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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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WATCH: Forensic analysis undermines Israeli police narrative of checkpoint killingOren Ziv - +972Mag - On June 23, 2020, Ahmad Erekat, a 27-year-old Palestinian from Abu Dis in the occupied West Bank, drove to pick up his sister from a bridal salon in Bethlehem, a few hours before her wedding. At around 3:50 p.m. Erekat drove up to the infamous “Container Checkpoint,” located on the main road that connects the north of the West Bank to the south. Under the Oslo Accords, the area on both sides of the checkpoint is under the full control of the Palestinian Authority, yet the checkpoint itself is manned 24-hours a day by Israeli security forces. When Erekat passed through the checkpoint, he swerved from the route and crashed into a booth full of police officers. Erekat, unarmed, exited the car. The officers shot six bullets into him. An hour and a half after he was shot, Erekat’s body was removed from the area.//Israeli media outlets were quick to label the crash an act of terrorism. Their suspicion that Erekat had intended to crash his car into the checkpoint only grew after a second video surfaced, which showed him speaking into his phone camera while driving his car, saying that he is not a “spy.”(rh) 28/2/2021
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Evidence stage of Netanyahu’s trial postponed until after electionsRAOUL WOOTLIFF - The Times of Israel - The Jerusalem District Court announced Monday night that it was postponing the evidentiary stage of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial until April 5, ceding to a request by the premier’s legal team for the proceedings to start after the March 23 elections. Hearings will be held three times a week, from Monday through Wednesday, from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., the court said. At the same time, the judges in the case rejected a demand by Netanyahu’s attorneys to cancel the criminal indictments against the premier over the attorney general’s apparent failure to approve the criminal investigations in writing. “After reviewing and examining the parties’ arguments, we came to the general conclusion that no clear reason arose for the dismissal of the indictment,” the judges wrote in their ruling. (rh)28/2/2021
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Bennett: I’m more right-wing than Bibi, but I don’t use the tools of hateDAVID HOROVITZ - The Times of Israel - Several of Israel’s political parties have indicated that they won’t join forces under anyone but Benjamin Netanyahu when it’s time to build a coalition after next month’s elections. Several more have made plain that they’ll partner with anyone, or almost anyone, except Netanyahu. Between these pro- and anti-Netanyahu blocs sits one man, Naftali Bennett, leader of Yamina. Bennett, 48, has his sights set on being prime minister himself, and says it’s past time that Netanyahu, 71, move on. But in contrast to Gideon Sa’ar, who like Bennett is a former close Netanyahu ally now leading a rival right-wing party, Bennett won’t definitively rule out a coalition partnership with Netanyahu. He wants to defeat Netanyahu fair and square at the ballot box, he says, not boycott him.(rh)28/2/2021
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Kahane lives? What does Itamar Ben Gvir, backed by Netanyahu, really stand for?HAVIV RETTIG GUR - The Times of Israel - A month before the elections, debate has broken out among Israeli pundits and politicians over whether a far-right politician and disciple of the late extremist rabbi Meir Kahane is, in fact, a “Kahanist.”Waged on news broadcasts and op-ed pages, in radio talk shows and news sites’ comment sections, the debate is unsurprisingly intense.The question: Is Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir, now running for Knesset as part of the Religious Zionism slate, a “full-blown Kahanist,” or something less extreme? (rh) 28/2/2021
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Israels Coast is devastated by an oil spill. If only we’d had an emergency planThe Times of Israel - A week after almost the entire Israeli Mediterranean coastline was devastated by tar from an oil spill at sea, the Environmental Protection Ministry on Wednesday finally began a full-scale clean-up operation.Experts have found themselves at a loss for words when trying to convey the scope of the disaster. The authorities have been forced to order the public away from all beaches from Rosh Hanikra in the north to Ashkelon in the south. As a precautionary measure, the Health Ministry on Wednesday evening indefinitely banned the sale of fish and seafood from the Mediterranean. “We make such loving, hardworking efforts to protect every site, every creature,” said Ruti Yahel, an ecologist with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, “and then this comes along and overturns everything… It’s heartbreaking.” (rh)28/2/2021
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Netanyahu`s plan to donate vaccines to other countries suspended, awaits legal opinion Rina Bassist - Al-Monitor - The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Feb. 25 halted the process of sending Moderna coronavirus vaccines to foreign countries, according to media reports. It appears that the decision to send vaccines abroad will need to be examined by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit before it can be further carried out. Earlier in the day, Defense Minister Benny Gantz had called on Netanyahu to suspend the transfer of vaccines. Gantz demanded that the Security Cabinet be convened for deliberations before a decision is made. “This is not the first time that significant security and diplomatic decisions are made behind the back of the relevant officials, with possible harm to the security of the state, foreign relations and rule of law,” Gantz said. (rh) 28/2/2021
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How the Pandemic Nearly Tore Israel ApartRonen Bergman - The New York Times - Since the pandemic began, funerals have become a subject of intense, sometimes even violent controversy in Israel. The nation has kept its people in lockdown longer than nearly any other has, but it nevertheless has struggled with one of the highest rates of coronavirus infection. The main source of this seeming paradox is the ultra-Orthodox community, which has largely refused to wear masks or practice social distancing, arguing that the demands of lockdown prevent them from practicing their religion. By January, these Haredi communities, as the ultra- Orthodox are known in Hebrew, had three times as many cases per capita as the Israeli population at large. Soloveitchik himself had apparently been infected at his yeshiva, where, in defiance of government mandates, classes continued as ever. Now thousands of black-hatted and black-clothed Haredim were gathering in Jerusalem for his funeral procession, unmasked and unpoliced, creating a stark visual record of what seemed certain to become a superspreader event. (rh) 28/2/2021
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ICC has no choice but to investigate settlements as a war crime, a game changer in power politics — SfardPHILIP WEISS - Mondoweiss - The ruling by the International Criminal Court that it has jurisdiction to investigate Israeli war crimes in the occupied territories has introduced a “major new actor” into the power politics of the conflict, and sent a chill through the Israeli government to the point that it has abandoned plans to remove Palestinian villages in the West Bank, says Michael Sfard, the Israeli human rights attorney. Sfard said that court cannot “evade” an investigation and even prosecution of Israeli officials over the illegal settlements policy in the West Bank. And this means that Israel can no longer ignore European countries, including Germany, Britain, France, the Netherlands, and Scandinavian nations, that have repeatedly called on it to end the settlements. (rh)28/2/2021
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Israel halts vaccine transfer abroad amid legal scrutinyItamar Eichner,Tova Tzimuki - srael announced Thursday the process of sending coronavirus vaccines to allied nations has been halted amid legal scrutiny as well as domestic and international criticism. The decision came after Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit sent a letter to National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat asking for clarifications about the program that would send 45,000 vaccines to 20 countries in what has been called "vaccine diplomacy" (rh)28/2/2021
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Will Impunity Reign or Will International Criminal Justice Come for Israel?Jonathan Kuttab - Portside - On February 5, the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled, for purposes of its jurisdiction, that Palestine is a state. The chief prosecutor who sought this opinion, Fatou Bensouda, is now free to investigate war crimes that may have occurred in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. This action removed one more block on the long road for Palestinians to compel international scrutiny of Israel’s actions that violate international law and its war crimes against the Palestinian people. It also underscores and answers the vigorous and— so far—successful attempts by Israel to avoid such scrutiny and to continue to flaunt its ability to do so with apparent impunity. Perhaps no other people have tried as hard as the Palestinians to achieve redress through the international legal system. In the United Nations, numerous reports and resolutions have established an impressive record of Israel’s wrongdoing, yet efforts to push the Security Council to impose any form of accountability or sanctions under Chapter VII of the UN Charter have been stymied by the ever- present American veto of any such move. The United States has used its veto power 44 times against resolutions concerning Israel, ones that had been approved by other members of the Security Council. Over the years, Israel had grown to expect such vetoes, almost as a matter of right. To be sure, in December 2016 when the Obama Administration abstained from voting on Resolution 2334, which condemned settlements in the occupied territories, Israel went into a panic, with one minister declaring that Obama stabbed Israel in the back.(rh)28/2/2021
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JNF plans to expand into West Bank settlements draws widespread condemnationYUMNA PATEL - Mondoweiss - The Jewish National Fund (JNF) is moving forward with a new policy allowing the organization to purchase privately-owned Palestinian land deep in the occupied West Bank. The executive board of the organization, which works to promote Jewish control of land in historic Palestine, voted 6-5 on Sunday to start officially purchasing land in the West Bank to expand Israeli settlements.A draft resolution of the new policy, obtained by Axios, states that the group would be allowed to purchase land from Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank, potentially for hundreds of millions of dollars. // Priority will be given to acquiring Palestinian land that lies within the boundaries of existing settlements, as well as land adjacent to those settlements that could be used for their expansion. Among the areas of the West Bank reported to be prioritized are lands in the Jordan Valley — previously slated by Israel for annexation — and in the districts of Hebron, Bethlehem, and Ramallah, among others.(rh)21/2/2021
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Israel’s Vaccine ApartheidOmar Aziz - Tribune - Israel continues to roll out Covid-19 vaccines at world-leading speed to its nine million citizens: since the programme began on 19 December, over 45 percent of its population has been vaccinated. According to the British Medical Journal, infections are ‘plummeting’ as a result. Palestinians, meanwhile, are being forced to wait. Last week, Israel agreed to supply 5,000 doses to Palestinian frontline medical workers, but even now only 2,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine have been delivered; this week, Israel has delayed the delivery of vaccines to Gaza. On Wednesday, Israeli medics vaccinated a mere 400 Palestinians—residents of East Jerusalem and Palestinians who work in Israel on a daily basis—and Palestine has received 10,000 doses of the Russian vaccine, enough to vaccinate 5,000 individuals — but the Occupied Territories are home to millions. With more than 108,000 coronavirus cases in the West Bank resulting in 1,325 deaths, and some 51,000 cases in Gaza—one of the most densely populated areas in the world—resulting in 523 deaths, the Occupied Palestinian Territories have a fatality rate of 1.1 percent compared to Israel’s 0.7 percent. The already extreme healthcare inequalities for Palestinians under Israel’s occupation, especially in the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip, have been compounding the lethal effects of the virus. (rh) 21/2/2021
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In Israel and the Gulf, Reaction to U.S. Push for Iran Talks Is Muted but Wary : Nations that opposed the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran responded cautiously to the Biden administration’s decision to re-engage, while those that supported the deal cheered Patrick Kingsley and Vivian Yee - The New York Times - JERUSALEM — When the United States last tried to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran, the reaction from the Israeli government was blunt and fierce. In the years preceding Iran’s 2015 agreement with Washington and several other leading powers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel repeatedly called the negotiations a “historic mistake.” But on Friday, the formal announcement that the Biden administration was seeking a return to nuclear negotiations with Iran, after the collapse of the 2015 agreement under President Trump, did not provoke a sharp backlash — not just in Jerusalem, but also in the Gulf nations of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which also oppose too generous a rapprochement with Iran. The muted response from Iran’s regional antagonists may mask a strong undercurrent of pessimism and behind-the-scenes pushback against the Americans’ decision. Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates remain wary of Iran’s intentions, and have signaled that they would be open to a deal only if it went well beyond the previous one — reining in Iran’s ballistic missile program, its meddling in other countries and the militias it supports in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere, in addition to its nuclear program. (rh)21/2/2021
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Likud will never be able to remove stain of KahaneNahum Barnea - Ynetnews - By embracing Itamar Ben-Gvir, Netanyahu may believe he will secure the immunity he seeks in the criminal proceedings against him, but he is underestimating the extremists and racists if he thinks he can control them - and his party will pay the price. A number of years ago a synagogue was constructed on private Palestinian land in the West Bank settlement of Givat Ze`ev, north of Jerusalem. After all legal avenues were exhausted by its builders, the synagogue was condemned and its demolition order issued. At that point the disciples of the late racist rabbi Meir Kahane appeared on the scene. They occupied the condemned building and prevented authorities, including the police, from carrying out the court- ordered demolition. (rh) 21/2/2021
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Netanyahu mourns Limbaugh, pushes for confrontational path over US-Iran talks Ben Caspit - Al-Monitor - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waited four weeks for his first phone call from US President Joe Biden, whom he has known for almost four decades. Netanyahu’s office reported that the Feb. 17 conversation was “very warm and friendly,” lasting nearly an hour and covering all the key issues on their agenda. Truly idyllic. The Israeli announcement also reported that the president “commended the prime minister on his leadership in the fight against the coronavirus.” The White House statement did not — maybe a reflection of the fact that while Biden’s election is behind him, Netanyahu’s is still a month away. The very next day, Netanyahu was already kicking the milk bucket that had just begun to fill by tweeting particularly effusive condolences on this week’s passing of conservative provocative talk show host Rush Limbaugh at the age of 70. Netanyahu is well aware that Democrats despised Limbaugh, his views and his right-wing preaching. He knows that his tweet is tantamount to a finger in the eye of the entire party. He is familiar with the ins and outs of US politics and with the backrooms of the Washington power structure and understands fully what it means when he says, “We shall miss him dearly.” While Netanyahu’s praise of the controversial firebrand drew some domestic criticism, too, people who know Netanyahu well are convinced he was making a statement beyond the obligatory consolations. In fact, he was telling Democrats that while they had gotten rid of former President Donald Trump, they are stuck with him and he has no intention of giving up or turning the page. I am here to stay, I am a Republican. Thus spoke Netanyahu. (rh) 21/2/2021
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In exchange for captive, Israel said to buy $1m of Russian COVID doses for SyriaTOI STAFF - Israel is said to have agreed to purchase an unknown number of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine doses for use in Syria as part of the deal for the return of an Israeli woman who was held by the Syrian regime after crossing the border two weeks ago. The woman arrived in Israel on Friday via Moscow and was being debriefed this weekend by the Shin Bet security agency. According to a report (Arabic) in the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday, Israel is funding the purchase of Sputnik V doses for Damascus as part of the prisoner exchange deal with the Assad regime. The Ynet news site reported Saturday that Israel’s purchase of the vaccine doses was to the tune of over a million dollars.(rh)21/2/2021
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The Israeli right wants Arabs at the polls — with one big conditionMeron Rapoport and Ameer Fakhoury - +972 - A veritable “love blitz.” There is no better way to describe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent outreach to Palestinian citizens in Israel. There is the bromance with Mansour Abbas, the leader of the Islamic party Ra’am, which nearly gave Netanyahu enough Knesset seats to stay in power, and is one of the core reasons for the breakup of the Joint List. There is the prime minister’s hyped visits to health clinics delivering COVID-19 vaccines in Tira, Umm al-Fahm, Nazareth, and other Palestinian communities. (rh)21/2/2021
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Israel`s ambassador says not interested in working with US on return to Iran deal Al-Monitor Staff - Al=Monitor - As US President Joe Biden works to revive the landmark Iranian nuclear agreement, Israel’s envoy to the United States suggested Tuesday that Israel may not consult with the new administration on its steps to reenter. Biden has pledged to engage with allies and partners, including Israel, before making any moves to join the deal. But Reuters reports that some Israeli officials believe consulting with the Biden administration could backfire for Israel “by falsely signaling its consent for any new deal that it still opposes.” “We will not be able to be part of such a process if the new administration returns to that deal,” Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Gilad Erdan, told Army Radio. (rh) 21/2/2021
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A Baby and His Mother: The Cancer Journey of a Palestinian FamilyTamar Fleishman - Palestine Chronicle - “We`re waiting for a cancer patient from Jenin so we can deliver him to Augusta Victoria Hospital on Mount Scopus in East Jerusalem,” said the member of the Jerusalem Red Crescent medical team while waiting in their parked ambulance on the roadside of the Israeli military checkpoint at Qalandiya. I waited with them. We waited for a long time. We spent the time talking about various issues pertaining to their difficult mission, including when Palestinian patients are transferred between ambulances, about the vaccinations, and more.But nothing prepared me for the fact that the cancer patient we were waiting for was an 11- month-old baby. Furath, gravely ill with cancer, was taken out of the ambulance in his mother’s arms, his scrawny arm pierced by a plastic tube where the IV entered his little body. Present were the two Palestinian medical teams – one from Jenin and one from East Jerusalem, the two ambulances, two stretchers, Israeli soldiers and security guards, guns, and in the midst of all of these – a sick baby and his mom. The military procedure was followed strictly, including the baggage inspection. The mother had to hand Furath over to a member of the medical team and present the content of her bags to a soldier. While I do not accuse the military occupation of Furath’s cancer, as such illnesses are often the matter of fate, the occupation is still guilty; guilty of forcibly taking a little baby and his mother away from their city, isolating them from their own family, separating between a gravely ill child and his father, who was unfairly denied permit to accompany his wife in this painful journey. (rh) 21/2/2021
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Nobel Peace Prize 2021: The case against Jared KushnerBelen Fernandez - Aljazeera - Jared Kushner, former White House adviser and prized son-in-law of Twitter ban victim and ex-US President Donald Trump, has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz. The nomination is based on Kushner’s role in negotiating last year the “Abraham Accords”, the normalisation deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. Of course, of all the people to be running around making Nobel Peace Prize nominations, Dershowitz’s credentials are rather dubious. His track record includes advocating for the legalisation of torture and psychopathically arguing in the Wall Street Journal on behalf of a “continuum of civilianality” – according to which it is OK for Israel to kill Arab civilians because, well, many of them are just not that civilian-like. It is not difficult to see why celebrity lawyer Dershowitz, who also defended Trump during his first impeachment trial, would celebrate the “peace” efforts of nepotism’s favourite poster boy. After all, Kushner’s approach to Middle East peace is to definitively dispossess the Palestinians and thereby finalise Israel’s project of territorial domination based on ethnic cleansing and apartheid. (rh) 21/2/2021
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Artists like me are being censored in Germany – because we support Palestinian rightsBrian Eno - The Guardian - I am just one of many artists who have been affected by a new McCarthyism that has taken hold amid a rising climate of intolerance in Germany. Novelist Kamila Shamsie, poet Kae Tempest, musicians Young Fathers and rapper Talib Kwelli, visual artist Walid Raad and the philosopher Achille Mbembe are among the artists, academics, curators and others who have been caught up in a system of political interrogation, blacklisting and exclusion that is now widespread in Germany thanks to the passing of a 2019 parliamentary resolution. Ultimately this is about targeting critics of Israeli policy towards Palestinians. Recently, an exhibition of my artwork was cancelled in its early stages because I support the nonviolent, Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The cancellation was never publicly declared, but I understand it to have been the consequence of cultural workers in Germany fearing that they and their institution would be punished for promoting someone labelled as “antisemitic”. This is the work of tyranny: create a situation where people are frightened enough to keep their mouths shut, and self-censorship will do the rest.(rh)14/2/2021
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Polish court orders historians to apologize over Holocaust bookAssociated Press - Ynetnews - Two prominent Polish scholars, Barbara Engelking and Jan Grabowski, were sued by the 81-year-old niece of a wartime village elder who argued a book they co-edited defames her deceased uncle`s memory by suggesting he had a role in the death of Jews. The uncle is mentioned in a brief passage of a 1,600-page historical work, "Night Without End: The Fate of Jews in Selected Counties of Occupied Poland." Poland`s governing nationalist Law and Justice party (PiS) has said it views any investigation into complicity by Poles in the wartime slaughter of Jews as dishonoring the country. The researchers said they will appeal against the decision.(rh) 14/2/2021
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Israelis suspected of selling advanced missiles to U.S. rival in AsiaYaniv Kubovich, Josh Breiner - Information Clearing House - Over 20 Israelis, including former employees of Israeli defense firms, have been investigated for illegally selling weapons to U.S. rival in Asia. Most details of the investigation, including which country is involved, are under a gag order. Sources with knowledge of the investigation said the case was highly sensitive, as it could affect Israel`s foreign relations and lead to a crisis between superpowers. According to a statement by Israel Police on Thursday, an investigation together with the Shin Bet security service found that the suspects "developed, manufactured, tested and sold armed loitering missiles to an Asian country." (rh)14/2/2021
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The cracks in Yair Lapid’s glass ceilingBiranit Goren - Times of Israel - His allies betrayed him, his partners left him and his opponents outshone him – but the Yesh Atid chair chose to remain silent. That`s exactly why he could well be PM one day (rh) 14/2/2021
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Even AIPAC was alarmed by rise of Israeli racist party in 2019. Now, who cares!PHILIP WEISS - Mondoweiss - What happens when Israel just keeps turning into such a rightwing Jewish-supremacist country that American Israel-lovers lose their stomach for defending it? Or they get tired of telling us all about the Good Israel that’s waiting to be redeemed? I think that’s happening, and here is a news story that supports that view. Two days ago Benjamin Netanyahu, eager to lose no rightwing votes in his bid for reelection in March, signed a vote- sharing agreement with a party that includes extremist racists. Vote- sharing deals mean that two parties can get another seat in parliament by combining their “leftover” votes. Otherwise those extra votes would simply be parcelled to other parties. Netanyahu needs to keep those seats on his side. Last week, Netanyahu actually midwifed the birth of this new racist party– Religious Zionism– out of smaller factions so that Religious Zionism would have a better chance of exceeding the threshhold. If a party falls below the threshhold in the election– 3.25 percent/four seats in parliament — it doesn’t get any seats at all.(rh)14/2/2021
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‘NY Times’ and ‘Washington Post’ have still said nothing about B’Tselem’s finding a month ago that Israel is an ‘apartheid regimeJAMES NORTH - Mondoweiss - One month after one of Israel’s leading human rights organizations declared that the country is ruled by an “apartheid” state, liberal Zionists in the U.S. are breathing more easily. The New York Times and the Washington Post have still published nothing on the landmark finding by the human rights group B’Tselem, nor have any of their editorial writers or main columnists chimed in. Liberal Zionists can relax. With the apartheid designation still a secret to most Americans, groups like J Street don’t have to explain why they still oppose the nonviolent global campaign for Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS). (rh)14/2/2021
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From Israeli prison, Barghouti mulls presidency bid, turning up heat on AbbasAARON BOXERMAN - Times of Israel - Security prisoner Marwan Barghouti, widely seen as a rival to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, is considering running in the scheduled Palestinian presidential elections, a close associate of his confirmed Thursday. “Our comrade Marwan is considering the possibility, but he has not yet made a decision either way,” former Palestinian legislator Qaddura Fares said in a phone call. Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison for his role planning deadly terror attacks against Israelis in the Second Intifada, is popular among Palestinians and is widely seen as a possible successor to Abbas. (rh)14/2/2021
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Even AIPAC was alarmed by rise of Israeli racist party in 2019. Now, who cares!PHILIP WEISS - Mondoweiss - Two days ago Benjamin Netanyahu, eager to lose no rightwing votes in his bid for reelection in March, signed a vote-sharing agreement with a party that includes extremist racists. Vote-sharing deals mean that two parties can get another seat in parliament by combining their “leftover” votes. Otherwise those extra votes would simply be parcelled to other parties. Netanyahu needs to keep those seats on his side. (rh)14/2/2021
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Israel`s leaders are out of ideasNadav Eyal - Ynetnews - There is no logic to decisions made by ministers who would rather fall back on revert failed solutions than promote the coronavirus vaccinations and come up with creative ways of safely reopening schools. (rh) 14/2/2021
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Netanyahu’s Likud signs surplus vote-sharing deal with far-right partyTOI STAFF - Times of Israel - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party on Wednesday signed a surplus vote-sharing agreement with the far-right Religious Zionism party, which includes the Kahanist Otzma Yehudit and the anti-LGBT Noam factions, ahead of next month’s Knesset elections. Under the agreement, furthermore, Likud promised that Netanyahu would include Religious Zionism MKs “in any government he forms,” a stance at odds with previous promises by senior Likud figures that Religious Zionism’s No.3, Itamar Ben Gvir, would not be part of a Netanyahu government.(rh)14/2/2021
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Israelis, Palestinians want separation, skeptical of solutions - studyLAHAV HARKOV - Jerusalem Post - “The overwhelming priority in all discussions with Israeli Jews and with Palestinians was the desire to separate from the other and avoid any governance or living arrangement that brought the two groups closer together,” the report explained. A two-state solution was unsurprisingly found to be the most politically viable alternative. It was the preferred alternative for Israeli Arabs and West Bank Palestinians, and came in second place for Israeli Jews (after the status quo) and Gazan Palestinians. [bz] 11/2/2021
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Compilation of all 2020 UN reports on the Palestinians made available UN Committee on the Inalienable Rights of The Palestinian People - As at the end of every years, all reports on the Palestinian issue published during 2020 by various United Nations bodies and agencies have been systematically compiled, with links to all items available to the use of diplomats, activists and academic researchers. Subjects referenced in these reports include: Access and movement, Annexation, Armed conflict, Assistance, Ceasefire, Children, Covenant: Civil and Political Rights, Covenant: Economic Social and Cultural Rights, Economic issues, Education and culture, Energy, Environmental issues, Fourth Geneva Convention, Gaza Strip, Gender, Golan Heights, Health, Holy places, Human rights and international humanitarian law, Incidents, Internally displaced persons, Jerusalem, Land, Legal issues, Living conditions, NGOs/Civil Society, Natural resources, Occupation, Palestine question, Peace conference, Peace process, Protection, Public information, Refugee camps, Refugees and displaced persons, Security issues, Settlements, Social issues, Terrorism, Wall, Water, Women, and violence. [ak] 11/2/2021
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In thrice-demolished village, a Mideast battle of willsAssociated Press - Ynetnews - The IDF has bulldozed the Palestinian Bedouin herding community of Khirbet Humsu three times in as many months, with residents returning again and again to repair their fences — hoping to gather their sheep, knowing the army might return the next day (rh)7/2/2021
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As the Arab Joint List falls apart, the biggest winner is NetanyahuAARON BOXERMAN - The Times of Israel - On Thursday night, the long- anticipated divorce between Mansour Abbas (Ra’am) and the Joint List’s other three parties became official. “I don’t like to use the word ‘betrayal’” to describe Mansour Abbas’s break with the faction, Joint List chair Ayman Odeh said in an interview with Channel 13. He didn’t propose an alternative term, either. The dissolution of the Joint List, which last March won the largest electoral showing in Arab Israeli political history — an unprecedented 15 Knesset seats — heralds the beginning of a hard political season for the Arab parties. Polls indicate that it is unlikely — but not impossible — for Ra’am to cross the 3.25% electoral threshold. Before the separation was formalized last week, the Joint List was already polling at a low 10 seats. If Ra’am’s mandates vanish — that could send the rest of the Joint List tumbling together to 8 or even 7 seats in the Knesset.(rh) 7/2/2021
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Global solidarity builds for Issa Amro, facing sentencing by Israeli military courtPHILIP WEISS - Mondoweiss - Issa Amro is an anti-apartheid activist in the occupied city of Hebron in Palestine who is dedicated to nonviolence, though he has been arrested by the Israeli military more times than he can remember. “I was arrested, detained, attacked many times… I used to be detained and arrested around 25 times a year,” he says. Last month Amro was convicted in an Israeli military court on six trumped-up charges relating to his work over several years, among them the charge of disrespecting an Israeli soldier by using the word “stupid.” Amro faces sentencing by a military judge next week, and there’s been a campaign of solidarity for Amro from around the world. Amnesty International has called on Israel to drop the case, saying it is “politically motivated” and the charges against Amro are “baseless.” Representatives of the British, European, EU and Canadian consulates attended his last hearing, Yumna Patel reported, and the Canadian mission to Ramallah expressed support for Amro.(rh)7/2/2021
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Netanyahu sees a path to reelection with new fascist/racist bloc that includes ‘Jewish Power’JONATHAN OFIR - Mondoweiss - The Kahanist Jewish Power party, led by Meir Kahane’s disciple Itamar Ben Gvir (who is said to have a poster of the 1994 Hebron massacre terrorist Baruch Goldstein in his living- room), has been courted before by Netanyahu in these forever- elections – and Netanyahu is reportedly doing so again. He is said to be promoting a merger between Jewish Power and Bezalel Smotrich’s faction Religious Zionism. In this deal, he offered Smotrich a ministerial portfolio if he merges with Jewish Power. Smotrich is an extremist himself: the author of the “decision plan” that offers an ultimatum to non-Jews of total surrender to Apartheid, or expulsion. Jewish Power needs Smotrich. These followers of Rabbi Meir Kahane, the former Jewish terror leader who was even too much for the Israeli parliament (Kahane’s Kach party was outlawed in 1988 after first being elected to the Knesset in 1984), have a considerable following. In the September 2019 elections, they won almost 84,000 votes. But recent polls up to two days ago showed Jewish Power failing to clear the electoral threshold. As Smotrich’s party was also failing to clear the threshhold. But if they joined their 2% each, they would clear it that threshhold. And they did that yesterday, with Netanyahu’s help. Recent polling gives this combined Jewish-fascist party 5 seats! (rh)7/2/2021
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Israel`s Netanyahu postpones trip to UAE and Bahrain amid virus surgeAl-Monitor Staff - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has postponed his historic trip to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. “Despite the importance of the trip to Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to postpone the visit at this stage due to the closing of the skies,” read a Thursday press release from the prime minister’s office. Netanyahu was scheduled to visit the two Gulf states next week. However, Israel is currently experiencing a major outbreak of COVID-19, despite its fast-paced vaccination campaign. In late January, Israel instituted a flight ban to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. The prime minister’s office cited the air travel situation as justification for postponing the UAE and Bahrain trips. (rh) 7/2/2021
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Three Decades After his Death, Kahane’s Message of Hate is More Popular Than EverDavid Sheen - MERIP - For all of its successes in the past three decades, the Kahanist movement has failed to meet two major benchmarks: producing a viable successor as charismatic as Kahane himself and transforming itself into a mass movement capable of competing in the Knesset with Israel’s largest secular right-wing political parties. The absence of a leader of his caliber has not stopped Kahane’s ideas from being adopted by a range of far-right politicians. The principles that Rabbi Meir Kahane popularized—that liberal democracy is an undesirable alien idea and that non-Jews must be driven down, and preferably out of Greater Israel altogether—have seeped deep into mainstream Israeli society. In the decades since his death, Kahane’s dedicated followers have dragged the country from the right to the far-right, and in the coming years they will drag it even further. In Israel of 2021, espousing racist hatred toward Palestinians and other non-Jews is not a mark of shame, but a badge of honor.(rh)7/2/2021
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Report: Imprisoned Palestinian Leader Barghouti to Run for President in Upcoming ElectionsKhaled Abu Toameh - Palestine Chronicle - Fatah officials: Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, 61, will run against President Mahmoud Abbas, 85, in the presidential election on July 31.(rh) 7/2/2021
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PA says Israel’s ‘symbolic’ donation of 5,000 vaccines ‘will not help us’YUMNA PATEL - Mondoweiss - After weeks of mounting pressure from the international community, Israel announced that it will be giving 5,000 doses of its COVID-19 vaccine supplies to the Palestinian Authority (PA) — an amount so miniscule, that the PA said it “will not help us.” Israel announced the move on Sunday, with a spokesperson for Defense Minister Benny Gantz telling AFP “I confirm we are going to set 5,000 vaccines to medical teams in the Palestinian Authority.The doses, according to AFP, are intended to inoculate Palestinian medical personnel and those on the front lines fighting the coronavirus. It remained unclear when the shipment would be made, and when the PA would start vaccinating healthcare workers. But with two doses required per person, the shipment will only result in the vaccination of 2,500 medical personnel, leaving thousands more healthcare workers across the West Bank and Gaza at risk. An unnamed Palestinian official told AFP that the shipment was a “symbolic move” and that it “will not help us.” Israel has come out as a world leader for its distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, so far inoculating 3.2 million people (34.3 percent of the country’s population). But Israel has, as right groups have pointed out, failed to uphold its responsibility under international law to vaccinate the Palestinian population it occupies in Gaza and the West Bank. If the shipment of 5,000 vaccines does go through and the PA begins vaccinating healthcare workers, the lucky recipients of the vaccine will, according to public knowledge, be the first Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (rh)7/2/2021
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Why Was Netanyahu So Quick to Close Israel`s Airport?Meirav Arlosoroff - Haaretz - Israel is the only country in the world to close its airport. Instead of a proportionate, thought-out COVID policy that could have brought about the same result with less damage, Israel chose again to go with a single dramatic, aggressive move.(rh)7/2/2021
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B’Tselem casts Israel as a racist endeavor, correcting the ethical grammar of Israel/PalestineROBERT A.H. COHEN - Mondoweiss - B’Tselem’s new report describing all of Israel and the Palestinian Occupied Territories as a single ‘apartheid’ regime will have widespread and long-term implications. Not only does it change the acceptable vocabulary on Israel/Palestine, it also alters the ethical grammar which has created and sustained an injustice now in its eighth decade. How we speak and what we can say will shape the future politics of this conflict and change the ethical framework through which solutions are found and implemented. In short, language matters.(rh)7/2/2021
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Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory 28 Palestinian Centre for Human Rights - Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued to commit crimes and multi-layered violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties, including raids into Palestinian cities that are characterized with excessive use of force, assault, abuse and attacks on civilians that are mostly conducted after midnight and in the early morning hours. This week witnessed a continued escalation in IOF demolitions particularly in the northern Jordan valleys, which witnessed 3 razing operations that displaced more than 20 families. IOF also dismantled and destroyed dozens of street vendor carts and stands near Jalamah checkpoint and the Annexation Wall in Jenin, depriving dozens of Palestinians of their livelihoods. This week, PCHR documented 237 violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by IOF and settlers in the oPt. [ak]4/2/2021
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