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The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,    but because of the people who don't do anything about it    
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Church of the Nativity reopens as Palestinians ease coronavirus curbsReuters - The church in Bethlehem, believed to be the birthplace of Jesus, is capping access to 50 people at a time and requires that they be free of fever and wear protective masks; it had been closed since March 5.(rh)26/5/2020
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Abbas declares end to agreements with Israel, USYUMNA PATEL - Mondoweiss - n an emergency meeting with Palestinian leadership, Abbas said: “the Palestine Liberation Organization and the State of Palestine are absolved, as of today of all the agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and of all the obligations based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones.” He went on to say that as an occupying power, Israel should “shoulder all the responsibilities and obligations” of “protecting the civilian population and their property” in accordance with international humanitarian law and the Fourth Geneva Convention. (rh)26/5/2020
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Neither Intractable nor Unique: A Practical Solution for Palestinian Right of ReturnDahlia Scheindlin - The full report for “The Future of Governance in Eroded States: Managing Fragmentation and Its Consequences in the Middle East”. a TCF think tank discussion - as mentioned in the writer`s +972 article. {bz]26/5/2020
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Netanyahu said to tell Likud MKs: West Bank annexation on for JulyTOI STAFF - Times of Israel - At the opening of his Likud faction’s weekly meeting at the Knesset, Netanyahu said there has never been a better time in the country’s history to apply sovereignty, which is tantamount to annexation, to these areas. “We have an opportunity that hasn’t existed since 1948 to apply sovereignty in a wise way and as a diplomatic step in Judea and Samaria, and we will not let this opportunity pass,” Netanyahu said, referring to the year the State of Israel was established and using the biblical names for the West Bank territory.(rh) 26/5/2020
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Peace process was never intended to give Palestinians a state — true confessions from Council on Foreign RelationsPhillip Weiss - Mondoweiss - Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations has an article at Foreign Policy saying that the U.S. should phase out aid to Israel and “end the special relationship” because the peace process has attained its real objective: Israel is established as a secure country with a standard of living rivaling the UK and France, and no real military threat. The piece is shocking because it strips the mask from the peace process, saying just what Edward Said, Rashid Khalidi and Ali Abunimah said decades ago, it was intended to fail, never producing Palestinian sovereignty. (rh)26/5/2020
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Victim of a left-wing coup? Why Netanyahu’s conspiracy theory is foul and absurdDAVID HOROVITZ - Times of Israel - Honed over more than two years of attacks on the pillars of Israel’s democracy, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s incendiary assault on his accusers shortly before the start of his corruption trial Sunday was a brilliantly calculated assertion of innocence and victimhood. Its core thesis, that a strong, pro-annexation, right-wing prime minister is facing an illicit attempt — perpetrated by a vast, leftist alliance of politicians, media, cops and state prosecutors — to oust him because of his ideology and policies, is also demonstrably ridiculous. (rh) 26/5/2020
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As his trial begins, Netanyahu rails against ‘attempted political coup’TOI STAFF - Times of Israel - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday appeared in court for the start of his corruption trial, and ripped into police and prosecutors as he became the first Israeli premier to stand trial on criminal charges while in office. Flanked by ministers and lawmakers from his Likud party, Netanyahu delivered televised remarks before the start of the hearing at the Jerusalem District Court, declaring that all his right-wing supporters were on trial along with him. “Elements in the police and State Attorney’s Office banded together with left-wing journalists… to fabricate baseless cases against me,” he charged. “The goal is to oust a strong right-wing prime minister and to banish the right-wing camp from leadership of the country for many years.” (rh) 26/5/2020
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Netanyahu Attacks Justice System at Opening of His Corruption TrialAnshel Pfeffer Netael Bandel - Haaretz - This is the first time in Israel’s history that a sitting prime minister is facing a criminal trial ■ `Netanyahu’s trial will be remembered as one of the low points of the Israeli justice system,` Knesset speaker says. (rh)26/5/2020
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Trump peace plan risks upending Israel’s treaty with JordanDaoud Kuttab - Ynetnews - The Hashemite Kingdom`s total rejection of prospective Israeli annexation in the West Bank is not only due to its violation of the 1994 peace agreement but also because of its direct impact on the stability of its own dynasty. (rh)26/5/2020
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Palestinians demand sanctions on Israel to stop illegal annexationMONDOWEISS EDITORS - Mondoweiss - The following statement was published today by broad coalition of over 70 Palestinian civil society organizations calling for sanctions against Israel for its plans to illegally annex parts of the West Bank. Mondoweiss occasionally publishes press releases and statements from organizations in an effort to draw attention to overlooked issues. Palestinian Civil Society Calls for Effective Measures by all States to Stop Israel’s Illegal Annexation of the Occupied West Bank and Grave Violations of Human Rights. (rh)26/5/2020
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Intel: Senate Democrats warn Netanyahu against West Bank annexation Read more: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/05/democrats-israel-westbank-annexation-netanyhau-trump-gantz.html#ixzz6NZzE364dBryant Harris - Al-Monitor - Nineteen Senate Democrats warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partner Benny Gantz against Israeli plans to annex settlements in the West Bank and the entire Jordan Valley in a letter Thursday. The letter — spearheaded by Sens. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Tim Kaine of Virginia and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland — warns Netanyahu and Gantz that “unilateral annexation will be met with deep concern from our mutual allies and partners, including Jordan and Egypt, and nearly universally viewed as a violation of international law.” (rh) 26/5/2020
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VIDEO: Settlers Hold Parade While Soldiers Assault Palestinians in JersualemAli Salam - IMEMCnews - "Israeli security forces, on Friday, blocked several streets in occupied Jerusalem as illegal Israeli settlers provocative March outside Jaffa Gate, celebrated the so-called “reunification of Jerusalem as capital of Israel”, Quds News reported" [ry] 25/5/2020
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A very dangerous governmentHaggai Matar - +972 - When the new government was sworn in on Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu promised that bringing an end to the economic crisis would be at the top of his priority list. But those promises ring empty when considering the direction we are already heading in. Netanyahu has pledged to “do as much as possible to bring the economy back to where it was.” That means going back to a situation in which one in three children live in poverty, with citizens forgoing purchasing medicine to ensure they have enough money to pay their water and electricity bills. It means going back to tens of thousands of families facing food insecurity and thousands waiting in line for public housing.(rh) 19/5/2020
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Coalition flaw isn’t all the new ministries, but the ones that were ripped apartHAVIV RETTIG GUR - Times of Israel - I’ve taken part in swearings-in of governments, from the coalition side and from the opposition side,” said MK Yair Lapid in his maiden speech as opposition leader shortly before the Sunday vote. “It was always a celebration. Families sat excited in the gallery....Turning to the two bridegrooms, Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, he minced no words: “We know exactly what you think of each other. There’s nothing I can say here from the podium that will be worse or more violent or ugly than the things you’ve already said about each other, and that you still say about each other behind the other’s back when the microphones are turned off.”(rh) 19/5/2020
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Trump sends Pompeo to Israel bearing gifts for the far-rightZvi Schuldiner - Global Ilmanifesto - Pompeo arrived in Israel with three objectives that reflect the dangers of Trump’s policy: to support, in moderation, Benjamin Netanyahu’s intentions regarding the annexation of the occupied Palestinian territories, to continue to stoke tensions with Iran and—no less important—to try to stem China’s economic penetration into Israel. (rh)19/5/2020
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Israel’s `annexation government` sworn inMazal Mualem - Al-Monitor - Israel’s 35th government, which was sworn in May 17, is also Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fifth government. Officially, it is known as a national unity government, with Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party poised to step in as prime minister in 18 months. Gantz has, in fact, already been sworn in with Netanyahu, in his capacity as “alternate prime minister.” Nevertheless, the one person who will mark this new government’s course, set its tone and determine its agenda will for the most part be Netanyahu.(rh) 19/5/2020
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Leading British Jewish group’s claim it is neutral on West Bank annexation should fool nobodyROBERT COHEN - Mondoweiss - After all, Israeli governments of the centre left and the centre right have spent the last 53 years actively enabling half a million Jewish Israelis to build towns on occupied Palestinian land. That’s meant massive government-funded infrastructure, government financial incentives and army protection. Awkward, because all of this is in violation of the Geneva Convention of which Israel is a signatory. Awkward, because the ‘facts on the ground’ created by the settlements have also required the oppression of the indigenous Palestinian population. That’s meant other awkward facts: land confiscation, house demolitions, property laws, water control, checkpoints, and a parallel but unequal judicial system. It you check out the legal textbooks you’ll find it’s collectively known as ‘apartheid’. That’s definitely awkward, especially for any Jewish organisation, attempting to nurture positive attitudes towards Israel both within and beyond the Jewish community.(rh) 19/5/2020
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Israeli Troops Throw Fire Bombs, Burn Palestinian Homes, Farm Land in HebroIMEMC - Palestinian sources in Yatta village, south of Hebron, said that Israeli troops fired some torch bombs in the sky over Hebron, which burned half an acre of Palestinian farm land of barley and wheat to blaze. Coordinator for the steadfastness and protection committee in the city, Foad Alemour, told local media outlets that the fire bombs, launched by Israeli troops, also set on fire two homes owned by the Rashid family. (rh)19/5/2020
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West Bank annexation will be the end of Israeli-Jordanian peaceMarwan al-Muasher - Ynetnews - By annexing parts of the West Bank, Israel would put the Hashemite Kingdom at risk of an influx of Palestinians and it should protest such unilateral move at all costs. (rh)19/5/2020
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Palestinians to Mark Nakba Anniversary Digitally for First Time in HistoryIMEMC - On the eve of the Palestinian people’s catastrophe or Nakba anniversary, the Ramallah-based higher national committee for marking the Nakba, called on all Palestinian masses to commemorate the Nakba anniversary digitally and not on the ground. “As we are marking such a historic significant moment of our Palestinian history, the entire world, including our Palestinian territories, is facing the threat of Coronavirus, that has so far impacted lives of many world nations. Therefore, we would urge our people, everywhere, to mark the Nakba anniversary by digital means such as social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others”, a statement by the higher committee read.(rh)19/5/2020
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Israel put itself in a cornerSam Bahour - Responsible Statecraft - The European Union, that underwrote most of the past 25 years of U.S. failures in the Middle East Peace Process, is also up in arms about Israel’s possible annexation moves. Hugh Lovatt, a policy fellow with the Middle East and North Africa programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations, wrote “West Bank annexation will bring an end to the EU’s cherished two-state solution. International norms and the EU’s own laws will now need to underpin post-annexation relations with Israel.” He goes on noting that, “Annexation — whether it starts with one settlement block or most of Area C — will cross a threshold which will be almost impossible to reverse back on. The full repercussions that such a move will trigger may be slow in coming, but they are real. This will challenge EU credibility and relevance. It will also undermine the fundamentals of the international rules-based order — in particular, the prohibition on the acquisition of territory through force.” He speculates that post-annexation, “Palestinians [will] live under an increasingly explicit system of apartheid.” It is no wonder that the EU, for the first time, is speaking about possible economic sanctions on Israel if they proceed with any form of annexation.(rh)19/5/2020
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Israeli activist who slapped Ahed Tamimi’s prosecutor sentenced to eight monthsOren Ziv - +972 - An Israeli court sentenced Israeli activist Yifat Doron to eight months in prison on Wednesday for slapping a military prosecutor during the trial of Ahed Tamimi in March 2018. The incident took place during a sentencing hearing for Ahed’s mother, Nariman, who was arrested for filming her daughter slapping an Israeli soldier who had entered their yard during a demonstration in the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh in 2017. Doron, who was in Ofer Military Court on March 21, 2018 to support the women of the Tamimi family, approached military prosecutor Lt. Col. Issam Hamad at the end of the hearing, shouted “Who are you to judge her?” and slapped him. She was immediately arrested. (rh) 19/5/2020
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What will happen to Palestinian land the day after annexation?Ziv Stahl - +972 - The exact shape annexation will take — how much territory will be annexed, how many Palestinians will live on that territory, and what their status will be — is still unknown. One thing is certain: Palestinian human rights will be severely violated. This is true for Palestinians who find themselves living under Israeli sovereignty inside the annexed areas or remain in parts of the West Bank that will stay un-annexed. While many rights will likely be violated after annexation, the right to property will be among the hardest hit. Once territory is annexed, Israel will likely expropriate the land en masse and transfer it from its Palestinian ownership to state hands. One of the tools Israel might employ is the Absentees’ Property Law, which was used to nationalize property owned by Palestinians who became refugees during the 1948 war. According to the law, Israel is able to expropriate land and property of Palestinians who were expelled or fled during the war.(rh)12/5/2020
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At least, the army brought back the 200 sheep Amos Gvirtz - Don`t Say We Didn`t Know - Ten Jewish settler-colonists coming from the `dismantled` settler-colony of Homesh attacked and wounded a Palestinian shepherd. [bz]12/5/2020
Netanyahu won the battle in the court but not the warTova Tzimuki - Ynetnews - The High Court`s decision to reject all petitions against Netanyahu and coalition might have awarded him with greatest legal victory yet, but verdict leaves room for future intervention by the court. (rh)12/5/2020
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Israel: Discriminatory Land Policies Hem in PalestiniansHuman Rights Watch - Human Rights Watch - Decades of land confiscations and discriminatory planning policies have confined many Palestinian citizens to densely populated towns and villages that have little room to expand. Meanwhile, the Israeli government nurtures the growth and expansion of neighboring predominantly Jewish communities, many built on the ruins of Palestinian villages destroyed in 1948. Many small Jewish towns also have admissions committees that effectively bar Palestinians from living there. “Israeli policy on both sides of the Green Line restricts Palestinians to dense population centers while maximizing the land available for Jewish communities,” said Eric Goldstein, acting Middle East executive director at Human Rights Watch. “These practices are well-known when it comes to the occupied West Bank, but Israeli authorities are also enforcing discriminatory land practices inside Israel.”12/5/2020
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The coronavirus crisis is a ‘pressure cooker’ for domestic violenceHenriette Chacar - +972 - Government directives to shelter at home may be flattening one curve, but they have led to a spike in another, as incidents of domestic and gender-based violence have multiplied — a global trend UN Women has described as “the shadow pandemic.” Six weeks into a nationwide lockdown, the Israeli government has yet to offer timely solutions, leaving survivors of abuse in danger, say women’s rights advocates. (rh) 12/5/2020
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In Israel, coronavirus crisis improves Jewish-Arab relationsAfif Abu Much - Al-Monitor - The coronavirus had the opposite effect on attitudes toward Arab citizens, and strengthened the relationship between the Arab and Jewish communities. All it took was a precursory glimpse at how the Arab community adhered to all government instructions, even shutting down its mosques and churches. The improved relationship has extended into the holy month of Ramadan. Given the high rate of infection in the Arab community, and especially in villages in the north such as Deir al-Assad and Baanah (both of which were put under closure), the Home Front Command launched Operation Ramadan Nights. This included videos geared to the community, with verses from the Quran and quotes from the Prophet Muhammad, and even the delivery of holiday sweets directly to residents’ homes. The command also translated its website into Arabic for the occasion. As the unit`s commander for Arab affairs, Col. Shams al-Fares (res.), explained, “People understand that this is a war that doesn’t distinguish between Jews and Arabs.” (rh) 12/5/2020
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The Supreme Court Can’t Help Trump Now Without Hurting ItselfDavid R. Lurie - The Daily Beast - The Supreme Court is about to hear cases about whether Congress and Manhattan’s district attorney can subpoena Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records. Trump has lost his challenges to the subpoenas repeatedly in the lower courts, and for good reason: his arguments against them are exceedingly weak. But Trump, a profoundly transactional man who is desperate to keep his tax returns from seeing the light of day before the election, plainly expects the high court’s protection as a reward for packing the federal bench, including the Supreme Court itself, with young right-wing extremists. If Justice John Roberts and the court’s other right-wing jurists twist the law to do Trump this favor, they will deal a heavy blow to the court’s already compromised legitimacy, and potentially to their own power as well. (rh) 12/5/2020
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US ambassador says Washington ‘ready to recognize annexation’ within weeksTOI STAFF - Times of Israel - In the latest show of American support for Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank, US Ambassador David Friedman said in an interview that Washington is ready to recognize Israeli sovereignty in the disputed areas should it be declared in the coming weeks. In an interview with the pro-ruling party Israel Hayom daily published Wednesday, Friedman said that it is up to Israel to decide whether it wants to move forward with annexing settlements but that if it does, Washington will recognize the move. (rh)12/5/2020
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Netanyahu’s voters like him, his allies back him, but no one believes himHAVIV RETTIG GUR - Times of Israel - Netanyahu’s reputation for dishonesty is a vital part of Israel’s present-day political story. It’s a story not about Netanyahu, but about the political culture he has shaped around him. The comprehensive distrust that he elicits even from his closest allies shapes the new government’s structure and policy priorities, and now echoes through Israel’s constitutional order with the amendments passed this week to the country’s Basic Laws, whose sole purpose, according to the authors of the legislation, is to prevent Netanyahu from going back on his word.(rh) 12/5/2020
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Set for new term, Netanyahu eyes risky West Bank annexationAssociated Press - Ynetnews - Israel`s longest-serving premier has a friendly ally in the White House and wide support in the new Knesset for his long-promised goal, but the move still may encounter many hurdles and obstacles along the way. (rh)12/5/2020
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As trial nears, Netanyahu’s associates go after attorney general Ben Caspit - Al-Monitor - The historic indictment, the first against an incumbent Israeli prime minister, bears the signature of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. Nonetheless, in the court of public opinion, Netanyahu has already made his accuser out as the accused. A wave of mudslinging is turning Mandelblit from state prosecutor to defendant, at least in the eyes of Netanyahu’s acolytes. Calls are growing for Mandelblit’s suspension or at least a criminal probe into his actions, both virtually impossible under Israeli law. Reports of alleged wrongdoing by Mandelblit and anyone linked to Netanyahu’s prosecution are flooding the media. Netanyahu’s emissaries and his many outspoken defenders are busy impugning Mandelblit 24/7. (rh) 12/5/2020
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PLO official: Annexation of West Bank territory destroys possibility of a peace agreementWafa - Israeli government`s annexation of occupied Palestinian territories, in part or in whole, means destroying any possibility of reaching a peace agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis, said Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Speaking via ZOOM technology to Forward Thinking in London and to Harvard University in the United States, Erekat said that that he conveyed messages from President Mahmoud Abbas to a large number of countries in the world in which he called on them not to allow the Israeli government to implement the "apartheid" and annexation scheme, and the necessity of convening an international peace conference on the basis of international law and United Nations resolutions with the aim of ending the Israeli occupation, establishing the independent State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital to live in security and peace alongside the State of Israel on the 1967 borders, and resolving all final status issues, particularly the issue of refugees and prisoners in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions.(rh)5/5/2020
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Dawn of a New Era? Jerusalem and Its Palestinian Residents Joining Forces to Battle CoronavirusNir Hasson - Haaretz - Dr. Hagai Agmon-Snir, the director general of the Jerusalem Inter-Cultural Center, which assists in the building of relationships between the authorities and Palestinian civil society, said that “The advantage of the coronavirus crisis is that it’s not linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and can be dealt while disregarding political considerations. “We see a trend in which the old orientalist concept, by which East Jerusalem is made up of villages, clans, and hostile Palestinian organizations, is being replaced by a new perspective – Jerusalem`s eastern part enables a civil society to flourish, and is home to activists and professionals, just like in the western part of the city," Agmon-Snir said. He added that the "old reality hasn`t completely vanished," but a civil society has been gradually forming in East Jerusalem. (rh)5/5/2020
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High Court pans coalition deal, but signals no ruling until relevant laws passedTOI STAFF and JACOB MAGID - The Times of Israel - The High Court of Justice indicated Monday that it could strike down some clauses of the unity deal signed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and Benny Gantz’s Blue and White, including those that expand the so-called “Norwegian Law” and set a six-month period during which almost no legislation that isn’t coronavirus-related could be advanced, and during which there would be no full-time appointments for senior roles. The court invited Likud and Blue and White to consider changing clauses in the coalition deal relating to those matters, and come back with a response within 24 hours.(rh)5/5/2020
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Peace activist author A.B. Yehoshua now pushes for a one-state solutionANNE JOSEPH - The Times of Israel - Yehoshua has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Israel Prize in 1995, the Dan David prize in 2017, and in 2005 he was shortlisted for the International Man Booker. An ardent peace activist, Yehoshua has also used his literary voice as a social and political commentator. He is an outspoken critic of Israeli and Palestinian policies and for decades was a die-hard believer in the two-state solution — the vision of a secure Israel alongside a Palestinian state. In the last few years, however, his position has changed, partly, he says, due to the question of the settlements. (rh) 5/5/2020
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Stability or straitjacket? The Netanyahu-Gantz coalition deal goes to courtHAVIV RETTIG GUR - The Times of Israel - In two days of hearings, 11 judges will hear eight separate petitions that have been filed in order to stymie the political pact, and their rulings could make or break the unity deal, a byzantine contract seemingly borne of deep distrust harbored by each party against the other.The petitions, filed by advocacy groups, concerned citizens and political opponents of the two parties, cover three big questions: Is the coalition agreement between Likud and Blue and White legal? Is the legislation now being advanced in the Knesset to alter Israel’s constitutional order in order to allow for the deal’s implementation constitutional? And is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fit to be appointed premier once more, despite his corruption indictments? (rh)5/5/2020
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Jewish terrorists killed his wife. Now he has a message for the worldOrly Noy - +972 - Rabi is one of four Palestinians and Israelis who will tell their story on Monday night during the 15th annual alternative Israel-Palestinian Memorial Ceremony, which commemorates the deaths of both Israelis as well as Palestinians who have been killed over the years. Israeli leaders and right-wing figures routinely criticize the ceremony, organized by Combatants for Peace and the Parents Circle-Families Forum, and often try to prevent it from taking place for what they say is the commemoration of Palestinian terrorists. (rh) 5/5/2020
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Drawing New Lines: Israel’s Unilateral Policies to Reshape JerusalemYehudit Oppenheimer and Betty Herschman - Palestine Israel Journal - Over the past several years, the government of Israel has intensified its two-pronged Jerusalem strategy to consolidate control over East Jerusalem while eroding the Palestinians’ hold on the city. Israel is actively working to redraw the boundaries of Jerusalem through legislation and political proposals to both territorially and demographically reshape the city. And it is asserting its power at the center of East Jerusalem by promoting an unprecedented number of touristic settlement initiatives inside Palestinian neighborhoods, evicting and uprooting Palestinian families, demolishing homes (throughout East Jerusalem), and tolerating pressure from messianic Temple movements to challenge the status quo on the Temple Mount/al- Haram al Sharif (rh)5/5/2020
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Welcome to the Era of the Great DisillusionmentJonathan Cook - The Palestine Chronicle - The real test of our societies – and the only hope of surviving the coming emergencies, economic and environmental – will be finding a way to hold our leaders truly to account. Not based on whether they are secretly lizards, but on what they are doing to save our planet from our all- too-human, self-destructive instinct for acquisition and our craving for guarantees of security in an uncertain world. That, in turn, will require a transformation of our relationship to information and debate. We will need a new model of independent, pluralistic, responsive, questioning media that is accountable to the public, not to billionaires and corporations. Precisely the kind of media we do not have now. We will need media we can trust to represent the full range of credible, intelligent, informed debate, not the narrow Overton window through which we get a highly partisan, distorted view of the world that serves the 1 percent – an elite so richly rewarded by the current system that they are prepared to ignore the fact that they and we are hurtling towards the abyss.5/5/2020
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Army To Demolish The Home Of A Palestinian Suspected Of Carrying Out A Stabbing AttackIMEMC News - Israeli soldiers invaded, on Friday at dawn, Tulkarem refugee camp, in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, and stormed the home of a wounded Palestinian, who is suspected of carrying out a stabbing, Tuesday, and handed the family a demolition order for their home. Media sources said several army jeeps invaded the refugee camp, before the soldiers stormed the family home of Mohammad Reesha, 19, and interrogated them for a few hours.They added that the soldiers then handed the father a demolition order targeting his home. Protests erupted during the invasion, and the soldiers fired gas bombs, rubber-coated steel bullets, and concussion grenades at Palestinian youngsters, causing several injuries. (rh) 5/5/2020
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Israeli Forces Arrested 40 Palestinians during First 6 days of RamadanIMEMC & Agencies - The Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Prisoners’ Studies, said on Wednesday, that Israeli troops abducted 40 Palestinian residents, since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, last Friday. Spokesperson for the center, Riyad Alashqar, was quoted as saying that the Israeli occupation forces have exposed lives of Palestinian prisoners to danger, by continuing to abduct them under the spread of the coronavirus, across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. (rh)5/5/2020
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Palestine in Pictures: April 2020EI - “’Following the outbreak of COVID-19, the Israeli authorities have largely halted the demolition of inhabited homes, but continued targeting livelihood and service-related structures,’ the UN monitoring group OCHA stated on 16 April. ‘Of particular concern is the ongoing demolition of water and hygiene-related structures, which could undermine efforts to contain the spread of the virus,’ OCHA added” [ry] 4/5/2020
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The olive trees that tell the story of Palestinian dispossessionMeron Rapoport - +972 - Last week, my colleague Edo Konrad published an article revealing that, in honor of Israel’s Memorial Day, the Defense Ministry had decided to give bereaved Israeli families bottles of olive oil produced in a settlement in the occupied West Bank.The olive oil is produced by Meshek Achiya, a factory located in the heart of the occupied territories about 45 kilometers north of Jerusalem, which was established in 1997 in the settlement outpost of Achiya. As Dror Etkes, an expert on settlement activity, explained to Konrad, Meshek Achiya was one of six outposts established west of the settlement of Shiloh in order to take over privately-owned Palestinian land. Following the article’s publication, a number of bereaved families launched a petition demanding the Defense Ministry take back its gifts. (rh) 28/4/2020
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Can a person under indictment serve as prime minister?Gilad Morad -YnetNews - Prof. Suzie Navot, an expert in constitutional law at the College of Management Academic Studies said that asking the court to decide "is problematic and contradicts the principle of separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary because it burdens the High Court with the responsibility of the possible consequences of its ruling." She added: "The High Court has in the past few years weighed in when the government actions were detrimental to the work of the Knesset… When Yuli Edelstein refused to remove himself from the position of Knesset speaker [in March], the court intervened to protect the parliamentary majority that was seeking to replace him. "I think there is a need to intervene now to protect the Knesset from an item in the agreement that blocks a representative of the opposition from participating in judicial appointments, which is in contradiction to an earlier ruling of the court," she said. (rh)28/4/2020
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Can anyone stop Netanyahu’s annexation plans?Ben Caspit - Al-Monitor - In response to harsh criticism from the political left over the issue of annexation, Gantz’s no. 2, Lt. Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi, argues that Netanyahu at this moment has a Knesset majority to annex West Bank lands. “He does not need us to do so,” he told Al-Monitor. Ashkenazi also noted that each side in the government would have the same number of ministers and equal authority. “[This] will allow us to try and block the decision from within,” he continued. “Gantz and myself, slated as defense minister and foreign minister, will be members of the Security Cabinet. We will be in touch with the international community, with the Americans, with the states of the region. Netanyahu is a very experienced man, and we will help him understand the tremendous risks that lie in declaring unilateral annexation. We will also hold in- depth discussions of this issue in all relevant forums. If there is a way to block this process, we will find it.” A group calling itself Commanders for Israel’s Security, comprised of hundreds of senior former army officers and security agency officials, have published major ads urging the government to forgo unilateral annexation. On April 23, Foreign Policy magazine ran an editorial by three members of the forum, among them former heads of the Mossad and Shin Bet, headlined “Netanyahu’s Annexation Plan Is a Threat to Israel’s National Security.” While ads and op-eds will not prevent annexation, discourse in the US media could be an important factor in the campaign to scuttle such a move. (rh) 28/4/2020
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Palestinians are facing coronavirus inside a lion’s denMariam Barghouti - +972 - The importance of having control over our fate — or in simpler terms, to have our freedom — is so we can have a fighting chance. Freedom on its own is not enough to overcome the pandemic, but at least it would give us the power to try without being consistently beaten down, and without suffering the consequences of choices that are not of our making. This is the meaning of oppression: violently and forcefully designing a reality whose brutal outcomes fall on the oppressed. If decades of occupation, mass imprisonment, killings, land theft, and resource theft are not enough, perhaps the tragic flames of a pandemic will more vividly expose the injustices that are tailored to impair and immobilize Palestinians. Just as we take measures to confront COVID- 19, we must also confront the forces that strip us bare and throw us into the lion’s den. (rh)28/4/2020
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The road not taken in the battle against coronavirusSarit Rosenblum - YnetNews - We could manage the disease in such a way that would likely drive down the death toll and enable the economy and our lives to return back to normal - even if the virus returns. Such a strategy requires tremendous cooperation and active management of the sick using a large-scale system that would identify chains of infection. This system would track patients, conduct quick testing and immediately identify these chains of infection and isolate them in special facilities - not at home - while adhering to social distancing rules for an extended period. There is great hope that with this system we could get back to normal while taking minimal risk. (rh)28/4/2020
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High Court halts Shin Bet tracking of virus patientsYael Freidson - YnetNews - The High Court orders a freeze on tracking of coronavirus patients by the Shin Bet domestic security service, with judges saying such a move requires legislation. The court ruling said, however, that if the legislative process was begun, it would be possible to extend for a limited period the use of the security service in efforts to stem the spread of the virus. (rh) 28/4/2020
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Will the Coronavirus Change the World? On Gramsci’s ‘Interregnum’ and Zizek’s Ethnocentric PhilosophyRamzy Baroud & Romana Rubeo - The Palestine Chronicle - Undeniably, the global crisis invited by the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic embodies within it the opportunity of fundamental change (towards greater equality or greater authoritarianism), or no change at all. It is us, the people, and our true authentic voices – the ‘organic intellectuals’, not the celebrity philosophers – who have the right and the moral legitimacy to rise up to reclaim our democracy and redefine a new discourse on a global, not ethnocentric, form of justice. It is either that we exercise this option, or the current ‘interregnum’ will fizzle out into yet another missed opportunity. (rh)28/4/2020
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An Arab doctor and an ultra-Orthodox Jew find common ground in a covid wardSteve Hendrix - The Washington Post - When Jesse Michael Kramer was hospitalized with the coronavirus, he realized as soon as the doctor in the spacesuit introduced himself that it would be a rare encounter. Kramer is an Israeli ultra-Orthodox Jew; Fadi Kharouf is a Palestinian Muslim.“Fadi, it’s an Arab name,” Kramer, 75, said as he recalled his time at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, once he was back home convalescing in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood he seldom leaves. “He was very good to me.” Such unlikely meetings have become more commonplace after the pandemic struck with particular fury in Jerusalem’s most insular and religious Jewish enclaves, just a few miles — but cultural light-years — from the Arab neighborhoods where Kharouf and other Palestinian physicians and nurses live. The pandemic has created a bridge between their worlds. Hundreds of Jewish covid-19 patients are being treated by Arab practitioners they might never meet outside the hospital. Sick Palestinians are getting care from Jewish medical staff they might otherwise avoid. (rh)28/4/2020
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Disgraceful unity deal serves one person onlySima Kadmon - YnetNews - With the number of unemployed having long crossed the million mark, the economy collapsing and tens of thousands losing their businesses, we get a bloated, wasteful and shameful government whose sole purpose is to satiate the appetites of politicians, no matter what the cost or who foots the bill.(rh) 28/4/2020
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How should Palestinians respond to Israeli threats of annexation?Yara Hawari - Aljazeera - What is required is a complete overhaul of the current political system which, for over the last two decades, has been focusing solely on keeping Palestinians subdued and contained. Such an overhaul requires a return to a revolutionary consensus achieved through plurality and reconciliation of political groups, geographic fragments, and collectives and a popular mobilisation around a political agenda of liberation. Only then will we stand a chance to stop the theft of Palestinian land.(rh)28/4/2020
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Palestinian doctor on the coronavirus front lines: ‘We don’t touch, I don’t even shake the hands of my family’ALLISON DEGER - Mondoweiss - At 6:00 p.m. Safwan Fayyad took a break half-way through his 24-hour shift. By sunrise tomorrow he will enter the foyer of his home, a two-hour drive from the Ramallah Medical Complex, a hulking gated hospital compound in the West Bank’s de facto capital and the main triage zone for COVID-19 patients in the region. Once inside the doorway, he implements a rigorous disinfecting regime. The 30-year-old senior resident and internist will slip off his shoes and sterilize them with bleach, and remove all of his clothing and drop the soft fabrics directly into the washing machine. Then, take a hot shower. (rh)21/4/2020
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Israel`s Netanyahu, Gantz sign deal to form `emergency` unity governmentMEE staff - Middle East Eye - Gantz`s decision to break his campaign promise and consider a deal with Netanyahu has angered many of his supporters and triggered the break-up of his original Blue and White alliance. The 60-yar-old claimed the move was necessary to ease the grinding political deadlock and strengthen Israel`s ability to confront the coronavirus pandemic. "I am at peace with myself and at peace with my decision," Gantz said last week, according to the New York Times.Thousands rally against Netanyahu under coronavirus restrictions. » Israel needs a national emergency government. And Israel comes before all else." On Sunday, thousands of Israelis demonstrated in Tel Aviv, under Israel`s social distancing guidelines, to protest against the coalition talks. "Let democracy win," said one placard, while some protesters had written "Crime Minister" on their masks, a reference to Netanyahu` (rh)21/4/2020
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Dr. Hanan Ashrawi: Annexation is a declaration of permanent aggression. The Palestinian people will confront this lawless and dangerous agenda resolutely and with unwavering determinationDr. Hanan Ashrawi - PLO Dept. of Public Diplomacy - The Israeli political establishment has united on the agenda of permanent colonization and annexation. It is now very clear that Israeli political parties are unequivocally committed to the entrenchment and permanence of the conflict as well as the perpetual oppression of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian leadership is very clear on where we stand. Annexation is a declaration of permanent aggression on inalienable Palestinian rights and the standing of international law. The Palestinian people will confront this lawless and dangerous agenda resolutely and with unwavering determination. [ak]21/4/2020
Chomsky and Pollin: To Heal From COVID-19, We Must Imagine a Different WorldC.J. Polychroniou - Portside - he coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caught the world unprepared, and the economic, social and political consequences of the pandemic are expected to be dramatic, in spite of recent pledges by leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies to inject $5 trillion into the global economy in order to spur economic recovery. But what lessons can we learn from this pandemic? Will the coronavirus crisis lead to a new way of organizing society — one that conceives of a social and political order where profits are not above people? In this exclusive interview with Truthout, public intellectual Noam Chomsky and economist Robert Pollin tackle these questions. (rh)21/4/2020
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Unity deal allows PM to begin advancing West Bank annexation from July 1JACOB MAGID -Times of Israel - Getting out two legislative paths to enact annexation, the deal appears to provide Netanyahu with an alternative route if he fails to gain a majority for annexation in the cabinet, where some half of the ministers will be Blue and White members. It is more likely to pass in the Knesset given that the right-wing Likud, Yamina, Yisrael Beytenu, United Torah Judaism and Shas parties, which all have voiced support for annexation, hold a majority there. (rh) 21/4/2020
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Fall of Blue and White party leaves opening on Israeli political map Yossi Beilin - Al-Monitor - Collecting and associating some people from the right and other people from the left doesn`t mold a centrist party together, especially if its only aim is to replace the prime minister and does not have a clue about handling the many other issues on the public agenda. Once Blue and White leader Benny Gantz breached his main promise to his voters that he would not sit in a government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, it became impossible for him to keep his party together. Thus the party split into three Knesset fractions. The collapse of Blue and White and the demise of the Labor Party in recent public opinion polls (today, it has only three Knesset members, two of whom have agreed to serve under Netanyahu while the third preferred to remain in the opposition) leaves a vacuum. It offers political space for the establishment of a new party with a much longer life span than other parties before it. (rh) 21/4/2020
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US alerted Israel, NATO to disease outbreak in China in November : hite House was reportedly not interested in the intel, but it was passed onto NATO, IDF; when it reached Israel’s Health Ministry, ‘nothing was done’TOI STAFF - Times of Israel -US intelligence agencies alerted Israel to the coronavirus outbreak in China already in November, Israeli television reported Thursday. According to Channel 12 news, the US intelligence community became aware of the emerging disease in Wuhan in the second week of that month and drew up a classified document. Information on the disease outbreak was not in the public domain at that stage — and was known only apparently to the Chinese government. (rh)21/4/2020
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Netanyahu: Masses Will Take to the Streets if Court Ousts Me : Court is part of `deep state` determined to put Netanyahu in prison, the premier says in private conversations, warns of civil revolt if he`s not allowed to ruleGidi Weitz - Haaretz - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is convinced the Supreme Court is part of a judicial “deep state” out to finish him politically and send him to prison. He is threatening to sink the coalition talks with Kahol Lavan if Benny Gantz doesn’t offer him a safety net to sidestep the High Court of Justice which, the premier is saying in private conversations, will try to get rid of him. “Let there be no doubt, the High Court will take the opportunity to oust me,” Netanyahu himself says in these conversations. He warns that if the court prevents him from being prime minister, or if a law is enacted banning him from running for the post in the future, a civil rebellion will erupt. “Masses will take to the streets,” he predicts. “There will be a call to boycott the election.” (rh)21/4/2020
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`Netanyahu`s actions more dangerous than coronavirus`Ronen Bergman - Ynet News - In an exclusive interview, Edward Snowden, the man who bared the secrets of American intelligence, says he is surprised that Israelis are not furious over the use of Shin Bet anti- terrorism measures to track people infected with the virus, which he calls `intolerable` (rh)21/4/2020
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Trump’s Pandemic Plan: “Absolute Authority,” No ResponsibilitySusan B. Glasser - The New Yorker -A week ago, President Trump foreshadowed his growing anxiety over when and how to end the Great Shutdown, a decision he is well aware will have existential consequences—for his own political future. He called the question of reopening the country amid the coronavirus pandemic “the biggest decision I’ll ever make” and “by far the biggest decision of my life.” Yet by the time Trump advertised a “Major News Conference” for Thursday evening, there was little suspense from a man who has been tweeting about a “LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL” and who declared, on March 24th, that he wanted church pews “packed” by Easter. Trump backed off the Easter deadline within days of promoting it, and he repeated the act this week, with a May 1st date and a new plan for “OPENING UP AMERICA AGAIN,” which started out on Monday as an imperial diktat from an almighty President and ended up on Thursday as a mere recommendation to individual states, without a fixed date. Many governors have already announced that they will not follow his guidance. “You’re going to call your own shots,” Trump reassured them on a conference call on Thursday afternoon, according to an audio recording, which promptly leaked. “You’re going to be calling the shots.” This might seem a head-spinning reversal. But it is classic Trump. His two most memorable lines of the covid-19 pandemic, proclaiming “absolute authority” and “no responsibility at all,” are wildly contradictory, and yet also completely consistent with his approach to governing. The novel coronavirus is truly a new type of American crisis, but it has been met by the same old, same old from America’s President: unhinged press conferences and unfounded conspiracy theories; lies, attacks, and bizarre non sequiturs; and abrupt, seemingly incomprehensible policy shifts from a leader who has no problem changing course at the expense of his own credibility. (rh)21/4/2020
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Netanyahu accused of breaking his own quarantine rules by having son at Passover SederAiden Pink - Forward - Israel’s prime minister and president were criticized on social media Thursday for having Passover Seders with children who live outside their home - despite strict quarantine measures that banned such gatherings. The Israeli government ordered Jewish citizens to stay in their homes with no exceptions from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday morning, in order to stop people from visiting family during the Passover Seder. The restrictions were on top of existing measures that forbade traveling more than 100 meters from home except for essential trips like grocery shopping. (rh) 14/4/2020
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The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Exposing the Plague of NeoliberalismHenry A. Giroux - Truthout - The current coronavirus pandemic is more than a medical crisis, it is also a political and ideological crisis. It is a crisis deeply rooted in years of neglect by neoliberal governments that denied the importance of public health and the public good while defunding the institutions that made them possible. At the same time, this crisis cannot be separated from the crisis of massive inequalities in wealth, income and power. Nor can it be separated from a crisis of democratic values, education and environmental destruction. (rh)14/4/2020
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Palestinian Ingenuity: Al-Quds University Produces Innovative Prototype for Inexpensive VentilatorsThe Palestine Chronicle - On April 1, Al Quds University President, Professor Imad Abu Kishek announced that his university has “succeeded in producing a fully computerized ventilator capable of saving lives and providing a viable alternative to the shortage in Palestine and beyond in the standard commercial ventilators and other respiratory support machines”, the Palestinian official news agency WAFA reported. The breakthrough came at a critical time for Palestinians, who are struggling with the spread of the Coronavirus, COVID-19 disease, and growing restrictions imposed by the Israeli military. (rh)14/4/2020
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Updates during Corona from MachsomWatch Shuli Bar - Newsletter spring 2020 - M., an old acquaintance, is a farmer from A’anin. He called this evening to hear how I was doing and to tell me about himself. He reported that “the entire community is isolated in their homes. The streets are empty. We have oil, flour, olives and vegetables – we’ll manage. But how will the olive trees manage? This is the season when we have to clear the weeds that can overtake the vineyard. But who in the District Command Office will permit us to cross the separation fence? Maybe you can talk to them and get permission for the farmers and their tractors to cross? There is no one to talk to...” I promised to try, and I reminded both of us that we Israelis are also closed off and everyone is afraid. “Be well, you and your entire family. That’s why I called…” (rh)14/4/2020
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Coronavirus ‘extremely dangerous’ for Palestinian areas, UN envoy warnsRAPHAEL AHREN - The Times of Israel - e United Nations’ Middle East peace envoy on Sunday expressed grave concern over the situation in the Palestinian territories, urging Israel to do more to help contain the coronavirus pandemic in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. “The current situation is extremely dangerous and calls for bold action by all stakeholders,” Nickolay Mladenov said in a statement. “I am concerned about the socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 health crisis on the Palestinian people, particularly vulnerable communities in Gaza.” (rh)14/4/2020
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Israeli-blockaded Gaza runs out of coronavirus testsReuters - Daily Sabah - The Gaza Strip has no more coronavirus test kits, Palestinian health officials said Wednesday, amid fears of disaster if the illness spreads in the blockaded, densely populated enclave. "Testing at our central laboratory has stopped, after coronavirus test kits completely ran out," Gaza health ministry spokespersonAshraf al-Qidra, said. The impoverished coastal strip has for years been blockaded by neighboring Israel, which it says is needed to stop weapons and money reaching its enemy, Hamas. Gaza has reported 13 cases of coronavirus infection, all of whom are at quarantine facilities. But officials have voiced concerns that a shortage of critical equipment and medical supplies could set off a rapid spread among the enclave`s 2 million people. (rh) 14/4/2020
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Israeli-Bedouin students left behind over coronavirusDanny Zaken - Al-Monitor - The coronavirus pandemic is hurting everyone in Israel — rich and poor, Jews and Arabs — but poorer communities face much greater difficulties in dealing with its ramifications, including in education. When the whole education system in Israel — from preschool to high school to higher education — moved to remote learning by means of the internet, the gap between rich and poor grew wider because of the latter`s lack of access to technology. This phenomenon is especially notable among the Arab Bedouin population in Israel.(rh) 14/4/2020
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From Covid-19 to the ‘Deal of the Century’ — Palestine and international lawYaser Alashqar - Mondoweiss - As of April 5th, the occupied Palestinian territories, Gaza and the West Bank including East Jerusalem, have registered 228 cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and one death. While COVID-19 represents a difficult challenge to advanced nations and their strong healthcare systems, it poses a more complex and dangerous challenge to conflict zones and occupied territories, such as Palestine. Decades of displacement, dispossession, conflict, military occupation and blockade have weakened existing medical services and systemically disregarded Palestinian rights to life and health. (rh)14/4/2020
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Israeli press review: Minister silent on accusations that Mossad stole Covid-19 kits : Meanwhile, the army asks to be put in charge of pandemic management, and Israeli roads are empty ahead of the Jewish holiday of PassoverMEE staff - Middle East Eye - Israeli army chief of staff Aviv Kochavi has filed a request with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defence Naftali Bennett to hand over responsibility for dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic to the army. Israel`s military turns on its people as coronavirus panic sets Kochavi emitted his request in a secret letter last week, which was revealed by newspaper Yisrael Hayom. (rh) 14/4/2020
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The Joint List stripped illusions about Gantz and showed it is Israel’s only progressive partyNaim Mousa and Amir Toumie - Mondoweiss - Following a contentious third election, Israel seemed to have yet another political deadlock. However, no one could have foreseen the developments which have occurred over the past couple of weeks. Benny Gantz, blindsiding his own political allies, abandoned his claim to change the right-wing government and instead decided to join them in their coalition. Consequently, he brought about the collapse of Blue and White – which consists of 3 parties – by pulling his party, Hosen Le-Israel, out and joining Netanyahu’s bloc. The other two parties, Yesh Atid and Telem, left the union, but had the necessary majority to continue using the name Blue and White. Meanwhile, Gantz and the 14 MKs in his own party became part of the right-wing bloc in an “emergency government” to fight the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. (rh)14/4/2020
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Settler attacks rise by 78 percent amid pandemicTamara Nassar - EI - "`In the last two weeks of March, the number of settler attacks on Palestinians was 78 percent higher than usual` [...]. During that time, `at least 16 attacks by Israeli settlers resulted in five Palestinian injuries and extensive property damage,` OCHA reported" [ry] 13/4/2020
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Netanyahu Uses Coronavirus to Lure Rival Gantz into ‘Emergency’ GovernmentJonathan Cook - Palestine Chronicle - Benny Gantz, the former Israeli general turned party leader, agreed late last week to join his rival Benjamin Netanyahu in an “emergency government” to deal with the coronavirus epidemic. Two weeks ago he had won a wafer-thin majority vote in the parliament that gave him first shot at trying to put together a coalition government.Instead, he has conceded to Netanyahu, who will remain prime minister for the next 18 months. Gantz is supposed to take over in late 2021, though Netanyahu has a formidable reputation for double-dealing. Over the past year, Gantz fought three hotly contested, though indecisive, general elections in which he vowed to bring down Netanyahu, who has ruled continuously for 11 years.(rh7/4/2020
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Israel settlers spitting on Palestinian cars raises concern over attempt to spread coronavirusMEMO - Israeli settlers have been accused of trying to spread the coronavirus in Palestinian neighbourhoods by spitting on cars in a West Bank village. Residents of the village of Beit Iksa, northwest of occupied Jerusalem, reported the shocking incident last week of Israeli settlers spitting on vehicles travelling into and out of the village which is surrounded by illegal Israeli settlements. Speaking to Palestinian WAFA news agency residents described how settlers from Ramot settlement, build on land belonging to Beit Iksa in violation of international law, stood at the entrance to the village and started to spit on Palestinian cars entering or leaving the village in an attempt to spread the coronavirus.(rh)7/4/2020
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Palestinian Americans send help to PA to fight COVID-19The Media Line - Ynetnews - The AFRHSN (American Federation of Ramallah Human Services Network) Medical Mission, based in Redwood City, California, launched the Palestine COVID-19 Relief Fund in mid- March to raise donations, mostly from U.S.-based Palestinian organizations and individuals. The NGO has dispatched more than 300,000 pieces of medical equipment to the PA Health Ministry, including 10,000 COVID-19 test kits as wells as masks, other protective gear and disinfectants. TThe AFRHSN Medical Mission has raised about $190,000 of its $1 million target. The first shipment of $120,000 worth of material has reached Israel after receiving all the required approvals (rh) 7/4/2020
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Voices from the Middle East: COVID-19 Threatens Disaster in Blockaded GazaSalam Khashan, Danya Qato - MERIP - Danya Qato, an epidemiologist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, interviewed Salam Khashan, a physician at Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis, Gaza, Palestine on March 28, 2020, about the decimated Palestinian health care system and what this means for Gaza as COVID-19 looms. Since the economic blockade against Gaza was imposed by Israel 13 years ago, there has been a sharp decline in the health of Palestinians living there. Health infrastructures, including hospitals, have also been deliberately targeted in Israeli military strikes. Blockade and attacks have led to a health system that is increasingly unable to provide care to the population. The interview was conducted in Arabic and English.(rh)7/4/2020
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Palestinian prisoners left in the dark by Israel’s coronavirus restrictions : With family and lawyer visits canceled due to coronavirus, Palestinians in Israeli prisons, including minors, are now completely cut off from the world.Oren Ziv - +972 - New emergency regulations issued by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to combat the novel coronavirus prohibit Palestinian political prisoners from meeting their lawyers or receiving family visitations. The decision, announced on March 15, determines that political prisoners, who are usually denied the right to use phones in prison, can only consult with their attorneys over the phone in the event of an upcoming court hearing. The order is in effect for a month, but can be renewed as required for month-long intervals at a time. In effect, this decision prevents thousands of inmates, including child prisoners, from receiving legal counsel or filing petitions and complaints against their terms of imprisonment. With family visits also canceled, prisoners are now completely cut off from the outside world. As of February, around 5,000 Palestinians are locked up in Israeli prisons, including 430 in administrative detention. (rh) 7/4/2020
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Plagued by failure: ‘The Yom Kippur War of the Israeli health system’HAIM SHADMI - The Times of Israel - The summer of 2006 was a wake-up call for the home front. Israeli civilians, it became apparent during the Second Lebanon War, were inadequately protected, both against a large-scale military conflict and, as the Health Ministry later put it, “an incident of plague.”The following year the State Comptroller issued a report. It slammed the Health Ministry’s emergency readiness and called for sweeping change. Nearly 13 years later, amidst the worst health crisis the state has ever faced, The Times of Israel’s Hebrew sister site Zman Yisrael — in collaboration with Shomrim, the center for media and democracy — has investigated years of neglect and austerity within the health sector at large. Exposed is a Health Ministry that — many current and former officials who spoke on condition of anonymity contend — tragically fumbled its opportunity to close the gaps in readiness during the early months of the current coronavirus pandemic, before it arrived on Israel’s shores. (rh) 7/4/2020
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Mossad, Netanyahu’s secret weapon against the coronavirusBen Caspit - Al-Monitor - Yossi Cohen, head of Israel’s Mossad, has learned a very interesting lesson over the recent weeks: It is easier to “steal” the Iranian nuclear archives and transfer them to Israel than to procure medical ventilators and bring them to Israel’s hospitals. Cohen, who orchestrated in 2018 the unbelievable operation in which Mossad agents went off with the Iranian files under the noses of the regime in Tehran, now heads the unprecedented effort to bring to Israel ventilators, medical equipment and more in the war against the coronavirus. Cohen now heads a secret undercover operations room that was created in the Sheba hospital. Hundreds of his people are combing every corner of the globe for vital equipment and technology. They don’t have a limit on their budget, and the order they received was to do everything and anything to guarantee that Israel will be able to cope with the virus under optimal conditions. (rh) 7/4/2020
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How we will feed our children?’ Israel’s asylum seekers are on the brinkTamara Newman - Forward - One group that this emergency will have a catastrophic impact on are the approximately 30,000 asylum seekers in Israel. Predominantly from Eritrea and Sudan, this community works almost exclusively in the now shut-down hospitality industry. But unlike their Israeli colleagues who are eligible for government unemployment support, asylum seekers are not. And they have been left out in the cold. “There is a big stress about how we will survive,” says Ghere Tekle, an Eritrean asylum seeker who arrived in Israel in 2008 and lives in the HaTikva neighborhood of South Tel Aviv with his wife and three children. “How we will feed our children? How we will pay rent? In one month, the landlord will ask for rent, and when we can’t pay, no one knows what the landlord will say. Will they kick us out?” (rh) 7/4/2020
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In the midst of global pandemic, Israeli occupation thrivesYumna Patel - Mondoweiss - When the Palestinian Authority (PA) first announced a state of emergency over the coronavirus in early March, an initial panic swept over the occupied territory, as checkpoints and borders with Israel were closed, and entire cities were shut down.,In the early days of the outbreak, which was initially contained to the city of Bethlehem, there was a joke going around between Palestinians that, perhaps, a global pandemic could offer a temporary respite from the terrors of the Israeli occupation. But even as most aspects of everyday life have been turned upside down in Israel, Palestine, and the rest of the world, the one thing that has remained steady in the lives of Palestinians, is the presence of the occupation.(rh) 7/4/2020
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Over 30,000 people tuned into a virtual rally calling for an end to the Gaza blockadeMichael Arria - Mondoweiss - On March 30, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), MPower Change, and other Palestinian solidarity groups held a virtual rally to call for an end to the blockade on Gaza. Over 500 people attended the online event, and over 30,000 have viewed it over Facebook. Speakers included Linda Sarsour (MPower Change), Dr. Mona Qasim El-Farr (Middle East Children’s Alliance), and Salem Barameh (Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy) (rh)7/4/2020
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Around half of Israelis hospitalized with coronavirus are ultra-Orthodox – TVTOI staff - Ultra-Orthodox patients make up around half the coronavirus patients being treated in various major hospitals around the country, according to unofficial figures cited by the two leading Israeli news channels on Sunday evening. Channels 12 and 13 both reported similar percentages of ultra-Orthodox patients, who come from a community that makes up just 10 percent of the total Israeli population.(rh)7/4/2020
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Two years on, no accountability for Palestinian child protestors killed by Israeli forcesDefence for Children International Palestine - After two years, there has been no justice and accountability for the unlawful killing and maiming Palestinian children during weekly demonstrations in the Gaza Strip, despite well-documented evidence of war crimes committed by Israeli forces. Since March 30, 2018, Israeli forces have killed at least 49 Palestinian children in the context of demonstrations near the Gaza perimeter fence, according to evidence collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. During the same period, Israeli forces killed an additional 32 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. In the overwhelming majority of these 81 cases, the children did not pose a direct, mortal threat at the time of their death. (rh)7/4/2020
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Israelis, Palestinians and COVID-19 - March 2020 assesment from the Geneva InitiativeGeneva Initiative - The Two-State Index - Israeli-Palestinian cooperation rises to meet threat of COVID-19: Effect of the global pandemic on Israeli and Palestinian societies leads both sides to work together against a common enemy, and enables an unprecedented Israeli decision to allow PA security forces to enter East Jerusalem and Area C. COVID-19 crisis freezes push for West Bank annexation: The Israeli government’s fight against the spread of the virus, along with the political stalemate, curtail efforts to annex parts of the West Bank in the near term. Gaza and the West Bank see dramatic drop in violence as PA initiates assistance measures: COVID-19 crisis pushes Israel and Palestinian factions to almost entirely halt all attacks, while Hamas and the Palestinian Authority take new steps to combat the virus. However: New evidence and activity related to settlement expansion: Among other findings, a new report shows that settlement approvals soared in 2019, and more action is taken by Israel to allow for building in E1. [ak]2/4/2020
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