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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    

TitleDescriptionDate - Alter Net - In the last weeks of the campaign, Donald Trump is collapsing in on himself. That`s the story his campaign and White House team itself seems to want to push in the scurry to avoid blame themselves. On Sunday, a New York Times piece reported on gloom, grievance, and "backbiting" among Trump`s staff as his reelection prospects dim, but more of note is the blame getting directed at the big orange hateburper himself."Among some of Mr. Trump`s lieutenants," reports the Times, there is "a sense that the best they can do for the final stretch is to keep the president occupied, happy and off Twitter as much as possible, rather than producing a major shift in strategy." 20/10/2020
Israel pays the price for Netanyahu’s pandemic politicsHarry D. Wall - Forward - As New York targets neighborhoods, including those with many Haredi Jews, where COVID-19 outbreaks have spiked, Israelis can only look on with envy. For the past three weeks, the country has been in a nationwide lockdown to contain a world-high infection rate, that is primarily concentrated in Haredi areas. But rather than focus on those hotspots, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cowered to the demands of the religious parties in his coalition, who hold the key to his political survival and possibly protection from the criminal-justice system.(rh)20/10/2020
Diplomatic Bullying: Israel Won`t Renew Visas to UN Workers in West Bank and GazaAmira Hass - Haaretz - Back in February, then-Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz promised to carry out an act of reprisal against OHCHR in the guise of freezing ties with it – because it dared to publish an (incomplete) list of mainly Israeli businesses and corporations (and a few from abroad) that are mired up to their ears in the Israeli settlement enterprise. Katz made a promise, and the Foreign Ministry headed by Kahol Lavan member Gabi Ashkenazi is keeping that promise. Do other countries who are annoyed by your criticism act the way Israel does, I asked OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville. He replied that on occasion, the work visas of one of the employees is not extended, but "I am not aware of any truly comparable situation anywhere else, where every single visa coming up for renewal has not been renewed." He added: “And this is a unique situation in that the office and staff are not functioning in Israel itself, but they need Israeli visas in order to enter and exit the occupied Palestinian territory.” [bz] 20/10/2020
Saleh Arouri, Deputy Hamas leader: Trump pressured Arab states to stop financial aid to Palestinians Hamodia - "Even when the international community discusses a Palestinian state within 1967 borders with the capital in al-Quds [Jerusalem], the occupation doesn`t want to commit to that. [Israel] wants a resolution that establishes its control of Jerusalem and particularly the West Bank. The Palestinian residents there won`t have sovereign [citizen] rights, rather merely as residents. The Trump administration stupidly and insanely rushed to implement this vision" Said Saleh al-Arouri, Deputy Hamas leader. He noted that the US severed monetary aid to UNRWA, the UN`s relief agency for Palestinian refugees, and asked other countries to do the same. "There are Arab countries that froze their commitments to the Palestinian people, whether via the PA or PLO, because of an American decision. They came to our brothers in the PA and told them: `We won`t pay you a thing after today.`" [ak] 20/10/2020
He didn`t get it yet Gush Shalom - An increase In the number of demonstrators / an increase in the level of violence by the PM`s dwindling supporters / right-wing public figures ... understand the game is over. [bz]20/10/2020
Gaza Eases COVID Restrictions: Tawjihi Students Back in School (PHOTOS)Wafa Aludaini - Palestine Chronicle - Gaza authorities began easing up COVID-19 restrictions Saturday, allowing Tawjihi students (final year of high school) to resume their studies, although under strict safety measures. Gaza’s Ministry of Education issued a statement stating that they will evaluate the decision one week from now, to assess whether other students are allowed to return to school under similarly strict measures. Tawjihi is a critical year for Palestinian students, for the results of the final exams alone determine future college placement. Failure to obtain high grades can make a great difference for students, who can either join good universities or have to repeat the final year of high school 20/10/2020
Amidst pandemic, while billions struggle for survival, billionaires’ wealth tops $10 trillionFarooque Chowdhury - Countercurrents - A new report – Riding the Storm, billionaires insights 2020 – by UBS and PwC reveals that the world’s uber-rich have increased their already-huge fortunes by more than a quarter; and this “miracle” happened amidst the ongoing pandemic ravaging life of billions of the poor in continents. Wealth of this handful of uber-rich, according to the report, grew by 27.5 percent – $10.2 trillion – during April-July period. That was the apex point of the Covid-crisis. According to the UBS, the billionaires had mostly benefited from betting on the recovery of global stock markets.The report noted: Wealth of the billionaires had hit “a new high, surpassing the previous peak of $8.9 trillion reached at the end of 2017.” What’s the number of billionaires today? It’s 2,189 – a record high. In 2017, it was 2,158. (rh)13/10/2020
Palestinian Prisoner Continues Hunger Strike as Israeli Court Rejects Petition Calling for Immediate ReleasePalestine Chronicle - Palestinian hunger striker, Maher al-Akhras, who has been on a 78-day long fast protesting his administrative detention, today rejected a deal from the Israeli High Court that recommends his release from prison in return for ending his hungerstrike. Al-Akhras rejected the Israeli High Court deal after only recommending his release by November 26 instead of ruling in favor of his release as requested by his lawyer in the petition submitted to the Court and rejected today. As a result, according to his lawyer, al-Akhras decided to continue with his hunger strike until there is a definite and clear position from the High Court or the Israeli occupation authorities setting a specific date for his release and not only a recommendation.(rh)13/10/2020
Lockdown, ban on weddings reduced coronavirus infections in Arab sector : The opening of testing stations in the Arab communities, including east Jerusalem, was another reason behind the drop in the number of coronavirus cases in the Arab sector.KHALED ABU TOAMEH - Jerusalem Post - The current lockdown has led to a significant decrease in the number of coronavirus cases among Arab Israelis, Ayam Saif, Coronavirus Project Coordinator for Israel’s Arab Sector, said on Tuesday. Saif expressed fear, however, that lifting the lockdown and the return of weddings and other public gatherings could cause a resurgence in the number of infections, unless Arab Israelis kept to the rules. (rh)13/10/2020
For Israel, tens of thousands of Palestinian newborns don’t existHenriette Chacar - +972mag - After giving birth in April, Shabaro registered her daughter with the Palestinian Authority. She made sure the baby had a birth certificate and passport, and that she was listed on Shabaro’s identification card. When travel was possible again, Shabaro made plans to leave on July 22. She applied for and received a UAE visa for her daughter, and bought tickets to fly out of Jordan. What Shabaro could not anticipate was that, in May, the Palestinian Authority would halt civil and security coordination with Israel, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government announced plans to formally annex large swaths of the West Bank. The move meant that the PA would also end its decades-long practice of passing on its record of the population registry to Israel. That included the information of Shabaro’s daughter. More than 35,000 Palestinian newborns have been registered with the PA since May 20, according to Palestinian Deputy Interior Minister Yousef Harb. But for Israel, these children simply do not exist, and therefore cannot travel freely out of the occupied territories. (rh) 13/10/2020
Weary of Netanyahu, Benny Gantz delivers last ultimatum : Having lost all trust in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Benny Gantz has now delivered an ultimatum on the 2021 state budget. Ben Caspit - Al-Monitor - Less than two years after diving into Israel’s political waters, Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz is facing a decisive moment. The general who served as the 20th chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) tried to ignore his impending decision, to circumvent it — to no avail. In recent days, he finally realized what many had warned him — that he had entered into a unity-coalition agreement with a man who never had any intention of seeing it through, just as the man had never made good on a single political agreement throughout his career. Gantz, who has been demeaning and prostrating himself before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since their absurd “unity” power- sharing government was installed in mid-May, realized it was time to move on. If he still has an iota of political desire left in his body, he must end the suffering, get off the merry-go-round and prepare for the worst. What Gantz did Oct. 8 has the makings of political suicide. In a harsh, detailed letter sent after much hesitation, Gantz essentially told Netanyahu that unless he keeps his word immediately and moves ahead with preparation and approval of the 2021 state budget, Israel was heading for elections — the fourth round in less than two years. (rh) 13/10/2020
White House Staff Fear Getting Near Infected TrumpErin Banco, Asawin Suebsaeng -The Daily Beast - Over the last several days, Trump administration officials have attempted to quickly pull together a plan to mitigate the burgeoning outbreak in the White House. But as positive test results have poured in, officials have struggled to make decisions about who should be asked to work from home, whether White House personnel should wear protective masks and even if they should begin contact tracing, three sources familiar with that process told The Daily Beast. Caught off guard by the significant uptick in new cases, White House officials have turned to the CDC, which is the definitive source of information about how communities can manage the spread of COVID-19 spread. But instead of fully embracing the CDC’s guidelines, the White House has selectively chosen which provisions to adhere to, two senior administration health officials said. “It’s like they went through, read one sentence on one web page, and decided that’s how they were going to justify all the things they were going to allow to happen,” one official said. “That includes things like not isolating, not wearing masks.” (rh) 13/10/2020
Anti-Netanyahu protests resume at hundreds of locations around countryTOI STAFF and AARON BOXERMAN - TheTimes oof Israel - Thousands of Israelis around the country demonstrated against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in small groups and within a one-kilometer range of their homes on Tuesday evening, in accordance with lockdown rules. Several hundred people gathered at Habima Square in Tel Aviv. A Times of Israel reporter at the scene estimated some 700 people were gathered in the square, with many more streaming in. Social distancing among protesters was inconsistent.(rh)13/10/2020
The Republican Jewish Coalition’s Shocking, Shameful Appeasement of Donald TrumpEric H. Yoffie - Haaretz - How the Republican Jewish Coalition lost its ethics, dignity and purpose, to became the Sheldon Adelson-backed Jewish community stooge of a demagogue who dog-whistles, loudly, to white supremacists (rh)13/10/2020
Woman Dies After Police Arrested Her Son for Violating Curfew Rules in Nuseirat Refugee CampPalestinian Centre for Human Rights - On Sunday, 20 September 2020, medical sources at Shuhada’ al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah announced the death of a woman from Nuseirat refugee camp, Central Gaza Strip, 30 minutes after she arrived to the hospital unconscious; the cause of death was a severe heart attack that she suffered in a police assault on her sons and attempt to arrest one of them. The police arrived at her son’s shop because he had opened his shop after curfew hours (20:00).(rh) 13/10/2020
`We are treating a woman in my old parking spot,` says Haifa coronavirus doctorAdir Yanko - Ynetnews- Dr. Ami Neuberger of Rambam hospital says he no longer believes he has seen everything, expresses awe for work being done by team of Jewish and Arab medical professionals `who work together in total dedication`(rh)13/10/2020
Gideon Spiro on looting of Palestinian propertyThe scene before my eyes was a shocking one. Some of the most beautiful houses I had ever seen were broken into and everyone could go in and take whatever they wanted. I entered several homes and the scene was the same: tables set for meals, cutlery beside every plate. Clearly the residents had fled in the middle of the meal. [gm] 12/10/2020
As simple as that Gush Shalom - To create an alternative to the right wing, the whole opposition must recognize a basic democratic principle... [bz]12/10/2020
Israel to put temporary freeze on demolitions in East JerusalemYUMNA PATEL - Mondoweiss - According to Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, the Israeli government will be freezing demolitions “across the country,” a move that the government had reportedly taken at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis back in March. After COVID-19 death rates declined inside Israel during the summer months, Adalah noted that Israel “amped” its demolitions of Palestinian homes back up. Following a letter to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, sent by Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara, “demanding an immediate halt to Israel’s accelerated policy of home demolitions” in East Jerusalem, the Israeli Justice Ministry announced it would “adjust” the policy to reflect the actions taken back in March./After re-examining things – and given the restrictions recently imposed by the government following the further spread of COVID-19 –it has been decided at this stage, to adjust the enforcement policy of planning and construction offenses to align with the state of emergency, similar to the policy decided upon in March 2020,” the ministry said.(rh)6/10/2020
Can Israel’s protests induce change? : 6 factors that are necessary for effective nonviolent protestNaomi Chazan - The Times of Israel - First, nonviolent civil resistance is far more effective in producing change than violent forms./ Second, as a joint study by Harvard and Stockholm University economists shows, the size of the protests is much less important than the commitment they engender. Protests get people politically activated. And the more people that are mobilized, the more politically influential they become./ Third, ongoing participation of diverse groups is exceptionally important. In Israel, the current anti-government demonstrations began with the corruption investigations against Benjamin Netanyahu, but since the beginning of this year they have morphed into a broader expression of disaffection with the current situation./ Fourth, protest movements have to develop the ability to gain the support of critical groups, such as the police or security forces, as well as economic elites or opinion shapers. These mainstays of the existing order, if they can be dislodged from full support of the power structure, can have a critical effect on outcomes. In Israel, intriguingly, many former heads of the defense establishment are central figures in the protest movement./ Fifth, nonviolence resistance consists not only of protests, but of a variety of tactics — ranging from small expressions of dissatisfaction (such as turning off lights at given hours, singing from porches, avoiding certain broadcasts) to periodic sit-downs or organized strikes./ Sixth, however difficult, it is necessary to avoid a deterioration of protests into either violence or chaos, especially when faced by growing repression. Here social networks — along with perseverance (the cases of Gandhi, Martin Luther King and key elements of the anti-apartheid movement are notable examples) — can play an important role. (rh)6/10/2020
The sum of September events: a decline in the chances of the Two State Solution Geneva Initiative - The Two-States Index - Normalization deals signed between Israel and Gulf states fail to mention two-state solution, Palestinians decry them as “a stab in the back” / Fatah and Hamas reconciliation culminates in decision to hold legislative elections in six months / New polls reveal Palestinian support for two-state solution declines / UN and numerous states express support for direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations / Palestinian economy continues to suffer effects of COVID-19 / more evictions of Palestinians in East Jerusalem. Taking all this into consideration, the Two-State Index (TSI) went down in September. [ak]6/10/2020
UAE - Israel agreement: Palestinians charge Arab World with betrayal, but also blame themselves Dr. Khalil Shikaki / Walid Ladadweh - Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) - The overwhelming majority of the Palestinians views the decision of the UAE to normalize relations with Israel as a betrayal or abandonment of the Palestinian cause, one that serves only the interests of Israel. A similar majority thinks that Saudi Arabia and Egypt, by endorsing that normalization, have in effect abandoned the Palestinian leadership. But most Palestinians also place the blame on themselves because they are divided and have normalized relations with Israel long before others. [ak]6/10/2020
Oslo and the heritage of Rabin: a debate reignitedAmjad Iraqi / Yuval Eylon - +972 magazine - The decision of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to cancel her participation in an event honoring Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin restarted an intense debate on the Oslo Agreement which is the main heritage of Rabin. Amjad Iraqi wrote "The myth of Rabin the peacemaker", arguing that "The cult of personality around Yitzhak Rabin conceals the fact that the Oslo Accords were not derailed by his death, but achieved exactly what he wanted". Conversely, Yuval Eylon wrote that "Endless occupation is a failure, not a success, of the Oslo Accords" and that "Since Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, successive Israeli prime ministers have turned their backs on the Oslo process, further entrenching the occupation." [ak] 6/10/2020
A Palestinian Peace Initiative is the best response to the UAE/Israel accordTony Klug - Palestine-Israel Joiurnal - To be clear, what is being proposed here is not that the Palestinians relax their opposition to Trump’s so-called “vision” for Israeli-Palestinian peace. The Trump plan is in effect an ultimatum to the Palestinians to accept their terms of surrender as a vanquished people. It is a trap and I do not think it would be wise for them to engage with it or to enter into negotiations at this stage with the US or Israeli governments. But they urgently need to get into the driving seat themselves by offering a credible alternative and creating a global momentum behind it. In this way, they could affect the balance of power and again become a force to be reckoned with. [bz]6/10/2020
Israel can deal with coronavirus without lockdownGilad Sharon - Ynetnews - There are three simple steps for managing a normal life while coping safely with the pandemic without destroying the economy, starting with clear enforcement of health regulations for everyone, regardless of sector, religion or politics. / The coronavirus will remain with us until there is either a vaccine or a cure - and this could take six months or a year or even more. (rh)6/10/2020
Why are Israelis shocked when the army shows up at the Knesset?Orly Noy - +972mag - Tuesday saw a sight unimaginable for many Jewish Israelis: armed soldiers were stationed at checkpoints to assist the police in enforcing coronavirus regulations at an anti-government protest outside the Knesset. The demonstration took place less than a week into Israel’s total lockdown, as the Knesset’s Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee approved a new law that would severely curtail protests. The presence of on-duty soldiers outside the Israeli parliament caused such public uproar that they were almost immediately removed from the scene, with Defense Minister Benny Gantz apologizing for stationing them there in the first place./ There is no doubt that using soldiers for policing, particularly for the purpose of restricting one of the most basic democratic rights, rightfully enrages many Israeli citizens; the intrusion of the military into the civil sphere is a dangerous sign that goes against the very nature of democracy. But it is hard not to be taken aback by this rage, especially in a country in which the army is already so deeply ingrained into the civil sphere that it is difficult to tell the two apart. (rh) 6/10/2020
Repression of speech and scholarship on Palestine needs to endAzeezah Kanji, Dania Majid, David Palumbo-Liu - Aljazeera - s lawyers and academics, we are deeply troubled and exasperated by the pervasive repression of speech and scholarship on Palestine. This includes recent reports that the University of Toronto’s Faculty of law rescinded an employment offer to noted international human rights scholar Valentina Azarova, following a complaint by a sitting judge regarding her research on Israel’s occupation policies*. The reported treatment of Azarova is consistent with a broader and intensifying climate of suppression. Lawyers, academics, journalists, teachers, artists, students, activists, and trade unions in Canada have been subjected to smear campaigns, event cancellations, physical violence, professional disciplinary measures, and condemnation by the prime minister and other political leaders for opposing Israel’s gross violations of international law and expressing solidarity with Palestinians. In August, Indigenous CBC journalist Duncan McCue was required to apologise simply for using the word “Palestine” on-air. (rh)6/10/2020
Trump Is Hospitalized With Covid-19, Days After Mocking Biden for Wearing a MaskRobert Mackey - The Intersept - AFTER SIX MONTHS of refusing to follow his own government’s public health advice to wear a mask during the coronavirus pandemic, and just two days after mocking his opponent Joe Biden for routinely doing so, President Donald Trump tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, contracting the illness spread by respiratory droplets. On Friday afternoon, the White House physician disclosed that Trump had a fever and a cough and had been given an experimental Covid-19 treatment, a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies that has not yet been approved by the F.D.A. A short time later, the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said that the president would be “working from” Walter Reed Military Medical Center “for the next few days.” (rh)6/10/2020
Naomi Klein: I fear Trump will exploit his COVID infection to further destabilize the electionAmy Goodman - Democracy now - aomi, I assume you went to sleep not knowing this news, and you wake up, looking down from British Columbia, and you see what has taken place. You cover leaders around the world. We know that President Bolsonaro tested positive for COVID-19 — at least he announced something like three times. And then you have Boris Johnson, the prime minister of Britain, who said — both of them, like Trump, who have so seriously downplayed the pandemic, risking not clear how many lives. Boris Johnson, the prime minister, said he was going to work through this. He ended up in the intensive care unit. Naomi, if you can talk about this link of the denial of the pandemic to authoritarian leaders? NAOMI KLEIN: Sure. Well, Amy, it`s good to be with you. Absolutely. And when you look at these figures — Trump, Bolsonaro, Johnson — these are the figures who believe that they can bully this virus, and they believe they can bully science in all kinds of ways. But, of course, the pandemic doesn`t bend to their will. And so they`ve all been under this sort of reality avalanche. I mean, Trump is a reality television star. He`s used to being able to cut and paste reality to his liking. And ever since this pandemic began and his denials made it so much worse and his bullying of scientists made it so much worse, he has finally confronted some physical reality that he can`t bully in the same way that he, frankly, bullies the stock market — and has a lot of success bullying reality, but there`s some reality that doesn`t confirm — doesn`t conform. (rh)6/10/2020
Palestinians face constant COVID-19 testing shortage YUMNA PATEL - Mondoweiss - As the coronavirus continues to spread across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), local news this week was inundated with warnings of testing kit shortages in the West Bank and Gaza, the latter of which has seen a worrying spike in cases recently. The Palestinian Minister of Health Mai al-Kalia told the Voice of Palestine radio on Tuesday that Israel “obstructed” the entry of 100,000 COVID-19 testing swabs that were destined for the West Bank in coordination with the United Nations (UN). As a result, she said, the MOH will only have enough swabs to last them for three days, after which time the West Bank would run out of the testing kits. (rh)6/10/2020
Israeli settler sets up a tent south of Hebron as a nucleus for a new settlementWAFA news agency - Tuesday, October 06, 2020 (WAFA) – An Israeli settler set up a tent on Palestinian-owned land in Birin village, located to the east of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, according to a local activist. Member of the Popular Committees in Southern Hebron, Rateb al-Jbour, said that a settler set up a tent on a plot of land belonging the Burqan family from Birin, east of Yatta, and hoisted the Israeli flag in the vicinity as a prelude to seizing the land for the construction of a new colonial settlement. Located to the southwest of Bani Na‘im, Birin has a population of 160 and is flanked by Bani Haiver colonial settlement from the east and the settler-only bypass Road No. 60 from the west. Its residents were originally expelled from Naqab desert in the south of the country following Israel’s creation in 1948 and now depend on agriculture and livestock as their main source of livelihood. Yet, Israel is trying to end Palestinian presence in Birin and in the south of the West Bank in its effort to take over the Palestinian land for its settlement schemes. (rh)6/10/2020
All dispersed by force, but...Gush Shalom - Demonstrations in Tel Aviv, Bney Brak and Kafr Qaddum5/10/2020
Netanyahu Seeks Emergency Powers to Quash Protests Under Coronavirus RegulationsChaim Levinson, Netael Bandel,Jonathan Lis, Bar Peleg - Haaretz - After inconclusive overnight debate, Netanyahu bids to circumvent Knesset with 2 P.M. lockdown looming ■ Opposition figures support tighter lockdown, but insistence on banning Balfour protests remains sticking point ■ High court says it will oppose (rh)29/9/2020
A peace paradox: Sidelined Palestinians may finally have their leverageHAVIV RETTIG GUR - Times of Israel - Israel’s newfound Arab friends keep raising the uncomfortable question of Palestine because they are trying to explain to Israelis that Israel now has a role to play in safeguarding its Gulf allies from strategically compromising embarrassment. To be friends with Israel is to be vulnerable to accusations of culpability each time the Arab world’s news cycle fills with new images of Palestinian suffering. The normalization deals acknowledge that the Palestinian conflict may take time to solve, but, the Arab leaders are urging Israel, at least don’t make it worse in the interim. It’s a strange new chapter in the Israeli-Arab encounter, one that poses a surprising irony for the Palestinians — an irony that might be summarized thus: The further they are pushed to the margins of Arab political consciousness, the more valuable their negotiating position becomes. [bz]29/9/2020
AOC ignites a debate about Yitzhak Rabin Mitchell Plitnick - Responsible Statecraft - **Liberal Israelis see a man who turned his back on decades of war, tried to make peace, and was killed for his efforts. In the wake of Rabin’s death, the assumption that he had intended to move gradually toward an independent Palestinian state next to Israel became, for many, a certainty. But Rabin never committed to that goal. **The Palestinian perception is slightly different. While Rabin shook hands with Arafat on the White House lawn and shared cigarettes with King Hussein of Jordan, Israeli settlements were expanding faster than ever, and human rights abuses against Palestinians — now being carried out by both Palestinian and Israeli forces — worsened. [bz] 29/9/2020
An Editor’s Note on the Trump Tax InvestigationDean Baquet - The New York Times - Today we are publishing the results of an examination of decades of personal and corporate tax records for President Trump and his businesses in the United States and abroad. The records stretch from his days as a high-profile New York real estate investor through the beginning of his time in the White House. A team of New York Times reporters has pored over this information to assemble the most comprehensive picture of the president’s finances and business dealings to date, and we will continue our reporting and publish additional articles about our findings in the weeks ahead. We are not making the records themselves public because we do not want to jeopardize our sources, who have taken enormous personal risks to help inform the public. We are publishing this report because we believe citizens should understand as much as possible about their leaders and representatives — their priorities, their experiences and also their finances. Every president since the mid-1970s has made his tax information public. The tradition ensures that an official with the power to shake markets and change policy does not seek to benefit financially from his actions. (rh)29/9/2020
Coronavirus Israel Live: Lockdown Won`t Be Lifted Within Month, `May Take Much Longer,` Netanyahu SaysHaaretz - Israel, the West Bank and Gaza are dealing with a renewed coronavirus outbreak, leading to proposals and measures intended to curb its spread and mitigate the economic ramifications of the crisis by both Israeli and Palestinian authorities. Israel currently has 65,511 active cases; 1,516 people have died. In the West Bank, there are 10,363 active cases and 315 deaths, and in Gaza 1,646 active cases and 19 deaths./ Thousands packed Jerusalem`s grand Belz synagogue on Yom Kippur. None wore a mask / Israel Hunkers Down for Stricter Lockdown: Here`s What You Need to Know / Israeli Politicians Bicker Over Protests While COVID Cases Skyrocket in Haredi Communities / Coronavirus Tracker: Israel and Worldwide (rh)29/9/2020
Autumn 2020: Global pandemic adds to Palestinian health woesNeil Sammonds - Medical Aid for Palestinians - In this edition of Witness, you can read about MAP`s unprecedented COVID-19 emergency response, and learn how we have adapted our programmes to keep services running and people safe. "The global coronavirus pandemic has underlined how reliant we are on strong, functional healthcare systems and public institutions. Palestinians have long faced many barriers to accessing healthcare and attaining a life of health and dignity. The coronavirus pandemic has reinforced these challenges. "For the first time, MAP is having to respond to a major crisis affecting all our areas of operation simultaneously."(rh)29/9/2020
Hamas, Fatah agree to hold elections in the coming monthsYUMNA PATEL - Mondoweiss - After more than a decade of political strife, rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have agreed to hold elections for the first time in Palestine in nearly 15 years. According to the officials from both sides, polls will be scheduled within six months and priority will be given to holding legislative elections, followed then by presidential elections of the Palestinian Authority (PA), and the central council of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The agreement was announced on Thursday amid talks between Fatah and Hamas officials in the Turkish city of Istanbul, which are expected to continue into the coming days to discuss details of the election process and further reconciliation efforts. Leaders from both factions welcomed the agreement, describing the meetings as “positive, fruitful and constructive.” (rh)29/9/2020
Israeli prison ban on phone calls risks ‘breaking spirits’ of Palestinian minors : Israel claims incarcerated Palestinian children pose a threat to national security just like adults — and therefore can`t contact their families.Oren Ziv - +972mag - Ahmad Sabri, a 17-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank town of Qalqilya, has been incarcerated in Israel’s Megiddo Prison since March 2019. Since the coronavirus crisis began earlier this year, Sabri, a “security prisoner,” has been subjected to restrictions that bar him from making phone calls or receiving visits from lawyers and family members. Last October, Sabri petitioned the Nazareth District Court asking that he be allowed to make phone calls to his family, with the same rights as criminal prisoners. But the court rejected the petition, claiming that the “temporary regulations” enacted due to the pandemic already allow minors to call their families under supervision. The court added that the Israel Prison Service (IPS) is preparing to conduct a pilot program that allows minors to make phone calls in prisons different from the one Sabri is incarcerated in. That program was initiated in response to a hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners last year, which compelled the IPS to install public phones in security wings and allow up to three phone calls for each prisoner per week, for a maximum of 15 minutes. (rh) 29/9/2020
The `Netanyahu lockdown` is dangerous shamYoram Yuval - Ynetnews - Imprisoning the Israeli public, who have lost all trust in the prime minister, brings with it all the health and psychological risks that surfaced during the first national closure while being devoid any serious justification for such a measure.(rh)29/9/2020
Palestinians face constant COVID-19 testing shortageYUMNA PATEL - Mondoweiss - If you follow the news on Israel and Palestine, you’ve probably heard about the Jordan Valley. It’s the area of Palestinian territory that lies on the border between Jordan and the occupied West Bank. It’s a huge land mass, that spans over 100 kilometers and makes up nearly one third of the entire West Bank. It also happens to be one of the primary areas that Israel has slated for annexation — a policy that would see the Israeli government unilaterally apply sovereignty to thousands of acres of occupied Palestinian land. It just so happens that this policy is illegal under international law, and has been widely condemned by the international community. As part of COVID-19 series in Palestine, we traveled to the Jordan Valley to see what life is like for Palestinians there as they fight two battles: one against the coronavirus, and one against annexation. (rh)29/9/2020
Palestinians Are Not Numbers: On the Future of the Palestinian Discourse Ramzy Baroud - Countercurrents - The Palestinian political discourse has, for years, vacillated between one constructed around the subject of victimhood – which is often satisfied by numbers of dead and wounded – and another pertaining to the elusive Fatah-Hamas unity. The former only surfaces whenever Israel decides to bomb Gaza under any convenient pretext at the time, and the latter was a response to western accusations that Palestinian political elites are too fractured to constitute a potential ‘peace partner’ for Israeli rightwing Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Many around the world can only understand – or relate to – Palestinians through their victimization or factional affiliation – which, themselves, carry subsidiary meanings relevant to ‘terrorism’, ‘radicalism’, among others. (rh)29/9/2020
Newsletter - August 2020Military Court Watch - Detention figures – According to the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), as of 30 June 2020 there were 4,279 Palestinians (West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza) held as “security prisoners” in detention facilities including 151 children (12-17 years). In the case of children there was a 6% increase in the number compared with the previous month and an annual decrease of 13% compared with 2019. Two children are currently held in administrative detention. According to the IPS, 81% of child detainees were forcibly transferred and/or unlawfully detained in Israel in June in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. *Note: The IPS has not released updated prison statistics since June 2020. (rh)29/9/2020
Towards equal lack of rights Gush Shalom - Netanyahu`s dream is to impose a prohibition on the demonstrations of his political opponents. [bz]28/9/2020
No confidence Gush Shalom - Unable to convince the public/ Of the need for a lockdown,/ Nor able to arouse/ Significant enthusiasm/ For his "peace"/ With the Emirates./ And while his criminal trial/ Is looming just ahead/ His staunch supporters/ Fail to come out on the streets [bz]22/9/2020
Intel: Netanyahu knew of US proposal to sell arms to UAE, says NYT Al-Monitor Staff - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was aware of a Donald Trump administration proposal to sell the advanced F-35 fighter jet to the United Arab Emirates amid negotiations with the Gulf country over normalizing ties with Israel, the New York Times reported Thursday. The news follows similar reports in the Israeli media and comes weeks after Israel’s Yedioth Ahronot newspaper reported that a secret clause in the agreement included the possibility of the UAE being allowed to purchase the F-35s. Netanyahu’s office immediately denied the Yedioth Ahronot report, issuing a detailed rebuttal.(rh)22/9/2020
Palestinian leaders grasp for unity in Ramallah-Beirut meeting Daoud Kuttab - Al-Monitor - An unprecedented meeting of the Palestinian leadership took place Sept. 3 in a sign of a possible reconciliation and agreement on a national strategy. The local heads of Palestinian factions met in the Ramallah presidential headquarters with leaders residing abroad joining in by video conference from Beirut. President Mahmoud Abbas, who called for the meeting, arrived more powerful than he has been in years due to his steadfast opposition to unilateral Israeli and US plans, as well as the US- brokered normalization agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel. (rh) 22/9/2020
Palestinian Dentist Dies After Israeli Concussion Grenade Fell Near Him Near the Annexation Wall in JeninPalestinian Centre for Human Rights - According to PCHR investigations, at approximately 14:30 on Friday, 18 September 2020, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) deployed by the Annexation Wall, near Barta’a checkpoint, southwestern of Jenin, shot stun grenades and tear gas canisters at Palestinians attempting to cross into Israel via holes in the annexation wall, some going to work in Israel. Several stun grenades fell near the late dentists, Nedal Mohammed Akram Jabarin (54), from al-Marah neighborhood in Jenin, while he was at least 100 meters away from the gates. Jabarin was going to his dental clinic in Barta’a village, located behind the annexation wall. As a result, he suffered a heart attack and was transported to Dr. Khalil Suleiman Governmental Hospital in Jenin where he was pronounced dead. Jabarin’s family confirmed to PCHR’s fieldworker that the deceased did not suffer any illnesses or any health problems.(rh)22/9/2020
Trump wants signing ceremony for UAE deal as close to election as possiblePHILIP WEISS - Mondoweiss - Donald Trump wants a White House signing ceremony for the UAE-Israel deal as close to the election as he can get it. But the UAE wants it sooner, and it cut the deal to help Joe Biden with a political headache– by taking annexation off the table. Meanwhile other Arab countries are trying to figure out what they can get out of the U.S. if they normalize with Israel. And though the deal removes Israeli annexation of the West Bank in the short term, it may make things worse for Palestinians, as Israeli settlers and rightwingers are demanding compensation for the deal from the Israeli government. (rh)22/9/2020
A Tea Party with Your Cousin`s Brother-in-LawTehila Wenger and Ayed Atamawi - Geneva Intiative - Israel setting up diplomatic relations with the UAE is akin to inviting a cousin’s brother-in-law to tea at your house right in the middle of a deadly feud with that cousin over who inherits the property next door. Tea is lovely, but you still have to solve your family issues, and for that you need the cousin. All the policies Netanyahu and Trump have promoted in the last few years are based on the premise that that the Palestinians, as the weaker side in the conflict, should accept whatever terms the stronger side offers them. The problem (aside from the ethical implications) is that Palestinians do not accept this premise. And so the conflict continues. [ak] 22/9/2020
Palestinians in the Age of TrumpSam Bahour - CounterPunch - Here in Palestine, for two decades, until Trump took office, we witnessed countless U.S. officials and experts—many mere wannabe experts—come and go to “teach” us how to build a democracy. They met with Palestinian political leaders, business leaders, civil society organizations, students, and so many more. Supposedly, they had the secret ingredients on how countries are ideally built. Their model and example was, of course, American democracy. Needless to say, America’s “democracy” is not looking all that attractive these days and the experts noted above are hardly in a position to teach us anything. Having a hyphenated identity, being American and Palestinian, I have the unique vantage point of knowing both societies. I do not fear the future of Palestinians. Even with our leadership misgivings, the Palestinian people will still be standing, long after Trump is out of office, be it in 2021 or 2025. From Gaza to Jerusalem to the refugee camps in Lebanon, we are like our country Palestine, “young, scrappy, and hungry” for freedom. My fear, and what keeps me up at night, is my American side. [ak] 22/9/2020
Many candidates vie for position of Netanyahu`s chief rival Ben Caspit = Al-Monitor - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ratings have been plunging in recent months, especially over the farcical handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his poor performance in managing the crisis. Within weeks, Netanyahu’s Likud lost the equivalent of 10-13 Knesset seats (out of 120) in the polls, but his alignment of right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties still commands at least 60 seats. (rh) 22/9/2020
The fruits of a Mideast love triangleThomas L. Friedman - New York Times - So, where does this all leave the Israeli-Palestinian issue? I suspect that the international phase of their peace process is over. Therefore, the Palestinian issue will most likely become more and more an internal Israeli issue — one that Israel will own alone. The 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank, faced with the prospect of Israeli control with no alternative in sight, will eventually demand equal rights and Israeli citizenship. And that will pose a direct threat to Israel’s Jewish and democratic character in a way no Arab army ever has. Bibi’s true legacy. [ak] 22/9/2020
Israel says it won’t return the bodies of slain PalestiniansYUMNA PATEL - Mondoweiss - Israel’s security cabinet ruled on Wednesday that it would not be returning the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces to their family for burial, following weeks of appeals from the family of Ahmed Erekat, who was shot dead at a military checkpoint in the occupied West Bank in June. Twenty-seven- year-old Erekat was on his way to his sister’s wedding when Israeli soldiers shot and killed him at the “container” checkpoint outside Bethlehem, after accusing him of committing a car-ramming attack on soldiers stationed at the checkpoint. As part of Israel’s widely- condemned policy of detaining the bodies of Palestinian “attackers” to be used as political bargaining chips, Erekat’s body has been held in a freezer since June, despite immense pressure from the family and human rights groups to have his body returned for burial.(rh)22/9/2020
Coronavirus is turning Gaza’s nights even darkerMohammed Moussa - +972Mag - Two weeks ago, Palestinians in Gaza were informed that the coronavirus had begun spreading throughout their community. A Palestinian woman was preparing to travel from Gaza to Jerusalem to accompany her daughter for a surgery. On the Israeli side of the Erez crossing, however, the authorities told her that her papers were incomplete, and she was forced to go back home. Upon her return, the woman tested positive for COVID-19. Four of her family members subsequently tested positive too. My heart turned over when I heard the news. When the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic in March, many countries declared a state of emergency. And while the world was learning how to live in quarantine, we in Gaza — who have been blockaded by Israel and cut off from the world for 13 years — were already masters at it. (rh)22/9/2020
Israeli occupation forces detain 18 Palestinians from West BankWafa - One of the six detainees was identified as a former prisoner from Jalazone refugee camp, another as a resident of Nilin village, west of Ramallah, another as a resident of Beit Rima village, northwest of Ramallah, and two others, including a former prisoner, as residents of Silwad town, east of Ramallah. In the northern West Bank, PPS said Israeli occupation forces raided Jenin refugee camp where they rounded up four Palestinians. Local sources added that the raid triggered violent confrontations, during which Israeli soldiers opened fire on local protestors, hitting one with a live round in the foot and causing dozens others to suffocate from teargas inhalation. Elsewhere in the northern West Bank, PPS said that Israeli forces rounded up two Palestinians from Nablus district and two others from Tubas district. In Bethlehem district in the south of the West Bank, PPS said an Israeli army raid into Aida refugee camp, north of the city, resulted in the detention of a Palestinian. It added that Israeli forces carried out two separate raids in Hindaza and Marah Rabah villages, east and south of the city, resulting in the detention of two others. A former prisoner was rearrested from Hebron district. (rh)22/9/2020
A glimpse into the chaos’: How Israel’s COVID-19 policy neglects Palestinian citizensMakbula Nassar - +972Mag - Israel entered a weeks-long lockdown on Friday to stem a second wave of the coronavirus. As is in other parts of the world, statistics are showing that minority communities, in this case Palestinians, are being disproportionately affected by the pandemic.It is a cliche, and an inaccurate one, to say that the coronavirus does not distinguish between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel. Even the struggle shared by Jewish and Palestinian medical workers in hospitals and clinics is not proof that we are all in the same boat. If anything, the Arab community is on a boat that is floating to a particularly dark place. In mere weeks of the second wave gripping the country, Palestinian citizens went from constituting 10 percent of patients who tested positive to the virus, to 30 percent — and the curve is rising sharply. The English Hospital in Nazareth, which has traditionally treated mostly Palestinian citizens, has had to open another coronavirus clinic. (rh) 22/9/2020
A fever dream of dictators : For the signatories of the Abraham Accords, peace means squashing people`s freedoms in order to unlock unfettered exchanges of technology and weapons.Karim Kattan - +972Mag - On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump, with much fanfare, hosted a ceremony for the signing of the so-called peace agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. With smug smiles plastered on their faces, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Foreign Minister of Bahrain Abdullatif Al Zayani together hailed the dawn of a new period in the region. According to the poetically-titled Abraham Accords, the aforementioned heads of state and their representatives will work together to achieve a “stable, peaceful and prosperous” Middle East. Peace and prosperity, uttered in the same breath as if they were a single term, were indeed the keywords of the ceremony and of the years-long process spearheaded by Trump’s senior advisor and son-in- law, Jared Kushner. Kushner is no neutral broker: he sits on the board of his parents’ foundation, which has funded programs in the Israeli settlement of Beit El. Much has been said about this alleged peace treaty. It is mostly a strategic realignment of these countries against Iran and a blueprint for increasing authoritarianism in the region, which follows decades of clandestine relations and sharing of intelligence between Israel and the UAE.(rh)22/9/2020
Palestinian Independence is a very urgent need Yuval Halperin - Netanyahu`s success in convincing the world that the debate over the Palestinians is “not urgent” has also led activists to prefer the One State Solution, so as to take care of the Human Rights of the Palestinians. That is a mistake. Human Rights are important, but ending the occupation comes first. [ak]22/9/2020
Palestinians in the Age of TrumpSam Bahour - CounterPunch - “This presidential election is not about Trump’s top contender, it is about getting over this four-year bump in the hope that lessons were learned, and a historic correction can begin. A Biden win is not the correction, it is getting over the bump” [ry] 21/9/2020
How the UAE-Israel deal seeks to impose a `fait accompli` in JerusalemJuman Abu Arafeh - Middle East Eye - While the normalisation agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is seen by many as a historic peace deal between the two countries, analysts in Jerusalem say it will bring “everything but peace to the region”. A report by Terrestrial Jerusalem, an Israeli organisation that tracks developments in Jerusalem that could impact political processes or spark violence, says that the phrasing of an initial joint statement between Israel and the UAE raised fears of restrictions to Muslims’ rights to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Israelis as the Temple Mount, while legitimising Jewish prayers there, in violation of a longstanding agreement. Israel-UAE deal: In Jerusalem, Palestinians feel betrayed but not surprised. (rh) 15/9/2020
Netanyahu used doctored video of Abbas to influence Trump`s policy, Woodward revealsHaaretz - According to excerpts from `Rage` published by U.S. media, at a time when Trump was wondering if Israel was the obstacle to peace with the Palestinians, Netanyahu showed him a fake video to steer him away from pro-Palestinian sentiment Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented U.S. President Donald Trump with a doctored video which showed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas calling for the murder of children, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Bob Woodward in his new book "Rage". The incident occurred on May 22, 2017, at a time when Trump was beginning to have doubts about Netanyahu and wondering aloud if the Israeli prime minister might be the real obstacle to peace with the Palestinians, Woodward wrote, according to excerpts from the book published by U.S. media. A day after watching the "spliced-together" video intended to "counter any pro-Palestinian sentiments that were surfacing," Trump confronted Abbas, calling him a "murderer" and "liar," and shortly after ordered the closure of the Palestinian representative office in Washington and cut nearly all U.S. aid to the West Bank, Gaza and Palestinian refugees. (rh)15/9/2020
The false promise of prosperity and peace based on Normalization will prove to be a destructive mirage Hanan Ashrawi - PLO Dept. of Public Diplomacy - The US administration has used all its political and economic might to extort, pressure, and bully Arab and other states to normalize Israeli colonization and trample on foundational principles of international law, including the tacit endorsement of the war crime of annexation. The path to real peace must be founded on mutual respect and adherence to international law. By contrast, the false promise of prosperity and peace based on the US-Israeli approach will prove itself a destructive mirage that will only further destabilize the region. Normalization of states in the region with Israel will not change the essence of this conflict, which is the systemic denial of the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to freedom and sovereignty. The US administration can continue to exercise its power of coercion in the region to serve its electoral needs while applying cruel pressure on the Palestinian people. However, such an arrogant and ignorant approach will not bring the Palestinian people to their knees.[ak]15/9/2020
Netanyahu earned his moment in the sun – and the public distrust that clouds itHaviv Rettig Gur - Times of Israel - In Washington, PM Netanyahu celebrated the deals to be singed with the UAE and Bahrain as "a tremendous watershed in the history of Israel, and of the Middle East". Yet Netanyahu’s very flight to Washington was politically problematic. Hundreds of thousands of Israeli households, which do broadly support Netanyahu’s deals by vast margins, nevertheless consider their immediate economic and health crisis the priority. [ak] Netanyahu flew to Washington the day after his government declared a nationwide lockdown to stem soaring infection rates — and set its start to Friday, after he returns from the US.15/9/2020
The truth behind Netanyahu`s admission that police killing was a cover-upJonathan Cook - Middle East Eye - It is unprecedented. Three years after the Israeli government first began vilifying a Palestinian teacher to retrospectively justify his murder by Israel’s security forces, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a public apology to his family last week. Yacoub Abu al-Qiyan was not a “terrorist” after all, the Israeli prime minister conceded. And there was more. Israeli police, said Netanyahu, had portrayed 50-year-old Abu al-Qiyan as “a terrorist to protect themselves” and stop their crimes being exposed. (...) Now, because Netanyahu is in trouble and facing trial, he is ready to spill the beans to save his neck. He is using the truth about al-Qiyan to bury the truth about himself. This moment of dishonest truth-telling should be grasped nonetheless, because it briefly exposes Israel’s treatment of Palestinians - even those who are nominally its citizens. [bz]15/9/2020
White House ceremony for agreements with UAE and Bahrain derided as ‘shameless propaganda’Chemi Shalev - Ha`aretz / The Guardian - Israel and its two Gulf partners are simply coming out of the closet with the clandestine strategic ties they’ve maintained for years. Trump and Netanyahu are artificially inflating the significance of the accords and elevating them to historic breakthrough status to aggrandise themselves, improve their polls and draw attention away from their monumental failures in the battle against the coronavirus, war against the rule of law and efforts to erode their countries’ democracy. It’s a shameless propaganda ploy, is all. [ak]15/9/2020
Israel`s home demolitions in West Bank spiked during pandemic: UN Al-Monitor Staff - Sep 13, 2020 The number of Palestinian homes demolished by Israel in the West Bank has increased sharply in recent months and further exposed displaced residents to the coronavirus pandemic, the United Nations said on Friday. From March to August, 389 Palestinian-owned structures were razed, in what the the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said was the highest average destruction rate in four years. During that period, 442 Palestinians were made homeless, the agency said. In just the month of August, 205 people lost their homes, the highest displacement figure since January 2017. The UN and human rights organizations say the policy amounts to collective punishment. According to OCHA, building permits are nearly impossible for Palestinains to obtain from Israel, describing the processing as “restrictive and discriminatory.” (rh) 15/9/2020
Israeli handed 3 life sentences for killing Palestinian familyAljazeera - An Israeli court handed a Jewish settler three life sentences on Monday for murdering a Palestinian toddler and his parents in an arson attack on their home in the occupied West Bank. Amiram Ben-Uliel, 25, was sentenced by the Lod court following his conviction in May for the 2015 killings. He was also found guilty of two counts each of attempted murder and arson, along with conspiracy to commit a hate crime. The arson attack killed 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh. His mother, Riham, and father, Saad, later died of their wounds. Ali`s four-year-old brother Ahmad survived with burns on his body. (rh) 15/9/2020
When will the world stop ignoring what is happening in Gaza?Majed Abusalama - Aljazeera - For my family, and for the people of Gaza, August has been horrific. Israel bombed the Strip on an almost daily basis, making us feel like we were stuck at the epicentre of a never-ending earthquake. The explosions, at times barely a kilometre from our home, were so loud, my two-year-old niece could not sleep at night. Every time she heard a loud bang she quickly gathered her toys around her, as if to protect them from Israel`s bombs. Last month was indeed horrific, but it was not extraordinary in any way. Israel`s soldiers, warplanes, drones and gunships have been harassing, intimidating, and killing the people of Gaza regularly, and with impunity, for decades. Israel`s attacks are part of the daily routine in Gaza. To be able to survive, and to lead something that resembles a normal life, us Gazans have no choice but to accept as normal the violence being inflicted on us. Growing up in Gaza, I always felt a sense of emergency. My family was always prepared for the worst, because the worst could knock on our door at any time, as it did during the attacks on Gaza in 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2014. As a child, I knew that living in fear every single day was not normal. In my heart, I rejected the normalisation of everyday horrors, because I did not want to lose touch with my humanity. Yet I eventually had to come to terms with the situation I was born into and my surroundings. Now, my niece and thousands of other children living under Israeli siege in Gaza, are growing up with the same fears and the same sense of constant emergency. As they try to sleep through the sounds of bombs, and protect their toys from the horrors that are just outside the door, they are being forced to accept as normal a violent reality that no child should ever even witness. In recent years, there has barely been a day in which Israel did not bomb, shoot into, or physically invade what is not only one of the most densely populated areas on the planet, but also a place which has been besieged for more than 13 years, with major shortages of the basics required for normal human life. Israel`s colonial infrastructure controls the sky above us and the land and sea around us, and is even capable of penetrating into our most intimate spaces to show us its power. In Gaza, wherever you look, you see tools of oppression, occupation and urban warfare - border fences, separation walls, armoured trucks, warplanes and checkpoints shape the landscape we live in. Even when you are at home, the whirring sound of military drones remind you that you are imprisoned, and you can be attacked at any moment. I believe Israel makes a conscious effort to constantly remind Gaza Palestinians of its presence. By making its occupation so visible, and the power it has over us so obvious, it is sending us a message: We will never allow you to be normal people, and live normal lives. (rh) 15/9/2020
Emperor Netanyahu has no clothesSima Kadmon - Ynetnews - `King Bibi` was exposed in his weakness when under pressure from the ultra-Orthodox politicians opposed to lockdown, proving that to him and his ministers, public health is no more than a political inconvenience. The man who said 11 years ago he would banish Hamas from the Gaza Strip but did not, purported to foil Iran`s nuclear ambitions and did not, even failed to deliver on his commitment to stop incendiary and explosive devices from being launched from Gaza towards Israeli fields and communities. This man, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, appeared nightly on television in the early days of the pandemic to boast about his success - and his alone - in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Israel. But now when the virus is spreading out of control, he is looking around for someone to share the blame. (rh) 15/9/2020
This summer has revealed a sharp rise in suicides in GazaHAMZA ABU AL-TARABEESH - Mondoweiss - Suleiman al-Ajoury, 23, was a handsome young man and a cherished friend. Over the last three years he found himself unemployed and had no idea how to resume his once modest, yet stable, profession as a carpenter. Like so many young people in Gaza, he was at a standstill personally, out of work with no job on the horizon, all the while our wider environment crumbling around us. Our youth unemployment rate is a staggering 65%. The age bracket that figure encompasses is up to 24. Then, on July 4, 2020 al-Ajoury killed himself at his home, leaving a message on social media that has since been removed by the platform. He described humiliation and a sense of hopelessness. (rh)15/9/2020
Bahrain deal win-win for Trump and Israel in changing regionAFP - Ynetnews - Following an agreement with UAE, a peace deal with another Arab country is a new step in a cherished dream by Israeli and U.S. conservatives to win Arab recognition of the Jewish state without having to fully commit to the two-state solution. Bahrain announced Friday it would become the latest Arab state to recognize Israel, a triumph both for the Jewish state and U.S. President Donald Trump who is looking for pre-election wins. The deal is another step in a cherished dream by Israeli and U.S. conservatives to win Arab recognition of Israel without establishing a state for the Palestinians, who quickly denounced Bahrain.(rh) 15/9/2020
The killing of a Bedouin man is a weapon in Netanyahu’s war for survivalEdo Konrad - +972mag - The last 24 hours have offered a deep insight into the profound cynicism with which Israeli leaders treat the country’s Palestinian citizens. On Tuesday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally apologized to the family of Yacoub Abu al- Qi’an, a Bedouin man who was gunned down by Israeli police in January 2017 during a raid on the unrecognized village of Umm al-Hiran in the Naqab/Negev Desert. Netanyahu’s apology comes after more than three years of police attempts to smear Abu al-Qi’an and his family; a purported investigation into the incident; and incontrovertible evidence that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Abu al-Qi’an should still be alive today. For years, the party line, toed by the police and the political echelon, was that the shooting had been justified. Suddenly, as he faces growing outrage over the handling of the COVID-19 crisis and a criminal trial that threatens his political future, Netanyahu has found use for a murdered Bedouin man who was roundly viewed and condemned as a terrorist.(rh) 15/9/2020
Is the dream of Arab and Islamic unity on Palestine dead?TALLHA ABDULRAZAQ - TRTWORLD - Palestine has once again displayed the limitations of Arab and Islamic political organisations and their impotence in resolving any problems faced by Muslims around the world. It is not as though the Arab world had ascended to any notable level of might and glory after it was colonised by the British and the French for it to have fallen particularly far from grace. However, events of the past month in Palestine have shown how the political leadership of the Arab world has plumbed even greater depths of disgrace than ever before, while the coveted illusion of international Islamic unity and solidarity continues to evade Muslims who aspire for a better tomorrow away from the diktats of foreign interlopers and domestic dictators. Despite there being numerous eminently worthy causes to attract paIslamic solidarity, none quite have the same effect on the Muslim psyche than the Palestinian cause. It is that cause, once again, that has starkly displayed the limitations of Arab and Islamic political organisations and their impotence in resolving any of the pressing problems faced by Muslims around the world today. (rh) 15/9/2020
It was true then, as it is now Gush Shalom - Exactly a hundred years ago Haim Weitzman, future President of Israel, signed an agreement which seemed promising with Emir Feisal, later King of Iraq. What did it bring? [bz]14/9/2020
Why Israelis are not excited about the normalization with the UAE : No quick trip to Abu Dhabi will make up for the irresponsible ways that Netanyahu and Trump have mishandled their health and economic policiesRon Kronish - Times of Israel - I am one of the many Israeli citizens who are not very excited about the normalization of relations that is in the works with the United Arab Emirates. Why? Let me explain. First of all, we in Israel, as in the USA and other countries, are in the midst of the worst health and economic crises in our recent history, due to the continual spread and looming spikes of the COVID- 19 virus. This is what is rightfully on our minds. We are full of anxiety about this, as well as constant dismay and disappointment, with the way that our government “leaders” are disastrously mishandling these crises, at the same time that they are very busy every day attempting to destroy what is left of our democracy. These are the main reasons why thousands of Israeli citizens have been demonstrating in the streets and on the highways of Israel all summer, especially in Jerusalem, opposite the prime minister’s official residence, and in Caesarea, near his private residence. Secondly, we are profoundly aware that this is not a “peace” agreement in the making, but simply one of normalization of relations. One can’t make peace with a country with which we were not at war. This has nothing to do with what used to be known as “the peace process.” Rather, this is what some leaders in Washington DC and in Jerusalem like to call “fake news,” or I would call it “fake peace.” Like the so-called “deal of the century” of #45 (I can’t say his name any more) which has nothing in common with a genuine peace process, since it has totally left out one of the main partners to the process, i.e. the Palestinians. From the beginning of his term of office in 2017, the current American president has consistently and purposefully ignored and insulted the Palestinian leadership by offering them no good reasons to work with him. Of course, he has done so in complete cooperation with the Prime Minister of Israel, who has refused to enter into any meaningful talks with the Palestinians for much longer than that. (rh)8/9/2020
Soldiers plant explosives on outskirts of Palestinian village day before weekly protestsB`Tselem - On Thursday, 20 August 2020, residents of the village of Kafr Qadum in the West Bank discovered camouflaged improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted in an area where weekly protests take place, on the outskirts of the village. A group of women and children strolling in the area came upon a suspicious object covered in stones and fabric and alerted a relative. In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Abdulkarim Sadi, Wasim a-Shteiwi (31) related: I went over to the suspicious-looking object, which was covered with small stones and Israeli military camouflage. I took the stones off and found a closed orange box wrapped with wires and duct tape. I just managed to pick up the box and remove the wires, and then it exploded with a flash and caught fire. Bits of shrapnel hit my right arm and eye.(rh8/9/2020
Recognition now! Guah Shalom - Until now, Israel refrained from recognizing Kosovo for fear of creating a precedent for recognition of the State of Palestine. But now Netanyahu is desperately collecting diplomatic coups... [bz]8/9/2020
Palestinian holy sites are crumbling under Israeli rule : Israeli land grabs are preventing Palestinians from accessing Muslim shrines in the West Bank, with some falling into ruin or being deliberately destroyed.Irit Segoli - +972mag - Israel’s takeover of the mountain ranges and hills throughout the occupied West Bank has not spared sacred places of worship for Palestinian Muslims. According to a new report by Israeli anti-occupation group Machsom Watch, maqams — tombs or shrines built on a site associated with a Muslim saint or religious figure — across the West Bank have been informally annexed to Israeli settlements through military orders, the expansion of IDF open-fire zones, and entrapment in nature reserves and antiquity sites. These houses of worship served as religious, cultural, and community centers in the rural areas of Palestine long before villages had their own mosques. Palestinians would make pilgrimages to maqams and the sacred woods that surrounded them on holidays, and during family celebrations and weddings. (rh)8/9/2020
Many candidates vie for position of Netanyahu`s chief rival Ben Caspit - Al-Monitor - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ratings have been plunging in recent months, especially over the farcical handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his poor performance in managing the crisis. Within weeks, Netanyahu’s Likud lost the equivalent of 10-13 Knesset seats (out of 120) in the polls, but his alignment of right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties still commands at least 60 seats. The bloc is holding steady because rather than migrating to the political center-left, disenchanted Netanyahu voters are moving to the right, to Naftali Bennett`s Yamina party, which is soaring in the polls. Opposition head Yair Lapid, chair of the centrist Yesh Atid party, who should have been sweeping up Netanyahu and Likud leavers, is hardly benefitting from the shift. His party is stuck in the polls at 19 seats, the record it obtained in the 2013 elections when Lapid first ran, and has been unable to break through this glass ceiling. On Sept. 2, Lapid sustained an additional, surprising and particularly painful blow, when his partner, friend and perennial No. 2, one of the party’s leading lawmakers, Ofer Shelah, demanded that primaries be held for the Yesh Atid leadership and announced his intention to challenge Lapid and beat him. The public and pundits were taken aback by this “September surprise” given the seemingly firm and stable front the party has displayed since its founding eight years ago. (rh) 8/9/2020
Virus puts new strain on Gaza’s overwhelmed health systemFARES AKRAM - AP NEWS - Dr. Ahmed el-Rabii spent years treating Palestinians wounded by Israeli fire during wars and clashes in the Gaza Strip. Now that the coronavirus has reached the blockaded territory, the 37-year-old physician finds himself in the unfamiliar role of patient. El-Rabii is the first Gaza doctor diagnosed with COVID-19 and is among dozens of health-care workers infected during the local outbreak, which was detected late last month. The spread among front-line workers has further strained an already overburdened health-care system. Speaking from one of the two hospitals designated to treat coronavirus cases, el-Rabii said the threat in many ways is more terrifying than war. During fighting, “you only fear being hit by shrapnel by mistake,” he said. “But with the virus, you constantly worry because you do not know how or from where it will hit you: from a patient, from your colleague, or by touching the elevator or any other surface.” (rh)8/9/2020
Netanyahu secretly okayed F-35 jet sales to UAE, report claims : New York Times quotes officials saying Netanyahu lied about his opposition to the deal, which also includes ultra-advanced radar-jamming planes that could give the UAE a step upTOI STAFF - The Times of Israel - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has privately removed any opposition to the sale of American F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates, despite repeated assurances that he is against the deal, according to a New York Times report published late Thursday. The report, which cites unnamed sources involved in the talks, claims that along with the ultra-advanced jets and Reaper drones, the deal also includes radar-blocking EA-18G Growler jets, which could erode the effectiveness of Israel’s air defense capabilities and put the UAE at a considerable military advantage. (rh)8/9/2020
This Israeli Soldier Had No Idea He Put His Knee to the Head of a Palestinian George FloydRogel Alpher - Haaretz - On the day the Israeli delegation flew to Abu Dhabi to make peace without Khairi Hanoun, he protested the confiscation of land near Tul Karm in the West Bank. What happened there was filmed and uploaded to social media. I watched and my stomach turned. Helpless fury overcame me. I apologize, Khairi. Your life is no less important than mine. A young officer in the Israeli army, the age of my daughter, threw 60-year-old Hanoun to the ground. His kaffiyeh fell off from the force of the fall. The officer sat on Hanoun. He held him down on the ground, pushing Hanoun’s face in the sand. And he put his knee on his head. That’s how a soldier doing “meaningful service” in the Israel Defense Forces looks today. And this is exactly how George Floyd was killed by a policeman in Minneapolis, in an incident that led to a worldwide protest against police brutality in the United States against Black people. (rh) 8/9/2020
Netanyahu Sells Out Coronavirus Fight to Keep the ultra-Orthodox HappyRonny Linder - Haaretz - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stinging slap in the face for coronavirus coordinator Ronny Gamzu this week could be heard all the way to Uman. Maybe Gamzu had built up too much strength and independence, or maybe he came off as a threat due to his authoritative conduct and refusal to cut corners. Maybe because he keeps opposing a general lockdown contrary to Netanyahu, or maybe because of the rumors that he has political ambitions, but the decision came to put him in his place and possibly show him the door. And if he can also serve as the lightning rod for ultra-Orthodox anger at the intent to block flights to the annual pilgrimage in Uman, Ukraine, even better.(rh)8/9/2020
Netanyahu is dismantling the Israeli ‘kingdom’ — and that’s a good thing : Netanyahu is tearing down the state`s institutions, and in the process unmasking the sludge of seven decades` worth of racism and supremacism.Meron Rapoport - +972 Mag - Political instability is by no means an Israeli invention, but it seems that Israel is reaching a critical moment, at least when compared to parliamentary democracies across the world. Belgium hasn’t been able to form a government for the past year and a half, yet it continues to be ruled by a minority government. Italy has seen almost 70 governments since World War II, yet the majority of government crises there did not lead to elections. Italians have only gone to the polls 19 times in the past 74 years. The shortest time span between four election cycles in Italy was nine years — more than four times the rate in Israel currently. Compared to Israel, Italy is an island of stability when it comes to elections. The same kind of instability plaguing Israel was a defining characteristic of Germany’s Weimar Republic, but even then, the shortest period between four election cycles was between May 1928 and November 1932 — more than four years. That certainly does not mean that we are on the path to Nazism, but it is difficult to deny the fact that the political system in Israel has lost both its footing and its ability to formulate a basic set of principles that the majority of the political actors — at least if they are Israeli citizens — can agree upon. (rh)8/9/2020
When a Palestinian life is worth 3 months menial laborAmir Gilutz - Ynetnews - Opinion: Ahmad Manasrah had stopped to help a woman whose husband had been shot by an IDF soldier when he himself was killed by the same shooter; the soldier copped a plea deal and he is not the only one, for how else can Israel maintain the occupation? (rh)8/9/2020
The dehumanization is the pointSarit Michaeli - +972 - Israeli soldiers placed IEDs at the entrance to a Palestinian village. Why is such an act so hard to believe, even after everything we`ve seen the army do? [ry] 7/9/2020
Dr. Fauci warns a Trump’s ’emergency’ vaccine push could harm development of real vaccinesHunter / Daily Kos - Alternet - The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is continuing to warn against doing essentially any of the things that Donald Trump’s crew of Kudlows, Navarros, and Unidentified Jared Kushner Acquaintances #12-16 keep gravitating towards as their own inexpert ideas for combatting a nationwide pandemic. Fauci is now highlighting the rather significant dangers of releasing an unproven or experimental vaccine to the public, something Trump has signaled he intends to do if at all possible as yet another of his preelection Hail Mary moves to “solve” the COVID-19 pandemic without having to do any of the work proven to have been effective in other, less ridiculous nations. (rh)1/9/2020
Ashrawi: Normalizing aggression and impunity will not achieve peaceDr. Hanan Ashrawi - PLO Dept. of Public Diplomacy - “The Trump administration is desperate to showcase the dubious agreement between Israel and the UAE as a historic achievement. Having failed to bash the Palestinian people into submission to Trump`s ‘Deal of the Century’, Trump and his team are frantically seeking a White House spectacle that can improve his chances in elections. The theatrics, carefully choreographed optics, and hollow statements cannot cover up the reality: the aim is not to achieve the genuine requirements of peace but to serve Trump`s re-election bid and salvage Netanyahu’s political and personal future.” [ak]1/9/2020
What Instructions Are Israeli Soldiers Given for Opening Fire in a Palestinian Village?Amira Hass - Haaretz - “I would like your response to the following questions: How far from the military outpost were those suspected of throwing a Molotov cocktail? How many Molotov cocktails were thrown? The report is unclear: The first sentence says there was an attempt to throw [Molotov cocktails] and it was thwarted. (How do you thwart an attempt?) The second sentence says that two terrorists threw a Molotov cocktail. How can two people throw a single Molotov cocktail? Were the soldiers inside or outside the outpost? Were their lives in danger? If one of those suspected of throwing the Molotov cocktail – a ‘terrorist’ as you put it – was caught (after all, an IDF force administered first aid), how is it that he was released for further treatment by the Red Crescent, and not arrested? (...) “Are the instructions to behave in a place where there is a civilian community as though it were a war, in which every wounded person is considered an enemy and therefore it is forbidden to transfer them for treatment by the shortest route? [bz]1/9/2020
Israelis ignore Ukraine health regulations in UmanAttila Somfalvi,Alexandra Lukash,Gilad Cohen - Ynetnews - Despite being denied entrance to Ukraine several hundred had successfully made their way to Uman for their annual pilgrimage; many were observed dining together in violation of local health regulations. (rh)1/9/2020
Ode to resistance Haidar Eid - Mondoweiss - As Israel continues its bombing of Gaza for the 15th night in a row, while our sole power plant is forced to shut due to Israel’s decision to ban fuel from entering the Strip, and amid the spread of the coronavirus outside quarantine facilities, artists in Gaza have produced a new video clip. It comes as part of a creative project produced in besieged Gaza, Occupied Palestine, where a group of activists and artists came together in order to highlight: 1. The Palestine that every refugee is dreaming to return to; 2. Resistance to Israeli occupation and apartheid; and 3. The links with progressive Arab forces and the Arab Spring.(rh) 1/9/2020
‘Historic’ flight from Tel Aviv to UAE reminds Palestinians of painful historyYUMNA PATEL - Mondoweiss - ‘Historic’ flight from Tel Aviv to UAE reminds Palestinians of painful history. For Palestinians, however, watching the flight take off on Monday signified the opposite of hope and prosperity, instead serving as a reminder of the “betrayal” of their cause by the UAE, and their painful history since the Nakba. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh described the event as a “very painful” sight, adding that he would have much preferred to see a UAE flight landing in Jerusalem, “after it is liberated.”(rh)1/9/2020
When a Palestinian life is worth 3 months menial laborAmit Gilutz - Ynetnews - Ahmad Manasrah had stopped to help a woman whose husband had been shot by an IDF soldier when he himself was killed by the same shooter; the soldier copped a plea deal and he is not the only one, for how else can Israel maintain the occupation? (rh)1/9/2020
COVID-19 in Palestine: Refugee Camps At RiskMondoweiss - What would you do if you were living in a refugee camp during a global pandemic? The Dheisheh refugee camp is one of nineteen Palestinian refugee camps in the occupied West Bank, and is the largest of three refugee camps in the city of Bethlehem. It’s home to 13,000 refugees, living in an area of less than half a square kilometer. Since June, Palestinians in the West Bank, including the residents of Dheisheh camp, have been fighting a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic that’s spreading like wildfire through the occupied territory. For the first time in months, Palestinian refugee camps are seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases raising concerns over the potentially devastating effects the virus can have on disadvantaged communities Dheisheh camp. (rh)1/9/2020
Is Israel’s Reluctance to Prosecute Suspected Criminals an Opportunity?Dana Farraj, Asem Khalil - Alshabaka - In the five years since the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened her preliminary examination into possible war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, the Israeli army has killed more than 700 Palestinians and injured tens of thousands, expanded illegal settlements, and continued to deny freedom of movement to Palestinians, amongst many other abuses. Despite these ongoing violations, however, the ICC remains the only independent judicial body that is capable of ending impunity for past crimes and preventing future crimes from being perpetrated. The ICC is established on the principle of complementarity, which means it is only entitled to exercise jurisdiction when national legal systems fail to do so in line with international standards. Significantly, this includes situations where these systems purport to act but are unwilling and/or unable to conduct genuine proceedings.(rh)1/9/2020
Israel’s Annexation Plan, a New Era in Palestinian ResistanceTareq Baconi - New York Review of Books - From July 1, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has the power to bring to the Knesset a vote on whether to extend his country’s sovereignty over portions of the West Bank, in accordance with the Trump administration’s so- called peace plan, a 181-page document that, in essence, gives a US seal of approval to Israel’s expansionist agenda. Extending sovereignty, otherwise known as annexation, entails the further application of Israeli jurisdiction to territory that Palestinians had envisioned would make up part of their future state. The Trump plan has given a green light to the integration into Israel of up to 30 percent of the West Bank, including more than two hundred Israeli settlements and settler outposts and the larger part of the Jordan Valley, removing the illusion that the occupation is temporary. In the name of a “realistic” two-state solution, the plan calls for the establishment of a Palestinian entity in the areas not annexed by Israel, entirely surrounded by Israeli territory in the West Bank; this putatively independent state would comprise a patchwork of urban enclaves connected by an as-yet-unbuilt complex of bridges, buried highways, and tunnels. (rh) 1/9/2020
British PM Johnson writes op-ed in opposition to West Bank annexation Al-Monitor Staff - Al-Monitor - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson published an op-ed today calling on Israel to cease its plans to annex the West Bank. Johnson wrote from the perspective of a “friend” to Israel in the Israeli news outlet Ynet. “As a life-long friend, admirer and supporter of Israel, I am fearful that these proposals will fail in their objective of securing Israel’s borders and will be contrary to Israel’s own long-term interests,” he wrote.(rh) 1/9/2020
Temporary relief Gush Shalom - Ceasefire is good news to Israeli farmers whose fields will not burn and to Gaza fishermen who will go out to sea. Israeli planes will no longer take off on bombing missions and Gazan homes will have electricity again. But as long as the Israeli siege goes on suffocating Gaza this is no more than temporary relief. [bz]1/9/2020
A Striking Difference Between Palestinian and Israeli ProtestsGideon Levy - Haaretz - People are demonstrating against injustice and for justice both in the West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum and outside the prime minister’s residence on Jerusalem’s Balfour Street. In both places, the protesters are imbued with a sense of mission. It’s more pleasant on Balfour, more dangerous in Qaddum. There’s more sacrifice in Qaddum, more art on Balfour. Balfour gets exhaustive media coverage; Qaddum is completely excluded from the Israeli media. (rh)1/9/2020
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