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The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,    but because of the people who don't do anything about it    

A debt to the futureGush Shalom - Itzik Saidian was sent by the State of Israel to fight in the Sajaiya refugee camp. He shot and killed residents of the camp, saw several of his comrades being killed, came back with battle shock... [bz]21/4/2021
The Jewish Women Who Posed an `Existential Threat` to Israel by Marrying Arab MenOfer Aderet - Haaretz - In 1942, all traces of Bianca Schwartz disappeared. An orphan who arrived in Palestine as part of the Youth Aliyah effort to save Jewish refugees from war-torn Europe, she had lived on Kibbutz Afikim in the north before moving to Jerusalem. A lengthy search eventually revealed that Schwartz had converted to Islam, married an Arab man, changed her name to Leila Natshe Ali and was living in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, which in 1948 had come under Jordanian control. The couple had five children. After her husband died, in 1971, she wanted to return to the fold of Judaism. According to one account, Hanania Dery, the chief rabbi of Jaffa, was walking in the Old City when he happened to notice a woman who was dressed in Arab attire but whose facial features struck him as Jewish. Dery asked her to tell him about herself, and thanks to his efforts she returned to her Jewish roots and was recognized as a new immigrant.(rh) 18/4/2021
Noam Chomsky Without Regrets: Interview With a Libertarian SocialistKelly Candaele - Portside - At 92, Noam Chomsky remains a political activist. In recent interviews and in a new book, Chomsky for Activists, he takes stock of his own political involvement going back to the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s, and offers lessons and warnings for today’s activists. Chomsky has always contended that intellectuals should play an antagonistic role in society. His 1967 essay, “The Responsibility of Intellectuals,” offered a devastating critique of the complicity of intellectuals and policy bureaucrats in the Vietnam disaster, advising that Americans should “follow the path of integrity, wherever it may lead.” Characterized by many conservatives and some on the left as cavalier in his criticism of the United States, he has not wavered from critiquing American moral complacency and misuse of power. A pioneer in linguistic theory and language development at MIT for over 60 years, Chomsky has devoted most of his time to writing and political work. Speaking by phone from his home in Tucson, Arizona, he told Capital & Main, “If you think there is a serious problem and you know that you can do something about it, then it follows on simple ethical grounds that you should do what you can do — which means become an activist.” The following interview was edited for length and clarity.(rh)18/4/2021
US warns Israel to stop ‘dangerous, detrimental’ chatter on Natanz attackTOI STAFF and AGENCIES - Times of Israel - Washington has conveyed to Israel in no uncertain terms that the “chatter” about its alleged involvement in the blast at the Natanz nuclear facility early this week must stop, warning that it is dangerous and detrimental as well as embarrassing to the Biden administration as it attempts to negotiate a return to the nuclear deal with Tehran, Channel 12 news reported Friday. The unsourced report said the message was conveyed to Jerusalem through several channels in recent days. (rh) 18/4/2021
The Palestinians: “We Shall Not Be Moved”DANIEL BEAUMONT - Counterpunch - A number of articles about the upcoming elections have focused on the political divisions among the Palestinians. Without a doubt, those divisions—foremost, the Fatah- Hamas divide—have hobbled their cause. Those divisions are real and complicated. The essay that follows is an attempt to consider recent events in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza in light of regional and international events that I think are changing the terms of conflict and working in favor of the Palestinian cause.(rh)18/4/2021
Israel stands alone on IranBen Caspit - Al-Monitor - Guillot’s late February visit reflects the extent of cooperation between the various Israeli and American defense and intelligence agencies, which has been experiencing a golden age in recent years. Israel is the only country in the world other than the United States in which a prototype of the F-35 Stealth fighter is being upgraded with additional armaments and fuel tanks. Israel is the only country permitted to install its own domestically developed technology on the advanced aircraft, which will allow it to share the F-35’s sophisticated command and control system with older fighter planes in the Israeli fleet, such as the F-15 and F-16. These capabilities, as well as being the only country in the world to dispatch the Stealth on real time operational missions on a daily basis, have drawn the attention of many other air forces. The extensive cooperation with the British, Italian, Greek, German, Emirati and other air forces is breaking all records. Israel’s two main defense assets — the absolute control of the skies over the Middle East and the seemingly inexhaustible information collected by its intelligence community — have turned Israel into a magnet for international cooperation, ardent courting and joint drills. However, the picture is bleak for Israel’s diplomatic posture on the world stage. Israel is experiencing “withdrawal symptoms” from the high it enjoyed for four years of the Donald Trump presidency. Unlike the welcome presence in many countries of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Mossad director Yossi Cohen, Norkin and other top brass, Israel’s foreign affairs arena is under threat of international boycott from Washington and elsewhere. (rh) 18/4/2021
Thousands of Palestinians attend Ramadan’s first Friday in Al-AqsaWafa - JERUSALEM, Friday, April 16, 2021 (WAFA) – Compared with Ramadan 2020, when the mosque was devoid of any worshipper, thousands of Palestinians today attended the prayers of the first Friday of Ramadan at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound. Worshippers anxious to attend the first prayer of Ramadan in Jerusalem made their way to the mosque compound, crossing military barriers as Israeli police beefed up presence around and in the city. Since the early morning hours, the Israeli occupation authorities sealed off the checkpoints separating Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank and deployed police around and across the Old City, obstructing the movement of Palestinians and their vehicles and forcing them to walk for long distances to reach the holy site. (rh)18/4/2021
Increasingly, Jewish Critics of Israeli Policies Are Using The Term “Apartheid”ALLAN C. BROWNFELD - Washington Report on Middle East Affairs - In January 2021, the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem issued a statement which declared that the Israeli government was an “apartheid regime.” It stated that, “A regime that uses laws, practices and organized violence to establish and maintain the supremacy of one group over another is an apartheid regime.” B’Tselem argues that the Israeli regime “of apartheid” rests on four pillars: citizenship, land, freedom of movement and political participation. Virtually any person of Jewish ancestry anywhere in the world can claim Israeli citizenship; immigration to Israel is all but impossible for Palestinians, and only a minority of Palestinians— about 1.6 million out of seven million—-who live on land controlled by Israel are citizens of Israel and even their rights are limited compared with their nearly seven million Jewish counterparts. (rh)18/4/2021
PTSD-afflicted IDF veteran sets himself alight, suffers serious burnsJUDAH ARI GROSS - Times of Israel - An IDF veteran diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder set himself on fire Monday outside a Defense Ministry office that handles the rehabilitation of injured soldiers in central Israel, the ministry said in a statement. The man, 26, was seriously injured, sustaining burns all over his body. He was identified by Channel 12 as Itzik Saidyan, who had been interviewed by the television station two years prior as part of a story on soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder. The IDF Veteran’s Association said that the man was frustrated at his treatment by authorities. He was recognized by the Defense Ministry as having 25 percent disability from his post-traumatic stress disorder, but had requested 50 percent recognition. The ministry had refused, saying at least a portion of his illness was due to childhood trauma, not his military service.(rh)18/4/2021
Prof.: Denying Me the Israel Prize Is Delegitimization of LeftOr Kashti - Haaretz - The researcher whose receipt of this year’s Israel Prize in mathematics and computer science was countermanded by the education minister said Yoav Gallant’s decision was “another small step in the delegitimization of the left in Israel.” Prof. Oded Goldreich said that Gallant’s move to deny him the prize constituted “political persecution.” Goldreich made the comment after Thursday’s High Court of Justice ruling giving Gallant 30 days to justify his decision. The professor will not receive the prize during this week’s Independence Day ceremony.(rh)18/4/2021
Biden’s Palestinian aid package is a start — but doesn’t go nearly far enoughMuhammad Shehada - Forward - Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared the U.S. would restore financial assistance to the Palestinians with a first package totaling $235 million.The package comes as part of what the Biden administration described in a press release as its commitment “to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians in tangible ways in the immediate term.” A refreshing choice of words, given that the last administration didn’t believe that Palestinians deserve security or freedom, let alone genuine prosperity. Symbolically, the restoration of aid is a refreshing acknowledgement of the basic humanity of Palestinians and the rights that humanity entails. It restores recognition of the unsolved issue of Palestinian refugees, pending a just solution, after the Trump administration defunded the institutions that keep them alive. But despite the best intentions of Biden’s team, the aid package includes critical shortcomings.(rh)18/4/2021
How hawkish Democrats are impeding Biden’s Middle East policyMitchell Plitnick - +972 magazine - From the Iran nuclear deal to the Israeli occupation, conservative Democrats are raising the political costs of adopting a more progressive U.S. foreign policy. Those battles would be difficult enough if they were only partisan. But as Menendez, Sherman, and other congressional Democrats have shown, Biden’s own party is deeply divided on the issue of Palestinian rights. [bz]15/4/2021
Ex-Mossad chief Efraim Halevy on Iran, Hamas and Israel`s political crisisDAVID BRINN - Jerusalem Post - # The political use that has been made of the Mossad has not served Israel well over the past couple of years. # By saying that Hamas is not acceptable as a partner to talk to, we are playing into their hands. # For reasons that are common knowledge, the Abraham Accords with the Gulf states have been portrayed in terms which are bordering on peace treaties. They are not peace treaties. There was never a war between Israel and the Gulf states. What ultimately took place was the normalization of relations that have existed over the years and have flourished. What happened is an achievement in itself, but for reasons well known, the timing of the accords were related to domestic politics. [bz]15/4/2021
A story of hot violence, cold violence and Palestinian RadicalsRozina Ali - The New Yorker - Tucked in the Nablus Hills is a small spring that has been fashioned into a swimming pool. The late- afternoon heat had driven many children into the water, their parents looking on. On the side, a hulking man carried a semiautomatic rifle. For decades, the spring had provided water to a nearby Palestinian village, but settlers had cut the pipe and made it a recreational site, exclusively for themselves and their children. Palestinians are banned. This is an example of what writer Teju Cole described as “cold violence.” - in contrast to "hot violence" which is louder and deadlier, like using airpower on Gaza civilians, or soldiers killing innocent bystanders in the West Bank. It’s the cold violence that one daily confronts — evictions, harassment by settlers, redirected water supply, hours lost at checkpoints. Susan Abulhawa’s recent novel, “Against the Loveless World” is narrated by Nahr, a middle-aged Palestinian woman held in solitary confinement in an Israeli prison. Via flashbacks we learn about the violence, hot and cold, that shaped her. [ak] 15/4/2021
Thieves in the nightGush Shalom - All this happened on Holocaust Memorial Day. Not that the thieves saw anything wrong with that… [bz]14/4/2021
Aiding Palestine refugees is not politicalPhilippe Lazzarini - Aljazeera - Mohammad is a seven-year-old boy living in Gaza, which in June will enter its 15th year of a land, air, and sea blockade. Like the nearly 300,000 students in Gaza who attend schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), he has been in and out of in-person and remote learning since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago. He battles against electricity cuts every day to receive online educational materials prepared by UNRWA teachers who also struggle to get access to electricity and the internet. Mohammad’s right to education remains inalienable even during a pandemic and a humanitarian crisis. (rh)11/4/2021
Israelis Might Go to Polls for the 5th Time in Two YearsNAZLIECE BULGUR - Politics Today - For the fourth time in two years, legislative elections were held in Israel on March 23, 2021 to elect the 120 members of the 24th Knesset. Israeli governments have to secure a majority in the Knesset with each member casting one vote. Israeli right-wing parties such as the Likud party and their allies won 52 out of the 120 seats. The southern branch of the Islamic Movement led by Mansour Abbas won four seats. These results signify the continuity of the deadlock in Israeli politics with neither Likud and its allies nor their opponents able to secure a majority.Both sides would need the support of the United Arab List and the Joint Arab List to secure a majority, which seems a difficult match. Yamina Party, which has seven seats in the Knesset announced it would not support any candidate.To form a government, Benjamin Netanyahu must unite right-wing parties. Netanyahu stated, “With this majority, we have to build a stable Israeli government.” He added, “Join us in this government,” pledging to build “a right-wing government that will look after all Israeli citizens.” (rh) 11/4/2021
Netanyahu`s trial may not be decided in courtTova Tsimuky - Ynetnews - As the prime minister`s corruption trial is getting underway in Jerusalem, the defendant is busy trying to find a way to persuade the president that he must form the next government — one that will inoculate him against any unfavorable outcome.(rh)11/4/2021
Netanyahu, big business, and the skewing of Israeli mediaDavid Horowitz - Times of Israel - A truly dismal saga is playing out in Jerusalem District Court. Not just as regards Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but also relating to parts of Israel’s media landscape. And although the cases before the court relate to the events of several years ago, the concerns they highlight about Israeli media independence, in the face of a prime minister who has worked strategically for years to bend media to his will, are all too current. In the first of the three cases that entered the evidentiary stage this week, Netanyahu is battling allegations that for several years he exercised what amounted to editorial control over what was Israel’s second-largest news website, Walla, in an illicit quid pro quo deal with its owners that, one way or another, has harmed pretty much every Israeli. (rh) 11/4/2021
Video shows police beating Israeli politician in JerusalemAljazeera - An Israeli lawmaker has said that police beat him while he took part in a demonstration against a Jewish settlement in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem. Ofer Cassif, a Jewish member of the mostly Arab Joint List party, was attending a protest against the expansion of a Jewish settlement in Sheikh Jarrah, a Palestinian neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem. (rh) 11/4/2021
Noam Chomsky Without Regrets: Interview With a Libertarian SocialistKelly Candaele - Portside - At 92, Noam Chomsky remains a political activist. In recent interviews and in a new book, Chomsky for Activists, he takes stock of his own political involvement going back to the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s, and offers lessons and warnings for today’s activists. Chomsky has always contended that intellectuals should play an antagonistic role in society. His 1967 essay, “The Responsibility of Intellectuals,” offered a devastating critique of the complicity of intellectuals and policy bureaucrats in the Vietnam disaster, advising that Americans should “follow the path of integrity, wherever it may lead.” Characterized by many conservatives and some on the left as cavalier in his criticism of the United States, he has not wavered from critiquing American moral complacency and misuse of power. A pioneer in linguistic theory and language development at MIT for over 60 years, Chomsky has devoted most of his time to writing and political work. Speaking by phone from his home in Tucson, Arizona, he told Capital & Main, “If you think there is a serious problem and you know that you can do something about it, then it follows on simple ethical grounds that you should do what you can do — which means become an activist.” The following interview was edited for length and clarity. (rh)11/4/2021
Biden made good start but Palestinians need action as well as aidDaoud Kuttab - Ynetnews - The decision by the Biden administration to contribute $150 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), is a clear signal of what the UN agency said is America’s acts as a means of “restoring its role as a decades-long friend and supporter of the UN agency that provides lifesaving human development and humanitarian aid assistance to Palestine refugees across the Middle East.” In addition to aid to UNRWA, the U.S. has renewed its humanitarian and security aid to Palestinians.(rh)11/4/2021
Smotrich threatens to expel Arab MK, other Muslims who don’t accept Jewish ruleSTUART WINER - Times od Israel - MK Bezalel Smotrich, who leads the far-right Religious Zionism party, on Wednesday warned he would “make sure” a prominent Arab lawmaker and other Muslims would not remain in Israel if they did not recognize that the land belongs to the Jews. MK Ahmad Tibi, a senior member of the Joint List, a predominantly Arab Israeli party, responded by calling Smotrich a racist in German. (rh) 11/4/2021
Netanyahu Liable to Concoct ‘National Emergency’ to Keep Himself in PowerYossi Werter - Haaretz -Two principles are competing with one another at the moment, in the context of the knottiest coalition talks ever. The first is known as JNB, Just Not Bibi, and the other is NAE, Not Another Election. They aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, but they produce entirely different negotiation paths. In them, all methods are kosher and all means are on the table. Any idea, no matter how hallucinatory, can be discussed. One path will lead to the sixth Benjamin Netanyahu government, the other to the revolutionary Naftali Bennett-Yair Lapid government.(rh)11/4/2021
If the International Criminal Court Lacks Jurisdiction, Is Everything Legal?Yehudit Karp - Haaretz - Diplomatic activity has garnered support for Israel’s position from jurists in Western countries, including some who fear the ICC in The Hague will set its sights on them too. Anyone in Israel who doesn’t go along with this position is denounced as a traitor. The special status held by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki was revoked when he returned from The Hague – as punishment for the Palestinian Authority’s complaint to the ICC. Presumably, the government will take further measures to get the PA to change course and withdraw its complaint. But even if Israel’s position is legally correct, the ICC’s lack of jurisdiction cannot obscure the crimes being committed in the territories, and Israel cannot absolve itself of responsibility. The court’s jurisdiction is one thing, and the crimes being committed in the territories are another.(rh)11/4/2021
Netanyahu’s Shameful Speech: When Holocaust Remembrance Day Becomes a Campaign EventAlon Pinkas - Haaretz - Here was the prime minister of the State of Israel, the state of the Jewish people, speaking at Yad Vashem on the eve of the country’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, one of the most sacred days on the Israeli national calendar. On such an occasion, you would expect somberness, solemnity, humility, grace, historical perspective and valuable insight. After all, this is a day in which the entire country remembers the most vile genocide and tragedy in human history. But not when it comes to Mr. Netanyahu. For the prime minister, it’s all about him. Always. For him, Holocaust Remembrance Day is just another opportunity to make a political speech, a self- serving tirade. As a bonus encore, just to make things even more politicized, this year’s speech also included a warning to President Joe Biden on Iran. [ak]8/4/2021
Who is afraid of democracy?Gush Shalom - The Palestinians, too want to hold democratic elections and freely vote for their representatives. But the State of Israel is strongly opposed... [bz] 8/4/2021
A Palestinian mother called the Israeli police to help her son with a mental illness. They shot him instead.YUMNA PATEL - Mondoweiss - Munir Anabtawi was killed by Israeli police after his mother had called them to help her son get to the hospital. “They didn’t have to shoot him the way they did," Munir`s aunt, Siham, tells Mondoweiss. "It was an execution. They executed him.” (rh) 4/4/2021
Why is The Forward afraid of criticizing Israel’s discriminatory vaccine policy?Sari Bashi - +972mag - American Jews must recognize that Israel’s refusal to vaccinate all Palestinians under its rule is part of a supremacist policy that goes beyond the occupation.(rh) 4/4/2021
Real Challenge in Palestinian Elections: Convince Jerusalem Voters to Cast Their BallotsAmira Hass - Haaretz - The unique name of one of the 36 parties aiming to compete in the May 22 Palestinian parliamentary election might be translated as We’ve Had Enough. This slate defines itself as young people from protest movements active mainly in Gaza in recent years against the internal Palestinian rift and its economic repercussions.//The multiplicity of party tickets expresses people’s great thirst to make their voices heard and take part in the decision-making process in a society split between two authoritarian regimes and lacking authority and power in the face of Israel’s control and policies.(rh)4/4/2021
Why we should critically welcome the Jerusalem Declaration on AntisemitismTONY GREENSTEIN - Mondoweiss - Unlike the IHRA which labelled opposition to Zionism and Israeli racism as antisemitism, the JDA makes a clear distinction between antisemitism and anti-Zionism. The JDA states that the following are not antisemitic: Criticizing or opposing Zionism as a form of nationalism, or arguing for a variety of constitutional arrangements for Jews and Palestinians in the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. It is not antisemitic to support arrangements that accord full equality to all inhabitants “between the river and the sea,” whether in two states, a binational state, unitary democratic state, federal state, or in whatever form. Evidence-based criticism of Israel as a state. (rh)4/4/2021
Netanyahu is responsible for his own downfallSever Plocker - Although conditions were perfect for Netanyahu`s bloc to win enough seats in latest elections, PM`s uncontrollable ego and excessive self-confidence drove potential voters into the arms of other parties or made them stay at home.(rh)4/4/2021
Abbas finds himself up the creek without a paddle ahead of PA pollsElior Levy - Ynetnews - Despite warnings from Israel and his own advisers, Fatah Leader Mahmoud Abbas is racing towards the Palestinian polls with a broken and divided faction, while terror group Hamas demonstrates a united front, not unlike its successful 2006 round. (rh)4/4/2021
Mansour Abbas puts religion before nationalism, breaking up the Arab Joint ListHanan Manadreh - Challenge - Knesset member Mansour Abbas, who recently split off from the Arab Joint List, dropped a powerful bomb when he said, “Religious principles are no less important than [Arab] national principles.”(rh)4/4/2021
WHO Wuhan report leaves question of coronavirus origins unresolvedEmily Rauhala - Washington Post - A joint World Health Organization- China report on the origins of the coronavirus says it most probably jumped from animals to humans via an intermediate animal host, downplays the possibility it leaked from a lab and suggests next steps in a complex search mired in controversy, according to a copy obtained by The Washington Post.The report, set to be released Tuesday, offers the most detailed look yet at what happened in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 and early 2020. However, the findings are far from conclusive and will be overshadowed by questions about China’s lack of transparency — and the WHO’s apparent inability to press for more. The team recommends further study of the possible path of transmission between animals and humans and on transmission through frozen food — a once-fringe theory favored by the Chinese government. It does not recommend additional research on the lab leak hypothesis. (rh)4/4/2021
ICC prosecutor opens war crimes probe in Palestinian territoriesAljazeera - The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said on Wednesday she launched a formal inquiry into alleged crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, a move strongly opposed by Israel. Fatou Bensouda said in a statement the inquiry will be conducted “independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favour”.(rh) 4/4/2021
We are living through a time of fear – not just of the virus, but of each otherJonathan Cook - InformationClearingHouse - We are now firmly in a time of fear – not only of the virus, but of each other. Fear destroys solidarity. Fear forces us to turn inwards to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Fear refuses to understand or identify with the concerns of others. In fear societies, basic rights become a luxury. They are viewed as a threat, as recklessness, as a distraction that cannot be afforded in this moment of crisis. Once fear takes hold, populations risk agreeing to hand back rights, won over decades or centuries, that were the sole, meagre limit on the power of elites to ransack the common wealth. In calculations based on fear, freedoms must make way for other priorities: being responsible, keeping safe, averting danger.(rh)4/4/2021
No Academic Business As Usual with Ariel University -- hundreds of academics supporting the Palestinian call on `Horizon Europe` Petition - - "Respecting international law, as a peaceful and universal means of conflict resolution, requires denying recognition to, and severing institutional relations with Ariel University as an illegal settlement institution." Among the signatories are more than twenty professors and lecturers of Israeli universities. [bz]1/4/2021
A trick too farGush Shalom - About Netanyahu`s desperate efforts [bz]30/3/2021
Kahanism doesn’t need a seat in the KnessetOrly Noy - +972mag - More than 30 years have passed since Meir Kahane’s party was barred from participating in Israeli elections. Six years later, it was declared a terrorist organization and banned by the Israeli government. But after next week’s election, Itamar Ben-Gvir, a student and ideological heir to the rabbi who founded the Jewish Defense League and supported expelling all Palestinians from their historical land, may very well become a member of Knesset. And he won’t be walking into the parliament as a marginal figure in Israeli politics, but rather with all the glory and support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. According to Israel’s election laws, parties can sign a “vote-sharing agreement,” under which parties that pass the election threshold can pool their surplus votes — which otherwise would not add up to win an extra seat — in order to gain another spot for another party. Thus, parties that are ideologically aligned can ensure that their supporters’ votes do not go to waste. (rh) 28/3/2021
On British colonialism, antisemitism, and Palestinian rightsAvi Shlaim - Middle East Eye - The “original sin” was the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which promised to support the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people”, provided that nothing was done to “prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. In 1917, Arabs constituted 90 percent of the population of Palestine; Jews made up less than 10 percent. The declaration was thus a classic colonial document: it granted the right to national self-determination to a small minority, while denying it to the majority. To add insult to injury, the declaration referred to 90 percent of the country’s inhabitants as “non-Jewish communities in Palestine”, relegating them to an inferior status. Although grotesquely imbalanced in favour of Jews, the declaration at least included a promise to protect the civil and religious rights of Palestinians - but even this promise was never kept. Palestine was not lost in the late 1940s, as is commonly believed; it was lost in the late 1930s, as a result of Britain’s savage smashing of Palestinian resistance. The British mandate for Palestine lasted from 1920 until midnight on 14 May 1948, the date the State of Israel was proclaimed. The first high commissioner for Palestine, Herbert Samuel, was a Jew and an ardent Zionist. Partiality towards Jews was evident from day one; the cornerstone of the mandate was to deny representative institutions as long as Arabs were the majority in Palestine. In the end, Britain over-fulfilled its promise to Zionists by helping the “national home” evolve into a Jewish state, while betraying its pledge to Palestinians. Britain’s betrayal gave rise to the Palestinian Great Revolt of 1936-39. This was a nationalist uprising, demanding Arab independence and an end to the policy of open-ended Jewish immigration and land purchases.(rh)28/3/2021
ISRAELI GOVERNMENT WAS ‘NOT PREPARED’ FOR MASSIVE OIL SPILL CLEANUP, SAY NGOSEuronews - Over 90 per cent of Israel`s 195-kilometre Mediterranean coastline has been covered with more than 12,000 tonnes of tar causing extensive damage to the ecosystem. Volunteers were quick to step in and have been working hand in hand with soldiers on loan from the army to organise the cleanup. A local NGO believes that the government was not sufficiently prepared to react to an ecological disaster like this."The initial response was from the NGOs, the environmental NGOs, and from the municipalities along the coast," says CEO of Zalul environmental NGO Maya Jacobs."The Ministry of Environment took a few days until they actually started to manage the issue. They are not prepared to deal with such emergencies, this is one of our problems with them." (rh)28/3/2021
ICC prosecutor opens war crimes probe in Palestinian territoriesAljazeera- The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said on Wednesday she launched a formal inquiry into alleged crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, a move strongly opposed by Israel. Fatou Bensouda said in a statement the inquiry will be conducted “independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favour”. “Today, I confirm the initiation by the office of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court of an investigation respecting the situation in Palestine,” Bensouda said, adding it will specifically look at allegations since June 13, 2014.The Palestinian Authority (PA) welcomed the prosecutor’s investigation.(rh)28/3/2021
Spring Newsletter 2021Friends of Machsomwatch - MachsomWatch reports continue to document the deterioration of the living conditions of the Palestinians throughout the West Bank, in particular in the Jordan Valley and the South Hebron Hills. We wonder, is there a guiding hand in all of this? Who is behind the worsening of the Palestinians’ circumstances caused by increased harassment by violent settler-colonists, by the demolition of houses, the confiscation of their property, and the uprooting of their olive trees by the Civil Administration and the Army?(rh) 28/3/2021
Israel imposes full closure on occupied territories on election day, Passover holidayWAFA - Israeli occupation authorities ordered a full closure on the occupied Palestinian territories on election day, which coincides tomorrow, and for the upcoming Passover holiday, which starts on Friday. Israelis go to the polls tomorrow for the fourth elections in two years to elect a new parliament and government. As a result, Israel decided to restrict the movement of Palestinians and ban them from entering territory under its control all day Tuesday. As Israel also marks the week-long Passover holiday starting Friday, another full closure will be imposed on the occupied territories for the duration of the holiday.(rh)28/3/2021
The Jerusalem DeclarationThe Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism is a tool to identify, confront and raise awareness about antisemitism as it manifests in countries around the world today. It includes a preamble, definition, and a set of 15 guidelines that provide detailed guidance for those seeking to recognize antisemitism in order to craft responses. It was developed by a group of scholars in the fields of Holocaust history, Jewish studies, and Middle East studies to meet what has become a growing challenge: providing clear guidance to identify and fight antisemitism while protecting free expression. It has over 200 signatories.(rh)28/3/2021
This is what ‘Jewish democracy’ looks likePhilip Weiss - Mondoweiss - A lot of Israel’s friends in the U.S. describe the country as both Jewish and democratic. That description is fair inasmuch as the Israeli elections revolve around one question, Which Jews will run the country? It is true that the 20 percent or so of the Israeli population that is not Jewish can vote, but Palestinians are never allowed anywhere near the executive branch. And all the leading Jewish parties campaign by saying they will have nothing to do with the Palestinians parties. And all the coalition-action in the next few weeks will involve Jewish leaders (with an occasional sideshow that amounts to nothing). Discussion of the settlements was completely absent in this election. “The Palestinian issue is literally and figuratively over the hills and far away,” Neri Zilber said on a J Street zoom. (rh)28/3/2021
Symbiosis between state and settler attacksSarit Michaeli - Ynetnews - In attempt to drive them out of their homes, Israel is hounding underprivileged Palestinian farmers who have given up filing complaints, having learned from experience that they get no protection from Israeli police.(rh)28/3/2021
Israel’s election results look like the coronavirus never happenedAluf Benn - Forward - The television exit polls show that the main event of the past year – the coronavirus – didn’t influence Israeli voters at all. What hasn’t happened to us since the last election? Lockdowns, quarantines, more than 6,000 deaths, face masks, cellphone tracking by the Shin Bet security service, huge deficits, soaring unemployment, Saturday night demonstrations and a closed airport. And all this was on top of an intensifying political crisis. Nevertheless, at the polls, we were left with the same yes-Bibi/no- Bibi. All that happened was that the internal composition of the blocs changed.(rh)28/3/2021
Israeli politics can no longer ignore Palestinian citizens — even if it may end up boosting the right.Edo Konrad - +972 - The outcome was no stroke of luck; Abbas has been building up to this moment for months. In January, he pushed his Ra’am party to split off from the Joint List; and unlike in previous elections, in which Abbas promoted a moderate political and religious agenda, Ra’am made conservatism a cornerstone of its new political program, including an emphasis on its opposition to LGBTQ rights. In addition, Abbas re-branded himself as a “pragmatist” by making public overtures to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli right wing based on “mutual interests.” This included Ra’am’s (and the Joint List’s) demand to increase the government budget for addressing the most serious issues plaguing Palestinian society in Israel, including organized crime, gun violence, and housing construction in Arab communities. [bz] 25/3/2021
Israel Election Results: Mansour Abbas, Don’t Believe NetanyahuHaaretz editorial - Joining forces with Netanyahu wouldn’t just be a moral and strategic mistake, it would be pure naivete. Netanyahu’s word is worthless. Abbas knows very well that agreements with Netanyahu aren’t worth the paper they are written on, and that whoever shakes Netanyahu’s hand needs to check afterward that he still has all his fingers. If Abbas still has any doubts about this, he should call Benny Gantz, whom Netanyahu deceived before the whole world, while Shas chairman Arye Dery supposedly vouched for the rotation agreement. Abbas also ought to recall that Netanyahu prevented Israel from passing a national budget and dragged it to a fourth election in the midst of a pandemic – just to wiggle out of the rotation agreement. [bz]25/3/2021
ICC gives Israel month to seek deferral of war crimes probeAssociated Press - Ynetnews - The International Criminal Court said Thursday it has sent formal notices to Israel and the Palestinian Authority about its impending investigation into possible war crimes, giving them a month to seek deferral by proving they are carrying out their own investigations. Earlier this month, the ICC announced it would investigate possible war crimes committed by Israel and Palestinian militants following a request by the Palestinians, who joined the court in 2015 after being granted nonmember observer status in the U.N. General Assembly. The ICC prosecutor`s office confirmed in a written statement that on March 9 the letters were sent to all of the court`s member states and those states that would normally exercise jurisdiction, including Israel and the Palestinian Authority.(rh) 21/3/2021
Foreign interference in the Palestinian elections : Several foreign players are seeking to influence the outcome of the Palestinian electionsAdnan Abu Amer - Aljazeera - As Palestinians begin the countdown to their general legislative and presidential elections in May and July of this year, there seems to be growing interest among foreign actors in shaping their outcome. This has started to worry the Palestinian leadership. On February 16, Major General Jibril Rajoub, secretary- general of the Central Committee of Fatah, said on Palestinian TV that some Arab countries have been trying hard to interfere in the Palestinian elections and the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation talks. Three days later, Bassam al-Salhi, secretary-general of the Palestinian People’s Party and member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, noted in an interview for the website Arabi21 that: “Many countries will pump huge sums of money because they want to have influence in the Legislative Council. We are facing interference from many countries, Arab and foreign.”(rh)21/3/2021
What sort of ‘victory’ would await a victorious Netanyahu? : The premier has focused obsessively on weakening his rival Bennett – and for good reason. Even if he hands Netanyahu his victory, the Yamina head will exact a painfully high priceHAVIV RETTIG GUR - Times of Israel - Early on Friday morning, Shin Bet and police forces began to gather inexplicably outside the Ra’anana home of Yamina leader Naftali Bennett. “Today we woke up to companies of police and Shin Bet in front of the house,” Bennett said in a video released on social media from his home. “We didn’t understand what was happening. It turns out Netanyahu is planning his gimmick, to come here with some contract for me to sign, etc., etc.,” Bennett said.//“I’m not signing anything,” Bennett said in the video. “Because I don’t work for Netanyahu. I work for you, citizens of Israel. But I invite Bibi to a debate at the time of his choosing,” Bennett said, referring to Netanyahu by his nickname.//In the end, the Likud campaign appeared to grasp how bad the optics were. Netanyahu never showed up.(rh) 21/3/2021
Presidential spokesman: No backtracking on decision to hold electionsWAFA - There would be no backtracking on the decision to hold the general elections, Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh stated today. Speaking to Voice of Palestine, Abu Rudeineh announced that the decision to hold the general elections would not be reversed because elections are a “democratic and a popular requirement” while affirming that they would be held based on clear and proper rules. He added that the Fatah movement is determined to run on one unified electoral list in the first full presidential and parliamentary elections in 15 years. Commenting on contacts with the new US administration, Abu Rudeineh said that the Palestinian leadership has initiated contacts with US President Joe Biden’s administration, which has voiced explicit support for the two-state solution and rejection to any unilateral steps, noting that the relation with the Biden administration was progressing, albeit slowly.(rh)21/3/2021
First batch of COVAX-supplied vaccines arrives for PalestiniansAljazeera - The Palestinian Authority (PA) on Wednesday received the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from the global COVAX sharing initiative, in a boost to inoculations in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip which lag far behind Israel’s campaign. A Palestinian health ministry spokesman said 38,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would be used for inoculations as of Sunday, while 24,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine would be stored “until there is a scientific decision from the World Health Organization”.//The WHO, one of the leaders of the COVAX programme, has said its advisory panel was reviewing reports from several countries of isolated cases of bleeding, blood clots and low platelet counts after administration of the AstraZeneca shots. But the organisation appealed to nations on Monday not to pause vaccination campaigns over the safety fears.(rh) 21/3/2021
ADDAMEER LAUNCHES IT`S CAMPAIGN AGAINST MILITARY COURTSAddameer - Tuesday 2 March 2021, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association launched its campaign against Israeli military courts, titled "In the Case of the Palestinian People vs. Military Courts”. The launching event included a press conference near Ofer military court, with speakers from the Palestinian Prisoners` Society and Al-Haq, Defending Human Rights, with the presence of Palestinian civil society organizations, families of prisoners and former prisoners, Human Rights Watch representative, and wide media coverage.(rh)21/3/2021
Next ICC prosecutor will hopefully just drop the case against Israel, says a Biden allyPHILIP WEISS - The Biden administration is hoping that the next International Criminal Court prosecutor will simply drop the case against Israel when he comes on board in June, because this is “not something that really needs to be pursued.” That is the indication from Dan Shapiro, the former Obama ambassador to Israel who spoke for Biden during the campaign last year. In the same commentary, Shapiro, who lives in Tel Aviv, said that Israel can’t be investigated by the ICC because it has done such a bangup job of investigating itself. (rh)21/3/2021
ICC probe in Palestinian territories faces some pitfallsMike Wagenheim / The Media Line - Ynetnews - The International Criminal Court does not have unlimited funds and may not want to risk taking on such a lengthy, high-profile and politically charged case, knowing that there is no consensus that it has the jurisdiction to move forward.(rh)21/3/2021
Anyone but Ben Gvir: One man’s mission to keep a Kahanist out of the KnessetTAL SCHNEIDER - Times of Israel - Spooked by the thought of the right- wing extremist becoming an MK, Yaniv Carmel is going door-to-door in right-wing strongholds to convince people to vote for anybody else.(rh)21/3/2021
Israeli forces kill Palestinian man during West Bank protest : The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that the man, 45-year-old Atef Hanaysheh, was shot with live ammunition in the head during a protest against settlement expansion and the confiscatYUMNA PATEL- Mondoweiss - A Palestinian man was shot and killed by Israeli forces on Friday during a protest in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus.The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that the man, 45-year-old Atef Hanaysheh, was shot with live ammunition in the head during a protest against settlement expansion and the confiscation of Palestinian-owned land in the village of Beit Dajan.The MOH said that Hanaysheh was taken by Palestinian medics to a hospital in Nablus, where he was pronounced dead shortly after. Eyewitnesses told Israeli and Palestinian media outlets that Hanaysheh, the local imam at one of Beit Dajan’s mosques, was shot at “point blank range” by forces who were suppressing the Friday protest — a weekly occurrence in the village. (rh)21/3/2021
Not Just to Save It: Five Reasons to Vote Meretz in Israel`s Election Zehava Galon - Haaretz - [Reason no 3] (...) What do you think will happen to the fight against the occupation if it remains solely in the hands of the Joint List? Our Palestinian allies need the solidarity of Meretz. [bz]18/3/2021
Israelis hold elections and Palestinians also hold elections - but is this democracy?Salem Barahmeh - The Guardian - For the first time in decades, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel will hold legislative elections a few months apart. Many in the international community and media will see this as a joint exercise in democracy but it is, in fact, a window into the reality of a two-tiered system that denies Palestinians the basic freedom and rights that many across the world take for granted. Drive across the winding roads of the West Bank this spring and you will see election posters interrupting the beautiful landscape of olive and almond trees. Upon further inspection, you may soon realise that the candidate advertised is not an eager Palestinian campaigning for a parliamentary seat. It is likely to be an Israeli candidate running for the Israeli Parliament. This raises a very valid question: why are Israelis campaigning in the West Bank, the territory designated by international law and consensus to become part of a future Palestinian state? Israel occupies and controls the entirety of the West Bank and has de facto annexed large portions of it through the settling of 650,000-750,000 Israelis on Palestinian land. Under the Rome statute of the international criminal court, a settlement enterprise of this nature is not only illegal but also considered a war crime. Yet these illegal settlers are able to run, campaign, and vote in Israeli elections and have come to occupy the position of king-makers in Israeli coalition-forming. [ak] 18/3/2021
What peacemaker? Gush Shalom - Under Netanyahu`s leadership, also the decades-long peace with Jordan is eroded and shaken. [bz]16/3/2021
The ICC and Israel’s Charge of Anti-SemitismNeve Gordon - CounterPunch - “The ICC is on Israel’s target list. This becomes clear when searching for the terms ‘ICC ruling’ and ‘Israel’ together; instantaneously, an ad pops up at the very top of Google’s list of 1,390,000 results: ‘ICC & Israel: No Standing. No Jurisdiction. No Case’” [ry] 15/3/2021
Elections under Fire: Palestine’s Impossible Democracy DilemmaRamzy Baroud - The Palestine Chronicle - Many Palestinian intellectuals and political analysts find themselves in the unenviable position of having to declare a stance on whether they support or reject upcoming Palestinian elections which are scheduled for May 22 and July 30. But there are no easy answers.The long- awaited decree by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last January to hold legislative and presidential elections in the coming months was widely welcomed, not as a triumph for democracy but as the first tangible positive outcome of dialogue between rival Palestinian factions, mainly Abbas’ Fatah party and Hamas. As far as inner Palestinian dialogue is concerned, the elections, if held unobstructed, could present a ray of hope that, finally, Palestinians in the Occupied Territories will enjoy a degree of democratic representation, a first step towards a more comprehensive representation that could include millions of Palestinians outside the Occupied Territories. But even such humble expectations are conditioned on many “ifs”: only if Palestinian factions honor their commitments to the Istanbul Agreement of September 24; only if Israel allows Palestinians, including Jerusalemites, to vote unhindered and refrains from arresting Palestinian candidates; only if the US-led international community accepts the outcome of the democratic elections without punishing victorious parties and candidates; only if the legislative and presidential elections are followed by the more consequential and substantive elections in the Palestinian National Council (PNC) – the Palestinian Parliament in exile – and so on. (rh)14/3/2021
Israel-Palestine: Two elections, under the burning sun of ApartheidJONATHAN OFIR - Mondoweiss - Many people think there will be an election round in Israel this spring (March 23rd). But that’s only half the story, because there will actually be two election rounds: one in so-called ‘Israel proper’, and one in the Palestinian territories which it has occupied for the past 53 years (May 22 Palestinian general elections). The question is, which are the real elections? The answer is, none – they are both make-believe.Just two months ago, the prominent Israeli human rights NGO B’tselem came out with a report titled: “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid”.This was considered a watershed moment in Israeli terms, but those who have been following this theme have seen a similar assessment in the much longer report commissioned by a UN agency in 2017, authored by professors Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley, about how Israel has been practicing Apartheid from its inception, and veiling it as a “Jewish democracy”.(rh)14/3/2021
Occupation forces detain four Palestinians, injure one with gunfire near JerusalemWAFAS News Agency - JERUSALEM, Sunday, March 14, 2021 (WAFA) – Israeli occupation forces last night detained four Palestinians and injured another one with gunfire during raids in occupied Jerusalem and neighboring villages, according to local sources and witnesses. Heavily armed Israeli police officers stormed the neighborhoods of al-Isawiya and al-Tour in the occupied capital, where they detained four Palestinians after raiding and searching their homes. Among the detainees was a 17-year-old minor identified as Ibrahim Huneti. Meanwhile, an Israeli occupation army force raided the village of Hizma, northeast of Jerusalem on the West Bank side of the Israeli segregation barrier, and clashed with local residents. A protester was reportedly shot and injured by a live gunshot in his thigh bone fired at home by Israeli soldiers. In the meantime, Israeli occupation soldiers physically assaulted and briefly detained a Palestinian from the village of Kifl Haris, north of the occupied West Bank city of Salfit. Witnesses told WAFA that Israeli soldiers assaulted Mr. Nabil Ebeid near the Kifl Haris square, just outside the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel The soldiers reportedly attempted to falsely accuse Ebeid of attempting to carry out a stabbing attack against them in order to justify the assault, before letting him go.(rh) 14/3/2021
`Winds are shifting`: US lawmakers criticise Israel in two rare letters : Dozen House members slam range of Israeli policies, and five senators call on Israel to vaccinate Palestinians in separate letterAli Harb - Middle East Eye - US lawmakers from both chambers of Congress have sent letters to the Biden administration criticising the Israeli government and urging it to vaccinate Palestinians living under its control. In two separate letters sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday, progressive senators and members of the House of Representatives called on the US administration to resume funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) and push to ensure the rights of Palestinians.The documents signal the growing willingness to criticise Israel amongst Democrats in Congress, a branch of the US government where unquestioning support for Israel is the norm. (rh)14/3/2021
Masked settlers beat, throw rocks at Palestinian family in West Bank : Rights group B’Tselem says parents and 8 children were attacked near Mitzpe Yair outpost; parents taken to hospital for treatmentTOI STAFF - A group of around 10 masked alleged Israeli settlers beat and threw rocks at a Palestinian family in the West Bank on Saturday in an attack the family captured on video. According to the B’Tselem organization, the Alyan family — two parents and their eight children — were working on their agricultural land near the illegal settler outpost of Mitzpe Yair, south of the West Bank city of Hebron, when the attack took place. The family filmed part of the incident, which was released by the rights group.In the footage, the assailants can be seen throwing rocks and brandishing batons as the children scream and cry in the background.(rh) 14/3/2021
At behest of settlers, Israeli forces arrest Palestinian children picking wild flowers : “This was obviously an attempt by the settlers to intimidate the boys by using the soldiers,” eyewitness Basel Adrah tells Mondoweiss. “They didn’t steal or damage anYUMNA PATEL - Mondoweiss - Israeli forces arrested five Palestinian children, ranging between the ages of eight and 13, in the South Hebron Hills of the southern occupied West Bank on Wednesday, sparking outrage among local and international human rights advocates.Videos of the arrest went viral on social media, showing a large group of masked and armed Israeli soldiers forcibly arresting the children, who were visibly alarmed and frightened as they were dragged into an Israeli military jeep. 14/3/2021
Netanyahu cancels UAE trip after Jordan refused to okay air route : Netanyahu cancels UAE trip after Jordan refused to okay air route Prime Minister`s Office says the visit was canceled over Jordan`s refusal to authorize PM`s flight path over the kingdom Ynet, News agencies - A much-publicized trip to the United Arab Emirates by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday was canceled shortly before he was due to depart after Jordan stalled on authorizing his flight path over the kingdom. Sources reported the planned visit on Wednesday, saying Netanyahu would meet Abu Dhabi`s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. Commentators deemed it as a chance for Netanyahu to flourish his diplomatic credentials ahead of Israel`s March 23 election. Sources reported the planned visit on Wednesday, saying Netanyahu would meet Abu Dhabi`s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. Commentators deemed it as a chance for Netanyahu to flourish his diplomatic credentials ahead of Israel`s March 23 election.(rh) 14/3/2021
Is Israel burying its Head in the sand as climate change makes Mideast a hot mess? Drought, sea-level rise and other environmental factors could destabilize the region, but Israel’s defense establishment is not thinking about the new dangers, a new paper Times of Israel - Sometime in the not-too-distant future, scientists predict that global temperatures may rise as much as 4 degrees Celsius, or even higher, on average. By 2100, the sea level is expected to rise between 0.2 meters in a best-case scenario to 2.5 meters in an extreme one, depending on efforts to curb emissions. A rise of just half a meter, though, would be enough to inundate the Egyptian cities of Port Said and Alexandria, according to one estimate. An increase of a meter would cover a quarter of the Nile River Delta, the country’s breadbasket.//The slowly unfolding disaster may be enough to uproot six million Egyptians, in addition to millions more migrating from parts of the Sahel. There, land degradation is taking its toll and unbearable heat has become the norm, making a wide swath of Africa, already the continent with the fastest-growing population on the globe, unlivable.//“It seems undeniable that severe environmental problems are likely to escalate the degree of global conflict,” Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall wrote in an oft-cited 2003 study for the Pentagon, laying out the possible national security implications of climate change. The paper envisioned a worst-case scenario where “famine, disease, and weather- related disasters strike due to the abrupt climate change. This will create a sense of desperation, which is likely to lead to offensive aggression in order to reclaim balance.” (rh)14/3/2021
ICC probe in Palestinian territories faces some pitfalls: The International Criminal Court does not have unlimited funds and may not want to risk taking on such a lengthy, high-profile and politically charged case, knowing that there is no consensus that Mike Wagenheim - Ynetnews - “The decision by the ICC is not as controversial as one would think,” says Mahmoud Abuwasel, the vice president of The Hague Institute for Global Justice. “Think of the ICC as a machine operating by an algorithm. It operates within the text of the Rome Statute,” he says, referring to the treaty that established the ICC. Israel never signed on to the Rome Statute, and while the State of Palestine did, the question of whether Palestine is actually a state is one that is quite complex for the international community. “The first thing to look at is the Rome Statute, which gives the ICC jurisdiction over a state party. The Palestinians are a party. The question then becomes if you have acceded to the statute, then what gives you statehood?" says Abuwasel. "The court made clear that they are not adjudicating borders and not commenting on general international law, but looking as to whether certain tests have been fulfilled. The ICC doesn’t grant statehood or validity. The ICC elaborated that the Palestinian Authority may not have fulfilled Vienna provisions, have borders, a constitution, etc., but the United Nations defined Palestine as a state,” he says. (rh)14/3/2021
Is Israel’s Orthodox Monopoly Ending? : The Supreme Court decision recognizing Reform and Conservative conversions performed in Israel has reignited attention to the issue. A podcast from the Shalom Hartman Institute.The Times of Israel - The decision by Israel’s Supreme Court recognizing Reform and Conservative conversions performed in Israel has reignited attention around issues of state and religion, especially in the eve of what has become a bi-annual national election. In this episode of For Heaven’s Sake, a podcast from the Shalom Hartman Institute, Donniel Hartman, Yossi Klein Halevi, and Elana Stein Hain analyze this landmark decision – discussed in the Supreme court for over a decade – which recognizes that perpetuating Orthodox authority over issues of personal status violates Israel’s legal commitment to human freedom and dignity for all of its citizens, regardless of nationality, religion, ethnic, or sexual identities. (rh) In this episode of For Heaven’s Sake, a podcast from the Shalom Hartman Institute, Donniel Hartman, Yossi Klein Halevi, and Elana Stein Hain analyze this landmark decision – discussed in the Supreme court for over a decade – which recognizes that perpetuating Orthodox authority over issues of personal status violates Israel’s legal commitment to human freedom and dignity for all of its citizens, regardless of nationality, religion, ethnic, or sexual identities. For Heaven’s Sake is a podcast from the Shalom Hartman Institute’s iEngage Project that revives the lost art of Jewish debate for the sake of illuminating a topic, not sowing division. The podcast draws its name from the concept of Machloket l’shem shemayim, “Disagreeing for the sake of heaven.” Subscribe to For Heaven’s Sake on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you receive your podcasts. I`m proud to work at The Times of Israel I’ll tell you the truth: Life here in Israel isn’t always easy. But it`s full of beauty and meaning. I`m proud to work at The Times of Israel alongside colleagues who pour their hearts into their work day in, day out, to capture the complexity of this extraordinary place. I believe our reporting sets an important tone of honesty and decency that`s essential to understand what`s really happening in Israel. It takes a lot of time, commitment and hard work from our team to get this right. Your support, through membership in The Times of Israel Community, enables us to continue our work. Would you join our Community today? Thank you, Sarah Tuttle Singer, New Media Editor JOIN THE TIMES OF ISRAEL COMMUNITY Already a member? Sign in to stop seeing this READ MORE: Jewish Times Shalom Hartman Institute Israel Supreme Court Conservative Judaism Reform Judaism religious pluralism 70 shares 14/3/2021
Israel`s next election is not just about Netanyahu : Regardless of the outcome when polls are counted after March 23, politicians will have to not only decide whether to join another Likud coalition, but also how to handle issues such as the Palestinian cSever Plocker - Ynetnews - It has become customary to divide the parties running in the March 23 election into the pro- and anti- Netanyahu camps, or more accurately, the probability of them joining a coalition headed by the incumbent prime minister. It is a reasonable method of categorization, but not the only one. Going deeper and looking over the various parties` manifestos and ideologies, especially on the Palestinian conflict, creates new divisions not seen at a first glance. One bloc is the diplomatic center, a collection of parties that do not support (or have stopped supporting) the idea of Greater Israel and have instead adopted the two-state solution, however the final borders may look. In this category sit centrist parties Yesh Atid led by Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz`s Blue & White - and even the right-wing Likud. Yes, even the Likud has made a political shift on the matter, especially under the leadership of Netanyahu, who decided to forgo annexation of West Bank land in favor of normalization agreements with far-flung Arab states that have do not have a side in the Palestinian issue.(rh) 14/3/2021
Meretz Might Not Make It Into Knesset. This Is What Its Disappearance Would MeanNoa Landau - Haaretz - Merav Michaeli’s election as chairwoman of Labor, together with the makeup of her party list, prompted a theory that there’s no longer any real difference between Labor and Meretz. Many among what remains of the left are attracted to what is sparkly and new, and more emotionally thrilling. Meretz chairman Nitzan Horowitz is trying to highlight Michaeli’s Achilles’ heel: the fight against the occupation. One statement by Horowitz last week indeed slashed a dividing line between him and Michaeli – and this line runs through The Hague: “The settlements and the right are dragging Israel to The Hague,” he tweeted. “The ongoing construction and threats of annexation are embroiling Israel in accusations of war crimes. The settlement obsession must stop and the peace process with the Palestinians must be restarted.” From a left-wing point of view, this does not count as a brave, or even problematic statement. But it stands in stark contrast to Michaeli’s response: “The [international] court’s decision is grave and problematic. It assumed authority it doesn’t have and imposed it on Israel in a distorted way. I have full faith in the Israeli justice system and in the IDF. If Meretz is not in the next Knesset, there will be no more representation for the Zionist left that recognizes the reality of the occupation and its implications, at a time when the proceedings in The Hague are likely to ramp up the persecution of anyone who dares to argue that there is a basis for investigating suspected war crimes in the territories. This would be the real effect of Meretz’s disappearance. [bz]11/3/2021
Why does the ICC pick on us? Gush Shalom - We are a democratic country! Aren`t we? [bz]9/3/2021
‘Engaging the World’: The ‘Fascinating Story’ of Hamas’s Political EvolutionRamzy Baroud, Romana Rubeo - CounterPunch - "As Moscow continues to cement its presence in the region by offering itself as a political partner and, compared with the US, a more balanced mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, Hamas sees the developing Russian role as a rare opportunity to break away from the US-Israel imposed isolation" [ry] 8/3/2021
Israel said to trade coronavirus vaccines for diplomatic supportTOI Staff - The Times of Israel - Israel is offering coronavirus vaccines to various countries in return for their diplomatic backing, the Kan public broadcaster reported Tuesday, citing a source familiar with the development. It is also sending thousands of doses for medical staff in the Palestinian Authority. A plane from Honduras was to take delivery of a shipment later in the day, the report said, and the Czech Republic and Guatemala are also interested.All three countries have in the past said they would open diplomatic offices in Jerusalem, and the source said that providing the vaccines is part of the process of bringing the missions to the capital.(rh) 7/3/2021
Three fishermen die in a mysterious explosion off Khan YounisWafa News Agency - GAZA, Sunday, March 07, 2021 (WAFA) – Three Palestinian fishermen were killed in a mysterious explosion today while they were sailing off the city of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip, according to medical sources and witnesses. WAFA correspondent quoted the sources as saying that a mysterious explosion took place in a fishing boat killing the three fishermen at once. The three were identified as Yahya Lahham, Hamdi Lahham, and Zakaria Lahham.The nature of the explosion or the source is not known yet. Early today morning, the Israeli occupation navy opened fire at Palestinian fishermen sailing off Gaza City, forcing them to return to the shore.(rh) 7/3/2021
Israel to Biden: Tehran Can Wait : Israel cautions Biden not to rush it with the Iranians and to adapt to a fundamentally changed Middle EastNeri Zilber - NEWLINES MAG -The United States and Israel are publicly battling over the future of Iran policy again, yet Israeli security officials admit that the previous “maximum pressure” policy championed by the Trump administration has not succeeded in forcing Tehran to capitulate or dented its support for its militia proxies in the Middle East. Such an apparent policy failure has not, as of yet, forced a rethink of Israel’s fierce opposition to the Biden administration’s stated goal of rejoining the Iran nuclear accord — even at the risk of regional escalation.//The prospect, held out by former Trump officials and some in Israel, that the Iranian regime would collapse from within due to economic pressure and public discontent is remote, according to two senior Israeli security officials.“Countries don’t collapse so quickly,” one told me, adding that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Hoseini-Khamenei “doesn’t have to answer to anyone, and he is still advancing towards his goals.”(rh)7/3/2021
Israel postpones roll-out of COVID vaccine to Palestinian workersAljazeera - Israel says it is postponing until further notice plans to administer COVID vaccinations to Palestinians who work inside the country and in its settlements in the occupied West Bank.//The announcement was confirmed by the Palestinian Authority who said it had reached an agreement with Israel that would see the country vaccinate 100,000 Palestinian workers. But COGAT on Friday announced a postponement which it attributed to “administrative delays,” saying that a new start for the campaign would be determined at a later time. The inoculation drive was supposed to begin on Sunday at West Bank crossings into Israel and at Israeli industrial zones. Such inoculations could have assuaged criticism of Israel for not sharing significant amounts of its COVID vaccine stockpiles with Palestinians living under Israeli control in the West Bank and those in the Gaza Strip – even as Israel succeeded in launching one of the fastest vaccine roll-outs in the world Israel had also announced plans to share surplus vaccines with far-flung allies in Africa, Europe and Latin America, but the decision was frozen by legal questions. (rh) 7/3/2021
Road to renewed Iran nuclear deal likely to be long and bumpyReuters/Ynetnews - It took seven years from the summer`s day in 2008 when a top U.S. diplomat first sat down with his Iranian counterpart until the two sides sealed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that aimed to keep Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. No one expects it to take as long to establish whether they can resuscitate the pact abandoned by former U.S. President Donald Trump, but U.S. and European officials say the journey will be lengthy and arduous, if, indeed, they even begin the trek.(rh)7/3/2021
Israel`s military courts for Palestinians are a stain on international justiceSahar Francis - The Guardian - The overwhelming majority of Palestinians in the West Bank were born into, and have spent their entire lives under, an Israeli military occupation that violates their right to self-determination. A new report by the UK charity War on Want exposes how a core part of what sustains that occupation is a military judicial system characterised by violations of international law.The report – Judge, Jury and Occupier – is a deep dive into the diverse ways in which Palestinians’ rights are being violated – from arrest, through interrogation, conviction and jail time. It reflects the experiences of Palestinian lawyers and human rights groups. The prisoners’ rights organisation I lead, Addameer, was proud to contribute evidence. One of the report’s important contributions is to make clear that, despite the Oslo accords and establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) for Palestinians in the West Bank, there has been, and remains, no escape from Israel’s military judicial system. (rh)7/3/2021
Likud minister’s Iran eco-terror accusations damage Israel’s credibility : Gila Gamliel keeps claiming the oil spill polluting Israel’s beaches was deliberately engineered by Tehran. Offering no proof, she makes Israel look paranoid, conspiratorialLAZAR BERMAN - The Times of Israel - As last month’s oil spill continues to do damage to Israel’s territorial waters and beaches, Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel is doing damage to herself, to the prime minister and to Israel’s efforts to contain Iran, with her ongoing accusations that Tehran deliberately engineered the incident. Pressed Thursday night during an interview with Channel 12 to provide evidence to back up her repeated claims that last month’s spill, which polluted most of Israel’s Mediterranean coastline with hundreds of tons of tar, was an act of “environmental terror” by Iran, Gamliel offered only circumstantial evidence regarding the ship and the damage it caused. The previous day, on Wednesday afternoon, Gamliel initially explained in an interview why the incident could not have been intentional, but was instead the result of negligence. Hours later, however, based on what she said was new information, she was accusing Iran of carrying out the spill as part of its campaign against Israel — a charge she repeated several times on Thursday.(rh) 7/3/2021
Netanyahu horror last-ditch showSima Kadmon - Ynetnews - The prime minister sees his poll numbers decline ahead of the March 23 elections as his popularity drops due to his failings during the year-long pandemic; since he is focused only on himself this has made him dangerous and mean. Mockery, insults and abuse are the tools Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has used in his recent interviews to Israeli media While the prime minister was expected to intensify his campaign closer to the March 23 Election Day - the fourth he has brought the country to in the past two years - his declining poll numbers have prompted him to embark on his media blitz prematurely.His concern is evident. In two appearances in the Israeli media this week, Netanyahu appeared angry. His ambitious goal of winning 40 seats for Likud in the upcoming ballot seems out of reach. Unlike previous campaigns, the Likud leader no longer has the protection of an assured parliamentary bloc made up of the ultra-Orthodox parties and right- wing allies. (rh) 7/3/2021
Rights group: Israeli human rights violations escalated in 2020YUMNA PATEL - Mondoweiss - 2020 was a dismal year for human rights in Palestine, as Israel tightened its grip on the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) through escalated attacks on Palestinians and their property and the introduction of new laws to further limit Palestinian rights, all in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. A new field report from Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq released this week details the numerous human rights violations that occurred throughout Palestine, particularly in the occupied West Bank, during 2020 — violations that the group said were exacerbated by, and spurred on, by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In the report, Al- Haq states that while Palestinians focused their efforts into combating the spread of the coronavirus in 2020, Israel “seized the opportunity to advance its settler project and intensify repressive measures against Palestinians in all their places of residence.” Those repressive measures, the group says, included massive home demolitions, land confiscation, settlement expansion, and the violation of freedom of movement and the right to health, among other things.(rh)7/3/2021
Yes, The Hague is right to investigate Israel for war crimesLARRY DERFNER - Mondoweiss - There’s a natural resistance to saying that your country deserves to be investigated for war crimes by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. But if you believe that Israel’s open-ended occupation and the settlements and lethal onslaughts in Gaza that go with it are morally untenable, how do you avoid that conclusion? The arguments against an investigation, whose formal initiation was announced Wednesday by ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, don’t stand up. For instance, the argument that such an investigation would be unfair because there are so many countries doing worse things than Israel does. “[T]he ICC refuses to investigate brutal dictatorships like Iran and Syria,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response to the court’s decision last month clearing the way for the probe, calling that ruling “pure antisemitism.” He used the same term to characterize Wednesday’s decision to launch the investigation. I suspect Netanyahu knows the real reason why the ICC doesn’t investigate Iran or Syria – or China, or North Korea, or Zimbabwe, or Eritrea, or Saudi Arabia, or Yemen, or a number of other regimes whose criminality exceeds or dwarfs Israel’s. It’s because the wrongs these regimes commit don’t affect a state that has granted the ICC jurisdiction over it by signing the Rome Statute.(rh)7/3/2021
Jewish CrimeAmos Gvirtz - I suppose any Jew would sense antisemitism in the headline above. And still I used this provocative headline. In recent days the Hebrew media are filled with reports on the criminality of Negev Bedouins, totally ignoring the State’s crimes against them. (...) Indeed, during this Corona year the Israeli government broke all previous records of house demolitions in the Negev! This, in spite of the government’s own Attorney General’s instructions to avoid home demolitions during the pandemic… [bz]3/3/2021
The Um El Fahm paradoxGush Shalom - The demonstrators in Um El Fahm were protesting police ineffectiveness in confronting the rising crime wave in Israel`s Arab towns. But, the police proved quite capable of a vigorous use of force - Against the demonstrators. [bz] 2/3/2021
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