The Israeli authorities are furious after a UNESCO resolution stated that the Temple Mount and holy sites in Hebron and Bethlehem are an “integral part of Palestine.” The organization also criticized Israel, “the occupying power,” for planting fake graves in Muslim cemeteries.
Two tourist destinations, the Cave of the Patriarchs in the heart of the old city of Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, are named in the paper as “Palestinian sites.” The draft decision by the UNESCO executive board on occupied Palestine was released April 11.
UNESCO “reaffirms that the two concerned sites located in… Hebron and in Bethlehem are an integral part of Palestine” and “disapproves the ongoing Israeli illegal excavations, works, construction of private roads for settlers and a separation wall inside the Old City of… Hebron, that harmfully affect the integrity of the site,” the statement says.
UNESCO slammed Israeli attacks on Muslims in the Temple Mount, which it only refers to by its Arabic name, Al-Haram Al-Sharif, and its holy site, Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The organization “strongly condemns the Israeli aggressions and illegal measures against the freedom of worship and Muslims’ access to their Holy Site Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al Sharif, and requests Israel, the Occupying Power, to respect the historic Status Quo and to immediately stop these measures,” the statement says.
Al-Aqsa Mosque became the flashpoint for bloodshed in 2015, amid mounting tensions over the holy site, sacred to both Muslims and Jews.
UNESCO called on Israel to stop “banning Muslims from burying their dead in some spaces and by planting Jewish fake graves in other spaces of the Muslim cemeteries.”
The group also criticized “the continuous Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip,” which causes an “intolerable number of casualties among Palestinian children,” as well as “the attacks on schools and other educational and cultural facilities and the denial of access to education.”
Israeli authorities have reacted with anger to the UNESCO document.
“This is yet another absurd UN decision,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, as cited by Israeli media.
“UNESCO ignores the unique historic connection of Judaism to the Temple Mount, where the two temples stood for a thousand years and to which every Jew in the world has prayed for thousands of years. The UN is rewriting a basic part of human history and has again proven that there is no low to which it will not stoop,” he added.
This is not the first UNESCO resolution that condemns Israel for aggression at holy sites in Jerusalem and the West Bank. In October 2015 the group issued a document which censured Israel for limiting Muslim access to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and reaffirmed that the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem are Palestinian sites.
The document was passed by 26 votes to six – those against being the US, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Estonia.
Protesters slam UK firm over profiting from Israeli war crimes
Scores of pro-Palestinian activists in the UK have demonstrated outside the headquarters of an arms manufacturing company, accusing it of benefiting from Israel’s deadly crackdown against Palestinians.
The protesters gathered in front of the UK headquarters of aerospace manufacturer Thales, in Crawley, on Friday and expressed their anger against the company’s partnership with Israel’s Elbit Systems to develop a surveillance drone, nicknamed Watchkeeper, used by the regime against Palestinians.
The rally was held by the Sussex Stop Arming Israel campaign and was supported by other human rights groups, including the Inminds. The main messages of the protest were “Stop Arming Israel” and “Thales profits from Israeli war crimes.”
“Thales UK has a billion pound contract with Israel’s largest arms company Elbit Systems to develop a fleet of drones. Human Rights Watch has documented [the drones] as being used by Israel to deliberately target Palestinian civilians in Gaza,” said Inminds chair Abbas Ali.
“It’s sickening that Elbit markets this killer drone as being extensively ‘field tested’ in ‘real life’ situations — using the slaughter of Gaza’s people as a marketing ploy to gain a competitive advantage,” he added.
The Watchkeeper drone, which is produced through a joint venture dubbed UAV Tactical Systems, is modeled on Elbit’s Hermes 450, a UAV that has been used in action by the Israeli military. According to the Sussex group, the drone is developed under a contract awarded by the UK’s Ministry of Defense.
Thales UK is a subsidiary of the French company Thales, and is currently considered as the UK’s second largest military company.
Tel Aviv is under fire by rights groups for its indiscriminate attacks against Palestinian civilians. In one instance of Israel’s brutality, at least 2,140 Palestinians, including 557 children, lost their lives during the regime’s offensive against the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014.
The aggression also left 11,100 Palestinians wounded, including 3,374 children and 2,088 women, and displaced over 170,000 others.
GAZA CITY – Israeli naval forces on Thursday detained four Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Rafah City in the southern Gaza Strip and seized their fishing boats.
Fishermen told Ma’an that Israeli forces opened fire on the fishing boats before detaining them, although no injuries were reported. They said the incident took place within the designated nine nautical mile fishing zone.
An official with the Agricultural Work Union, Zakariya Bakr, identified the detainees as brothers Iyad and Ahmad Omar al-Bardawil and brothers Bilal and Muhammad Jihad Musleh. He said two fishing boats were confiscated.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into the reports.
On Thursday, another two Palestinian fishermen were detained off the coast of Khan Younis after they allegedly passed beyond the designated fishing zone.
As part of Israel’s near-decade long blockade of the coastal enclave since 2007, Palestinian fishermen have been required to work within a limited “designated fishing zone” off the coast, which was extended to nine nautical miles last week.
Israeli forces regularly detain Palestinian fisherman off the coast of Gaza working within the fishing zone, generally for alleged security reasons. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Israeli forces detained 71 fishermen and confiscated 22 fishing boats throughout 2015.
The center said that Israeli naval forces also opened fire on Palestinian fishermen at least 139 times over the course of the year, wounding 24 and damaging 16 fishing boats.
“These attacks occurred in a time where the fishers did not pose any threat to the Israeli naval troops, as they were doing their job to secure a living,” the center said.
Now, at last, The New York Times has turned its sights on Gaza fishermen, a much beleaguered group, which has persevered under constant harassment and crippling restrictions. It has long been well under the radar as far as the newspaper’s reporting is concerned.
This week, however, we have an above-the-fold story on page 5 accompanied by a color photo of two fishermen with their nets. What has prompted this long overdue attention? It is the opportunity to present Israel as the benevolent caretaker of the besieged Gaza Strip.
Thus we find a headline announcing the following: “Israel Expands Palestinians’ Fishing Zone Off Gaza.” The story below reports the decision to increase the allowed zone from 6 to 9 nautical miles and the relief and excitement of Gaza fishermen and officials.
The article ends with a quote from Israeli officials, saying that the expansion was part of an effort to “improve the economy and foster stability” in the West Bank and Gaza, and so the story is framed around Israeli efforts to help struggling fishermen and Palestinians in general.
Thanks no doubt to the efforts of Times stringer Majd Al Waheidi of Gaza, readers find hints of the grim reality that fishermen there have actually faced over several years. We learn that Israeli gunboats have been firing on fishermen as they go to sea, and we hear the story of Ismail al-Shrafi, 62, who lost his boat five months ago when Israeli sailors confiscated it, injuring his son with live fire in the process.
The story, however, provides no data to place the case of al-Shrafi in context. Readers do not learn that during 2015, the Israeli navy fired on Gaza fishermen at least 139 times, wounding 24 fishermen and damaging 16 boats. Another 22 boats were confiscated, and 71 fishermen were detained.
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, all these incidents took place within the legal 6-mile zone, but the Times notes that an army spokesperson denied that the navy had fired on boats within the permitted area.
The article, by Al Waheidi and Isabel Kershner, also states that over the weekend the navy “sank a suspected smuggling boat,” but it fails to inform readers that witnesses have contradicted this account. According to Palestinian news sources, the navy fired on several boats near Rafah, setting fire to one fishing vessel and causing it to sink.
The Times is denying readers the complete story here, but its most egregious paragraph is the final one in which officials claim that the expansion of the fishing zone was “part of a policy of loosening restrictions” to help the Palestinian economy.
In fact, Israeli policy appears to be aimed at impeding, rather than bolstering, economic progress in Gaza and the West Bank. Here are just a few examples of how Israeli actions and regulations impact the Palestinian economy:
- The same day the fishing zone was expanded from 6 to 9 miles, four Israeli military bulldozers entered the Gaza strip to destroy farmland planted with wheat.
- According to the PCHR, 35 percent of Gaza’s agricultural land “can only be accessed under high personal risk” because Israeli troops frequently fire on laborers in the fields.
- Israeli policies have caused the Palestinian telecommunications sector to lose $1 billion over the past three years, according to a World Bank report.
- Through a regime of permits, licenses and visas, Israel has cut into the Palestinian tourism industry, deflecting jobs and income to Israel.
- Israel confiscates some 80 percent of the water in the West Bank for its own use and charges Palestinian residents for the water it sells back to them.
- A United Nations report stated that in spite of the occasional loosening of restrictions, Gaza’s economy will continue to deteriorate as long as Israel maintains its blockade of the territory.
Times readers, however, are told that Israel is trying to help, loosening restrictions to “improve the economy.” Thus we find the headline this week announcing a generous move to allow fishermen more access to their own Gaza Sea.
It seems that the newspaper’s editors are credulous consumers of Israeli spin, readily quoting the self-serving claims of officials and making no attempt to verify the facts. Readers—as well as the courageous fishermen of Gaza—deserve better.
Follow @TimesWarp on Twitter
Gaza Strip, Occupied Palestine – At around 9am on Thursday, the 31st March, four Israeli bulldozers entered the Gaza Strip at El Fakhuri. They came in order to destroy agricultural lands located near the border, once again violating the indefinite truce that ended the 2014 Israeli aggression against Gaza.
Meanwhile more than thirty tanks were located along the fence line, pointing at the Palestinian farmers who kept working on their lands despite the great risk that they face doing so.
In less than a month the wheat harvest season will start. The families who own land near the border don’t know what will happen then, as no one seems to do anything to stop the systematic aggression. The wheat harvest is vital for the families ability to feed their children.
AIPAC is a rogue lobbying group with enormous influence in Washington, one-sidedly supporting Israel at the expense of regional peace and Palestinian rights.
Bernie Sanders addressed its annual conference in spirit, not in person, delivering his remarks in written form – expressing longstanding support for a ruthless apartheid state run by hate-mongering Zionist zealots.
“Israel is one of America’s closest allies,” he said, “and we – as a nation – are committed not just to guaranteeing (its survival), but also to its people’s right to live in peace and security.”
Fact: Both countries partner in each other’s high crimes, Sanders failed to explain.
Fact: Israel’s survival isn’t threatened. Its only threats are ones it creates. Sanders paid no heed to its longstanding reign of terror on defenseless Palestinians.
Fact: Calling their freedom fighters “terrorists” mocks their dignity, humanity, and “right to live in peace and security” Israel systematically denies them.
Claiming as president he’ll “work tirelessly to advance the cause of peace as a partner and as a friend to Israel” belies reality.
No peace process exists, not now or earlier going back decades. Israel rejects it out-of-hand, pretending otherwise, wanting historic Palestine for Jews only, its people denied their fundamental rights.
Sanders knows what he won’t explain, one-sidedly supporting Israel while pretending otherwise. His voting record belies his claim about being “a friend not only to Israel, but to the Palestinian people.” When did he ever introduce legislation supporting their rights? Never!
He backs naked Israeli aggression on the phony pretext of responding to Hamas rocket attacks, used only in self-defense.
Saying he “believe(s) that Israel, the Palestinians, and the international community can, must, and will rise to do what needs to be done to achieve a lasting peace” ignores what never happened before and won’t now.
Again, Sanders knows what he won’t say, maintaining the fiction of efforts for regional peace when none exist. Washington and Israel systematically undermine them.
His formula for peace isn’t reality based. After decades of Israeli state terror, slow-motion genocide affecting an entire population, punctuated by intermittent premeditated wars, apartheid worse than South Africa’s, and governance of, by and for hate-mongering Zionist zealots, how can anyone believe it wants peace and stability.
Sanders is like all the rest, demanding “Hamas and Hezbollah renounce their efforts to undermine the security of Israel… Peace has to mean security for every Israeli from violence.”
Saying “attacks of all kinds against Israel” must end is code language for wanting Palestinians denied their international law guaranteed right of self-defense.
Adding “peace also means security (and well-being) for every Palestinian,” their right to “self-determination, (and) ending ‘what amounts’ (sic) to the occupation of Palestinian territory, establishing mutually agreed upon borders, and pulling back settlements in the West Bank (like earlier) in Gaza” ignores no possibility of achieving any of the above.
Sanders failed to explain Ariel Sharon’s so-called disengagement from Gaza transferred its settlers to stolen Palestinian West Bank land, displacing Palestinians from what’s rightfully theirs.
It put Jews out of harm’s way ahead of three Israeli wars of aggression on Gaza – in 2008-09, 2012 and 2014, along with frequent aerial and ground assaults, an entire population terrorized and besieged for nearly a decade with no prospect for relief.
Sanders saying “economic blockade of Gaza” must end ignores its political imposition, unrelated to security concerns.
Expressing rhetorical support for “a sustainable and equitable distribution of precious water resources so (both sides) can thrive as neighbors” ignores his one-sided support for Israel for 30 years.
He willfully lied, claiming Israel’s 2014 Gaza war followed “weeks of indiscriminate rocket fire into its territory and the kidnapping of (its) citizens.”
Operation Protective Edge was planned months in advance, naked Israeli aggression unrelated to Hamas rockets (launched only in self-defense after repeated Israeli provocations) and nonsensical kidnapping claims.
Sanders can’t get his facts straight, including false claims about Hamas “construct(ing) a network of tunnels for military purposes.”
They’re built as a vital lifeline, supplying goods essential to survive, restricted or prohibited by Israel’s suffocating blockade, one of many examples of its genocidal policy – what Sanders never explains.
His address featured numerous examples of misinformation and one-sided support for Israel. Rhetorically expressing concern for Palestinian rights rang hollow.
Throughout his political career, he never cared. Why should anyone believe he turned a new leaf.
Judge him and other politicians only by their voting record. Rhetoric is meaningless.
Stephen Lendman can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.
BETHLEHEM – Palestinians faced severe movement restrictions on Wednesday, as Israeli authorities shut down all movement through checkpoints in and out of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip ahead of the Jewish holiday of Purim.
An Israeli army spokesperson said that beginning at 1 a.m. on Wednesday and lasting until midnight Saturday, the checkpoints would be closed to all Palestinians with the exception of humanitarian cases.
Palestinian citizens of Israel, as well as holders of foreign passports, would still be allowed to pass through the checkpoints, she said, noting: “They’re only closed for Palestinians.”
She said Palestinians could seek to arrange “special circumstances” with Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).
Sources inside the Palestinian liaison department confirmed the measures would be extended to the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings into the Gaza Strip, with only humanitarian cases and a limited number of Palestinian Christians allowed to leave the blockaded coastal enclave.
Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said there would be heightened security measures, including a number of police patrols, across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank throughout the holiday.
Palestinian access has also been restricted to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, with all Palestinian men younger than 50 denied entry to the site, which is the third holiest in Islam.
Access restrictions to the mosque compound during a succession of Jewish holidays last September played a major role in triggering a wave of unrest that has since left more than 200 Palestinians and nearly 30 Israelis dead.
Tensions were running high in the West Bank on Wednesday morning after Israeli forces escorted hundreds of Israelis, including settlers, to holy sites there, with clashes breaking out nearby Joseph’s Tomb near Nablus.
The Jewish holiday of Purim, which commemorates the Biblical account of the saving of the Jewish people from Haman, an ancient Persian vizier, begins Wednesday evening and ends late Thursday this year.
Six Jewish vigilantes were jailed in Paris yesterday over a “savage gang attack” targeting attendees at a fundraising event for Gaza in 2009 in the French capital.
The defendants used iron bars, baseball bats and bike chains in the onslaught, in which they deliberately targeted anybody who looked like a Muslim.
Among their victims was a 22-year-old singer who suffered a “lynching” by the 20-strong mob who chanted “Death to Arabs” and “Long live Israel”.
All were leading members of the Jewish Defence League (JDL), a notorious vigilante group that is outlawed in both America and Israel because of its links with terrorism.
Despite this, the JDL is allowed to demonstrate openly in France, and its yellow and black clenched fist flags are regularly seen at events across the country.
Video of JDL disrupting a pro-Palestinian gathering. Defendent, Jason Tibi, is the tall thug who has the Israeli flag snatched from his hands, and ends up with bloodied face.
The 10th Chamber of the Paris Correctional Court heard how all had beaten up Hatem Essabbak and Mustapha Belkhir outside a Paris theatre in April 2009.
The case is considered one of the most sensitive in recent legal history, because of the way it illustrates how the Israel-Palestine conflict has been exported to the streets of major French cities.
No less than five examining judges were involved in the Paris enquiry, with four resigning one after the other because of the intense pressure.
The six men found guilty of carrying out aggravated violent assaults were Jason Tibi, Rudy Lalou, Azar Cohen, Maxime Schaffier, Yoia Bensimou and Yoni Sulman.
Other JDL gang members are said to have fled to Israel to avoid prosecution, while Tibi has admitted serving in the Israeli army while waiting for his case to come to court. At least two of those convicted today have since fled to Israel.
The damning verdict reads: “The facts of this case illustrate how the violence was aggravated by victims being targeted because of their race and religion.”
Dominique Cochain, Essabbak’s barrister, said: “Normally, this type of case is dealt with within three months. It has to be said that this is a very sensitive issue.”
Video of the JDL rioting in Central Paris, and then hiding behind the French police once the pro-Palestinian group charges.
Essabbak, a 22-year-old singer at the time, was with his girlfriend outside the Adyar Theatre, close to the Eiffel Tower, on Sunday 12 April 2009.
Both were taking part in “Our Talents for Gaza” – a showbiz event raising money for the surviving families of more than 1,400 Palestinians, including 400 children, killed by Israeli forces during an offensive a few weeks earlier.
Essabbak was surrounded by the JDL men who used their iron bars, bats, bike chains, crash helmets and fists in the “unprovoked lynching”, the court heard.
Essabbak said: “I was repeatedly hit in the face, around the head and on both legs. I then fell to the ground, and was hit again around the head. They carried on until they saw I wasn’t moving. My life stopped on April 12 2009.’
Mustapha Belkhir went to help Essabbak, and was also badly beaten up. Both men ended up in hospital.
Witnesses heard the attackers shouting: “Have this, it’s for Gaza, you dirty Arab”, and “Us Jews are going to f*** you, you dirty race”.
Most of the JDL members had their faces covered, but their mobile phones were later traced to the scene of the attack.
Tibi – who was described in court as the leader of the group – at first denied any knowledge of the attacks, but admitted taking part when confronted with evidence.
Tibi and Sulman received two year sentences, while the others were handed sentences of between nine months and a year.
Twenty-seven-year-old Tibi has a previous prison conviction for smashing up a Palestinian book shop in Paris, and has been filmed fighting in Marseille.
Essabbak’s lawyer Cochain told the court: “The evidence is that Mr Tibi has not changed. Videos on Google show that in 2011 he disrupted a pro-Palestine meeting in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, accompanied by JDL members, and wanted to stop debate.”
“They were shouting slogans like ‘F*** Palestine’. He was also in Marseille in June 2011 to protest against the Gaza flotilla taking supplies to the blockaded Palestinian territory. His face was covered in blood and he was saying ‘I’m here to protest’, ‘Israel will live, Israel will vanquish’.”
The JDL is regularly involved in attacks on pro-Palestine activists, politicians, journalists and other perceived enemies across France.
There have been numerous calls to ban the JDL in France, with Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve condemning their behaviour as ‘excessive’.
Tom Friedman thinks that if it weren’t for Hamas, Gaza would be another Singapore. If you look up Singapore you will find that it is an island city-state off southern Malaysia, with a population of about 5.5 million people and a GDP total of $452 Billion. It is a global financial center, a center for global commerce, and a financial and transportation hub. Its standings include: “Easiest place to do business” (World Bank) most “Technology-ready” nation, “top international meetings” city, city with “Best investment potential”, 2nd-most competitive country, 3rd-largest foreign exchange center, 4th-largest financial center, 3rd-largest oil refining and trading center and one of the top two busiest container ports since the 1990s. Singapore’s best known global brands include Singapore Airlines and Changi Airport, both amongst the most-awarded in their industry.
And there’s more. The Singaporean military is arguably the most technologically advanced in Southeast Asia, and none other than Israel made this possible. As a boy I remember my father, who at the time was still a general in the Israeli army, traveling to Singapore very frequently. Israeli Defense Force (IDF) commanders were tasked with creating the Singapore Armed Forces from scratch, and Israeli instructors were brought in to train Singaporean soldiers. As I write these words, Singapore still maintains strong security ties with Israel and is one of the biggest buyers of Israeli arms and weapons systems.
The Gaza Strip on the other hand is arguably the world’s largest concentration camp and is controlled entirely by Israel. For nearly seventy years it has been a refuge for poor, homeless refugees who were forced out of their homes and off of their land by Israel. The authorities in the Gaza Strip are not permitted to build an airport or seaport, and people have no access to trade or commerce; The UN declared the Gaza Strip as “food insecure” largely because of the siege that is imposed and strictly enforced upon it by Israel; the people of Gaza are victims of constant carpet bombings and massive attacks by the Israeli army. So, how exactly was Gaza going to be like Singapore? One has to wonder, was Thomas Friedman high when he wrote this, or is he really so poorly informed?
It was early in February 2016, when Friedman wrote this piece in the NY Times The piece is broad-stroked and superficial, and his main argument is that everyone is to blame for the collapse of the peace talks and the death of the Two State Solution. But what is particularly nauseating is the following sentence: “Hamas” Friedman writes, “devoted all its resources to digging tunnels to attack Israelis from Gaza rather than turning Gaza into Singapore.” Wow! Hamas prevented Gaza from becoming another Singapore! This means that Hamas at one point had the ability and the resources to create a paradise on earth in Gaza, to establish a major center for finance and commerce, but chose to spend all those resources to attack Israel instead.
So it was Hamas that imposed the siege on Gaza; Hamas that destroyed the water supply in Gaza making the water unfit for human consumption; Hamas is to blame for the massacres Israel committed in Gaza over the past seven decades; Hamas is the reason that Gaza is in ruins; Hamas is the reason that medical facilities cannot function, and that the basic most medicine is impossible to find; Hamas is the reason that schools are in ruins. Hamas is to blame for the fact that for seven decades the refugees have not been able to return to their homes and their land. Or perhaps Tom Friedman is just spewing all this nonsense because that is what liberal Zionists want to believe?
Hamas is certainly the excuse for all of this, but not the reason for any of it. Some tunnels, were built as traps for Israeli soldiers, and during the Israeli invasion into Gaza in 2014 they were used in several daring operations against the Israeli forces. However, the majority of the tunnels were used as a lifeline. They were used to bring in much needed aid, food, medicine, cash and they allowed people (like me for example) to travel in and out of the Gaza strip, albeit “illegally.” The reason Gaza is not Singapore is that Israel, with the aid of the Egyptian and the US governments and the complicity of the international community has created a concentration camp and implemented genocidal policies in Gaza.
While today Israel uses Hamas as an excuse for the murder, destruction and imprisonment of close to two million Palestinians in Gaza, this was not always the case. When Israeli commandos would enter Gaza and commit atrocities there in the early 1950s, the excuse was “infiltrators.” Arabs were infiltrating the newly established Jewish state and had to be stopped. These were refugees who wanted to exercise their right to return to their lands and their homes. But Israeli law made it illegal for them to exercise this right, and the Israeli army established a murder squad to deal with them. It was made up of young, bloodthirsty Jews, headed by the butcher-in-chief Ariel Sharon. They would enter the newly formed Gaza Strip and massacre Palestinians as punishment. Their thirst for Palestinian blood turned out to be unquenchable and they became an embarrassment even by Israeli standards, so this terror squad, called “Unit 101” eventually had to be dismantled.
Later on the excuse for the killing was no longer “infiltrators” but “Fedayeen” or fighters, and later on the name changed again and Israel used the term “terrorists.” The murderous attacks on Gaza continued, many of them led by Ariel Sharon who rose in the ranks of the Israeli Army and would command larger forces during these raids thus increasing the death toll. In recent years Israel has been using Hamas as an excuse for its genocidal policies against the people of Gaza. The firepower utilized by Israel today is the kind of which Sharon could have only dreamed: In 2014 Israeli fighter jets executed six thousands fly overs dropping millions of tons of bombs on Gaza, and that was prior to the massive ground invasion. Yes, Sharon may be dead but his legacy lives on.
So, perhaps Thomas Friedman can explain further how Hamas is at fault that Gaza isn’t another Singapore? Hamas was not yet created when Israel decided that people in Gaza would always live among death and ruins. And while it is true that Hamas is dedicated to fighting Israel, and it is true that Gaza has brave fighters, Tom Friedman might be interested to know that in spite of seven decades of oppression and violence and in spite of the fact that Gazans are forced to live in a concentration camp, people in Gaza have one of the highest literacy rates in the world. Gazans are some of the finest teachers, writers, poets, engineers, doctors and therapists. They are all Gazans, all dedicated to making Gaza livable for its children.
Friedman lays the blame for the death of the “Peace process” on everyone: “So many people stuck knives into the peace process it’s hard to know who delivered the mortal blow.” Indeed? It really isn’t that hard to see the massive building of Jewish only cities and towns, shopping malls and highways in the West Bank. It isn’t that hard to see the ethnic cleansing that goes on in East Jerusalem, spreading Jewish only communities at the expense of Palestinians. And it really isn’t hard to see the ongoing Jewish expansion on Palestinian land taking place in the Naqab desert, the Galilee and everywhere else that Palestinians reside. It certainly isn’t hard to see how Israel has been turning all of Palestine into a single Jewish Apartheid state.
“Bibi won” Friedman writes, “He’s now a historic figure — the founding father of the one-state solution.” As much as Bibi Netanyahu would love for this to be true, it isn’t. Israel’s Labor governments established the One State solution when Bibi was still a boy. The foundations for a single apartheid state in Palestine were laid when Israel occupied the lion’s share of Palestine in 1948, and then it was cemented and made permanent when Israel completed the occupation of Palestine in June 1967.
Miko Peled is an Israeli writer and activist living in the US. He was born and raised in Jerusalem. His father was the late Israeli General Matti Peled. Driven by a personal family tragedy to explore Palestine, its people and their narrative. He has written a book about his journey from the sphere of the privileged Israeli to that of the oppressed Palestinians. His book is titled “The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.” Peled speaks nationally and internationally on the issue of Palestine. Peled supports the creation of a single democratic state in all of Palestine, he is also a firm supporter of BDS.
Rahmaan Mohammadi, a 17 year old student from Luton, explains how he was reported to the counter terrorism police for his pro Palestine activism. Mohammadi was speaking at a Stop the War Coalition event in London on March 10.
An Israeli intelligence officer with the Shin Bet covert intelligence service of the Israeli armed forces was killed on Tuesday by other Israeli troops while carrying out an operation in the Gaza Strip.
The man was apparently ‘undercover’ and pretending to be a Palestinian when his fellow soldiers saw him near the border fence and opened fire on him.
Israeli authorities report that the incident is under investigation, but have not released any details, including the name of the officer who was killed.
Israeli forces stationed on the Gaza border are instructed by their superior officers to fire live ammunition at any person they see near the border fence. Israel has established a ‘kill zone’ of hundreds of meters along the fence, effectively seizing that land from the Palestinians who owned it and ‘shooting to kill’ anyone who enters the zone.
It is not yet known what Israeli Shin Bet agents were doing in Gaza, and what kind of ‘operation’ they were attempting to carry out.
The agency has faced international condemnation in recent months when surveillance videos showed Shin Bet officers infiltrating hospitals disguised as patients – even one dressed as a pregnant Palestinian woman – in order to carry out extrajudicial assassinations of Palestinian hospital patients, in direct contravention of international law.