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One family, three dead, three maimed: `Black Friday` in GazaElior Levy - Ynet - Very little has been reported in the Israeli media on the hell Palestinian residents endured. Levy speaks with Wael al-Namlah, 26, a married father of two. He writes about one family`s continued urgent need of help, and about a report presented by Physicians for Human Rights - to deaf ears. [bz]24/1/2015
A story of France`s quiet surrender to Islamic ruleGilles Rozier - Haaretz "`Soumission` was published on January 7, the same day 10 workers at Charlie Hebdo were murdered by Al-Qaida-inspired terrorists. Is the fundamentalist future portrayed by author Michel Houellebecq already here?" ca23/1/2015
Obama, Kerry freeze out Bibi over impromptu Hill visitLaura Rozen - Al-Monitor "Neither President Obama nor Secretary of State John Kerry will see Netanyahu on his Washington visit in March, the White House and State Department said Jan. 22, ostensibly because it is just two weeks before Israel’s elections. But US officials left little doubt the cold shoulder was also because they were incensed that Netanyahu was plotting to come to Washington to lobby against Obama’s sensitive diplomatic efforts with Iran...Pardo, in his rare statement, appeared to concede the Israeli-backed push for new congressional Iran sanctions was designed to try to collapse the current Iran nuclear negotiations, because Israel considers the deal being negotiated too weak." ca 23/1/2015
After police killings, anger simmers in Negev Bedouin villagesMa`an News Agency - "But the killings have triggered a political mobilization not seen in the South in more than a year since the defeat of the Prawer Plan, and they have re-awakened an anger against what many see as the racist policies of the Israeli state that have unified Bedouin communities with their urban and rural counterparts elsewhere." ca23/1/2015
The Strategy Behind Israel’s Attack on Iran and HizballahJonathan Cook - ICH "Iran has invested heavily in arming Hizballah with rockets and missiles to provide a deterrent against Israel launching a strike on Iran. Using that arsenal now, as one Israeli analyst surmised, would be “wasting [it] on border skirmishes that have no strategic significance for Iran”.Hizballah, meanwhile, will be reluctant to fire rockets for fear of weakening its domestic political position. It has no popular mandate – explicit or implicit – to drag Lebanon into another devastating confrontation with Israel, like the one in 2006, in retaliation for military losses it sustained on Syrian rather than Lebanese soil." ca23/1/2015
Commuters injured in Tel Aviv bus stabbingAl Jazeera - "Israeli authorities said the man was a 23-year-old from Tulkarm in the occupied West Bank, and had entered Israel without a work visa." - id21/1/2015
Strawberry harvest continues in Gaza Strip, PalestineMohammed Asad - The Arab Daily News - "There were may delays in planting the product and many farmers lost anticipated revenues." - id 21/1/2015
Playing with fire on Israel`s northern frontAlex Fishman - Ynet - Someone threw a match into a powder keg and is now waiting to see whether it will explode or not. This is a dangerous exercise in practical chemistry conducted on the eve of the final exam: The elections in Israel. A helicopter and two missiles killed a group of Lebanese and Iranian terror activists in the Syrian Golan Heights – and now we`re all in suspense: Will Hezbollah respond or hold back? [This article reflects the widespread suspicion of Netanyahu seeking war for electoral purposes. The writer is no "peacenik."-bz] 20/1/2015
Japanese and Israeli PMs see different hurdles to peaceBarbara Opall-Rome - Defence News - Japanese PM Shinzo Abe addressed Israeli public opinion directly, in an op-ed published in Yediot Ahronot, Israel`s largest Hebrew daily. After paying many compliments and mentioning the part Japanese diplomats played in saving European Jews during WWII, Abe wrote: "As a true friend, I want to offer advice on the matter of building in the settlements, which is considered in the world as a violation of international law. I understand that this involves ideology on the Israeli side, but I reckon it would be worthwhile for Israel to carefully consider this policy in order to create a positive climate for dialogue". [ak] 20/1/2015
Je Suis Charlie Chaplin - A Fetid Wind of Racism Hovers Over EuropeShlomo Sand - CounterPunch - “A bad wind, a fetid wind of dangerous racism, hovers over Europe: there exists a fundamental difference between challenging a religion or a dominant belief in a society, and that of attacking or inciting against the religion of a dominated minority. […] Now, as one well knows, Western leaders, far from encouraging the would-be disciples of Voltaire and Rousseau in the Middle East, maintain their total support to the religious regimes the most repressive” [ry]19/1/2015
Israel calls on member states to divest from ICCSergio Yahni - Aic - International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda initiated on Friday a preliminary probe into whether the Israeli army committed war crimes during last summer`s offensive on Gaza. In addition, Bensouda indicated that Palestine should be recognized as a state following the UN General Assembly’s November 29, 2012 vote recognizing a “State of Palestine” [ry]19/1/2015
Six Hezbollah Fighters Killed by Israeli Airstrike in SyriaSaed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies - “Israeli Ynet News reported that Major General (res.) Yuav Galant hinted that the assassination, especially the timing of it, was motivated by the upcoming Israeli elections. […] The Israeli army claims that the fighters were killed, allegedly, ‘while planning to attack Israel’” [ry]19/1/2015
1 killed, dozens wounded in clashes with police at Rahat funeralIlana Curiel - Ynet - Clashes with police break out at funeral of man killed in police raid last week; police car pelted with stones at funeral; 22 civilians, 2 policemen wounded [ry]19/1/2015
Why Israeli call for French aliyah is so offensiveJoel Braunold - Haaretz "Some 120 years after the Dreyfus affair, French Prime Minster Manuel Valls is putting the very fate of the republic in the hands of Jews and their willingness to stay in France. Amid the tragedy and political posturing from Israeli politicians, it seems that France has come full circle from an event that sparked modern Zionism." ca16/1/2015
Palestinians in Lebanon push back against media incitementMoe Ali Nayel - Electronic Intifada "In 2007, militant Islamic fighters Fatah al-Islam, who had been employed by local Sunni sectarian politicians as potential proxy fighters, hid out in Nahr al-Bared camp. An armed confrontation with the Lebanese army ultimately led to the army destroying the camp, home to nearly 30,000 refugees.A similar threat is today looming over Ein al-Hilwe camp, near the southern city of Sidon. That camp is home to more than 80,000 Palestinian ad hoc initiative was organized by youth and civil society groups in the camp, who are keen not to be dragged into a repeat of the Nahr al-Bared tragedy. The youth initiative has staged protests and started media awareness campaigns to demonstrate that Palestinians remain neutral, and are not harboring any criminals wanted by the Lebanese state." ca16/1/2015
Turmoil and restraintHassan Al-Qashawi - Al-Ahram "Suicide bombers ended months of calm in Tripoli, Lebanon’s second-largest city, on Saturday when two men wearing explosive vests blew themselves up in a cafe in the predominantly Shiite neighbourhood of Jebel Moshin. Nine people were killed and dozens injured...Lebanon’s stoic reaction to this sectarian attack marks a shift in local politics...The longstanding confrontation now seems to be petering out, however, as the Lebanese rally to prevent their country from falling prey to the radicals of the Islamic State (IS) group and Al-Nusra Front." ca16/1/2015
Turkish religious thinker ponders future of IslamBarýn Kayaoðlu - Al-Monitor "Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, he argued that Islam would be the panacea to Turkey’s ills. As a writer, publisher and media executive, he helped his fellow Islamists gain power to right past wrongs. Today, however, he has given up on them. He is disappointed in what his country has become and he is disheartened by his fellow Muslims’ failure to adhere to the Quranic notions of humility, honesty and justice. Meet Levent Gultekin. His latest writings and interview with Al-Monitor offer simple yet effective ideas to a world plagued with Islamophobia and Islamic extremism." ca 16/1/2015
The real reason Bibi wants French Jews to move to IsraelOrly Noy - +972 - "By calling on France’s Jews to move to Israel, Netanyahu is promoting a worldview in which there is no national conflict, no occupation and no Palestinian people. There are only Jews and radical Muslims." - id 14/1/2015
Paris victim Yoav Hattab died a Tunisian patriotLisa Goldman - +972 - "For young Tunisians on social media, Hattab has come to represent their hopes for their country. They are sharing and quoting a France 2 television interview with Rabbi Benjamin Hattab, the dead man’s father, in which he speaks passionately of the easy, mutually respectful relationship between Jews and Muslims in Tunisia." - id 14/1/2015
Muslim friends of Paris terror victim barred from funeral in IsraelYoav Hattab - Ynet - The friends were also angry at the silence from the Tunisian government following the murder of Hattab and the three other Jewish victims, all of Tunisian descent. In response to a post on the topic a commenter called Muhammad wrote: "You`re entirely Tunisian and no one has the right to take that from you. It`s a shame the government and our society forgot that." [bz] 13/1/2015
Provide asylum seekers with heaters, rights groups demand in courtYael Marom - +972 - Following media reports and the intervention of two members of Knesset, the Israel Prison Service provided African asylum seekers with heating pads, which one asylum seeker says are inadequate. As temperatures drop below zero, Tel Aviv residents protest conditions at the Holot detention facility [ry]12/1/2015
‘With God’s help, the journalists at Haaretz will be murdered just like in France`: Death threats follow publication of cartoon in Israeli newspaper Annie Robbins - Mondoweiss - "In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris last week Haaretz published a daring cartoon juxtaposing journalists killed in Gaza by Israel during the brutal summer slaughter with the journalists killed at the office of the satirical magazine in Paris. This set off a chain reaction which ultimately led to calls for murdering Haaretz journalists" [ry]12/1/2015
PA: No reconstruction until we get control of GazaElhanan Miller - The Times of Israel "Following a rare government meeting in Gaza Tuesday, the government of Rami Hamdallah said Wednesday that PA civil servants who had left their positions as a result of Hamas’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007 must be allowed to resume their posts, a move that would effectively put Hamas appointees out of business." ca9/1/2015
Israeli sisters of Hamas chief penalized for Gaza visitAFP - "Both women, who are the widows of Arab-Israeli men, said they made the trip to visit relatives they had not seen for several years. Israel rarely grants permits such visits, limiting them to very specific humanitarian cases concerning couples where one partner lives in Gaza and the other in Israel, East Jerusalem or the West Bank, Israeli rights group Gisha said." ca9/1/2015
Attorney General: Arab MK likely to stand trial for incitementEdo Konrad - +972 - "The decision is just one of several that have targeted the MK over the past year." - id 7/1/2015
American Arab leader urges Israeli Arabs to voteRay Hanania - The Arab Daily News - "Ziad Asali, the President of the American Task Force on Palestine, the nation’s most influential pro-Palestinian lobbying group in the United States, called it imperative that Israel’s Arab civilians participate and not boycott the next Israeli elections." - id7/1/2015
Israel to urge US Congressmen to terminate $400 mln aid to PalestiniansSputnik - The Journal of the Turkish Weekly - The key positions in both houses of the present US Congress are represented mainly by pro-Israel politicians. [bz]6/1/2015
US opposes Israeli tax freeze on PalestiniansBBC - Israeli officials said on Saturday that $127m (£82m) collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority last month would be held back. US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the Israeli move would raise tensions. "We call on both sides to avoid action that raises tensions and makes it difficult to return to direct negotiations. Obviously this action would qualify in that category," she said. [bz]6/1/2015
Rivlin slams gov`t decision to freeze tax money transfer to PalestiniansItamar Eichner- Ynet - "The taxes are a part of the Palestinian peoples` ability to sustain themselves and the Israeli interest is for the Palestinian people to sustain themselves", the president said at a meeting with current and future Israeli ambassadors to Europe. [bz]6/1/2015
Netanyahu: Israeli troops won’t be hauled to court in Hague Stuart Winer - The Times of Israel - PM says PA has chosen path of confrontation, and Palestinian leaders should be ‘brought to account’ at ICC over unity deal with Hamas [ry]5/1/2015
Increasing number of Israelis renouncing their citizenshipItamar Eichner - Ynet - Percentage of citizens giving up their passports rose by 65 percent in past year; most live in Germany, US, Austria; reasons include desire to hold other citizenship, work in security-sensitive job [ry]5/1/2015
Abbas to renew bid for Palestinian statehoodAlJazeera - Palestinian president says he is working on re-submission of resolution to UN that failed to win enough votes last week [ry]5/1/2015
In face of siege, displaced Gazan uses local resources to build homeMa`an - Al-Irr says the new home - built from limestone and sand - is not a permanent replacement for the one that was destroyed. "It is a place to keep out of the hot sun in summer and the cold in winter until our home is rebuilt," al-Irr told Ma`an. [bz]3/1/2015
Australia `damaged` relations with Arab world by voting down UN Palestinian resolutionOliver Milman and Shalailah Medhora - Guardian - "Australia was one of only two nations, along with the United States, Israel’s closest ally, to vote against the resolution." - id 31/12/2014
Israel`s oil drilling in Golan criticisedCreede Newton and Patrick Strickland - Al Jazeera - "Israel is regularly criticised for plundering resources in the occupied Palestinian territories of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, particularly water and land. Lesser-known, however, is its long history of exploiting natural resources in the Golan Heights." - id 31/12/2014
Timing for Security Council vote still unclearAFP/Ma`an - "We don`t think this resolution is constructive," said a State Department spokesman - though not explicitly stating that the US would veto the Palestinian text which would set a 12-month deadline to reach a final peace deal and another two years for the end of Israeli occupation. It remained unclear if the Palestinians would seek a quick vote or hold off until January 1, when five new members with a pro-Palestinian stance join the Security Council. [ak]30/12/2014
US finds Israel fourth most `unacceptable` countryYitzhak Benhorin - Y-Net/Foreign Policy - The US State Department described Israeli actions as "unacceptable" 87 times in 2014, with only three countries being more "unacceptable". In the "unacceptable" list Israel ranked between North Korea and Pakistan. However, when Israel went ahead with the act which the US deemed "unacceptable" (mostly settlement construction) the US did not do very much about it. [ak]30/12/2014
Netanyahu mobilizing US Republicans against United Nations Reuters/Y-net - While intensive diplomatic activity goes on at the UN Headquarters ahead of the vote on the Palestinian draft resolution, PM Netanyahu is mobilizing his best allies, the US Republican Party. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is the latest Republican Presidential hopeful to visit Netanyahu and lend support to the PM`s outrage against "The Palestinian dictat". Earlier this week, Senator Lindsey Graham issued, from Netanyahu`s bureau, a threat to cut off US funding to the UN should the Palestinian draft gain acceptance. [ak] 30/12/2014
Military police investigating possible crimes in Gaza warYoav Zitun - Ynet - Junior officers being interrogated for incidents in which non-combatant Palestinians died during Operation Protective Edge; senior officers may also be questioned [ry]29/12/2014
Naftali Bennett’s annexation plan: A report cardJoel Braunold - +972 "Many folks were surprised by the strength of Bennett’s performance during the Saban Conference in Washington earlier this month. Bennett’s main calling card is that he fully rejects the two-state solution and wants to shift the conversation in a different direction. The cornerstone of his plan is the annexation of Area C and some sort of self-rule in Areas A and B. Gaza isn’t worthy of inclusion in his plan. The more he can get people to agree that the two-state solution is dead, the more he can claim that he is the only person with a path forward." ca28/12/2014
Why are Palestinians going to the Security Council?Saeb Erekat interviewed on PNN - It is not only a right for Palestine to call upon the Security Council to take action, but it is an international responsibility to put an end to decades of systematic violations of UN resolutions and grave breaches of international law. The Security Council is the international body in charge of preserving world peace and security and it has been marginalized for too long when it comes to the question of Palestine. ak 27/12/2014
Negev Bedouin are now demolishing their own homes out of despairMichal Rotem - +972 - While some of the families living in the recognized village Sawa have lived there since before 1948, the families who received the demolition orders were actually forcibly removed from their lands in the north of the Negev and pushed into Sawa by the military government which ruled over Israel’s Arab citizens from 1949 until 1966. [bz]27/12/2014
Is Israel held to an unfairly high standard?Are we unfairly ignoring the fact that Israel treats LGBTIs better than ISIS or Boko Haram does? Norman Finkelstein and Paul Jay discuss a full-page ad in the NYT. gm27/12/2014
In One Corner of Syria, Christmas Spirit Somehow Manages to SurviveThe Daily Beast - "Between the collapsed economy and industrial-scale killing, one might be forgiven for assuming Christmas is a distant consideration in war-ravaged Syria. But in Qamishli, the largest city in the Kurdish-administered strip along the Turkish frontier in the country’s northeast, the constant threat of violence hasn’t deterred local Christians from pulling out all the stops to mark this year’s celebrations." ca26/12/2014
Hall of Nativity Christmas Tree Decorated with Teargas Grenades, Missile Leftovers and Child PhotosIMEMC News & Agencies - "The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, this year, in the Hall of the Nativity, Bethlehem, lit up a Christmas tree decorated with teargas grenades, sound bombs, pictures of injured and murdered children, and the missile leftovers used by Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinian people...The tree was a loud cry of longing for an occupation-free, peaceful life in the Holy Land of Palestine." ca26/12/2014
Palestinian Rights Protesters Find Leviev’s NYC Diamond Store Closed and EmptyADALAH-NY: "Forty New York human rights advocates arrived to protest Saturday afternoon at Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev’s flagship Madison Avenue diamond store and were surprised to find the store closed and the display cases completely emptied of all merchandise during the busiest shopping period of the year. The New Yorkers had gathered for the eighth consecutive year to sing parody holiday carols opposing Leviev’s companies’ construction of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land in violation of international law." ca 26/12/2014
Indian PM considering a change to traditional support for the Palestinians Amit Baruah - The Hindu - In what could amount to a tectonic shift in India’s foreign policy, the Modi Government is looking at altering the country`s long-standing supporting vote for the Palestinian cause at the UN to one of abstention. The essential ideological orientation of PM Modi is of Hindu Nationalism, changing India`s basic self-definition as a secular state and making it a Hindu state; such an ideology can obviously move the Indian PM closer to Netanyahu`s Israel. ak 24/12/2014
Gaza militants open fire at IDF forces near southern GazaYoav Zitun - Ynet - "A Palestinian report said the IDF fired tank shells into in the southern strip. Hamas sources reported that the head of the local reconnaissance unit in the southern Gaza Strip was killed in an exchange of gunfire with the IDF, while three others were said to be wounded." - id24/12/2014
Jailed Fatah leader criticizes UN resolution on PalestineMa`an - Barghouthi urged the leadership to comprehensively revise the wording of the draft resolution to focus on the major issues of settlement expansion, Jerusalem, prisoners, and the blockade on Gaza. Any talk of land swaps will weaken the Palestinian right to self-determination and a sovereign state on land occupied in 1967, he added, noting that such a measure would be used to legalize settlement building. The PA must also (...) demand that East Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Palestine and insist on the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their former homes in Israel, in line with UN General Assembly resolution 194. [bz]23/12/2014
Clinton: Rabin inspired trust even in Arafat Ynet interviews Clinton - Just before the signing ceremonial Arafat discovered a mistake in the map. Rabin agreed, “He’s right. It’s his.” I said, “Well, what are we going to do? The whole press corps is out there, and we don`t have time to re-draw the map.” They both wanted to sign the rest of the maps as they were and go out to the announcement. Rabin said he would hand over control of the crossroad immediately. When I reminded Arafat that by signing the maps the way they were, he was technically signing away his legal rights, he looked at Rabin and replied, “His word is worth more than any written contract.” [bz]23/12/2014
How long must Palestinians pay for the Holocaust? [op-ed]Samah Salaime Egbariya - +972 - A man leading an occupying state, a racist state in which mixed marriages are protested, doesn’t get to teach lessons to others. Mr. Netanyahu, stop exploiting the Holocaust at every political opportunity; pick up a book and learn that we weren’t there in those darkest days of European and Jewish history [ry]22/12/2014
Israel Turns Historic Mosque Into a MuseumIMEMC News & Agencies - 10,000 worshippers left with nowhere to pray [ry]22/12/2014
B’Tselem: Israel wants to have its cake and eat it too when it comes to Geneva ConventionB’Tselem - Israeli authorities blatantly breach the Convention, yet benefit from membership in the club of nations that have signed it [ry]22/12/2014
Who says Palestinians don’t have a vote in Israeli elections?By Michael Schaeffer - +972 - By warning that a Palestinian UN resolution might strengthen Netanyahu, Kerry is actually suggesting that Palestinians can influence Israeli elections — just not in the direction Washington was hoping for. But why should the Palestinians hold off on their aspirations for equality and national self- determination in order to give the Israelis time to elect a new government, when it is not clear that that government would have anything to offer them? ak 21/12/2014
Livni takes credit for US stand against UN Security Council movesJerusalem Post - According to the "Foreign Policy" report, Kerry warned Europeans that any action by the UN Security Council would strengthen the hands of Israeli hard liners, and must wait until after the March 2015 elections. Tzipi Livni, running as a major opposition candidate against Netanyahu, proudly took credit for having brought about that American stance. For their part, the right-wing parties - far from grateful to Livni for her patriotic efforts in the international arena - accused her of "subversion". ak21/12/2014
Within the Green Line: Palestinian family in Lydd faces home demolition Rami Younis - +972 - The home belongs to the Naqib family and was built on land that they own, according to the state land registry (...) but which was expropriated in a procedure whose legality has been in doubt ever since. [bz] 21/12/2014
IAF strikes Gaza in response to rocket fireYoav Zitun, Elior Levy - Ynet - "Air force jets attack Hamas training facility in Khan Yunis in retaliation for rocket fired at Israel earlier Friday; attack marks first IAF strike in Gaza since military op." - id 20/12/2014
Palestinian draft resolution submitted to UNSC: Israeli withdrawal from West Bank by 2017Reuters - Jpost - The submitted Palestinian draft appears to reflect some European ideas. An earlier Palestinian draft informally circulated to the council in October called for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank by November 2016, but the United States and others found this text unacceptable. bz19/12/2014
Israeli parliament seeks to bar Arab lawmakerWilliam Booth - The Washington Post - In June, soon after three Jewish Israeli teenagers were abducted as they hitchhiked home from their religious schools in the occupied West Bank — but before it was known they had been killed — Zoabi told Radio Tel Aviv that she did not believe the kidnappers were terrorists. “Is it strange that people living under occupation and living impossible lives, in a situation where Israel kidnaps new prisoners every day, is it strange that they kidnap?” she asked.-rh17/12/2014
Socialist International: Support Palestinian Diplomatic Initiatives, Recognize PalestinePNN - Palestinians News Network - " "After more than 20 years of failing to achieve peace through the bilateral peace process, we believe that the time has come for the International community to meet its responsibility under international law to bring an end to the occupation and all impediments to the exercise by the Palestinian people of their right to self-determination"" - id 17/12/2014
Muslims & Jews Unite vs. Abercrombie & FitchDean Obeidallah - The Daily Beast - "Regardless of the court’s decision, the Muslims and Jewish groups who have come together in this matter are setting a great example to not define our communities’ relationship with each other by our differences on one issue, but rather by the numerous issues we agree upon." - id 17/12/2014
`Truth commission` uncovers the history of Bedouin dispossessionTom Pessah - +972 - Zochrot, an Israeli NGO, is experimenting with ways to bring awareness about the Palestinian Nakba to the Jewish Israeli public. After two years of preparations, they convened an informal Public Truth Commission at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba last week, in order to examine the displacement of Palestinians in the Negev/Naqab by Israeli forces that took place from 1948 to 1960. Why until 1960? Most people are actually unaware of the fact the majority of local Bedouin tribes were driven off their lands into either Sinai, the West Bank, or an isolated reservation east of Beersheba (the “Sayag”) in the 1950s – long after the war ended.-rh17/12/2014
Nakba in Tel AvivSarah Levy - AIC - "In Israel, any institution with public funding that mentions, teaches, or mourns the country’s analogous event, the Nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe”) can be fined, and for their involvement individuals can be sentenced to prison." - id 17/12/2014
At Netanyahu-Kerry meet, Israel seeks U.S. block of Palestinian statehood driveLesley Wroughton - Reuters - Netanyahu declined to comment on whether he was given an assurance by Kerry. U.S. officials have indicated that Washington did not find the Palestinian draft acceptable but said that with matters still fluid, it was premature to take a position now on any particular Security Council resolution. [bz]16/12/2014
Displaced Gazans struggle to rebuild Patrick Strickland - Al Jazeera - Frustrated with the lack of humanitarian aid and the delays in reconstruction, locals in Beit Safiyya have begun building wooden shacks for shelter throughout the rainy winter season. Tens of thousands of residents remain homeless. In most places, reconstruction has barely commenced. [bz]16/12/2014
Soldiers Invade Eastern Areas In Rafah, Khan YounisIMEMC - Israel recently started operations to replace a number of military gates of the border fence with Gaza, largely used for limited invasions into Palestinians lands. [bz]16/12/2014
PA to adopt French UN initiative if `amendments made`Ma`an - France is putting together a more nuanced version setting a two-year timetable for concluding a peace treaty, without mentioning the withdrawal of Israeli forces. US officials told reporters Monday that Washington has not yet decided whether to veto or back the French-led UN initiative. [bz]16/12/2014
Police raid homes of anti-Arab activists, 10 arrestedChaim Levinson - Haaretz - According to the suspects` lawyer, one of the three Lehava members who were charged on Monday with torching the Hebrew-Arabic bilingual school in Jerusalem had offered to give police incriminating information on the group`s chairman Benzi Gopstein to secure a lighter sentence. [bz] 16/12/2014
Israeli elections: can things get worse?Michel Warschawski - AIC - The non-existence of a credible center-left alternative, the expected fiasco of Yair Lapid, the refusal of the left to make a political front with the Arab parties – all these together oblige us to accept the possibility that after "worse" we may got "more worse". The three far right parties which are ruling may well receive a strengthened mandate in the coming elections, and will interpret this mandate as a green light to go ahead in their suicidal anti-democratic policies, as well in their drive for a new war in the region [ry]15/12/2014
Palestine to push UN to end Israel occupation AlJazeera - Palestinians to present draft resolution at Security Council seeking a two-year deadline for Israel to end occupation [ry]15/12/2014
`Truth commission` uncovers the history of Bedouin dispossession Tom Pessah - +972 - An informal ‘Public Truth Commission’ set out to find exactly what happened to the Negev Bedouin between 1948 and 1960. While Bedouin witnesses told stories of massacres, rape and expulsions, former Israeli soldiers said they were just following orders [ry]15/12/2014
Israel set to rebuff UN moves for withdrawal - video The Guardian - Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says on Sunday he will tell the US secretary of state, John Kerry, at a meeting in Rome that Israel will reject moves by the UN to set a timeframe for withdrawal from land Palestinians seek for a state. Mr Netanyahu said there would be no doubt that the proposal would be rejected [ry]15/12/2014
Portuguese parliament calls on govt to recognize PalestineMa`an - The motion, filed jointly by the ruling center-right majority and the opposition Socialist party, proposes "recognizing, in coordination with the European Union, the state of Palestine as independent and sovereign." [bz]13/12/2014
Israel blasts Switzerland for acceding to Palestinians with Geneva Convention meeting Herb Keinon - Jpost - The Fourth Geneva Convention on the Rules of War governs actions during war and the treatment of civilians in occupied territories. In addition, it also outlaws the resettlement by an occupying power of its own civilians on territory under its military control. [bz]13/12/2014
Tel Aviv targets Syria’s Republican GuardsBassel Oudat - Al-Ahram "Whatever the precise inventory, it is clear the air strikes destroyed military hardware and ammunitions storehouses belonging to the Republican Guard. Given the nature of the targets, and the timing of the raids, it is likely a senior figure in the Syrian regime communicated sensitive intelligence to Israel." ca 12/12/2014
Replace fake co-existence photos with real images of co-resistanceActivestills - "A photograph intended to illustrate the peace process ended up being more accurate than intended. The now-iconic image showing a “Palestinian” and an Israeli boy walking arm in arm was a contrived set-up that anyone with experience in the region should have been able to spot as a fake.The exposure of a popular ‘co-existence’ photo as a staged fabrication points to the need for better images of the path to a just peace." ca12/12/2014
A Country That Never Wanted Me : Israel`s new nationality law only confirms what Arabs already knew: We aren`t welcome.SAYED KASHUA - Foreign Policy - To “enshrine in law” is the phrase the government of Israel uses when it discusses the Jewish nationality act. This phrase implies that the situation already exists de facto. So why not “enshrine” it in law? Discrimination already exists in every sphere of life, so why not make inequality between Jews and non-Jews legal as well?-rh 10/12/2014
Israel`s Gaza probe raises questionsCreede Newton - Al Jazeera - "Seven military misconduct investigations stemming from Gaza war have been closed, sparking criticism of enquiry methods." - id 10/12/2014
`Truth commission` to begin in IsraelSophie Chamas - Al-Jazeera - "Israelis who served in the 1948 war and Palestinians uprooted from their homes will testify before an expert panel." - id 10/12/2014
Erekat: In elections, Israelis will choose between being partners or occupiersElior Levy - Ynet - ""This is the Israelis` decisive year, in which they need to decide if they want to be partners or occupiers," former Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat told reporters on Tuesday." - id 10/12/2014
Irish government to accept motion to recognize Palestinian state Reuters - Ynet - Ireland to join Sweden in officially recognizing Palestine in 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital; motion also states Israeli settlement construction is `illegal and severely threatening the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.` ak9/12/2014
Palestinians gain observer status at ICC Assembly of State Parties Tovah Lazaroff - Jpost - The International Criminal Court’s organizational body of 122 nations in New York on Monday unanimously recognized Palestine as an observer state for the first time, a move which Palestinians hailed as an important step in achieving their final goal of formal membership. Palestinians want to sue Israel for war crimes before the ICC, but it is unclear if they can do so, because the ICC’s judicial body has not recognized them as a state. In addition, the Palestinians have not finalized their application to the court, but they have threatened to do so, should they fail in their pursuit for a UN Security Council resolution calling for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines. [bz] 9/12/2014
Israel tested in balancing faith and democracyJodi Rudoren - New York Times - New bill emphasizing state`s Jewishness was the last straw which broke the government. Israelis from across the political spectrum and leaders of the Jewish diaspora have denounced such proposals as superfluous, redundant, embarrassing, dangerous and ill timed. Palestinians within Israel and outside it are also virulently opposed, but they say it unmasks what they call a facade of a democracy that has long been discriminatory.[bz] 9/12/2014
IDF earmarking West Bank firing zones for settler expansion, figures showChaim Levinson - Haaretz - The state’s official position is that the firing zones are used for operational purposes only, in keeping with international law, but are actually being used to keep the Palestinians out. Dror Etkes has analyzed the extensive geographical information in the hands of the Civil Administration and says it shows that the administration has been surveying and mapping the old state lands recently, although these are firing zones, and (...) in 2012, 900 dunams were taken from a firing zone and given to the settlement of Sha’arei Tikva, additional uses being planned including construction of an industrial zone. [bz]9/12/2014
Syria says Israeli jets hit DamascusAlJazeera and agencies - Israel yet to react to state TV`s claim its jets struck two places, one near Damascus airport, but caused no casualties [ry]8/12/2014
Kahlon: Real Likud concedes territoryMoran Azulay - Ynet - Popular former Likud minister Moshe Kahlon, who will be campaigning for the Knesset with a new party: "Real Likud knew how to make peace, how to concede territory, but on the other hand was responsibly conservative. (...) When we needed to make peace with the largest of Arab states, we did. When we needed to concede – we conceded." Kahlon criticized the prime minister for damaging Israel`s international reputation. "My friends and I will not miss a chance for peace. I believe we must act on that front. The diplomatic siege is not good for us, and we will act on it." [bz]6/12/2014
Major BDS Win: Elbit Loses Brazil DealPalestinian BDS National Committee - IMEMC "Rio Grande do Sul governor Tarso Genro had signed a research cooperation deal making Elbit the first Israeli military companyto lead Brazilian military projects in April 2013. Elbit was to be provided access to public funding and technologies produced by four local universities. Ongoing protests and lack of federal support had weakened the project. In his open letter, Genro declared the memorandum of understanding to be “void of meaning. A $17m plan to build a military satellite is among the projects cancelled by Tuesday’s announcement." ca5/12/2014
Israeli poverty statistics paint a misleading pictureDror Etkes - Haaretz "It’s clear that if child poverty statistics in Israel also included those millions of Palestinians – who are paid their wages in Israeli shekels and buy their food in shekels – then based on the situation of the total population living in territory controlled by Israel, the country wouldn’t even make it to the bottom rung of the ladder of developed countries. Almost certainly, it would rank somewhere in the middle of the underdeveloped countries." ca 5/12/2014
Security Council to Discuss Resolution for Palestinian StatehoodIMEMC News - "Nabil Al-Arabi told reporters that Jordan will table the draft resolution at the Council within the coming days. In November, Jordan tabled another draft resolution that called for an end of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories by November 2016." - id 3/12/2014
Lieberman outlines his regional peace planBen Caspit - Al Monitgor - "I intend to promote this plan with all my might and if I am elected to the premiership, I will take action to implement it." - id 3/12/2014
Nationality bill affects Diaspora Jews tooYaron London - Ynet - "An affiliation between two populations separated by an ocean, living conditions and a language can only be based on identical values; but our values, as reflected in Jewish nation-state bill, are moving further apart." - id 2/12/2014
US tries to head off Israeli-Palestinian `Al-Aqsa war`Uri Savir - Al Monitor - "While right-wing settlers and extremist Palestinians ponder a ``war of zealots,`` the Obama administration considers a tactical deal, including an Israeli settlement freeze in exchange for Palestinian security cooperation and no unilateral moves at the UN." - id 2/12/2014
Labor and Liberal MPs call for Australia to recognise PalestineShalailah Medhora - The Guardian - Australian Parliamentary Friends of Palestine group says international recognition is the only way to end deadlock and bring peace to Middle East [ry]1/12/2014
British town council votes to ban all Israeli goods, in defiance of Labor policy Jerry Lewis - The Jerusalem Post - Leicester is the UK’s 10th largest city; other local councils in Britain may well follow suit [ry]1/12/2014
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