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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Israel Turns Historic Mosque Into a MuseumIMEMC News & Agencies - 10,000 worshippers left with nowhere to pray [ry]22/12/2014
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
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
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
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
`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
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
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
`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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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