Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

‘Palestinians reject Israel’s system of apartheid and racial discrimination’

RT | July 24, 2017

The escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn’t religious, it’s about the rights of Palestinian people to be free from the longest occupation in modern history, says Mustafa Barghouti, the General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suspended all ties with Israel on Friday after deadly clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli police. Protests broke out after Israeli authorities installed security cameras and metal detectors at the revered Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site.

Temple Mount, or Haram esh-Sharif as it is known to Muslims, is one of the most contested religious sites in the world. For Jews, it is believed to have been the site of two biblical temples, the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the hill is Islam’s third holiest site.

The Arab League has warned Israel about crossing “a red line” in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the sacred city of Jerusalem. Meanwhile, an Israeli minister said the metal detectors that triggered the violence will remain.

The League’s foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting in Cairo on Wednesday.

RT: Palestinian President Abbas suspended all relations with Israel. How would you comment on that? Are you surprised?

Mustafa Barghouti: No, I am not, actually. He should have done that some time ago because the Israeli behavior is a behavior that wants to kill any possibility of peace in this place. Its policy is directed at destroying the two-state solution either by the measures they are taking at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is a very provocative act or by the law they have just passed which prohibits even negotiations over Jerusalem or by the increased settlement activities which have exceeded any previous expansion before. All these factors have led to this reaction. They have killed three of our people and injured no less than 432 demonstrators. All the people were just praying peacefully, I was there myself, and I saw myself – there was no violence from the Palestinian side and suddenly we were attacked with bullets, with the clubs, they were very aggressive toward the Palestinian prayers.

RT: Surely Israel has the right to step up security given what has happened [two Israelis policemen were killed at the entrance to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on July,14]? Can you understand Israel’s nervousness?

MB: No, I think Netanyahu has heard his own security people advising him to take away these metal detectors and stop changing the status quo in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, but he didn’t listen to them. He proceeded by listening to the extreme ministers in his cabinet. The result is this explosion that we see. Not only in Jerusalem but all over the West Bank. You must understand this is not a religious conflict. This is about national rights; this is about the right of the Palestinian people to be free from occupation. To get their freedom after 50 years of occupation which is the longest occupation in modern history. This is about people rejecting to be treated as third class citizens; this is about rejecting a system of apartheid and racial discrimination that Israel has created. To people in Jerusalem and the rest of the Palestinian territories, people are saying “enough is enough, we cannot take it anymore, we want our freedom, we want our independence.”  This is the essence of what is happening.

‘Palestine freezing contacts with Tel Aviv is right move amid constant Israeli provocations’

RT: What is your reaction to the move by Palestinian President Abbas to freeze all contacts with Israel?

Miko Peled, peace activist: It is certainly the right move. Israeli provocations have led to these massive protests; this is definitely the right approach and the right move. We need also to remember Israel has been denying two million people in Gaza water and electricity in this terrible heat – people are dying of thirst and heat just a 45-minute drive away from Jerusalem. Israel has been engaged in serious provocations against the Palestinians.

RT: What is your opinion about the Israeli argument that more security measures are needed?

MP: The presence of the Israeli security forces in the old city of Jerusalem, around the Al Al-Aqsa Mosque are a constant provocation to the Palestinians and an infringement of the Palestinians’ right to practice their faith, to worship at the Al-Aqsa Mosque… And the provocation is not just an existence of this huge number of forces but also the way they behave, the way they treat the Palestinians, the way they arrest youth, the constant harassment as people try to get in and out of the old city, in and out of the holy sanctuary. So, to expect that there will be such oppression on the rights of Palestinians and there will be no violence in return is a little naïve. But we have to look at the fact that the main form of resistance has been in a form of civil disobedience with thousands of worshipers refusing to go through the metal detectors, standing outside the mosque and praying peacefully albeit standing under the weapons and the guns of the Israeli security forces…

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wine and the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement

By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | July 24, 2017

Two weeks ago the worst fear of Canadian opponents of neoliberal ‘free trade’ agreements came true.

Surprisingly, there has been almost no reaction from the political parties, unions, and other organizations that warned these agreements would be used to undermine Canadian law, even though this is exactly what happened.

After David Kattenburg repeatedly complained about inacurate labels on two wines sold in Ontario, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) notified the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) that it “would not be acceptable and would be considered misleading” to declare Israel as the country of origin for wines produced in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Quoting from official Canadian policy, CFIA noted “the government of Canada does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied in 1967.” On July 11 the LCBO sent out a letter to all sacramental wine vendors that stated CFIA’s conclusion that products from two wineries contained grapes “grown, fermented, processed, blended and finished in the West Bank occupied territory” and should no longer be sold until accurately labelled.

But, in response to pressure from the Israeli embassy, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and B’nai Brith, CFIA quickly reversed its decision. On July 14 the government announced that it was all a mistake made by a low level CFIA official and that the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (FTA) governed the labelling of such wine, not CFIA rules. “We did not fully consider the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement,” a terse CFIA statement explained. “These wines adhere to the Agreement and therefore we can confirm that the products in question can be sold as currently labelled.”

In other words, the government publicly proclamed that the FTA trumps Canada’s consumer protection laws. And the basis for this dangerous precedent is that the Israel FTA includes the illegally occupied West Bank as a place where Israel’s custom laws apply.

Incredibly, the Green Party of Canada seems to be the only organization that has publically challenged this egregious attack against consumer protections and Palestinian rights. “The European Union and the United States made it clear long ago that goods made in these illegal settlements cannot be mislabelled as ‘Made in Israel’”, said Green Party leader Elizabeth May in a press release. “Why is Canada singling out Israel for preferential treatment at the expense of both Palestinians’ human rights, and the rights of Canadian consumers?”

The Green’s statement points to a startling “Israel exception” by the government as well as FTA critics. I’ve seen no comment from the Council of Canadians or the organization’s trade campaigner Sujata Dey about the Liberal’s announcement that an FTA overides Canadian consumer protections. The same can be said for NDP International Trade critic Tracey Ramsey as well as the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and its Trade and Investment Research Project leader Scott Sinclair. (Since CFIA’s announcement Ramsey and Dey have each posted repeatedly to twitter regarding CETA, NAFTA and other FTAs.) Nor have consumer protection groups such as the Consumers’ Association of Canada or Consumers Council of Canada opposed this attack on the Food and Drugs Act.

But, FTA critics still have an opportunity to join the fight against CFIA’s recent decision. David Kattenburg and his lawyer Dmitry Lascaris are planning a court challenge and their efforts should be supported.

To allow this precedent to pass without challenge the CCPA, NDP and Council of Canadians would be conceding an extremely broad “Israel exception”. Opposing CFIA’s move isn’t akin to backing Palestinian civil society’s (entirely legitimate) call for international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions until Israel: “Ends its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantles the Wall; Recognizes the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and Respects, protects and promotes the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.”

Nor is it a request for Ottawa to bar wines produced on the 22% of pre-1948 Palestine supposed to be a Palestinian state as per official Canadian policy. It is not even necessarily a demand to eliminate the special tariff treatment the Israel FTA currently grants companies based in the occupied territories. It is simply a request to respect Canada’s Food and Drugs Act and label two brands of wine accurately.

Kattenburg explains:

Israel’s self-declared right to sell falsely labeled products on Canadian store shelves should not be allowed to trump the right of Canadians to know what they’re eating and drinking; to know that the fine bottle of ‘Israeli’ red or crispy chardonnay that they just bought was actually not produced from grapes grown in Israel, but rather, in Israeli-occupied, brutally exploited Palestine.


Yves Engler is the author of A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation.

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 2 Comments

150 French Jews move to Israel

MEMO | July 20, 2017

Some 150 French Jews have moved into an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank, according to Arutz Sheva.

The settlers landed on Tuesday night as part of a programme by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), the second such arrival this month. Last week, 200 settlers arrived at Ben Gurion Airport; the largest group scheduled to arrive this summer.

Samaria Regional Council Head Yossi Dagan congratulated Tuesday’s arrivals.

“You have done the most Zionist thing. You left your families, homes, and language to move to Israel,” he said.

Israeli Immigration Minister Sofa Landver has also hailed the continued arrival of French Jews as “a Zionist and principled Aliya [Jewish immigration] that has contributed and will continue to contribute greatly to the State of Israel.”

French Jewish immigration has surged since 2012 with a record of 7,800 people settling in Israel in 2015 alone. Over ten per cent of the Jewish community in France have moved to Israel since 2000, half in the past five years, according to the Jewish Agency.

Earlier this month, the grand rabbi of the orthodox Satmar Hassidic group in New York called for Jews not to settle in Israel because the state was secularising Jewish immigrants. The Satmar group has been fiercely anti-Zionist since its inception, and is raising money to fund Jewish community projects in France to dissuade them from moving to Israel.

Read Also:

Expel 100,000 Palestinians and annex settlement says Israeli Minister

July 20, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , | 2 Comments

Israel Once Again Reveals Its Disdain for Freedom of the Press

By Richard Hardigan | CounterPunch | July 14, 2017

When Akran Natsheh, a reporter for the Al Quds satellite channel, arrived at his office in Hebron in the morning of Thursday, July 13, he found that several of the doors had been pried open. Shards of wood were everywhere, and papers were strewn about on the floor. It certainly looked like an ordinary robbery, but then he found that several of his hard drives had been removed. His suspicions about the perpetrators were confirmed when one of his co-workers showed him the note he found posted on the front door by the Israeli army. It indicated that the offices had been stormed because “Al Quds serves an illegal organization.”

Natsheh looked at me with exasperation. “What does that even mean?” he complained. “When another news organization was raided, they were told it was because of incitement to violence.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regularly claims that Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East, but its commitment to one of democracy’s fundamental tenets – freedom of an independent press – leaves a great deal to be desired.

Mada, the Palestinian Center for Media and Development Freedoms, is an organization that monitors violations in the Palestinian Territories by both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority. For example, it states in its annual 2017 report that while “2016 witnessed a relatively significant decrease in total number of violations monitored against media freedoms in Palestine compared to 2015,” there will still 383 violations, including “the murder of a media student at Al-Quds University … by Israeli Occupation Forces, [the] injuring and arresting of dozens of Palestinian journalists, [and the] raiding, confiscating and sabotaging [of] media outlets including the shutdown of 12 Palestinian media outlets and printing houses.”

When I asked Natsheh about the value of the items destroyed by the soldiers, he shrugged.

“Maybe $2000, but the money is not the important part. It is more about the psychological effect. I can buy new hard drives and new doors.” He paused to reflect.

This kind of attack causes self-censorship. Your work becomes something frightening. The challenge becomes bigger and bigger. They may storm this office next week and arrest me, or harass me in the field. Two years ago they shot at journalists during clashes, and so they became afraid to cover them.”

But Natsheh vowed to continue his work.

“We are journalists. We are not inciters. Our mission is to deliver the truth about what happens in Palestine to our audience. This is the mission of all journalists around the world. We all have the same mission, the same values, the same journalistic ethis. If they have anything against any organization, why don’t they go to court? They don’t. They go directly to destroy. If they had a strong narrative, they would not do that. But they don’t. We are just journalists. We just say what we see … You say something they don’t like, and they shut you down. This is the Occupation.”

Richard Hardigan is a university professor based in California. He is currently writing a book entitled “The Other Side of the Wall” based on his experience in the Occupied Territories.

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 2 Comments

Israeli forces shoot teargas and rubber coated steel bullets at the 6th anniversary demonstration of Kafr Qaddum

International Solidarity Movement | July 9, 2017

Hebron, occupied Palestine – On Friday 7th of July the residents of Kafr Qaddum gathered for their weekly demonstration marking its 6th anniversary, which was repressed by the Israeli forces shooting teargas, stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at demonstrators. Israeli forces approached the demonstrators in a jeep and were seen on a hill next to the road connecting Kafr Qaddum and the Israeli settlement. Towards the end of the demonstration Israeli forces also forced their way into a Palestinian house to use it as a vantage point to aim at the demonstrators.

Kafr Qaddum peaceful demonstration

After the afternoon prayers at 1 pm, the people of Kafr Qaddum started their non-violent demonstration marching towards the illegal Israeli settlement of Kedumim. Soon after, the Israeli forces welcomed the demonstrators by shooting rubber-coated steel bullets and teargas. Halfway through the demonstration, an elderly Palestinian man was shot in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet while taking cover from the shooting. Towards the end of the demonstration, an additional five Palestinians and a Korean activist were injured by the Israeli forces. Those who were injured were taken to receive treatment.

One of the Palestinians injured by Israeli forces gun-shots is brought to receive treatment

According to information provided by the Israeli military spokesperson to Ma’an news, no Israeli army forces were present at the demonstration, but instead it was the Israeli police that repressed the non-violent demonstration. This however is not true, as later during the demonstration Israeli army soldiers were seen at a nearby hill, and soon replaced the police on the road with more jeeps and an armored personnel carrier. The soldiers then proceeded to fire rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters and activists, and threw several stun grenades in an attempt to disperse the demonstration. Israeli soldiers also forced their way into a house and took up positions on the balcony overlooking the road.

Israeli forces inside a civilian Palestinian home aiming at protestors

July 9, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 1 Comment

18-month-old Palestinian dies after being injured with Israeli tear gas 2 months ago

Ma’an – July 8, 2017

BETHLEHEM – An 18-month old Palestinian infant died on Friday, some two months after suffering from tear gas inhalation when Israeli forces shot tear gas at Palestinian homes in the village of Abud in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah.

According to Palestinian news agency Wafa, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said that 18-month-old Abd al-Rahman Barghouti, was transferred to Hadassah Hospital in West Jerusalem after suffering from tear gas inhalation in May, owing to the severity of his condition.

However, Wafa pointed out that “all efforts to save his life failed,” and the infant was declared dead on Friday evening.

The infant was injured after clashes broke out across the occupied West Bank on May 19 in support of some 1,300 Palestinian prisoners who were undergoing a mass hunger strike to demand better treatment and conditions in Israeli prisons.

At the time, Israeli forces haphazardly shot tear gas at Palestinian homes, which caused many residents, including Abd al-Rahman, to suffer from tear gas inhalation.

At the same time, Israeli forces opened live ammunition on protesters, injuring several Palestinian youths in the lower part of their bodies.

According to Wafa, Israeli soldiers had prevented Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances from reaching the infant’s home to treat him, and blocked the ambulances with Israeli army jeeps, forcing Palestinian medics to rush on foot to the infant to provide first aid.

The medics were also forced to carry him back to the ambulances, which were located a 30 minute walk away from Barghouti’s house, Wafa pointed out.

Abd al-Rahman became the 36th Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces since the start of 2017. Eight Israelis have also been killed by Palestinians during the same time period.

Israeli forces have been the target of condemnation by rights groups for their excessive use of force on Palestinians. During clashes, Israeli forces shoot large amounts of tear gas, at times directly at Palestinian homes, leading to routine injuries and the occasional death.

In 2016, Muhammad Mustafa Habash, 63, from the Asira al-Shamaliya village in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, died of tear gas inhalation during clashes that broke out with Israeli forces at Qalandiya checkpoint in Ramallah.

In 2015, when a wave of violence first erupted across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, an 8-month-old infant died of tear gas inhalation in the village of Beit Fajjar in Bethlehem.

Several days before the infant’s death, a beloved local activist in Hebron, 54-year-old Dr. Hashem al-Azzeh, also died from tear gas inhalation.

July 8, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 2 Comments

Apartheid illustrated: Israeli soldier shoots another soldier in Hebron

International Solidarity Movement | July 6, 2017

Hebron, occupied Palestine – On Tuesday, 4th July 2017, Israeli forces were conducting a ‘military training’ in a civilian Palestinian neighborhood near Gilbert checkpoint in Tel Rumeida in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron). The result of this ‘military training’ was a fatal shot by one Israeli soldier to the other. The injured commander was immediately evacuated to hospital by an Israeli ambulance, and was later confirmed dead. The Israeli forces immediately closed the whole area to Palestinians by closing all the checkpoints, collectively punishing the civilian Palestinian population. The army, after the incident, announced that these ‘military trainings’ will be suspended in al-Khalil.

The whole incident, though, needs to be contextualized: an occupying army conducted a ‘military training’ near a checkpoint installed for the control and humiliation of the occupied population, in a civilian residential neighborhood. Immediate medical assistance to the injured occupying soldier, with an ambulance that, without any problems, was granted immediate access to the injured.

Military trainings, under international humanitarian law, are prohibited in civilian areas. The Israeli occupying army in al-Khalil, and all over the occupied territories, though, conducts trainings in civilian areas. This serves two functions: for one, it is more ‘real’, a training in the area where the perceived ‘enemy population’ is living, and second, the intimidation of the population. Israeli forces in al-Khalil are sometimes seen ‘practicing’ the ‘neutralization’, as it is called in Israeli rhetoric, of Palestinians at checkpoints. In those cases, a Palestinian that allegedly carries a knife is seen as a threat to the life of the heavily armed and armored occupation forces – and thus has to be shot and, as documented in so many cases, left to bleed to death on the ground without any medical assistance. The idea is always to shoot to kill.

Whereas an Israeli soldier or settler from the illegal settlements would immediately receive medical assistance, as Israeli ambulances are free to pass, Palestinian ambulances, and actually any Palestinian vehicles (often including donkeys and bicycles) are not allowed to drive on one of the (primary artery) roads in al-Khalil – which conveniently connects the settlements in down-town al-Khalil with the Kiryat Arba settlement on the outskirts of the city. Palestinian ambulances, as they are not allowed on this street, instead, are often detained by Israeli forces at the checkpoints, denied to pass and thus denied access to give first aid.

Immediately after the incident, the Israeli forces closed all the checkpoints in the area, effectively putting the area under curfew – for Palestinian residents. Any Palestinian civilian inside the area, thus, was prevented from leaving, and anyone outside trying to reach their homes, was prevented from coming back home. This is clearly collective punishment of the Palestinian civilians, who are not involved in the incident at all – other than living in an area that the Israeli forces are trying hard to rid of any Palestinian presence. Whereas Palestinian movement was completely restricted and Palestinians trying to film the incident and it’s aftermath were stopped and harassed by soldiers. Settlers, however, from the illegal settlements, were allowed to move around freely. In a separate incident, a settler beat up a Palestinian young man, causing his face to be unrecognizable as it was covered in blood. The settler though, can be sure that he’ll enjoy full impunity under the protection of the Israeli forces.

These kinds of military trainings in the aftermath were declared ‘suspended’ in the city of al-Khalil. However, only because a soldier was killed, not because of their illegal nature in civilian areas or a possible threat to the occupied population.

This incident illustrates the apartheid system installed by the Israeli occupying forces in al-Khalil, and all over the occupied Palestinian territories. An apartheid-strategy that aims to displace the Palestinian population from their homeland in favor of illegal settlements.

July 6, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel’s attorney general okays controversial 1967 settlement order

Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit
Press TV – July 2, 2017

A newly released report says Israeli attorney general Avichai Mendelblit approved last year the use of a controversial 1967 order to legalize settler units built on private Palestinian land.

During a meeting attended by several Israeli judicial officials, Mendelblit said the “Order Concerning Government Property,” which was issued in July 1967, could be invoked to expropriate Palestinian land, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Sunday.

Clause 5 of the order states that “any transaction concluded in good faith between the authorities and another person … will not be struck down and is valid, even if it is proven that the asset was not government property at the time of its purchase.”

Mendelblit’s office said in a document that the clause had rarely been used in almost five decades, but “the need to make use of it has arisen now.”

It further set out a number of conditions for invoking the clause, such as purchase in good faith, the existence of a contract and payment having been made for the land.

“The use of Clause 5 should be limited as a rule to the built residential boundaries of the community, and to actual construction done before the parties to the transaction became aware that this was in fact not government property,” the document added.

Back in February, the Israeli parliament, known as the Knesset, passed a law on the expropriation of privately-owned Palestinian land in the West Bank, where Israeli settlements or outposts have been constructed.

However, Palestinians filed petitions to the Israeli High Court against the law.

Mendelblit proposed that the Israeli parliament suspend the land garb law until the court rules on the petitions and the Knesset accepted the bid.

Dror Etkes, Israeli anti-settlement activist, said the document by Mendelblit’s office seems to be “a parallel path being prepared … for the day after the High Court tosses the [expropriation] law into the garbage.”

“The purpose of this legal construction, rotten from the foundation, is to raise the claim of ‘good faith’ wherever Israel has stolen private Palestinian land and given it to settlers,” he said. “This is a situation in which lies, denial, violence and manipulation prevail – that is, everything except good faith.”

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built illegally since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The continued expansion of Israeli settlements is one of the major obstacles to the establishment of peace in the Middle East.

In recent months, Tel Aviv has stepped up its settlement construction activities in the occupied Palestinian territories in a blatant violation of international law and in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334.

The resolution, which was passed last December, states that Israel’s establishment of settlements in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem al-Quds, “had no legal validity” and urges the regime to immediately and completely cease all its settlement activities.

July 2, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 4 Comments

Israel abducts Palestinian lawmaker on security allegations

Press TV – July 2, 2017

Israeli military forces have abducted a Palestinian legislator and a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) during separate raids across the occupied West Bank.

On Sunday morning, a large number of Israeli troopers raided the home of 55-year-old Khalida Jarrar in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, located 10 kilometers (six miles) north of Jerusalem al-Quds, and arrested her.

Her husband, Ghassan said Israeli forces seized computers during the raid.

Israel’s internal spy agency, Shin Bet, announced in a statement that Jarrar was arrested along with a Palestinian activist for “promoting terror activities,” without providing any further information.

Jarrar is one of the most outspoken critics of the Israeli occupation and has repeatedly slammed the Tel Aviv regime’s atrocities against Palestinians.

The Israeli regime has been denying the lawmaker the right to travel outside the occupied Palestinian territories since 1988. She campaigned for months in 2010 before receiving the permission to travel to Jordan for medical treatment.

In August 2014, Jarrar received a “special supervision order” from the Israeli military, instructing her to leave Ramallah to the West Bank city of Ariha (Jericho).

However, she set up a protest tent outside the Palestinian Legislative Council in Ramallah, where she lived and worked, until the controversial order was overturned later in September that year.

Israeli soldiers last arrested the Palestinian lawmaker on April 2, 2015 after storming her house in Ramallah. She was released from prison on June 3, 2016 on a suspended sentence of 12 months within a five-year period.

According to reports, a total of 13 Palestinian lawmakers are currently imprisoned in Israeli detention facilities.

Nine of them are being held without trial under the so-called administrative detention, which is a policy according to which Palestinian inmates are kept in Israeli detention facilities without trial or charge. Some Palestinian prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.

Palestinian MK enters prison with “pride”

Meanwhile, a Palestinian member of the Knesset (parliament) has headed to prison with “pride” as he began a two-year sentence on charges of giving cellphones and SIM cards to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Basel Ghattas of the Joint List, a political alliance of four Arab-dominated parties in Israel, said he was entering prison with his “head held high” and with “support from my people.”

File photo shows Palestinian member of Knesset (Israel’s parliament) Basel Ghattas at his office at the Knesset in Jerusalem al-Quds

More than 6,500 Palestinians are reportedly held at Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have apparently been incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention.

The Palestinian inmates regularly go on hunger strike in protest against the administrative detention policy and their harsh prison conditions.

July 2, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli authorities approve budget for controversial ‘Apartheid road’ in West Bank

Ma’an – June 27, 2017

BETHLEHEM – Israel has reportedly approved a budget for the construction of the so-called Eastern Ring Road in the occupied West Bank, known by activists and rights groups as the “Apartheid road.”

The road, part of Israel’s plans of developing the controversial E1 corridor, has been denounced as an attempt to further expand illegal Israeli settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territory, while deepening the separation between Palestinian communities on opposite sides of Israel’s separation wall.

According to a statement released by Israeli rights group Ir Amim on Monday, the development of the road is “one of several developments necessary for preparing the ground for E1.”

The reports emerged from Israeli media outlet Israel Hayom, which stated that the road is expected to be opened to Israeli traffic in the next 10 months.

According to rights groups, settlement construction in E1 would effectively divide the West Bank and make the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state — as envisaged by the internationally backed two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — almost impossible.

Israeli activity in E1 has attracted widespread international condemnation, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has in the past said that “E1 is a red line that cannot be crossed.”

However, the Eastern Ring Road was proposed by former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a plan to apparently solve the issue of bifurcating the West Bank, by facilitating “navigation from Ramallah to Bethlehem for Palestinians but without any access to Jerusalem.”

Following the second Palestinian intifada and Israel’s construction of the separation wall that has disjointed Palestinian territory, Palestinians from the “West Bank side” of the separation barrier have been forced to obtain Israeli-issued permits in order to access occupied East Jerusalem, which some Palestinians and the international community still consider to be the future capital of an independent Palestinian state.

A map released by Ir Amim shows the expected route of the road. According to the group, the road would “ease access” for Israeli settlers residing around Ramallah in contravention of international law, as settlers have “long exerted pressure to open the road, complaining about traffic jams and delays.”

Ir Amim pointed out that Israel’s plan would enable further expansions of Israel’s illegal settlements around Ramallah.

The road is also planned to connect with Road 1 that connects the mega settlement Maale Adumim with Jerusalem, and would also link to the Mount Scopus Tunnel Road through the Zeitim interchange, another controversial E1 related project that Israeli authorities had begun construction on several months ago, according to Ir Amim.

According to an earlier report released by Ir Amim, the Zeitim interchange is located between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim, and would connect the Eastern Ring Road in the northern West Bank to road 417, leading to the south.

The group highlighted in the report that connecting these roads is “a crucial part in realizing the E1 plans,” as Israeli settlement construction in the E1 corridor would prevent Palestinians in the West Bank from using road 437, which “connects to road 417 and enables Palestinian traffic between the northern and southern West Bank.”

The plans aim to replace road 437 with the northern section of the Eastern Ring Road, which would divert Palestinian traffic away from road 437 and the E1 area” and would establish separate lanes for Israeli and Palestinian traffic, thus its label as an “apartheid road.”

Israel’s plans in E1 have long been denounced by rights groups and the international community since its approval in 1999, in the wake of the Oslo Accords which expected the area of E1 to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA) within an interim period of five years.

Another central aspect of Israel’s development plans in the area includes the full eviction and relocation of Bedouin communities residing in E1, near Maale Adumim.

This plan was furthered earlier this year when Israeli authorities delivered demolition notices to every single home in the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, including the village’s elementary school. The village is located on the site of planned Israeli settlement development and on the Israeli side of the planned route of Israel’s separation barrier.

Rights groups and Bedouin community members have sharply criticized Israel’s relocation plans for the Bedouin residing near Maale Adumim, claiming that the removal would displace indigenous Palestinians for the sake of expanding Israeli settlements.

Bedouin villages in the area also face routine demolitions by Israeli forces.

Since the E1 corridor is part of Area C — the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control and where Israel’s settlements are planned, the Palestinians living there face routine attempts by Israeli authorities to push them off the land.

Khan al-Ahmar is one of 46 villages comprising of a population of 7,000 — 70 percent of whom are Palestinian refugees — in the central West Bank that are considered by the UN as being at risk of forcible transfer by Israeli authorities to alternative sites, in violation of international law.

In addition, Israeli rights group B’Tselem has noted in the past that plans to develop the E1 corridor would also further isolate Palestinians straddled between the “West Bank side” of the separation barrier and those in occupied East Jerusalem, by “enclosing East Jerusalem from the East and linking it up with Israeli neighborhoods built north of the Old City.”

As East Jerusalem used to be the primary urban center for Palestinians in the West Bank, the E1 plans would further exacerbate a Palestinian-Palestinian separation that has wreaked havoc on Palestinian economic, social, and political life.

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Leave a comment

Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate

By Rima Najjar | CounterPunch | June 27, 2017

Several articles have been published about the “legal limbo” in which Palestinian Jerusalemites exist and proposals as to what Israel ought to do about this 50-year old travesty, among them being righting “the wrong” of denying Palestinian Arabs in East Jerusalem Israeli citizenship.

In my view, such articles both define the injustice done to Palestinians deceptively and are meant simply to normalize the idea of Palestinian Jerusalemites becoming Israeli citizens, in the same way I might normalize the poll that American Jews are increasingly losing their connection to Israel by writing about it, especially if I were to headline my article “Breaking Taboo”, as Maayan Lubell does, or make the title echo a classified ad for the lovelorn, or question “Jewish identity” by “layering it with complexity” – i.e., by tying it to Israel.

Lubell’s article (Haaretz, Aug 5, 2015) is titled “Breaking Taboo, East Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship: In East Jerusalem, which Israel captured during the 1967 war, issues of Palestinian identity are layered with complexity.” It begins with this:

“I declare I will be a loyal citizen of the state of Israel,” reads the oath that must be sworn by all naturalized Israeli citizens. Increasingly, they are words being uttered by Palestinians. In East Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan during the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed, a move not recognized internationally, issues of Palestinian identity are layered with complexity.

While Israel regards the east of the city as part of Israel, the estimated 300,000 Palestinians that live there do not. They are not Israeli citizens, instead holding Israeli-issued blue IDs that grant them permanent resident status. While they can seek citizenship if they wish, the vast majority reject it, not wanting to renounce their own history or be seen to buy into Israel’s 48-year occupation. And yet over the past decade, an increasing number of East Jerusalem Palestinians have gone through the lengthy process of becoming Israeli citizens, researchers and lawyers say.

So what is the reader to conclude from the “and yet” at the end of the quotation above? One way of looking at it is to see “the increasing number” of Palestinian Jerusalemites seeking Israeli citizenship as finally surrendering to the imperative of power and brutal facts on the ground, impelled by an otherwise unlivable life.

Another is to regard these Palestinians as traitors to the Palestinian cause, normalizing and legitimizing their enemy’s power, as there is often the implication in references to Palestinians seeking Israeli citizenship that Jerusalemites, through their applications for such citizenship, are signaling approval for the Israeli state, when in fact they seem to be doing it for practical reasons- so they can acquire some basic rights that Israel otherwise denies them.

A third is to see it from the point of view of Palestinian cartographer Khalil Tafakji – as yet another defeat for the Palestinian Authority in the context of Oslo’s so-called “peace process”.

Tafakji is quoted in this Haaretz report as saying, “If this continues, what will the Palestinians negotiate about? They want to negotiate on the land – they have already lost the land. They want to negotiate for the population and the population is being lost.”

In other words the Palestinian view that Tafakji expresses is a lose/lose situation, not the win/win one espoused by another Haaretz article on the subject like the following.

Nir Hasson’s article (Haaretz, June 20, 2017) also has clues as to the function of such articles in the Israeli “liberal” media and co-dependent publications like the New York Times. These are often embedded right in the title or subheading – in this case: “50 Years After Six-Day War, East Jerusalem’s Palestinians Remain Prisoners in Their City: Study shows how ambivalent Israeli policies and denial of the problem have created a status that doesn’t exist anywhere else on earth: Native-born residents who are not citizens of the state in whose capital they live.”

One glance at the word “capital” in the subheading frames it all for us, hasbara style. What may lull the suspicions of the unwary reader is that the piece does, in fact, highlight the severe problems created for Palestinians by Israeli policies of Judaization in the expanded municipality of Jerusalem. But in the end, this kind of article is Israeli “self-criticism” of the worst kind, meant to play games with one’s head.

The subtext you may miss is that, similar to the past and ongoing Judaization of Israel proper, the goal behind Israel’s policies in Jerusalem is to create, expand and preserve the Zionist Jewish state.
Hasson describes Israeli policy in 1967 in East Jerusalem, when the population was 60,000, as follows:

The [Israeli] ministers assumed that, as in 1948, when a large number of Arabs likewise didn’t get automatic citizenship, over time the East Jerusalemites would request citizenship – an option granted only to them and not to other West Bank residents – and integrate into Israeli society. The ministers did not take into account the strong ties these Arabs had to the West Bank and Jordan, and the unwillingness of Israeli society to absorb a large Palestinian population …. After the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israel recognized the ties East Jerusalemites had to the West Bank and allowed them to vote for the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah. This made their legal status even more complicated: permanent residents of the State of Israel with Jordanian travel papers and the right to vote in Palestinian Authority elections.

Notice the telling phrase in the above that is the blind spot of Zionism: “The ministers did not take into account the strong ties these Arabs had to the West Bank and Jordan.” It totally disregards the strong ties of Palestinian Arabs to an Arab Jerusalem, to an Arab Palestine, ties Israel has not succeeded in breaking seventy years after its establishment on a territory of Palestine as a settler-colonial Zionist Jewish state against the wishes of its native inhabitants.

Hasson goes on to say:

Another expression of the relatively enlightened policy of the early years was a law, finally passed in 1973, that enabled East Jerusalemites to be compensated for property they abandoned in western Jerusalem during the 1948 War of Independence, similar to the rights of Jews to get back the property they had to abandon in East Jerusalem during that same war. In the end, the compensation offered was paltry and very few Palestinians tried to claim it. But the debates on the law at least demonstrated an effort to right the wrong…. In recent years there has been considerable talk about the “Israelization” of East Jerusalemites, as reflected in the labor market, the desire to study the Israeli curriculum, and the increased number of requests to get full Israeli citizenship.

Again, notice the Israeli-centric formulation and framing. Palestinians are described as having “abandoned” their property in West Jerusalem, when, in fact, they were denied their right of return to their property by Israel.

Palestinians “abandoned” their property; but the reference to Jews is a reference to their “rights.”

Palestinians turned down “compensation” for no other reason than its paltry size, when, in fact, the Palestinian view on this issue is as Canadian professor Michael Lynk describes it in The Right to Compensation in International Law and the Displaced Palestinians”

“Palestinians advance the compensation issue as a right recognized in international law that would obligate Israel to return, or pay for, the refugee properties expropriated or destroyed in 1948 and afterwards. As well, they argue that Israel must pay damages for pain and suffering, and for its use of Palestinian properties over the past five decades

The dominance of Jewish companies in the labor market in East Jerusalem where many Palestinians are employed (See The Palestinian Economy in East Jerusalem: Enduring annexation, isolation and disintegration), the agonizing choice some Palestinians make in accepting a school curriculum for their children that denies Palestinian heritage and identity but allows them to get ahead at Israeli universities, and the application for Israeli citizenship (mostly denied by Israel) of a minority of Palestinians are all deceptively framed as “a desire” for “Izraelization” and a path to “correcting the injustice”.

Quoting Amnon Ramon of the Jerusalem Institute for Israeli [not for Palestinian] Studies, Hasson’s article also details the problems that Israel faces as a result of the “limbo” residency arrangement imposed on Palestinian Arabs by the Israeli Government – a “hollow sovereignty”, contributing to “instability and violent outbursts, as well as the international community’s refusal to recognize Israel’s legitimacy in Jerusalem.”

But ostensibly, the article is concerned with Israel “righting a wrong” by removing the “legal limbo” under which Palestinian Jerusalemites live, claiming that such a path, will not only relieve Israel’s problems, but is also a path to “justice” – justice as defined by Israel, the oppressor, not by the Palestinians themselves, Israel’s victims.

This brings us to the immediate present. On June 25, 2017, the New York Times published a piece by Isabel Kershner titled “50 Years After War, East Jerusalem Palestinians Confront a Life Divided.”
Again, we have to ask: What is Kershner’s point in this one? Is it really a concern for Palestinians whose lives have been “divided” by Israel or is it another deflection from the illegitimate existence of Israel as a Zionist Jewish entity in Palestine?

Even as Israelis mark the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem in the June 1967 war, the Palestinians and most of the world consider the eastern half under occupation, and the city remains deeply divided. But after five decades, dealing with Israel has become unavoidable for residents of East Jerusalem.

The deflection in the quotation above is blatant. Dealing with Israel did not “become unavoidable after five decades.” For Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem and all other Palestinian Arabs who want to visit or do business there and for Palestinian Arabs denied return to their property there, or those whose property was seized and/or demolished, dealing with Israel became unavoidable the minute Israel occupied and annexed East Jerusalem.

It is true Palestinian culture and day-to-day life has been under severe assault by Israel for a long time – since 1948 to be exact. The 50-year anniversary of Israel’s brutal occupation and annexation of East Jerusalem (see Living Under Israeli Policies of Colonization in Jerusalem) is an occasion to extol and marvel at Palestinian resilience and sumoud (an Arabic word meaning “steadfastness” that has entered the English language, just as the word “intifada” has). It is not an occasion to normalize and indirectly extol “the reunification of Jerusalem,” whose Palestinian Arab population now accounts for 18% of the Palestinian Arab population of Israel.

Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank.

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Israel refuses entry to UNESCO group expected to visit Hebron’s Old City

Ma’an – June 26, 2017

BETHLEHEM – Israeli authorities have refused to grant entry visas for a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) investigative team scheduled to conduct a field visit to the Old City in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron in advance of an upcoming vote next month to consider the area an endangered world heritage site, Israeli media reported on Sunday.

While Palestinian authorities had planned to introduce the site for consideration on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for 2018, they decided to fast track the site’s application owing to routine Israeli violence in the Old City, which Palestinians have claimed threatens the integrity of the site, and instead propose the area as an endangered site.

A Palestinian delegation to UNESCO had reportedly expressed the “alarming details about the Israeli violations in Al-Khalil/ Hebron, including the continuous acts of vandalism, property damage, and other attacks,” in a letter to the World Heritage Center.

Since Israel took over the West Bank in 1967 and began advancing Israeli settlements across Palestinian territory in violation of international law, Hebron has been a flashpoint for Israeli settler violence on Palestinians and their properties.

The Ibrahimi Mosque, known to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs, in the Old City where the Prophet Abraham is believed to be buried has been a focal point of such violence for decades, as the site is holy to both Muslims and Jews and has been a prime site for Israeli settler activities in the area.

The UNESCO team’s visit is aimed at assessing whether or not the Old City of Hebron is actually endangered, and would submit these findings to the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), a body that provides recommendations to UNESCO involving sites that could be considered on the World Heritage in Danger list.

According to The Jerusalem Post, other protected sites in the occupied Palestinian territory, including the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, the ancient terraces of Battir, and the pilgrimage route in Bethlehem, had also been fast tracked by Palestinian authorities in previous years to include them on UNESCO’s World Heritage in Danger list.

Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama Hacohen reportedly said that the UNESCO group was being rejected entry into Israel owing to the fact that ICOMOS had advised against considering the previous sites in the occupied territory as endangered and instead recommended that Palestinian authorities continue with the normal process.

UNESCO, however, had rejected these recommendations by ICOMOS for the Church of Nativity and Battir. Hacohen said that due to these past decisions by UNESCO to ignore recommendations made by ICOMOS, it would be “a shame to waste the time and money” of the committee.

He went on to denounce what he considered “Palestinian political moves under the guise of culture and heritage,” and added that UNESCO’s consideration of the site represented “lies that plot against the state of Israel as well as the history and the connection of the Jewish people to this important holy site.”

The Old City, which is under full Israeli military control, is home to some 30,000 Palestinians and around 800 Israeli settlers who live under the protection of Israeli forces.

UNESCO is scheduled to decide on the status of the Old City during a conference in Krakow, Poland from July 2-12. The vote is expected to include a clause rejecting Israeli sovereignty over occupied East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.

Meanwhile, Israeli media site Ynet reported that Israeli authorities have been scrambling to collect the seven votes needed to block the motion.

Ynet also said that in the “context of a peace process,” the inclusion of Hebron’s Old City into UNESCO’s World Heritage List would “impose limits on Israeli construction, the protection and development of the site and on specific areas in the vicinity,” and expressed worry that Israel would “be condemned each time it erects a security checkpoint or conducts work in the area on the grounds that is is damaging a world heritage site.”

However, Israeli activities in Hebron and the rest of occupied Palestine have long been condemned by rights groups and the international community as human rights abuses against the Palestinian people and a threat to any future peace agreements, while the some 500,000 to 600,000 Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank are residing there in contravention of international law.

Israel has accused the United Nations and its respective bodies of being “anti-Israel” for its stances against the now half-century occupation of the Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.

Such allegations have escalated following the passing of UN Resolution 2334, which condemned Israel’s settlement building in Palestinian territory. The US had taken Israel by surprise at the time by abstaining from the vote, in a split from its typical objections to such moves.

Earlier this month, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that the UN could no longer “bully” Israel over its violations of international law, and said that “we are not going to let that happen anymore.”

US President Donald Trump had also denounced the UN resolution, and even warned in a Twitter post last year that “things will be different” following his inauguration.

Earlier this year, the US House of Representatives even passed a resolution confirming US commitment as a diplomatic ally to the Israeli government, and demanded that the US government dismiss any future UN resolutions they deemed “anti-Israel.”

June 26, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment