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TitleDescriptionDate
The US freed Pollard - Israel should release Mordechai VanunuAdam Keller - Gush Shalom - Following intensive and prolonged lobbying by the Government of Israel, the United States this week lifted the restrictions placed on Jonathan Pollard, who had provided classified material to an Israeli agent and served a long prison term on charges of espionage. No longer forbidden to leave the US, Pollard is likely to move to Israel. At the same time, the Government of Israel is itself maintaining the same kind of restrictions on "The Nuclear Whitleblower" Mordechai Vanunu who provided to the London Sunday Times information on nulcear arms manufacture at the Dimona Nuclear Pile. Though having long since finished serving his 16-year prions term, Vanunu is forbidden to leave Usrael, a country from which he feels deeply alienated. Mordechai Vanunu has spent more than half his lifetime paying for an act which broke Israeli law but which he felt was morally justified – a view shared by many others. He needs and deserves to be set free, to be allowed to fly off to Norway – a country which already years ago agreed to host him and where he can expect to be welcomed and live the rest of his life among friends. All that is needed to enable it is a single signature by Israel`s Interior Minister. All that prevents it is the lingering narrow-minded vindictiveness of the authorities. [ak] 24/11/2020
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It is time for a progressive American foreign policyEmily - IfNotNow - For four years, we’ve watched the Trump administration’s open support for the Israeli far-right’s agenda, which has revealed the underlying failure of American foreign policy in the region. We’ve watched AIPAC weaponize Jewish identity and false accusations of antisemitism to protect the Israeli government from any accountability and deny freedom to the Palestinian people. It doesn’t have to be this way. It is time for a new direction of American foreign policy — that’s why we must come together to push for Rep. Joaquin Castro to be the new chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. [ak] 24/11/2020
What Biden Can Do About the Israeli-Palestinian Mess He’ll InheritJames Zogby - Arab American Institute - The Nation - The Biden Administration must put muscle behind the Democratic Party platform pledges to oppose Israeli settlement construction and any moves toward annexation (including the “creeping annexation” involved in seizures of Palestinian land and home demolitions). (...) The Biden team must rescind the Trump administration’s refusal to call the territories “occupied.” Steps supportive of Palestinians should include restarting aid to the Palestinians and UNWRA, and reopening the Palestinian Mission in Washington, D.C. and the US Consulate in East Jerusalem - the latter coupled with the insistence that Palestinians from across the West Bank be allowed unimpeded access to the consulate’s services and that the consulate will one day serve as US embassy to the future State of Palestine. (...) It would be wise to take a multilateral approach to Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. For example, to convene on the 30th anniversary of the Madrid Peace Conference an international peace conference to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, involving the support of the four Arab countries that now have peace agreements with Israel. . Biden’s people should empower the Quartet on the Middle East (the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia) to engage in mediation — without Washington dominating the process and ignoring the role of the other parties. [ak]24/11/2020
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Beatings and forced medication: Asylum seekers in Israel report inhuman conditionsHadar Gil-Ad - Ynet - A report by the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants NGO describes subhuman conditions and treatment akin to torture such as being hit with belts, lack of contact with the outside world and just moments of free time in the open air [ry] 23/11/2020
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B’Tselem Director in European Parliament: Europe must move from words to actionAmit Gilutz - B’Tselem - Hagai El-Ad, B’Tselem’s Executive Director, told the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights of the urgent need for determined European action on Israeli violation of Palestinians human rights. A real action, as opposed to words, can be implemented by effectively using Europe’s considerable leverage. Clearly, the decision to not do so is a political choice. It undermines Europe’s commitment to human rights and weakens the rules-based international order. It normalizes oppression and dehumanizes Palestinians, because – as things now stand – no one is being held accountable for the Palestinians` permanent subjugation. [ak]18/11/2020
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Reassured by Biden Win, Palestinians Will Resume Cooperation With IsraelDavid M. Halbfinger and Adam Rasgon - New York Times - Palestinian leaders had abundant reasons to resume cooperation with Israel and few reasons not to. Their banks, whose liquidity had been depleted by the self-inflicted cash crunch, had informed them they could no longer lend the Palestinian Authority money, endangering its ability to operate. International donors, chiefly in Europe, had been insisting that the Palestinians resume accepting the tax transfers from Israel before seeking further aid. Israeli and Palestinian experts also said that Democrats seeking to facilitate a return to a peace process under Mr. Biden have urged the Palestinians to take specific steps to show that they will not be obstructionist if the new administration engages on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. [bz]18/11/2020
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EU Mission Visits Site of Planned Israeli Settlement Expansion; Heckled by Right-Wing IsraelisIMEMC - Seeking to use the last months of the Trump Presidency to create some more "accomplished facts", the Israeli authorities announced the intended construction of 1257 new settler housing units at the highly contentious Givat Hamatos site in East Jerusalem. As pointed out by Peace Now, the new construction would complete the encirclement of the Palestinian Beit Tsafa and entirely cut it off from the West Bank. In cooperation with Peace Now and other Israeli civil society organizations, an extensive EU delegation visited the site - including representatives from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden - as well as from the non-EU Norway and Switzerland. Speaking for all of them, Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, said the proposed settlement, “forms part of a worrying trend where Israel continues its policy of advancing settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory”, and that "it would cause serious damage to the prospects for a viable and contiguous Palestinian State. More broadly, it will threaten the viability of a negotiated two-state solution, in line with the internationally agreed parameters and with Jerusalem as the future capital of two states.” As they were leaving the site, they were confronted by a ban of extreme right Israelis, accusing them of being "antisemites" and asserting that the land scheduled for settling was "Jewish land according to the Bible". In accordance with diplomatic protocol, the EU representatives declined to debate with them. [ak] 18/11/2020
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Hey Joe: a Memo to Biden on Palestine Stanley L. Cohen - CounterPunch - “It’s not difficult to discern Joe Biden’s myopic cheer for Israel over the course of almost half a century of his legislative applause. Anything but nuanced, or disguised, time and time again he voted aye for all pro- Israeli resolutions and nay for any that might begin to temper the systemic corrupt imbalance between the occupier and the occupied" [ry] 16/11/2020
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How did Israeli pundits become more right-wing than Fox News?Edo Konrad - +972 - By spreading conspiracy theories about U.S. voter fraud, Netanyahu`s media allies are enabling similar claims to be made in the next Israeli election [ry] 16/11/2020
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Biden’s Win Means a Demotion for Netanyahu New York Times - JERUSALEM — President Trump’s defeat has left Israel and its longtime prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on the receiving end of an abrupt demotion.Overnight, Biden’s victory effectively downgraded Israel’s ranking on the list of United States foreign - policy priorities, diminished Mr. Netanyahu’s stature on the global stage and undercut his argument to restive Israeli voters that he remains their indispensable leader.(...) Mr. Biden is under few illusions, his advisers say, that a settlement is achievable with Mr. Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas, the longtime Palestinian president, still in their jobs. Instead, the new administration is expected to exert a calming influence. That could mean reopening the American consulate in Jerusalem, which Mr. Trump disbanded, as a quasi-embassy to the Palestinians; reopening a Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington, and restoring U.S. funding for East Jerusalem hospitals, aid projects on the West Bank and Palestinian refugees. Israeli officials say they also expect Mr. Biden to work to preserve the viability of a future Palestinian state, which is at odds with Mr. Netanyahu’s moves to expand Jewish settlements on the West Bank or even annex them.[ak]10/11/2020
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The straightforward diplomat behind Arafat and Abbas - in memoriam Saeb Erekat.Adam Keller - Gush Shalom - My first contact with Saeb Erekat was when he was not yet in politics - as a lecturer at Al-Najah University, when I was invited to a university ceremony which I could not attend, and I called him to express my regret. At the later occasions where I went as part of a Gush Shalom delegation to meet President Arafat, and still later President Abbas, Dr. Saeb Erekat  was always there at the President`s side. In conversations with him he was strikingly open and straightforward. Also in more official appearances he was an unlikely diplomat who conveyed confidence, courage and emotion, and that he is interested in doing business (with those who had something real to offer the Palestinians). The Trump Middle East approach made him very bitter.  That he died days after Trumpo`s demise, of which he probably was not aware, is intensily sad. He will be missed in whatever hopeful turn to come. May the memory of his devotion be a consolation for his family and friends. [ak] 10/11/2020
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Many Israelis mourn Erekat - and are castigated by right-wingersAaron Boxman - Times of Israel - Saeb Erekat helmed for decades successive Palestinian negotiations with Israel, including talks that led to the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords. Many Israeli current and former officials — including those who sat across from Erekat at the negotiating table — mourned Erekat as a moderate who sought peace. Condolences messages were issued by Peace Now, Meretz, the Labor Party`s Minister Amir Peretz and more surprisingly Likud Minister Tzahi Hanegbi. Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, offering her deepest condolences to the Palestinians and to Erekat`s family, said “Saeb dedicated his life to his people. He used to say that reaching peace was his destiny, and when falling into his final illness he still texted me: ‘I’m not finished with what I was born to do.’ He will be missed”. However, right-wingers such as Knesset Member Betzal`el Smotrich called Erekat "an anti-Semitic terror- supporter" and castigated the Israelis who mourned him, and the extreme-right agitator Bentzi Gopstein called his death "a piece of happy good news". Former Israeli negotiator Gilad Sher, who built a friendship with Erekat that outlasted the talks, said he was “appalled by right-wingers` hatred, curses and death wishes.” [ak] 10/11/2020
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`A patriotic leader and great fighter for his people" - President Abbas mourns Saeb ErekatWAFA / IMEMC - The departure of our brother and friend, the great fighter, Dr. Saeb Erekat represents a great loss for Palestine and our people, and we feel deeply saddened by his loss, especially in light of these difficult circumstances facing the Palestinian cause. Palestine today bids farewell to this patriotic leader and the great fighter who played a big role in raising the banner of Palestine high and defending the rights of our people and their national constants in all international forums". [ak] 10/11/2020
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Tel Aviv crowd cheers US elections result. `Our American brothers and sisters have given us new hope`Gush Shalom - press release - The news of the Biden victory arrived just before the annual Tel Aviv rally to commemorate the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin, exactly 25 years ago. As every year, the rally concluded with Aviv Gefen singing "Let`s march into the dream / Let`s conquer peace / And not territories". But this year, after his song, he remained on the podium and made a short impromptu speech: "On this very special day I want to thank our brothers and sisters in America. I want to thank them for showing us that you can defend democracy and overcome the forces of disruption. To thank them for giving us hope! Forward to Victory! " And there was an enormous cheer. [bz]9/11/2020
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Netanyahu congratulates Biden on win, hours after many world leadersItamar Eichner - Ynet - Posting on Twitter, Netanyahu says looking forward to working to further strengthen special alliance between U.S. and Israel; PM also posted thanks to outgoing President Trump, calling him friend to Israel and to him personally [ry] 9/11/2020
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Opposition leader Lapid accuses Netanyahu of turning back on DemocratsRina Bassist - Al Monitor - "I have good ties with the Republicans, but contrary to Netanyahu, throughout the years I made sure also to nurture work and friendship relations with the Democratic leadership in the Senate and the Congress. Netanyahu is only interested by his personal interests.’’ [bz] 3/11/2020
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The Middle East is leaving Palestinians behind. Will it be different with Biden?Robert Swift - +972 Magazine - In the time since the Palestinian Authority disengaged from the Trump administration in protest of the so-called Deal of the Century, the diplomatic landscape in which Palestinians live has shifted immensely. The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and now Sudan have moved to normalize relations with Israel, facilitated by the United States. If rumors in the press are correct, other Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, may be moving to /adopt similar positions. Beyond labelling the Arab states as “betrayers of the Palestinian cause” and a few violent outbursts from militias in Gaza, Palestinian leaders have yet to show any action or policy response that meets the gravity of the changes entailed by the deals. This static position, according to some analysts, is due in part to the PA presupposing that Trump will not remain in the White House after next week’s U.S. election; and that his contender, former Vice President Joe Biden, will treat the Palestinians more favorably. If Biden wins, as most polling data currently suggests, then Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s disengagement from the United States may prove to have been well-calculated. Yet holding out for a Biden victory may also be disappointing. [ak]3/11/2020
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Kamala Harris: We will restore aid to Palestinians, renew tiesCODY LEVINE - Jerusalem Post - Democratic Party candidate for vice president Kamala Harris indicated on Saturday in an interview via email with The Arab American News that under a Joe Biden administration, the United States will renew its ties with the Palestinians, and oppose Israeli unilateral actions that undermine a two-state solution. Harris also said that a Biden administration will take immediate steps to restore economic and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians, attempt to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and reopen the US consulate in east Jerusalem, in addition to working to reopen the PLO mission in Washington. [bz]3/11/2020
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Friedman: US-Israel ‘righting old wrongs’ by extending W. Bank agreementsLAHAV HARKOV - Jerusalem Post - Netanyahu and Friedman signed new versions of three agreements on research cooperation, which erase a line that says "cooperative projects sponsored by the Foundation may not be conducted in geographic areas which came under the administration of the Government of Israel after June 5, 1967, and may not relate to subjects primarily pertinent to such areas.” [bz]28/10/2020
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Deutch condemns Trump administration plans to label human rights NGOs as antisemiticMarc Rod - Jewish Insider - ·Deutch, who founded the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism as well as an international Inter-Parliamentary Task Force to address online antisemitism, accused the Trump administration of “misapplying” the International Holocaust Rememberance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism to these organizations to advance its own political agenda in a way that ultimately hampers the fight against antisemitism. “Misapplying the IHRA definition of antisemitism to politicize antisemitism and retreat from our historic defense of human rights throughout the world would weaken our ability to promote democracy and free speech, strengthen the rights of women, and prevent crimes against humanity,” he continued. “We should use the IHRA definition the way it is intended… not to take action which would weaken vital efforts to stand up to autocrats who do not share our commitment to human rights.” [bz] ·27/10/2020
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Silicon Valley takes on the pro-Palestine leftAmitai Ben-Abba - +972 - Zoom`s cancellation of an event with Leila Khaled illustrates tech companies` deference to right-wing, pro-Israel demands. But there are ways to fight back [ry] 26/10/2020
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Sudan agrees to negotiate accepting migrants deported from IsraelLahav Harkov, Yonah Jeremy Bob, Reuters - The Jerusalem Post - Migrant aid NGO says most Sudanese in Israel would prefer to stay [ry] 26/10/2020
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Exclusive: Documents reveal decades of close cooperation between JNF and EladUri Blau - +972 magazine - The Sumarin family has long been a symbol for the struggle between Palestinians and Israeli settlers over the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. Located next to Al-Aqsa Mosque and sharing a fence with the City of David, an archaeological site and Jewish tourist attraction, the Sumarin home has been the target of an eviction legal battle since the early 1990s, led by the Jewish National Fund (JNF). Recently, however, the struggle over the Sumarin home has exposed an even deeper story. In August, it was unveiled that Elad, an organization that promotes Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem, has been advancing the case in the Israeli courts from behind the scenes. As international public pressure has mounted on the JNF over the slated eviction, the relationship between Elad and the JNF appears to have soured. It was even reported last week that some inside the organization are trying to pull the plug on the cooperation with Elad around the Sumarin home. Yet the Sumarin case is only the tip of the iceberg. (The detailed article appears with an abundance of documents.) [bz] 20/10/2020
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Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in critical condition Wafa / Y-net - Palestinian diplomat Saeb Erekat, who often headed negotiating teams at the time when there were still negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel, is in a critical condition at the Jerusalem Hadassah Hospital. The hospital communique stated that Erekat`s situation present a special challenge, the effects of Cornonvirus infection exacerbated due to his having undergone a lung transplant operation three years ago, and that all possible efforts are made to save him, in consultation with other hospitals worldwide. Meanwhile, the fact of Erekat being treated at an Israeli hospital is being used for two stands of anti-Palestinian propaganda. The extreme-right "Im Tirzu" group demonstrated outside the hospital, calling Arikat "a terrorist supporter" and demanding his "immediate removal" from the hospital. More mainstream Israeli commentators pointed to what they called the PA`s "hypocrisy", because of it`s having cut off cooperation with Israel. [ak] 20/10/2020
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Falling in line: Why the Second Intifada was a watershed moment for Israeli mediaMeron Rapoport - +972 - Working for a leading Israeli newspaper during the uprising, I saw firsthand how the media turned into a mouthpiece for government propaganda [ry] 12/10/2020
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Five years on, Israelis see few benefits from major gas dealAssociated Press - Ynet - Gas price Israeli consumers pay is still largely determined by 2012 contact between Tamar field and the state-run Electric Corporation, in which prices are tethered to the U.S. consumer price index and have only risen since 2015 [ry] 12/10/2020
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Dror Feiler must deposit 100,000 Shekels in order to visit his 97-year old mother Crowdfunding stopped. Feiler at last visits his mother6/10/2020
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Naftali Bennett’s secret to power: He is not NetanyahuAkiva Eldar - Al Jazeera - Netanyahu’s downfall might mark the rise of another Israeli leader, even more right-wing than him [ry] 5/10/2020
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Jerusalem Post took government money to publish anti-BDS specialItamar Benzaquen and The Seventh Eye - The Strategic Affairs Ministry`s funding of a Jerusalem Post supplement is part of a government-led campaign targeting the Palestinian rights movement [ry] 5/10/2020
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Defending cops’ handling of protests, acting police chief vows to keep enforcingThe Times of Israel - Motti Cohen says force will not ‘turn a blind eye’ to those who violate the law; protest movements accuse police of being political tool of government [ry] 5/10/2020
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