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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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`Resistance is not terrorism`: Palestinians burn effigies of Trump in GazaMa`an - "Trump`s remarks, al-Shamali added, were blindly throwing US support behind the interests of Israeli occupation, "which is the true source of terrorism and violence in the region and in the world," he said." - id 24/5/2017
Donald Trump forced to change travel plans after Palestinians protest in BethlehemReports - International Solidarity Movement - "The US President changed plans at the last minute, reportedly infuriating the Palestinian Authority by breaking with official protocol." - id24/5/2017
Israel quick to exploit Manchester bombingAli Abunimah - EI - "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a tweet declaring, “If the Manchester attacker was Palestinian and the victims Israeli, the terrorist’s family would receive a stipend from Mahmoud Abbas.”" - id 24/5/2017
Trump to Abbas: Peace won’t come where violence ‘rewarded’Times of Israel - Trump apparently disapproves of the Palestinians paying the families of prisoners in Israeli prisons, though at least in public he did not say so explicitly. "I had a great meeting this morning with President Mahmoud Abbas and I can tell you that he is ready to reach a peace deal" said Trump at the concluding speech of his visit. Both with Netanyahu in Jerusalem and with Abbas in Bethlehem he carefully avoided such words as "occupation" or "Palestinian state", sticking to the general statement that "Both sides will face tough decisions. But with determination, compromise on both sides, and the belief that peace is possible, Israelis and Palestinians can make a deal". And then he flew off. [ak] 23/5/2017
Shaked vexed by White House map missing WBMoran Azulay - Ynet - Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked responds angrily to map of Israel released by White House omitting the West Bank and Golan Heights; says ‘I hope this is just ignorance and not policy’; reminds listeners that while she believes Trump will fulfil his election promises regarding the US embassy, her party was elected to fulfil its own promise: ‘to ensure that no Palestinian state is established.’ [bz]20/5/2017
Gaza residents left in the dark amid Palestinian power struggleYolande Knell - BBC News - "The Americans and mainly the Israelis have been accusing President Abbas of being weak, [saying] he has no control over the Gaza Strip and is therefore no partner for peace," says Mkhaimar Abusada, a political science professor at al-Azhar University - Gaza. "He wants to restore his power over Gaza, to be taken more seriously." [bz]20/5/2017
Al Jazeera: Jordan, Not Israel, Was Original Intelligence Source for ISIS Bomb PlotRichard Silverstein - Tikun Olam "“ None of the media stories reveal the name of the foreign nation whose operation Trump exposed. Some have speculated that it might be Israel or Turkey. But my guess is that it is Jordan, because it has one of the best intelligence agencies in the Arab world and is highly motivated to penetrate ISIS since it poses a grave danger to Jordan, whose neighbor, Syria, is a key refuge for the Islamist group." ca 19/5/2017
10 Reasons Trump Should Not Strengthen U.S.-Saudi TiesMedea Benjamin - ICH "If the Trump administration truly wants to find a way out of the wars in the Middle East and make the United States safer from terrorists, it would do well to stop arming, aiding and abetting the ruthless Saudi regime." ca19/5/2017
Israel Begins to Confiscate 20% of Asylum-Seekers` Incomes Lia Tarachansky&SHIR HEVER - The Real News Network "Interview:"From the beginning of this month a new policy`s implemented in Israel. African asylum seekers who work in Israel have part of their wage income garnished by the state and placed into an account to which they have no access." ca19/5/2017
Ivanka and Jared get a rabbinical pass to fly Air Force One Annie Karni - Politico "Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner will be flying aboard Air Force One to Saudi Arabia with President Donald Trump on Friday, after receiving a rabbinical dispensation to travel on the Jewish Sabbath, according to a White House official... It was not clear on what grounds the exception was made to accompany the president on his first international trip." ca 19/5/2017
Nationality Bill’s only purpose: Showing Arabs who’s bossSima Kadmon - Ynet - "The proposed legislation, which passed a preliminary Knesset reading last week, offers no dramatic changes and simply repeats things that already exist in the State of Israel’s different laws. Its main goal - giving Israel’s Arab citizens the finger - has already been achieved." - id 17/5/2017
Hebrew U. cancels conference on Palestinian prisoners, following pressureEli Bitan - +972 - "Hebrew University canceled the conference after a student group associated with Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party penned an open letter to the university president. ‘The very existence of this conference lends legitimacy to terror.’" - id 17/5/2017
Israel aims new Nakba-style weapon at Arab citizensMyssana Morany - +972 - "According to Israel, the new so-called Kaminitz Law, which was enacted in April 2017, is intended to consolidate and streamline state powers in enforcing planning and building regulations. But in practice, this law allows the Israeli government to carry out a new wave of mass home demolitions in hemmed-in Arab villages and towns already hard hit by severe housing shortages and a history of discriminatory state policies." - id 17/5/2017
Nakba at 69: Statement by the Global Palestinian Refugee and IDP Network IMEMC - "On this the 69th commemoration of the Nakba and the 100th commemoration of the Balfour Declaration, the Palestinian people face the most challenging political environment to date." - id 17/5/2017
Is the Western Wall part of Israel? Trump is a bit uncertain Eric Cortellessa - Times of Israel - A senior member of the US delegation preparing Trump’s visit next week angrily rejected a request that PM Netanyahu accompany the president when he visits the Western Wall. The American told Israeli counterparts that this part of the Trump visit would be "strictly private", and burst out with "“What are you talking about? It’s none of your business. It’s not even part of your responsibility. It’s not your territory. It’s part of the West Bank.” When faced with sharp protests by the Israeli government and American Jewish groups, the White House announced that the Western Wall comments were “unauthorized” and do not represent the stance of the Trump administration. It is not clear, however, whether Netanyahu would be able to accompany Trump there. [ak]16/5/2017
Is BDS to blame for Israel’s poor showing in the Eurovision Contest?Naomi Zeveloff - The Forward - Israeli music director Yoav Tzafir, who headed the Israeli delegation at the 2017 Eurovision song contest in Kiev, is blaming Israel’s poor showing on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Israeli pop singer Imri Ziv came in 23rd out of 26th places in the competition. “There is no doubt that BDS worked very hard all over Europe,” Tzafir told Israel’s Army Radio. Ahead of Eurovision, a group of boycotters had set up a Facebook page urging the judges to give “zero points to the song of Israeli apartheid.” The group called Ziv’s participation in Eurovision a “mask covering up a loathsome ugliness” of Israeli treatment of the Palestinians. [ak]16/5/2017
Gulf States Offer Normalizing Israel Ties in Exchange for Partial Freeze on Settlements Barak Ravid - Haaretz - The Gulf states have compiled a proposal to take steps toward normalization with Israel if the Netanyahu government in turn makes gestures to the Palestinians, such as freezing settlement construction in parts of the West Bank and easing trade restrictions in the Gaza Strip, according to the Wall Street Journal. The report is based on details from a document that was prepared during discussions between various Sunni Arab countries. According to the report, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which are leading the proposal, also updated the American administration and Israel on the bid. [bz]16/5/2017
Torment “never heals” — Palestine’s longest-serving female prisonerBudour Youssef Hassan - EI - "Finally outside of prison, Lina is planning to become a professional chef. She wants to start a family and `give birth to quadruplets,` she said. Her main concern, however, remains the plight of Palestinian women still in jail. `We live in a patriarchal society and while many women prisoners are celebrated immediately after release, they are quickly abandoned and even stigmatized precisely for being in jail,` she said" [ry]15/5/2017
FIFA boss rigs vote for Israel at last minute - after phonecall from NetanyahuAli Abunimah - EI - Earlier this week, the FIFA Council had already capitulated to Israeli pressure and ruled out a vote sanctioning Israel for allowing its league to include teams based in West Bank settlements. But there remained on the agenda a motion calling for “official recognition of the Palestinian Football Association’s entitlements to all of its rights as described in the FIFA Statutes.” FIFA rules bar national associations from holding matches on the territory of another member without permission – as Israel does in the West Bank without Palestinian permission – so this motion would still have highlighted the Israel Football Association’s complicity in the military occupation of the West Bank. [bz]13/5/2017
PA denies reports that shipments of medicine and baby formula to Gaza were haltedMa`an News Agency - "Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said in a statement on Tuesday that the PA had informed the ministry that it would stop sending medicine and milk to the Gaza Strip... the PA completely denied the claims on Wednesday." ca12/5/2017
Israel: health and beyondProf Karl Skoreck&Dr Richard Horton - The Lancet " An assessment of the level of success that Israel has achieved in health, in the face of formidable challenges, including rapid population growth, diverse and often divided ethnic affiliations, and existential security threats, leads us to propose that extension of this principle of global human identity and dignity, together with the objective of a decent society, as overriding values beyond health to other domains of human endeavour within Israel and in its relations with neighbouring peoples, represents an entirely achievable imperative." ca 12/5/2017
`We shall remain`: Bedouin of Jabal al-Baba face an uphill battle to keep their land Mersiha Gadzo - Mondoweiss "Life was so simple before the [separation barrier] because you could leave for vacation, for weddings; you could take your car and go to Jerusalem,” Mazara’a said. “You could pray Maghrib [prayer just after sunset] here and then pray Isha [evening prayer] at al-Aqsa.” Such a scenario today remains a distant dream for the Bedouins living at Jabal al-Baba, also known as Pope Mountain, even though Jerusalem is only 2.5 miles away. Now, Bedouin communities stand in the way of the E1 zone, which would expand settlements from Ma’ale Adumim to occupied East Jerusalem...Israeli authorities seek to relocate 18 Bedouin communities that live in E1 and a total of 46 Bedouin communities living in the central West Bank." ca 12/5/2017
Lonely Planet erases Israeli occupation of Syrian GolanAl-Marsad - The Electronic Intifada - "Until Lonely Planet recognizes its responsibilities, many travelers to the region will continue to be misinformed about the Golan and the reality of its occupation by Israel." - id 10/5/2017
What would Herzl say about Nationality Bill? Nasreen Hadad Haj-Yahya - Ynet - "Israel’s leadership appears to have diverted from Theodor Herzl’s path. Instead of striving to create equality and a common ground, it is doing everything in its power to incite and divide for the sake of a few more votes." - id 10/5/2017
Israeli-Palestinian FIFA war nearing the decisive point Tovah Lazaroff - Jerusalem Post - PM Netanyahu is making an intensive personal to avert the impending vote by FIFA, the International Soccer Federation, on the issue of six soccer teams based at West Bank settlements being enrolled in the Israeli soccer federation? Should it come to a vote, the FIFA bylaws are very clear - one national federation (in this case the Israeli one) is not allowed to set up soccer clubs in the territory of another federation (in this case, the Palestinian federation). Should the matter come to a vote, FIFA would have no choice but to to demand that Israel stop the participation of settler teams. Non-compliance potentially leading to Israel being altogether banned from international soccer. There is already a precedent - soccer teams from the Crimea were not allowed to play in the Russian soccer league. [ak]. 9/5/2017
German president: ‘Irresponsible to leave our countries in crisis’Itamar Eichner - Ynet - Speaking at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, German president refused to say that PM`s decision to snub German FM over his meetings with far-left Israeli groups was correct, instead accepts differences of opinion; insists crisis cannot be left to fester where `both sides lose` [ry]8/5/2017
Israeli Cabinet Moves to Downgrade Status of Arabic LanguageJason Ditz - AntiWar - Arab MPs Say Move Would Turn Them Into Second-Class Citizens [ry]8/5/2017
Ministerial Committee promotes contentious `Nationality Law` Moran Azulay - Ynet - The legislation, which is considered its opponents as discriminatory towards Arab Israelis, specifies some of the practical aspects of the State of Israel being the nation-state of the Jewish people. The bill addresses state symbols (national anthem, flag, icons), Jerusalem as the capital, Hebrew as the official language, the right of return for Jews, the ingathering of the exiles, Jewish settlement, relations with the Jewish Diaspora, the Hebrew calendar, and holy sites. [bz for dn]7/5/2017
Coca-Cola Israel Donated to Left-bashing Group Im Tirtzu Yotam Berger - Haaretz - Israel’s Coca-Cola franchisee contributed 50,000 shekels ($13,850) to right-wing group Im Tirtzu in 2015, a document from the Israel Corporations Authority shows. The authority refused a request from Im Tirtzu director Matan Peleg to keep confidential the donation by the franchisee, the Central Bottling Company, also known as Coca-Cola Israel. [bz for dn]7/5/2017
Jewish settler mistaken for Palestinian and shot dead. Incident viewed by Palestinians as revealing double standards.Bethan McKernan - Independent - It is rare for the IDF to use deadly force on Israeli citizens. Rights groups and other observers, however, have long accused Israel of using “disproportinate force” and implementing a “shoot-to-kill” policy on alleged Palestinian attackers. [bz] 6/5/2017
Israel expels Dutch journalist after he tweets +972 articles Lisa Goldman - +972 "Israel’s Government Press Office has refused to renew the media accreditation for Derk Walters, a Dutch journalist who has been reporting from Israel-Palestine since 2014. Walters is the correspondent for NRC Handelsblad, a leading Dutch newspaper." ca5/5/2017
$1m in Israeli Aid for UNESCO Cut over Jerusalem ResolutionIMEMC - "Israel said, on Wednesday, that it will cut back $1 million in aid for UNESCO, in response to a recent resolution which is critical of Israeli policy in Jerusalem...The Israeli Minister of Culture and Sport, Miri Regev, called on the government to close the UNESCO headquarters in Jerusalem and confiscate the building." CA5/5/2017
Gas negotiations to start with Israel? Nesma Nowar - Al Ahram "An appeal by Egypt has been rejected by a Swiss court that decided to uphold a previous ruling by a French court that ordered Egyptian energy companies to pay $2 billion in compensation to the state- owned Israel Electric Corporation (IEC), an Israeli energy company. The fine is compensation to IEC for the Egyptian companies halting gas supplies to it." ca 5/5/2017
Hillel International: Who`s Afraid of Breaking the Silence?Richard Silverstein - Tikun Olam "Last year, a new Israeli initiative, Mosaic, founded by pro-settler minister and Netanyahu political rival, Naftali Bennett, offered $66-million to three Jewish groups including Chabad and Hillel. Despite its name’s connotations, Mosaic was meant to combat what the Israeli far-right views as anti-Israel discourse on campus. Hillel received $22-million of the overall grant. As a result, the organization’s priorities have become even closer aligned with Israeli super-nationalists than they were before.An example of this is the annual speaking tour organized by the anti-Occupation Israeli NGO, Breaking the Silence." ca5/5/2017
In Israel`s official portrait, only Jewish lives matterMichael Schaeffer Omer-Man - +972 - "The idea being that a state which sees, counts, serves, and protects all of its citizens equally, irrespective of ethnicity or creed, would destroy Israel as we know it — Israel the Jewish state, which belongs only to its Jewish citizens." - id 3/5/2017
Salt Houses, new book on Palestinian experienceRay Hanania - The Arab Daily News - "Hala Alyan has written a phenomenal book that shares the experiences of a Palestinian family from Nablus, told from multiple perspectives as the family is scattered throughout the Middle East and the West." - id 3/5/2017
Jewish Israeli killed by soldiers after alleged stabbing attemptRoi Yanovsky & Elisha Ben Kimon - Ynet - A 19 year old Jewish Israeli was shot and mortally wounded by soldiers at the Hizma checkpoint. The soldiers assert he was trying to stab one of them. He was an inhabitant of Pisgat Ze`ev, one of the Israeli neighborhoods (effectively settlements) built on confiscated Palestinian land in East Jerusalem. [There are two possible interpretations: 1) For some unknown reason he truly tried to stab soldiers at the checkpoint. 2) The over-panicking soldiers killed an innocent man, offering the version that they acted in self-defense; in similar cases where the victim is a Palestinian, the soldiers` version is usually accepted unquestioningly. ak] 2/5/2017
Hamas unveils new charter, accepts 1967 borders for future Palestinian stateMa`an - “Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea. However, without compromising its rejection of the Zionist entity and without relinquishing any Palestinian rights, Hamas considers the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital along the lines of the 4th of June 1967, with the return of the refugees and the displaced to their homes from which they were expelled, to be a formula of national consensus,” the charter read. [bz]2/5/2017
In Israel`s official portrait, only Jewish lives matterMichael Schaeffer Omer-Man - +972 - A new government report published on the eve of Israel’s Independence Day only concerns itself with infant mortality statistics and life expectancy of Jewish citizens. What does that say about Israel’s attitude towards non-Jews? [ry]1/5/2017
Hamas to amend controversial charter in bid to ease tiesAFP - Ynet - After years of internal debate, the party leadership is to publish a supplementary charter at a conference in Qatar on Monday that will formally accept the idea of a state in the territories occupied by Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967. The new document defines the movement’s goals as “political and not religious,” easing its entry into the Palestine Liberation Organization, headed by Abbas. [bz for dn]30/4/2017
U.S. Says Leftist Groups Under Fire From Netanyahu Are `Vital Part of Functioning Democracy`Amir Tibon - Haaretz - U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Wednesday that human rights groups such as Breaking the Silence and B`Tselem are an important part of "any functioning civil society." "I don’t think it’s necessarily for us to speak to who the prime minister of Israel decides to meet with," Toner said. "But I think we would regard it as important that any functioning civil society has these types of groups and the diverse viewpoints. [bz]29/4/2017
Palestinian refugees are under attack in Lebanon again Duaa Ardat - Mondoweiss "News reports said a battle had broken out between the Fatah movement and a mysterious extremist named Bilal Badr and his followers. Many people were fleeing the camp under the hail of the shelling; others were stuck in their homes, afraid of being hit by random shots. The Lebanese Army was on high alert at the entrances of the camp. In an agreement with the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Lebanese Army agreed to stay out of the Palestinian camps, but we fear that if the fighting gets too out of hand, they will enter anyway, and then we will have another Nahr El- Bared (a camp in the north that was almost completely destroyed in a fight to rid it of extremist elements). The Lebanese media call Ein El-Helweh the “zone without laws,” but it is home to more than 100,000 people (about half of whom are Palestinian). " ca27/4/2017
IOF demolish bedouin village for 112th timePNN - Palestine News Network - "Al-Araqeeb is one of 35 Bedouin villages considered “unrecognized” by the Israeli authorities. Rights groups said that the demolition of al-Araqeeb and other unrecognized Bedouin villages is a central Israeli policy aimed at removing the indigenous Palestinian population from the Negev and transferring them to government-zoned townships to make room for the expansion of Israeli settlement outposts." - id 26/4/2017
A visit to Saint George Church in BurqinMaria C. Khoury- The Arab Daily News - "Saint George is the most beloved saint in the whole Middle East and the patron saint of Taybeh in particular and Palestine in general." - id 26/4/2017
President Rivlin: `Seeing Every Criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism is dangerous, fundamentally wrong` Ha`aretz/Jewish Chronicle: In his speech at the Holocuast Memorial Day, President Rivlin stated that it is `fundamentally wrong` to think that `every Israel-hating leader is a Hitler and any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism`. In Rivlin`s view, `this approach is dangerous for us as a nation and as a people`. Chemi Shalev of Ha`aretz remarked:`Rivlin Uses Holocaust Day to Challenge Netanyahu’s Darkness and Despair. [ak]25/4/2017
Israel Accepts Chinese Demand Not to Employ Chinese Laborers in Settlements Barak Ravid and Yotam Berger - Haaretz - The official reason given by the Chinese was concern for the workers` personal safety, but officials at the Israeli Foreign Ministry expressed the view that the real reason was political, relating to the fact that China and the rest of the international community view the settlements as illegal and their locations as occupied territory. [bz]25/4/2017
Netanyahu warns German FM against meeting left-wing NGOsItamar Eichner - Ynet - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued an ultimatum to German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, conditioning their meeting on Gabriel not meeting as planned with representatives of Breaking the Silence and B`Tselem organizations. Gabriel responded saying that it would be "regrettable" if Netanyahu cancelled the meeting due to what Gabriel describes as "completely normal" encounter. "You can`t get a proper and comprehensive picture in any country if you only meet in government offices." [bz] 25/4/2017
CIA Fights Disclosure of Secret Aid to IsraelGrant Smith - AntiWar - Legality of aid uncertain amidst public opposition [ry]24/4/2017
Israel-Europe gas deal sparks criticismYlenia Gostoli - Al Jazeera - Palestinians living under occupation will `continue to be further brutalised` by expansion of Israel`s gas industry [ry]24/4/2017
Holocaust survivors’ situation is a stain on Israeli societyYehuda Shohat - Ynet - We don’t always have the power to make a real change, but when we have a government whose ministers and MKs are more concerned about their seat than about their citizens’ wellbeing, the power is in our hands [ry]24/4/2017
What prompted Assad to use sarin gas?Yacov Ben Efrat - Challenge - "The use of chemical weapons in Idlib`s Khan Shaykhun has upended this consensus, which had given Assad immunity from both the Social Left - lovers of refugees and the Palestinians - and the anti-Islamic, xenophobic Right." - id 21/4/2017
Jewish Group Releases Blacklist of U.S. Professors Who Back Academic Boycott of Israel Judy Maltz - Haaretz "AMCHA`s list, which includes hundreds of names, comes weeks after Israel barred entry to supporters of boycott. `Knesset travel ban is toothless, unless there are lists,` professor says. Barely three weeks after the Knesset passed controversial legislation that would deny entry into Israel to any foreigners who publicly support a boycott of the country, a small but vocal Jewish organization that fights anti-Israel activism on American college campuses published a list Wednesday of all the professors in the United States who have ever called for an academic boycott of Israel." ca19/4/2017
Sinai festival tackles Egyptian issues through theaterYoussra el-Sharkawy - Al-Monitor “By establishing this festival, we wanted to respond in a cultural way to all the terrorist attacks that have recently taken place, because culture and arts are our way to enlighten the minds of people,” Mazen El-Gharabawy, festival president, told Al-Monitor." ca 19/4/2017
Will Birthright Kowtow To Israel’s Right-wing Government? Rachael Stryer- The Forward "I’m active in the Stanford Hillel and deeply engaged with the conversation about Israel and with Israel advocacy on campus.So what’s the catch? I am a strong supporter of the two-state solution as the only way to secure Israel’s future as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people and to guarantee the rights of the Palestinian people. I see the occupation and the entrenchment and expansion of the settlement movement as a threat to these principles. Because of this, I make the personal choice not to buy products manufactured in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.According to a new law, this position means that I could potentially be banned from entering Israel." ca 19/4/2017
Protesting the Technion`s `Arms trading course` Shahaf Weisbein - Hamushim/Coalition of Women for Peace - As part of the Global day of Action on Military Spending, Hamushim activists delivered to the Haifa Technion hundreds of letters petitioning against their arms trading course “Defense Strategy for International Markets”, reminding that “Israeli military industries fuel conflicts around the world, and their products are key to almost all mass killers, dictators and those involved in genocides today." [ak]18/4/2017
NYT amends Op-ed by Barghouti, clarifies he’s a convicted terroristYnet - The initial text of the op-ed referred to Barghouti as a "Palestinian leader and parliamentarian," attracting fierce criticism for the crucial key omissions of Barghouti’s past record. The Israeli Prison Services is also checking if the Op-ed was transferred from Barghouti by letter to his lawyer or written by Barghouti’s wife. They will then decide whether to take disciplinary measures against Barghouti [who was meanwhile put in solitary -bz].18/4/2017
Chief Rabbi: When the Messiah comes, Arabs will be expelled Richard Silverstein - Tikkun Olam - The Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef stated that all non-Jews should be expelled from Israel, except for those who "accept the seven Noahide laws"; these would be allowed to stay, but not as equal citizens - rather, they would live "in servitude to the Jews". The Rabbi expressed regret that the above program could not be implemented at the present time, due to the opposition of the non-Jewish world. It would, however, be carried out in full with the coming of the Messiah - a time to which the Rabbi looked forward with great joy and anticipation. Until then, the Rabbi advised Israelis to content themselves with killing out of hand any Palestinian found in possession of any kind of weapon. [ak]18/4/2017
Undercover Israeli Troops Detained by Palestinian Police Gili Cohen and Jack Khoury - Haaretz - The incident is unusual as rarely do members of the elite undercover unit get discovered while on mission. Soldiers do on occasion enter Palestinian towns by mistake and are then returned to the army, also with the coordination of the civil administration. However, this time, the soldiers were in Nablus on an operation, but were forced to end it and identify as soldiers once they were detained by the Palestinians. [bz for dn]16/4/2017
Swiss lawmakers roll back anti-BDS lawAdri Nieuwhof - EI - On 8 March, the lower house of the Swiss parliament passed an anti-BDS bill put forward by the right-wing People’s Party. But now the foreign affairs committee of the upper house has stripped all references to BDS and the Middle East from the text. The upper house will debate the amended measure in May. The motion passed by the lower house urges the government to ban any funding to nongovernmental groups “implicated in racism, anti-semitism, incitement to hatred or BDS campaigns.” Switzerland now joins the European Union, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden in resisting pressure to outlaw or ostracize BDS as a tool to defend the rights of the Palestinian people. [bz for dn]16/4/2017
Palestine Museum of Natural History opens in BethlehemMazin Qumsiyeh - We opened the Palestine Museum of Natural History and our botanical gardens (part of the Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability at Bethlehem University) to the public. This is a dream come true, a culmination of countless hours and countless volunteers. We started preparing and working here in Mar Andrea in August 2014. We had a strategy to officially open the museum after five years but here we are with an opening ceremony in about half the time. We consider this a Palestinian national accomplishment. [ak] 15/4/2017
Where the Rubber Meets the RoadMike Whitney - Information Clearing House "You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that the case against Syrian President Bashar al Assad is extremely weak. The chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun, has produced no smoking gun, no damning evidence, in fact, no evidence at all. Similar to the Russia hacking fiasco, (not a shred of evidence so far) the western media and the entire political class has made the case for attacking a sovereign country on the thin gruel of a few videos of an incident that took place in a location that is currently under the control of militant groups connected to al Qaida. That’s pretty shaky grounds for a conviction, don’t you think?" ca14/4/2017
Libyan chemicals in Syria Editorial - Al Ahram "Now why is it that there was no reaction, here, to those serious claims made by Hersh, famed for the earth shattering journalistic coups he has made since the US’ war in Vietnam? He directly implicates Hillary Clinton, at the time she served as US secretary of state, in the transfer of toxic gas and other weapons from Libya to Syria via Turkey from the period between 2012 and 2013. He adds that a number of Arab parties funded the operation that was carried out under the supervision of the CIA. The operation was to funnel internationally banned chemical weapons into the hands of terrorist groups that the US administration called the “moderate” Syrian opposition, so that they could stage a chemical weapons attack against civilians that the US and its media machine would blame on the Syrian regime and use as a pretext for a military intervention to overthrow Al-Assad, thereby satisfying the aims of the Arab funders as well as the ambitions of both Turkey and Israel." ca14/4/2017
Israel prosecutes a Palestinian poet over Youtube poemNigel Wilson - AlJazeera "With a flick of her wrist, Dareen Tatour turned a page in her notebook, smoothed the paper and began reading aloud in a slow, steady cadence."The charges are like pieces of clothing. They brought me these clothes and forced me to wear them, from my toes to my head," she said, before bursting into excited laughter at the novelty of her work being translated into English.The lines are from A Poet Behind Bars, a piece that Tatour wrote in an Israeli prison in November 2015 after being charged with incitement to violence and supporting a "terrorist" organisation.Tatour, a Palestinian poet, has since had ample time to work on new material - both during her three-month jail term and, more recently, while under house arrest in the Israeli city of Kiryat Ono, far from her hometown of Reine. "I have been writing a lot about my arrest and everything that happened to me," Tatour told Al Jazeera." ca 14/4/2017
Campaign prods Hezbollah to address assassination blamed on IsraelRoi Kais - Ynet - "An anonymous online campaign aimed at Hezbollah leaders seems to goad them to address the allegations that they were responsible for the assassination of the former commander Mustafa Badreddine." - id12/4/2017
When shooting a teen in the back is a `professional error`John Brown and Noam Rotem - +972 - "An IDF brigade commander shot a Palestinian teen who threw a rock at his jeep, while the boy was running away, and then left him bleeding on the road." - id 12/4/2017
As Hamas Executes Alleged Palestinian Collaborators, Shin Bet Evades ResponsibilityRichard Silverstein - Tikun Olam - "Fate of betrayed Shin Bet collaborators doesn’t concern the Israeli spy agency. - id12/4/2017
On 69th anniversary, PLO remembers `heartbreaking` Deir Yassin massacreMa`an - “After sixty-nine years, the Deir Yassin massacre still remains an important reminder of Israel’s systematic measures of displacement, destruction, dispossession, and dehumanization,” Ashrawi said. “The calculated efforts by Israel to completely erase the history, narrative and physical presence of the Palestinian people will not be ignored or forgotten. It is time for Israel’s lethal impunity to come to an end.” “We urge all members of the international community to hold Israel to account immediately, to curb its ongoing violations against the Palestinians, and to support our nonviolent and diplomatic efforts to seek justice and protection in all international legal venues," she added. [bz] 11/4/2017
Open letter to Jeremy Corbyn: "If Jackie Walker & Ken Livingstone are Anti-Semitic, then so are we" Tony Greenstein`s Blog - Dear Jeremy, We attach an Open Letter to you signed by 145 members of the [British Labour] Party, Jews and non-Jews, all socialists, who are alarmed by the treatment of left- wing supporters of Palestine facing victimisation within the party. We began collecting signatures before the NCC’s decision to extend Ken Livingstone’s suspension and your failure to defend him. Of other party members also enduring disciplinary, the most high- profile of these is Jackie Walker. We do not believe that the actions that Jackie has been accused of are, in any way, antisemitic. However, if the Labour Party is to employ an expansive definition of antisemitism that encompasses Jackie’s actions, then all 145 of us too are guilty.[ak]11/4/2017
Australia bars visit by Palestinian prisoner of conscienceAli Abunimah - EI - Australia’s policy of barring Palestinians based on their views aligns the country even more closely with Israel, which earlier this year passed legislation barring entry to advocates of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) measures against the state. On Monday, Israel barred entry to Anuar Majluf, the head of the Palestine Federation of Chile. The South American nation has one of the world’s biggest Palestinian diaspora communities. [bz]11/4/2017
Censored in Israel, praised by Merkel: the novelist who is a ‘threat to Jewish identity’Peter Beaumont - The Guardian - Dorit Rabinyan’s story of an affair across the Israeli-Palestinian divide became a cause célèbre. As the book is published in Britain, she talks about her year in the firing line [ry]10/4/2017
Basel Ghattas officially sentenced to two years in prisonIlana Curiel - Ynet - A Be`er Sheva judge officially accepts former MK Basel Ghattas` plea agreement paving the way for Ghattas for begin a two year prison sentence; Judge: `I don`t think we give enough weight to the offense of breach of trust, where someone exploits their immunity. This is a crime which really bothers me` [ry]10/4/2017
Jerusalem mayor cancels on eve of California university talkCharlotte Silver - EI - “By failing to provide the necessary public forum and properly publicize my lecture, the university has contributed to the continuing marginalization and demonization of the Jewish state”, was the excuse. -- A year ago, student groups demonstrated against Barkat’s talk at San Francisco State University in protest of Israel’s policies violating Palestinian rights in occupied East Jerusalem.[bz for dn]9/4/2017
What prompted Assad to use sarin gas?Yacov Ben Efrat - Challenge - In the early days of the Syrian uprising, before the name ISIS fell from anyone’s lips, Assad presented the following paradigm to the masses that opposed his terrorist regime: "Assad - or we will burn the country!" Assad promised and Assad delivered. He has raised the ante with the generous help of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah—and with the passive collusion of the rest of the world. We needn`t go back in time and blame the previous president (the present one makes sure to do so at every opportunity) in order to explain Trump’s earlier weakness against the war crimes in Syria. Already in 2013, Trump expressed his firm opposition to Obama`s policy of the Red Line when he tweeted: "Do not attack Syria, correct America." [bz for dn]9/4/2017
Fatah’s Barghouti pushes hunger strike for 3,500 prisonersShlomi Eldar - Al Monitor "On April 17, about 3,500 Fatah prisoners incarcerated in Israeli prisons plan to begin a hunger strike. The strike is being organized by the organization’s high-ranking member Marwan Barghouti, who was sentenced in 2004 to five consecutive life terms and is being held in a prison in the south of Israel." ca 7/4/2017
Hamas `would accept Palestine state within 1967 borders`Middle East Eye - AlMayadeen, a pro-Hezbollah Beirut-based TV channel, leaked a copy of the document on Monday. Although the document refers to Palestine as the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan river, it says the group considers a state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip a “national consensus formula” while emphasizing the return of displaced Palestinians and their descendants. The document says Hamas is not at war with Jews but the group is waging a battle against the “occupation and the Zionist project”. [ak]4/4/2017
Basel Ghattas: Why I brought phones to Palestinians in prisonMiddle East Eye - "In fact, it was a personal act motivated by humanitarian and moral reasons. Palestinian "security prisoners" are denied the right to communicate with their families and relatives by phone - a clear violation of the recently ratified UN `Nelson Mandela` rules for the treatment of prisoners. I several times took up with the prison authorities and the minister in charge the demand that Palestinian prisoners get att least one public phone in each section of the prison under the full surveillance of the prison authorities - as is the practice with (Jewish) "criminal prisoners". To no avail. It was in this context that I finally decided to help Palestinian prisoners communicate with their families." [For the next two years, Ghattas himself will now be denied the possibility of communicating with his family, unless somebody succeeds in smuggling a mobile phone to him. ak]4/4/2017
Will EU take the lead on two-state solution?Uri Savir - Al-Monitor - EU Middle East policy planners are exploring a two-state solution initiative that would probably be launched in June. In essence, the initiative would propose an international peace conference with the participation of the Quartet (EU, US, UN and Russia), the Arab League and the parties based on the Oslo agreement, and the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002. [bz] 4/4/2017
Egypt’s Sissi said set to present Trump with Mideast peace planTamar Pileggi - Times of Israel - The Dubai-based al-Khaleej Times said Trump would respond to the Jordanian-Egyptian initiative during his meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas tentatively scheduled for later this month in Washington. It said the Trump administration aims to host an international peace conference on the Israeli-Palestinian issue in September. However, it is unlikely that Israel would agree to such moves, particularly the settlement freeze. Recent talks with the Trump administration failed to produce a formal agreement on limited building, leaving the Netanyahu government vowing to build, but with restraint, in order not to antagonize Trump. [bz] 4/4/2017
Raja Shehadeh: ‘Once people experience liberation, it’s not easily forgotten’Andrew Anthony - The Guardian - The outspoken Palestinian lawyer and author on reaching out to the young, political change in the Middle East and his optimism about the future [ry] 3/4/2017
Israeli cafe orders employees to stop speaking Arabic on the jobYael Marom - +972 - A branch of Aroma Espresso Bar in central Israel tells its Arab workers that speaking their mother-tongue is offensive to some of the customers [ry]3/4/2017
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