violated people – “civil.” Finally, I was accused of not cooperating because I did not know how many cousins I have and what are all their names and the names of their spouses. It was only after being told that I was denied entry that I raised my voice and refused to leave quietly. I did yell, and I stand by everything I yelled. According to Haaretz, Israel said I “behaved angrily, crudely and vulgarly” in 2015 at the Allenby Bridge.

      What I said in 2015 to my interrogators, and which was also reported in Haaretz at the time, is that they should be the ones to leave, not me; that I am a daughter of this land and nothing will change that; that my own direct history is steeped in the land and there’s no way they can extricate it; that as much as they invoke Zionist mythological fairy tales, they can never claim such personal familial lineage, much as they wish they could.

      I suppose that must sound vulgar to Zionist ears. To be confronted with authenticity of Palestinian indigeneity despite exile, and face their apocryphal, ever-shifting colonial narratives.

      My lack of deference in 2015 and choice not to quietly accept the arbitrary decision of an illegitimate gatekeeper to my country apparently got appended to my name and, upon my arrival this time on November 1st, signaled for my immediate deportation.

      The true vulgarity is that several million Europeans and other foreigners live in Palestine now while the indigenous population lives either in exile or under the cruel boots of Israeli occupation; the true vulgarity is in the rows of snipers surrounding Gaza, taking careful aim and shooting human beings with no real way to defend themselves, who dare to protest their collective imprisonment and imposed misery; the true vulgarity is in seeing our youth bleed on the ground, waste in Israeli jails, starve for an education, travel, learning, or some opportunity to fully be in the world; The true vulgarity is the way they have taken and continue to take everything from us, how they have carved out our hearts, stolen our everything, occupied our history, and tamp our voices and our art.

      In total, Israel detained me for approximately 36 hours. We were not allowed any electronics, pens or pencils in the jail cells, but I found a way to take both – because we Palestinians are resourceful, smart, and we find our way to freedom and dignity by any means we can. I have photos and video from inside that terrible detention center, which I took with a second phone hidden on my body, and I left for them a few messages on the walls by the dirty bed I had to lay on. I suppose they will find it vulgar to read: “Free Palestine,” “Israel is an Apartheid State,” or “susan abulhawa was here and smuggled this pencil into her prison cell”.

      But the most memorable part of this ordeal were the books. I had two books in my carry-on when I arrived at the jail and I was allowed to keep them. I alternated reading from each, sleeping, thinking.

      The first book was a highly researched text by historian Nur Masalha, “Palestine: A Four Thousand Year History.” I was scheduled to interview Nur on stage about his epic audit of Palestinian millennia-old history, told not from the politically motivated narratives, but from archeological and other forensic narratives. It is a people’s history, spanning the untidy and multilayered identities of Palestine’s indigenous populations from the Bronze Age until today. In an Israeli detention cell, with five other women – all of them Eastern European, and each of them in her own private pain, the chapters of Nur Masalha’s book took me through Palestine’s pluralistic, multicultural and multi-religious past, distorted and essentialized by modern inventions of an ancient past.

      The bitter irony of our condition was not lost on me. I, a daughter of the land, of a family rooted at least 900 years in the land, and who spent much of her childhood in Jerusalem, was being deported from her homeland by the sons and daughters of recent arrivals, who came to Palestine a mere decades ago with European-born ethos of racial Darwinism, invoking biblical fairy tales and divinely ordained entitlement..

      It occurred to me, too, that all Palestinians – regardless of our conditions, ideologies, or the places of our imprisonment or exile – are forever bound together in a common history that begins with us and travels to the ancient past to one place on earth, like the many leaves and branches of a tree that lead to one trunk. And we are also bound together by the collective pain of watching people from all over the world colonize not only the physical space of our existence, but the spiritual, familial, and cultural arenas of our existence. I think we also find power in this unending, unhealed wound. We write our stories from it. Sing our songs and dabke there, too. We make art from these aches. We pick up rifles and pens, cameras and paint brushes in this space, throw stones, fly kites and flash victory and power fists there.

      The other book I read was Colson Whitehead’s acclaimed, spellbinding novel, “The Underground Railroad.” It is the story of Cora, a girl born into slavery to Mabel, the first escaped slave from the Randal Plantation. In this fictional account, Cora escapes the plantation with her friend Ceasar their determined slave catcher, Ridgeway on their trail in the Underground Railroad – a real-life metaphor made into an actual railroad in the novel. The generational trauma of inconceivable bondage is all the more devastating in this novel because it is told matter-of-factly from the vantage of the enslaved. Another people’s collective unhealed wound laid bare, an excruciatingly powerful common past, a place of their power too, a source of their stories and their songs.

      I am back in my house now, with my daughter and our beloved dogs and cats, but my heart doesn’t ever leave Palestine. So, I am there, and we will continue to meet each other in the landscapes of our literature, art, cuisine and all the riches of our shared culture.

      After writing this statement, I learned that the press conference is being held at Dar el Tifl. I lived the best years of my childhood there, despite my separation from family and the sometimes difficult conditions we faced living under Israeli occupation. Dar el Tifl is the legacy of one of the most admirable women I have ever known – Sitt Hind el Husseini. She saved me in more ways than I suppose she knew, or that I understood at the time. She saved a lot of us girls. She gave gathered us from all the broken bits of Palestine. She gave us food and shelter, educated and believed in us, and in turn made us believe we were worthy. There is no more appropriate place than Dar el Tift to read this statement.

      I want to leave you with one more thought I had in that jail cell, and it is this: Israel is spiritually, emotionally, and culturally small despite the large guns they point at us – or perhaps precisely because of them. It is to their own detriment that they cannot accept our presence in our homeland, because our humanity remains intact and our art is beautiful and life-affirming, and we aren’t going anywhere but home.


  • Revealed: Israel’s cyber-spy industry helps world dictators hunt dissidents and gays

    Haaretz investigation spanning 100 sources in 15 countries reveals Israel has become a leading exporter of tools for spying on civilians. Dictators around the world – even in countries with no formal ties to Israel – use them eavesdrop on human rights activists, monitor emails, hack into apps and record conversations
    By Hagar Shezaf and Jonathan Jacobson Oct 20, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-israel-s-cyber-spy-industry-aids-dictators-hunt-dissident

    During the summer of 2016, Santiago Aguirre divided his time between part-time university lecturing and working for an organization that helps locate missing people. Mexico was then in the news internationally because of presidential candidate Donald Trump’s promise to build a wall on the American border with its southern neighbor. However, for Aguirre, a Mexican human rights activist, the problems of the present were far more pressing than any future wall. At the time, he was in the midst of a lengthy investigation to solve the mystery of the disappearance and presumed murder of 43 students in the city of Iguala two years before. It was becoming increasingly clear that his findings were incompatible with the results of the investigation conducted by the government.
    Aguirre wasn’t concerned when he received a series of text messages containing broken links. “Please help me with my brother, the police took him only because he is a teacher,” one message read. And another: “Professor, I encountered a problem. I am sending back my thesis, which is based on your dissertation, so that you can give me your comments.” The messages looked no different from many of the legitimate messages he received every day as part of his work. And therein lay the secret of their power. When Aguirre clicked on the links, however, he was inadvertently turning his smartphone into a surveillance device in the hands of the government.
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    “Those text messages had information that was personal,” Aguirre notes, “the kind of information that could make the message interesting for me so I would click. It wasn’t until later that I actually thought – well, it is actually pretty weird that I received three messages with broken links.”

    Mexican human rights activist Santiago Aguirre, left, and colleague Mario Patron. Centro Prodh
    The discovery had a brutally chilling effect on the work of his organization. For the first time, he says, speaking with Haaretz by phone, he really and truly feared that every step he took was being watched, and that perhaps his family too was under surveillance.
    “Over the past 10 years, we have a figure of around 30,000 people who disappeared” in Mexico, Aguirre explains. “Many places in Mexico are controlled by organized crime. It has under its influence and power the authorities of some regions of the country, so they use the police to detain and then disappear people that they think are the enemy. I can tell you of many examples in which the Mexican military, for example, has presented the work human rights defenders as [benefiting] the drug cartels and organized crime. So there’s a pattern of thinking about the human rights sector in Mexico as a sector that needs to be surveilled.”

    The public revelation of the fact that Aguirre was under surveillance was made possible by cooperation between Mexican organizations and the Canadian research institute Citizen Lab. It turned out that Aguirre was one of a group of 22 journalists, lawyers, politicians, researchers and activists who were being tracked by local authorities. An examination of Aguirre’s telephone revealed that the links in the text messages were related to Pegasus spyware, which the authorities were using.
    But how did Pegasus get to Mexico? The trail of the malware led to Herzliya Pituah, the prosperous Tel Aviv suburb that is one of the major hubs of Israel’s high-tech industry. It’s there, in a narrow stretch of land between Israel’s coastal highway and the Mediterranean Sea, that NSO Group, the company that developed this Trojan-horse program, has its headquarters. Pegasus, which Forbes magazine called “the world’s most invasive mobile spy kit” in 2016, allows almost unlimited monitoring, even commandeering, of cellphones: to discover the phone’s location, eavesdrop on it, record nearby conversations, photograph those in the vicinity of the phone, read and write text messages and emails, download apps and penetrate apps already in the phone, and access photographs, clips, calendar reminders and the contacts list. And all in total secrecy.
    Pegasus’ invasive capability was rapidly transformed into dazzling economic success. In 2014, less than five years after entering the world from a space in a chicken coop in Bnei Zion, a moshav in the country’s center, 70 percent of the company’s holdings were purchased for $130 million. The buyer was Francisco Partners, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, which specializes in high-tech investments. That deal followed Francisco Partners’ earlier purchases of Israeli firms Ex Libris and Dmatek, According to Reuters, a year after the NSO takeover, Francisco Partners enjoyed a profit of $75 million.
    But the big money of NSO is only a small part of the big picture. Within a few years, the Israeli espionage industry has become the spearhead of the global commerce in surveillance tools and communications interception. Today, every self-respecting governmental agency that has no respect for the privacy of its citizens, is equipped with spy capabilities created in Herzliya Pituah.


  • Official documents prove: Israel bans young Americans based on Canary Mission website - Israel News - Haaretz.com

    Some Americans detained upon arrival in Israel reported being questioned about their political activity based on ’profiles’ on the controversial website Canary Mission. Documents obtained by Haaretz now clearly show that is indeed a source of information for decisions to bar entry

    Noa Landau SendSend me email alerts
    Oct 04, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-official-documents-prove-israel-bans-young-americans-based-on-cana

    The Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Ministry is using simple Google searches, mainly the controversial American right-wing website Canary Mission, to bar political activists from entering Israel, according to documents obtained by Haaretz.
    >>Israeli court rejects American visa-holding student’s appeal; to be deported for backing BDS
    The internal documents, some of which were submitted to the appeals tribunal in the appeal against the deportation of American student Lara Alqasem, show that officials briefly interviewed Alqasem, 22, at Ben-Gurion International Airport on her arrival Tuesday night, then passed her name on for “continued handling” by the ministry because of “suspicion of boycott activity.” Israel recently passed a law banning the entry of foreign nationals who engage in such activity.

    >> Are you next? Know your rights if detained at Israel’s border

    Links to Canary Mission and Facebook posts are seen on an official Ministry of Strategic Affairs document.
    The ministry then sent the officials at the airport an official report classified “sensitive” about Alqasem’s supposed political activities, which included information from five links – four from Facebook and one, the main source, from the Canary Mission site, which follows pro-Palestinian activists on U.S. campuses.
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    A decision on Alqasem’s appeal against her deportation was expected Thursday afternoon.
    Canary Mission, now the subject of major controversy in the American Jewish community, has been collecting information since 2015 about BDS activists at universities, and sends the information to potential employers. Pro-Israel students have also criticized their activities.

    Lara Alqasem.
    This week, the American Jewish news site The Forward reported that at least $100,000 of Canary Mission’s budget had been contributed through the San Francisco Jewish Federation and the Helen Diller Family Foundation, which donates to Jewish education. The donation was handed to a group registered in Beit Shemesh called Megamot Shalom, specifically stating that it was for Canary Mission. A few hours after the report was published, the federation announced that it would no longer fund the group.
    Over the past few months some of the Americans who have been detained for questioning upon arrival in Israel have reported that they were questioned about their political activity based on “profiles” about them published on Canary Mission. The documents obtained by Haaretz now show clearly that the site is indeed the No. 1 source of information for the decision to bar entry to Alqasem.
    According to the links that were the basis for the decision to suspend the student visa that Alqasem had been granted by the Israeli Consulate in Miami, she was president of the Florida chapter of a group called Students for Justice in Palestine, information quoted directly from the Canary Mission. The national arm of that organization, National Students for Justice in Palestine, is indeed on the list of 20 groups that the Strategic Affairs Ministry compiled as criteria to invoke the anti-boycott law. However, Alqasem was not a member at the national level, but rather a local activist. She told the appeals tribunal that the local chapter had only a few members.

    Canary Mission’s profile of Lara Alqasem.
    The ministry also cited as a reason for barring Alqasem’s entry to Israel a Facebook post showing that “In April 2016 [her] chapter conducted an ongoing campaign calling for the boycott of Sabra hummus, the American version of Hummus Tzabar, because Strauss, which owns Tzabar, funds the Golani Brigade.” Alqasem told the tribunal that she had not taken an active part in this campaign. Another link was about a writers’ petition calling on a cultural center to refuse sponsorship by Israel for its activities. Yet another post, by the local Students for Justice in Palestine, praised the fact that an international security company had stopped operations in Israel. None of these links quoted Alqasem.
    She told the tribunal that she is not currently a member of any pro-boycott group and would not come to study for her M.A. in Israel if she were.
    The Strategic Affairs Ministry report on Alqasem is so meager that its writers mentioned it themselves: “It should be noted that in this case we rely on a relatively small number of sources found on the Internet.” Over the past few months Haaretz has been following up reports of this nature that have been the basis for denying entry to activists, and found that in many other cases the material consisted of superficial Google searches and that the ministry, by admission of its own senior officials, does not collect information from non-public sources.
    skip - Facebook post calling for the boycott of Sabra hummus

    The ministry’s criteria for invoking the anti-boycott law state clearly that in order to bar entry to political activists, they must “hold senior or significant positions in the organizations,” including “official senior roles in prominent groups (such as board members).”
    But the report on Alqasem does not indicate that she met the criterion of “senior” official in the national movement, nor was this the case for other young people questioned recently at the airport. In some cases it was the Shin Bet security service that questioned people due to past participation in activities such as demonstrations in the territories, and not BDS activities.
    “Key activists,” according to the ministry’s criteria, also means people who “consistently take part in promoting BDS in the framework of prominent delegitimization groups or independently, and not, for example, an activist who comes as part of a delegation.” In Alqasem’s case, however, her visa was issued after she was accepted for study at Hebrew University.


  • Here’s what I found out when I spent the day with Israel’s most controversial journalist, Gideon Levy
    Robert Fisk | The Independent | 27 septembre 2018
    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/gideon-levy-robert-fisk-haaretz-israel-palestine-gaza-a8557691.html

    Gideon Levy is a bit of a philosopher king although, sitting in his postage stamp garden in a suburb of Tel Aviv, straw hat shading mischievous dark eyes, there’s a touch of a Graham Greene character about Haaretz’s most provocative and infamous writer. Brave, subversive, sorrowful – in a harsh, uncompromising way – he’s the kind of journalist you either worship or loathe. Philosopher kings of the Plato kind are necessary for our moral health, perhaps, but not good for our blood pressure. So Levy’s life has been threatened by his fellow Israelis for telling the truth; and that’s the best journalism award one can get.

    He loves journalism but is appalled by its decline. His English is flawless but it sometimes breaks up in fury. Here’s an angry Levy on the effect of newspaper stories: “In the year of ’86, I wrote about a Palestinian Bedouin woman who lost her baby after giving birth at a checkpoint. She tried at three different [Israeli] checkpoints, she couldn’t make it and she gave birth in the car. They [the Israelis] didn’t let her bring the baby to the hospital. She carried him by foot two kilometres to the Augusta Victoria [Hospital in east Jerusalem]. The baby died. When I published this story – I don’t want to say that Israel ‘held its breath’, but it was a huge scandal, the cabinet was dealing with it, two officers were brought to court…”

    Then Levy found ten more women who had lost babies at Israeli checkpoints. “And nobody could care less any more. Today, I can publish it and people will yawn if they read it at all. [It’s] totally normalised, totally justified. We have a justification now for everything. The dehumanisation of the Palestinians has reached a stage in which we really don’t care. I can tell you, really, without exaggeration, if an Israeli dog was killed by Palestinians, it will get more attention in the Israeli media than if 20 Palestinian youngsters would be shot dead by snipers on the fence – without doing anything – in Gaza. The life of Palestinians has become the cheapest thing. It’s a whole system of demonisation, of de-humanisation, a whole system of justification that ‘we’ are always right and we can never be wrong.” (...)


  • » Updated: “Israeli Army Kills One Palestinian, Injures 312, In Gaza”
    IMEMC News - September 21, 2018 8:54 PM
    http://imemc.org/article/one-palestinian-killed-dozens-more-injured-in-gaza

    Israeli soldiers killed, Friday, a young man, and injured 312 other Palestinians, including 54 with live fire, after the army attacked the Great Return March processions, in several parts of the Gaza Strip.

    The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza has confirmed that the soldiers killed Karim Mohammad Kollab , 25, after shooting him with live fire, east of Gaza city.

    It added that the soldiers also injured 312 Palestinians, including 100 with live fire.

    100 of the wounded Palestinians were rushed to hospitals in the Gaza Strip, while five of the injured residents suffered life-threatening wounds.

    The Health Ministry also said that among the wounded are twenty children and two women.

    In related news, an Israeli tank fire a shell at Palestinian protesters near the perimeter fence, east of Gaza city, while an Israeli drone fired two missiles at a site, east of Gaza.

    According to online Israeli daily Haaretz, the army carried out several air strikes in northern Gaza, and quoted the military alleging that a number of protesters “hurled explosives and grenades,” in addition to burning tires.

    It added that one soldier was mildly injured by shrapnel, while firefighters extinguished six blazes caused by flaming balloons and kites, near the border area.

    #Palestine_assassinée #marcheduretour

    • For Twenty-Sixth Friday of Great March of Return and Breaking Siege in Eastern Gaza Strip, Israeli Forces Kill Civilian and Wound 148 Others, Including 32 Children, 8 of Those Sustained Serious Wounds
      September 21, 2018
      https://pchrgaza.org/en/?p=11372

      The Israeli shooting, which continued until 19:30, resulted in the killing of civilian Karim Mohammed ahmoud Kollab (20), from Gaza City, was hit with a live bullet that penetrated the abdomen and existed the back during his participation in the demonstrations organized in the east of al-Sheja’eiyah neighborhood in Gaza City.

      Moreover, 148 civilians, including 32 children, were wounded with live bullets and direct tear gas canisters. Eight of those wounded sustained serious wounds in addition dozens suffering tear gas inhalation and seizures after tear gas canisters were heavily fired by the Israeli soldiers from the military jeeps and riffles in the eastern Gaza Strip.


  • Eurovision’s demands should serve as wake-up call for Israel - Haaretz Editorial - Israel News | Haaretz.com

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/eurovision-s-demands-should-serve-as-wake-up-call-for-israel-1.6450815

    In a different time, the demands of the European Broadcasting Union, the organizer of the Eurovision Song Contest, would have been received in Israel with a shrug, as self-evident.
    To really understand Israel and the Palestinians - subscribe to Haaretz
    According to a report by the Israel Television News Corporation, the broadcasting union is asking for an Israeli authority, preferably the prime minister, to promise that Israel will grant entry visas for the event regardless of applicants’ political opinions; that visitors be able to tour the country regardless of their political opinions, religion or sexual orientation; that there be freedom of the press and complete freedom of expression for all participants; that there be no religious restrictions on rehearsals on Saturday; and that Israel’s public broadcasting company, Kan, be given complete independence in editing the broadcasts.

    • D’après cet article de Haaretz :
      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-eurovision-organizers-set-conditions-for-contest-to-be-held-in-isr

      1) l’Eurovision demande qu’israel s’engage par écrit à laisser entrer tous les spectateurs, quelque soient leurs opinions (y compris s’ils soutiennent BDS), donc critique les nouvelles pratiques de sélection à l’entrée du pays sur des bases politiques

      2) l’Eurovision demande une complète liberté d’expression et de circulation pour les participants, les délégations et la presse

      3) l’Eurovision demande que les répétitions aient lieu le samedi (shabbat)

      4) plusieurs membres du gouvernement appellent Netanyahu à refuser ces conditions

      5) la télé israélienne demande une rallonge financière du ministère des finances qui pour l’instant refuse

      #Palestine #Eurovision #BDS #Boycott_culturel

    • BDS success stories
      More than the achievements of the economic, academic and cultural boycott, BDS has succeeded in undermining the greatest asset of Israeli public diplomacy: Israel’s liberal and democratic image in the world.
      Gideon Levy | Sep. 5, 2018 | 11:16 PM
      https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-bds-success-stories-1.6455621

      Gilad Erdan is a great success story of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, as is the Strategic Affairs Ministry that he heads. So is the anti-boycott law. Every human rights activist who is expelled from Israel or questioned at Ben-Gurion International Airport is a BDS success story. The European Broadcasting Union’s letter is another success of the global movement to boycott Israel.

      More than Lana Del Rey canceling her visit, more than SodaStream moving its factory from the West Bank to the Negev and more than the achievements of the economic, academic and cultural boycott, BDS has succeeded in a different area, effortlessly and perhaps unintentionally. It has undermined the greatest asset of Israeli public diplomacy: Israel’s liberal and democratic image in the world. It was the European Broadcasting Union, of all things, a nonpolitical organization, very far from BDS, that best described the extent of the damage to Israel: The organization compared Israel to Ukraine and Azerbaijan in the conditions it set for these countries to host the Eurovision Song Contest.

      Ukraine and Azerbaijan, which no one seriously considers to be democracies, in the same breath as Israel. This is how the Eurovision organizers see Israel.

      The song contest was held in Jerusalem twice before, and no one thought to set conditions to guarantee the civil liberties of participants. Now it is necessary to guarantee, in advance and in writing, what is self-evident in a democracy: freedom of entry and freedom of movement to everyone who comes for the competition.

      In Israel, as in Ukraine and Azerbaijan, this is no longer self-evident. In the 13 years since it was founded, the BDS movement couldn’t have dreamed of a greater triumph.

      The main credit, of course, goes to the Israeli government, which in declaring war on BDS and made a great contributions to the movement. With a commander like Erdan, who is outraged over the interference with the “laws of a democratic state” and doesn’t understand how grotesque his words are, and with a ministry that is nothing but an international thought police, the government is telling the world: Israel isn’t what you thought. Did you think for years that Israel was a liberal democracy? Did you close your eyes to the goings-on in its backyard? Did you think the occupation was separate from the state, that it could be maintained in a democracy, that it was surely temporary and would be over momentarily? That at least sovereign Israel is part of the West? Well, you were wrong.

      The government has torn off the mask. Not only BDS, but all supporters of human rights, should be grateful to it. The war on BDS, a legitimate, nonviolent protest movement, has dragged Israel into new territory. Omar Barghouti and his colleagues can rub their hands together in satisfaction and pride. They have begun to dismantle the regime inside Israel as well. No democracy has a strategic affairs ministry that spies on critics of the state and its government worldwide and draws up blacklists of people who are banned from entry on account of their worldview or political activities. No democracy asks its guests for their opinions at its borders, as a condition for entry. No democracy searches its visitors’ computers and their lifestyles when they enter and leave. Perhaps Ukraine and Azerbaijan do, Turkey and Russia too.

      It could have, and should have, been argued previously as well that Israel did not deserve to be seen as democracy, on account of the occupation. But now Israel has crossed the line. It hasn’t erased only the Green Line, it has begun to the task of annexation, including a gradual westward movement of the regime in the West Bank. The gap between the two regimes, in the occupied territories and in Israel, is still huge, but laws passed in recent years have narrowed it.

      The state’s fancy display window, with all the bright neon and rustling cellophane of freedom and equality; of Arab MKs and pharmacists; gay-friendly, with a vibrant night life and all the other shiny objects, is beginning to crack. The Eurovision organizers recognize this.


  • Palestinian protesters in Gaza: Don’t wound us – kill us -

    How many of the young people protesting at the Gaza border fence hoped the soldiers facing them would pull the trigger and end their lives? Unfortunately, many

    Amira Hass
    Aug 13, 2018
    Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-palestinian-protesters-in-gaza-don-t-wound-us-kill-us-1.6366805

    “A person who was shot in the leg and had his leg amputated weeps. Not because his leg is gone, but because the soldier didn’t kill him.”
    How many of the young people protesting Friday at the Gaza border fence hoped the soldiers facing them would pull the trigger and end their lives?
    Many. Many more than is reported or than the Palestinians are prepared to or can admit publicly. 
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    “A person who was shot in the leg and had his leg amputated weeps. Not because his leg is gone, but because the soldier didn’t kill him,” said someone who came out of the Gaza Strip for a few days. He told of a 30-year-old man who went up to the fence a few times, was wounded a few times, until he got lucky and the soldier on the other side finally killed him. We’ll get to the women too, soon enough, but we’re treading carefully.
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    What is the ratio between the number of those seeking to continue protecting the principles of the Palestinian struggle – by protesting at  the border fence – and the number of those using the patriotic-nationalistic mantle to commit suicide, knowing that Islam prohibits “ordinary” suicide?
    >> Hamas is exploiting Netanyahu’s unwillingness to go to war | Analysis
    We don’t know. Israel doesn’t allow us to enter the Gaza Strip to ask these questions and seek answers. Phone calls are not enough, and so we depend on reports from people coming out – Palestinians and foreign journalists.
    >> No Fuel, No Gas: Israel Clamps Down on Gaza Over Airborne Firebombs
    Perhaps the protesters are motivated simultaneously by the two goals, and their distance from the fence shows the ratio between their desire to die and their fight for freedom? But many people who are very far from the fence come to see what’s going on, one foreign reporter said. That’s not a struggle, it’s a kind of pastime, because there’s nothing else to do and the sea is full of floating excrement. This journalist, who has known the Gaza Strip for more than 20 years, concludes: When everyone has to find ways to survive, there’s no room for thinking about the national struggle. 
    Many of them are young people who go to the fence to be wounded, thinking that Hamas will pay them, and then they can pay their debts at the grocery store or pay their rent for two months. It’s true: Hamas pays the injured a one-time payment of $200, I’m told. But only if the injury was serious.

    Someone who was slightly injured and went to a Hamas office to ask for money was turned away. Someone else was fortunate – his injury was worth compensation, then he went to the fence to be wounded again, and received compensation again. 
    But the wounded quickly discover what they did not take into consideration at first: Injuries have their own costs (beyond pain and disability). Surgery is covered. But medications are lacking, so their family goes deeper into debt to pay for them, or not. And then the flesh is infested with worms and it rots. And that’s not a metaphor.
    Some people deluded themselves that their family would receive large compensation if they were killed, or that payment for injury would come on a monthly basis. They still think it’s like the second intifada, when Saddam Hussein and Iran sent money for these purposes and the Palestinian Authority bore the burden. Those days are gone forever. 
    On Ramadan the young people went on the marches because a nourishing meal to break the fast was waiting for them, provided by Hamas. On other days they would receive a sandwich and a drink at the protest tents. Yet they are at risk even if they are not standing next to the fence, but rather are some distance away, near the tents, as attested to by a journalist who was standing near the tents last week when a bullet fired by one of our heroic soldiers flew right past his ear.
    Over the weekend, written proof emerged of the mixture of a death wish and commitment to the struggle. Abdallah al-Qatati, 20, was a volunteer paramedic who went every Friday to rescue unarmed people wounded by the strongest army in the region. Ten days ago he wrote a Facebook post, and people who shared it said it was his last: “As on every Friday, I go to the border, but this Friday is different. I’m going like any young revolutionary protecting his homeland and his land. We don’t care about the goals of the march or the goals of any organization in this march. What is important to us is our land and our dignity. And in short, we are fleeing unto death. In the hope that the second death will be more merciful than the first. And that’s the end of the story.” 
    In other words, life in Gaza is also death, of a different kind. On Friday, an Israeli soldier shot the medic al-Qatati and killed him.
    And now to the women protesters: Since they are few, this could seem like an accusation, or scorn, which will draw protests. But a Palestinian woman who spoke with women who go to the fence says she believes that few of them do it for national reasons, or that gradually the national reasons gave way to personal-economic reasons. Some of them went to be wounded and receive compensation. One went to be close to her son who was protesting. And many went to die – one whose husband refused to give her a divorce, another who was unmarried and felt that society considered her damaged goods, a third who was a victim of family violence and a fourth who couldn’t stand the poverty, the constant chasing after a shekel for milk and drops of water from the faucet. We are familiar with the phenomenon of women in the West Bank who committed suicide-by-soldier.  
    Poverty in Gaza has reached unimaginable, indescribable levels, even for people who are allowed to go in and see it. The despair growing there behind the iron wall that Israel has built is still seeking the lexicon with which it can be depicted.


  • Secret Israeli Report Reveals Armed Drone Killed Four Boys Playing on Gaza Beach in 2014
    Robert Mackey | August 11 2018, 10:09 a.m.
    https://theintercept.com/2018/08/11/israel-palestine-drone-strike-operation-protective-edge

    A confidential report by Israeli military police investigators seen by The Intercept explains how a tragic series of mistakes by air force, naval, and intelligence officers led to an airstrike in which four Palestinian boys playing on a beach in Gaza in 2014 were killed by missiles launched from an armed drone.

    Testimony from the officers involved in the attack, which has been concealed from the public until now, confirms for the first time that the children — four cousins ages 10 and 11 — were pursued and killed by drone operators who somehow mistook them, in broad daylight, for Hamas militants. (...)

    https://seenthis.net/messages/276558

    • 10 questions on secret Israeli report over 2014 killing of four children on Gaza beach
      Haaretz.Com
      https://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/.premium-10-questions-on-secret-report-over-killing-of-four-kids-on-gaza-be
      Mordechai Kremnitzer | Aug. 13, 2018 | 10:03 PM | 3

      The secret investigation report on the killing of four Palestinian children on the Gaza beach in 2014, part of which was published on the website The Intercept and whose essentials were reported in Monday’s Haaretz, raises a lot of questions. The confidential Israeli military police report reveals that the attack on July 16, 2014, during Operation Protective Edge, was carried out by a drone and stemmed from an intelligence failure.

      No one disputes that Ismail Bakr, 9, Ahad and Zakaria Bakr, both 10, and Mohammed Bakr, 11, were not involved in hostile actions against Israel. Therefore, there was no justification for firing at them twice with a drone and certainly not to kill them. The report also shows that those involved in the decisions and actions that led to the boys’ killing thought that the four were Hamas operatives and were not aware that they were children.

      Despite signs pointing to negligence, at the very least, the previous military advocate-general, Maj. Gen. (res.) Danny Efroni, closed the case without taking any legal or disciplinary steps against those involved. This decision stood even after Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, petitioned the attorney general, who has yet to respond.

      The central question is whether the error that was the basis for the Israel Defense Force’s actions was reasonable or not. Based on the answer to this question, one can determine whether the military advocate-general’s decision was justified or mistaken and negligent. We cannot pass judgment on Efroni’s decision without access to the investigation file and its full conclusions. However, questions arise that require a response.

      1. Was the investigation effective and thorough? For example, shouldn’t testimony have been taken from the journalists who saw the incident from the beach? An external perspective could have been critical in assessing the nature of the compound in which the children were seen, and the issue of the firing itself.

      2. The army acted on the assumption that the jetty on which the children were seen had previously served Hamas’ naval commandos. The day before the firing incident, the compound had been bombed by the IDF. Didn’t the bombing require a reevaluation about the nature of the place and the identity of anyone found there? After the structure was bombed, there were no secondary explosions heard, casting doubt on the initial conclusion that it had been used as a weapons depot. According to witnesses, after the bombing a new situation existed. There were no guards stationed at the entrance to the compound, it’s possible that the gate that surrounded it had been destroyed, and it was clear to Hamas that the site was an IDF target. All this indicates that a reevaluation would have pointed to a reasonable possibility that those the IDF had identified on the day the drone fired weren’t Hamas operatives but civilians (not necessarily children). If this possibility wasn’t raised, wasn’t that a negligent blunder? According to the testimonies, the question if the compound was open only to Hamas operatives or whether civilians also had access was raised with intelligence in real time. It isn’t clear what happened to that question. If this possibility was not discounted, it would have been correct to examine the responsibility of the soldiers involved in the killing.

      3. After the first shooting, the drone operators who fired asked for clarification as to the borders of the compound. But around half a minute afterward, before the question was answered, there was a second round of fire that killed three of the boys. Shouldn’t the operators have waited for an answer?

      4. All those involved declared that they could not identify the figures seen in the compound as children. The conclusion of the investigation was that it was impossible to discern that these were children, although the incident occurred in broad daylight. Two days earlier, however, the IDF Spokesperson’s Office had praised the ability of drone operators to identify potential targets under surveillance as children and thus avoid attacking them at the last moment. This is puzzling. If it’s not possible to distinguish the age of those being shot at, that is, it’s possible to shoot at children without being aware of it, were those involved in the shooting being overly reliant on the means at their disposal? Would it not have been appropriate to use additional means of observation? Was the possibility that the figures were civilians, or even children, not enough of a reason to refrain from firing? Under international law, in cases of doubt one is required to assume that the people are civilians. It should be noted that the soldiers did not claim that the figures had been identified as carrying weapons or as posing a significant threat to our forces.

      5. How is it possible to reconcile the testimony of the air force officer who coordinated the attacks, who said this is a highly unusual case in which the intelligence information was completely different from the facts on the ground, and the legal conclusion that there was no fault in the actions of those involved? If the intelligence presented was inaccurate, isn’t there a flaw in the structure of the division of responsibility between different parties such that it is impossible to hold anyone personally responsible? Do the accepted standards of skill, responsibility and caution not apply to Military Intelligence? Has chalking things up to an “intelligence mistake” become a way to whitewash prohibited and unjustified killings?

      6. Have all the operational and intelligence lessons, as well as the cognitive and moral ones, been learned so as to prevent similar incidents in the future?

      7. Doesn’t this incident offer support for the concerns raised regarding the use of drones, which can dull human sensitivity?

      8. Did the legal decision-makers use the reversal test – what would we say if it had been our children and the enemy had been the one to make the decisions and carry out those actions?

      9. Were the minimal humane steps taken, like an apology and compensation, steps that even an army that was not the most moral in the world would take?

      10. Does not the thesis that anyone suspected of being a Hamas operative is a legitimate target, even when he is not carrying a weapon and does not pose a risk to our forces, border on extrajudicial execution, which is prohibited by international law? Does it not create an unreasonable risk to the lives of civilians who must be protected, a risk that was actualized in the case of these four children?


  • » One Israeli Killed, Two Wounded by Palestinian Teen; Assailant Killed on Site
    IMEMC News - July 27, 2018 5:53 AM
    http://imemc.org/article/one-israeli-killed-two-wounded-by-palestinian-teen-assailant-killed-on-site

    A seventeen-year old Palestinian allegedly carried out a stabbing attack in Geva Binyamin (Adam) Israeli colony, in the Occupied West Bank, killing one Israeli and wounding two others before he himself was killed by an armed paramilitary Israeli settler.

    Update: 8:40 AM: Israeli daily Haaretz has reported that the slain Israeli settler has been identified as Yotam Ovadia, 31, and added that Yotam succumbed to stab wounds.

    On its part, the “Times Of Israel” said Ovadia, a father a child, 2 years of age, and a 7-month-old infant, worked as a technician with “Brinks Security Company”.

    The Palestinian, identified as Mohammad Tareq dar Yousef , 17, allegedly managed to climb over the fence into the illegal Israeli settlement of “Adam”, which had been built on stolen Palestinian land which was taken from his village, Kobar, near Ramallah. He then stabbed three people before he was shot and killed.

    |Lieberman Decides To Expand “Adam” Illegal Colony|

    A 31-year old Israeli colonial settler was killed, but he has not yet been identified. Another unnamed Israeli settler, age 50, is in critical condition with stab wounds to the upper body, according to Israeli media sources.

    Before going to the settlement to carry out the attack, the young Palestinian wrote on his Facebook page, “After all of the injustice the Palestinians continue to face: the killing, the diaspora, the theft of land by force, this injustice still prevails, and many Palestinians are silent – including those who have weapons, and are watching the massacres. Those are the traitors.”

    He goes on to say, “You [Palestinians] who own a weapon, remember this is for your enemy, not for use against your own people. Remember the children of Gaza, suffering and dying.” The statement ends, “A salute to the people who defend their land and their honor. And to those who sold their land and betrayed their country, those cowards, you must be ashamed of yourselves. The people of Gaza and Jerusalem are resisting, and you are trying to silence them.”

    Dozens of soldiers in armored vehicles surrounded and invaded Kobar, near Ramallah, in the hours following this incident. Protests broke out in the village, and some teens threw stones at the invading soldiers.

    The troops invaded Mohammad’s home, surrounding it and demanding that the family leave. It is unknown at the time of this report if the soldiers are planning to carry out a punitive demolition of the alleged assailant’s home, but this is a known and common practice by the Israeli military.

    #Palestine_assassinée

    • Israel to demolish home of killed Palestinian as punishment
      Aug. 13, 2018 12:46 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 13, 2018 3:21 P.M.)
      http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=780692

      RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces informed on Monday the Palestinian family of Muhammad Tareq Ibrahim Dar Yousef that their home in the Kobar village, in the central occupied West Bank Ramallah district, will be demolished.

      Local sources said that Israeli forces raided the Kobar village on predawn Monday and hung the demolition notice on the Dar Yousef home.

      The notice mentions that the family has two days to appeal against it.

      Sources mentioned that the demolition comes as a punishment for the actions of the family’s 17-year-old killed son, who carried out a stabbing attack in July in the illegal Israeli Adam settlement, in which one Israeli settler was killed and two others suffered light to moderate injuries.

      Sources added that the Dar Yousef family had already abandoned their home following the stabbing attack in anticipation of the demolition.

      Puntive home demolitions are a collective punishment policy, which Israel has always implemented against relatives of Palestinians who were involved in attacks against Israelis.


  • » Israeli Army Kills A Palestinian, Injures Three, Then Abducts Two Of Them
    IMEMC News - July 3, 2018 4:02 AM
    http://imemc.org/article/israeli-army-kills-a-palestinian-injures-three-then-abducts-two-of-them

    Israeli soldiers killed, on Monday evening, at least one Palestinian, and injured three others, including two who were then abducted by the soldiers after being injured, and one teenager who was rushed to a Palestinian hospital in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

    The Israeli news agency Haaretz reports that the four young men were trying to cross the border into Israel when the Israeli army spotted them and began shooting.

    But video footage of the incident published by Quds News shows that the soldiers had invaded the Gaza Strip and were well within Palestinian territory when they grabbed the young men and dragged them across to their military base.

    (...) Only one of the wounded Palestinians, a 16 year old child, managed to escape the army’s attempt to abduct him, and was rushed to Abu Yousef Najjar Hospital, in Rafah, suffering a gunshot wound to his shoulder.

    The three other Palestinians were taken by the soldiers who invaded the Palestinian lands, near the border fence, and took them away.

    A Palestinian medic said the Palestinians (as confirmed by the video footage) did not cross the fence, and that he and his colleagues were only twenty meters away from the wounded Palestinians.

    “We tried to provide aid to the wounded Palestinians; we were just twenty meters away from them,” the medic said, “but the soldiers threatened to shoot us, and forced us away.”

    It is worth mentioning that some media outlets have reported that two of the young Palestinians were killed, while others report that one was killed. Because the Israeli military is holding three of them, the extent of their wounds is unknown, and it is unclear whether one or two of them are dead.

    The Israeli army claimed that the Palestinians were carrying cutters and flammable materials, and “were attempting to set fire to a vacant Israeli military sniper post along the border fence.

    The Israeli army issued a statement holding the Hamas movement in Gaza fully responsible for “all attempts to cross the border fence and attack military installations.”

    So far, the names of the Palestinians, including the deceased, remain unknown as they, except the wounded teen who was rushed to a Palestinian hospital, have been captured by the army.
    Facebook

    #Palestine_assassinée


  • Top U.S. officials to Haaretz: Peace plan will be basis for talks, not ’take it or leave it’ document

    Senior officials say the plan will be revealed soon and stress that Trump sees Palestinian President Abbas as the only ’relevant address’

    Amir Tibon
    Jun 13, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-white-house-to-haaretz-peace-plan-is-basis-for-talks-not-blueprint

    WASHINGTON – The Trump administration’s plan for peace in the Middle East won’t be a “take it or leave it” proposal, but rather a basis for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, administration officials told Haaretz this week. They said the plan will be revealed soon, and that the White House hopes to share it not only with the leaders in  the region, but also with the general public.
    The officials said previous reports that the plan would be released immediately at the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan were incorrect. “We hope to release it in the near future, but not immediately after Ramadan,” one official explained. “Our top priority is to put it out at the right moment, so that the various spoilers who don’t want us to succeed have less of a chance to cause damage.” 
    >> Palestinians to U.S.: No ’Deal of the Century’ if Jerusalem Not Addressed ■ U.S. Hopes to Unveil Breakthrough in Gaza Cease-fire Alongside Israeli-Palestinian Peace Plan
    While there have been some reports asserting that the plan will be a blueprint for a final peace agreement that the two sides will have to either accept or reject, the officials who spoke with Haaretz said those reports, too, were inaccurate.
    “We have said all along that we don’t want to impose an agreement. So presenting the plan as a ‘take it or leave it’ kind of document would be inconsistent with that,” one official explained. “We are a facilitator. It would be arrogant to assume we know better than anyone else,” said a second official. “At the end of the day, the two sides need to negotiate and reach an agreement. We want to help them reach that point, but we can’t structure the agreement for them.”
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    The officials criticized Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for refusing to engage with the administration, a position he has held to ever since Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last December. “We assume there will be fair and substantial criticism of the plan, but we are astonished that Abbas won’t even see it,” one official said. “It would be a shame for the Palestinian people if the Palestinian leadership refuses to engage with this plan.”
    At the same time, the officials stressed that the Trump administration is not looking for a way to bypass Abbas, and is not speaking to any other Palestinian political figures. “We are not trying to engage with any Palestinian politicians except President Abbas. He is the relevant address, and he is the one we hope to work with,” one official said. 
    >> Trump Mideast envoy: The Palestinians deserve so much more than Saeb Erekat ■ Erekat fires back: Trump administration is killing the peace process, not me
    Last month Haaretz reported that the only recent contact between high-ranking Palestinian and American officials was a meeting between Abbas’ security chief, Majid Faraj, and Mike Pompeo, who is now Secretary of State and headed the CIA at the time of the meeting. Palestinian officials explained that the meeting focused only on security and intelligence issues, which are not included in the Palestinian Authority’s political and diplomatic boycott of the administration.

    The administration officials emphasized that they are encouraged by signs that Arab countries are getting closer to Israel, but added that they have no illusions about the Arab world “abandoning” the Palestinians as part of an alliance with Israel. “It’s not realistic to expect that the Arabs would abandon the Palestinians. That’s not going to happen,” one of the officials stated. The Arab states, in the administration’s view, can help encourage the two sides to move forward with negotiations – but aren’t expected to force anything on either side.
    Under previous administrations, there were different approaches with regard to public exposure of detailed plans for Middle East peace. The George W. Bush administration released its “Road Map for Peace” in a speech by the president. The peace plan of former Secretary of State John Kerry, by contrast, was never made public (although drafts of it were published by Haaretz last June.)
    The current administration is considering making its peace plan available to the public, but only after its final version is shared with the leaders in the region. “We want the public to know what is in it, at the right time, because the public needs to support it, not just the leaders,” said one official. “At the end of the day, the public is part of the process. The leaders need to have public support for going forward with this.” 
    The officials who spoke with Haaretz could not share specific details about the plan, which they said is close to being finalized. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, will travel to the region next week with Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East peace process, to discuss the plan with leaders in Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and possibly also other countries.
    The Trump administration’s main foreign policy focus this week, of course, was the summit in Singapore in which Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The officials who spoke with Haaretz said the summit proves that Trump’s unusual approach to foreign policy is working, adding that “this event should give hope to people in the Middle East that things can get better.”
    One official contended that “this event shows how suddenly and unexpectedly things can change, and how intractable positions can potentially be softened and modified. The members of our peace team have a lot of experience as negotiators. We know that positions can change. We know that views can be morphed.”
    The officials said a Middle East peace deal is still a top priority for Trump. “The president has the same level of dedication on this issue as he does on the Korean issue,” they maintained. 
    When asked if it is possible that following his summit with Kim, Trump will lose interest in an Israeli-Palestinian deal since he no longer needs a foreign policy achievement to present to the American public, one official used a metaphor from Trump’s real estate career to explain why he’s convinced that that’s not going to happen.
    “The president built Trump Tower, and then what did he do after that? He went and he built another five Trump Towers,” the official said.
    “He didn’t just stop with one.”


  • #Israel deliberately provoked the latest #violence in #Gaza, but you won’t learn that in the ’NY Times’
    http://mondoweiss.net/2018/05/deliberately-provoked-violence

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

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

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


  • US-Led Coalition May Withdraw From Al-Tanaf Base Under Deal With Russia – Reports
    https://southfront.org/us-led-coalition-may-withdraw-from-al-tanaf-base-under-deal-with-russia-

    The US is considering to abandon the al-Tanaf base near the Syrian-Iraqi border under a deal with Russia, that will also force Iranian-backed forces and the Lebanese movement Hezbollah to withdraw away from the border with Jordan and from the contact line with Israel, the Newsweek magazine reported on May 30.

    Earlier this week, the Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat released a similar report, in which it claimed that Russia, the US and Jordan are negotiating a deal that will enable the SAA to capture the opposition-held areas in the governorates of Daraa and al-Quneitra in exchange for pushing Iranian and Iran-backed forces more than 25km away from the border with Jordan. According to Asharq Al-Awsat, the militants who will reject this deal will be evacuated to the northern governorate of Idlib.

    Several Israeli news outlets, including Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post, also reported that Israel and Russia are currently finalizing a deal that will force Iranian forces and Hezbollah to withdraw more than 60km away from the contact line between Syria and Israel.

    While these reports remain unconfirmed by any official source, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier that all non-Syrian forces must withdraw from the de-escalation zone in southern Syria. This could be a proof that Russia, Jordan, Israel and the US are indeed preparing an agreement.

    #syrie #al-tanaf


    • U.S. Ambassador Dean Ambushed in Lebanon, Escapes Attack Unhurt - The Washington Post
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1980/08/28/us-ambassador-dean-ambushed-in-lebanon-escapes-attack-unhurt/218130c3-6d7e-438f-8b0c-a42fc0e5eb57

      1980

      U.S. Ambassador John Gunther Dean escaped unharmed tonight after gunmen in a speeding Mercedes attacked his bulletproof limousine as he was leaving his Hazmieh residence in a convoy.

      The ensuing battle between the ambasador’s bodyguards and the gunmen left the embassy car demolished on the passenger side, with window glass shattered and tires flat, embassy sources said.

      Later this evening, Dean appeared at the gate of the embassy and waved to bystanders but refused to make a statement on the incident. He showed no signs of injury. [The Associate Press, quoting security sources, said Dean’s wife Martine and daughter Catherine also were unharmed.]

      It was the first attempt on an American ambassador’s life in Lebanon since June 16, 1976, when ambassador Francis E. Eloy, economic counselor Robert O. Waring and their chauffeur were kidnaped and killed on their way from West Beirut to East Beirut during the civil war.

      [Several hours after the attack on Dean, gunmen with automatic rifles dragged the Spanish ambassador and his wife from their car and drove away in the embasy vehicle. Ambassador Luis Jordana Pozas told the Associated Press. Jordana said five men pushed them from the car in mostly Moslem West Beirut. There was no indication whether the theft of Jordana’s car was related to the attack on the American diplomat.]

      Today’s attack came just hours after Dean said the United States was working with Israel and the United Nations to end the violence among Christian militiamen and Palestinian guerrillas in southern Lebanon. It was his first public statement since Aug. 21, when he created an uproar by condemning an Israeli raid on Palestinian guerilla strongholds in the area. The U.S. State Department later disavowed the statement.

      There were conflicting reports about the kind of explosive that was aimed at the ambassador’s car. Some local radio stations said it was a rocket, while others said it was a rifle grenade. None of the reports could be confirmed.

      The shooting took place as Dean was driving to Beirut. Excited security guards outside the U.S. Embassy told reporters that a spurt of machine-gun fire followed the explosion.

      The attackers, who abandoned their car, fled into the woods on the side of the highway, Beirut’s official radio said.

      Lebanese Army troops and internal security forces were quickly moved to the ambush site and an all-night search was begun to track down the would-be killers. Reliable police sources said two Lebanese suspected of being linked to the assassination attermpt were taken in for questioning.

      Following a meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Fuad Butros today, Dean stressed that "American policy includes opposition to all acts of violence which ignore or violate the internationally recognized border between Lebanon and Israel.

    • The remarkable disappearing act of Israel’s car-bombing campaign in Lebanon or : What we (do not) talk about when we talk about ’terrorism’
      Rémi Brulin, MondoWeiss, le 7 mai 2018
      https://seenthis.net/messages/692409

      La remarquable occultation de la campagne israélienne d’attentats à la voiture piégée au Liban ou : Ce dont nous (ne) parlons (pas) quand nous parlons de terrorisme
      Rémi Brulin, MondoWeiss, le 7 mai 2018
      https://seenthis.net/messages/695020

    • Inside Intel / Assassination by proxy - Haaretz - Israel News | Haaretz.com
      https://www.haaretz.com/1.5060443

      Haaretz 2009,

      Did Israel try to kill the U.S. ambassador in Lebanon in the early 1980s?Haggai Hadas’ experience is not necessarily an advantage in the talks over Gilad Shalit’s release The Israeli intelligence community has committed quite a number of crimes against the United States during its 60-year lifetime. In the early 1950s it recruited agents from among Arab officers serving in Washington (with the help of military attache Chaim Herzog). In the 1960s it stole uranium through Rafi Eitan and the Scientific Liaison Bureau in what came to be known as the Apollo Affair, when uranium was smuggled to Israel from Dr. Zalman Shapira’s Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation - in Apollo, Pennsylvania). In the 1980s it operated spies (Jonathan Pollard and Ben-Ami Kadish), and used businessmen (such as Arnon Milchan) to steal secrets, technology and equipment for its nuclear program and other purposes.

      Now the Israeli government is being accused of attempted murder. John Gunther Dean, a former U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, claims in a memoir released last week that Israeli intelligence agents attempted to assassinate him. Dean was born in 1926 in Breslau, Germany (today Wroclaw, Poland), as John Gunther Dienstfertig. His father was a Jewish lawyer who described himself as a German citizen of the Jewish religion who is not a Zionist. The family immigrated to the U.S. before World War II. As an adult Dean joined the State Department and served as a diplomat in Vietnam, Afghanistan and India, among other states.

    • Remi Brulin on Twitter: “Shlomo Ilya was, in the early 1980s, the head of the IDF liaison unit in Lebanon. He is also (in)famous for declaring, at the time, that he only weapon against terrorism is terrorism, and that Israel had options for ‘speaking the language the terrorists understand.’ https://t.co/TKx02n2SpA
      https://mobile.twitter.com/RBrulin/status/1001904259410071552


  • Russia says only Syrian army should be on country’s southern border with Israel

    Israel believes Russia may agree to withdrawing Iranian forces and allied Shi’ite militias from Israel-Syria border

    Noa Landau and Reuters May 28, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/syria/russia-says-only-syrian-army-should-be-on-country-s-southern-border-1.61198

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that only Syrian government troops should have a presence on the country’s southern border which is close to Jordan and Israel, the RIA news agency reported.
    Lavrov was cited as making the comments at a joint news conference in Moscow with Jose Condungua Pacheco, his counterpart from Mozambique.
    Meanwhile, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman will leave on Wednesday for a short visit to Russia. He is scheduled to meet with his counterpart, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shvigo, the ministry said in a statement on Monday. Lieberman is expected to discuss with his hosts the recent events in the Middle East, primarily the tension between Israel and Iran over the Iranian military presence in Syria.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the Knesset Monday, saying that “there is no room for any Iranian military presence in any part of Syria.”
    Lieberman said that “these things, of course, reflect not only our position, I can safely say that they reflect the positions of others in the Middle East and beyond the Middle East.”
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    On Sunday, Haaretz reported that Israeli political and military officials believe Russia is willing to discuss a significant distancing of Iranian forces and allied Shi’ite militias from the Israel-Syria border, according to Israeli officials.
    The change in Russia’s position has become clearer since Israel’s May 10 military clash with Iran in Syria and amid Moscow’s concerns that further Israeli moves would threaten the stability of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.
    Russia recently renewed efforts to try to get the United States involved in agreements that would stabilize Syria. The Russians might be willing to remove the Iranians from the Israeli border, though not necessarily remove the forces linked to them from the whole country.
    Last November, Russia and the United States, in coordination with Jordan, forged an agreement to decrease the possibility of friction in southern Syria, after the Assad regime defeated rebel groups in the center of the country. Israel sought to keep the Iranians and Shi’ite militias at least 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the Israeli border in the Golan Heights, east of the Damascus-Daraa road (or, according to another version, east of the Damascus-Suwayda road, about 70 kilometers from the border).

    FILE – Iran’s Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, left, in Aleppo, Syria, in photo provided October 20, 2017/AP
    According to Israeli intelligence, in Syria there are now around 2,000 Iranian officers and advisers, members of the Revolutionary Guards, around 9,000 Shi’ite militiamen from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, and around 7,000 Hezbollah fighters. Israel believes that the Americans are now in a good position to reach a more effective arrangement in Syria in coordination with the Russians under the slogan “Without Iran and without ISIS.”
    The United States warned Syria on Friday it would take “firm and appropriate measures” in response to ceasefire violations, saying it was concerned about reports of an impending military operation in a de-escalation zone in the country’s southwest.
    Washington also cautioned Assad against broadening the conflict.
    “As a guarantor of this de-escalation area with Russia and Jordan, the United States will take firm and appropriate measures in response to Assad regime violations,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement late on Friday.
    A war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported on Wednesday that Syrian government forces fresh from their victory this week against an Islamic State pocket in south Damascus were moving into the southern province of Deraa.
    Syrian state-run media have reported that government aircraft have dropped leaflets on rebel-held areas in Deraa urging fighters to disarm.
    The U.S. warning comes weeks after a similar attack on a de-escalation zone in northeastern Syria held by U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. U.S. ground and air forces repelled the more than four-hour attack, killing perhaps as many as 300 pro-Assad militia members, many of them Russian mercenaries.
    Backed by Russian warplanes, ground forces from Iran and allied militia, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, have helped Assad drive rebels from Syria’s biggest cities, putting him in an unassailable military position.


  • Israeli minister : Natalie Portman’s boycott of Netanyahu borders on anti-Semitism - Israel News - Haaretz.com

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israeli-minister-portman-s-netanyahu-boycott-borders-on-anti-semitism-1.601

    Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman’s decision not to accept the Genesis Prize and her statements on the matter border on anti-Semitism. Portman said she would not accept the award in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was scheduled to speak at the award ceremony to be held in Jerusalem.
    “Natalie Portman has played into the hands of the worst of our haters and of the worst of the anti-Semites in the Middle East,” Steinitz said in an interview on Sunday with the Kan public broadcasting corporation. Portman had made a serious mistake and owes Israel an apology, the energy minister said.
    To really understand Israel and the Jewish word - subscribe to Haaretz
    “Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism. Boycotting Israel has elements of anti-Semitism,” Steinitz asserted, adding that Portman would not have boycotted China or India. Boycotting the ceremony because of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s participation practically constitutes a boycott of Israel, Steinitz asserted.


  • Revealed: Israel ’struck advanced Iranian air-defense system’ in Syria - Israel News - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israel-targeted-advanced-iranian-air-defense-system-in-syria-strike-1.60118

    The Israeli military targeted an advanced Iranian air-defense system at the T4 base in Syria last week and not just attack drone deployment, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
    The report noted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the strike after conferring with U.S. President Donald Trump, in hopes of preventing Iran from using the anti-aircraft battery against Israeli jets carrying out strikes in Syria.

    Haaretz previously reported that the strike apparently targeted armaments aside from the drones, which could have reduce the Israel Air Force’s freedom of operation in Syrian airspace.
    Earlier this week, a senior Israeli military official admitted to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman that Israel targeted T4, adding that “it was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets - both facilities and people.

    According to the Wall Street Journal, Iran began bolstering air defenses following an escalation triggered by Iran sending an armed drone into Israeli airspace that resulted in retaliatory Israeli strikes in Syria. An Israeli F-16 war plane that carried out airstrikes on the Syrian base was shot down during retaliatory strikes.

    The Israeli official told the New York Times that the incident “opened a new period,” adding that “this is the first time we saw Iran do something against Israel - not by proxy.


  • » Army Kills A Palestinian Near Salfit
    IMEMC News - April 3, 2018 10:20 AM
    http://imemc.org/article/army-kills-a-palestinian-near-salfit

    Israeli soldiers killed, on Tuesday morning, a young Palestinian man near the junction of Ariel illegal colony, north of Salfit, in northwestern West Bank.

    The army initially claimed the Palestinian reportedly “attempted to ram soldiers and settlers with his car,” but later revealed that the driver was driving a stolen car, and escaping from private security guards.

    Israeli daily Haaretz said the Palestinian the driving a stolen car, and that he was chased by a private security company.

    It added that the Israeli police was not involved in the chase, and that it remains unclear whether the soldier, who shot and killed the driver, was aware of the chase.

    The driver did not carry any weapons, and did not intend to ram the soldiers, or carry out any sort of attack.

    The soldiers opened fire at the Palestinian driver, in his thirties, and seriously wounded him, when his car crashed into a bus stop.

    Haaretz said the Palestinian was driving a car with an Israeli license plate and added that the army was trying to identify him.

    It also said that the driver exited the car, and tried to escape on foot, when the soldiers shot him, and he later died from his serious wounds.

    The Maan News Agency said, according to Israeli sources, the man might have been driving a stolen car, and tried to avoid escape when he saw the soldiers.

    #Palestine_assassinée


  • » Saudi Prince Meets with AIPAC, anti-BDS Leaders during US Visit– IMEMC News | April 1, 2018 8:17 PM IMEMC News & Agencies
    http://imemc.org/article/saudi-prince-meets-with-aipac-anti-bds-leaders-during-us-visit

    Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, has met with leaders from a number of right-wing Jewish organizations during his tour of the United States.

    The groups, which have donated millions to illegal settlement building and the fight against BDS (the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, include officials from AIPAC, Stand Up for Israel (ADL) and the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA).

    Haaretz reported that, according to a leaked copy of his itinerary, Bin Salman also met with leaders from the Conference of Presidents, B’nai B’rith and the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

    AIPAC, ADL and the JFNA have long targeted BDS, a non-violent movement that seeks to economically pressure Israel into providing equal rights and a right of return to Palestinians.

    Some of the pro-Israel US groups have spent millions in lobbying for the Combating BDS Act, a bill that seeks to stifle BDS. (...)


  • Pro-Israel groups receive letters from Al Jazeera seeking response for ’lobby’ documentary - U.S. News - Haaretz.com

    Last year, the Qatari-owned network planted an undercover reporter inside pro-Israel groups in Washington. Now, those groups were given three weeks to respond to the contents of an upcoming documentary on ’the Israel lobby in America’

    Amir Tibon (Washington) Feb 05, 2018 3:38 PM

    A number of pro-Israel organizations in the United States received letters from Al Jazeera on Friday, informing them their employees will appear on the Qatari-owned network’s upcoming documentary on the Israel lobby in Washington.
    The letters gave the organizations three weeks to respond to the contents of the upcoming report, but did not indicate when the report would be broadcast. 
    Four sources within the pro-Israel circles in Washington, all of whom asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter, told Haaretz that the letters came as a surprise to those who received them.
    Al Jazeera publicly admitted in October it had planted an undercover reporter inside leading pro-Israel organizations in the United States. Ever since then, though, the story has not made any headlines, and some in the Jewish community were under the impression it might not be broadcast at all. 
    Following the letters’ arrival on Friday, the sources in the pro-Israel community offered two dueling interpretations of the new development. Some said the letters indicate that the film will be broadcast within the next weeks, possibly around the time of the annual AIPAC conference in early March. Others believed the opposite was true, claiming that the Qatari government was pressuring Al Jazeera not to air the report, and that the letters are the result of an internal debate within the network about the documentary. 
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    Haaretz revealed last October that the reporter working undercover for Al Jazeera managed to do internship work at the Israel Project and had some access to that organization’s donor files. The undercover reporter also had contacts with a number of low-level staffers at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, some of whom had attended parties at a luxury apartment he rented in downtown D.C.
    His work for Al Jazeera was first reported in 2017 by Armin Rosen in Tablet Magazine. 
    To really understand Israel and the Jewish World - subscribe to Haaretz
    In recent months, leaders for a number of right-wing Jewish organizations in the United States had visited Qatar and met with its emir. All of those leaders had asked the emir to change Al Jazeera’s negative coverage of Israel and its spreading of anti-Semitic content. Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani was asked by Haaretz about those requests during an event in Washington last week, and replied that Qatar’s constitution forbids the government from interfering in Al Jazeera’s work. 

    Thani also said that complaints about Al Jazeera’s coverage should be addressed not to the Qatari government, but to official media regulators. He mentioned that in Britain last year the local media regulating body, Ofcom, investigated complaints about Al Jazeera’s documentary “The Lobby,” on the Israel lobby in the United Kingdom, and denied the allegations that it was misleading or anti-Semitic. 
    One senior official in a pro-Israel organization called the Al Jazeera documentary a “wake-up call.” According to the official, Al Jazeera invested tens of thousands of dollars in the project.
    “They rented an apartment for him that cost more than $5,000 a month,” the official said. “We don’t know what kind of recording equipment was placed inside that apartment, and what kind of equipment he took with him to meetings in offices all around town, but I assume it was of the highest quality. This is not just a television report, it’s closer to state-sponsored espionage.”

    Amir Tibon
    Haaretz Correspondent

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  • Ex-Mossad agent who helped capture Eichmann backs far-right German party with Nazi past as ’great hope’ - Israel News - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-ex-mossad-agent-who-captured-eichmann-backs-far-right-germany-part

    Former cabinet member and #Mossad agent Rafi Eitan has expressed support for the far-right Alternative for Germany party, saying he hopes its ideology expands to the rest of #Europe.

    In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day last month, Eitan praised the controversial German party (known as #AfD) for coming out against anti-Semitism and supporting Jewish life in Germany. In his video message to the party, published on his Facebook page Saturday, Eitan said: “If you work wisely, powerfully and, most importantly, realistically confronting a situation and deciding to act according to given circumstances, I’m sure that instead of an alternative to Germany, you’ll become an alternative to Europe.”

    #sionisme #extrême_droite

    • Le sionisme c’est très bien entendu avec le nazisme jusqu’a conclure un accord dit ‘l’accord de la haavara’ permettant a des juifs allemands de partir en Palestine avec beaucoup d’argent afin de construire l’état d’Israel .
      .je mets en lien les commentaires de Haaretz : “‘Not surprising
      It’s not really surprising that a man who has spent his life demonizing Arabs should express hatred towards Muslims. The dehumanization of the Arab population of Israel was pretty much a prerequisite to taking their land; the continuing rationalization of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians requires this, too. Why is it shocking that an agent of the Israeli state should be expressing such views? Indeed, the common links between the ethnic nationalism of Israel and the ethnic nationalism of Germany that Eitan is encouraging so strongly should be hard to miss’ suite :
      ‘to the surprise of... nobody

      This should surprise no one. Rafi long ago compared Palestinians to cockroaches and parasites, as if stealing the phrase from the mouths of Nazis talking about Jews. The break between the Israeli right and Fascists wasn’t over general outlook, it was over anti-Semitism. Early LEHI and Herut styled uniforms and writings after fascists. Perhaps if the Nazis had confined themselves to murdering communists, gays, and Gypsies Rafi would have been kidnapping Eichman for advice. Perhaps it is a cruel irony that Israel and neo-Nazis are coalescing, but history is full of irony’ et
      ‘Rafi Titan and the AFD

      I fully and entirely agree with the words of the Israeli Ambassador. Unfortunately Eitan is not the only Israeli right wing politician on friendly terms with neo fascists parties/groups, mostly in Europe, for the sole reason of the common hatred and fear of Muslims. The awful mistake they are all making is that such parties as the AFD, the Front National in France and others like them in Europe, are pure racialists. At present their racialism is directed mostly at Muslims, tomorrow it may, and probably will be, redirected at others, including Jews. in the US is the best example of such a trend.’”
      Vous me direz comment des juifs européens, instruits, éduqués ayant souffert des nazis, peuvent accumuler autant de haine envers les Palestiniens, arabes, ou musulmans au point de leur faire subir la même chose qu’ils ont/auraient subi sous les nazis ?? et bien les victimes peuvent devenir des bourreaux et inversement je le crois.

    • @elihanah je ne crois pas que ce vieux poncif antisémite (1er paragraphe de ta réponse) puisse être d’une quelconque utilité pour le peuple palestinien. En tout cas il n’est pas un argument recevable. Merci de réfléchir à le retirer.