The Tel Aviv regime has prevented five European parliamentarians from entering the Gaza Strip as the Palestinian enclave remains under an inhumane Israeli siege.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Neoklis Sylikiotis, a Cypriot Member of the European Parliament (MEP), denounced the Israeli obstruction of the lawmakers’ access to the Palestinian coastal sliver.
“The refusal of access to Gaza by the Israeli authorities to the European Parliament on arbitrary grounds is unacceptable,” the statement read.
However, Israel claimed that the MEPs were not among those allowed to enter the Gaza Strip.
Similar European delegations have been barred from Gaza since 2011 though a team led by the head of the European Parliament’s budget committee was allowed to visit once, the statement added.
“What is there to hide from us?” it further asked, condemning Israel’s “systematic” entry bans to Gaza.
It also called on the international community to pressure the Tel Aviv regime to lift the Gaza blockade that has been in place Since June 2007 and affected almost all the two million inhabitants of the enclave.
The World Bank and the United Nations say the Gaza siege has killed all exports and damaged the Palestinian territory’s economy.
Tel Aviv has waged three wars on Gaza since 2008, including the 2014 offensive that left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead.
Israel’s demolition plan ‘unacceptable’
Separately on Wednesday, Robert Piper, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, visited the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank and voiced alarm over an Israeli plan to demolish structures there.
On Sunday, Israeli forces distributed demolition orders to 40 structures, including tents, huts and a school in the village.
According to Palestinian media outlets, Khan al-Ahmar residents were given until Thursday to vacate the village.
“Khan al-Ahmar is one of the most vulnerable communities in the West Bank struggling to maintain a minimum standard of living in the face of intense pressure from the Israeli authorities to move,” Piper said in a statement. “This is unacceptable and it must stop.”
International bodies and rights groups say Israel’s sustained demolitions of Palestinian homes are aimed at uprooting Palestinians from their native territories, and expropriating more land for the expansion of settlements.
Tel Aviv is has accelerated its land grab and settlement construction activities in the occupied Palestinian lands after pro-Israel US President Donald Trump took office.
Israeli forces have demolished over 48,000 Palestinian homes and buildings since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian lands, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
The stark reality is that both solutions are impossible unless imposed from outside, and just where do we see any prospect for that?
By John Chuckman | Aletho News | February 22, 2017
Israel has created a terrible problem which it is incapable of solving. That is why it has always been the case that the United States must pretty much dictate a solution, but it is unable to do so, paralyzed as it is by the heavy influence of Israel and America’s own apologists and lobbyists.
Trump’s suggestion of a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict is welcomed by some because Israel’s settler policy is said to have made two states impossible, as it was most certainly intended to do. However, a little reflection on hard facts makes it clear that a one-state solution is just as impossible.
A single-state solution would be acceptable to all reasonable minds, but you only have to follow the news to know that Israel contains a good many unreasonable minds. Its early advocates and founders were, quite simply, fanatics, and its policies and attitudes were shaped by that fanaticism.
The Israeli establishment could simply not accept a Palestinian population with equal rights and the franchise as part of Israel. They could not do so because they have embraced an almost mystical concept of Israel as “the Jewish state.” Of course, the de facto reality of today’s combined population of Israel and its occupied territories is that Palestinians, who importantly include not just Muslims but many Christians, are already about half of the total.
And there are physical realities forming huge barriers against a single state, things of which many people are not aware. Very importantly, fertility rates in Arab populations are considerably higher than in the European Ashkenazi population which forms Israel’s elite. That has nothing to do with ethnic characteristics. It is a result of much lower levels of affluence influencing the behavior of people having children. It is a universal reality we see.
That’s why Arabic populations are such relatively young populations with a high proportion of children. When Israel bombs a place like Gaza or Lebanon, as it does periodically, it always kills many hundreds of children because they make a big share of the population. An advanced country like Japan has low fertility and traditionally is averse to much migration. It faces a future with an aging and declining population.
All older European and North American countries have fertility rates too low to replace their otherwise declining populations. America or France or Israel or similar states simply do not have enough babies to replace their populations. That’s a fundamental reality of advanced, affluent society. People with rich, demanding lives do not have large numbers of children, anywhere, knowing, as they do, that the few they do have will almost certainly survive and will better thrive with more concentrated resources.
That’s the real reason behind most countries’ immigration policies, not generosity or kindness. But, of course, Israel has a serious problem with immigration, too. As the “Jewish state” it is open to only one category of migrant, and that category of people makes a tiny fraction of the world’s population. Further, most of that tiny fraction live in comfortable, affluent places, far more desirable to live in than Israel – places like America, Canada, Australia, Britain, France, etc.
A single-state Israel would combine low fertility Europeans with higher fertility Arabic people, thus creating a long-term trajectory for a minority-Jewish state, a reality which would be repellent to all conservative Jews and many others, in light of the founding notion of Israel as a refuge from believed widespread anti-Semitism, plus the vaguely-defined but emotionally-loaded notion of a “Jewish state,” and, still further, the biblical myths of God’s having given the land exclusively to Jews.
You simply cannot make rational sense out of that bundle of attitudes and prejudices, yet you cannot get a rational solution to a massive problem otherwise, a problem, it should be noted, of Israel’s own deliberate making in the Six Day War. Likely, when Israel’s leadership started that war, they calculated that Palestinians would come to feel so miserable under occupation that they’d just pick up and leave over time. Moshe Dayan, one of the architects of the war, actually spoke along those very lines of keeping the Palestinians miserable so they would leave. But their calculations were wrong. Most people, anywhere, do not pick-up and leave their native place. Otherwise the world would be a constant whirlwind of migrations.
Although Israel does not discuss the relative population growth rate situation in public, authorities and experts there are keenly aware of the reality. It is difficult to imagine them ever embracing a single state for this reason. When you found a state on ideology and myths, as Israel was founded, you very soon bump up against some unhappy realities.
So, if there is not to be a Palestinian state, what are Israel’s other options? There seem to be only two.
One is to deport all or most Palestinians, an ugly idea which is probably also unworkable, although it has very much seriously been discussed among educated Israelis periodically. Apart from the Nazi-like connotations around such an act, who, on earth, is going to take literally millions of people from Israel? In the past, Israeli ideologues have seriously suggested both the country of Jordan and parts of Egypt contiguous with Israel as possibilities.
Can any realistic person believe those states stand ready to take millions of people in? No, of course not, but that hasn’t stopped the ideologues of Israel from going back to the idea again and again. Of course, there is the pure ethical problem of moving millions against their will and seizing all their property, but ethics have never featured large in Israel’s policies from the beginning.
The other solution is to re-create apartheid South Africa’s Bantustans, little enclaves of land with often undesirable characteristics into which you crowd all the people that you don’t want and declare that these are their new countries. We see this already in Israel, notably in Gaza, which really is a giant refugee camp much resembling a concentration camp with high fences and automated machine-gun towers surrounding it, the residents being permitted almost no freedom of movement or even economic activity, as for example Gaza’s fishermen being fired on by Israeli gunboats if they stray even slightly beyond tight boundaries in the sea.
The world would not long tolerate that approach no matter how much influence the United States might unfairly exert. After all, for a long time, the United States protected and cooperated with apartheid South Africa, always regarding it as an important bulwark against communism, anti-communism being the fervent secular religion of the day in America. This was so much the case that it even overlooked what it absolutely had to know about, apartheid South Africa’s acquisition of a small arsenal of nuclear weapons with the assistance of Israel, Israel always being keen to keep good access to South Africa’s mineral wealth.
Clearly, those two options are not solutions. Realities absolutely demand either a legitimate two-state solution – which Israel’s leaders have never truly accepted while giving it time-buying lip-service – or a one-state solution which is probably even more unacceptable to Israel’s leaders and much of its population, guaranteeing, as it does, the eventual minority status of Jews.
Israel has itself created a terrible problem which it is incapable of solving. That is why it has always been the case that the United States must pretty much dictate a solution, but it is unable to do so, paralyzed as it is by the heavy influence of Israel and America’s own apologists and lobbyists.
So, in effect, the world just goes around and around on this terrible problem, never doing anything decisive. The macabre dance of Israel and the United States we’ve had for decades yields today’s de facto reality of Israel as nothing more but nothing less than a protected American colony in the Middle East, one in which all kinds of international norms and laws are completely suspended, one where millions live with no rights and no citizenship. But, after all, colonies have never been places where the rule of law and human rights prevail, have they? Never.
An international fact-finding mission concludes that the trade manufacture and use of toxic pesticides in Israeli illegal settlements result in human rights violations and contribute to the food insecurity in the Occupied West Bank.
Pesticide run-off from agricultural operations and hazardous wastes from the manufacture of agrochemicals inside the illegal settlements poison Palestinian farms, livestock, and water sources, the investigators learned, according to Environment News Service website.
Dumping hazardous wastes in Palestinian territory has been documented, including in areas with a high concentration of schools.
The joint mission, conducted in May 2016, was led by the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature, APN, based in Amman, and the PAN Asia Pacific, PANAP, based in Malaysia, one of five regional centers of the Pesticide Action Network.
The investigation reveals the presence of highly hazardous pesticides banned by the Palestinian Authority, but illegally traded into the Occupied Palestinian Territories – pesticides such as endosulfan and Dukatalon, a mix of paraquat and diquat.
The two reports that came out of the investigation found that 50 percent of pesticides in Palestine are illegal, and that five metric tons of banned pesticides have been confiscated since 1995.
The Palestinian Authority is in no position to dispose of these chemicals safely, and the Zionist entity refuses to take them back, investigators found.
As Israel begins work on its “American road” project in East Jerusalem’s Jabal al-Mukaber area, hundred of Palestinians are on edge, as their homes lie directly in its path.
Part of the larger al-Touq Highway, the road is ostensibly being constructed to connect Israeli settlements north, south, and east of East Jerusalem, and cuts through sections of Jerusalem, joining the Maale Adumim and Har Homa settlements on the West Bank.
The al-Touq Highway, proposed ten years ago by Israel’s municipality planning and construction committee, will, once completed, be 230-feet wide and over 7-miles long.
Roughly 300 acres, encompassing 12 Palestinian neighborhoods in Jabal al-Mukaber, will be confiscated to build the road, which has alarmed residents of Salaa, where construction has already begun.
Salaa resident Mohammad al-Sawahra told Al Jazeera, “We are living in a state of perpetual fear…It’s as if we are living in [two different worlds]. In Palestinian areas, it is like living in the third world, while those living in settlements built on the land of Jabal al-Mukaber are offered a life of comfort like first world countries.”
Al-Sawahra received a demolition notice for his home last month, adding that, “Now, they want to build a road on the ruins of my home for themselves, as well.”
He will be one of some 500 Palestinians living in 57 homes set to be demolished for the ‘American Road’ project. Raed Basheer, with the Committee of Defence for Jabal al-Mukaber properties, told Al Jazeera, “We were surprised to hear about the project, which will be 32 metres wide, with an additional 32 metres on the sides to allow for the light rail. All of the homes, both old and new, standing in the way of the road, will be demolished.”
“In response to this plan,” Basheer said, “we reached out to the Israeli municipality in Jerusalem and managed, with difficulty, to obtain an extension on the house demolition orders for five years, provided that we submit a request every year to extend the demolition orders. But, still, we do not know whether we will be allowed to remain in our homes over the next five years.”
The project map reportedly shows the disconnection of roads that link Jerusalem’s Palestinian neighborhoods, cutting residents off from health care facilities and schools, leaving a road only to be used by Israelis.
The plan comes on the heels of a recently-passed and hotly-debated bill that retroactively legalizes thousands of Israeli homes on privately-owned Palestinian land. The “regulation” law has been called “theft’ and a “land grab” by the opposition.
About 48,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished since Israel first seized the territories in 1967.
SALFIT – Israeli forces have leveled Palestinian lands in Mesha village, to the west of Salfit province, in favor of illegal settlement expansion.
Speaking with PIC, head of Mesha village council, Sabah Amer, said Palestinian lands have been increasingly seized and leveled by the Israeli occupation forces and authorities as part of underway endeavors to expand the Qana and She’ari Tekva illegal outposts.
Researcher Khaled Maali also said Palestinian lands in the area have been confiscated to establish an Israeli university at the expense of Palestinian lands, referring to the establishment of an Israeli university in Ariel outpost, at which nearly 25,000 Israeli settlers have been enrolled, as another case in point.
According to Maali, such moves contravene international humanitarian law, the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the Hague Convention, which prohibit the establishment of government institutions on occupied land.
Maali added that the swift pace of illegal settlement construction led to the dismemberment of over 90% of Palestinian lands in Mesha village and the isolation of Palestinian communities behind the apartheid fence. Serious damage has also been wrought on olive trees grown by Palestinian farmers in the area.
Mesha is surrounded by three illegal Israeli settlement outposts, including Qana and She’ari Tekva.
An Israeli Finance Minister, who is in charge of implementing a law to demolish Palestinian homes in the West Bank, is himself living in an unlicensed building in an illegal colonial settlement on Occupied Palestinian land – and he is just one of many Israeli officials living in illegal settlements, according to a new report.
The report, released Wednesday by the Palestine Liberation Organization, documented a number of top Israeli officials, many of whom are tasked with displacing Palestinians or demolishing their homes, living on illegally seized Palestinian land.
The Israeli Finance Minister Avi Cohen, lives in a colonial settlement outpost of 40 fixed and mobile structures, which was constructed on land stolen from Palestinian owners in the villages of Qaryout, Saweiya and Al-Luban in the Nablus region.
The settlement where Cohen lives is an expansion of the larger settlement of ‘Eli’ and is known as ‘Bilgi Maime’. But the Israeli government did not approve this expansion, and Cohen’s part in building his home on stolen Palestinian land is in direct violation of both Israeli and international law. However, since Cohen has headed the Regional Unit on Planning and Construction, under his watch the unit has tacitly and actively allowed the expansion of settlements like Bilgi Maime on Palestinian land.
Cohen himself was in charge of issuing demolition orders against Palestinian homes, including some that were demolished in order to make way for the construction of Cohen’s illegal settlement outpost. He also defied an Israeli court order to dismantle the outpost, which was reiterated every year from 2001 – 2007.
Cohen is one of a number of Israeli officials who are either living in or contributing to illegal Israeli settlement outposts on stolen Palestinian land. During a recent investigation into corruption charges against the Yisrael Beitenu Party , the Israeli police discovered that Agriculture Minister, Uri Ariel, transferred government funds to pay for the debts of a settlement company that works in the West Bank named the Samaria Development Co.
The new report found that a fund of NIS 2.4 million was transferred to a private company from Israeli taxpayers to the executive arm of Aamnah Movement, which is active in the field of settlement construction.
This comes in the context of a new campaign of collective punishment against Palestinian residents of the neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukaber in Jerusalem, after one resident of the town ran his truck over a group of Israeli soldiers.
Meir Turgeman, deputy mayor of the occupation municipality in Jerusalem, and head of the local planning and construction committee, announced that he intends to impose collective punishment against the family members and neighbors of the deceased attacker.
The Israeli campaign also includes a resolution by the occupation Minister of interior, who ordered the seizure of 12 identity passes from members of Kanbar family (forcing these residents to move from their homes into internal displacement), and the distribution of demolition notices against 81 houses in the Al-Kanbar, Al-Jdeirh and Salaah neighborhoods, belonging to families of Al-Kabnbar, Al-Jdeirh and Salaah, under the pretext of being built without licenses.
Moreover, the campaign has also involved closing the main roads, which disturbed the movement of transportation, as well as preventing people from going to work and school, and hindered the ability to provide first aid.
Troops also invaded several agricultural and commercial stores, asking their owners to leave the areas, and finally threatened to carry out the demolition orders.
Witnesses said, according to Al Ray, that Israeli soldiers broke into AL-Madareb, in Khirbet Abziq, and seized two agricultural tractors belonging to Fayez Nghneghya and Nemr Horoub, and took them to a nearby military camp.
They pointed out that seizures have happened repeatedly, in an attempt to harass citizens and force them to leave Khirbet Abziq.
More than two dozen tractors have been confiscated in different areas of the Jordan Valley, over recent months.
It is noteworthy that dozens of citizens living in Khirbet Abziq, mostly refugees from the pre-1948 occupied territories, are being deprived of many basic essential services under Israeli policies. The tractors are used for agriculture and water transference.
BETHLEHEM – A 16-year-old Palestinian detainee has had to undergo a below-the-knee amputation due to a severe injuries he sustained after an Israeli jeep hit him at an Israeli military checkpoint in the northern occupied West Bank district of Jenin last week, according to Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer.
Addameer wrote in a statement on Tuesday that an attorney representing Sharif Khanfar said the teen was with three of his friends riding a Vespa motorcycle when they were apprehended by Israeli forces for allegedly planning a vehicular attack on soldiers on Jan. 3, and were injured after an Israeli jeep hit them.
The statement contradicted reports from Israeli police at the time of the incident, which did not mention an Israeli vehicle being involved.
Initial reports from Israel media claimed the incident was a deliberate vehicular attack, but Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said later that it was an accident.
The accident occurred at a so-called “flying checkpoint” — a non-temporary Israeli military checkpoint — that had been set up between the city of Jenin and the al-Jalama checkpoint, which Palestinians use to cross into Israel from the northern occupied West Bank.
Al-Samri’s initial statement said that one motorcycle “bumped into” Israeli soldiers who were on foot at a military checkpoint, while three other motorcycles involved in the incident “fled the scene.”
However, she issued a correction later saying only three motorcycles had been involved — one carrying two Palestinians and another carrying one — without elaborating details of how the accident itself occurred.
A second Palestinian was severely injured in the incident, and a third was lightly injured. Two Israeli soldiers were lightly injured under unclear circumstances, though al-Samri seemed to suggest, without saying explicitly, that they were on foot by neglecting to mention the involvement of a military jeep.
Al-Samri also did not mention in her statements that anyone was detained after the accident or accused with wrongdoing. An Israeli police spokesperson could not immediately be reached on Wednesday to confirm whether or not the teen was in fact being detained.
Israel’s emergency medical service Magen David Adom (MDA) said they evacuated the two severely injured Palestinian motorcyclists to Israel’s HaEmek hospital.
However, according to Addameer, Khanfar was being detained by Israeli authorities in the hospital, which is located in the Israeli city of Afula, north of the border with the occupied West Bank.
Addameer’s statement said Khanfar and his family members were “shocked” by the incident that resulted in the loss of a leg, and denied that he and his friends had intended to carry out an attack.
Since a wave of unrest began in October 2015– largely marked by small-scale attacks by Palestinians targeting uniformed Israeli soldiers and police with knives or similar weapons — a number of deliberate car ramming attacks have occurred.
However, Israeli authorities’ version of events have been challenged in a number of incidents, with officials in some cases later admitting so-called “terror attacks” were actually traffic accidents.
Amid the unrest, Israel has come under widespread condemnation for implementing a “shoot-to-kill” policy against Palestinian committing or allegedly committing attacks. Among the more than 100 Palestinians to be killed by Israeli forces and settlers throughout 2016, 33 were minors aged 17 and younger, according to Ma’an documentation.
In addition to lethal shootings of Palestinian children committed by Israeli forces, Palestinian NGO BADIL has warned of an increasing trend of Israeli forces shooting Palestinian youth in a deliberate attempt to leave them crippled for life.
Rights groups have also widely documented the mistreatment, abuse, and torture of Palestinian minors in detention, and the harsh interrogation practices used to force their confessions.
SALFIT – Israeli forces raided the town of Kifl Haris in the Salfit district of the central occupied West Bank overnight Saturday to provide protection for Israeli settlers visiting a site believed to be a Jewish shrine.
Eyewitness Yousif Yaqoub told Ma’an that he counted about 30 Israeli military vehicles storming the center of the town to escort the settlers, with Israeli soldiers firing stun grenades.
Israeli forces then set up military checkpoints at the entrances to Kifl Haris and imposed curfew, according to Yaqoub.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that overnight, “Israeli forces escorted Jewish pilgrims to the tomb of Joshua,” saying that the visit took place “without incident.”
A visit by settlers to the site earlier this month that was not carried out in coordination with the Israeli army sparked clashes with locals youth, prompting Israeli army forces to raid Kifl Haris, when a number of Israeli settlers were reportedly detained and interrogated over “violating Israeli military orders that bans Israelis from entering Palestinian districts.”
Residents of Kifl Haris have been living a continuous tension due to Israeli settlers’ raids to allegedly visit Jewish religious sites.
A number of tombs exist in Kifl Haris, which Palestinians in the area believe to be the graves of Muslim prophet Dhul-Kifl, the Sufi saint Dhul-Nun, and another shrine built by 12-century Sultan Saladin.
However, some Jews believe the tombs belong to the biblical figures Joshua, Caleb, and Nun.
Like many other Palestinian towns across the West Bank with religiously significant sites, Kifl Haris, situated on the main road connecting the illegal Ariel settlement to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, commonly experiences incursions by Israeli settlers accompanied by armed escorts.
Settlers who visit the tombs to pray often actively disrupt Palestinian residents and damage property.
Meanwhile, Palestinians are restricted from visiting holy sites in Israel without hard-to-obtain permits from Israeli authorities.
Is a school lesson plan widely used across Canada aimed at fighting racism like its promoters say or is it also a clever cover for defending Jewish/white supremacy in the Middle East?
A recent 12-page Canadian Jewish News insert about Elizabeth and Tony Comper raises the issue. According to the supplement, in 2005 the Bank of Montreal head and his wife Elizabeth started Fighting Anti-Semitism Together (FAST), a coalition of non-Jewish business leaders and prominent individuals. FAST sponsored a lesson plan for Grades 6 to 8 called “Choose Your Voice: Antisemitism in Canada”. Over 2.4 million students in 19,000 schools have been through the FAST program. A year ago FAST added Voices into Action, an anti-racism lesson for Canadian high schoolers that devotes a third of its plan to the Nazi Holocaust in Europe.
Unfortunately, FAST does not appear to be an example of business leaders struggling for social justice. Rather, it’s part of what Norman Finkelstein dubbed the “Holocaust Industry”, which exploits historical Jewish suffering to deflect criticism of Israeli expansionism.
In its “What We Stand For” FAST calls on Canadians “to speak out against all forms of bigotry, racism and hatred”, yet the Compers’ were honoured guests at a 2009 Jewish National Fund fundraiser in Toronto. Owner of 13 per cent of Israel’s land, the JNF discriminates against Palestinian–Arab citizens who make up a fifth of Israel’s population. (What would we think of anti-racist activists who attend KKK meetings?)
In a 2006 article titled “BMO head slams one-sided Israel critics” the Canadian Jewish News reported on FAST’s Quebec launch: “Singling out Israel for blame in the Middle East conflict, even by those of good faith, is fanning anti-Semitism, Bank of Montreal president Tony Comper says. It may not be the intent, but the effect of condemning Israel alone is providing justification for hatred of Jews in Canada and internationally, Comper warned more than 400 business executives. … In underscoring the serious threat of anti-Semitism worldwide, Comper suggested that ‘a second Holocaust’ is possible if Iran acquires nuclear arms and attacks Israel.” In his speech Comper cited CUPE Ontario and the Toronto Conference of the United Church of Canada’s support for boycotting Israel as spurring anti-Semitism.
FAST supporters include a who’s who of the corporate elite: President TD Bank, Ed Clark; CEO of CN, Hunter Harrison; CEO of Manulife Financial, Dominic D’Allessandro; CEO of Bombardier, Laurent Beaudoin; president of Power Corporation, André Desmarais; President RBC Financial, Gordon M. Nixon and many others.
According to the Canadian Jewish News supplement, the Toronto couple also sponsored the Elizabeth and Tony Comper Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Antisemitism and Racism at the University of Haifa in Israel. The Center operates an online Ambassadors Program, which reports the paper, “gives students intellectual material and technical skills to combat online the global boycott, divestment and sanctions anti-Israel movement.”
The supplement was partly sponsored by Larry and Judy Tanenbaum. Larry was one of a half-dozen rich right-wing donors that scrapped the hundred-year-old Canadian Jewish Congress in 2011 and replaced it with the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. As the name change suggests, this move represented a shift towards ever greater lobbying in favour of Israeli nationalism.
The Compers provided over $500 000 to the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. Established in 2008, Larry and Ken Tanenbaum gave the U of T five million dollars and helped raise more than ten million more for the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies.
Andrea and Charles Bronfman gave over $500 000 to the Anne Tanenbaum Centre, which has close ties with the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Chair in Israeli Studies. In 1997 the Bronfman family provided $1.5 million to create an Andrea and Charles Bronfman Chair in Israeli Studies at the U of T. “Fifty years after its rebirth, the miracle of modern Israel is of broad interest,” said Charles Bronfman at the launch.
The long-standing Zionist family put up $1 million to establish a Jewish Studies program at Concordia two years later. An orchestrator of opposition to Palestinian solidarity activism at the Montreal university through the 2000s, Concordia Jewish studies professor Norma Joseph was also “instrumental” in setting up the Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies. In 2011 multi billionaire David Azrieli gave Concordia $5 million to establish the first minor in Israel Studies at a Canadian university. After attending an Association for Israel Studies’ conference organized by the Azrieli Institute, prominent anti-Palestinian activist Gerald Steinberg described the Institute as part of a “counterattack” against pro-Palestinian activism at Concordia.
The Israeli nationalist tilt of McGill’s Jewish studies is actually inscribed in a major funding agreement. In 2012 the estate of Simon and Ethel Flegg contributed $1 million to McGill’s Jewish Studies department partly for an “education initiative in conjunction with McGill Hillel.” But, Hillel refuses to associate with Jews (or others) who “delegitimize, demonize, or apply a double standard to Israel; support boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions against the state of Israel.”
The individuals driving Jewish studies and anti-Semitism lessons in Canada overwhelmingly back Jewish/white supremacy in the Middle East and encourage the most aggressive ongoing European settler colonialism.
Unfortunately, support for anti-Palestinian racism, along with colonialism and western imperialism, makes one question their “anti-racism” credentials.
Yves Engler is the author of Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation.
The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said the child has been identified as Ward Abdul-Qader Hamed, 15, and that he was abducted after the soldiers stopped him at the western entrance of the town.
It is worth mentioning that the abducted child is the son of Qaddoura Fares, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society.
RAMALLAH – More than 20 Israeli military vehicles raided the campus of Birzeit University in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah before dawn on Wednesday, with Israeli forces “leaving a great deal of havoc” in their wake, an official university statement said.
After storming the campus through its western gate, Israeli soldiers forced campus security guards to stand against the walls, and proceeded to raid several buildings, including the university’s administration building, the student council’s headquarters, Kamal Nasir Hall, and the Faculty of Science.
Sources said soldiers smashed the main door of the student council building before searching the area and seizing several objects that were inside storage units belonging to student blocs.
Students’ flags and banners were also confiscated, while property in the administrative building and around campus were “sabotaged,” according to the university.
Birzeit University harshly condemned Israeli forces for the “continuation of their barbaric aggression on our people and national institutions,” adding that “These blatant attacks and subsequent measures of harassment constitute outrageous interferences to our right to education.”
However, the statement vowed that the “attacks” would “not deter its commitment to higher education, and the pivotal role it has played since its establishment.”
“The academic freedom of Palestinian academics and students is severely hindered, due to the (Israeli) occupation, its policies, and continuous defiance of the fundamental rights of our people and the sanctity of our universities, and that must be defended,” the statement said.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they would look into reports of the raid.
Birzeit University, which has been ranked the top university in Palestine and among the highest ranking universities in the Arab world, has been the focus of an Israeli military crackdown a number of times in recent months, which increased after the Hamas-affiliated Islamic bloc won student elections at Birzeit for the past two consecutive years.
In July, at least 11 Palestinian youths were injured after Israeli undercover forces and soldiers opened live fire in the campus amid clashes sparked by an Israeli raid to detain a former member of the Islamic bloc.
At the start of 2016, Israeli military forces raided Birzeit, destroying and confiscating university equipment, having detained more than 80 students since Oct. 2015 up until that point.
Rights groups have widely condemned the concerted detention of Islamic bloc members at the university since their initial victory in 2015, who have also been targeted by Palestinian security forces. The Hamas movement is deemed illegal by the Israeli government — along with the majority of Palestinian political factions and movements — making students involved with the Islamic bloc highly vulnerable to raids and arbitrary detentions.
Birzeit University noted in their statement Wednesday that Israeli forces have also violently raided other Palestinian universities, including Palestine Technical University – Kadoori, the Arab American University of Jenin, as well as Al-Quds University in Abu Dis.
“The university calls on the international community and human rights organizations to immediately put a stop to these raids and violations, and actively engage in supporting our struggle for liberation,” Birzeit stated.