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Al-Haq urges adoption of "Occupied Territories Bill" in the Irish Parliament Shawan Jabarin - Al-Haq / IMEMC - The "Control of Economic Activities (Occupied Territories)" Bill has reached an advance stage in the Irish Parliament, but Ireland`s Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland, Micheál Martin, argues that the bill is "not in compliance with Ireland’s obligations under European Union law". In a letter to Martin, Al-Haq agues that prohibition of the importation and sale of settlement produce is not only in full conformity which EU law and policy- as affirmed by eminent legal experts such as Professor James Crawford of the International Court of Justice and Professor Takis Tridimas of King’s College London. Al-Haq further noted that this bill was introduced by Fianna Fáil, Taoiseach Martin`s own party, and that the Fianna Fáil 2020 elections manifesto specifically called for promoting this bill as well as an Irish recognition of the State of Palestine "as a method by which Israel’s deeply entrenched and pervasive culture of impunity for international crimes and human rights violations may be combatted". [ak 22/9/2020
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Israeli police know how to pacify suspected attackers — when they’re JewishOren Ziv - +972 - When an Israeli reportedly tried to ram his car into anti-Bibi protesters, the police peacefully subdued him. Palestinians often aren`t so lucky. [bz]22/9/2020
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How low will Netanyahu go to save himself as his legal cases heat up?GIL HOFFMAN - Jerusalem Post - It is ironic that Netanyahu’s adviser got caught allegedly endangering the public while in the act of attempting to paint the protesters doing just that. This was not the first attempt by the prime minister`s team to make the demonstrators look bad. [bz]22/9/2020
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Leaks show Chelsea owner Abramovich funded Israeli settler groupOliver Holmes - The Guardian - The billionaire Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, owner of the Chelsea football club, was granted Israeli citizenship in 2018. He has been an avid philanthropist in Israel, openly donating huge sums to research and development projects and investing in local firms. However, four companies he either owns or controls in the British Virgin Islands have contributed more than $100m (£74m) to Elad, a group that supports settlements in the Palestinian neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem called Silawn. Those figures would mean the British football club owner was the biggest single donor over the past 15 years to Elad, a Hebrew word which means “God’s eternal faith”. Elad, similar to other settler organisations, has expanded by buying Palestinian houses and using controversial Israeli laws that allow the state to take over Palestinian property. Elad also runs an archaeological site in Silwan called the City of David , which was n criticised by European Union diplomats as seeking to ignore the ancient city’s diverse history in favour of “an exclusively Jewish narrative, while detaching the place from its Palestinian surroundings”. [ak]22/9/2020
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Desert Storm: Former Israeli defense officials` Persian Gulf entanglementTomer Gonen and Hagar Ravet - Calcalist - Court filings in a business dispute expose attempts to sell unauthorized cyber tools to a country Israel has no official ties with [ry] 21/9/2020
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Israel-UAE Deal Requires New US-Funded Arms RaceJason Ditz - AntiWar - "Fresh off of signing a peace deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Israel submitted a list of demands to the US for a substantial amount of arms, estimated at $8 billion in value. This is nominally to ensure Israel retains qualitative superiority after the UAE buys American F-35s" [ry] 21/9/2020
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Opposition chief Lapid: `We still need to talk to the Palestinians - but Netanyahu will not do it`Ynet News - "Netanyahu is saying we have achieved agreements with moderate Sunni countries without paying the price of negotiating with the Palestinians. What I say is it`s not a price. It`s an Israeli interest" said Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid. "I think we need to move forward and discuss all this with the Palestinians, under the two-state solution. I don`t think the present government is going to do anything about it. Netanyahu has no intention of discussing anything with the Palestinians" - because many of the premier`s right-wing voters are against the creation of a Palestinian state. Lapid also pointed to the legal woes of the prime minister, who is currently on trial for corruption, as a further reason peace talks were off the agenda. On the other hand, Lapid said that for negotiations to succeed, the Palestinians must drop the "unrealistic" demand for the Right of Return. [ak] 15/9/2020
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The false promise of prosperity and peace based on Normalization will prove to be a destructive mirage Hanan Ashrawi - PLO Dept. of Public Diplomacy - The US administration has used all its political and economic might to extort, pressure, and bully Arab and other states to normalize Israeli colonization and trample on foundational principles of international law, including the tacit endorsement of the war crime of annexation. The path to real peace must be founded on mutual respect and adherence to international law. By contrast, the false promise of prosperity and peace based on the US-Israeli approach will prove itself a destructive mirage that will only further destabilize the region. Normalization of states in the region with Israel will not change the essence of this conflict, which is the systemic denial of the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to freedom and sovereignty. The US administration can continue to exercise its power of coercion in the region to serve its electoral needs while applying cruel pressure on the Palestinian people. However, such an arrogant and ignorant approach will not bring the Palestinian people to their knees.[ak]15/9/2020
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Netanyahu earned his moment in the sun – and the public distrust that clouds itHaviv Rettig Gur - Times of Israel - In Washington, PM Netanyahu celebrated the deals to be singed with the UAE and Bahrain as "a tremendous watershed in the history of Israel, and of the Middle East". Yet Netanyahu’s very flight to Washington was politically problematic. Hundreds of thousands of Israeli households, which do broadly support Netanyahu’s deals by vast margins, nevertheless consider their immediate economic and health crisis the priority. [ak] Netanyahu flew to Washington the day after his government declared a nationwide lockdown to stem soaring infection rates — and set its start to Friday, after he returns from the US.15/9/2020
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Bahraini opposition blasts normalization deal with IsraelAaron Boxerman - Times of Israel - Unlike UAE, which saw little backlash to accord with Israel, Bahrain has history of internal political opposition. “The Bahraini decision to normalize with the Zionist enemy is illegitimate from both sides — because the Bahraini government does not possess the legitimacy to normalize, and because the Zionist entity is itself illegitimate,” al-Wefaq, once Bahrain’s largest official political party, whose head is now imprisoned, said in a statement. “Bahrainis see Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Palestine. Those who normalize are traitors…the Bahraini government does not reflect popular opinion,” said Baqer Darwish, who directs the Bahrain Forum for Human Rights.Eight “political societies,” which serve as de facto political parties in Bahrain - ranging from leftists, to al-Wefaq, to the Bahrain branch of the Muslim Brotherhood - jointly declared their rejection of "all forms of normalization with the Zionist entity" and their demand that the government of Bahrain join in that rejection. It remains unclear how the majority of the Bahraini public will respond to the normalization deal, but some surveys indicate there could be little support for the accord. 15/9/2020
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White House ceremony for agreements with UAE and Bahrain derided as ‘shameless propaganda’Chemi Shalev - Ha`aretz / The Guardian - Israel and its two Gulf partners are simply coming out of the closet with the clandestine strategic ties they’ve maintained for years. Trump and Netanyahu are artificially inflating the significance of the accords and elevating them to historic breakthrough status to aggrandise themselves, improve their polls and draw attention away from their monumental failures in the battle against the coronavirus, war against the rule of law and efforts to erode their countries’ democracy. It’s a shameless propaganda ploy, is all. [ak]15/9/2020
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Protest at UAE Embassy in PretoriaTisesetso Magama - Africa4Palestin - The “Abraham Accord” is an agreement in which the UAE and Bahrain will depart from their decades long commitment of boycotting and not having relations with Israel until the regime ends its unlawful occupation of Palestine. The move by the UAE and Bahrain to sign this agreement is rightly being called a ‘stab in the back of the oppressed Palestinians’ as it effectively allows Israel to continue with its unlawful occupation of Palestinian lands while maintaining relations and facing no consequences for its illegal actions. The human rights organization #Africa4Palestine joins the Palestinians and the South African government in not approving this agreement. We will be holding a lawful protest at the UAE Embassy in Pretoria, calling on the UAE should be on the right side of history with those countries who are holding Israel accountable for its human rights abuses instead of rewarding the Israeli regime. [ak]15/9/2020
Israeli government to impose second Covid-19 national lockdownOliver Holmes - The Guardian - Three-week lockdown will make Israel the first country to reimpose such stringent restrictions on a national scale [ry] 14/9/2020
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UAE welcomes Israeli banks that finance theft of Palestinian landTamara Nassar - EI - "The United Arab Emirates insists that its agreement to normalize relations with Israel was a means to halt Israel’s plans to annex occupied West Bank land. Yet this month the UAE is welcoming two of the largest financiers of illegal Israeli settlements to its capital. Delegations from Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi will visit Dubai and Abu Dhabi to meet with government officials and heads of the largest banks in the UAE, according to Tel Aviv daily Haaretz" [ry] 14/9/2020
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As Netanyahu heads back to DC, settlers now find themselves on the outsideJacob Magid - The Times of Israel - Settlement leaders were euphoric during PM’s trip to see Trump’s peace plan launched. Now, their cherished annexation is suspended, and they’re accusing the PM of deception [ry] 14/9/2020
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Israel’s climate justice movement has a colonialism problemMor Gilboa - +972 - Climate justice movements worldwide consider anti-racism and ending oppression integral to their struggle. So why aren`t Israeli environment activists speaking up for Palestinians? [ry] 14/9/2020
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Saudi King to Trump: we stick to the Arab Peace Initiative, Reuters - Saudi Arabia’s King Salman told U.S. President Donald Trump in a phone call that the kingdom was eager to achieve a fair and permanent solution to the Palestinian issue, which he said was the main starting point of the Arab Peace Initiative, initiated by Saudi Arabia and adopted by all members of the Arab League in 2002. The Arab Peace Initiative made peace and normalization with Israel conditional upon Israeli withdrawal from all territories occupied in 1967 and the creation of an independent Palestinian state. Conversely, in their recent deal with Israel, the United Arab Emirates consented to full normalization with Israel while the occupation of Palestinian land continues. King Salman`s stnace indicates that Saudi Arabia is not about to follow the UAE`s example, beyond its single act of allowing Israeli planes to pass Saudi airspace en route to the UAE. At point might also be a generational difference between King Salman and his son and heir Muhammad who is more inclined towards normalization. [ak]8/9/2020
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EU implies Serbia, Kosovo could risk EU membership bid with Jerusalem embassyLorne Cook - Times of Israel - The European Union warned Serbia and Kosovo on Monday that they could undermine their EU membership hopes by moving their Israeli embassies to Jerusalem. “There is no EU member state with an embassy in Jerusalem,” European Commission spokesman Peter Stano said. “Any diplomatic steps that could call into question the EU’s common position on Jerusalem are a matter of serious concern and regret.” In Belgrade, Serbian officials appeared to be stepping back from the embassy pledge, with Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic saying the final decision on the Embassy move will still have to be discussed by the government and will depend on “a number of factors”. And Kosovo needs to consider not only the EU but also Turkey, with which Kosovo has long-standing ties. Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci was on the phone with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, trying to assuage Turkish concerns. [ak]8/9/2020
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Israeli Defense Minister Pushing for 5,000 New Settlement Homes in West BankDave DeCamp - AntiWar - Netanyahu and Gantz at odds over power-sharing deal [ry] 7/9/2020
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Israel’s Friends at the RNC: ‘Christian Zionists’ Dictate the Agenda of the Republican PartyRamzy Baroud - CounterPunch - "The once relatively marginal impact of Christian Zionists in directly shaping US foreign policy, has morphed over the years – particularly during the Trump presidency – to define the core values of the Republican Party" [ry] 7/9/2020
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11 people, including a civilian woman, killed in undeclared Israeli bombing in SyriaY-net - According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, whose reports are considered reliable and relatively unbiased, a bombing attack in the southern Syrian province of Dara claimed the lives of eleven people, including three Syrian soldiers, seven pro-Iranian militia fighters and a civilian woman. The woman`s husband is reported to have been wounded. No one claimed official responsibility for the attack, attributed to "unknown airplanes". However, the government of Israel makes no serious effort to disclaim responsibility for this and similar attacks, and it is an official Israeli policy to prevent - or at least hinder - the creation of an Iranian military presence in Lebanon. [ak] 1/9/2020
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Israel-UAE Deal & the Two-State SolutionHussein Ibish - Arab Gulf States Institute / Geneva Initiative - Palestinian outrage is certainly understandable. The UAE, agreeing to move forward with normalization in the absence of any progress towards ending the occupation, but rather in order to forestall an annexation the Palestinians regard as outright theft, appears to have shattered the main non-violent leverage Palestinian believed they still had with Israel: the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative (API) under which Arab states` normalization with Israel was conditioned on a two-state Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. In fact, however, so much activity was already going on between Israel and several Gulf Arab countries - including not only the UAE but also Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and even Saudi Arabia - that , arguably the API had become simply a comforting illusion for Palestinians. If Arab commitment to the API was already a convenient fiction, perhaps it`s better to dispense with deception and self- deception. Moreover, history suggests that the two Arab countries which have diplomatic relations with Israel, Egypt and Jordan, have been far better able to care for specific Palestinian interests on the ground, including in Gaza, than Arab states that keep Israel at arm`s length.[ak] 25/8/2020
Did Netanyahu agree to the sale F-35 jets to UAE ?Nahum Barnea/Yoav Zitun - Yediot Aharonot/Y-net/Reuters - This morning, the well-informed senior commentator Nahum Barnea raised a storm when writing that, as part of his highly-touted deal with the United Arab Emirates, PM Netanyahu assented to the sale of American F-35 fighter jets and advanced drones to the UAE. If true, that would change a long-standing American policy established the wake of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when US vowed "to maintain Israel`s military superiority" and that no sale of advanced weapons systems would be made to any other Middle East country without Israel`s agreement. That also includes countries which signed a peace agreement with Israel, such as Egypt and Jordan. Earlier this year, Trump had publicly stated his intention to sell strategic weapons to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, but was blocked after Congress passed an arms embargo on such a sale. Netanyahu was quick to issue a denial, stating that "there was no secret clause in the Israel-UAE agreement which would see the U.S. sell the Gulf state aircraft that could end Israel`s military edge in the region". However, Netanyahu did not completley rule out that he had given that assent by other means than an explicit "secret clause". For his part, Barnea stuck to his position that Emirati Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed had conditioned the entire agreement with Israel on the multi-billion- dollar F-35 arms deal, and that if the one is written off, so would the other. [ak] 18/8/2020
Israel lobbyists force Dutch government to suspend funding of farmers’ organizationAdri Nieuwhof - The Electronic Intifada - The attack on UAWC is in line with an Israeli government strategy to undermine Palestinian organizations. Last year, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy published a report, Terrorists in Suits: The Ties Between NGOs promoting BDS and Terrorist Organizations. The report effectively sets out to smear Palestinian organizations who defend the rights of the Palestinian people. Thus, Mahmoud Nawajaa, national coordinator of the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC) was recently detained, taken from his home in the middle of the night in front of his children. He has only just been released after over three weeks. The military has issued no charges. Not so lucky is Khalida Jarrar, board member of Addameer prisoner rights organization and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. She remains in administrative detention – without charge or trial – today. UKLFI has smeared Defense for Children International – Palestine, but had to retract its allegations that DCIP provides “financial or material support to any terrorist organization” after legal action. And human rights group Al-Haq has been smeared and attacked for many years. All of these groups featured in the Terrorists in Suits report which relies “on outdated and unsubstantiated allegations,” according to al-Haq and is “premised on racist caricatures, attempting to paint Palestinian civil society organizations as essentially suspicious and violent, in order to discredit and defund them.” [bz]18/8/2020
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Emirati foreign minister said “Israel kills children.” But it’s all smiles nowAli Abunimah - EI - "On Sunday, United Arab Emirates foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan held a phone call with his Israeli counterpart. It’s all part of the UAE’s US-brokered `peace` agreement with Israel. The UAE foreign ministry spokesperson referred to the Israeli minister as `HE Gabi Ashkenazi` – which stands for `His Excellency`" [ry] 17/8/2020
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Outraged by annexation halt, settler representatives suggest time for Netanyahu to goTimes of Israel - Yamina’s Bezalel Smotrich says right must present ‘alternative leadership’ to the PM; settler chief Elhayani declares premier ‘needs to be replaced’ if he gave up on sovereignty [bz] 15/8/2020
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How the world reacted to UAE, Israel normalising diplomatic tiesAl Jazeera (and news agencies) - "Netanyahu never intended to annex" the West Bank, but the UAE is "claiming a diplomatic victory in exchange for what`s probably a lot of very valuable security cooperation from Israel. All on the backs of Palestinians, as usual." (Lisa Goldman, 972Mag) // May you never experience the agony of having your country stolen; may you never feel the pain of living in captivity under occupation; may you never witness the demolition of your home or murder of your loved ones. May you never be sold out by your "friends." (Hanan Ashrawi, PLO) // UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres "welcomes this agreement, hoping it will create an opportunity for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to re-engage in meaningful negotiations that will realise a two state-solution in line with relevant UN resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements." [bz]15/8/2020
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Behind the scenes: How the Israel-UAE deal came togetherBarak Ravid - Axios - President Trump described the phone call Thursday, in characteristic style, as "like love." But in the hours after the leaders` joint statement surprised the world, Netanyahu and MBZ offered different interpretations of its implications. MBZ called it a "roadmap" to normalization, rather than a final agreement, while Netanyahu stressed that the suspension of his annexation plan was only temporary. [bz]15/8/2020
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Call of Duty - about hasbara games under the hashtag #KeyToPeaceDaniel Lark - Jewish Currents - THIS YEAR ON Nakba Day, the annual May 15 commemoration of the mass displacement of Palestinians during the establishment of the State of Israel, Palestinians gathered on the internet to remember their history and to remind the global public of their struggle. Unable to meet in person due to Covid-19, activists arranged virtual reality tours of Gaza and the West Bank, shared personal and family stories, and promoted hashtags to mark a historic trauma and its present ramifications. The same day, a special mission appeared on the app and Facebook page of the online platform Act.IL, directing users to download a set of images and memes—already cropped into Instagram-ready squares—and then share them on social media under the hashtag #KeyToPeace. Designed to disrupt and delegitimize the observance of Nakba Day, the memes were replete with racist and violent imagery of Palestinians: pictures of suited men transforming into terrorists, photos of children dressed in camo and war paint. Hundreds of these images soon appeared online, [bz]11/8/2020
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Facebook Threatens to Censor IMEMCIMEMC - As we didn`t succeed in contacting any facebook representative [facebook without a face?-ed] we decided to publicly present to Facebook these questions: ***What exactly about our original, on-the-ground reporting about Israel-Palestine has ‘inauthentic content’ and is ‘low quality’? Please provide specific examples. ***What have we reported on our page that is false? Our reports come from on-the-ground witnesses and reporters. [bz] 11/8/2020
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How Far Can Israel Go in Trying to Erase Palestinians?Mariam Barghouti - Quds News Network - Palestinians have resisted Israeli occupation and colonisation for decades. But erasure is still a looming threat [ry] 10/8/2020
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Palestinians as ghosts: How Israel’s education system normalizes occupationGil Gertel - +972 - A study finds that while some high school textbooks touch on Israel`s control of the West Bank, students are taught little to nothing about its true nature [ry] 10/8/2020
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Netanyahu’s decline benefits pro-settler BennettMAZAL MUALEM - Al-Monitor - When Netanyahu composed his current government last April, he left out right-wing, pro-settler Yamina. But combined with the COVID-19 crisis, Netanyahu’s decision has turned out to be an unintentional gift to Bennett. With the Prime Minister falling in the polls and facing public discontent, Yamina leader Naftali Bennett, is more popular than ever. Bennett is now Seeking support from the wider public. Some two weeks ago he shrewdly founded an apolitical and all-inclusive volunteer movement with one goal: beating the coronavirus. [bz] 4/8/2020
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Former defense brass demand commission of inquiry into submarine affairThe Times of Israel - As part of lawsuit filed by anti-corruption group, affidavits urge Netanyahu be investigated in scandal over bribery in the procurement of German naval vessels [ry] 3/8/2020
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Court orders PM`s son to `cease harassing` protest leadersAFP - Ynet - Judge orders Yair Netanyahu to stop harassing demonstrators against his father for the next 6 months after he posted their addresses and encouraged followers to picket their homes [ry] 3/8/2020
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