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Ban on Israeli activists from West Bank based on lies and misinformation : Naftali Bennett`s decision to bar 30 Israeli activists from the West Bank is an attempt to silence anyone who dares work alongside Palestinians to end the occupation.Oren Ziv - +972 - Whether it is because Israel completed the building of the barrier, activist fatigue, or violent suppression of the protests — which included arrests, injuries, and even deaths — the demonstrations have never been smaller. In the past, hundreds of Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists would join the weekly protests in numerous sites around the West Bank. Today only symbolic protests take place in the villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, which usually include no more than 20 people. Nabi Saleh no longer holds protests on a regular basis. Only in the village of Qaddum do between 100-200 people still demonstrate on a weekly basis.(rh) 21/1/2020
NGO Ir Amim says 104 housing units were demolished by the Israeli army in 2019, compared with 72 units a year earlier.Aljazeera - Israeli authorities demolished homes in Palestinian areas of occupied East Jerusalem at a significantly higher rate in 2019 than the previous year, according to an Israeli advocacy group. In a new report, Ir Amim said 104 housing units were demolished in 2019 compared with 72 units in 2018. The 44 percent spike also ends what had been a decline in demolitions between 2016 and 2018.(rh) 21/1/2020
Palestinian community orgs and ex-prisoners say the Arab Bank is closing their accountsYumna Patel - Mondoweiss - At the beginning of January, Abu Srour stopped by the bank to pick up the new check books he had ordered two weeks prior, as he had done countless times before. But when he arrived, he was told that his application had been denied, and any further questions should be referred to the compliance department at the bank. After a few days of following up with the bank, he received a call that left him utterly confused. “They told me that I had to close the account of the youth center and move banks as soon as possible,” he told Mondoweiss from his office in the Aida Refugee Camp. When he asked why the account was being closed, Abu Srour said he was told it was an “internal policy” decision. “They refused to elaborate more than that,” he said. (rh)21/1/2020
Palestinian citizens in Israel expect to get 15 seats in Knesset Read more: Kuttab - Al-Monitor - Palestinian citizens in Israel expect to see an increase in their number of Knesset seats in the third election cycle in less than one year in Israel. Days before the window is set to close for submitting election lists, due Jan. 17, polls show it is possible the Joint List — a unified slate of predominantly Arab parties — could garner as many as 15 members in the March 2 elections, a whopping 50% improvement over the results of the April 2019 elections when the Joint List was split and only able to reach 10 seats. When Arabs united in the September 2019 elections, they gained 13 seats. (rh) 21/1/2020
The Battle to Impeach Trump Is Part of a Global Struggle for DemocracyHenry A. Giroux - Truthout - he impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump — with their abundance of political theater and insipid media coverage — often treat Trump’s crimes as the endpoint of an abuse of power and an illegal act. This is a grave mistake: We must understand Trump’s crimes not as an endpoint but as symptoms of a long history of conditions that have led to the United States’ slide into the abyss of authoritarianism. Trump’s impeachment battle is part of the wider historical and global struggle taking place over democracy. This is apparent, as Larry Diamond points out, in Trump’s attack on “the independence of the courts, the business community, the media, civil society, universities and sensitive state institutions like the civil service, the intelligence agencies and the police.” (rh)21/1/2020
Israeli rightwing parties merge ahead of election – wolves in sheeps’ clothingJonathan Ofir - Mondoweiss - The big drama occurred last night, on the right. The New Right is now being led by Naftali Bennett, who has in the past boasted of killing “many Arabs.” Bennett leads the New Right with Ayelet Shaked, the former Justice Minister who is known for having incited genocide on social media, posting a text that called Palestinian children “little snakes”. Shaked has recently complained that a law meant to punish illegal construction is also targeting Jews, and that this was not the intention. Amazingly, Bennett is now portraying himself as a liberal. He wanted to get Jewish Home to run together with him, but insisted on them dropping the merger with Jewish Power that they had recently made. Jewish Home is led by Rafi Peretz, the Education Minister who promoted gay conversion therapy and called intermarriage a “second Holocaust”. Jewish Home and Jewish Power had gotten together because they were both polling below the threshold, and Peretz was livid about Bennett’s insistence. So for Bennett, Peretz was kosher, but Jewish Power, the disciples of the Jewish terrorist Meir Kahane, were not. (rh)21/1/2020
Why Trump`s peace plan won`t rescue NetanyahuBen Caspit - Al-Monitor - Will US President Donald Trump once again come to the aid of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of the elections? This burning question has been dumped in quite a few political laps in Israel, especially that of the Blue and White party’s chair and candidate for the premiership, Benny Gantz. Persistent reports according to which the US administration is considering presentation of what has been dubbed its "deal of the century" for Israeli-Palestinian peace prior to the March 2 elections are generating heavy headaches for the opposition party’s leadership. 21/1/2020
Israeli ministry paying for anti-BDS propaganda in major news outletsItamar Benzaquen and The Seventh Eye - +972 - The Israeli government recently paid tens of thousands of shekels to the Jerusalem Post in order to publish a series of articles connecting the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS) to anti-Semitism, according to the government’s own procurement department. The articles were part of a “package” purchased by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs that included branding, advertising, a slot at a recent Jerusalem Post conference, and the articles themselves, which appeared in the run-up to the conference. The Jerusalem Post denied that the articles had been paid for. The Strategic Affairs Ministry, headed by Likud minister Gilad Erdan, has for years been spearheading an international campaign to counter what it sees as “de-legitimization” of the State of Israel. This project has, in large part, involved providing funds and handing down directives to non-governmental organizations and journalists in order to enlist them in the fight against BDS.(rh)21/1/2020
Netanyahu suddenly facing effective oppositionMazal Mualem - Al-Monitor - The fight being waged over the past few days to have Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s immunity removed even before the election on March 2 is the most effective opposition effort seen in the Knesset in years. On Jan. 12, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein will have to decide whether he will allow the formation of a new Knesset House Committee to discuss Netanyahu’s immunity. The Blue and White party has already threatened that if he vetoes the demand of 65 Knesset members to form the committee, they will take steps to replace him. This extremely aggressive tactic signals that the Blue and White party is starting to use the same methods against Netanyahu that he himself would have no qualms using to get what he wants. Will they go all the way with their threat? There is no way of knowing. (rh) 21/1/2020
Gantz Vows to Annex Jordan Valley, `Hopes Trump Releases Peace Plan Soon`Noa Landau - Haaretz - Benny Gantz, chairman of Kahol Lavan, said Tuesday that he would work to advance Israel`s annexation of the Jordan Valley after Israel`s March 2 election, adding he is expecting the publication of the Trump administration`s Mideast peace plan. Speaking during a tour of the region, Gantz said "The Jordan Valley is Israel`s eastern defensive barrier in any future conflict. Israeli governments that spoke of the possibility of returning the area [to Jordanian control] were making a grave strategic and security mistake, and we see this strip of land as an inseparable part of the State of Israel." (rh)21/1/2020
Millennials: There will be a nuclear attack in the next decadeMaayan Jaffe-Hoffman - The Jerusalem Post - Most Israeli and Palestinian millennials believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will “never end" [ry] 20/1/2020
As Israel’s role in Soleimani strike is revealed, Hezbollah’s Nasrallah warned he could be nextYumna Patel - Mondoweiss - According to the Times of Israel, following the Channel 13 report, Likud Minister Yoav Gallant, a high- level Israeli security official, warned that Nasrallah “should be wary” as he is “the most prominent figure left in Middle Eastern terror,” following the US killings of Soleimani, Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, and Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghadi over the past few years. By Sunday, Nasrallah had gone public with threats that any further aggression against Iran or US refusal to withdraw troops from the region would result in retaliatory attacks from Hezbollah “If in the coming days or weeks the US doesn’t withdraw its forces from the Middle East, the American soldiers will return to the US in coffins,” Nasrallah said during a memorial ceremony for Soleimani, with whom he maintained close ties.(rh)14/1/2020
After Mossad Targeted Soleimani, Trump Pulled the TriggerJEFFERSON MORLEY - Counterpunch - Last October Yossi Cohen, head of Israel’s Mossad, spoke openly about assassinating Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, the head of the elite Quds Force in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. “He knows very well that his assassination is not impossible,” Cohen said in an interview. Soleimani had boasted that the Israel’s tried to assassinate him in 2006 and failed. “With all due respect to his bluster,” Cohen said, “he hasn’t necessarily committed the mistake yet that would place him on the prestigious list of Mossad’s assassination targets.”(rh)14/1/2020
Hard Evidence on Torture and Ill-Treatment of Palestinian Detainees at Israeli Interrogation CentersAddameer - Since its creation, the occupying state developed and enforced laws and practices that led to both the systematic use of torture and to absolute impunity for the perpetrator of this crime. There has never been any individual or agency held accountable for the well-documented crimes of torture and ill-treatment at Israeli prisons and interrogation centers. The occupation authorities, in particular, the Israeli intelligence agency “Shabak” resorts to torture and ill-treatment as standard operating procedure in a systematic and wide-scale approach against Palestinian detainees. Over the past three months, the intelligence agency subjected a number of detainees at Israeli interrogation centers to severe physical and psychological torture without any form of monitoring and protection. Addameer has hard evidence on the crimes of torture and ill- treatment committed against a number of detainees held at interrogation centers since late August 2019. Addameer was banned from publishing any of the details of torture prior to this date, due to a gag order issued by the Israeli Court of First Instance in Jerusalem. [ak] 14/1/2020
Israel’s Meretz party giving up on ArabsShlomi Eldar - Al-Monitor - Freij said that there are advanced negotiations underway with Taleb el-Sana and Abdel Wahab Darousha of the Arab Party to put a woman representing their party in the No. 6 slot of the Meretz party list. He refused to reveal who that woman might be. Of course, that is no assurance that such a candidate or even he himself would actually become members of the next Knesset. (rh) 14/1/2020
An eye on higher office, Edelstein walks a risky tightrope on Netanyahu immunityRAOUL WOOTLIFF - The Times of Israel - In over four years as Knesset speaker, Yuli Edelstein has showed little compunction about decisively banging the gavel to keep his unruly parliament in line. But recently, the Likud stalwart has found it difficult being as resolute when it comes to just one Knesset member under his charge: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. When senior Likud figures spoke out and backed Netanyahu after criminal charges were announced against him by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, Edelstein was the last to do so. (rh)14/1/2020
Israel’s Renewed Campaign against UNRWA is an Attack on Palestinian Education and LiberationRamona Wadi - Palestine Chronicle - The international community has still not caught up with or refuses to acknowledge, Israel’s commitment to countering each purported victory for the Palestinians with yet more violations. These countermeasures implemented by Israel, notably to prevent the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) from fulfilling its mandate, are now concentrated upon disrupting education for Palestinian students.(rh)14/1/2020
Support for Trump is low throughout the world, but not in IsraelMichael Arria - Mondoweiss - The Pew Research Center has released a new poll on the international support for Donald Trump. While a majority of respondents oppose the President, he remains very popular in Israel. 36,000 respondents were surveyed across 33 countries. 64% of them indicated that they don’t trust Trump “to do the right thing regarding world affairs”, while just 29% said they have confidence in him. 54% said they had favorable views of the United States, while 38% had unfavorable views. The lowest approval for Trump exists in Mexico and Germany. Just 8% of Mexicans have confidence in him, while 13% of Germans do. The countries with the highest numbers are the Philippines and Israel: 77% and 71% respectively. The President only has a majority of support in six countries. (rh)14/1/2020
NY private school fires Jewish teacher for anti-Zionist statementsPhilip Weiss - Mondoweiss - It is the second time in two years that a Jewish history teacher has been forced out of a private New York high school due to anti-Zionist statements. In 2018 longtime history teacher Joel Doerfler left the Riverdale Country School after administrators canceled his class on the history of the conflict because of his questioning of the official narrative. (rh)14/1/2020
‘Disastrous mistake’: Iran admits it mistakenly downed Ukraine plane, killed 176AGENCIES and TOI STAFF - The Times of Israel - Iran announced Saturday that its military “unintentionally” shot down the Ukrainian jetliner that crashed earlier this week outside Tehran, killing all 176 aboard, after the government had repeatedly denied Western accusations that it was responsible. The Iranian president called the incident a “disastrous mistake.” (rh)14/1/2020
The Wall Street Journal accidentally reveals the unbearable truth about Suleimani’s assassinationJohn Stoehr - Alternet - It would be unbearable to think the president ordered a man dead in order to give Republican Senators a means of defending him against an indictment for abuse of power and obstruction. It would be unthinkable for him to bring America to the brink of war in order to create an image of a “war president” too indispensable to remove. As a result, the press corps has been busy this week reporting in granular detail virtually every aspect of Donald Trump’s decision last week to target and kill Iran’s top general in Baghdad. Everything, that is, short of reporting the plain, obvious and unbearable truth: the president ordered a man’s death because he was impeached.(rh)14/1/2020
IDF says Israel `not the story` in Soleimani killingNina Fuchs - Ynetnews - "We`re watching from the sidelines," GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi said at the Ynet conference in Jerusalem. "We need to look at assassinations such as this as part of a battle between Iran and the U.S. over Iraq`s character," he added. Halevi said the assassination will most likely have an impact on Israel but added that Israelis “are not the story here.” “It`s good that it happened so far away." (rh)14/1/2020
BDS Concludes 2019 with Remarkable AchievementsIMEMC News & Agencies - " with regard to the International Criminal Court (ICC) resolution to investigate Israeli war crimes, it was noted that Israel is very concerned with the progress of the movement, as well as with follow- ups to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s intention to publish, at the beginning of 2020, the so-called “black list” of companies working in Israeli settlements constructed in the occupied Palestinian Territories since the 1967 aggression — which, in turn, leads to boycotting and certainly forcing the proprietors to leave the West Bank.From within the spectrum of achieved successes, by the BDS Movement, rose the European Union High Court’s ruling — made possible through efforts exerted by the boycott movement, related associations, and human rights organizations — to label goods which are manufactured or produced in settlements, which are illegal and constitute a major obstacle for peace, and then exported to the EU’s States." ca 11/1/2020
ISRAEL PULSE Instead of slandering it, Israel should join the ICC Yossi Beilin - Al-Monitor - Israel can solve the problem with relative ease: It only needs to go back almost 20 years and ratify the Rome Statute. Any state that ratifies the treaty is authorized to receive a seven-year deferral of action on any part of the document that it finds particularly troubling. If Israel chooses to cite the settlement issue, the ICC will not be authorized to arrest any Israeli on that count until 2028. Ratification would do justice to historic Jewish-Israeli efforts to establish the court and to try individual criminals, and on the other hand would avoid the arrest threat to decision-makers involved in the settlement enterprise. Regardless of the ICC issue, in the coming years, and especially if a different government is formed, Israel will have to make a supreme effort to reach agreement with the Palestinians. Such agreement would address the settlement issue, too. Once an agreement is reached, the issue will be removed from the international agenda, in general, and from that of the ICC. (rh) 7/1/2020
Expert details why Trump’s Twitter threat to destroy Iran’s cultural sites is a historic mistakeDavid J. Wasserstein - Alternet - Two thousand years ago, the great Roman historian Tacitus put the following words in the mouth of a heroic leader of British resistance to the might of imperial Rome: “They make a desert and they call it peace.” The world has come to expect barbarism from Trump’s tweets, but barbarism in action is another thing. Ugly speech is hurtful, but at least it leaves the monuments of the past untouched. (rh)7/1/2020
Soleimani’s assassination could not have come at a better time for NetanyahuNaim Mousa - Mondoweiss - Netanyahu has been attempting to provoke Iran and President Bashar al-Assad of Syria with dozens of Israeli airstrikes being carried out on Syrian and Iranian targets in the region all throughout 2019. Now that his wish has come true, it is looking more and more possible that he will remain in power for yet another term. (rh)7/1/2020
Conflict with Iran Could Be Inevitable after Killing of GeneralMaximilian Popp - Spiegel Online - U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly insisted he does not want war with Iran. Now, with the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, that conflict could be inevitable. It is the price for instinctual foreign policy devoid of experts. (rh)7/1/2020
What was Israel’s role in Trump’s targeting of Soleimani?Jefferson Morley - Alternet - The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida reported two years ago that Washington had given Israel the green light to assassinate Soleimani, as Haaretz recounted: “Al-Jarida, which in recent years… [has] broken exclusive stories from Israel, quoted a source in Jerusalem as saying that ‘there is an American- Israeli agreement’ that Soleimani is a ‘threat to the two countries’ interests in the region.’ It is generally assumed in the Arab world that the paper is used as an Israeli platform for conveying messages to other countries in the Middle East.” Trump has now fulfilled the wishes of Mossad. After proclaiming his intention to end America’s “stupid endless wars,” the president has effectively declared war on the largest country in the region in solidarity with Israel, the most unpopular country in the Middle East. (rh)7/1/2020
The USA is now at war, de-facto and de-jure, with BOTH Iraq and IranThe Saker - Information Clearing House - What we see here is an immense political disaster unfolding like a slow motion train wreck. Make no mistake, this is not just a tactical “oopsie”, but a major STRATEGIC disaster. Why? For one thing, the US will now become an official and totally illegal military presence in Iraq. This means that whatever SOFA (Status Of Forces Agreement) the US and Iraq had until now is void. Second, the US now has two options: Fight and sink deep into a catastrophic quagmire or Withdraw from Iraq and lose any possibility to keep forces in Syri Both of these are very bad because whatever option Uncle Shmuel chooses, he will lost whatever tiny level of credibility he has left, even amongst his putative “allies” (like the KSA which will now be left nose to nose with a much more powerful Iran than ever before). (rh)7/1/2020
The myth of Judeo-BolshevismPaul Hanebrink - Le Monde diplomatique - A widespread contemporary version of the ‘plot’ casts Jews as promoters and cheerleaders of immigration, and as enemies of the timeless cultural values of nation and family on which western civilization supposedly rests. Over the years there have been different forms of the fears of a global Jewish conspiracy, and in the 20th century none was more potent or more destructive than the myth of Judeo-Bolshevism; this may seem paradoxical when the radical left is being accused of antisemitism. (rh)7/1/2020
Israel is systematically poisoning one million Palestinian childrenRobert Inlakesh - If Americans Knew Blog - We have now entered 2020, the year in which experts at the United Nations (UN) once predicted Gaza would become unlivable. But the sad reality is not only that those same experts said that Gaza was already unlivable in 2017, but that now the population of 2 million residing in Gaza are under the real threat of genocide. Sara Roy of Harvard University’s Centre for Middle Eastern studies, who is considered the leading scholar on Gaza’s economy, has written that “innocent human beings, most of them young, are slowly being poisoned in Gaza by the water they drink and likely by the soil in which they plant.” So let us break down that statement, based upon the data available to us. (rh)7/1/2020
IDF general distances Israel from Soleimani killing in first public commentTOI STAFF - The Times of Israel - A senior Israeli military officer on Monday commented publicly for the first time on the operation that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani over the weekend, distancing the Jewish state from the US drone strike in Iraq that has left Tehran fuming and vowing revenge. “Soleimani hurt American interests and represented a significant danger to Americans in the region. We must look at the assassination as part of a fight between Iran and the United States over Iraq’s character. That is the story,” said IDF Southern Command head Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi. (rh)7/1/2020
Israel is on precipice of losing option of two-state solution, say US advisers : Authors ambassador Dennis Ross and David Makovsky warn that Israel is nearing the point of no return with Palestinians, in a live interview with ToI editor David HorovitzTOI STAFF - The Times of Israel - “Open up Area C for 60 percent of the West Bank [where Israel maintains administrative and military control, and most of the Israeli settlers are located] for economic activity for Palestinians so you preserve the potential of two states, and yet you don’t have to move the IDF, you’re not putting your security at risk, but you’re not creating a situation where by adding four to five thousand settlers a year beyond the barrier, you cross the tipping point and then you lose the option. Tactical decisions made now will have a long-term strategic consequence,” said Ross. Ross said two-states may require a different psychological landscape and that those leaders trying to make it happen need to stretch their minds. “It may well be that we need to come up with other kinds of models. But don’t put yourself in a position where you only have one state, one person for one vote,” said Ross. (rh) 7/1/2020
Palestine in Pictures: December 2019EI - "Israeli forces killed more than 130 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza during 2019, 27 of them children [...] As of 9 December Israeli forces had razed 585 Palestinian-owned structures in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since the beginning of the year. Those demolitions displaced nearly 850 Palestinians.[...] During the same period, the Israeli military conducted more than 3,800 search and arrest operations in the West Bank and launched 59 incursions into Gaza" [ry] 6/1/2020
Over 13 million Palestinians in the world by end of 2019PNN/ Bethlehem/ - "Dr. Ola Awad, Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) President presents a brief on the status of Palestinian people at The end of 2019 as follows: More than 13 Million Palestinians in the world by the End of 2019.An increase in population of Palestinians in the world. The projected number of Palestinians in the world is 13.350 million, of whom 5.039 million are in State of Palestine, 1.597 million in 1948 Territory, 5.986 million in Arab countries and around 727 thousand in foreign countries." ca 3/1/2020
Israel Has Suspended Core Palestinian Rights for a Half-centuryMaureen Clare Murphy - Portside - “The Israeli army has deprived generations of Palestinians in the West Bank of their basic civil rights, including the rights to free assembly, association and expression, regularly drawing on military orders issued in the first days of the occupation,” the report states.“The suspension of core rights more than half a century later with no end in sight violates Israel’s core responsibilities under the law of occupation.” Israeli settlers in the West Bank enjoy basic rights denied to Palestinians living in the same territory. “Israeli officials openly speak of their intent to permanently rule over Palestinians in the West Bank,” according to Human Rights Watch. (rh)31/12/2019
Will Supreme Court force Netanyahu to `go do other things`? Akiva Eldar - Al-Monitor - Israel’s Supreme Court has scheduled a Dec. 31 hearing on whether a politician under criminal indictment can be tasked with forming the country’s government. Responding to the court`s decision to hear a petition on the matter, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, said, “In a democracy, it is the people who decide who will lead them, not anyone else. Otherwise, it just isn’t democracy.” If what Netanyahu said is indeed the case, let us examine the opinion of one of the people who is not just anyone, but a prominent leader of his generation. Does the person who has led Israel for the past decade, as well as for three years in the 1990s, believe that a prime minister under criminal indictment is worthy of leading the people? It is worthwhile dredging up yet again the strong views that Netanyahu, at the time a Knesset member, expressed on the subject as leader of the opposition when Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was suspected of corruption, though unlike Netanyahu had not been indicted pending a hearing by the attorney general. “A prime minister steeped up to his neck in investigations doesn’t have a moral or public mandate to make such fateful decisions regarding the State of Israel,” Netanyahu opined on Dec. 13, 2008. “There is a real, not unfounded fear that he will make decisions based on his own interests of political survivability rather than the normal interest.” (rh) 31/12/2019
Netanyahu Announces Six-Point Plan to Annex Palestinian Land, Defeat IranPalestine Chronicle Staff - “First, we will finalize our borders; second, we will push the US to recognize our sovereignty in the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea; third, we will push for US recognition of our extension of sovereignty over all the communities in Judea and Samaria, all of them without exception,” Netanyahu said. “Fourth, we will push for a historic defense alliance with the US that will preserve Israeli freedom of action; fifth, stop Iran and its allies decisively; and sixth, push for normalization and agreements that will lead to peace accords with Arab countries”. (rh)31/12/2019
Israel’s national-religious party allies with racist rightShlomi Eldar - Al-Monitor - In preparation for the upcoming election on March 2, the chairman of HaBayit HaYehudi, Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz, decided that his party would run as part of a joint list with Otzma Yehudit, a party that failed to pass the electoral threshold in last September’s election. Much has been written over the last year about the racist Otzma Yehudit party. Due to pressure from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it ran as part of the Union of Right-Wing Parties last April (together with the HaBayit HaYehudi and the National Union parties), as part of a concerted effort to save the right`s votes from factional splinterin Netanyahu’s jockeying on behalf of Otzma Yehudit before April’s election reeked of political bribery. The prime minister meddled in the affairs of other parties, promising their members rewards if they ran as a single list, to get Peretz to run together with Otzma Yehudit. (rh) 31/12/2019
High Court`s Netanyahu verdict may pose danger to democracyBen-Dror Yemini - Ynetnews - The possibility of the High Court of Justice barring Prime Minister Netanyahu from running in the upcoming elections is slowly becoming a reality. Let us all hold hands together and pray that day away. Such a momentous decision will cross all political and judicial boundaries in Israel. If the courts, G-d forbid, decide to unequivocally trample the written law and prohibit Netanyahu from forming a government, all hell will break loose, with at least, if not more than half the population raising his banner and galloping to the polls in order to keep the right in power. Netanyahu is very bad for Israel, even if his corruption is not of a criminal nature, it sure is a public one. He deepened the schism within the nation, leading Israel towards the disaster that is a one- state solution and colluded with racists and bigots in order to further his needs. But there is a difference between a political stance and public criticism. (rh)31/12/2019
ICC decision to investigate war crimes touches Israelis’ deepest fear (accountability)Jonathan Ofir - Mondoweiss - The recently announced decision of the International Criminal Court to investigate Israeli war crimes (pending a pre-Trial chamber decision on the “territories” at hand), has hit a raw nerve in Israel. It is not merely that Prime Minister Netanyahu went on Hasbara overdrive with his antics, saying that ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is ignoring “the truth when she says that the very act of Jews living in their ancestral homeland, the land of the Bible, that this is a war crime”. No, it went much further than that – opposition rival Benny Gantz also went ‘meshugge’ on this, calling it “a political decision, not a legal one,” adding that “the Israeli army is one of the most moral militaries in the world”, and that “the Israeli army and State of Israel do not commit war crimes.” (rh)31/12/2019
IDF chief warns Israelis: The next war will hit our home front extremely hardJUDAH ARI GROSS - The Times of Israel - The military chief, in his first major speech, said the IDF was operating throughout the region — openly, covertly and clandestinely — in order to thwart the plans of Iran and its proxies, “even at the risk of war.” He also issued a bleak warning to Israelis that the next war, when it came, would hit the home front hard. “It must be known and recognized that in the next war — whether in the north or against Hamas — heavy fire will be directed against our home front. I’m looking people in the eye, and saying, there will be heavy fire. We have to recognize this and we have to prepare for this… We have to prepare for this militarily; the civil hierarchies have to prepare for this; and we have to prepare for this mentally.” (rh)31/12/2019
To tell you the truth, I didn’t know where I was bornJonathan Ofir - Moondoweiss - It all took a very long time for me to learn that I was born in Palestine, and that Israel was the name of the settler-colonialist project that I had been born into and raised upon. This project denied and rejected Palestine, because it was and is eliminationist. So actually, the two names, Israel and Palestine, are about the same place, but represent two different paradigms: one of nativity, one of settler-colonialist takeover. Ostensibly, the colonialist allows a certain potential existence of this “Palestine”, but that’s also under its occupation and is at most a form of lip- service. (rh)31/12/2019
‘The Last Generation’: How Occupation is Driving Christians out of PalestinePeter Oborne -IMEMC News - Christianity here survived the persecution of its earliest converts under Roman rule. It flourished under the Byzantine empire, endured the early Islamic caliphates and enjoyed a revival under the Ottoman Empire before the territory of modern-day Palestine passed into British control in 1917. Yet every Palestinian Christian I spoke to doubted whether there will soon be any significant Christian presence in the land where the founder of Christianity was born, preached his gospel and died. With few exceptions they told me they were the last generation of Palestinian Christians. (rh)31/12/2019
The Israeli right’s fury is driven by fear of Palestinian citizensAmjad Iraqi - +972 - When the Knesset passed the Jewish Nation-State Law on July 19, 2018, there was an outpouring of concern for the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, who make up a fifth of the state’s population with 1.8 million people. The prevailing narrative was that the new Basic Law — which will serve as a constitutional anchor for Israel’s legal system — would “officially turn non-Jews into second-class citizens.” Large segments of the community bought into the narrative, too. Druze citizens, who are conscripted into the Israeli army, decried the government’s “betrayal” of their loyalty to the state. The Arab leadership in Israel, including the Joint List, High Follow-Up Committee, and civil society organizations, publicly campaigned for the law’s revocation. (rh) 31/12/2019
Over 9,000 Palestinians displaced in a decade of West Bank demolitionsNatasha Roth-Rowland - +972 "Israeli authorities demolished over 6,000 Palestinian structures in the West Bank and East Jerusalem between 2010 and 2019, according to the United Nations. More than 9,000 Palestinians were displaced as a result.The figures, collected by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – Occupied Palestinian Territory, show the scale of Israel’s demolition regime over the Green Line." ca 26/12/2019
What Israel`s left could learn from the Arab Joint List Read more: Eldar - Al-Monitor - The leadership of the democratic-Zionist left-wing camp should take a page from the book of the Arab Joint List and learn a lesson in political pragmatism. The heads of the four Arab parties — Islamists, nationalists and socialists — swallowed many bitter pills in order to unite to ensure that they pass the electoral threshold so they can provide strong Knesset representation of the country’s Arab minority and advance its interests. Once the Zionist-democratic left puts its house in order, it will still take time to forge unity with the Arab camp. The common denominators have already been laid out on the table by Gilon and Raz as noted above. None of them will be achieved as long as Israel is ruled by a government that crushes the pillars of democracy and undermines the rule of law.(rh) 24/12/2019
A decade in review: the moments that shaped the past 10 years in Israel/PalestineYumna Patel - Mondoweiss - As another decade of the Israel-Palestine conflict comes to a close, the idea of a peaceful and just solution for the Palestinians seems further out of reach than ever before. Much of the past 10 years has been characterized by loss. Loss in the literal sense: of land, of homes, of lives. Paramount, however, seems to be the loss of hope. Loss of hope in local and world leaders, in international accountability, and in the prospect of a two-state solution. (rh)24/12/2019
Gaza: Palestinians in limbo for Christmas after permits reversalMuhammad Shehada & Walid Mahmoud - Aljazeera - Israel on Sunday said it would allow Palestinian Christians in Gaza to visit Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank "in accordance with security assessments and without regard to age", reversing an earlier decision not to issue them permits. Late on Monday, Israel had issued 193 permits to travel, according to Kamel Ayyad, public relations director of the Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza. A total of 950 applications were submitted earlier this month, he added. About 1,050 Christians reside in Gaza, where 1.9 million people live under a blockade imposed by Egypt and Israel since 2007. (rh) Late on Monday, Israel had issued 193 permits to travel, according Kamel Ayyad, public relations director of the Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza. A total of 950 applications were submitted earlier this month, he added. About 1,050 Christians reside in Gaza, where 1.9 million people live under a blockade imposed by Egypt and Israel since 2007. 24/12/2019
Has the US thrown Jewish Zionists under the bus?Daoud Kuttab - Arab Media Internet Network - It is not clear whether it was intentional or not, but the current US administration appears to have thrown Jewish Zionists under the bus by declaring Jewishness to be a nationality, and not simply a religion. The primary aim of the recent executive order was to assist far-right Israelis in their efforts to silence pro-Palestinian students at American universities, by declaring any attack on Israel or Zionism to be anti-Semitic.(rh)24/12/2019
The Hague vs. Israel: Everything you need to know about the ICC Palestine probeThe Times of Israel - Late last Friday afternoon, minutes before Shabbat started in Israel, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court dropped a legal bombshell when she announced her intention to launch an investigation into alleged war crimes committed in the Palestinian territories. How exactly the process she set in motion will end is entirely open: A worst-case scenario, from an Israeli perspective, would see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former and current defense ministers and army chiefs finding themselves in the dock in The Hague, accused of war crimes, a few years from now. (rh)24/12/2019
Israeli weapons are heading for the East — with no concern for human rightsSahar Vardi - +972 - Over the past decade, Israel’s ever-growing arms industry has increasingly shifted its focus from the west, with Europe and the Americas as its main clients, to the east, with India now being the largest importer of Israeli arms in the world. The International Defense Cooperation Directorate of the Israeli Ministry of Defense (SIBAT) published a new plan last week to expand its global exports. Along increasing outreach and sales by small military companies, SIBAT will be focusing on six countries — the U.S., Finland, India, and three unnamed countries in Asia — as targets for weapons exports. (rh)24/12/2019
Are Israeli-Arab high school students neglected?Afif Abu Much - Al-Monitor - Israeli school children are weak in reading, mathematics and science skills, according to test results issued Dec. 3 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The failure of Israeli students as reflected in the results of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which tests the reading, math and science skills of 15- and 16-year-old students, was twofold. Not only were their results below the average achieved by the students from 79 countries who took part in the 2018 testing, but the gap between the Jewish and Arab children’s achievements was huge given the poor performance of the Arab students, which declined compared to the 2015 results. (rh) 24/12/2019
Hurt and hope: For left-wing British Jews, UK election is a moment of reckoning Mia Rafalowicz-Campbell and Leeor Ohayon - +972 - While much of the attention has been on their parties’ approaches to Brexit, the NHS, taxation, and the climate crisis, there has also been considerable focus on the U.K.’s small Jewish minority and the allegations of anti-Semitism within Labour’s ranks that have engulfed the party. While not isolated to his reign, since Corbyn’s rise to leadership in 2015, the party has been rocked by repeated accusations — and a subsequent media storm — that have drastically intensified in the run-up to this election. (rh)24/12/2019
At Hanukkah party, Trump signs controversial executive order on anti-SemitismERIC CORTELLESSA - The Times of Israel - At the annual White House Hanukkah Party, Trump put into place an order that will apparently require the US Department of Education to effectively interpret Judaism as a race or nationality, not just a religion. That will force the US government to withhold funding from colleges and universities if they fail to confront discrimination against Jewish students. Critics, however, argue that the definition of anti- Semitism used in the order — originally formulated in 2016 by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance — will chill free expression on college campuses and suppress the speech rights of Israel critics. (rh)24/12/2019
High Court to debate whether Netanyahu can serve as PM despite indictmentsYael Freidson,Tova Tzimuki - Ynet - The court announced it had received and approved a petition signed by 67 different individuals demanding a ruling on whether a Knesset member battling criminal charges can be tasked with forming a government. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who avoided addressing the issue as long as it was solely a theoretical question, has been ordered by the High Court to devise a legal opinion on the matter 48 hours before the court assembles to debate the issue. The plenary is still pending as no date has yet been decided On Friday, Mandelblit refused to rule on the issue, informing the court that he would only issue a legal opinion on the matter if it were to be taken up by the court.(rh)24/12/2019
UN General Assembly reiterates demand for Israel to comply with resolutions on occupied Syrian GolanSyrian Arab News Agency - The United Nations General Assembly reiterated its demand for Israel to comply with resolutions on the occupied Syrian Golan, particularly resolution no. 497 for 1981 which considers Israel’s decision to impose its law and legal jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan to be null, void, and without international legal effect. This came as the General Assembly adopted a decision titled “Occupied Syrian Golan” on Friday, with 157 states voting in favor, 20 states abstaining, and only Israel and the United States voting against. (rh)17/12/2019
Occupation and International LawDavid Kretzmer - Machsomwatch - In international law, the law of occupation is based on the assumption that occupation is a temporary solution to a military constraint. The assumption is that within a relatively short period the occupation will end with a political arrangement that will allow the residents of the occupied territory to enjoy their individual and collective rights. The law of occupation attempts to create a balance between the military needs of the occupying state and the interests of the population in the occupied territory. Alongside broad authority given to the military commander in order to ensure public life and public order during the transition period to a peace agreement, serious restrictions are imposed on the occupying state. The idea of temporariness is at the foundation of all the legal arrangements.(rh)17/12/2019
2020 elections: Israeli-Arab party aspires to 15 seats Shlomi Eldar - Al-Monitor - Of all the political parties being dragged against their will to a third round of Israeli elections, only the Arab Joint List is rubbing its hands in anticipation, perhaps not with displays of glee, but at least with great satisfaction. The Joint List, an alliance of four Arab parties, garnered 13 of 120 Knesset seats in the September elections. Ahead of the March 2020 voting, it is gearing up for an even bigger showing. (rh) 17/12/2019
Military Courts in the Occupied TerritoriesAvigdor Feldman - Machsomwatch - Israel captivated the territories in war and holds them by force of arms. Therefore, there is no meaning to the question whether these territories, all or most of them, were promised to the People of Israel, and anyone else who had held them in the past 3000 years was an invader and a trespasser – a claim that has been endorsed even by a commission headed by a justice of Israel’s Supreme Court. If they are indeed ours, what is the legal basis for establishing military courts not by Knesset legislation but rather by orders and edicts of the Israeli military commanders of the region? The Knesset does not acknowledge the fact that military courts in “our” territories have already sentenced people to tens of thousands of years in prison. Meir Shamgar, former President of the Israeli Supreme Court, knew very well that if we deny the territories their status as “occupied” or “held”, the legal basis for holding onto them would be reduced to nothing and they would slip into a lawless abyss. This is why he forbade the State to claim that these are not occupied territories, or that the High Court of Justice has no authority to oversee their legality according to international law. (rh)17/12/2019
Hundreds of Likudniks kicked out of party before leadership primaryGIL HOFFMAN - Jerusalem Post - Likud court head says New Likudniks act "in an ugly way as a fifth column" and "told people they registered that they don’t have to vote Likud, and they can be leftists who work against the party." (rh)17/12/2019
How to Solve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, According to Psychology ResearchNetta Ahituv - Haaretz - To be the victim in a conflict is no less significant in terms of impact than being the victor, according to a recent study conducted at Tel Aviv University. Indeed, for many people it is the main goal – whether the conflict is an argument between two private individuals or a national dispute. (rh)17/12/2019
Palestinian ex-prisoners recall torture in Israeli detentionRania Zabaneh - Aljazeera - "We drove the kids to school and were almost at work, when a civilian car with Israeli number plates pulled up behind us," Noura said, describing how her husband was detained in Ramallah by undercover Israeli forces on September 25. "They snatched him from the car and started beating him on the head, neck and stomach," she recalled. Samer, 44, was arrested on suspicion of involvement in an IED explosion that took place on August 23 near the illegal Israeli settlement of Dolev, northwest of Ramallah. The bomb killed 17-year-old Israeli girl Rina Shnerb and wounded her father and brother. Three days later, Samer`s lawyer was informed his client had been transferred to a hospital the previous day - in critical condition, unconscious, and on artificial respiration. He was also suffering from kidney failure and had 11 broken ribs, the lawyer said. (rh) 17/12/2019
3750 Jerusalemites, including 1070 children, arrested since Trump declared city Israel’s capitalMondoweiss - "According to the PCBS, 1070 children, under 18, have been detained, in addition to 171 women and girls, including minors, wounded women, mothers, and women who have been staging a sit-in in Al-Aqsa Mosque" [ry] 16/12/2019
Education, poverty underlie challenges for vulnerable girls in Kingdom — report Jordan Times - "There are significant differences between girls who are in school and those who are not, with the former group faring much better than the latter, said a report released as part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence by the Information and Research Centre — King Hussein Foundation, according to a statement from the foundation.The report, titled “From Vulnerable Girls to Empowered Women”, is part of a five-year project implemented with IM Swedish Development Partner that aims to enhance the social protection of some of Jordan’s most vulnerable young women by conducting research and advocacy in cooperation with the civil society organisations (CSOs) that support them." ca 14/12/2019
Smoke without fire: the myth of a ‘Labour antisemitism crisis’Jamie Stern-Weiner and Alan Maddison - Mondoweiss - It has been prominently and persistently asserted that there is a “crisis” of antisemitism in the Labour Party. The charge-sheet comprises three main allegations: that antisemitism in Labour is widespread, that it has become institutionalized, and that elected party leader Jeremy Corbyn is himself an antisemite. (rh)10/12/2019
`The prediction of unliveability in Gaza has come true` Megan O`Toole - Middle East Eye - In 2012, a United Nations report painted a bleak picture of the Gaza Strip and the conditions facing its Palestinian inhabitants. Its economy was sluggish, its healthcare system beleaguered and its natural resources dwindling. But darker days were to come, the UN predicted. By 2020, Gaza’s population would surpass two million. Peak demand for electricity would soar by more than 50 percent, the report projected, and the territory`s coastal aquifer could be damaged beyond repair. The UN called for a massive injection of resources, including thousands more doctors and nurses, a doubling of electricity capacity and at least 440 new schools. It is now almost 2020. The UN`s projections about Gaza`s ballooning demands have proven largely accurate - but the delivery of essential services has failed to catch up. Michael Lynk, the UN`s special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, told MEE: "The prediction of unliveability has already arrived." [ak]10/12/2019
To understand the violence of Israel’s occupation, know these 30 storiesHagai El-Ad (director of B`tselem) - +972 - Violence and whitewashing are the double helix of the occupation`s DNA. Here are 30 stories of Palestinians killed or harmed by its brutality, collected by B`Tselem over three decades. And they’re just the tip of the iceberg. [bz]10/12/2019
There are No Human Rights without the Right to HealthRan Goldstein - Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) - Today, International Human Rights day, it is important to remember that the right to health is a central, fundamental human right. In the Occupied Territories, Israel has near complete control over Palestinians’ ability to develop the health care system. The permit regime, roadblocks and checkpoints significantly hinder access to medical care by patients and access to professional development and training by health care professionals. Asylum seekers in Israel are denied health insurance and access to jobs; They are forced to live without protection, exposed to exploitation and to living quarters that are hazardous to their health. Prisoners in Israel are excluded from the National Health Insurance Law, and forced to contend with less accessible and lower quality medical services with no Ministry of Health oversight. Prisoners endure living conditions that are detrimental to health, high rates of sickness, lack of access to physical activity, mental distress and extreme crowding.[ak] 10/12/2019
EU`s new chief diplomat urged to consider Palestine statehoodAljazeera - The European Union`s new foreign policy chief has been urged to lead a debate on recognising Palestinian statehood. Josep Borrell took office last week as Brussels` chief diplomat and on Monday chaired his first EU foreign ministers` meeting, where Luxembourg`s veteran foreign minister made a written appeal for such a discussion. (rh)10/12/2019
Netanyahu: Time to Apply Israel’s Sovereignty over Jordan Valley, Annex West BankThe Palestine Chronicle - Israel’s PM Netanyahu on Sunday touted his plan to annex a swathe of the occupied West Bank and Israeli settlements in a last-ditch effort to prevent another general election. “It is time to apply Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and legalize all the Judea and Samaria [West Bank] settlements, those that are in settlement blocs and those outside of them,” he said during a conference organized by the right-wing newspaper Makor Rishon.(rh)10/12/2019
Hebron Palestinians go on strike, clash with troops to protest settlement planADAM RASGON - The Times of Israel - Shops, schools and offices were shuttered in Hebron, and young men clashed with troops in the city center as Palestinians protested a plan to expand Jewish settlement activity in the flashpoint city Tuesday. Pictures posted on social media platforms showed stores and schools closed and streets with few passersby. Fatah, the party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, called for the strike on Saturday.(rh) 10/12/2019
Gaza farmer’s house is destroyed for fourth time– ‘and we are ready for the fifth’Ahmad Kabariti - Mondoweiss - The short phone call that Hamouda Abu Amra received from a professed Israeli security officer at 11:15 p.m on November 13 was the fourth catastrophic change to happen in his rural life in Gaza. The call still echoes in Abu Amra’s ears. “A heavy load is coming to your shoulders soon, uncle!” the officer whispered. “Evacuate your family in two minutes and don’t switch off your phone”.(rh)10/12/2019
When you follow the gun trail, you sometimes end up in unexpected placesRobert Fisk - Information Clearing House - I’ve always wanted to find out where the guns came from. Who were the ‘willing accomplices’ to the wars I witnessed? In 1996, I traced to its Boeing makers in the deep south of the US a missile fired by the Israelis at a Lebanese ambulance. It killed two women and four children. I even went to Georgia and met the developers of the rocket that killed them. And in Syria, deep in the basement of a bombed Nusra-al-Qaeda headquarters in Aleppo, I found hundreds of mortars – along with their shipment documents and factory instructions. They were to be used against the Assad regime. But who had supplied them? They had been made in Novi Travnik in Bosnia, a town I knew well because I had covered the Bosnian war. One of the shipment papers carried the dispatcher’s name: Ifet Krnjic. I felt – I absolutely believed — I could find this man. A hunch? No. I set off to Novi Tavnik with the conviction that this man was there and would talk to me. And we found him, mowing his lawn on a Sunday afternoon in a neighbouring village.(rh)10/12/2019
The Unfinished ‘Coup’: The End of the Netanyahu Era and the Political Earthquake aheadRamzy Baroud - The Palestine Chronicle - Nothing seems to be working for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has tried every trick in the book to save his political career and avoid a possible prison sentence. Nevertheless, for Israel’s longest-serving leader, the end is almost certainly nigh. Netanyahu described his indictment on charges of fraud, bribery, and breach of trust by Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit on November 21, as an “attempted coup”. His loyalists agree. On November 26, a few thousand Likud party supporters gathered in Tel Aviv, under the banner “Stop the coup” to express their anger at what they see as a massive conspiracy involving Mandelblit, the media, various state institutions and “disloyal” Likud members. The Prime Minister’s main Likud rival, Gideon Sa’ar, received much of the verbal abuse that was going. Sa’ar, who almost faded into oblivion after leaving the Knesset in 2014, emerged once more on Israel’s political scene following the inconclusive General Election in April this year. Netanyahu’s failure to form a government then was compounded by a similar failure to cobble up a government coalition after the second General Election held in September. (rh)10/12/2019
Gantz’ silence on incitement could cost him premiershipAfif Abu Much - Al-Monitor - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been waging a campaign against the formation of a minority government headed by the Blue and White party with support of the Arab Joint List from outside the coalition, calling such a government “an existential threat to the State of Israel” on Nov. 17. And as one could expect, this campaign had an effect on the field. On Nov. 30, Joint List Knesset member Ahmad Tibi arrived at a cultural event in Ramat Hasharon, and discovered that right-wing activists were “waiting for him” at the entrance. They tried to prevent his entry, yelled “murderer, terrorist, glorifier of martyrs” at him, and even tried to physically hurt him.(rh) 10/12/2019
Why are Netanyahu’s associates indicted in submarine scandal, but not the PM? Ben Caspit - Al-Monitor - They point to the close ties between Netanyahu and another cousin, American industrialist Nathan Milikowsky and his links with Thyssenkrupp as proof that the whole affair is tainted by deep systemic corruption. Milikowsky has been supporting Netanyahu with large sums of money for years. A business relationship between them reportedly netted Netanyahu a massive profit of tens of millions of dollars, even as Milikowsky served as a raw material supplier for Thyssenkrupp. Is there a connection between the fortune that Milikowsky lavished on his cousin and his financial interest in Thyssenkrupp, on the one hand, and the fact that Netanyahu was aggressively pushing billions of dollars in deals with that same Thyssenkrupp? All these matters have not been investigated yet, and these two issues — the Egypt submarine sale and the Netanyahu-Milikowsky connection — are at the center of a demand by Blue and White for the formation of an official commission of inquiry to provide the Israeli public with the requisite answers.(rh) 10/12/2019
Netanyahu’s Exit Won’t Jump-Start a Peace DealROBERT MALLEY and AARON DAVID MILLER - POLITICO - When he departs, a lot will change right away: Netanyahu’s cult-like figure will have left the stage, and his corrupt practices will be over. The state’s illiberal drift might well be halted and respect for the rule of law, the judiciary and democratic norms enhanced; and the fanning of hate and fearmongering toward Israel’s Arab minority potentially could abate. But as for significant changes to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process—the one issue that seems to retain the bulk of the world’s interest? Not so much. And that will be the case regardless of what government replaces Netanyahu`s. In fact, paradoxically, Netanyahu’s replacement by a less contentious and more reasonable prime minister may well ensure that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process remains more about managing a process than securing a peace. (rh)10/12/2019
Olive harvest season: expected record yield compromised due to access restrictions and settler violenceOCHA - The annual olive harvest between October and November, is a key economic, social and cultural event for Palestinians. More than 10 million olive trees are cultivated on approximately 86,000 hectares,representing 47 per cent of the total cultivated agricultural area. Between 80,000 and 100,000 families are said to rely on olives and olive oil for primary or secondary income, and the sector employs large numbers of unskilled laborers and more than 15 per cent of working women. The olive oil yield for the West Bank in 2019 is estimated to reach a record 27,000 tons, an 84 per cent increase over the previous year. This is due to the alternate fruit- bearing “on and off seasons” and to less infestation by the olive fruit fly during the current season. But the realization of a potential record yield is compromised due to access restrictions and attacks and intimidation by Israeli settlers. Palestinians with olive groves located in the closed area between the Barrier and the ‘Green Line’ (also known as the ‘Seam Zone’), and in the vicinity of Israeli settlements, face year-round access restrictions and threats that prevent them from safely maintaining their olive-based livelihoods.[ak]3/12/2019
Israel’s Next Move: The Real Danger in US Decision to Normalize Illegal Jewish SettlementsRAMZY BAROUD - Counterpunch - Let us not have any illusion regarding the American approach to the so-called ‘Israeli-Palestinian conflict’ prior to Trump’s Presidency. The US has never, not even once, stood up for Palestinians or Arabs since the establishment of the State of Israel over the ruins of historic Palestine in 1948. Moreover, Washington has bankrolled the Israeli occupation of Palestine in every possible way, including the subsidizing of the illegal Jewish settlements. However, Pompeo’s statement at a State Department press conference on November 18 that, “the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements is not, per se, inconsistent with international law,” is still very dangerous and it does, in fact, constitute a political departure from previous US policies. (rh)3/12/2019
The Systematic Torture of Palestinians in Israeli DetentionYara Hawari - Al-Shabaka - The recent case of Samer Arbeed highlighted once again the systematic use of torture against Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons. Israeli soldiers arrested Arbeed at his home in Ramallah on September 25, 2019. They beat him severely before taking him to Al Moscobiyye detention center in Jerusalem for interrogation. Two days later, according to his lawyer, he was hospitalized as a result of severe torture, and lay in critical condition for several weeks. A judicial body had authorized the Israeli Secret Service, the Shin Bet, to use "exceptional methods" to extract information in this case without going through the courts. This led Amnesty International to condemn what happened to Arbeed as "legally-sanctioned torture." (rh)3/12/2019
Gaza`s surviving al-Sawarka children struggle after Israel raidAli Younes - Aljazeera - Mohamad Awad, a member of the al-Sawarka Bedouin tribe and a neighbour of the family, told Al Jazeera the Israeli bombing was a "war crime" because Rasmi and his brother Mohamed were civilians and had nothing to do with any armed group."They raised sheep and were barely making ends meet before they were killed," he said. Awad denied the Israel army`s claim that Rasmi was a member of Islamic Jihad, and said he was an employee of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) government. (rh)3/12/2019
Bennett plans building Jewish neighborhood in HebronElisha Ben Kimon,Yoav Zitun,Elior Levy - Ynet News - Bennet instructed the military to begin the official process by advising the Palestinian municipality of the plan to construct housing for Jewish settlers in what had been the produce market which was closed in 1994. According to the proposed plan, the now-empty shops on the street level will remain in Palestinian hands while housing units will be built on the top floors to house settlers.The disputed territory was home for both Jews and Arabs before Arab riots broke out in 1929, in which dozens of local Jews were killed. The riots of August 1929 began when a long-running dispute over access to Jerusalem holy sites escalated into violence. Members of the local Arab community launched savage attacks on Jewish neighbors and their institutions, killing at least 67 Jews.(rh)3/12/2019
ISRAEL PULSE Withholding Palestinians’ remains not befitting Israel Yossi Beilin - Al-Monitor - Israel’s political right is convinced it has the solution to terrorism and that implementing it will wipe out, once and for all, the security threats the country faces without making peace with the Palestinians. Their would-be solutions have encompassed a variety of ideas, including instituting the death penalty for convicted terrorists, demolishing the family homes of assailants captured or killed while committing terrorist acts, sealing off attackers` homes, and to top it off, threatening to withhold the bodies of perpetrators from their families.(rh) 3/12/2019
PALESTINE PULSE Why the West Bank went silent when Israel attacked Gaza Adnan Abu Amer - Al-Monitor - Amid the recent military flare-up in Gaza, there were no protests, sit-ins or strikes on the West Bank to express support for the Palestinians trapped in the besieged enclave. The lack of public displays of solidarity has reportedly left Palestinians in Gaza angry and bewildered. The military escalation kicked off by Israel`s assassination of Islamic Jihad military commander Baha Abu al-Ata on Nov. 12 left 34 Palestinians dead and 111 injured along with 65 Israelis wounded.(rh) 3/12/2019
Activists in the Jordan ValleyVideo - Social TV - A short day`s escort with the shepherds in the Jordan Valley reveals the distress and humiliation they experience from the settlers in the nearby outposts, backed by IDF soldiers. The number of Palestinians in the 1.6 million-acre valley is getting smaller by the year as part of the Zionist enterprise. In 85% of the land in the valley it is prohibited to live there, build, lay infrastructure, graze or cultivate. Those who come to the aid of the Palestinians and provide them with some security are human rights activists, the Valley Coalition. They accompany the shepherds to pasture and provide human protection for them. (rh)3/12/2019
Netanyahu is not the victim, we areYuval Diskin - Ynet News - Israelis are held hostage by a man willing to destroy every function of the state and its national unity to serve his own interests; he should recall his own words about his similarly indicted predecessor Ehud Olmert: This is a prime minister who is up to his neck in investigations, and has no public or moral mandate to make fateful decisions for Israel (rh)3/12/2019
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