publishedmedium:the green line

  • Palestinian youth killed by Israeli forces near Bethlehem
    March 21, 2019 11:15 A.M.

    BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A 22-year-old Palestinian succumbed to wounds he had sustained after Israeli forces opened heavy fire towards a vehicle that he was riding in, near the al-Nashash checkpoint in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, on late Wednesday.

    The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that Ahmad Jamal Mahmoud Munasra, 22, a resident from Wadi Fukin village, in the Bethlehem district, was shot with Israeli live fire in the chest, shoulder, and hand.

    The ministry said that Munasra was transferred to the Beit Jala Governmental Hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds.

    The ministry mentioned that another Palestinian was shot and injured in the stomach.


    • Gideon Levy // Even for the Wild West Bank, This Is a Shocking Story

      A young Palestinian’s attempt to help a stranger shot by Israeli troops costs him his life
      Gideon Levy and Alex Levac Mar 28, 2019

      Jamal, Ahmad Manasra’s father. A mourning poster for Ahmad is in the background. Credit : Alex Levac

      It was appallingly cold, rainy and foggy on Monday of this week at the southern entrance to Bethlehem. A group of young people stood on the side of the road, gazing at something. Gloomy and toughened, they formed a circle around the concrete cube in which are sunken the spikes of a large billboard – an ad for Kia cars that stretches across the road. They were looking for signs of blood, as though they were volunteers in Zaka, the Israeli emergency response organization. They were looking for bloodstains of their friend, who was killed there five days earlier. Behind the concrete cube they found what they were looking for, a large bloodstain, now congealed. The stain held fast despite the heavy rain, as though refusing to be washed away, determined to remain there, a silent monument.

      This is where their friend tried, in his last moments, to find protection from the soldiers who were shooting at him, probably from the armored concrete tower that looms over the intersection a few dozen meters away. It was to here that he fled, already wounded, attempting to take cover behind the concrete cube. But it was too late. His fate was sealed by the soldiers. Six bullets slashed into his body and killed him. He collapsed and died next to the concrete cube by the side of the road.

      Even in a situation in which anything is possible, this is an unbelievable story. It’s 9 P.M. Wednesday March 20. A family is returning from an outing. Their car breaks down. The father of the family, Ala Raida, 38, from the village of Nahalin, who is legally employed paving roads in Israel, steps out of his Volkswagen Golf to see what has happened. His wife, Maisa, 34, and their two daughters, Sirin, 8, and Lin, 5, wait in the car. Suddenly the mother hears a single shot and sees her husband lean back onto the car. Emerging from the car, she discovers to her astonishment that he’s wounded in the stomach. She shouts hysterically for help, the girls in the car are crying and screaming.

      Another car, a Kia Sportage, arrives at the intersection. Its occupants are four young people from the nearby village of Wadi Fukin. They’re on the way home from the wedding of their friend Mahmoud Lahruv, held that evening in the Hall of Dreams in Bethlehem. At the sight of the woman next to the traffic light appealing for help, they stop the car and get out to see what they can do. Three of them quickly carry the wounded man to their car and rush him to the nearest hospital, Al-Yamamah, in the town of Al-Khader. The fourth young man, Ahmad Manasra, 23, stays behind to calm the woman and the frightened girls. Manasra tries to start the stalled car in order to move it away from the dangerous intersection, but the vehicle doesn’t respond. He then gets back out of the car. The soldiers start firing at him. He tries to get to the concrete cube but is struck by the bullets as he runs. Three rounds hit him in the back and chest, the others slam into his lower body. He dies on the spot.

      The army says that stones were thrown. All the eyewitnesses deny that outright. Nor is it clear what the target of the stones might have been. The armored concrete tower? And even if stones were thrown at cars heading for the settlement of Efrat, is that a reason to open fire with live ammunition on a driver whose car broke down, with his wife and young daughters on board? Or on a young man who tried to get the car moving and to calm the mother and her daughters? Shooting with no restraint? With no pity? With no law?

      We visit the skeleton of an unfinished apartment on the second floor of a house in Wadi Fukin. It’s an impoverished West Bank village just over the Green Line, whose residents fled in 1949 and were allowed to return in 1972, and which is now imprisoned between the giant ultra-Orthodox settlement of Betar Ilit and the town of Tzur Hadassah, which is just inside the Green Line. A wood stove tries to rebuff the bitter cold in the broad space between the unplastered walls and the untiled floor. A grim-looking group of men are sitting around the fire, trying to warm themselves. They are the mourners for Manasra; this was going to be his apartment one day, when he got married. That will never happen now.

      Only the memorial posters remain in the unbuilt space. A relative and fellow villager, Adel Atiyah, an ambassador in the Palestinian delegation to the European Union, calls from Brussels to offer his shocked condolences. One of the mourners, Fahmi Manasra, lives in Toronto and is here on a visit to his native land. The atmosphere is dark and pained.

      The bereaved father, Jamal, 50, is resting in his apartment on the ground floor. When he comes upstairs, it’s clear he’s a person deeply immersed in his grief though impressive in his restraint. He’s a tiler who works in Israel with a permit. He last saw his son as he drove along the main street in Bethlehem as his son was going to his friend’s wedding. Jamal was driving his wife, Wafa, home from another wedding. That was about two hours before Ahmad was killed. In the last two days of his life they worked together, Jamal and his son, in the family vineyard, clearing away cuttings and spraying. Now he wistfully remembers those precious moments. Ahmad asked to borrow his father’s car to drive to the wedding, but Jamal needed it to visit the doctor, and Ahmad joined the group in Wahib Manasra’s SUV.

      Wahib Manasra, who witnessed the gunfire. Credit: Alex Levac

      Quiet prevails in the shell of the unfinished apartment. Someone says that Manasra was already planning the layout of his future home – the living room would be here, the kitchen there. Maisa Raida, the wife of the wounded driver, is at her husband’s bedside at Hadassah Medical Center, Ein Karem, Jerusalem, where he’s recovering from his severe stomach wound. He was brought there from Al-Khader because of the seriousness of his condition. Major damage was done to internal organs in his abdomen and he needed complicated surgery, but he seems to be on the mend.

      Maisa told a local field investigator from a human rights group that at first she didn’t realize that her husband was wounded. Only after she stepped out of the car did she see that he was leaning on the vehicle because of the wound. She yelled for help, and after the young men stopped and took her husband to the hospital, she got back into the car with Manasra, whom she didn’t know. While they were in the car with her daughters, and he was trying get it started, she heard another burst of gunfire aimed at their car from the side, but which didn’t hit them.

      She had no idea that Manasra was shot and killed when he got out of the car, moments later. She stayed inside, trying to calm the girls. It wasn’t until she called her father and her brother-in-law and they arrived and took her to Al-Yamamah Hospital that she heard that someone had been killed. Appalled, she thought they meant her husband but was told that the dead person had been taken to Al-Hussein Hospital in Beit Jala.

      Eventually, she realized that the man who was killed was the same young man who tried to help her and her daughters; he was dead on arrival. Before Maisa and her daughters were taken from the scene, an officer and soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces came to the stalled car and tried to calm them.

      Manasra was dead by then, sprawled next to the concrete cube. He was a Real Madrid fan and liked cars. Until recently he worked in the settlement of Hadar Betar, inside Betar Ilit. His little brother, 8-year-old Abdel Rahman, wanders among the mourners in a daze.

      After Jamal Manasra returned home, his phone began ringing nonstop. He decided not to answer. He says he was afraid to answer, he had forebodings from God. He and his wife drove to the hospital in Beit Jala. He has no rational explanation for why they went to the hospital. From God. “I was the last to know,” he says in Hebrew. At the hospital, he was asked whether he was Ahmad’s father. Then he understood. He and his wife have two more sons and a daughter. Ahmad was their firstborn.

      We asked the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit a number of questions. Why did the soldiers shoot Ala Raida and Ahmad Manasra with live ammunition? Why did they go on shooting at Manasra even after he tried to flee? Did the soldiers fire from the armored watchtower? Do the security cameras show that stones were indeed thrown? Were the soldiers in mortal danger?

      This was the IDF’s response to all these questions: “On March 21, a debriefing was held headed by the commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, Brig. Gen. Eran Niv, and the commander of the Etzion territorial brigade, Col. David Shapira, in the area of the event that took place on Thursday [actually, it was a Wednesday] at the Efrat junction and at the entrance to Bethlehem. From the debriefing it emerges that an IDF fighter who was on guard at a military position near the intersection spotted a suspect who was throwing stones at vehicles in the area and carried out the procedure for arresting a suspect, which ended in shooting. As a result of the shooting, the suspect was killed and another Palestinian was wounded.

      T he West Bank settlement of Betar Ilit is seen from the rooftop of Wadi Fukin, a Palestinian village. Credit : \ Alex Levac

      “The possibility is being examined that there was friction between Palestinians, which included stone-throwing.

      “The inquiry into the event continues, parallel to the opening of an investigation by the Military Police.”

      After the group of young people found what they were looking for – bloodstains of their friend, Ahmad – they reconstructed for us the events of that horrific evening. It was important for them to talk to an Israeli journalist. They’re the three who came out alive from the drive home after the wedding. One of them, Ahmad Manasra – he has the same name as the young man who was killed – wouldn’t get out of the car when we were there. He’s still traumatized. Wahib Manasra, the driver of the SUV, showed us where the stalled VW had been, and where they stopped when they saw a woman shouting for help.

      Soldiers and security cameras viewed us even now, from the watchtower, which is no more than 30 meters from the site. Wahib says that if there was stone-throwing, or if they had noticed soldiers, they wouldn’t have stopped and gotten out of the car. Raida, the wounded man, kept mumbling, “My daughters, my daughters,” when they approached him. He leaned on them and they put him in their car. By the time they reached the gas station down the road, he had lost consciousness. Before that, he again mumbled, “My daughters.”

      Wahib and the other Ahmad, the one who was alive, returned quickly from the hospital, which is just a few minutes from the site. But they could no longer get close to the scene, as a great many cars were congregated there. They got out of the car and proceeded on foot. A Palestinian ambulance went by. Looking through the window, Wahib saw to his horror his friend, Ahmad Manasra, whom they had left on the road with the woman and her girls, lying inside. He saw at once that Ahmad was dead.

    • Israeli army seeks three months community service for soldier who killed innocent Palestinian
      Hagar Shezaf | Aug. 16, 2020 | 1:25 PM-

      The Military Advocate General is to seek a sentence of three months’ community service for an Israeli soldier who shot and killed an innocent Palestinian, as part of a plea bargain signed with the solider.

      The 23-year-old victim, Ahmad Manasra, was helping a man who had been shot by the same soldier and seriously wounded. The soldier who killed Manasra was charged with negligent homicide, but was not charged for wounding the other man, although the first shooting is mentioned in the indictment.

      According to an eyewitness, the soldier fired six bullets at Manasra.

      The soldier has since been released from the Israel Defense Forces. The army did not respond to Haaretz’s query as to whether the soldier had continued in his combat role after the shooting.

      The plea bargain, which states that the soldier will be given a three-month prison sentence that he will serve as community service, will be brought before the military court in Jaffa on Monday. The deal also states that the soldier will be given a suspended sentence and will be demoted to the rank of private.

      This is the first time an indictment has been served against a soldier following the killing of a Palestinian since the case of Elor Azaria, who shot and killed a wounded and incapacitated assailant in Hebron in 2016.

      According to the July indictment, in March of 2019 Alaa Raayda, the 38-year-old Palestinian who was shot in the stomach and seriously wounded, was driving his car together with his wife and two daughters when another car crashed into them at a junction near the village of El-Hadar in the southern West Bank. The other car fled the scene, and Raayda left his vehicle and waved his hands at the other car. The indictment states that the solider thought that Raayda was throwing stones at Israeli vehicles and proceeded to shout warnings and fire into the air before shooting at him.

      However, in Raayda’s affidavit, he states that he was shot outside his vehicle without warning, which is an infraction of the rules of engagement.

      The indictment then states that Manasra came to Raayda’s aid, with three friends who had been on their way home with him after a wedding in Bethlehem. The three helped evacuate the wounded man to the hospital, while Manasra remained at the scene with Raayda’s wife and daughters to help them start their car. According to the indictment, Manasra was shot when he exited the car, and then shot again when he tried to flee the scene.

      The indictment also states that the soldier started shooting when he “mistakenly thought" that Manasra “was the stone-thrower he has seen earlier… although in fact the man who was killed had not thrown stones.”

      In response to the plea bargain, Manasra’s father, Jamal, told Haaretz: “In our religion it says you have to help everyone. Look what happened to my son when he tried to help – they shot him dead. It doesn’t matter how much I talked to Israeli television and newspapers, nothing helped.”

      Attorney Shlomo Lecker, who is representing the families of Raayda and Manasra, asked to appeal the plea bargain when it was issued last month. To this end, he asked for a letter summarizing the investigation, the reason the soldier had not been charged for shooting and wounding Raayda, and that the case had been closed. However, Lecker said the prosecutor in the case and the head of litigation, Major Matan Forsht, refused to give him the document. On Thursday, Lecker submitted his appeal against the plea bargain based on the facts in the indictment, but his request to postpone the hearing until after a decision on his petition was rejected.

      According to Lecker: “The higher echelons of the army convey a message to soldiers in the occupied territories that if they shoot Palestinians for no reason, killing and wounding them, the punishment will be three months of raking leaves” at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv.

      The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that on the day of the shooting, “a warning had been received shortly before the shooting of a possible terror attack in the area,” adding that “the indictment was filed in the context of a plea bargain after a hearing. In the framework of the plea bargain the soldier is expected to take responsibility and admit to the facts of the indictment before the court."

      The plea agreement is subject to the approval of the military court and will be presented to it in the near future. In coming to a decision regarding the charges and the sentence, complex evidentiary and legal elements were taken into consideration, as well as the clear operational circumstances of the event, and the willingness of the soldier to take responsibility, the IDF said.

      The statement said that “contrary to the claims of the representative of the families of the killed and wounded men,” there has been an ongoing dialogue with him for a long time … thus the representative was informed of the negotiations and he was given the opportunity to respond. He also received a copy of the indictment and it was explained that he could convey any information he saw fit with regard to his clients, which would be brought before the military court when the plea bargain was presented. The hearing was also put off for a week at the request of the parties, which was filed at [Lecker’s] request.”

  • A friend is moving to a home built on stolen Palestinian land. Is it immoral to help? - Israel News -

    A good friend of our son’s lives in the settlement of Eli. The friend is currently busy moving his family to a house there whose construction was halted by the High Court of Justice. Our son was asked to help, and he is torn between commitment to his friend and commitment to the values he believes in. Knowing that friendship is a supreme value, we spent last weekend holding long discussions about his options. We concluded that the simplest thing would be to offer the friend help moving back to this side of the Green Line. We’d be happy to hear your opinion.

    #palestine #colonisation

  • UN to review 7 resolutions against Israel in March
    Feb. 15, 2019 11:06 A.M. (Updated : Feb. 15, 2019 12:29 P.M.)

    BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The United Nations Human Rights Council is planning to issue seven resolutions against Israel during March, according to Israeli news outlets.

    Israeli Channel 2 reported that a report of the Commission of Inquiry into the “Gaza Fence” and the black list of businesses operating inside illegal Israeli settlements and beyond the Green Line will be among the resolutions to be made.

    The UN Special Coordinator’s report in the Palestinian lands will also be reviewed, in addition to the Goldstone Report of 2009 and Israeli violations in occupied Golan.

    Israeli violations of the International Law will also be reviewed by the UN Human Rights Council.


  • Not just Ireland: Chilean congress calls for boycott of Israeli settlements
    Resolution passes as Ireland advances bill banning settlement produce ■ Legislation promoted to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

    Noa Landau SendSend me email alerts
    Nov 29, 2018

    The Chilean congress approved this week a resolution calling for its government to boycott Israeli settlements in any future agreement with Israel and to reexaime past agreements.
    The resolution passed with 99 congressmen voting in its favor, seven voting against it and 30 abstaining.
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    The resolution approved in Chile on Tuesday includes a demand from the government to examine all agreements signed with Israel, in order to ensure they only cover territories within the Green Line. The second clause requests that the Chilean Foreign Service ensure that future agreements relate to territories within Israel proper. 
    It was also decided to give guidelines to Chilean citizens visiting or doing business in Israel, so that they understand the historical context of the place and “not support colonization or cooperate with human rights violations in the occupied territories.”
    Finally, the resolution calls for the creation of a so-called mechanism to forbid imports of products made in settlements.
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    The resolution recognizes a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. Chile has in the past recognized a Palestinian state. 
    The foreign ministry in Chile will study the resolution and it may be legislated into law in the future. 
    On Wednesday, the Irish senate passed another stage of a bill calling to boycott produce originating in Israeli settlements.
    Both of these legal moves were pushed by the Palestinians ahead of International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which takes place Thursday.
    The current stage of the Irish law corresponds with a first reading in the Israeli Knesset.
    In July, the Senate approved the bill in a preliminary reading with support from the opposition. Twenty-five Parliament members voted in favor, 20 opposed and 14 abstained.
    The bill prohibits the export and selling of products and services which come from “illegal settlements in occupied territories.” The vote was postponed earlier this year in an attempt to reach a compromise with the government, which sought to soften it after Israel broached the subject.

    However, mutual understandings were not achieved on the matter.
    Saeb Erekat, the Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), lauded the legislative moves on Thursday by saying: “On the occasion of International Solidarity Day with Palestine, it is important to extend the Palestinian peoples’ gratitude to the courageous efforts of both the Chilean and Irish Parliaments. The efforts of both distinguished parliaments have triumphed for the justice and rights of the Palestinian people.”

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

    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.
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    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 :

      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

      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.

  • Israel convicts Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour of incitement to violence, supporting terror
    Tatour, 36, was arrested in October 2015 for three social media publications
    Noa Shpigel May 03, 2018 11:41 AM

    The Nazareth Magistrate’s Court convicted Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour of incitement to violence and supporting a terror organization Thursday because of three publications on social media.

    Tatour, 36, a resident of the Galilee village of Reineh near Nazareth, was arrested in October 2015 after publishing, among others, a poem titled “Resist, my people, resist them." The indictment against her includes a translation of the poem, which includes the lines: “I will not succumb to the ’peaceful solution’ / Never lower my flags / Until I evict them from my land.”

    She was charged in November 2015 with incitement to violence and support for a terror organization. According to the indictment, one video shows masked men throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli forces. In the background, Tatour is heard reading a poem she wrote, whose English title is “Resist, my people, resist them.”

    The day after uploading the video, she wrote in a post: “The Islamic Jihad movement hereby declares the continuation of the intifada throughout the West Bank. ... Continuation means expansion ... which means all of Palestine. ... And we must begin within the Green Line ...for the victory of Al-Aqsa, and we shall declare a general intifada. #Resist.”

    The State Prosecutor’s Office interpreted this text as support for Islamic Jihad and a new intifada.

    The third, allegedly criminal, post was uploaded five days later. It was a photograph of Asra’a Abed, a 30-year-old Israeli Arab woman who was shot and wounded by police after waving a knife at officers in the bus station in Afula in October 2015. Tatour captioned the image, “I am the next shahid,” or martyr.

    The police arrested Tatour at her home two days later.

    In January 2016 Tatour was released, after being fitted with an ankle monitor, to house arrest at the home of her brother in Kiryat Ono.

    At the time of her house arrest, more than 150 literary figures, including nine Pulitzer Prize winners, called for Israel to free Tatour.

  • Israel is the terrorist

    Young Palestinians are not carrying out acts of terror- they are leading a desperate struggle against an army that is a thousand times stronger than they

    Ilana Hammerman Apr 05, 2018

    About a week ago, on the highway between Hermesh and Mevo Dotan, two soldiers were killed and two were injured by a car that was driven by a resident of Barta’a. There are not many Israelis who know where these settlements are located and in what kind of reality they exist. But the vast majority probably have no doubt who was the terrorist here, and who, the innocent victim, and they hope for the fulfillment of the vow made by President Reuven Rivlin, who declared after the incident: “We will not rest until we bring all the collaborators to justice; we will not allow terrorism to become a reality.”
    The problem is that terror has long since become the reality, and the entity that has allowed and is allowing this to happen is the State of Israel. Look at the map and find Barta’a, and maybe you’d even be interested in going there and seeing and hearing how its residents live and what their surroundings are like. I happened to do so a few days before the car-ramming incident, and it was completely clear to me – and not for the first time – that this reality is a product of the ongoing policy of terror pursued by generations of Israeli governments, and that it is this policy that gives rise to the acts of resistance against it.
    What’s amazing is only that there aren’t more such acts, because it’s really and truly an intolerable situation. Barta’a al-Sharqiya is located east of Wadi Ara, between the Green Line and the separation barrier. In that location the fence makes a major detour into the West Bank in order to include in Israeli territory four settlements with names as fresh and pleasant as the fruit of the field and its fragrances: Shaked (Almond), Reihan (Basil), Hinanit (Daisy) and Tal Menashe (Dew of Menashe).
    Within this enclave there are also four Arab villages, the largest of which is Barta’a al-Sharqiya. This entire enclave, with its fences, checkpoints and military forces, exists and thrives only for the benefit of the settlers who settled in it and next to it. The people who have been living for ages in the Arab villages in this part of the country suddenly found themselves penned in and subject to a diabolical maze of orders and regulations: They are not allowed to enter Israel to the west, while to the east, in the West Bank– their natural living space – two checkpoints were set up for them, via which they must leave and enter during opening hours and with the permission and good graces of the soldiers and private security guards posted there.
    A few are also allowed to bring food and merchandise in their cars via the checkpoints, with restrictions. Palestinians who live outside the enclave – who are members of the same nation as those living within it, and often their relatives – are not permitted to enter unless they have “special permits.”
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    Farmers from outside the enclave found themselves cut off from their land, and they too must request special permits and must enter and leave through special gates and at predetermined opening hours, in order to cultivate their fields. The settlements of Hermesh and Mevo Dotan are also situated in the area of the West Bank, but outside the enclave. The point is that every such settlement that is built In the West Bank – in which not a single dunam belongs to the State of Israel – disrupts the lives of the Palestinian villages in the area in ways that a free citizen would find difficult even to imagine.

    That’s the reality there, and it’s one of state-sponsored terror, the State of Israel. Because what is land confiscation on a huge scale, what are restrictions on freedom of movement, and with it freedom of employment and commerce, home demolitions, the imposition of curfews and closures, the building of innumerable fences and walls and the deployment of military forces armed to the teeth, in the heart of a Palestinian civilian population, in order to protect an Israeli civilian population that settled among it by force – what are all these if not terror, in other words, a war against unarmed citizens?
    And so, in this situation a young Palestinian girl stands in the back yard of her home in Nabi Saleh and slaps an Israeli soldier who was sent to her village only in order to guard the settlement of Halamish, which also thuggishly stuck itself deep inside the area of the West Bank; and in this situation two young women arrive at the checkpoint in the heart of Hebron, each one separately, with a knife in their hand or their bag, and the armed soldiers – who are there in order to protect a violent Jewish settlement, which expelled tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians and incessantly abuses those who survived – shoot them dead.
    And in this situation demonstrators emerge in the heart of the cities of Jericho, Bethlehem or the outskirts of the village of Beit Ummar, carrying stones and tires for burning and incendiary devices, to confront soldiers armed with machine guns and stun and gas grenades, who invade their communities and their homes day and night and injure and kill those who resist them and flee from them; and in this situation a young man comes from Barta’a and runs over and kills and injures soldiers – who are posted there only to protect the settlements that were generously built north and south of his village, and because of which the crowded village is doomed to economic and human strangulation.
    What are the acts of these young people? Terror? No, this is a desperate struggle by groups and individuals, who from the day they were born have nothing to hope for, against an army that is a thousand times stronger than they. And what is this army defending: The security of its country? No, it is defending the choice of Israeli governments to use terror to impose the “state of the Jewish people” on the entire region between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River.
    I would like to make these things clear out of a belief in the power of words to shape consciousness. And sometimes political involvement as well.


    A particularity of Nabi Saleh consists in its proximity with the Israeli settlement of Halamish, where over 1,500 settlers live, despite the violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention that the existence of such a civil infrastructure on occupied territory embodies (see the other map towards the end of the article). Between them, the Road 465 that circulates exclusively in Area C and allow the optimized circulation of Israeli vehicles from Tel Aviv, as well as the gigantic US-built Nahshonim military base situated on the immediate west part of the Green Line, to settlements situated between Ramallah and Nablus. Although the access to this road is authorized to Palestinian cars on ‘normal’ days (a small part of it links Birzeit to the new town of Rawabi), the road is regularly patrolled by Israeli army vehicles and its passage through the Apartheid Wall is sanctioned by the Rantis military checkpoint that grants access only to cars bearing a yellow plate (the Israeli license color) with all passengers presenting either an Israeli passport or a work permit, the latter being potentially denied at the discretion of the soldiers.

  • Dear Europe, take note: If you want to, Israel can be pressured - Palestinians -

    A recent case involving Dutch solar panels shows how friendly states can make Israel back down when it violates international humanitarian law

    Amira Hass Oct 23, 2017
    read more:

    The High Court justices once more found an escape hatch; once again, they would not have to discuss the basic, outrageous fact that Israel is not connecting thousands of Palestinians (on both sides of the Green Line) to the national electricity and water infrastructure. This time the way out was found in the village of Jubbet ad-Dhib at the foot of Herodion, southeast of Bethlehem. It needed a hybrid (solar plus diesel) electrical system that was installed by the Comet-ME Israeli-Palestinian aid organization, because Israel had not met its international obligation to connect it to the electrical grid.
    All those who accuse the High Court of being leftist can relax. It has missed hundreds of opportunities to rule that withholding water and electricity is illegal according to international law, illegal according to Israeli law, and unacceptable according to Jewish law. Hundreds of times – to count by the number of petitions that have been submitted – the court had the opportunity to instruct the state to connect the Palestinian communities to the water and electrical infrastructure, but it avoided doing so, often citing technicalities. Back when current Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked was still a toddler, the court was already repeatedly missing opportunities to salvage the reputation of Jewish morality from downing in the sludge of nationalism and the lust to expel.
    The escape hatch in Jubbet ad-Dhib was shown to the justices by Brigadier General Ahvat Ben Hur, but it was none other than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who created that opening. The Dutch government, which had funded the hybrid electrical system, was furious over the confiscation of the solar panels, and Netanyahu promised the Dutch in writing that the panels Israel had confiscated from the village in late June would be returned. And then what does Ben Hur, the direct commander of the confiscators from the Civil Administration do? He informs the state prosecutor, which informed the High Court, that he’d decided to return the panels.
    Ben Hur did not do so to honor the state’s obligation to a protected population. Rather, he cited a technicality. The panels were confiscated eight months after they had been installed and operate, he explained. Thus, the petition written by attorneys Michal Sfard and Michal Pasovsky was rendered redundant. That’s a shame. It would have been interesting to see what contortions the justices would have got into in response to the arguments (also accepted by the Dutch government) that denying access to electricity and destroying electricity systems are offenses that violate international humanitarian law.
    Ben Hur’s statement enabled the state prosecutor and the justices to also avoid addressing the fact that the Civil Administration had made improper use of a military order. The seizure orders that were given to the Jubbet ad-Dhib residents on the day of the confiscation cited Article 60 of the order regarding security provisions. This article makes seizure contingent upon a criminal offense having been committed using the equipment slated for seizure. The confiscation order did not specify what offense was supposedly committed with the solar panels. The lawyers’ inquiries to the Civil Administration about this went unanswered. Presumably, then (also based the COGAT spokesperson’s response to journalists), the suspected offense is related to planning and building laws. But this is an administrative offense that does not come under the military order regarding security provisions. The procedures for dealing with it are different – cease work orders and demolition orders, hearings, arguments against the orders, appeals, negotiations, a petition to the High Court.
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  • The closure of the West Bank and Gaza has lasted 26 years - Palestinians -

    When Israel announces a lockdown of the occupied territories, it creates a false impression that the Palestinians normally have freedom of movement – that hasn’t existed since January 1991

    Amira Hass Oct 16, 2017 1:51 AM
    read more:

    I was reminded of the great distance between 21 Schocken Street (the Haaretz offices) and Qalandiyah, Nablus or Jayyous with some of the articles published in Haaretz before the Sukkot holiday. They reminded me (again, again) how badly I have failed in my attempts to describe, explain and illustrate Israel’s policy of restrictions of movement. Because I have written reams on the closure policy in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank since it was first imposed in January 1991, I recognize my personal responsibility on the matter.
    Several of my colleagues at Haaretz (including in one editorial) rightly criticized the order of the Israeli political and military leadership to prohibit the exit of Palestinians from the West Bank during the entire Sukkot holiday. The writers noted the cruelty of harming the livelihood of tens of thousands of workers with collective punishment, with a blockade.
    But these articles created the false impression that the checkpoints are open to everyone normally and, consequently, somehow justify the word used by the military establishment – “crossings,” as though these are border crossings between two sovereign and equal states.
    From the criticism in the articles, it appeared that, just as the average Israeli can board a bus or get into a car and travel eastward, freely, on any day of the week and at any hour, a rank-and-file Palestinian can likewise hit the same deluxe highways and head westward. To the sea. Or to Jerusalem. To their family in the Galilee; as they choose, on almost any day and at any hour, except on Shabbat and holidays.
    So let’s say it once more: The closure has not been lifted since it was imposed on the population in the Gaza Strip and West Bank (not including East Jerusalem) on January 15, 1991. How should we define it today, more than 26 years on? The closure is the reinstatement of the Green Line – but only in one direction, and for one people. It is nonexistent for Jews, but it most certainly does exist for Palestinians (along with its new reinforcement – the West Bank separation barrier).

  • Israel fighting to stop FIFA from suspending settlement soccer teams -
    Move against six teams initiated by Palestinians, backed by FIFA panel; Israelis pessimistic

    Barak Ravid Apr 20, 2017
    read more:

    Israel is increasingly concerned that when the FIFA Congress holds its annual meeting in another four weeks, the international soccer federation will decide to suspend six Israeli soccer teams based in West Bank settlements.
    Consequently, ambassadors in dozens of capitals worldwide have been ordered to work with officials of their host countries to foil the move.
    An official involved in the issue said that two weeks ago, Israel learned that Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub had asked to put the issue of the settlement teams on the agenda of both the FIFA Council, which will meet in Manama, Bahrain on May 9, and the FIFA Congress, which will meet in the same city on May 10 and 11.
    On Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry sent a cable to dozens of Israeli embassies instructing embassy staffers to try to persuade their host countries to remove the issue from FIFA’s agenda or ensure that no vote on it takes place. But the official said Israel must be prepared for the worst-case scenario, in which a vote does take place. If so, Israel’s chances of winning are negligible.
    “Our growing assessment is that the FIFA Congress is liable to make a decision on suspending six Israeli teams that play over the Green Line, or even on suspending Israel from FIFA,” the cable said. “We urge you to contact your countries’ representatives on the FIFA Council as soon as possible to obtain their support for Israel’s position, which rejects mixing politics with sport and calls for reaching an agreed solution between the parties ... and to thwart an anti-Israel decision if it is brought before the council.”

    #BDS #Israel #Palestine

  • After Trump request, Netanyahu formulating goodwill gestures toward Palestinians -

    At the meeting the security cabinet decided to curb settlement construction, Netanyahu told the ministers: We must not mislead the Americans, they are tracking every house in the settlements, including in East Jerusalem.

    Barak Ravid Apr 02, 2017
    read more:

    The Trump administration is asking Israel to carry out a series of goodwill gestures toward the Palestinians, both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the security cabinet last Thursday, when he announced plans to curb construction in the settlements. 
    These measures should have an immediate effect on the Palestinians’ economic situation, ministers and senior officials who attended the meeting told Haaretz.
    >> Get all updates on Israel, Trump and the Palestinians: Download our free App, and Subscribe >>
    During Thursday’s meeting, Netanyahu said several times that U.S. President Donald Trump is determined to advance the Israeli-Palestinian issue and for the two parties to reach an agreement, the sources said.
    >> Analysis: Israel’s most right-wing cabinet ever curbs settlement construction - but the settlers keep mum >>
    Netanyahu said he did not know exactly how Trump wants to make progress, but the prime minister stressed the importance of Israel demonstrating goodwill and not being seen as the one causing the U.S. initiative to fail.
    Three ministers and two senior government officials who participated in Thursday’s meeting, or who were updated on the details of it, briefed Haaretz on what happened behind the scenes during the nighttime discussions about contacts between the United States and Israel on the Palestinian issue.
    All five asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the matter, and also because it was a closed meeting.
    Netanyahu said he intends to agree to the American demands for additional goodwill steps in the West Bank and Gaza, with the potential for an immediate uptick for the Palestinian economy. He did not provide details about what moves would be taken, but a number of the ministers present understood that one possible step would include granting the Palestinians permission to build in Area C (some 60 percent of the West Bank, under full Israeli civil and security control).
    Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who has blocked previous efforts by Netanyahu to take similar actions, once more presented his reservations. Bennett said he expects that any actions Israel takes on the ground, and the goodwill gestures to the Palestinians, will not expand into moves with major foreign policy implications.

    The Beit Aryeh settlement, north of Ramallah, April 1, 2017. Netanyahu has pledged to curb settlement construction.THOMAS COEX/AFP
    The leader of the far-right Habayit Hayehudi party added that if Netanyahu does consider such moves, he expects the matter to be brought back to the security cabinet for a further discussion and approval.
    Netanyahu scheduled a meeting with the Israel Defense Forces’ Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, and other officials, for Sunday, when they will attempt to put together the package of goodwill gestures and other steps.
    Even though the Prime Minister’s Office stated in recent days no limitations will exist on construction in the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem situated over the Green Line, Netanyahu sounded less emphatic in the security cabinet meeting and hinted that there would not be full normalization on this issue.
    “There are no limitations on construction in Jerusalem, but we will need to act wisely,” he told ministers, hinting it’s possible that certain limitations may be imposed on building in the capital.
    In addition, Netanyahu informed the security cabinet a decision had been made to limit the activities of the highest-level planning committee of the IDF’s Civil Administration, which approves building plans for the settlements. Instead of meeting once a week, as was customary, the committee will now meet only once every three months.
    Netanyahu told the ministers that each of the committee’s meetings – during which decisions are made and then revealed about building plans for the settlements, even if they are only minor technical decisions – leads to media reports, which then causes friction and tension with the international community. Accumulating such plans and having them brought up for discussion only four times a year will limit the amount of global protest, added Netanyahu.
    At the same time, limiting the activities of the IDF’s planning committee could also have an influence on the number of plans approved, as well as the pace at which they advance.
    A senior member on the Yesha Council of settlements in the West Bank said fewer committee meetings would mean a slowdown in the planning process. It would be enough for Netanyahu or Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to cancel just a single committee meeting for supposedly technical reasons in order to create a situation in which no plans are approved for a full six months.
    In a meeting of the heads of the coalition, Bennet turned to Netanyahu and said that the new policy on settlement construction will be tested by how it would be implemented. “I ask that after Passover a date would be set for the Supreme Planning Committee to convene in order to approve construction plans,” said the education minister. Netanyahu did not respond, but his chief of staff, Horowitz, said that he will check and will soon schedule a committee meeting.
    Netanyahu also told the ministers Thursday that stricter limitations and supervision will be imposed on construction in unauthorized outposts. It is assumed no further construction will be allowed in existing unauthorized outposts, and new ones will be removed shortly after they go up.

    Palestinian women in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, March 30, 2017. New goodwill gestures would aim to improve the Strip’s dire economic situation.SAID KHATIB/AFP
    Even though the new construction policy is not part of an agreement with the United States, or even part of the unofficial understandings with the White House, the Trump administration is following their implementation very closely, said Netanyahu.
    Israel must keep to its new policy of restraint and implement it strictly, without trying to deceive the Trump administration, because the Americans know about every house being built in the settlements, he added.
    At Sunday’s Likud ministerial meeting Monday morning, Horowitz, who manages communications with the White House on the issue of the settlements, said that originally the Americans had requested a complete freeze in construction. "It started from zero," Horowitz told the ministers. “The result we reached was much better.” Prime Minister Netanyahu said in response: “I won’t go into it here, but you don’t know how right he is.”

    #Israël #Palestine #Etats-Unis #colonisation

  • Palestinians urge EU to stop holding official meetings with Israel in #Jerusalem

    While European representatives serving in Israel avoid holding official meetings or tours beyond the Green Line in Jerusalem, they often visit the Foreign Ministry and other government ministries in the western part of the city. This despite the fact that Europe doesn’t recognize West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and doesn’t have an official mission there.

    Moreover, annual EU reports have carried a recommendation to hold all meetings with senior Israeli officials outside Jerusalem, but it wasn’t acted on. Diplomatic sources estimate that the letter seeks to prepare the ground for the possible transfer of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. By raising the demand, the Palestinians want to equate West Jerusalem to East Jerusalem.

    #UE #Europe #complicité #Israël

  • Do Not Let Go of the Green Line : It Is Israel’s Achilles Heel

    The poet Dylan Thomas urged his father – and all those approaching death – “Do not go gentle into that good night” but “rage, rage against the dying of the light.” The death of the two-state solution has been foretold for nearly 20 years, after it became clear that Israel had signed on to the Oslo peace process in 1993 with no intention of allowing a sovereign Palestinian state.
    #ligne_verte #Israël #Palestine

    On dirait que la #carte a été montrée pendant une #manifestation (mais pas de date ni de légende...)
    #cartographie #visualisation

    via @franz42
    cc @reka

  • Gazan boy paralyzed by Israeli army fire fights for compensation
    Atiya Nabahin was shot in the neck by soldiers as he returned home from school. Now he awaits a ruling for compensation.
    By Amira Hass | Nov. 26, 2016 | 11:58 AM

    A 17-year-old Palestinian who became a quadriplegic after being wounded by IDF fire is posing the first challenge to the Law to Bypass the High Court that was passed by the Knesset four years ago. If the Be’er Sheva District Court accepts the state’s position that his suit for damages should be rejected, his lawyer will appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court. Then the justices will have to address for the first time the legality of the amendment to the Civil Damages Law that the Knesset passed in 2012, seven years after they nullified a similar amendment to the same law.

    Atiya Nabahin’s family lived east of the Al-Bureij refugee camp on farmland it has owned and worked for decades, close to the Green Line. On November 16, 2014, his birthday, Nabahin was shot in the neck by soldiers as he returned home from school. No armed clash was occurring at that time and place between Palestinians and the IDF.

    For six months, Nabahin received medical treatment in Israel (paid for by the Palestinian Authority), after it was determined that he had been permanently paralyzed from the neck down. His father Fathi, 59, stayed with him throughout that time, and was taught at ALYN Hospital about how to care for his son, who is now completely dependent on his family members. The family cannot afford to hire outside help. It must shoulder the emotional, physical and financial burden of Atiya’s care alone.

    When Atiya Nabahin and his father were in Soroka Hospital in early 2015, the Gazan human rights organization Mizan put them in touch with lawyer Mohammed Jabarin, who later filed the civil suit against the state. Ofer Shoval, deputy Tel Aviv district attorney, sought to have the claim rejected because Nabahin “is a resident of an area outside of Israel that the government has officially declared to be enemy territory,” and because “the law explicitly states that the state is not responsible for damages in these circumstances.”

    A month ago, Jabarin and attorney Nadeem Shehadeh from Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel co-wrote a response to Shoval, saying that the law upon which the state is seeking to have the suit dismissed amounts to a direct challenge to the Supreme Court’s authority.

    Since the late 1990s, and more so after the outbreak of the second intifada, successive Israeli governments have tried to limit Palestinians’ ability to sue the state when they are hurt by IDF actions. In 2002, an amendment to the Civil Damages Law was enacted, which introduced many hurdles in the process for Palestinians wishing to sue for damages. In 2005, another amendment (7) was passed, which denied residents of the occupied territories, “subjects of enemy states and active members of terrorist organizations” the right to sue for damages caused them outside the framework of combat operations (with minor exceptions). The amendment also stipulated that “the state is not response for damages caused in the conflict zone due to actions by the security forces” and authorized the defense minister to determine, even retroactively, what qualifies as a “conflict zone.”

    Challenges from human rights NGOs

    Nine Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations petitioned against the amendment and in December 2006 a nine-justice panel of the High Court, headed by then-court President Aharon Barak, ruled that the clause in question granted sweeping immunity to the state, “with the improper aim of exempting the state from all responsibility for damages in conflict zones … in relation to wide categories of actions that are not combat actions even in the broadest definition of that term. What this means is that many injured persons who were not involved in any hostile activity, and who were not hurt incidentally during actions by security forces meant to address any sort of hostile activity, are left without remedy for the harm to their life and their property.”

    The judges ruled that the key clause of the amendment (No. 7, Section 5c), which included the definition of conflict zones, shall be nullified because it violated the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom. However, the court did not strike down Section 5b, regarding the identity of the casualties, but it did say that this section could be discussed in specific cases.

    Immediately after the ruling was handed down, the government began working to have the amendment restored, indirectly. Amendment 8 was passed in 2012, and this time there was no High Court petition, even though it was even more sweeping than Amendment 7. In the new amendment, the definition of military activity as “being done in circumstances of mortal or physical danger” was expanded to “actions of a combat nature, considering the entirety of the circumstances, including the objective of the operation, its geographical location and the threat to the force carrying it out.” In other words, the state needn’t make the claim that soldiers were in any danger in order to justify its request to reject a suit for damages.

    Additionally, to evade the definition of a “conflict zone” that was nullified by the High Court’s order, Amendment 8 added the following words to the part concerning the identity of the injured party who is not authorized to sue (the subject of an enemy country, etc.): “or one who is not an Israeli citizen, who is resident of an area outside of Israel that the government has declared, by order, as enemy territory.” In other words: Instead of a “conflict zone,” the new amendment refers to “enemy territory.”

    In October 2014, the government issued an order declaring Gaza enemy territory. The order was applied retroactively, beginning July 7, 2014 (just before the start of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza).

    Nabahin’s lawyers believe his severe injury falls exactly in that place where the High Court justices, in their 2006 ruling, sought to prevent the state from being able to evade responsibility: the seemingly unjustified injuring by soldiers, the state’s emissaries, of a person who was not involved in any hostilities and at a time and place where no hostile activity was occurring. In their letter, Jabarin and Shehadeh wrote:

    “The state is effectively being given total immunity, meaning it is exempt from responsibility for damages in relation to many areas of activity that do not qualify as combat activity, even in the broad and inherently problematic definition, given to this concept in the law. Thus many victims find themselves without recourse. … In this way [the state] is not trying to adapt the laws on damages to a war situation, but rather to deny the applicability of these laws to many actions that are not combat-related…”

    The attorneys – and their permanently paralyzed client – are now waiting for the state’s response to their objection.


  • Don’t Call Us ’Israeli Arabs’: Palestinians in Israel Speak Out - Opinion -
    Palestinian citizens of Israel are its Achilles’ heel; they refuse to become Zionists, refuse to leave Israel, and refuse to vanish into thin air. And, increasingly, they are refusing to remain silent.

    Sam Bahour Sep 26, 2016
    read more:

    When Israel’s founding fathers removed by force the native Palestinian Arab population living where they intended to establish their state, they murdered or displaced more than 80% of that population.
    This act of ethnic cleansing — to borrow one of Benjamin Netanyahu’s newly found phrases — was given a name in Arabic: the Nakba, or catastrophe. The Palestinian Muslims, Druze and Christians who remained in what became Israel have been, and are today, approximately 20% of the population. These are indigenous Palestinians and their descendants, who have had Israeli citizenship imposed upon them.
    ’48ers, Palestinian Arabs, ’insiders’ – just not ’Israeli Arabs’
    For over half a century, Israel has preferred the designation Israeli Arabs, focusing on their Israeliness and attempting to obliterate any trace of Palestinian from their identity. Among Palestinians in exile or the West Bank, they’re referred to as ‘48ers, referring to the year of the Nakba, or as those living “on the inside,” meaning inside the 1949 armistice line, better known as the Green Line. Now, a new cohort of Palestinian thinkers inside Israel writing 68 years after the Nakba reaffirm that they are not just Arabs, but Palestinian Arabs, and that while they may be “in Israel,” they are not Israel’s: they are their own masters.
    These Palestinian citizens of Israel are its Achilles’ heel; they refuse to become Zionists, refuse to leave Israel, and refuse to vanish into thin air. And, increasingly, they are refusing to remain a silent, or passive, player.
    This increasingly assertive minority in Israel spoke out in a new think tank report published this month by The Palestinian Arab Citizens in Israel hosted by the Oxford Research Group and supported by the I’LAM Arab Center for Media Freedom Development and Research in Nazareth and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. [Full disclosure: While completely independent, this project is also a sister project of the Palestine Strategy Group, of which I’m a secretariat member.]

  • Front-page article in ‘NYT’ exposes the lie that wall is a security barrier
    US Politics James North and Philip Weiss on June 21, 2016

    (...) So why the wall?

    That’s the big flaw in the article. It doesn’t address the political purposes of the wall: to grab as much Palestinian land with maximum Jews on it. The wall travels for most of its course to the east of the Green Line, taking Palestinian territory and protecting illegal Israeli settlements/colonies to its west. It is a de facto apartheid border. And just in case you missed that point, Dennis Ross, the former White House negotiator, said last week in New York that Israel should take measures to hold on to all the land to the west of the wall, leaving the other 93 percent of the West Bank to Palestinians for a state, some day. (...)

  • BDS Isn’t the Criminal Here
    Even those who don’t believe in the boycott, or think there are better ways to fight the occupation (such as?) cannot go along with this crushing move to criminalize it.

    Gideon Levy Jun 09, 2016 5:58 AM

    The struggle against the movement to boycott Israel has sunk to a new low – criminalization. From now on it’s not just a propaganda campaign against BDS (which only made it stronger), not the usual victim-like behavior, not the colonialist fibs about the boycott’s harming Palestinian laborers. It’s not even the demonization, which includes accusing anyone who dares support the boycott of anti-Semitism, the mother of all accusations.
    No, from now on the boycott is a crime. It’s a crime to boycott the criminal. A crime to avoid buying goods produced on territories of crime. A crime to avoid supporting a crime factory. A crime to fight violation of international law.
    The powerful Jewish-Israeli lobbying is scoring more achievements. The go-ahead was given by none other than France’s Supreme Court, which ruled last year that boycotting Israel is, incredible as it may sound, a “hate crime.” Not the settlements or the executions at checkpoints, not the settlers’ violence and not the mass arrests – no, it’s the boycott against them that’s a crime.
    America wasn’t far behind, of course. It will never miss an opportunity to cultivate, finance and encourage the occupation. Twenty states have enacted, or are about to enact, amendments against the boycott on Israel. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo even went as far as announcing this week that he signed an administrative order under which his state will boycott any organization or company that dares to take part in the boycott. “We want Israel to know we’re on its side,” said this pseudo Israel lover at a Jewish conference in Manhattan. “If you boycott Israel, New York will boycott you,” he tweeted.
    Thank you, New York. Thank you governor. Your move has proved that New York stands on the occupiers’ side, on the side of crime. Again you’ve proved how unworthy the United States is of the title “leader of the free world.” Again you’ve proved that when it comes to Israel all your declared values are abruptly distorted. Could anyone have imagined issuing a similar order against the international movement against apartheid in South Africa? Can anyone imagine criminalizing the sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Crimea?
    It’s not obligatory to support the boycott. It’s OK not to believe in its effectiveness. But it must be admitted that it’s impossible to be a person of conscience and buy the settlements’ products. Just as a law-abiding person won’t buy stolen property, we must not buy goods manufactured on stolen land. It’s obligatory to exhort people against this. It’s permitted to urge people to boycott such products. And it’s very difficult, in fact impossible, to separate between the settlements and Israel, which has erased the Green Line.
    Israel is invested in the occupation project in its entirety and there is no longer any distinguishing between them. Is there a bank without accounts from the West Bank? Is there a health maintenance organization without a branch in Ariel? Is there a supermarket chain without a supermarket for settlers?
    But even those who don’t believe in the boycott, or think there are better ways to fight the occupation (such as?) cannot go along with this crushing criminalization. The boycott is a legitimate, non-violent means that has and is being used by numerous states, including Israel.
    What are the international sanctions on Hamas, with Israel’s encouragement, if not a boycott? What about those on Iran? Hasn’t Israel violated international law as well?
    Israeli propagandists are delighting in the achievements against BDS. The struggle’s commander, Ambassador to the U.S. Danny Danon, last week held a propagandists’ conference in the UN building, where his forces briefed some 1,500 gullible Jewish students to recite: “Every other word that comes out of your mouths must be ‘peace.’”
    That is moving, of course, to the point of tears. But the hour of truth will come, and then all those who acted to criminalize the boycott will have to answer honestly: Who is the criminal here, what is the real crime and what have you done against it?


  • Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions-USA

    The Los Angeles Times had an important story in its Sunday, May 29, 2016, edition deserving many rebuttals in letters-to-the-editor.

    The topic was the impending platform fight at the Democratic convention over US government policy toward Israel. Top of the fold, on page 1. Despite it prominent location and length, the article never mentioned Haim Saban and his ilk financially supporting Hillary Clinton, legal discrimination against Palestinian Israelis and asylum seekers within the Green Line, the occupation and the construction of an apatheid state, Kerry’s failed peace talk initiative and the end of the two state option, Martin Indiyk blaming the Israeli government for the failed peace talks, Israel’s refusal to define its own borders, many ed-op pieces in the LA Times critical of the Israeli government, J Street, JVP, local groups like LA Jews for Peace, 42 US vetoes to protect Israel from sanctions at the UN Security Council, killing of the Goldstone Report, investigations of the IRS tax exempt status for philanthropies supporting settlers and Jewish terrorists, Avidgor Lieberman’s new role as the civilian head of the Israeli Military, and the increased US military sales to Israel totally $3.5 billion, intelligence sharing, and many violations of the Leahy and US Arms Export Acts.

  • Corrupt Palestinian Officials Too Comfortable to Resist the Israeli Occupation -
    Palestinians don’t need the Panama Papers to expose what they see as corruption in the ranks of their leaders — there is visible concrete evidence of it everywhere.
    Amira Hass Apr 10, 2016 9:25 PM

    The Palestinians are the last to be surprised over the recent Panama Papers revelations that indicate a connection between money and power among their leadership or, what in popular parlance, falls under the broad heading of “corruption.” There is nearly no daily conversation where allegations of corruption are not expressed, whether referring explicitly to individuals by name (cabinet ministers, senior members of the ruling Fatah party or NGO directors) or their institutions.

    In conversations with Palestinians, they speak of a broad range of corruption that they believe is present at top levels of society: Outright theft of public funds, receiving of bribes and other favors in return for services, hugely inflated salaries and favors paid to senior NGO officials and high-level political interference in the replacement of senior civil servants.

    Then there are the allegations of partnership interests of senior figures from the ruling party and government ministries in private businesses, the provision of public land to senior officials and the payment of huge sums from the political organization level for construction of homes, for medical care or to attend conferences abroad. There are allegations of relatives being appointed to government ministries (and one of the most common allegations is that every minister fills his ministry with locals from his own home region). People speak of officials drawing two salaries at the same time (for example, a senior official in a political organization, a former legislator). And this is just a partial list of allegations that render almost every senior figure or public official into a corrupt suspect, who is therefore untrustworthy.

    The animosity raging between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and former senior Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan also includes regular mutual recriminations of corruption. Last year a court in Ramallah dropped an indictment filed by the Palestinian prosecution against Dahlan over major embezzlement charges and ruled that the stripping of the immunity from prosecution that Dahlan had enjoyed as a legislator was not carried out according to the law.

    Dahlan’s associates regularly mention Abbas’ sons’ global business interests. They probably would have welcomed the Haaretz Panama Papers reporting by Uri Blau and Daniel Dolev regarding Abbas’ son Tareq and his hefty interests in a private company with links to the Palestinian Authority, but they would certainly not have been surprised.

    Tareq Abbas, son of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, at his home in Ramallah, 2014.Rina Castelnuovo / NYT

    In a shtetl-like society, which the Palestinian one is, namely small and with extended families whose members are at almost every rung of the social ladder, everyone is exposed to some kind of incriminating morsel of information, in his own view, about senior people or what would fit the popular definition of corruption.

    And in contrast to the sparsity of written documents that may be exposed to bolster the allegations, there is other visible, concrete evidence of what is perceived as corruption: the ornate large private home or second home purchased by someone who is not known to hail from a wealthy family (meaning where the source of wealth is no longer questioned); the snazzy new car; the time spent at fancy clubs; and the use of official vehicles for personal purposes.

    The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research regularly asks if people think there is corruption at the institutions of the Palestinian Authority. In the most recent poll, published at the beginning of the month, 79 percent answered that there is, and this response has been more or less constant for years.

    In the interest of fair disclosure, in this writer’s opinion, the occupation (including the allocation of land on both sides of the Green Line to Jews alone) is the mother of all corruption, but that should not let the Palestinians off the hook easily. On the contrary, as part of a people fighting a despotic and fraudulent foreign occupation, the Palestinian leadership (the Palestine Liberation Organization, Fatah and Hamas as well) is more highly obligated than anyone else to act with integrity. And they are failing the test.

    Under circumstances of occupation, it is natural the definition of corruption would be wide. When the newly-minted head of Israel’s Civil Administration in the territories, Munir Amar, was killed in a plane crash, several senior Fatah and Palestinian Authority officials, including political associates of Abbas, went to pay a condolence call. The Civil Administration is not a neutral Israeli entity. It should be remembered that it is the operational arm of a policy of land theft, water theft, home demolition, settlement, etc. Are their narrow personal interests (currying the favor of the overlords who issue the travel permits) the reason for the typical disregard that they have demonstrated towards their own people?

    The senior Palestinian Authority officials continue to securely remain in their posts, not as representatives of the people but rather under the auspices of international support for continued negotiations with Israel in advance of the “establishment of a Palestinian state.” That means continued support for a lie: the status quo of Israeli domination, accelerated colonization, a stable security situation that is undermined from time to time and pockets of Palestinian self-rule.

    In these pockets, one finds many senior officials and those linked to them who owe their personal and family wellbeing to that same status quo. In other words, they are incapable of turning the tables and imagining and developing a new and inclusive form of struggle (that does not necessarily require arms) against Israeli domination since that is liable to harm their economic status and that of those around them. And this is corruption.

    #Palestine #corruption

    • Un fils du président palestinien cité dans l’affaire des « Panama Papers »
      RFI | Nicolas Ropert | Publié le 08-04-2016

      Selon des informations du journal israélien Haaretz, Tarek Abbas disposerait d’un capital d’un million de dollars géré par le désormais fameux cabinet d’avocat panaméen Mossack Fonseca. Une somme qui provient, selon le quotidien, d’une société liée à l’Autorité palestinienne que dirige depuis 2005 Mahmoud Abbas. Une affaire qui ravive les accusations de corruption qui entourent régulièrement l’Autorité palestinienne.

  • Israeli Companies Leaving West Bank in Apparent Response to Boycott Pressure
    A soon-to-be-released report by peace group obtained by Haaretz suggests that international pressure may have affected companies’ decisions to move within the Green Line.

    Judy Maltz Mar 27, 2016, Haaretz

    Responding to international boycott pressures and other constraints, a growing number of Israeli companies operating in the West Bank are moving their facilities to locations within the country’s internationally recognized borders, according to a report prepared by Gush Shalom, an anti-occupation organization that monitors such activities.
    The report, obtained by Haaretz, shows that aside from the recent high-profile cases of Ahava, the Dead Sea skin care product company, and SodaStream, the seltzer-machine manufacturer, other prominent Israeli companies have also been part of this trend, even if they have managed to evade publicity. 
    The last time Gush Shalom compiled a list of companies operating in the West Bank was 20 years ago. Roughly 20 to 30 percent of the companies that appeared on that original list are no longer there, according to Adam Keller, a spokesman for the organization. Some have shut down completely and others have relocated.
    “This is a very rough estimate,” he said, “and clearly there are other businesses that have sprouted up in their place, but when it comes to big companies that export their goods and are interested in building international connections, the trend is very clear. There has been a sharp decline in their number.”
    Among the Israeli companies whose moves back inside the so-called “Green Line” have not been widely reported, according to the Gush Shalom report, are the following: 
    –  Delta Galil Industries, a major clothing exporter, which transferred its warehouse from the Atarot industrial zone outside Jerusalem to Caesaria
    –  Teva Pharmaceuticals, the world’s largest manufacturer of generic drugs, which moved its biological laboratories from Atarot to Beit Shemesh
    –  Adanim Tea, which relocated from the settlement of Ofra to the Galilee
    –  The Intercosma cosmetics company, which moved from Atarot to Ashdod
    –  The Ikoo Designs children’s furniture manufacturer, which moved from the Barkan industrial zone near Ariel to Ashdod and Nesher
    –  The United Seats chair maker, which moved from Barkan to Tel Aviv
    –  Yardeni Locks, which moved from Barkan to Misgav in northern Israel
    –  Modan Bags, which moved its headquarters from the settlement of Shaked in the northern West Bank to a moshav outside Petach Tikva and transplanted its manufacturing facility to China.

  • Trying to Drive a Wedge Between ’Good’ and ’Bad’ Arabs - Opinion - Haaretz - Israeli News Source
    The law to oust Arabs is designed precisely to avert the day in which Jewish Israeli society realizes that its dispossession-settlement legacy is dangerous to Arabs and Jews alike.
    Amira Hass Mar 02, 2016 6:00 AM

    MK Ayman Odeh, Haneen Zoabi and Jamal Zakalka from the Joint Arab List.(Dudi Vaknin)

    Apparently we’ll have to start getting used to the Knesset minus our representatives from the Joint Arab List. Without Aida and Jamal, without Haneen and Dov, without Ahmad and Ayman. It won’t be easy, because their presence there provided a sliver of hope that sanity was still possible; the sanity of a state that exists for all its citizens, who belong to two national groups.

    The so-called Suspension Law, which passed its first Knesset vote on Monday, aims to cause a rift between “good” and “bad” Arabs. Suspending Balad party members from Knesset sessions, and outlawing the Islamic Movement’s northern branch, were added episodes in the series of exclusions, and passed fairly easily. But as list chairman Ayman Odeh pointed out, if the “bad” ones (Balad) are expelled, it will be difficult for him to remain in the Knesset. We, their voters – Arabs and Jews alike – will be deterred from voting for the ones Uri Ariel, Avigdor Lieberman and Ayelet Shaked, in their Judeo-democratatorship generosity, approve as “good.”

    The law to expel Arab Knesset members also aims at the left (Jewish and Arab). It seeks to drive a wedge not only between “good” and “bad” Arabs but between the left and the liberals-lite. The law very likely will not target the social feminists of the Labor Party; even without it, they are very gingerly when talking about blood, Gaza Prison and the settlements.

    No law would be enacted forbidding “incitement” against CEOs, or against the owners of companies that pay disgraceful wages to female employees. The Jewish discourse allows such subversive statements as long as pay remains low, and the corporate chieftains continue to get extraordinary tax breaks. The members of Meretz can even continue to proudly and freely represent the interests of the LGBT and secular communities in Israel. It isn’t sure, though, that Zouheir Bahloul (Zionist Union) can bite his tongue forever, or that Esawi Freige (Meretz) will concentrate on expanding the Kafr Qasm industrial zone and nothing more in order to be deemed kosher by Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi).

    On Monday, Revital Swid (Zionist Union) said, rightly, “Hatred of Arabs is blinding the MKs into passing a law that no attorney general supports.” Indeed, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, formerly the IDF’s chief military advocate, called the law problematic, but also clarified that the problem is not constitutional. The law is legal, just as it is legal to demolish Umm el-Hiran and expel its Bedouin residents again, like it is legal not to supply water and electricity to “unrecognized” Palestinian villages (on both sides of the Green Line), and it is legal to expropriate their land.

    Swid also told the chairman of the Constitution, Law and Justice committee, MK Nissan Slomiansky: “The day will come that it [the law] gets used against you. One day there will be a majority here who decides that anybody who does not condemn the hilltop youth and support the kingdom of Israel is subverting the State of Israel as a Jewish, democratic state. What will you do on that day?”

    That’s the thing: Once the psychosis of expulsion gains momentum, we have to brace for an even crazier, rightward-leaning, repressive stage. The law to oust Arabs is designed precisely to avert the day in which Jewish Israeli society realizes that its dispossession-settlement legacy is dangerous to Arabs and Jews alike.

    The Joint Arab List, despite and because of its tensions within, represents a chance for genuine normalcy in our binational state. Yes, with contradictions, with problems that haven’t been solved yet, with resentments and differences in viewpoints. The fact that Palestinian MKs represent Jewish voters (however few we may be) and that a Jewish MK represents Palestinian voters, too, laid the groundwork for a different future. This future is now looking all the more illusory.

  • IDF demolishes two EU funded illegal Palestinian structures - Arab-Israeli Conflict - Jerusalem Post

    Un jour de rencontre entre le représentant d’#Israël et la représentante de l’UE

    “The houses were funded by the European Union, and they put the European flag in order to be a deterrent to the occupation,” Mazar’a said. Netanyahu has charged that the EU is attempting to create new facts on the ground by supporting illegal Palestinian building in Area C of the West Bank.

    EU funding of such construction as well as steps it has taken place consumer labels that say “not made in Israel” on products produced over the Green Line have created tension between Brussels and Jerusalem.

    « #illégal » ..... #chutzpah #Israel #UE #nain_politique #Palestine

  • Israeli colonialism, plain and simple
    In two court decisions involving shoving Palestinians off their land, Supreme Court justices have confirmed what Israel’s critics are saying: that Israel has been a colonialist entity since 1948.
    By Amira Hass | May 11, 2015 | Haaretz

    There is a straight line connecting the Palestinian village of Sussia in the southern West Bank and Atir/Umm al-Hiran, a Bedouin community in the Negev. This was highlighted last week by the justices of the Supreme Court. These are two communities of Palestinians that the Jewish state expelled from their homes and land decades ago, and whose families have lived ever since in “unrecognized” villages in shameful humanitarian conditions, forced on them by the Israeli government. One community settled on its agricultural land and the other in an area that the government moved them to during the early years of the state, when the Arabs citizens were under military rule.

    These are two Palestinian communities that Israel is depriving of their planning rights. Instead, it demands of them to crowd in the pales of settlement it has allotted to them, so Jews can fulfill and rejoice and thrive in their new and expanding suburban fantasies.

    The justices have allowed the state to demolish these two Palestinian communities, which are just 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) apart, but are separated by Israel’s 1967 border, the Green Line. On May 4, Justice Noam Sohlberg allowed the state, the Israel Defense Forces and the IDF Civil Administration to demolish Sussia’s tents, tin shacks and livestock pens as they see fit. The community petitioned against the Civil Administration’s decision to reject the master plan it had prepared, and what would be more natural than to stop home demolitions while the hearing of its case was still going on? But without a hearing, Sohlberg rejected the request filed by the community’s representatives – lawyers of Rabbis for Human Rights – for an interim injunction suspending implementation of demolition orders.

    The Civil Administration is demanding that the residents of Palestinian Sussia relocate close to the West Bank Palestinian town of Yata, purportedly for their own good. Yata is in Area A, an enclave under the control of the Palestinian Authority. In other words, the CA intends to squeeze Sussia in one of the West Bank’s Bantustans, as it does and intends to do with Bedouin and other Palestinians who live in Area C, under total Israeli control.

    In good faith?

    Next to the tin shacks of today’s Palestinian Sussia (after the army expelled the residents of their ancient village in 1986 and turned it into an archaeological site where Jews could celebrate), Jewish Susya now wallows in its greenery and abundance. After all, it has to grow and doesn’t want to see Arabs living in shacks and buying water at exorbitant prices from tanker trucks.

    Can a judge who permits demolition work to be carried out as an interim step then in good faith consider a petition challenging the residents’ final expulsion? And is it relevant that Sohlberg is a resident of a West Bank Jewish settlement?

    It is no more and no less relevant than the fact that the other justices of the Supreme Court and their families, and every other Jewish Israeli (including myself), are entitled at any time to move to a West Bank Jewish settlement, and that they – we – live on the Israeli side of the Green Line in manicured neighborhoods for Jews only and in some instances on land from which Palestinians were expelled 65 years ago or yesterday.

    On May 5, two other Supreme Court justices, Elyakim Rubinstein and Neal Hendel, allowed the authorities to demolish the unrecognized village of Atir/Umm al-Hiran. In the face of opposition from their fellow justice, Daphne Barak-Erez, they dismissed a petition filed by the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel that challenged the state’s decision to expel the residents for a second time, from the location to which they were expelled in the 1950s. Go to Hura, the state tells them, and the justices agree – to that Bedouin township that, like similar townships, was designated to condense Bedouins after their primary expulsion from their land. After all, how can we set up expansive farms for Jews and build pioneering communities such as Hiran if we recognize the Bedouin as citizens with rights, history and heritage?

    The honorable justices were ingratiating Habayit Hayehudi even before this party was selected as the fox that guards the hen-house – through its appointment of Uri Ariel as the agriculture minister (who is in also in charge of Bedouin affairs) and Eli Ben-Dahan as a deputy defense minister responsible for the Civil Administration (which carries out the expulsion of Palestinians and the settlement of Jews in the West Bank). Don’t worry, you folks at the Jewish Home, we support the right of Jews to disposes Palestinians in Area C and the Negev, so say the judges. We, like you, are in favor of crowding the Arabs into Bantustans.

    Even before the Supreme Court justices knew that Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) would be the next justice minister, even before they knew that her mentor, party leader Naftali Bennett, would be entrusted with the education of our children as education minister, they were telling us in a loud voice that the justices’ reputation was not what people feared, that the right wing has unjustly portrayed them as a monster seeking equality and justice. The justices had proven that their image as defenders of human rights, even if those humans were Palestinians or left-wing, had been totally twisted.

    Just weeks before, on April 15, they had enthusiastically embraced the Boycott Law. That’s the law through which the right wing is threatening with financial penalties left-wing Israeli dissidents who publicly support sanctions on Israel and a boycott of its institutions and settlement products, as part of the struggle against institutionalized inequality and discrimination.

    That very day, the justices endorsed the law that permits Israel to rob land owned by residents of Bethlehem, Beit Sahur, Beit Jala and Abu Dis. The land is where it has always been since before it was annexed to Israeli-ruled Jerusalem. Its owners remain living where they always did – a few kilometers away from their private land. But now the state declares them “absentees”: beyond the separation barrier.

    The justices dismissed the petition challenging the application of the Absentee Property Law in their case, thus continuing the tradition from the 1950s. That is when we coined the oxymoron “present absentees” in order to facilitate the demolition of villages and robbery of land of Palestinians that remained, those that we failed to expel.

    In the justices’ consent to the demolition of Sussia and Umm al-Hiran, they have drawn a direct line linking 1948 to today. They have confirmed what Israel’s most virulent critics say about the country – that it is a colonialist, dispossessing entity. The justices have parroted what the state has been screaming all along: It’s my right to dispossess, my right to expel, my right to demolish and crowd people into pens. I have demolished and will continue to do so. I have expelled and will continue to expel. I have crowded people in and will continue to do so. I never gave a damn and never will do.