Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
Israelis and Palestinians Working Together for Peace
Related Sites..
A multi-lingual news service by, for, and about anarchists, regularly posts reports by Israeli anarchists working in solidarity with the non-violent Palestinian resistance.

All Nations Cafe
The All Nations Café is first and foremost a strong team of Israelis, Palestinians and internationals, who work together, visit each other’s homes and see themselves as part of one family.

Alternative Information Center
The AIC is a Palestinian-Israeli organization which disseminates information, research and political analysis on Palestinian and Israeli societies as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while promoting cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis based on the values of social justice, solidarity and community involvement.

Articles and extensive links to Israeli and Palestinian Human Rights & Peace groups

Bat Shalom
Israeli & Palestinian Women’s Peace Group - Bat Shalom is an Israeli national feminist grassroots organization of Jewish and Palestinian Israeli women working together for a genuine peace grounded in a just resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, respect for human rights, and an equal voice for Jewish and Arab women within Israeli society.

Breaking The Silence
Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran Israeli soldiers that collects testimonies of soldiers who served in the Occupied Territories during the Second Intifadah.

Bridges: Israeli-Palestinian Public Health Magazine
bridges, the Israeli-Palestinian Public Health Magazine, is a unique publication conceived, written, edited, produced and managed jointly by Palestinian and Israeli academics and health professionals under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO). The magazine embodies the WHO paradigm of “Health as a Bridge for Peace”: the integration of peace-building concerns, strategies and practices with health care.

Buddhist Peace Fellowship
Buddhist Peace Fellowship’s open-hearted engagement with the world is expressed through expanding programs in the United States and Asia. Through BPF, Buddhists of many different traditions are developing individual and group responses to socially conditioned suffering.

Christian Peacemaker Teams - Palestine Projects
Since 1995 the CPT has maintained a continuing presence in the Hebron District (occupied West Bank). Team members stand with Palestinians and Israeli peace groups engaged in nonviolent opposition to Israeli military occupation, collective punishment, settler harassment, home demolitions and land confiscation.

Coalition of Women for Peace
The Coalition of Women for Peace brings together independent Israeli women and 10 feminist peace organizations who work relentlessly for peace and justice. Founded in November 2000, after the outbreak of the Second Intifada, the Coalition today is a leading voice in the peace movement.

Combatants for Peace
We are a group of Israeli and Palestinian individuals who were actively involved in the cycle of violence in our area. The Israelis served as combat soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces and the Palestinians were involved in acts of violence in the name of Palestinian liberation.

Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine Israel Network
We believe the Episcopal Church can and should play a vital role in seeking justice and peace for Palestinians and Israelis. We believe that without justice, there will be no lasting peace which both people deserve.

Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR)
Interfaith Peace Builders - Delegations to Palestine FOR’s interfaith Middle East program sends regular delegations to Israel/Palestine where participants live in Palestinian and Israeli homes, learn from peace activists on both sides of the conflict and experience the situation of Palestinians living under military occupation.

Grassroots Jerusalem
Grassroots Jerusalem sets out to provide an “Evolving Map” of the current grassroots activities and organizations working in the Jerusalem area. We provide a picture of what is currently happening on the ground, the pending urgent issues, the local solutions and where support is needed to further the work.

HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual
An Israeli human rights organization whose main objective is to assist Palestinians of the Occupied Territories whose rights are violated due to Israel’s policies. This site contains information relating to these human rights violations.

Intercultural Encounter - International Centre of Bethlehem
At the very heart of our mission is a commitment to promote cultural exchange between Palestine and the rest of the world, providing people from different cultures, contexts and backgrounds a forum to meet. Whether as volunteers-in-mission, youth exchanges, educational workshops, theological conferences, academic consultations or grass-roots encounters, these programs help build bridges of understanding and create communities of fellowship between peoples globally.

International Solidarity Movement
The International Solidarity Movement is a Palestinian-led movement of Palestinian and International activists working to raise awareness of the struggle for Palestinian freedom and an end to Israeli occupation. We utilize nonviolent, direct-action methods of resistance to confront and challenge illegal Israeli occupation forces and policies.

Israel Imperial News
A magazine edited by Israeli dissidents. Against the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian land by Jewish settlers. Against Israel’s cruel treatment of the Palestinians. And against Israel’s policy of ethnic cleansing.

Israel Palestine Mission Network
The Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) was established by action of the 2004 General Assembly with the mandate to advocate for Palestinian rights. IPMN membership is open to any Presbyterian who wants to work with us to advocate for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.

Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information - IPCRI
IPCRI, founded in Jerusalem in 1988, is the only joint Palestinian-Israeli public policy think-tank in the world. It is devoted to developing practical solutions for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. IPCRI deals with the cardinal issues in the Israeli-Arab conflict - issues where the two sides find themselves at loggerheads, and where cooperation is necessary.

Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (ICAHD) is a non-violent, direct-action group originally established to oppose and resist Israeli demolition of Palestinian houses in the Occupied Territories.

Machsom Watch
Machsom Watch was founded in January 2001 in response to repeated reports in the press about human rights abuses of Palestinians crossing army and border police checkpoints. It is a group of Israeli women conducting daily observations at military checkpoints to monitor human rights abuses.

Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality
In 1997 a group of Arab and Jewish residents of the Negev (the southern part of Israel) established the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality. Its aim is to provide a framework for Jewish-Arab collaborative efforts, in the struggle for civil equality and the advancement of mutual tolerance and coexistence.

Occupation Magazine
The aim of this Israeli website is to provide information and alternative commentary on the ongoing developments in the Occupied Territories - the West Bank and the Gaza Strip - in Hebrew, English and Russian.

Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity
The Solidarity Movement is a grassroots organization working towards civil equality within Israel and an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Israelis & Palestinians striving together to end the Israeli occupation and to achieve full civil equality through daily non-violent direct-action.

Tarabut - Hithabrut
Tarabut seeks to build social alliances for change, to forge alliances that bring together the dispossessed and the oppressed in Israel through involvement in social struggles. Hence the name (’come together’, ’associate’ in Hebrew and Arabic).

The Other Israel
The Other Israel, published bimonthly, aims to provide extensive coverage of the diverse struggles waged by the Israeli peace movement at large. Includes reports on undereported activities and commentaries on events in Israel and the Middle East from a perspective in which the interests of Israelis and Palestinians are ultimately reconcilable. http://members.tripod.com/~other_Israel

Visions of Peace with Justice in Israel/Palestine
Visions of Peace with Justice in Israel/Palestine (VOPJ) is an association of Jews in Greater Boston working to promote a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians based on mutual respect, justice, and equality.

Yesh Din
Israeli volunteers for human rights who have come together to take concrete action against the constant human rights abuses inflicted on the Palestinian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

The activities of Zochrot include: organizing tours to villages destroyed by Israeli forces in the Nakba and in 1967, led by Palestinian refugees, posting signs at the remains of the destroyed villages, teaching the history and geography of the Nakba and translating these materials into Hebrew, maintaining a Hebrew-language database of maps and other information about the Nakba, developing educational materials, organizing demonstrations, and participating in the activities of refugees organizations.

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Protest the "Apartheid Wall" - Palestine Monitor Maps and Photos of the Israeli Separation Wall Protest the "Apartheid Wall" - Palestine Monitor Maps and Photos of the Israeli Separation Wall

Palestinian, Israeli, and international protesters march against the separation wall in Qalqilya, West Bank - ISM photo

Page from brochure of Zochrot, an Israeli group that organizes tours to villages destroyed by Israeli forces in the Nakba and in 1967, teaches the history and geography of the Nakba, and translating these materials into Hebrew, (Zochrot)
Page from brochure of Zochrot, an Israeli group that organizes tours to villages destroyed by Israeli forces in the Nakba and in 1967, teaches the history and geography of the Nakba, and translating these materials into Hebrew, (Zochrot)
Family of boy killed by IDF donates his organs for peace
By Amos Harel and Arnon Regular, Ha'aretz, November 6, 2005

The family of Ahmed al-Khatib, a 12 year old fatally shot last week by Israeli troops who mistook his toy gun for a real rifle, have donated his organs at a Haifa hospital "for the sake of peace between peoples."

His organs helped save the lives of six patients. His heart was given to a 12-year-old girl; his liver was divided in two and given to two patients, a six-month old baby and a 56-year-old woman; his kidneys were given to a 5-year-old boy and his lungs were given to a 5-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl, Israel Radio reported.

The boy died of his wounds on Saturday.

Dr. Tzvi Ben-Yishai, a spokesman for Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, where Khatib had been treated, said that the boy's parents decided to donate his organs "to bring hearts closer and bring peace closer."

The boy's uncle, Jamal Khatib, confirmed that the family had donated the organs.

"This is not a political issue, but a personal one," the boy's father told Channel Two news. "I had an older brother who suffered from kidney failure and there were no transplants available. When the doctor told me that my boy was clinically dead, I remembered my brother and thought of ways to help." more..

Drumming Circle, Jahalin Beduin Children near Ma'ale Adumim. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), in coordination with Bustan li Shalom and Rabbis for Human Rights, sponsored cultural events to raise awareness and funds for the Jahalin Beduin, who were were expelled from their traditional lands by Israel. (ICAHD)
Drumming Circle, Jahalin Beduin Children near Ma'ale Adumim. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), in coordination with Bustan li Shalom and Rabbis for Human Rights, sponsored cultural events to raise awareness and funds for the Jahalin Beduin, who were were expelled from their traditional lands by Israel. (ICAHD)  

Palestinians, Israelis join together in Battle of Bilin
By Mark MacKinnon, International Solidarity Movement/Globe and Mail, January 7, 2006
BILIN, WEST BANK — Nimrod Eshel is shouting out his disgust at the barrier his country is building through the West Bank when the tear gas starts to fly.

The 24-year-old student from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem pants mildly as he dashes through an olive grove to find a safer vantage point. The peaceful protest of a few minutes before is beginning to disintegrate; Palestinian youths, their faces covered with bandanas to protect them from the effects of the gas, hurl stones back at the helmeted Israeli troops, who respond with rubber bullets and more tear gas.

“I think it’s really important for Israelis to see this. It’s really sad what’s going on,” Mr. Eshel said, waving his hand in an arc that included both the ongoing barrier construction and the Israeli dispersal of the protest.

The Battle of Bilin, as the weekly anti-wall protest here in this tiny West Bank community is known, begins every Friday after midday prayers. Several dozen unarmed residents of the town, supplemented by foreign and Israeli peace activists, meet each week outside the local mosque and march together toward the bulldozers and front-end loaders that are preparing the ground for the next growth spurt in the 685-kilometre-long separation barrier. more..


More about Israelis and Palestinians Working Together from our Archives..
Al-Rowwad Center is a place for life to flourish. (Islam Online/Al-Rowwad)
PA President Mahmoud Abbas needs to decide which side he’s on
Dr Daud Abdullah, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 4/21/2017
      It is perfectly normal for Palestinians to have political differences with the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), but it is wholly unacceptable for any Palestinian, official or otherwise, to call for the destruction and burning of the Gaza Strip in order to crush the group. Such threats are manifestly shameful and can only result in national disaster.
     The fact that they have been issued by officials in Ramallah with increasing regularity reveals the extent to which the Palestinian Authority has become embedded with the Israeli occupation, aside from “security cooperation”. The interests of PA officials, as well as their motives and ways of thinking, seem to be in complete sync with that of their Israeli counterparts. So intertwined with Israel is the PA rhetoric, in fact, that it is almost impossible to distinguish which is which.
     Listen, for example, to any of the weekly sermons delivered in Ramallah’s Tashrifat Mosque by Mahmoud Habbash, the supreme judge and presidential advisor on religious affairs; compare their tone and content to statements by Israeli officials and you’ll find one fundamental message: there can be no peace or reconciliation with Hamas, so military confrontation is both desirable and inevitable. It is a truly scandalous state of affairs.
     If seen from the point of view of national liberation and independence, instead of seeking to smash Hamas the PA should welcome the fact that the Israeli occupation army can no longer enter the Gaza Strip at will to vandalise and destroy the homes of Palestinian civilians or abduct their children. It should celebrate the fact that there are no Israeli settler gangs in the enclave that can destroy olive groves belonging to Palestinians and steal more of their land. Needless to say, the Israelis do all of these and more on the outskirts of Ramallah without as much as a whimper from the authority. When Palestinian villagers hold weekly protests at the growth of illegal settlements on their land and are attacked by Jewish settlers or Israeli soldiers — sometimes both at once — the PA’s 70,000 “security officers” are nowhere to be seen.
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Mahmoud Abbas Needs to Decide which Side He’s On
Palestine Chronicle: 22 Apr 2017 - By Dr. Daud Abdullah It is perfectly normal for Palestinians to have political differences with the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), but it is wholly unacceptable for any Palestinian, official or otherwise, to call for the destruction and burning of the Gaza Strip in order to crush the group. Such threats are manifestly shameful and can only result in national disaster. The fact that they have been issued by officials in Ramallah with increasing regularity reveals the extent to which the Palestinian Authority has become embedded with the Israeli occupation, aside from “security cooperation”. The interests of PA officials, as well as their motives and ways of thinking, seem to be in complete sync with that of their Israeli counterparts. So intertwined with Israel is the PA rhetoric, in fact, that it is almost impossible to distinguish which is which. Listen, for example, to any of the weekly sermons delivered in...more

Palestine slides down agenda as Gulf states inch closer to Israel
Mohamed Mohamed, +972 Magazine 4/4/2017
      Even as the BDS movement has made significant progress in recent years, security and trade cooperation between Israel and Gulf states marks a normalizing of ties that threatens to push Palestine off the agenda.
     After 69 years of occupation, oppression, and exile, the overall situation for Palestinians on the ground remains bleak, if not worse than before. On the other hand, the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement has made significant progress in recent years by encouraging economic, academic, and cultural boycotts of Israel. These high-profile BDS campaigns helped convince major international companies and investors to divest from the Israeli market.
     But, as people from Europe all the way to New Zealand begin to disassociate themselves from Israel, Arab Gulf countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) seem to be regressing in the opposite direction.
     This week, the UAE participated in “Iniohos 2017,”a joint military exercise with the air forces of Greece, Italy, the United States, and Israel. This is not the first time that Emirati pilots have flown alongside Israelis. Last year, the UAE also participated in the “Red Flag” exercise in Nevada, and it is reportedly taking part this year too.
     The UAE’s collaboration with Israel goes beyond these multiparty training exercises. In 2015, Israel established its first diplomatic mission in the UAE in order to represent itself at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which is based in Abu Dhabi. The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed that this office is strictly for IRENA related activities, and that its establishment does not represent a change in policy towards Israel, which the UAE refuses to recognize.
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UN Slams Israel over Emek Shilo Settlement
Palestine Chronicle: 3 Apr 2017 - The United Nations has lambasted the Israeli government after it approved the construction of its first new settlement in the occupied West Bank in decades. A spokesman for UN chief Antonio Guterres said that the secretary-general expressed “disappointment and alarm” at the Israeli security cabinet’s decision on Thursday to build a new settlement – considered illegal under international law – on land stolen from the Palestinians. “The secretary-general has consistently stressed that there is no Plan B for Israelis and Palestinians to live together in peace and security,” Stephane Dujarric said in a statement on Friday. UN slams Israel over Emek Shilo settlement https://t.co/XGFrCScw1e pic.twitter.com/EpaidbT1hi — بوابة وادي حلفا (@Whalfa) April 2, 2017 “He condemns all unilateral actions … that threaten peace and undermine the two-state solution.” The decision to build a new settlement in Emek Shilo, close to the Palestinian city of Ramallah, came less than a week after...more

Thousands of Israelis and Palestinians march in anti-occupation protest
Eli Bitan, +972 Magazine 4/2/2017
      Palestinians and Israelis took to Jerusalem’s streets in their thousands on Saturday night in order to protest the occupation. Meanwhile, diverse protests sprung up elsewhere in Jerusalem, as well as in Tel Aviv.
     A string of demonstrations saw thousands of people take to the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv on Saturday night to protest the occupation; the recent Netanyahu-backed government agreement to close the news division of the new Israeli public broadcasting authority; the failure to secure the release of Avera Mengistu, an Ethiopian Israeli who crossed into Gaza in September 2014 and has not been seen since; and the inadequate budget assigned to support the disabled in Israel.
     In Jerusalem, thousands marched to mark 50 years of occupation, ending up at the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City. A number of activists and campaigners spoke, including Abu Ali, a resident of East Jerusalem at risk of eviction to make way for Jewish settlers; Avi Buskila, head of Peace Now; Muhammad Abu Hummus, head of the Popular Committee in Issawiya; and Yuli Novak, head of Breaking the Silence. MK Aida Touma-Suleiman of the Joint List and Meretz Chair and MK Zehava Galon also gave speeches.
     Touma-Suleiman, who is a member of the joint Arab-Jewish Hadash faction in the Joint List, said: “All who believe in the need to deliver both peoples from the occupation must come together in its fiftieth year and apply real pressure to put an end to the right-wing government, to stop creeping annexation and the strengthening of an apartheid regime.
     “Together, Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians, we can overcome the occupation....”
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Palestinian Priest: Oust PA and Start Civil Disobedience
Palestine Chronicle: 12 Mar 2017 - Senior Christian Priest in Ramallah Monsignor Manuel Musallam severely criticized the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s security cooperation with Israel which has led to the death of tens of Palestinian resistance fighters in West Bank, Al-Resalah newspaper reported. In a recent interview with the paper, Musallam called on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank to oust the PA and start civil disobedience against it and the Israeli occupation. “Oust the PA, its security cooperation and the Oslo Accords which brought it,” he said. March in Gaza City today to protest the trial of the Palestinian Authority of the martyr Basil al-Araj pic.twitter.com/gIktbPJrS9 — Ali Hussein (@Alihussein_2) March 12, 2017 “Do not accept its role and start practical measures to get rid of the conceptions related to collaboration and tyranny,” he explained, “mass media has to run the population this way.” “The PA no longer represents our dreams and ambitions. We thought that...more

Coming to terms with the death of a former partner in struggle
Aviv Tatarsky, +972 Magazine 3/9/2017
      Before he was killed in a gunfight with Israeli forces, Basel al-Araj was a nonviolent activist who fought for his village. His transition from nonviolence to armed struggle feels like a personal defeat for me.
     Earlier this week, as I sat in my car in the morning, I overheard on the radio that soldiers had killed a Palestinian after coming to arrest him in the city of Al-Bireh, next to Ramallah. An hour later I see that Issa had uploaded a photo of Basel al-Araj. to his Facebook page. “Strange,” I thought to myself, “I had no idea Issa and Basel knew each other.” Then I read the caption, which announced that Basel had been killed by the army.
     I knew Basel from my frequent visits to Walaja, his home village, but we never became friends. I don’t believe we ever spoke, whether face to face or in a larger forum. At most, it was always “salaam aleikum” when our paths happened to cross in the village. Perhaps — and maybe I am just imagining — we spent a few hours in detention together after a demonstration against the separation wall in the village.
     If only the struggle took off
     According to the report on the radio, Basel was the head of a small, armed group that planned to attack Israelis. When the soldiers arrived at his hiding place to arrest him, the two sides exchanged gunfire. End of story. This, according to the Israeli report. The Palestinians reported that Basel had been executed. The Israeli version of the story could very well be the truth.
     And yet, I cannot shake Basel’s death. It is clear that this is yet another reminder of the enormous gulf between myself and most Israelis. That I will not be able to explain to them how it is possible that basic national identity is totally unable to blur and erase personal acquaintance — even one based on the solidarity of a joint struggle.
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Security coordination renders Palestinian activists targets for murder
Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 3/7/2017
      One glance at the PA’s political record reveals a grotesque sliver of competence in one particular area – that of ensuring Israel is supplied with targets for murder. In the early hours of Monday morning, Basel Al-Araj was murdered in Qaddura by Israeli forces during a raid which escalated in a two hour aggression. Israeli forces were unscathed; however two Palestinians seeking to prevent the raid were injured.
     Al-Araj had been arrested by Palestinian security forces last April along with two other Palestinian activists, Muhammad Harb and Haitham Siyaj. According to Ma’an news agency, PA President Mahmoud Abbas had at that time declared: “Our security forces are working very efficiently to prevent terror. Just a couple of days ago three young men were tracked down and arrested. They were planning an attack. In this context, our security cooperation with Israel is functioning well.”
     Ma’an also reported that Al-Araj had been detained without charge – a trend reminiscent of Israel’s administrative detention policy. Al-Araj’s detention had been harshly criticised by Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, as reflecting “a rise in the security cooperation between these security services and [the Israeli] occupation in an attempt to foil the Palestinian resistance.”
     Harb and Siyaj were apprehended by Israel upon their release from in September, subjected to administrative detention and tortured in Israeli jails. Al-Araj managed to evade Israeli forces until yesterday when, after being surrounded by armed Israeli soldiers. Having run out of ammunition to defend himself, he was executed by his aggressors “at close range with several bullets”.
     The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP) issued a lengthy statement detailing the PA’s accountability in Al-Araj’s murder....
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Peace proposals offered by activists on Right and Left
Jerusalem Post 27 Feb 2017 - Israelis and Palestinians came together on Monday in Jerusalem to talk about the best possible ways to achieve peace.

US and Israel join forces to bury Palestinian statehood
Daoud Kuttab, Al Jazeera 2/17/2017
      Trump and Netanyahu are trying to push a more blatant and legalised form of apartheid on the Palestinian people.
     Thanks to the lovefest between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump, ignoring the Palestinian national leadership seems to be back on the front burner.
     During both leaders' first meeting since the new United States administration took office, Trump repeatedly talked about the need for the Israelis and Palestinians to make peace but avoided mentioning the Palestinian leadership.
     Apparently fearing the repercussions of Washington's withdrawal of both support for the two-state solution and recognition of the legitimate Palestinian leadership, the US sent CIA chief Mike Pompeo to President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Tuesday, February 14.
     By sending the CIA chief rather than a political figure to visit President Abbas, the US is prioritising security issues - including joint security cooperation with Israelis - over the need to recognise Palestinian political and national aspirations.
     Trump also casually walked away from a long-standing US and international consensus on the two-state solution, which has been the foundation of Palestinian-Israeli conflict. 'Been there, tried that'
     The US president's naive comment on the two or one-state solution - saying he "can live with either one" - means Washington is likely to prolong the status quo of occupation.
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Spy or Die: Israel’s Message to a Gaza Heart Patient, Now Dead
Palestine Chronicle: 14 Feb 2017 - A heart patient from Gaza has died after he refused an Israeli offer to spy on Palestinian in order to access treatment. Twenty-seven-year-old Ahmed was born with a congenital heart defect and had undergone a number of operations. He regularly made the trip from the Gaza Strip to the occupied West Bank for treatment and underwent 18 operations in Israeli hospitals. The operation to have his heart valve replaced was postponed a number of times until finally he was asked to meet an intelligence officer at the Erez crossing, the only border passage open for Gazans to enter Israel. During the meeting, Ahmed was explicitly told that in order to have his operation, he would have to cooperate with the security forces and spy for Israel. According to Ahmed’s father, Hassan Shubeir, the Israeli intelligence officer told Ahmed that he wanted him to help by giving Israel the names of...more

Is the PLO still the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinians?
Motasem A Dalloul, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 2/13/2017
      The main Palestinian secular movement, Fatah, which dominates the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) accused regional powers on Sunday evening of supporting its Islamic rival Hamas to carry out a coup against the umbrella body and the Palestinian Authority which it controls. The reason given is that such regional powers are trying to ease, or lift, the Israeli-led, internationally-backed, siege on the Gaza Strip.
     In several official press releases, Fatah named Turkey and Qatar. They claimed that these two countries are planning to help Hamas and its supporters in the occupied Palestinian territories and diaspora to supersede the PLO and the PA.
     According to Fatah spokespeople, Turkey is hosting a pro-Hamas conference for Palestinians in the diaspora, the preparations for which are going ahead without the PLO’s knowledge. However, a spokesman for the organising committee, Ziad Al-Aloul, has said several times that PLO members are among the organisers.
     Fatah has also accused Turkey of supporting a military coup against the PA in the Gaza Strip, which has been under siege for more than ten years, simply because the government in Ankara sent its minister of energy and other officials to conduct a study on how they can help to solve the electricity crisis in the coastal enclave. The accusation is really unbelievable, not least because the Turkish delegation met with PA officials in the West Bank before entering the Gaza Strip. In fact, Turkey has been cooperating with the PA in the West Bank regarding a fuel grant for Gaza’s sole electricity plant.
     Qatar stands accused by Fatah of the doing the same thing as Turkey, possibly because it is the only international state which has faithfully fulfilled its pledges made during the International Donor Conference held in Cairo in the wake of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on Gaza. The conference aimed to collect donations to rebuild the Gaza Strip.
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Abbas’ wasted opportunity at the AU Summit
Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 2/2/2017
      Two contradictory approaches characterised PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech at the 27th annual summit of the African Union in Rwanda. Prior to the summit, Wafa reported that Abbas intended to mobilise support for Palestine and also seek talks with the aim of boosting mutual relations.
     The intent became an extension of the farcical cycle characterising PA speeches at an international level. While asking African countries to refrain from bolstering ties with Israel, Abbas also urged African Union member to support the outcome of the international conference organised by France which reiterates the importance of committing to the two-state compromise.
     The Times of Israel reported Abbas insisting that any relations with Israel “should not be done at the expense of the just cause of our Palestinian people, which still needs your help to get rid of the abhorrent Israeli occupation.” The plea was a reference to Israel’s recent overtures to African countries, in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to provide economic and agricultural aid in return for African diplomatic support. Such manipulation would have aided in countering the increasing trend of international criticism of Israel, despite the fact that there has been no shift from rhetoric to action on behalf of the international community.
     Abbas insisted that Israel “is doing all it can to undermine the chances of establishing an independent Palestinian state” through its colonial expansion. As reference, the conclusions of the French conference were highlighted, once again prioritising international interference over Palestinian demands. The choice, as portrayed by Abbas, involved refusal to cooperate with Israel and a willingness to adhere to international impositions on Palestine, which have been proved to favour colonisation, rather than liberation.
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Europe might Link Cooperation with Israel to Palestinians Rights
Asharq Alawsat ME News 20 Jan 2017 - From ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English . Tel Aviv – European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker threatened the Israeli government of being sanctioned in case it continues its … continue reading Europe might Link Cooperation with Israel to Palestinians Rights

What form of resistance are Palestinians allowed?
Daoud Kuttab, Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN) 1/12/2017
      The international community has shown some political backbone by supporting the anti-settlement UN Security Council resolution on December 23, but that will not produce peace if it is not followed by effective action. Instead of the world community following up on the matter and putting pressure on Israel, the Israelis turned the tables. Israel’s foreign ministry called the representatives of every single country that has a mission in Israel and that voted in support of that resolution on Christmas Day, December 25, and gave them a diplomatic tongue lashing, refusing even to place their national flags or offer them a glass of water as they were lectured. What was the response of these countries that were humiliated diplomatically for condemning what amounts to a war crime? Nothing. The Israeli leader also refused an official invitation by the French government to attend a peace conference to be held in Paris on January 15 to discuss ways to bring about peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel also rejected the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which calls for an exchange of land for peace and gives Israel a role in deciding the status of Palestinian refugees. The Palestinian president, who welcomed the Paris peace conference, met with a group of respected Israeli writers in Ramallah, on January 5, and reiterated his continued opposition to all acts of violence, his support for security cooperation and his call on Israelis for genuine peace talks.
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WATCH: Soldiers prevent Palestinians, Israelis from protesting together
Occupation Magazine 8 Jan 2017 - Ahmad al-Bazz and Haggai Matar, Photos by Ahmad al-Bazz and Keren Manor / Activestills.org - +972 - Israeli activists had hoped to join Palestinians to protest a new settler-only road that would uproot hundreds of olive trees. The Israeli army saw to that [ry]

Photography as protest in Palestine/Israel
Edo Konrad, +972 Magazine 1/4/2017
      'There is a lot of criticism over the way photojournalism perpetuates social gaps. Activestills came as a response to that. They are part of the struggles they were documenting. The work they produce is intended for communities to use to promote their own struggles.’
     “Activestills: Photography as Protest in Palestine/Israel,” edited by Vered Maimon and Shiraz Grinbaum, Pluto Press (2016)
     The first time I truly began to grasp the potency of photojournalism was on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard in June 2011. It was barely a few days after a group of young Israelis decided to pitch tents on the city’s most recognizable thoroughfare, launching what would soon come to be known as the social protest movement.
     By the end of that first week, Rothschild began to look like a cross-section of Jewish Israeli civil society, with activist groups from every strain imaginable setting up shop along the boulevard’s outer edges. Zionist youth groups tabled alongside environmentalists who handed out flyers, radical right-wing settlers pitched their tents next to guitar-toting hippies.
     I strolled along the boulevard on a balmy summer night when I saw my friend Assaf setting up a booth for Anarchists Against the Wall — the Israeli collective most commonly associated with the nonviolent protests that had cropped up throughout the occupied territories in the mid-2000s. Assaf had just pinned up a clothesline’s worth of glossy A3 photos between two ficus trees, the content of which stood in almost complete contrast to the party-like atmosphere that surrounded us. There were shots of Palestinians and Israelis marching through clouds of tear gas together. Each and every photo included a small, white, block-lettered watermark on the bottom left-hand corner that read: “Activestills.org.”
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Will Liberman's Palestinian sanctions cost Israeli lives?
Al-Monitor 27 Dec 2016 - Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman ordered the military unit coordinating activities on the West Bank to sever civilian ties with the Palestinian Authority while maintaining security cooperation, but the two are inseparable.

Domari Gypsies carve out niche in Jerusalem
PM collaborators, Palestine Monitor 12/13/2016
      Decades of conflict have sliced this region down the middle. But Amoun Sleem is one of those whose identity cannot be carefully placed on either side of the Green Line.
     “Palestinians feel different from me. But Israelis consider me Palestinian,” she explains. I am neither – but am stuck in the middle between the two!”
     Sleem is a Domari, an ethnic group of Gypsies who arrived from India, via Persia, in the 6th century. About two million are scattered around the Middle East, with twenty thousand living in Israel and the West Bank. And although most Domari have integrated into the local Palestinian society – most are Muslim and all speak Arabic – they still preserve their distinctive culture. Older Domari, for example, speak their own language. They still make a unique kind of vibrant jewellery. Domari also have their own cuisine, which includes kishk, a type of fermented yoghurt found throughout central Asia, and have distinct surnames. Sleem does much to protect this culture herself. In 1999, she founded the Domari Society of Gypsies in Jerusalem, dedicated to spreading public awareness about the rich history of the Domari people. For her part, Sleem grew up huddled together with about seventy other Domari families in the shadow of the Al-Aqsa mosque, in the heart of Jerusalem’s old city. But if preserving cultural heritage is an important part of Sleem’s work, it is secondary to the centre’s educational mission. “We face a lot of discrimination,” she explains....
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Israeli forces seize medical caravan, demolish quarry in Hebron area
Occupation Magazine 12 Dec 2016 - Ma`an / Wafa - The medical clinic caravan was given to residents by the Italian Cooperation as part of a humanitarian assistance package to Palestinians living in difficult conditions in "Area C" -- the more than 60 percent of the occupied West Bank under full Israeli security...

Israel’s promotion of colonial plunder
Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 12/9/2016
      Israel continues to exploit regional problems in order to maintain its foreign policy that allows it to divert attention away from the colonisation of Palestine. Western countries are perpetually enticed by military and surveillance technology. Food security – a basic necessity which Palestinians are deprived of – has been utilised by Israel to lure leaders of African countries into closer ties. Hence, Israel has now invited ministers and officials from West African countries to a three-day conference which started on Tuesday in Jerusalem.
     The conference, “Enhancing sustainable agricultural productivity in arid and semi-arid regions”, has been hailed by the Israeli foreign ministry as being held “against a backdrop of warming relations between West Africa and Israel, and constitutes fertile ground for the further development of relations both on political and economic levels.”
     It is not the first time that Israel has played upon a primary concern for African nations in order to establish support for diplomatic endeavours. Last September, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon hosted an event promoting “Israeli innovation and technologies in Africa”, with Danon describing the event as an opportunity to experience “a taste of the real face of Israel” that is competent in technological innovations.
     Last July, the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS) signed a joint declaration of cooperation in agriculture, de-desertification, water, education and health. It is pertinent to note that every area alluded to in this declaration has been perfected by Israel at the expense of the Palestinians, who have been deprived of the slightest shard of relief due to incessant colonial expansion and theft of resources.
     Such cooperation also strengthens Israel’s promulgated myths regarding the alleged barren land and making the desert bloom....
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Is there a chance of Turkey having a role in the Palestinian issue?
Said Al-Haj, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 12/7/2016
      Turkey’s attention has turned back to the Middle East, with the ruling Justice and Development Party coming closer to the Palestinian cause for various historical, political, cultural and religious reasons; it is also hoping to reinforce its role in the region. Over a number of years, Ankara has had good relations with Washington and Tel Aviv, and it played a mediator’s role in a number of regional issues; the indirect negotiations between Syria and Israel in 2008, for example, followed by the tripartite agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme in 2010.
     With regards to Palestine, Turkey still tries to mediate between the Palestinians and Israelis, while also helping in the Palestinian reconciliation efforts. This is primarily because it believes that the Palestinian division weakens the position with Israel and reduces Ankara’s ability to help.
     Turkey more or less follows the international view that the two-state solution is the way forward, within the parameters of the Arab Peace Initiative. It also calls for Hamas to be involved in the process, for while Ankara makes a point of dealing with the official Palestinian Authority run by President Mahmoud Abbas, the result of the 2006 elections makes it legitimate to deal with Hamas as a major political player in Palestine; it was, after all, elected to run the PA. Despite the growing relations between the two, Ankara has never once bypassed the PA presidency; it always makes an effort to bring both sides together whenever possible.
     Given the deterioration of Turkey’s relations with Israel from 2009 — and the severing of diplomatic relations in 2010 after the Israeli assault on the Freedom Flotilla — there is tension in US-Turkish relations, which coincides with the “Arab Spring” uprisings, especially the Syrian crisis. This is also caused by the development of Turkey’s foreign policy, which is slowly heading towards relative independence, as well as the crisis in relations with Egypt since the 2013 military coup which ousted President Mohamed Morsi....
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The meaning of Israel’s ‘return’ to Africa
Antoine Shalhat, translated from Arab48, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 12/7/2016
      We can still hear the echoes of the statements made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to a number of African countries in July. More specifically, we hear the reiteration of the statement in which he talked about the “goal” of changing what he called the “automatic majority” against Israel in the UN. This majority relies mainly on the African, Asian and Latin American countries. Netanyahu believes that such a change might take a long time.
     Identical reports regarding the visit noted that Netanyahu’s formula for such a process is simple: Israel can offer the African countries complete cooperation in fields important to “any country currently aspiring for prosperity”, such as “combating terrorism, infrastructure development, managing the water sector, entering the cyber field, and perhaps even natural gas.” In return, Israel would receive, in addition to economic benefits, political support, or at least a guarantee from these countries that they would not support international initiatives by the Palestinians.
     Most of the Israeli analyses regarding the aforementioned “goal” agreed that it seems to be far-fetched. Some noted that, in recent years, the Palestinians have increased their international activities and reaped a number of “symbolic fruits”, including raising the Palestinian flag at the UN headquarters and having European parliaments and governments recognising the Palestinian Authority. At the same time, these analyses noted that in the most important vote regarding Palestine in the past two years, the Palestinians failed to secure a Security Council vote in favour of the state of Palestine. Rwanda was one of the countries that abstained from voting, and the Palestinian proposal was one vote short.
     Netanyahu summed up the results of his visit by saying that Israel has returned strongly to Africa. In fact, success in Africa is not Israel’s only diplomatic goal. At a time when it is experiencing a “crisis” with the current US administration and is being condemned routinely by most of Europe, Israel is working to construct a web of relations with countries....
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Australian lawmakers urge end to Israeli abuses of Palestinian children
Electronic Intifada - Initiative is successful result of international cooperation among activists.

How The Guardian continues to exclude Palestinians from its comment pages
Ben White, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 11/28/2016
      This time last year, I carried out an informal survey of how The Guardian was covering the issue of Palestine and Israel in its comment pages. The results were not good.
     Out of 138 op-eds on the topic published by the newspaper in its ‘Comment is free’ section from October 2013 to November 2015 (including both print and online-only articles, as well as content from The Observer), just 20 were written by Palestinians – 15 per cent of the total.
     By contrast, 39 op-eds (28 per cent) were written by Israelis, including six by state officials or diplomats, and four by opposition politicians.
     The statistics told a clear story: The Guardian was excluding Palestinians from its comment pages.
     It is now time for an update. Once more, I have compiled the database of comment pieces published over the last year (1 December 2015 to 27 November 2016) using three tags – ‘Israel’, ‘Gaza’, and ‘Palestinian Territories’ – that together archive almost all relevant pieces.
     I have excluded articles where Israel and/or the Palestinians were mentioned but not the main focus (including pieces related to Australian politics). There were also pieces addressing various aspects of a debate about anti-Zionism and antisemitism, and I will discuss those separately (below).
     Over the last year, The Guardian has published just 20 comment pieces specifically relating to Israel and the Palestinians, which, before even considering by whom and about what, marks a sharp reduction in coverage of the topic in general.
     Six were by Palestinians....
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Australian lawmakers urge end to Israeli abuses of Palestinian children
Electronic Intifada: 28 Nov 2016 - Initiative is successful result of international cooperation among activists. more..

Water crisis looms as PA refuses to cooperate with Israel
YNet News, 8 Nov 2016 - COGAT head Maj. Gen. Mordechai writes letter imploring international community to help before an impending water crisis hits the Palestinians, who refuse to sit with the Israelis to talk about a long term water management program. ....

The new campaign from Labour Friends of Israel is a smokescreen
Asa Winstanley, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 10/29/2016
      At a meeting of Labour Friends of Israel in parliament on Wednesday, the pro-Israel lobby group launched something of a rebrand: “For Israel, For Palestine, For Peace” is a slogan first seen at its stall at the Labour Party conference at the end of September.
     The new campaign’s main stated aim was to persuade the government to increase its “international development spending on coexistence” projects between Israelis and Palestinians from “the current level of approximately £150,000 to £1.35 million”.
     LFI director Jennifer Gerber said in a press release that, “Projects that bring ordinary Israelis and Palestinians together are absolutely essential for a lasting peace in the middle east, and we in Britain must do everything we can to support them.”
     One person who attended the meeting described it to me as disturbing, because nothing was said about Palestinian human rights and the primary reason for their violation, which is the state of Israel. The left-wing law firm Mansfield Chambers tweeted of the event that “UK MPs support for Israel ignore the fact that they are part of the problem not the solution.” The fact that the event was promoted by the well-funded right-wing Blairite faction “Progress” tends to demonstrate this.
     As my colleague Ben White has commented, the more liberal Zionist side of Israel’s propagandists in Europe feel that they must appear to be more “balanced” these days, which is a shift in rhetoric. It represents something of a tactical retreat from blatant and open support for Israeli war crimes, a strategy that has been contested sharply by more hard-right elements within the Zionist movement.
     But, in reality, such a false “balance” and “coexistence” narrative is nothing new....
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How thousands of Palestinian and Israeli women are waging peace
Riman Barakat, +972 Magazine 10/25/2016
      The thousands of Palestinian and Israeli women who marched in Jerusalem and Jericho this month are not only demanding peace from their societies, they are reaching through stereotypes and artificial boundaries to find true partners.
     Less than a year ago a group of Palestinian and Israeli women spent a weekend in Tantur, situated between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, brainstorming what we could possibly do to break the cycle of violence and political stagnation. Everyone had their own personal reason for being there, whether it was the Israeli mothers who had to send their children to war or the Palestinian women who were exhausted by the daily incursions of the Israeli army, checkpoints, and the inability to live freely and imagine a hopeful future for their children. Personally, I felt torn apart having seen Jerusalem split into a hundred pieces, a place that should be the inspiration for coexistence instead oozing with the blood of Palestinians and Israelis on a near daily basis.
     Over the last 11 years I have done my best to be involved in any possible initiative that attempts to bring about Israeli-Palestinian peace. Why is Women Wage Peace different? My belief has always been that if any group professes that they will bring about Israeli-Palestinian peace, they must have to want it so much so that they are willing to wed themselves to the cause. These women are of that character; they are unstoppable and determined but most of all, they believe they can create their own future. In order to create a different reality, we believe that we have to be that reality.
     “We need to think outside of our surroundings,” Lily kept saying, and together we visualized the March of Hope, a march of togetherness — a cry to the whole world, coming from a mother’s womb, to stop the violence. We resolved not to stop, even in the midst of most terrible acts of violence....
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Lichfield Cathedral stands strong in the face of bullying by the pro-Israel Lobby
Professor Kamel Hawwash, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 10/15/2016
      A few months ago I was invited to speak at a conference organised by an ecumenical planning group, to be hosted by Lichfield Cathedral on 7-9 October. The title of the conference was interesting: “Holding Palestine in the light: the context of the conflict”. My talk was titled, “Can a just peace be reached in the Holy Land? Reflections of a diaspora Palestinian”.
     In the intervening weeks, I had contact about the administrative practicalities and then the programme appeared on the Cathedral’s website. I thought it looked impressive as it brought together Israelis, Palestinians, a former British Diplomat, Jews, Christians and Muslims, ecumenical accompaniers, a representative of Christian Aid and someone from the Council of Christians and Jews. All this would take place in the amazing setting of Lichfield Cathedral, which I had visited on a previous occasion and which offered a wonderful environment for contemplation, reflection and thought for those involved in the Israel-Palestine conflict thousands of miles away. I knew that I would not agree with everything being said, but would present my view as a Palestinian and not representing any particular organisation or political entity.
     Just a day before the event, I received an email from a member of the planning group explaining that the organisers, the Cathedral and the Council for Christians and Jews (CCJ), had come under a great deal of pressure from Jewish groups. The Dean of Lichfield, Adrian Dorber, confirmed that “there has been much vocal protesting from Jewish groups about the alleged one-sided and biased nature of the Conference. CCJ has been under a great deal of pressure and they have done their very best to mediate.” The Dean agreed to two measures in order for the conference to proceed without disruption. First, Dr Irene Lancaster would join the closing panel and would speak from a pro-Israel perspective. Second, that an observer from the UK Zionist Federation would attend on Sunday and display a poster which sets out its position regarding Israel and the role it has played in the peace process.
     I was not surprised that pro-Israel groups had intervened and bullied in this way, as they have a long track record of such intimidation....
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The crisis of Israel's anti-occupation Left
Mairav Zonszein, +972 Magazine 10/8/2016
      Israelis emigrating — or considering emigration — for political reasons are inadvertently adopting the spirit of the boycott movement in the sense that they, too, have given up on the idea of change coming from within.
     Everywhere I turn these days, many of my peers have left Israel, are leaving Israel, are planning to leave, or are talking about leaving Israel. My family and I included.
     The reasons for leaving are always personal, and it’s hard to point to a specific political trend. But the discourse around leaving is indicative of a real crisis in the Israeli Left regarding the inability to effect change, the increasing sense that our ideals are unwanted, and that we are outnumbered. Not just at the polls, but at the family dinner table, too.
     For me, this is not just about the normalization of racism and violence in the public sphere that goes along with the occupation. It is about the fact that so many Israelis who identify as liberal or left wing are either ignorant of the state’s actions vis-à-vis the Palestinians, or they are complicit in them.
     When I first witnessed Israeli human rights violations and the violence of military occupation nearly a decade ago — through my activism with direct-action Arab-Jewish cooperative Ta’ayush — I found my most fundamental working assumptions about Israel upended.
     Those experiences shaped my politics, almost instantaneously setting me apart from most Jewish Israelis. While other Israelis spent their Saturdays resting at home or going to family gatherings, I was escorting Palestinians to their wells and grazing lands in hopes that our — Israeli activists’ — presence might discourage attacks by Israeli settlers and confrontations with soldiers (sometimes it would work, sometimes it wouldn’t).
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A preference for bureaucracy over humanity
Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 10/6/2016
      Further evidence that justice has been relegated behind political manipulation can be found in the current visit to Israel and the West Bank by a delegation from the International Criminal Court, under the pretext of “raising awareness”. As an official statement by the court’s Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, points out, there is no intent to collect evidence, “in accordance with its usual practice at this stage of its work.”
     The five day visit, therefore, will consist of undertaking “outreach and education activities with a view to raising awareness about the ICC and in particular, about the work of the Office; to address any misperceptions about the ICC and to explain the preliminary examination process.” The statement adds that such visits are standard practice.
     An unnamed Israeli official quoted in Haaretz stated that the visit does not signify Israel’s cooperation with the preliminary investigations conducted at the Palestinian Authority’s request. “The international Criminal Court in The Hague has no authority to hear the Palestinian request, since Palestine is not a country and because the Israeli judicial system is independent and can handle complaints on the matter of alleged war crimes.”
     For all its grandiose rhetoric about independent and impartial investigation, the visit has, so far pointedly excluded Gaza, giving impartiality and independence another meaning. Bensouda’s statement specifically mentions Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Ramallah, ostensibly to further emphasise the visit’s dissociation which, in diplomatic circles, constitutes proof of the two attributes which international organisations continue to adorn themselves with, undeservedly it must be said. Eliminating Gaza from the equation, particularly when the approach to the ICC stemmed from the military offensives Israel has inflicted upon the enclave, shows the ICC’s willingness to compromise its purported impartiality by emulating and participating in the mainstream perception which treats Gaza like a necessary yet dispensable accessory, depending upon political circumstances.
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Palestinian activists boycott Facebook for two hours
Jerusalem Post 25 Sep 2016 - Facebook, in cooperation with the Israeli government, has disabled a number of Palestinian accounts that it said “promote violence.”

Jerusalem mayor believes collective punishment is key to coexistence
Natasha Roth, +972 Magazine 9/12/2016
      How does one go about fostering neighborly relations in Jerusalem? It’s very simple, according to the city’s mayor: curfews, closures, concrete blocks and lots of police.
     Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat regularly holds forth about how his city’s various demographics can rub along in peace and quiet. Back in July, in deference to the city’s ultra-Orthodox population, he announced he wouldn’t attend Jerusalem’s Pride parade. Barkat’s decision, taken so as not to “harm” Jerusalem’s Haredi community, came one year after an ultra-Orthodox man was so outraged at the presence of LGBTQs in the city that he stabbed six people at the same event, murdering one of them.
     In August, Barkat told a group of Likud activists that a stop for Jerusalem’s planned cable car will be placed in the Palestinian town of Silwan so as to show “who really owns this city.” As a reminder, Silwan is already at boiling point due to the encroachment of settlers and settler organizations both over– and underground.
     And last week, again speaking with Likud activists, Barkat waxed rhapsodical about his “philosophy of coexistence” for Jerusalem, a term he used after explaining how he has collaborated with the security forces to impose collective punishment on the city’s Palestinians.
     “We’ve developed some very, very interesting models. The first is cooperation between the Shin Bet, police, law enforcement and the municipality… I’ve requested closures and curfews in Jerusalem… We’ve put nearly 30 closures (in place). If you walk around the entrance and exit of the (Palestinian) villages today, you’ll see concrete blocks… This philosophy creates a very high level of coexistence between Jews and Arabs in the city.”
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What frustrates Netanyahu in his relationship with Arab rulers?
Saleh Al-Naami, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 8/21/2016
      A number of Israeli commentators who met with Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu recently have said that he feels frustrated at his inability to divulge details of his success in establishing “strong alliances” with some Arab states, not least those with which Israel has no peace treaty. According to Amir Tifon, political commentator at the Walla news website, the source of Netanyahu’s frustration is that he can’t reveal the stages involved in concluding alliances with the Arab states. As a consequence, he is unable to use them to improve his political status within Israel.
     “Netanyahu wishes to publish the photographs that document his secret meetings with some of the Arab leaders,” wrote Tifon, “or to divulge some of the details that illustrate the features of practical cooperation within the field of security with the Arab world. However, he is unable to do this because the Arab side prefers to keep communicating in secrecy out of concern that the affair might provoke public opinion at home.”
     An example provided by Tifon to illustrate this is the Saudi delegation which visited Israel last month. The group was led by ex-General Anwar Eshki and discussed common challenges with Israeli officials, including those that Saudi Arabia and Israel are both facing in the Horn of Africa. “The Saudis, though, were keen to maintain an official framework as represented by a visit to the Palestinian Authority’s territories in order to camouflage the main purposes of the visit,” he explained.
     “The Arab leaders who communicate with Netanyahu request him to take any step, even if just symbolic, toward the Palestinians in order to permit them to bring their ties into the public domain,” claimed Tifon. “However, he fears arousing the anger of Banat, the Education Minister, and Lieberman, the Foreign Minister, with whom he has forged a sacred alliance.” Netanyahu is apparently afraid to give his government the go-ahead to grant the Palestinians economic concessions within the West Bank in case this provokes a reaction from his partners within the ruling coalition.
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BDS Quebec targets Montreal based military company over ties with Israel
Stop The Wall - Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign BDS Quebec In Canada a new campaign has started to target military relations with Israel: activists from the network BDS Quebec have launched efforts to stop cooperation between the Montreal based military company CAE Ltd. and the Israeli military as well as Israeli private military...

Israel’s Arab Spring
Saleh Al-Naami, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 7/28/2016
      Recent signs point to a “positive boom” when it comes to the relationship between Israel and the Arab world, enough to require Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to mention the nature of this relationship in all of his recent speeches and conferences. Among his remarks is the claim that although his government is ideologically extremist, has proceeded with unprecedented (illegal) settlement expansion and the Judaisation of occupied land, and has wholly rejected the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state, Israel is not only facing regional isolation but also strategic partnerships with Arab countries that would not normally have diplomatic relationships with Tel Aviv are expanding. Such statements have been paired with media leaks that confirm the presence of security coordination with a growing list of Arab countries; it is not limited to Egypt and Jordan.
     What is worthy of attention here is that Israeli officials no longer value the warming-up of relations with the Arab world with the intention of countering Iran’s nuclear programme. On the contrary, they are content with “countering Islamic extremism” and it is on this basis that security cooperation is taking place. Netanyahu was clear in his speech during the most recent graduation ceremony for students from the faculty of national security that the Arab countries “have discovered the inherent energy in cooperating with Israel in the domain of fighting against Islamic extremism.” There is no need to mention here that the definition of “Islamic extremism” has been limited to an understanding that benefits Israel exclusively.
     With regards to the Arab countries that Israel says it is working with behind closed doors, the newly-signed nuclear agreement with Iran is the threat that these Arab countries face. Israel has revisited the prominence of the “Iranian threat” since the signing of the US-brokered deal. Those Arabs who are forming a new relationship with Israel use the fight against Islamic extremism to justify the beginning of a new era and a new relationship with Zionists.
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Generals of normalisation
Iyad Qara, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 7/27/2016
      Benjamin Netanyahu has been boasting recently about being able to establish important relations with Arab and Islamic countries. The Israeli prime minister has visited Africa and held talks with the president of an Islamic country he did not name but expects to start relations with.
     In the past, the issue of normalisation of links with Israel used to be shameful, and people who went down that route used to hide their efforts. Shockingly, though, today we see and hear people adopting, defending and legitimising normalisation, either by supporting it directly or by being silent about it. They are taking advantage of the region’s preoccupation with other important matters and the absence of the Palestinian issue from the regional agenda as well as the encouragement of some Palestinians who are associated with the Israeli occupation through security coordination.
     The photograph of former Saudi intelligence General and head of the Middle East Studies Centre, Anwar Eshqi, with Palestinian General Jibril Rajoub, the godfather of security coordination with Israel, and creator of the first building blocks of participation with settlers and occupation army leaders, shows clearly the nature of today’s relations between Israel and its near-neighbours. Some people are creeping through the gaps to implement agendas that in Israel’s best interests, establishing a culture of surrender and security coordination, instead of resistance. All of this is taking place with full collaboration and cover provided by the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, whose president, Mahmoud Abbas, is putting pressure on some Arab and Islamic parties, including some African and Gulf countries, to normalise with the Israeli occupation, all under a pseudo-religious cover.
     Eshqi could not have visited Israel without the consent of some Gulf parties which are pushing to expand cooperation and coordination with the occupation in contradiction of calls for Israel to accept the Arab [Peace] Initiative....
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UK funding Israel-Arab research cooperation programs
Globes Main News - The two programsare promoting cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian researchers on water and medical research.

Israeli business promotes colonialism as ‘coexistence’
Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 7/5/2016
      Palestinian resistance is, at times, diluted by a certain resignation wrought by fear of excessive Israeli retaliation. This hindrance, which speaks volumes about the psychological trauma endured by Palestinians as a result of Israeli colonisation, has been acknowledged by Palestinians who, despite their best efforts at maintaining an organised strategy, find themselves facing reluctance and thus, the struggle deteriorates further. From a Palestinian perspective, it is a consequence. Israel, however, has once again exploited fear into opportunism.
     The Times of Israel has dedicated ample space lauding the construction of a mall in North East Jerusalem – the project of Ramy Levy who has simplified colonisation into an unavoidable “destiny” in which Palestinians and Israelis “must do what they can to make the best of the situation and serve each other as best as possible.” According to Levy, the mall can “lead to an understanding that we can do everything together.”
     “Everything” is a vague reference to the idea that Palestinian retailers will be able to rent the premises which, according to Israeli narrative, is proof of alleged coexistence. The project is described as a joint venture, albeit one that is entirely under Israeli control and orchestrated as a means of financial gain derived from exploiting land and people.
     Veering into political discourse, Levy stated: “We need to show people who want to frighten us that they won’t beat us.” According to reports, security concerns in this case seem to have absconded from the scenario, citing “elation” rather than fear. If both Levy’s opinion and the current outlook regarding the prospective mall do coincide, it is clear that Israel has embarked upon a different tactic to exercise control over the Palestinian population, using the same characteristics of colonisation and dependency – this time disguised under the fallacious theme of coexistence.
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Israel's government wants Facebook to do its dirty work
Noam Rotem, +972 Magazine 7/3/2016
      Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan wants Facebook to help run his police state, the army punishes an entire village for the actions of one person, and the interior minister thinks revoking citizenship is the solution to violence. Three comments on collective punishment.
     1. Facebook at the Shin Bet’s disposal
     In an interview with Channel 2's Meet the Press, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said that the blood of victims of Palestinian violence “is on Facebook’s hands.” That’s it. We found the newest culprit responsible for the security situation in Israel and Palestine. Forget the fact that over a million of people are living under the boot of the Israeli military lacking rights or freedom for nearly 50 years. The problem is Facebook.
     In the past we have written about the ways in which the Israeli army monitors Facebook, and over the past year Israeli authorities have made hundreds of arrests due to posts published on the social network. Erdan’s claim that “Facebook sabotages the work done by Israel Police, because even when the police turns to Facebook, it does not cooperate and has a very high standard for removing content and posts.”
     Since 2013 Israeli legal authorities have submitted hundreds of requests to Facebook to reveal information on users and to remove content. However, as opposed to Israeli companies, which do as they are told by the Shin Bet, Facebook is in no hurry to cooperate. The company has responded to only 52 percent of the over one thousand requests to reveal information on users that were submitted between January 2013 and December 2015. This is what angers Erdan.
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Portugal launches campaign to end cooperation with Israeli policies
Stop The Wall - Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign PortugalIDF Under the title “No to the Horizon2020 Law Train project - No to cooperation with Israel’s repressive system!”, on Thursday 24, a large coalition of Portuguese forces has held the official launch of a campaign aimed at ending the participation of the Portuguese ministry...

Farming on the frontlines
Jessica Purkiss, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 6/30/2016
      A mushroom farm in Jericho, an heirloom seed library, a project to introduce Kale to the Palestinian market and a local farmers’ cooperative – these small agricultural projects are the latest weapon in the fight against the Israeli occupation. They aim to tackle the policies that make Palestine dependent on the Israeli market and offer alternatives for Palestinians who find themselves forced to buy Israeli products.
     After returning to Palestine for the first time in five years, Vivien Sansour noticed changes in her homeland. “All the things I had missed, like the delicious tomatoes and cheese, the things old ladies would come and sell at the front of our house, they were gone,” says Sansour. “I thought I was coming home and I found myself coming back to a place that was foreign to me where I was buying Israeli broccoli in the supermarket and that was what was available.”
     In June, she officially launched Palestine’s first heirloom seed library as a way to preserve the knowledge of generations of farmers who have cultivated varieties of organic vegetables, fruits and herbs adapted for the region’s climate and soil. Due to Israeli policies and neo-liberal farming techniques, these varieties, and traditional Palestinian farming as a whole, are facing extinction. These tiny seeds, she says, have the power to stop this from happening. Anyone can borrow a packet of the library’s seeds and grow the local varieties of produce, returning seeds from the next harvest.
     “The heirloom seed gives us power to resist our dominance, though our heirlooms seeds we can truly eat what we grow and stop having to be slaves to our master,” she says.
     Under the Oslo Accords, around 63 per cent of agricultural land in the West Bank was designated as “Area C”, which means it fell under the control of the Israeli military....
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Gaza’s activists tweet to end internal divisions
Jehan Alfarra, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 6/16/2016
      A group of 30 social media activists in Gaza gathered on the evening of 14 June and launched a campaign to mark the ninth anniversary of the Palestinian political division and call for national unity.
     As the Fatah and Hamas delegations convene in Doha to discuss ways to implement the reconciliation agreement, Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip took to the streets to call for national unity and the Palestinian youth turned to social media to call for an end to the divisions.
     The “End the Division” campaign was organised and carried out by Gaza’s Social Media Café on Tuesday, in cooperation with the National Campaign to End the Division and Achieve Reconciliation, which includes a number of Palestinian women’s organisations led by the General Union of Palestinian Women.
     ”We want the Palestinian leadership in Gaza and the West Bank to set aside their differences and come together with honest political intentions in order to solidify the Palestinian front in the face of the Israeli occupation,” Nisreen Al-Shawa, coordinator at Social Media Café, told MEMO. She added that there was widespread interaction with their hashtag (end the division), reflecting the distress and frustration of Palestinians after nine years of political division.
     Al-Shawa said that they did not want to lay the blame on either one of the two factions, and that they were tired of the blame game. By focusing on the impact of the siege and the occupation and calling for reconciliation the campaigners want to leave the past behind them and move forward with a united leadership.
     “We spoke about the high levels of unemployment which have reached 63 per cent in Gaza, as well as the continuing power crisis and prevailing poverty,” Al-Shawa added....
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Security as emancipation in Palestine
Dr. Philip Leech, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 6/11/2016
      What does “security” mean in the context of Israel’s occupation of Palestine? According to a plethora of literature produced by Israeli and US think tanks – including recent reports by the Centre for a New American Security and a new programme by the Israel Policy Forum (IPF) – “security” remains at the core of this issue. Moreover, security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) has often been cited as the only reasonably successful product of the stagnant peace process. As a recent column from the IPF articulated:
     “If there is one area in which Israel has a demonstrable partner in the Palestinian Authority, it is security… the single biggest factor is the willingness of the Palestinian security forces to enforce and maintain quiet. These are forces that have been trained by the US, work in close coordination with the IDF, and spend their days keeping the West Bank quiet and effectively protecting Israeli lives. Even the most right-wing member of the Israeli government will tell you that the Palestinian security forces are one of the true success stories of the past decade.”
     However, in reality, these interpretations are demonstrably deeply flawed. Not only has “security coordination” (keeping the occupied West Bank “quiet”) failed to bring about a two-state solution, but the PA Security Forces have also only grown more pernicious and authoritarian as they have grown in power. So what it the alternative?
     In a new article forthcoming in the Journal of Borderland Studies – which is part an excellent special edition focusing on the West Bank Wall – Dr Nadia Abu Zahra, Leah MacNeil and I suggest an alternative approach. In our view, there is a strong case to be made that any reasonable interpretation of the concept of “security” should have a human dimension. That is to say, when we talk about “security” we shouldn’t just be thinking about the military actions or the wellbeing of and interests of particular states, but reaching for a deeper level of meaning that puts human beings at the core of our concern.
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Analysis: Which Jerusalem? Israel’s little-known master plans (Part III)
Nur Arafeh, Al-Shabaka, Ma’an News Agency 6/10/2016
      Saving Jerusalem
     Since 2001, Israel has closed at least 31 Palestinian institutions, including the Orient House, the former headquarters of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Governorate of Jerusalem and the Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs are also prohibited from working in Jerusalem, and are forced to operate out of a building in Al-Ram, which lies to the northeast of Jerusalem and is outside the Israeli-imposed municipal boundaries of the city.
     Given the leadership and institutional vacuum Israel has created in East Jerusalem, it is especially challenging to find ways to rebut its colonization of the city and dispossession of its Palestinian population. In the course of the research for this policy brief, I had the opportunity to speak to representatives of several organizations, official bodies, and community groups. There was broad agreement that one of the most urgent steps that should be taken is to establish popular committees in each East Jerusalem neighborhood. Such committees could raise East Jerusalem residents’ awareness about their rights as residents and about Israel’s plans for the future; encourage voluntary work; monitor and prevent Palestinians from selling their land to Israeli Jews; represent the neighborhood at national forums; and cooperate with each other to reinforce their efforts to defend Palestinian land.
     Indeed, once these committees have been established in all neighborhoods, they could form what Jerusalemite organizations believe is also urgently needed: A representative body for Jerusalem at the national level, an inclusive body that would include the Jerusalem Governorate, representatives of civil society organizations and the private sector as well as independents. This body would work as a channel between Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the PA as well as with the rest of the world. Such a representative body could work on three main fronts.... -- See also: Analysis: Which Jerusalem? Israel’s little-known master plans (Part I) and Analysis: Which Jerusalem? Israel’s little-known master plans (Part II)
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Violence is the strongest imperative to keep fighting for peace
Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man, +972 Magazine 6/9/2016
      With no peace process on the horizon, the terrorist attack in Tel Aviv this week is a reminder that we don’t have the luxury of giving up on a future in which Palestinians and Israelis alike can feel secure in their own homes, streets and cafes.
     Almost six years ago, Hillary Clinton was getting ready to oversee the first face-to-face between Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas in the Obama administration’s initial foray into Middle East peacemaking. Secretary of State Clinton’s road to just getting the two sides to sit down together had been long and hard, including extracting a nine-month settlement freeze from Netanyahu.
     Three days before the sides were supposed to meet for the first time, however, Hamas carried out a terrorist attack that left four Israeli civilians dead. A day later, the militant Islamist group launched another attack, this time wounding two more civilians. Hamas made very clear, the point was to derail the peace talks.
     After the first attack on August 31, 2010, I wrote that Hamas was becoming what conflict resolution practitioners call a spoiler group, in this case a stakeholder that has been excluded from a peace process and therefore tries to use violence to sabotage it. Despite the danger posed by Hamas, extremist Israeli settlers and other spoiler groups, I argued at the time that the prospects of peace were worth the danger posed by violent opposition to the process.
     That was then. Fast-forward six years and there is no peace process in sight. There hasn’t been one for a long time, and despite the semblance of renewed movement expressed through the Paris summit and Netanyahu’s thus-far failed attempts to re-write the Arab Peace Initiative (API)....
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`Two countries, One homeland`
Occupation Magazine 2 Jun 2016 - Itay Blumental - Ynet News "A new peace organization called "two countries, one homeland" which is made up of both Israelis and Palestinians had its first convocation on Thursday morning whereby it announced its principals: two independent states based on the 1967 lines, economic cooperation, and...

The Palestinians imprisoned by Israel for their Facebook posts
Asa Winstanley, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 5/28/2016
      The propaganda goes that Israel is the “only democracy in the Middle East”. But for anyone familiar with the realities that Israel imposes on the Palestinians and on its neighbours, this has always been a cruel joke.
     The West Bank, occupied in violation of international law by Israel since 1967, is for Palestinians a military dictatorship imposed by Israel. The 600,000 or so (estimates vary) violent Israeli colonists that live in the West Bank settlements are the direct beneficiaries of this dictatorship. For the settlers, the West Bank is an anything goes zone. They can literally get away with murder against Palestinians.
     There is actually existing apartheid in the West Bank – this is not an analogy, this a fact. There are different sets of laws applied by the same regime – Israel – on different populations depending on their ethnic and religious identities. For Jews, Israeli civil law applies (except in extremely rare circumstances), but Palestinians have military law imposed on them, robbing them of even the most basic rights.
     The system of “military justice” that Israel imposes on Palestinians is more accurately described as a kangaroo court system.
     The convictions rate is a stark 99.74 per cent.
     The situation is so bad that leading Israeli human rights group B’Tselem this week declared it would no longer cooperate with the military justice system because of the way it works to “cover up unlawful acts and protect perpetrators”.
     Two recent cases demonstrate this amply....
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Why B’Tselem’s latest report is ground breaking
Asa Winstanley, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 5/28/2016
      The reality, the report concludes is that the human rights group's "cooperation with the military investigation and enforcement systems has not achieved justice, instead lending legitimacy to the occupation regime and aiding to whitewash it."
     B’Tselem is probably the most influential Israeli human rights group there is. The group was founded during the first Palestinian intifada, and thus has been working on compiling evidence of violations of Palestinian human rights in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip for more the 25 years.
     While I have had disagreements with their approach at times, there is no doubt they have done some really invaluable work over the years.
     A turning point in the group’s history came this week, as it published a new report titled “The Occupation’s Figleaf”. In it, B’Tselem announced that it would no longer refer complaints of abuses to Israel’s military law enforcement system in the West Bank.
     In my opinion, this is an admirable and important step. The military courts that rule over millions of Palestinians’ lives is entirely illegitimate. The system set up to fail Palestinians and protect Israeli soldiers and settlers. All the while providing a pretence that there are “investigations” going for the purposes of global public relations.
     Whenever Israeli spin doctors are asked about their soldiers’ abuses and war crimes directed at Palestinian civilians, the mantra is almost always the same: “We have launched an investigation.” But these investigations will almost inevitably be quietly dropped years later, often out of the glare of media attention. -- See also: Leading Israeli rights group to stop cooperating with the IDF
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Leading Israeli rights group to stop cooperating with the IDF
+972 Magazine - The Israeli military justice system acts only to ‘cover up unlawful acts and protect perpetrators,’ B’Tselem says, citing 25 years of experience working with the military. Palestinian rights expert welcomes the move. A Palestinian B’Tselem volunteer documents a protest in the South Hebron Hills, June 14, 2008. (Oren...

The price of principles and Palestine
Yvonne Ridley, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 5/26/2016
      Ramadan is approaching and the annual argument over the selling and buying of dates grown on lands stolen from Palestinians is well under way. Boycotting Israeli dates is probably more of a symbolic than a commercially successful tactic but it does highlight and underline the injustices meted out to the Palestinian people by the Zionist state.
     In Britain, like anywhere else, the campaign relies heavily on the cooperation of Muslims, individually and collectively. To be brutally frank, though, there are those who’d rather have cheap produce than stand by their supposed principles. Friends of Al-Aqsa is trying to change all that.
     The British NGO seeks to defend the human rights of Palestinians and protect the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem from illegal Jewish settlers. It is running a particularly robust and imaginative campaign called #CheckTheLabel which I have endorsed wholeheartedly.
     I would urge all Muslims to follow suit and embrace this campaign instead of simply paying lip service to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. In the process, they can challenge the wholesalers from Birmingham, Bradford, Leicester, Luton and London, in particular, who sell Israeli dates to their customers. Some of traders try to disguise their duplicity by changing the packaging themselves in order to dupe their own customers. By law in Britain, consumers have a right to see the label of origin of any produce.
     Boycotting Israeli dates is important, but perhaps more important is to know why such actions are necessary in the first place. Every year, Israel exports millions of pounds worth of dates around the world that are often grown in illegal settlements in the Occupied West Bank and Jordan Valley.
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‘Why should we give Israeli investigators a gun to shoot the victims again?’: B’Tselem ends cooperation with Israeli military citing total lack of accountability
Mondoweiss - When Mohammed Kusba, a 17-year old Palestinian, was gunned down by Israeli soldiers near Qalandia checkpoint in July 2015, the Israeli military said Kusba had launched a barrage of stones at an army vehicle. But human rights worker Iyad Haddad tracked down CCTV footage of the...

Leading Israeli rights group to stop cooperating with the IDF
Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man, +972 Magazine 5/25/2016
      The Israeli military justice system acts only to ‘cover up unlawful acts and protect perpetrators,’ B’Tselem says, citing 25 years of experience working with the military. Palestinian rights expert welcomes the move.
     Israel’s best known human rights organization, B’Tselem, has lost all faith in the Israeli military justice system and will stop cooperating with it on behalf of Palestinian victims, the organization announced Wednesday.
     A quarter century of experience working with the army “has brought us to the realization that there is no longer any point in pursuing justice and defending human rights by working with a system whose real function is measured by its ability to continue to successfully cover up unlawful acts and protect perpetrators,” the organization wrote in an 80-page report that accompanied the announcement.
     The report details the exact failings of the military investigative system — read it here.
     B’Tselem’s decision is particularly significant because Palestinian victims of violence by Israelis security forces largely rely on Israeli human rights groups to file complaints on their behalf. On a most basic, logistical level, the IDF’s Military Police Investigations Unit (MPIU, sometimes referred to as MPCID) does not have any bases in the West Bank where Palestinians can physically go to file complaints, and the army does not issue them entry permits for the purposes of filing complaints against its own soldiers.
     But it is the army’s utter ineffectiveness at investigating its own that is most striking....
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‘Why should we give Israeli investigators a gun to shoot the victims again?’: B’Tselem ends cooperation with Israeli military citing total lack of accountability
Mondoweiss - When Mohammed Kusba, a 17-year old Palestinian, was gunned down by Israeli soldiers near Qalandia checkpoint in July 2015, the Israeli military said Kusba had launched a barrage of stones at an army vehicle. But human rights worker Iyad Haddad tracked down CCTV footage of the...

Leading Israeli rights group to stop cooperating with the IDF
+972 Magazine - The Israeli military justice system acts only to ‘cover up unlawful acts and protect perpetrators,’ B’Tselem says, citing 25 years of experience working with the military. Palestinian rights expert welcomes the move. A Palestinian B’Tselem volunteer documents a protest in the South Hebron Hills, June 14, 2008. (Oren...

Resource: The myriad failings of Israeli military investigations
+972 Magazine - After 25 years of assisting Palestinian victims of Israeli military violence file complaints with the IDF’s investigative bodies, human rights group B’Tselem decides to stop cooperating with the army’s investigations. ‘The experience we have gained, on which we base the conclusions presented in this report, has...

Israel Must Recognize Its Responsibility for the Nakba, the Palestinian Tragedy
Dr. Saeb Erakat, Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN) 5/15/2016
      For the Palestinian people, the Nakba is a collective tragedy whose wounds have yet to heal 68 years later. What we call the ‘Catastrophe’ is not just the destruction of at least 436 villages or the forced displacement of 70 percent of our people, but of our ethnic cleansing at the hands of a colonialist strategy. For reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, Israel must recognize what it has done to the Palestinian people. It is time for Israelis to confront reality: when the Zionists came to Palestine, there were another people living here. Over 100 years ago, a Zionist mission was sent to Palestine and their report acknowledged this fact: “The bride is beautiful but she is married to another man.” And this: soon plans to displace Palestine’s population were unveiled. Millions of Palestinians still pay for the colonialist British promise referred to as the Balfour Declaration. No people on earth would have accepted such a clandestine deal, sealing their fate to a foreign power intent on wiping its presence and identity from the land they came from, tilled, and souls returned to.
     Unfortunately, Nakba deniers throughout Israeli society continue to use neocolonialist nationalism to rejects the existence of the Palestinian people while redefining traditional constructs of colonialism to justify the systematic Israeli theft of Palestinian land and deprivation of Palestinian human rights.
     Palestinians are Arabs who immigrated to Israel. We Jews fended off the attacks by seven Arab armies in self-defense. These declarations deny the very existence of the Palestinian people, continue to justify the atrocities committed against us, and deny Palestinian refugees’ legitimate right of return. However, if Israel aspires to live in peace in the region, it must face its own archival evidence attesting to the past that ties our two peoples together. Even 68 years after the Nakba, Jews are still the minority in historic Palestine while Palestinian Christians aren’t even recognized by Israel as Palestinian. Israel cannot continue to deny what it has done to the Palestinian people, and it’s time it understood that coexistence means acknowledgment.
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It will be business as usual for Israel despite the rhetoric of the Quartet’s upcoming report
Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 5/10/2016
      A report to be issued by the moribund Middle East Quartet on 25 May is being touted as employing a harsher tone with regard to Israel’s colonial expansion. It has, as a result, ushered-in a period of renewed lobbying by Israel. The report’s publication was announced in February during a meeting of the Quartet in Munich, when the possibility of the group cooperating with the UN Security Council was also discussed.
     According to Haaretz, unnamed diplomats, including three US officials, have described the report as “largely symbolic, requiring no action.” Another anonymous diplomat elaborated upon the “balanced” stance of the report, citing criticism of Palestinians for alleged “incitement and violence against Israeli citizens” while stating that “the focus on Israel will be its most contentious aspect.” The newspaper quoted a senior Israeli government official as stating: “The main question is how harsh criticism of the settlements will be. All the members of the Quartet can rally around this issue without a problem.”
     Israel’s main concerns are the possibility of the US shifting its rhetoric to declare the settlements to be illegal — as per international laws and conventions — rather than the usual “not legitimate and an obstacle to peace”. There is also the possibility of the report being presented to the Security Council, which raises the issue of additional resolutions or international efforts to decide on Israel’s — and thus a future State of Palestine’s — borders. This is an issue that Israel has so far avoided in concordance with its “Greater Israel” agenda; it remains the only UN member state which has no declared and internationally-recognised borders.
     Although referred to as the Quartet report, American envoy Frank Lowenstein is responsible for its composition. Hence, it is basically a US publication interspersed with contributions from the other members representing the UN, EU and Russia.
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PA Backlash as Israel Attempts to Legalize Settlements
Palestine Chronicle: 9 May 2016 - Riyad al-Maliki, the Palestinian Authority (PA) Foreign Minister, said on Sunday that Israel’s decision to build a new settlement in the occupied West Bank is an attempt to “legalize settlements and destroy the two-state solution”, Anadolu reported. Al-Maliki, along with Belgian counterpart, Didier Reynders said in a press conference in Ramallah that, “The decision of the Israeli defense minister to build a new settlement between Ramallah and Nablus comes in the context of legalizing settlements.” Israeli newspaper, Haaretz , reported on Early on Sunday that the Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon had decided, in cooperation with Israeli settlement organisations, to build a new settlement between Ramallah and Nablus. Israeli Defense Ministry Announces Yet Another New West Bank Settlement https://t.co/8Ui35gtqE2 via @MintPressNews — Joe Catron (@jncatron) May 9, 2016 Al-Maliki responded to this decision by saying that, “We call on the EU to take actual measures to save the two-state solution and...more

Despite contradictions, Germany proves its accountability to Israel
Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 5/3/2016
      Seemingly contradictory reports have appeared in the media regarding diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany. Conveniently for Israel, the timing for such reports a couple of weeks prior to the Palestinian commemoration of the 1948 Nakba (Catastrophe) provides space for the usual equation of selective historical remembrance as dictated by both the settler-colonial state and the international community.
     At the end of April, Der Spiegel published a feature in which alleged rifts between Germany and Israel were discussed. Quoting several German political figures as well as analysts, the article pointed out Germany’s “concerns” about the unsustainable colonial policies promoted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is reported to have said, “I understand why President [Mahmoud] Abbas continually seeks out the Security Council.” The statement ties in with the Israeli expansionist agenda which, according to Germany, is the main impediment to the two-state paradigm. According to Der Spiegel, the German foreign ministry is focusing “on possible alternatives to the founding of a Palestinian state” given the Israeli government’s refusal to curb colonial expansion.
     On 1 May, the Times of Israel published a report in which an unnamed official in Berlin denied a shift in Germany’s support for Israel. With reference to the Der Spiegel article, the official declared that, “The guidelines of German Middle East Policy have not changed.” According to the same official, the aim of the article was “most likely a German attempt to bash Merkel over her close relationship with Netanyahu.”
     Meanwhile, YNet news availed itself of the opportunity to elaborate upon the military cooperation between Israel and Germany, with reminders of the historical security relationships since the 1950s and its evolution until the present day. It was careful to omit any mention of Germany’s complicity in providing Israel with military capabilities during Operation Protective Edge in summer 2014.
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The many layers of the Palestinian Security Forces
YNet News, 25 Apr 2016 - Though frequently referenced and crucial to security cooperation with Israel and other countries, the Palestinian security apparatus is rarely fully comprehended. Herein, the different offices, forces and units are separated and explained, including their close relations with their Israeli counterparts.....

Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine: Home Demolitions on the Rise
Richard Hardigan, CounterPunch 4/22/2016
      According to the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, an Israeli NGO, the Israeli government has demolished 28,000 Palestinian structures since the Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza began in 1967, resulting in the homelessness and suffering of untold numbers of people. There is little ambiguity about the morality of this form of ethnic cleansing, and even most Israeli legal scholars agree that it is in contravention of international law. Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states:
     “Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.”
     The Occupation is approaching its 49th birthday, and over the years the international community has been sitting by and watching and occasionally issuing toothless condemnations of Israel’s behavior. There have been ebbs and flows in the rates of home demolitions, but the possibility of losing one’s home has nevertheless been a constant part of Palestinian life for generations now. In the year 2016, however, there has been a sharp and extremely disconcerting uptick in the pace of demolitions, as the first few months have seen a three-fold increase in such activity. On one day alone two weeks ago, April 6, the Israeli army demolished 54 structures in nine communities in the West Bank, displacing 124 people, including 60 children.
     The Israeli authorities usually demolish Palestinian homes for one of three reasons – building without a proper permit, building in a location deemed unsuitable by the government, and collective punishment.
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Why Morocco can be a model for Jewish-Arab partnership
Ron Gerlitz, +972 Magazine 4/19/2016
      Throughout much of my life, I have been engaged in attempts to improve Jewish-Arab relations in Israel. But a recent trip to Morocco, where Jews and Muslims lived in harmony for centuries, filled me with hope for my country. Life after the conflict: Act One.
     Yes we can. We can imagine good relations between Jews and Arabs here, in the State of Israel, and generally in the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the main insight with which I returned from a very meaningful trip together with members of the Shaharit “120? program, a multicultural group working towards a new social partnership in Israel.
     We, a group of 20 men and women from diverse backgrounds, traveled to Morocco during a difficult period. These days, more than ever, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at center stage. Violence in Gaza, despite the many casualties of the last war in 2014, is waiting to resume; a third intifada started in Jerusalem and the West Bank; more and more people fall victim to physical and verbal violence.
     One hundred and thirty years after the Zionist immigration to the Land of Israel, 67 years since the founding of the state, almost 50 years since the start of the occupation, 20 years since the serious last attempt to solve the conflict – we see nothing but shooting, blood, victims, and, worst of all, despair. Many on both sides of the divide who see no way out. Conflict seems like the default reality for Jews and Arabs.
     For many years I have been working on the seam line between Jews and Arabs and between Israelis and Palestinians. But last month, in Morocco, I witnessed, for the first time, the relationship between the country’s Jews and the Arab majority....
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On our way out of the apartheid closet
Marzouq El-Halabi, +972 Magazine 4/8/2016
      By advancing legislation to exclude the Arab minority from the Knesset, Israel is showing the world that its political system is really only intended for one group.
     The so-called “suspension bill,” which passed its first reading in the Knesset several weeks ago, constitutes another step by the Israeli Right to exclude Arab representatives from Israeli politics. The bill, which gives the Knesset the authority to temporarily or permanently suspend elected members, stems not from a worry over the fate of Israel’s democracy, but is part of the Right’s slow effort to maliciously and intentionally harm it. The ultimate goal of the bill goes unspoken, although it is clear to all: to remove the Arab electorate from the political game in order to ensure the Right’s reign in the near future.
     That strategy began even before the right-wing parties marked Arabs in Israel as the targets of a well-orchestrated delegitimization campaign. There is not a single leader on the Right who has not tried his hand, whether through incitement, anti-democratic bills — some of which passed — or targeting specific Arab MKs in the Knesset. A racist public discourse that besmirches the Arab minority as a “suspicious group” that is always “at fault.” My presumption is that this incitement is organized, even if it comes from different political parties.
     From cooperation to exclusion
     After the Right failed, at least temporarily, to exclude the Arabs by raising the election threshold, it attempted to put pressure on the Arab minority and its representatives. Unfortunately, many media outlets cooperated with the Right’s mission, even so far as strengthening the attacks against the Arab minority and its representatives. When the atmosphere grew tense due to violent attacks by individual Palestinians, the Right struck again, this time by outlawing the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement....
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`There is another way`: Palestinians, Israelis march together against the occupation
Occupation Magazine 4 Apr 2016 - Oren Ziv/Activestills.org - +972 - The monthly protest march is deliberately held on a road that both Palestinians and Israeli settlers use, with the intention of demonstrating a joint Palestinian-Israeli anti-occupation message in full view of settlers. Roughly 300 Palestinians and Israelis are seen marching on...

Shadow Minister: UK abstention on Israeli settlements resolution at UNHRC ’hypocritical’
Ben White, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 3/30/2016
      The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) been sharply criticised for the behaviour of British diplomats in Geneva last week, who tried to pressure the Palestinians to water down a resolution on Israel’s illegal settlements.
     On March 24, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted four resolutions pertaining to Palestinian rights and Israeli violations of international law. But it was the fourth and last resolution to be adopted, establishing “a database of all business enterprises involved” in settlement activities, which was the centre of a small diplomatic storm.
     According to various reports ahead of last Thursday’s session in Geneva, “intense diplomatic efforts” were being made by Israel and the U.S. to prevent the inclusion of the paragraph establishing the database, part of a broader resolution on Israel’s illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.
     The UK also lobbied hard on Israel’s behalf, as an unnamed Palestinian official told The Guardian, including threats that a failure to remove the paragraph could affect both “aid to the Palestinian Authority and bilateral ties.”
     When the paragraph remained, and the resolution was carried, the UK abstained, describing such a database of companies involved in settlement activities as “inappropriate”, and stating that the UK would not cooperate with the process.
     In addition, when demands for the paragraph to be removed came to nothing, the UK decided as a “punitive” measure – in the words of a source in Geneva – to additionally abstain on the immediately preceding resolution concerning accountability and international law in the OPT.
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’There is another way’: Palestinians, Israelis march together against the occupation
Photos by Oren Ziv, Activestills.org, +972 Magazine 4/1/2016
      Roughly 300 Palestinians and Israelis marched along a major West Bank highway Friday afternoon to demand an end to the occupation and to protest Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The monthly protest march is deliberately held on a road that both Palestinians and Israeli settlers use, with the intention of demonstrating a joint Palestinian-Israeli anti-occupation message in full view of settlers.
     The march set out from the “Tunnels Checkpoint,” the main checkpoint for settlers entering Jerusalem from the southern West Bank settlements of Gush Etzion.
     Israeli soldiers and police accompanied the march the whole way.
     A single right-wing Israeli counter-protester showed up but kept to the other side of the highway where he waved an oversized flag.
     The march has been organized by a consortium of peace and anti-occupation organizations in recent months. On Friday the most prominent organization was Combatants for Peace. The main slogan was: “There is another way.”
     The march ended at Husan Junction, a kilometer and a half south-west of the “Tunnels Checkpoint.” At the turnoff is a sign, common throughout the West Bank, warning Israelis not to enter Palestinian villages and cities. [END]

The PA and the popular ‘uprising’
Dr Mohammed Al-Misfer, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 3/30/2016
      It has been six months since the popular intifada was ignited in the occupied Palestinian territories, i.e. the popular “uprising” as the Ramallah PA officials like to call it. I do not want to count the number of months and days since the launch of the popular intifada in early October 2015. What is more important is the qualitative counting of time, which we can learn by discovering how much people are moving in time, giving each day meaning, just as they give each hour meaning.
     If we measure the length of the third intifada, or “uprising”, compared to the length of Mahmoud Abbas’s authority, we would find that it has its own time period that has surpassed the movement of time within the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah. Today, the third intifada has proven that it is much bigger than the time of President Mahmoud Abbas, whose time passes leisurely and slowly, limited by the spirit of concessions that are on the verge of cancelling the relationship between the Palestinians and time. It seems that the passing of the minutes, hours, days and months is greater than the capabilities of the PA to fill this time. Herein lies the huge different between the time of the PA, which is incapable of movement and action, and the time of the intifada, which is full of action every second, and which positively invests in each moment of time on the holy land. It combines time and place in strong pulses and actions that form the intifada, not only against the Israeli state, but also against the monotony of Palestinian time, and even Arab time, in general, and against this place that remains immobile.
     The October intifada (uprising) is facing two forces at the same time. The first force is the PA in Ramallah, which is incapable of facing anything other than the Palestinian citizens. However, its confrontation of the Zionist enemy in defence of the Palestinian citizens and their property is another issue entirely, as the PA has no interests in doing so. Some Palestinian political officials are accused of corruption, illegal earnings, and cooperation and trade with Israeli officials for personal interests that have nothing to do with the state or citizen. It is said that the Palestinian citizens in Ramallah are oppressed by the Israeli occupation and Mahmoud Abbas’s PA....
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‘There is another way’: Palestinians, Israelis march together against the occupation
+972 Magazine - Roughly 300 Palestinians and Israelis marched along a major West Bank highway Friday afternoon to demand an end to the occupation and to protest Israeli settlements in the West Bank.  The monthly protest march is deliberately held on a road that both Palestinians and Israeli settlers...

What it really means to be a friend of Israel
Stuart Littlewood, Redress 3/29/2016
      The humbug of “shared values”
     Once again the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual pantomime in Washington DC has played itself out while the world outside watches aghast at the gullibility of America’s political elite. And how they flocked to hear Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech.
     Whatever happened to the Un-American Activities Committee set up to investigate disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens and public employees, one wonders? Who is this “we”?
     “The terrorists have no resolvable grievances. It’s not as if we could offer them Brussels or Istanbul, or California or even the West Bank,” said Netanyahu. “That won’t satisfy their grievances because what they seek is our utter destruction and their total domination. Their basic demand is that we should simply disappear.”
     Funny, the Israelis have been working for nearly 70 years to make the Palestinians disappear. Domination is their specialty.
     “The only way to defeat these terrorists is to join together and fight them together… with political unity and with moral clarity. I think we have that in abundance…” Achingly funny.
     “The chain of attacks from Paris to San Bernardino to Istanbul to the Ivory Coast and now to Brussels, and the daily attacks on Israel… This is one continuous assault on all of us.” No it isn’t.
     And who is this “we”? It’s Netanyahu’s endless attempt to push the old hasbara line to make us think we’re all in it together....
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World Water Day: Palestine calls to end complicity with Israeli water apartheid
Stop The Wall - Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign mekorot Embasa As part of the calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions on Israel, Palestinian organizations and municipalities urge governments and public institutions to end cooperation with the Israeli state-owned water company Mekorot. This year, movements in Bahia, in the northeast of Brazil, have joined...

Israel’s opportunistic exploitation
Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 3/25/2016
      Capitalising upon atrocious acts of terrorism remains a priority for the Israeli government. Following the terror attacks in Brussels, shifting the focus towards Israel was an easily-accomplished feat that included a recapitulation of rhetoric about affront, grievances and opportunity.
     In the aftermath of the attacks, Israeli Minister of Science, Technology and Space Ofir Akunis made the ludicrous suggestion that the EU’s concern about the boycotting and labelling of illegal settlement produce contributed to the atrocities in Belgium. “Many people in Europe have preferred to occupy themselves with the folly of condemning Israel, labelling products and boycotts,” he claimed pompously before adding that the focus upon Israel resulted in misplaced priorities.
     Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also linked the issue of global terrorism to the Jerusalem Intifada during a televised speech to the AIPAC conference on Tuesday. Addressing America’s most influential pro-Israel lobby group, he persisted in the intentional distortion of Palestinian resistance and providing the foundations for further exploitation of both Palestine and Europe. His motive was to increase Israeli exports of military and surveillance technology. While the statement from Netanyahu’s office contained the usual obscure and perfunctory rhetoric about Israel offering “help and cooperation in the war on terror” without any specific details, it is possible that it refers to another amalgamation of military and surveillance technology boosting Israel’s economy as well as its colonisation of Palestine.
     A recent report by Reuters states that Israeli-owned Elbit Systems is expecting “renewed interest in its technologies in Europe.” The report also refers to statements by the company’s CEO, Bezhalel Machlis, who declared that, “The migration crisis and security fears create big opportunities for Elbit in Europe.” As far as Israel is concerned, wherever there’s human misery, there’s money to be made.
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We don’t have the privilege of being Islamophobic
Noam Sheizaf, +972 Magazine 3/22/2016
      Israelis tend to warn of the ‘Islamization’ of Europe in the wake of attacks like those in Brussels. But the fear of Muslims in a country where Jews and Muslims must live together is simply not an option.
     After events like the terrorist attacks in Brussels or Paris, it has become common to hear Israelis say that “Europe is finished” or that it is being “conquered by Muslims.” In fact, people say these things even when there are no attacks. Regardless of inherent racism, I do not really understand the logic behind such statements. In France, seven percent of the population is Muslim. In Belgium it is six percent. In Britain — less than five percent.
     In Israel, on the other hand, more than 20 percent of the population is Arab, the majority of whom are Muslim. Add to that 2 million Palestinians in the West Bank. Even if we don’t count Gaza, Jews and Arabs live side by side in every part of this country — in a way that doesn’t exist anywhere in Europe.
     They say Israel may become a bi-national state sometime in the future, but the truth is we are already living in a bi-national reality — we are just in denial about it. If there are Israelis who believe we cannot live alongside Arabs or Muslims, then the only logical step for them is to run away from here as fast as they can. Any imaginable future scenario here will necessarily include more Arabs and Muslims in Israel than in those areas of Europe with large Arab populations.
     Many years ago I saw Professor Aviezer Revitzki speak on a televised political discussion which devolved into generalizations about how Israel would spearhead a clash of civilizations. This was more or less the consensus in the study, from both left and right. “I don’t want to be the spearhead,” Revitzki announced (I am quoting from memory), “since that the part that is eroded and destroyed first.” Wise words.
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PA nixes Israeli offer to halt IDF activity in Ramallah, Jericho
Occupation Magazine 14 Mar 2016 - Avi Issacharoff - Times of Israel - Palestinians insist Israeli army stop operating in all Palestinian cities; PA officials warn end to security cooperation seriously considered. [bz]

The problem with calling Hezbollah a terrorist organization
Lilach Ben-David, +972 Magazine 3/13/2016
      In Israel the question of whether Hezbollah is a terrorist group or an army boils down to the racist idea that Arabs do not have the right to defend themselves. Even asking is considered treasonous.
     The Balad (National Democratic Assembly or A-Tajamou’) Hadash and Hadash (Democratic Front for Peace and Equality or Al-Jabhah) parties, the respective liberal-nationalist Palestinian and socialist parties in Israel’s parliament, publicly condemned a GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) decision to define Hezbollah a “terrorist organization” last week.
     The announcement gave the Israeli media another chance to join the merriment of incitement and lies hurled at the political leadership of Palestinian citizens of Israel and depict them yet again as parties of Israel-hating terrorists out for Jewish blood. This is the same Israeli media that, whenever it comes to “security” issues, behaves less like democracy’s watchdog and more like the Israeli army spokesperson’s fan club.
     As a result, in its coverage of the Hezbollah issue the Israeli media intentionally failed at its duty to report the political, historical and factual context of that condemnation. Deeper familiarity with such context might expose the reason this is not support for terrorism. It might even justify the observation that Hezbollah is a significant Arab army.
     The right to self defense
     In order to understand why the political leadership of Palestinian citizens of Israel does not view Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, we must first rid ourselves of one of the unspoken conventions of internal Zionist political discourse and ask ourselves a simple question: do Israel’s Arab neighbors — be they Palestinians, Lebanese or others — have the moral right to defend themselves against Israeli (and American) military aggression?
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Israelis and Palestinians cooperate in rescue of sick Gaza lion
Jerusalem Post 10 Mar 2016 - The relocation of the lion to a zoo near Tulkarm was facilitated in a joint effort by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and the Gaza Ministry of Agriculture.

Is the involvement of PA security officers in the intifada a blow to security coordination?
Sawsan Ramahi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 3/4/2016
      There is no doubt that the participation of Palestinian security officers in resistance efforts during the current intifada is a “frightening scenario” for Israel. Observers of Israeli decision-making circles and media sense that this may move the uprising towards a more dangerous phase.
     According to a senior army officer quoted by Israel’s Channel 2, “The participation of some security officers associated with the PA in the military actions against Israel make these operations more deadly, as these individuals carry firearms.” He warned that if such participation continues, then security cooperation between the PA and Israel could collapse. Ultimately, this will increase the burden on the Israeli army.
     Amos Harel, the military affairs analyst for Haaretz newspaper, described the officers’ participation in resistance actions as a “nightmare scenario” that reduces the army’s ability to manoeuvre. Pointing out that the officers in question and Fatah activists possess tens of thousands of weapons, he noted that many of the PA security officers, known as “Dayton’s brigades” after US General Keith Dayton, who supervised their training and established the system for cooperation with Israel, were trained by US troops and have basic skills which make them very dangerous.
     These operations are a clear indicator that some personnel in the Palestinian security agencies reject security cooperation with the Israeli occupation forces. Indeed, most Palestinians regard it as being against their national interests because it aims solely to protect Israel. America’s Defence News magazine reported on 18 January that the Palestinian security agencies have thwarted 200 operations against the Israeli army and arrested over 100 of their own citizens during the intifada. It explained that security coordination is dictated by the Oslo Accords, signed by the PLO and Israel in 1993; the exchange of information between the Palestinian and Israeli security agencies is stipulated therein.
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Peaceful demonstrators tear gassed by Israeli army at Bil’in
International Solidarity Movement - 4th March 2016| International Solidarity Movement, Al-Khalil team | Bil’in, occupied Palestine Today, groups of Palestinians, Israelis and other activists from around the world marched together in solidarity to oppose the zionist regimes annexation wall and illegal settlement of Modin Ilit. The settlement has been built on part of the once...

With Egyptian support, Dahlan is the favourite to succeed Abbas
Jibreel Mohammad, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 3/3/2016
      The current intifada has led to the undermining of the already weak political position of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is leading a divided nation and failing institutions. With the death toll rising on both sides, the uprising shows no sign of slowing down, due to the ongoing frustration among young Palestinians at the policies and violations of the Israeli occupation authorities. The fact that the PA is cooperating with Israel in security matters, and the Zionist state is continuing to expand its illegal settlements, makes the situation worse.
     This was implied in a recent report by the New York Times which shed light on the struggle to succeed President Abbas. According to the NYT, it is Mohammed Dahlan who is the frontrunner, as he is backed by Egypt and the UAE. Marwan Barghouti and Nasser Al-Kidwa were also mentioned as potential successors.
     With the growing speculation about who will succeed 81-year old Abbas, and when, the newspaper cited an article by Nathan Thrall, a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group, which was published recently. In “The End of the Abbas Era”, Thrall wrote, “Arab countries like Egypt, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have provided financial and political support to Abbas rivals, including the former Gaza strongman, Mohammed Dahlan, now in exile in Abu Dhabi.”
     The NYT also noted the possibility of a more collective leadership led by Al-Kidwa, a relative of the late President Yasser Arafat and a former foreign minister, who would work alongside Majid Faraj, the current intelligence chief, and Salam Fayyad, the former prime minister and finance minister.
     Faraj was born in 1962 and is regarded highly by the US and Israel as a trustworthy partner. He boasted recently that the PA security forces have disrupted “at least 200 attacks” against Israel since October. This statement was criticised by the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas.
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Why Herzog’s diplomatic plan looks an awful lot like apartheid
Neve Gordon, +972 Magazine 2/11/2016
      Looking closely at Labor’s plan, the logic behind it becomes clear: since it is difficult to envision a Palestinian state in the foreseeable future, Israel should no longer be ashamed of putting Palestinians in Bantustans.
     On Sunday night, Israel’s Labor Party unanimously approved their leader’s diplomatic plan.
     Labor’s premier Isaac Herzog laid out his vision a few weeks earlier at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, telling the audience that he “wish[es] to separate from as many Palestinians as possible, as quickly as possible.” Herzog continued by explaining that “we’ll erect a big wall between us. That is the kind of co-existence that is possible right now… Ariel Sharon… didn’t finish the job. We want to finish it, to complete the barrier that separates us.”
     Examining Labor’s new plan more closely, what becomes bitterly clear is that “We are here, they are there” does not signify the withdrawal of Israeli power from Palestinian territories, but rather a devious way of entrenching the colonial enterprise even further.
     Herzog’s underlying assumption is that under current conditions a two-state solution is impossible. He is, however, adamantly against a one state solution, whereby Jews and Palestinians live together as equals. His objective is to formulate a plan that guarantees the continued existence of a Jewish state, with about five million Palestinians living within its territory.
     On the one hand, then, Israel should not take steps that would undermine the two-state solution, because sustaining the two-state chimera is crucial for preventing the alternative: a democratic state between the Jordan Valley and Mediterranean where Palestinians, like Jews, enjoy full citizenship. On the other hand, Herzog realizes that the two-state solution is no longer an option. He therefore lays out the blueprint of a plan that is in effect an apartheid regime.
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A new Palestinian leader for all?
Daoud Kuttab, Al Jazeera 2/1/2016
      It is important that the successor listens to the suffering of Palestinians.
     t is not clear what the chief of Palestinian intelligence, Majid Faraj, had in mind when he gave an interview to the United States-based website Defence News. If the aim was to improve his chances of succeeding Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, it was clearly a misstep. However, if he was simply protecting his boss, he will be remembered as the soldier who attempted to take a bullet for his general.
     Not many people read the 3,000-word article that also featured chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. In the piece, Faraj revealed the extent of the Palestinian security cooperation with Israel. He boasted that the security apparatus under his direction had prevented some 200 attempted violent acts against Israelis, and arrested more than 100 Palestinians who had intended to carry out violent resistant acts.
     The storm that followed - with some attacking him as a traitor - forced Fatah cadres and eventually President Abbas himself to come to the rescue of the usually quiet Faraj.
     Publicly talking about security cooperation at a time of almost daily Palestinian deaths by summary execution might be music to the ears of Israelis and the Americans, but it doesn't bode well for local sentiments.
     In his defence of Faraj, President Abbas said that the intelligence chief carried out orders and that security cooperation was still ongoing, but hinted that this coordination would not go on for a long time.
     It is expected that the cooperation will be seriously revisited following the expected meeting between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the forthcoming international summit in Paris on radicalisation.
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France to recognise Palestine if no progress on two-state solution: Report
Middle East Eye 29 Jan 2016 - Language Undefined France plans to bring Israelis and Palestinians together to work towards a two-state solution soon, says foreign minister

What’s unknown about Oslo?
Dr Fayez Rasheed, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 1/22/2016
      Twenty-two years have passed since the ill-fated Oslo Accords were signed. Despite the Palestinian struggle over the past century and its many sacrifices, including the 170 souls lost during the current — and third — intifada, 68 per cent of our people would like to abolish the agreements with Israel. In addition, 70.5 per cent of the population would like to see an end to the Palestinian Authority’s security cooperation with the occupying power, while 72.3 per believe that it is essential to have an armed struggle if Palestinian rights are to be achieved.
     Nevertheless, the PA is still holding on strongly to ill-fated Oslo even though it has been worse for Palestine’s situation than the 1917 Balfour Declaration or the UN Partition Plan of 1947. After all, these two texts, though they meant to establish a Jewish “homeland” then state in Palestine, had no intention to prejudice or deprive the Palestinians of their civil and religious rights.
     I would like to ask the Palestinian delegation which negotiates on our behalf in all the secret as well as public negotiations in Oslo and Washington, where is your slogan for freedom and independence? Did you sacrifice our liberation slogans for your own benefit when you signed the Oslo Accords? We know for sure that legal advisors who sat in on the Palestinian delegation’s meetings in Washington (but not in Oslo) advised you to accept certain legal points that were sent to you. Did you place those in the wastebasket where you put all the other factors you ignored? It was for these reasons that the head of the delegation at the time, Dr Haider Abdulshafi, resigned and the result of this is that you gave the Palestinian people semi-autonomous rule. On the shallow level it is called self-rule but in reality it is not autonomous by any means, as it caters for Israeli security.
     Joel Zenger, who was an adviser to Shimon Peres (and has authored several publications for Hebrew University Press and Oxford University Press), has stated that Oslo was meant to ensure the establishment of a military occupation....
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Israelis, Palestinians march together against the occupation
Yael Marom, photos by Oren Ziv, Activestills.org, +972 Magazine 1/15/2016
      The new monthly march is held along a major settler highway, ensuring that Israeli settlers see Jews and Palestinians working together to nonviolently end the occupation.
     Hundreds of Palestinian and Israeli activists marched from the Palestinian village of Hussan to the main settler checkpoint in the southern West Bank Friday afternoon, protesting against Israel’s settlements and demanding an end to the 47-year military occupation.
     The protest, which took place in an area of the West Bank under full Israeli control and where settlements are situated directly adjacent to Palestinian villages, was accompanied by Israeli army and Border Police forces the whole way. The march followed the southern West Bank’s main north-south highway, which meant it was in plain view of both Israeli settler and Palestinian traffic.
     At the start of the demonstration, Israeli police arrested one of the Palestinian organizers, a member of Combatants for Peace, for reasons that were not apparent.
     The 200-plus marchers, among them members of Knesset from the Joint List Dov Khenin and Abdullah Abu Ma’aruf, as well as Meretz secretary general Mossi Raz, held signs demanding an end to the occupation, and promoting peace and dialogue. Some of the signs declared that peace is not just a dream, and, “it won’t end until we talk.”
     Some of the activists also carried signs in solidarity with a left-wing Israeli activist who was arrested last week as a result of a right-wing hidden-camera ‘sting operation.’ A court gag order forbids the publication of the man’s name.
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Israelis, Palestinians march together against the occupation
Occupation Magazine 15 Jan 2016 - Text Yael Marom/Photos by Oren Ziv - +972 - “We all know that there is no military solution,” Sulaiman Khatib of Combatants for Peace said. “We need a third way, which is not just Israel and not just Palestine — a path of dialogue and joint...

Israelis, Palestinians march together against the occupation
+972 Magazine - The new monthly march is held along a major settler highway, ensuring that Israeli settlers see Jews and Palestinians working together to nonviolently end the occupation. Text by Yael Marom Photos by Oren Ziv Jewish Israelis and Palestinians march along the major Hebron-Jerusalem highway in the...

Time to break the silence: An open letter to American Jews
Edo Konrad, +972 Magazine 1/14/2016
      The American Jewish establishment, from the Federations to synagogues, must take a look in the mirror and decide whether this is the Israel it identifies with. If it isn’t, it should speak up. Urgently.
     Dear American Jewish community,
     I should start off with a full disclosure: I am only tangentially a part of you. I have been living in Israel for the past five years, and before that I was an Israeli-American living in the Bay Area (with a brief stint in Los Angeles), where us Israelis viewed ourselves as a semi-autonomous cultural group. For the most part, we were not associated with the Reform or Conservative movements. We went to pray once a year during Yom Kippur, and our Passover seders were always much more about food and togetherness than sussing out some overarching lessons from the Hagada. In fact, at times we even looked down at our American co-religionists. We were mostly Asheknazi and middle class — we had a relationship with our version of Israel that others just couldn’t understand. Like a secret we would only share with those who really get it.
     It took me years to get off my high horse — to understand that American Jewish culture is a rich, varied, and beautiful thing. In fact, I finally understood that after living in Israel, where I often feel much more like an American Jew than Israeli. That is why I feel like I can write to you today.
     For American Jews who haven’t been paying attention — or have simply decided to ignore what has been happening — I will politely sum it up in three words: things are bad. For Palestinians, things have been bad for much, much longer. It has been nearly five decades since the beginning of the military regime in the occupied territories. Five decades of lording over millions of Palestinians with no end in sight, and almost 70 years after we made sure that Palestinians who were expelled or fled during the 1948 War would not return to their homeland....
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WATCH: Armed Palestinian police order Israeli troops out of West Bank city
+972 Magazine - Palestinian security forces are often derided as sub-contractors of the Israeli military occupation due to close cooperation with the IDF. Some are worried that might change. A video published on Monday appears to show armed Palestinian police evicting Israeli troops from the Ramallah area. The incident...

WATCH: Armed Palestinian police order Israeli troops out of West Bank city
+972 Magazine - Palestinian security forces are often derided as sub-contractors of the Israeli military occupation due to close cooperation with the IDF. Some are worried that might change. A video published on Monday appears to show armed Palestinian police evicting Israeli troops from the Ramallah area. The incident...

No Matter Who Becomes President Israel Wins
Philip Giraldi, The Unz Reader 12/22/2015
      Saban and Adelson should register as foreign agents
     The next American president will almost certainly be bought and paid for by the Israel Lobby. Hillary Clinton has already declared that that when she is elected president she intends to take relations with Israel “to the next level” and has also promised to invite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit on her very first day in office. It is difficult to imagine what the next level might actually be in America’s already servile deference to Israeli interests so she should perhaps be careful regarding what she commits herself to do. Netanyahu just might feel empowered to remain in the Oval Office on his visit, possibly also moving the Knesset to Washington so it will be closer to the U.S. Treasury if Israel’s budget comes up a bit short as well as just across the river from the Pentagon and all those nifty weapons that can be used to kill Palestinian children.
     Hillary’s pledge of fealty to Israel took place at a meeting of the Saban Forum, which is an annual dialogue between American and Israeli leaders from across the political and social spectrum, hosted by the Brookings Institute, which also has a Center for Middle East Policy, formerly also named after Saban. The eponymous Saban is Haim Saban an Israeli who has made his billions of dollars in the United States in the television and entertainment industry. His best known brand is the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. He is consistently one of the largest donors to the Democratic Party, contributing $10 million in 2001-2, whose stated formula for influencing American politics is to donate to politicians and parties, establish think tanks and control the media message. He has worked hard to do all three on behalf of Israel, to include paying for the Democratic National Committee headquarters in DC.
     Saban’s dealings with the Democrats have apparently not inhibited his cooperation with Israel’s intelligence service Mossad....
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No Matter Who Becomes President Israel Wins
Philip Giraldi, The Unz Reader 12/22/2015
      Saban and Adelson should register as foreign agents
     The next American president will almost certainly be bought and paid for by the Israel Lobby. Hillary Clinton has already declared that that when she is elected president she intends to take relations with Israel “to the next level” and has also promised to invite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit on her very first day in office. It is difficult to imagine what the next level might actually be in America’s already servile deference to Israeli interests so she should perhaps be careful regarding what she commits herself to do. Netanyahu just might feel empowered to remain in the Oval Office on his visit, possibly also moving the Knesset to Washington so it will be closer to the U.S. Treasury if Israel’s budget comes up a bit short as well as just across the river from the Pentagon and all those nifty weapons that can be used to kill Palestinian children.
     Hillary’s pledge of fealty to Israel took place at a meeting of the Saban Forum, which is an annual dialogue between American and Israeli leaders from across the political and social spectrum, hosted by the Brookings Institute, which also has a Center for Middle East Policy, formerly also named after Saban. The eponymous Saban is Haim Saban an Israeli who has made his billions of dollars in the United States in the television and entertainment industry. His best known brand is the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. He is consistently one of the largest donors to the Democratic Party, contributing $10 million in 2001-2, whose stated formula for influencing American politics is to donate to politicians and parties, establish think tanks and control the media message. He has worked hard to do all three on behalf of Israel, to include paying for the Democratic National Committee headquarters in DC.
     Saban’s dealings with the Democrats have apparently not inhibited his cooperation with Israel’s intelligence service Mossad....
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With a former ICC chief prosecutor advising Israel about evading international law, justice will remain elusive
Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 12/22/2015
      The Palestinian Authority has been celebrating its diplomatic efforts as a step towards achieving at least partial justice, particularly in seeking to hold Israel to account for war crimes at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Israelis themselves, meanwhile, have been receiving advice from former ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo on how to evade any possibility of facing such legal action. Justice, it seems, is going to remain elusive.
     The basis for Israel’s impunity, consolidated by UN recognition and acceptance of settler-colonialism in Palestine, is now also set to be extended practically to the ICC, leaving Palestinians with little prospect for diplomatic engagement within the parameters imposed by international institutions.
     The Jerusalem Post has published detailed comments by Ocampo with regard to Israel’s settlement expansion. Although refraining from endorsing any form of legality as regards settlements, the former ICC official has sought to influence perceptions as well as advice regarding the actual construction and existence of illegal settlements versus “criminal intent”, adding that “Israel’s High Court is highly respected internationally.” Thus, he gave the distinct impression that Israel can manipulate international law through “respect” and a competent defence that settlement construction is legal “once ratified by the country’s top court”.
     Ocampo also advised that Israel should control the settlement debate by producing “twenty books on the issue” in order to dominate literature that, according to the ex-ICC prosecutor is “a completely new discussion with no previous law.” Israel was also advised to cooperate with ICC investigations, stating that while the UN General Assembly has condemned settlement activity, “[it] cannot force the prosecutor about how she interprets crimes.”
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With a former ICC chief prosecutor advising Israel about evading international law, justice will remain elusive
Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 12/22/2015
      The Palestinian Authority has been celebrating its diplomatic efforts as a step towards achieving at least partial justice, particularly in seeking to hold Israel to account for war crimes at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Israelis themselves, meanwhile, have been receiving advice from former ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo on how to evade any possibility of facing such legal action. Justice, it seems, is going to remain elusive.
     The basis for Israel’s impunity, consolidated by UN recognition and acceptance of settler-colonialism in Palestine, is now also set to be extended practically to the ICC, leaving Palestinians with little prospect for diplomatic engagement within the parameters imposed by international institutions.
     The Jerusalem Post has published detailed comments by Ocampo with regard to Israel’s settlement expansion. Although refraining from endorsing any form of legality as regards settlements, the former ICC official has sought to influence perceptions as well as advice regarding the actual construction and existence of illegal settlements versus “criminal intent”, adding that “Israel’s High Court is highly respected internationally.” Thus, he gave the distinct impression that Israel can manipulate international law through “respect” and a competent defence that settlement construction is legal “once ratified by the country’s top court”.
     Ocampo also advised that Israel should control the settlement debate by producing “twenty books on the issue” in order to dominate literature that, according to the ex-ICC prosecutor is “a completely new discussion with no previous law.” Israel was also advised to cooperate with ICC investigations, stating that while the UN General Assembly has condemned settlement activity, “[it] cannot force the prosecutor about how she interprets crimes.”
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Thinking the Unthinkable: A Lamentation for the State of Israel – Well, Not Exactly
Roger Tucker, Intifada-Palestine 12/18/2015
      The following essay was inspired by a recent article in the Jewish magazine ‘The Tablet’ entitled “Thinking the Unthinkable: A Lamentation for the State of Israel.” A good, well written example of what is fast becoming a genre bemoaning the rapidly disappearing notion held by liberal Zionist Jews that a Jewish State in Palestine could be ‘both Jewish and Democratic.’ Mr. Rosenbaum’s strained but passionate elegy to what was never more than a wish-fulfillment fantasy provides an opening for a more penetrating look at the prevailing debate between One State and Two States. The former proposal has been slowly but surely gaining adherents over the years, as can be seen here.
     I posted the following comment on the site (they actually published it, to my great surprise):
     I am the publisher/editor of the “ One Democratic State “ website, which I have been maintaining for 15 years. For the last year or so I have realized that I no longer believe in the One State Solution as it is generally understood. I no longer believe that the Israelis and the Palestinians could co-exist peacefully in the same polity. It would be no problem for the great majority of Palestinians, but there is a problem with at least 90% of the Jewish Israelis. Three or four generations of ZioNazi [see Zionism and Nazism: Is there a difference that makes a difference?] brainwashing have rendered them unfit for sharing the land with others. The attachment to national and/or ethnic and/or religious fascism – all three in many cases [see ‘Us vs. Them: On the Meaning of Fascism’] is too deeply embedded in their consciousness.
     It would take a further 3 to 4 generations to reeducate them in the fundamental guidelines– starting with the grandaddy of them all, the Golden Rule – accepted as the lodestone of political wisdom by the (relatively) sane, great majority of human beings. Yes, Israelis could learn how to live in peace with others, but long before this process could work itself out, they – fervently assisted by the Zionists in the diaspora – would have started the next world war and there would be nothing left to fight over....
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Rivlin seeks to eliminate geopolitical reality
Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 12/11/2015
      Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s op-ed in the Washington Post has clarified another issue that was always implied within the diplomatic negotiations that have deprived Palestinians of their territory. Discussing the current absence of negotiations, Rivlin stated: “Israel must take steps to improve the situation independent of the geopolitical territorial debate – steps that every sensible person understands serve simultaneously Israel’s moral and practical interests.”
     While it is obvious that any mention of morality on Israel’s behalf is a sinister euphemism for the planning of further restrictions, especially alongside the concept of “practical” as articulated by Rivlin, the brief op-ed clearly describes how Israel manages such dissociation tactics. “Morality” is an enhanced manner of seeking to promote Israel’s demands at the expense of Palestinians at a time when, despite repeated insistence upon a return to negotiations, the international community is set upon delaying its perfunctory role.
     However, whether the international community actively seeks rapprochement or not, bolstering Israel’s supremacy remains a priority. The current impasse and slight shift in what is visible of diplomatic engagement will ultimately convey another series of restrictions imposed upon Palestinians. Rivlin’s tactic of addressing specifics away from the wider context is one that the international community has consistently applied. While seemingly veering away from previous reservations regarding the hypothetical two-state compromise – Rivlin has actually echoed Martin Schulz’s idea of a confederation – the underlying rhetoric still builds upon the foundations of colonialism.
     An example of self-serving interests is Rivlin’s mention of Rawabi – the new Palestinian city in the West Bank that, in Rivlin’s words “is in Israel’s interests”. Hailed as an epitome of economic cooperation, the op-end seeks to use the example of Rawabi to gloss over other discrepancies that are of greater importance to Palestinians....
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Abu Dhabi office approval shows that Israel ‘is not living in isolation’
Dr Saleh Al-Naami, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 11/29/2015
      In an obvious celebration of the decision, Israeli officials are looking at Abu Dhabi’s approval for the Zionist state to open a representative office in the Emirates as a sign that “it is not living in regional isolation”.
     Speaking on Saturday’s weekly “Yuman” news programme on Israeli television’s Channel One, the chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, Tzachi Hanegbi, said: “The Abu Dhabi decision shows that the strong and firm policy adopted by our government against the Palestinians does not bar some Arab states, who do not have diplomatic relations with us, from showing interest in widening the scope for recognising us and showing readiness to cooperate with us.”
     He clearly regarded the Abu Dhabi decision to be a victory for Israel under the policies adopted by the right-ring government led by Benjamin Netanyahu. “This accomplishment offers the government an opportunity to provide further evidence to the Israeli public that its political and security agenda serves the national interests of the state of Israel,” he stressed. Indeed, according to Hanegbi, the go-ahead for the office in the UAE is an “appropriate response” to the claims made by left-wing and media elites inside Israel who accuse the Netanyahu government of undermining Israel's standing through its policies against the Palestinians.
     Ehud Yiaari, the Arab affairs commentator on Israel's Channel Two TV, implied that the Abu Dhabi decision is the tip of the iceberg in relations between Israel and the UAE; communication and cooperation is, it seems, nothing new. The decision to open the Israeli office in the UAE, he suggested, simply moves the relationship into a public, rather than secret, phase.
     Pointing out that some of the Gulf media elites are no longer reluctant to call for bolstering relations with Tel Aviv, Yiaari noted an article that was published on Friday in one of the local newspapers in which the writer called for the Arabs not to regard Israel as an “enemy state”....
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Autumn in Palestine
Israel Shamir, The Unz Reader 11/15/2015
      Autumn is beautiful in Palestine: overripe blue-green figs, unpicked pomegranates pecked by birds, heavy grapes turn red. Now is the olive harvest time, and the burghers of Bethlehem and its twin city Beth Jala (everyone owns a plot with olive trees) bring heavy sacks full of green and black olives to the local oil press equipped by the latest Italian machinery. They watch like eagles over their olives from the moment they come to a moving band and until greenish viscous oil pours out from the pipe on the other end. This is a very important time for them: this precious liquid (costing from $8 to $15, depending on the exact origin) is a staple food for the Palestinians.
     In the same time, a few hundred yards away, in a fashionable café Bonjour the students of Bethlehem University frolic around big wooden tables and smoke their waterpipes. It is a mixed crowd, relaxed boys and cheerful girls. The girls don flamboyant and coquettish headscarves that frame their pretty smooth faces. These Islam-prescribed scarves do not have to be black and grim. The boys, tall and gracious, sport casual wear of the latest cut. They came from all corners of Palestine, from Jenin in the North to Hebron in the South, and even from the remote Gaza to this hospitable and liberal city. They speak perfect English with foreigners, this new generation that grew in the relative prosperity of recent years.
     Meanwhile busloads of tourists and pilgrims proceed into the ancient basilica erected by St Constantine above the cave where the Virgin gave birth to Christ. This still is a Christian city, even more so is Beth Jala, its neighbour. The Christians and Muslims live together, as they did for fourteen hundred years, since Islam came here, a model of cooperation and friendship.
     Just a mile away from the Church and the café, Israeli soldiers shoot tear gas grenades at small kids, black smoke of a burning tyre laced with white smoke of tear gas. They already had their kill of a day: a passer-by was frightened by the stray dogs and run away, but they shot him in the back and killed him....
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Israeli MK at European Parliament: Labeling makes you an unfair broker in peace process
Jerusalem Post 12 Nov 2015 - Zionist Union lawmaker Hilik Bar tells MEPs they should promote trust-building steps that will increase cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians, whereas labeling does the opposite.

Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) Emergency Activity Report
PMRS, Palestine Monitor 10/30/2015
      The Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) has released a report of its emergency activities during the period of Oct. 1-27.
     PMRS has outlined the difficulties its teams have faced when trying to reach those who have been injured “due to the lack of cooperation – or outright aggression – of Israeli forces.” PMRS has also noted that its medical teams have frequently been the direct targets of Israeli aggression.
Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS), Emergency Activity Report, 01 – 27 October 2015
     NB: The numbers of injured and incidents listed below are not included in the figures released by the Palestinian Ministry of Health and relayed by the press, which are mainly based on the Red Crescent’s numbers. The data below will be shared with the MoH so that overall figures for the emergency can be updated.
     In the period between the 1st to the 27th of October 2015, PMRS first aid teams and ambulances have provided first aid to a total of 6,474 people, in the 6 following districts: Bethlehem, Hebron, Jerusalem, Nablus, Ramallah and Gaza. Out of these beneficiaries, at least 177 received assistance for injuries caused by live ammunition, at least 1,201 had been wounded by rubber-coated steel bullets and 121 had been physically assaulted. 4,697 people were treated for excessive teargas inhalations. Additionally, PMRS referred 278 cases for further care after stabilizing them – the most serious ones which include potentially life-threatening or dangerous rubber and live bullets injuries and toxic levels of tear gas inhalation.
     PMRS notes with alarm that out of the 6,474 people it provided assistance to since the beginning of the escalation, more than a third – 2,206 – were minors....
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’As long as we choose violence Israel will always defeat us’
Waleed Shahid, In These Times, +972 Magazine 10/31/2015
      Mubarak Awad, one of the main organizers of nonviolent resistance during the First Intifada until Israel exiled him, talks about why only nonviolence can defeat the occupation, how Palestinians must convince Israelis that peace is their own interest, and his fears that without a new nonviolent movement more and more Palestinian youths will be drawn to armed resistance.
     The largest Palestinian uprising in the history of the Israeli occupation is largely forgotten today. In the 1980s, thousands of Palestinians took part in large-scale civil disobedience actions, strikes, pickets, boycotts and sit-ins demanding freedom, later becoming known as the First Intifada, the Arabic word for “a shaking off.”
     Images of Israeli soldiers clashing with Palestinian teenagers, women and the elderly circulated worldwide as the three major American nightly news broadcasts dedicated more time to the intifada than to any other story. While the “stone thrower” became the dominant image in the later stages of the intifada, vastly underreported were the daily decisions by Palestinians to refuse to cooperate with the Israeli occupation without using weapons.
     The intifada polarized Israeli society between those who supported peace with the Palestinians and those who desired increased repression of the resistance.
     “Frustration [inside Israel] also stems from the fact that many Israelis, of all political persuasions, have come to feel that where the conflict with the Palestinians is concerned, their country is living a lie,” described two Israeli writers in 1989. “They now believe that their leaders deceived them in pronouncing that the Palestinian people did not exist; that the Arabs in the territories did not want their leaders...."
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Report: Palestinian Security Cooperation with Israel
Palestine Chronicle: 31 Oct 2015 - Set up under the 1993 Oslo Accords, security coordination involves the sharing of intelligence between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The PA was also established under Oslo. Before the official signing of the agreement, the two sides had agreed on a “Declaration of Principles”, which included a pledge from PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat to uphold UN Security Council Resolution 242. That created a framework allowing for Palestinian statehood in exchange for Israeli security. Whilst the security partnership was meant to bring stability to both sides, the elements of the agreement were very much focused on creating a structure which would primarily ensure the security of Israel. Security cooperation remained strong until the second Intifada (2000-2005) when it broke down, but it was revived under Arafat’s successor, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Today, security cooperation remains in place despite the fact that, more than twenty years after the Oslo Accords, a viable...more

More than 300 UK Academics Declare Israel Boycott
Palestine Chronicle: 27 Oct 2015 - More than 300 UK scholars have declared their support for an academic boycott of Israel , with a full page advertisement in The Guardian on Tuesday. In what has been described as an unprecedented step, the signatories have stated that they will not do business with Israel’s university institutions. The initial list of signatories launched today features academics from 72 different institutions, including professors, lecturers, Fellows of the Royal Society and Fellows of the British Academy. The advertisement marks the launch of a new initiative, ‘A Commitment by UK Scholars to Human Rights in Palestine’. The full Commitment, available online , reads as follows. As scholars associated with UK universities, and responding to the call from Palestinian civil society, we declare that we will not: accept invitations to visit Israeli academic institutions; act as referees in any of their processes; participate in conferences funded, organised or sponsored by them, or otherwise cooperate...more

Israelis and Palestinians march together in Jerusalem solidarity rally
Jerusalem Post 17 Oct 2015 - Hundreds take to the streets in the capital, calling for end to current round of violence.

EU concordance with Israeli state terror
Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 10/14/2015
      The latest upsurge in Israeli state and settler terrorism is not without recent precedent and precautions which are easily overlooked as the world resumes its spectator stance while Palestinians fall as its victims. Since the terrorist arson attack by Jewish settlers in Duma in July, Netanyahu’s government has incited violence against Palestinians and ordered further repressive measures, citing “security concerns” in order to provide impunity for further, widespread attacks by security officials and heavily-armed settlers. Palestinian retaliation is dismissed as “terrorism”.
     However, Palestinian resilience has prompted two diverging narratives. The first relates to a ritual debate as to whether the Palestinian mobilisation against settler and state violence constitutes a new intifada. Such discussion may or may not detract from reality, depending on what criteria and historical narrative such analysis employs. The second, vile narrative has been articulated by EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, who has capitalised upon Israeli violence to urge further diplomatic compromise.
     Distorting colonial violence into “tensions”, Mogherini declared, “Far from preventing the resumption of a political dialogue, the latest tensions should push both parties to work together for the sake of their people.” According to the Times of Israel, Mogherini spoke with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and with Mahmoud Abbas, insisting that, “A negotiated two-state solution is the only way to bring the lasting peace and security that both Israelis and Palestinians deserve.”
     Mogherini’s comments provide ample proof of intentional diplomatic distortion of the facts. Israeli settlers and their colonial government are not deserving of any peace or security; they act outside international laws and conventions. The EU, however, is seeking ways through which to reward Israel for its extrajudicial killings of Palestinian civilians by insisting upon further depletion of Palestinian territory....
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Resistance movements should incorporate historical Palestinian memory
Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 10/15/2015
      After much speculation and debate about whether Palestinian resistance in the occupied West Bank constitutes a third intifada, Palestinian leaders have incorporated the term into their discourse. However, labelling the current surge in Palestinian resistance as an “uprising” is irrelevant. It is far more important to delve into the premise supporting such an argument, something which Hamas has started to do.
     During last week’s Friday prayers, the movement’s deputy leader Ismail Haniyeh declared Gaza’s willingness to participate in the resistance. “The Palestinian intifada has revived to liberate Al-Aqsa, and we as Gazans intend to join,” he said, while insisting that, “This current uprising must be continued until the day of liberation.”
     Notably, Hamas has departed from a concept of Palestinian unity through resistance. The current resistance against Israeli state and settler terror in the West Bank was discussed within the context of Gaza’s resistance against Israel’s systematic, colonial offensives against and in the enclave. Haniyeh’s expression is the culmination of what was omitted from the negotiations leading up to the formation of the Palestinian unity government, when unity through resistance was marginalised to pave the way for compromised diplomacy and the ostracising of Hamas.
     Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk also stressed the importance of inter-Palestinian discussion in order to enhance resistance capabilities and called for the media to disseminate the reality of “Jerusalem’s Intifada”, which is how Hamas is defining the current uprising on its website. “We have to foster a spirit of brotherhood, love, unity and cooperation among us,” he said, “and to face the occupation and its policies by shooting it from one bow.”
     However, Hamas’s political rhetoric still requires a stronger connection between the current realities and Palestinian history....
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‘There is no co-existence with cancer’: Right-wing Israelis demand gov’t give military ‘free hand’ to fight Palestinians
Mondoweiss - Brandishing their typical black and yellow flags and Hebrew signs boasting “Kahane was Right” and “There is no co-existence with cancer,” hundreds of right-wing activists took to the streets of Jerusalem Thursday night in a growing phenomenon of public demonstrations led by the country’s leading fascist...

Fatah and the imminent Intifada
Ibrahim Al-Madhoun, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 10/5/2015
      There is a positive change in the Palestinian Authority’s official position and I hope that this will spread and we will see its fruits on the ground. There is enthusiasm amongst the ranks of Fatah for a revolution and a sentimental union growing amongst the Palestinians. All that is left is for the security forces and their men to join their people and defend them with their weapons and expertise. They must stop cooperating with and remaining committed to the security agreements with the Israelis, as the president says, because the occupation authorities have not fulfilled any of their promises or agreements. Commitment to these agreements achieves nothing more than disappointment and a deviation from the national path.
     The security forces’ participation in defending their people, instead of the settlers, will actually mean the beginning of an intifada. There is action being taken within these forces, albeit cautiously , as there are fears for what might happen, although I believe that the people will provide a safe environment for them, very different to that provided by the occupation; a restricted environment and a distortion of their national identity, labelling them as the new Palestinians. Any change in these forces will mean that the Americans can no longer rely on infiltrating the Palestinian front from the inside.
     The Fatah supporters’ joy over the shooting incident in Nablus last week is unmatched, and it revealed their staff and youth’s spontaneity, even amongst those who joined the movement after the political split. Their joy was like a thirsty man in a scorching desert who finds a river fresher than the Euphrates under his feet and does not know what to do next. In Gaza, sweets were distributed and the people gathered and congratulated each other. In the West Bank, members of Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades gathered and fired shots in the air to celebrate.
     This means one thing: that true Fatah supporters are eager to return to their rifles and armed resistance to the Israeli occupation. It also means that the PA leadership has become isolated from the heart of the movement’s youth....
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Down with Mahmoud Abbas and the security coordination authority
Raafat Mora, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 9/23/2015
      When Saladin decided to execute his plan of liberating Jerusalem, he started by “cleaning up” the internal home by eliminating any forces that cooperated with the nation’s enemies.
     When the Algerian people decided to confront colonialism, they started by “cleaning up” their internal home and ridding it of spies.
     When the US decided to confront communism, it started by “cleaning up” the internal home and ridding it of all communist forces, figures, and voices in the American society.
     There are many examples in history and there is a very big difference between political disputes and a difference in projects, intellectual conflicts, or a difference in visions.
     The dispute with Mahmoud Abbas is not only that of a political nature, as Mahmoud Abbas is spearheading the project to destroy the Palestinian society, sabotaging it, and taking away its elements of strength. Clashes with a foreign enemy are less costly than with an internal enemy.
     Mahmoud Abbas turned himself into the enemy of every Palestinian. He recognised Israel and the legitimacy of its existence, conceded the Palestinian rights, fought the resistance, adopted the security coordination project with the occupation, gave up the right of return, remained silent in the face of all that is happening in Jerusalem and to the Muslim and Christian sanctities, besieged Gaza, combatted the intifada, prevented any political activity, repressed the protestors, encouraged Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people, prevented reconciliation, hindered Palestinian dialogue, prohibited the solution of the employee and salary crisis, stalled in supporting the Palestinian prisoner cause and demands, and prosecuted institutions supporting the resistance.
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Business as usual for children arrested by the IDF
Gerard Horton, +972 Magazine 9/13/2015
      Despite lofty promises and pilot programs aimed at improvement, evidence points to little change in the patterns of abuse Palestinian children are subjected to when arrested by the Israeli army.
     The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in March 2013 that it would study the conclusions of a UNICEF report on children held in military detention which found that ill-treatment appeared to be “widespread, systematic and institutionalized” and work to implement them through “ongoing cooperation” with the UN agency. Two-and-a-half years on and around 2,250 arrests later, there is new evidence as to how this “cooperation” is progressing.
     To begin with, the number of children arrested at night appears to have jumped from 51 percent in 2013 to 65 percent today. One possible explanation for the jump is that the military authorities appear to be issuing far fewer summonses than last year, relying instead on the army breaking down doors in the middle of the night rather than parents bringing their children for questioning during the day. The latest evidence also indicates that with an increase in night arrests, more children are being transferred on the floor of military vehicles from their homes to interrogation centers – something a summons can make redundant.
     The number of children who report being painfully hand tied and blindfolded has remained fairly constant, but there has been a small increase in the percentage of children who report being subjected to physical violence during their arrest, transfer and/or interrogation. Most children continue to report being shown, or made to sign, documentation written in Hebrew at the conclusion of their interrogation and a majority continue to be strip searched in a humiliating fashion on arrival at a detention facility. Also as in the past, around 50 percent of children are still being unlawfully transferred to prisons inside Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Rome Statute.
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Should we take Mahmoud Abbas’s threats seriously?
Ibrahim Hewitt, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 9/12/2015
      Reports in the media claim that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is ready to “dismantle” the authority which gives him control over the occupied West Bank. Given all that has happened since Abbas signed the Oslo Accords on behalf of the Palestinians more than 20 years ago, how seriously should we take his latest threats?
     “There is widespread speculation that Abbas wants to stop security cooperation with Israel,” writes Jack Khoury in Haaretz, “renounce the Oslo Accords, including the Paris agreement that governs economic relations with Israel, and dismantle the Palestinian Authority.” This comes at a time when the veteran Palestinian politician is preparing to address the UN General Assembly later this month.
     Has something extraordinary happened to push him to make such threats? Abbas himself once described security coordination with the Israeli authorities as “sacred” so, clearly, Israel’s ongoing colonisation and the brutality of its military occupation have not given him sleepless nights. Palestinians freed from Israeli prisons are routinely re-arrested by the Palestinian Authority’s own security forces (which have around 70,000 personnel) as they work to keep resistance to the occupation to an absolute minimum. The PA chief’s job has been to make sure that Palestinians aren’t able to rock the Israeli boat and sink its plans to colonise as much of the West Bank and Jerusalem as possible, making a viable Palestinian state near impossible to achieve. The fact that Abbas is still the president suggests that he has done his paymasters proud.
     If the PA is dismantled, then the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), which, paradoxically, no longer believes in the liberation of Palestine, and the Palestinian National Council (PNC) would take over as the legitimate representatives of the Palestinians. It is here, I believe, that the reason for Abbas’s threats lie.
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Sheikh Sabri calls for ending security cooperation with the occupation
PIC - 12 Sep 2015 - Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, head of the higher Islamic council, has called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership to end its security collaboration with the Israeli occupation.

The priorities of the post-Abbas era
Dr Saleh Al-Naami, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 8/26/2015
      It is foolish to address with any seriousness the systematic leaks that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his supporters are spreading regarding his intention to resign. They are only attempts to convince Israel to reduce the level of embarrassment it will cause him and to justify its continued attachment to his positions. He continues in this vein even after it has been proven unequivocally that his political programme is a failure, as reflected by the success of Israel in deciding the fate of the Palestinian territories by means of Judaisation and settlement expansion. Both are taking place with minimal objections from the Palestinians, as Abbas has thwarted any such opposition through his security cooperation with the Israeli authorities. The PA chief is very disappointed with the extremist right-wing government in Tel Aviv, as it pays no attention to the appreciation of the Israeli army and intelligence officials for Abbas’s role in preventing a third intifada and his lack of hesitance in waging a relentless war against anyone suspected of being associated with the resistance against the occupation.
     Indeed, Abbas is frustrated because Netanyahu’s government does not treat him the way that he believes he deserves; according to General Tamir Y?dai, the Israeli army commander in the West Bank, there is no other Arab leader who openly expresses his “sanctification” of security coordination with Israel like Abbas does. (Walla News, 9/8) It seems that Abbas has given up on reaching an understanding with Netanyahu, even after top Israeli commentator Rafif Drowkir made his humiliating comment that, “Israel’s top advanced technology experts could not develop a more comfortable partner for Israel than Mahmoud Abbas.” (Haaretz, 19/7)
     However, what intensifies Abbas’s frustration and drives him to continue making leaks about his intention to resign is the fact that he is unwilling to adopt real options in order to confront and embrace this reality. He is not a leader who is willing to change the rules of the confrontation if they prove to be useless in practice. This allows him and his supporters to be relentless in feeding the media his resignation leaks.
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Hamas court issues death sentence for alleged collaborator
8/6/2015 - GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A military court in the Gaza Strip on Thursday sentenced a man to death by hanging for allegedly cooperating with "enemy entities." The court said the suspect, 30, was sentenced according to Article 131 of the Palestinian Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979, a statement said. An undisclosed number of fighters werekilled because of information the suspect passed on to Israeli....

Palestine after the Iran deal
Daoud Kuttab, Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN) 7/17/2015
      The Palestinian Israeli conflict might get an unexpected shot in the arm as a result of the recently concluded Iran nuclear agreement. While the P5+1 talks in Vienna focused only on the issue of Iran’s nuclear capability, many are looking at how this agreement will affect regional conflicts. Some of the harshest critics of the deal accuse the Obama administration of reaching an agreement with what is described as the world’s leading supporter of terrorism without dealing with many of the region’s issues. Although those making these accusations have no interest in increasing the pressure on Israel, this might be exactly what will happen. Political posturing has consequences and the possible success of US President Barack Obama’s dovish foreign policies over warmongering hawks will not be lost on anyone in Washington. In March, the US capital witnessed a rare and unusual event. The prime minister of a foreign country took the podium at the US Congress and bad mouthed a sitting president in cooperation with his domestic political opponents. This act by Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu will certainly have consequences if and when Obama signs the Iran nuclear deal despite the objections of his Republican opponents and right wing Israelis. The $64,000 question is how the White House will respond to Netanyahu after the dust settles. While the US will continue to support Israel militarily (Obama has done more in this regard than any previous president), the political trail will certainly be different.
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Despite its wishes, the EU only deepens the occupation
Noam Sheizaf, +972 Magazine 7/16/2015
      The European Union is substituting pressure on Israel for dialogue. How else will it be able to continue building schools and solar panels in the occupied territories?
     The European Union is one of the most demonized bodies in Israel at the moment, and the hate is no longer coming only from the extreme right. The working assumption in the Israeli mainstream is that the EU is biased against Israel, that it supports different forms of sanctions and boycotts, and that it is trying to isolate Israel and force it to withdraw from the occupied territories.
     The truth is entirely different. While the EU might support the two-state solution, and the leaders of its member states are far more committed to two states than the Obama administration, it is also one of the main bodies helping Israel maintain the status quo in the West Bank and Gaza.
     The goal of Israel’s policy is maintaining the current reality in the occupied territories, in which Israel effectively rules the West Bank, continues to support settlement growth, enjoys quiet due to security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and the IDF is able to act freely. All this is done without having to bear the real cost of the occupation, especially since foreign bodies fund the Palestinian Authority, train its police officers, prevent chaos in the refugee camps and maintain civil infrastructure.
     The EU is one of the sustainers of the status quo. In fact, it has built the PA twice — once after Oslo, and once again after Israel destroyed the civil infrastructure in the occupied territories during the Second Intifada. Since then, Israel has taken on less and less responsibility for the civilian population under its rule (except for in Area C of the West Bank, where creeping annexation has become the norm)....
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Israel haunted by its mistakes in Gaza
Al-Monitor 15 Jul 2015 - Today, Israelis admit that the disengagement from Gaza was a mistake and wonder how the move could have gone had it been done in cooperation with the Palestinians.

Will Israel Cooperate With ICC Palestinian Probe?
Occupation Magazine 1 Jul 2015 - Thomas Escritt - The Forward - The Palestinian Authority made its first submission of evidence of alleged Israeli war crimes to the International Criminal Court on Thursday, trying to speed up an ICC inquiry into abuses committed during last year’s Gaza conflict. The move may leave...

Will Israel get away with murder?
George S. Hishmeh, Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN) 6/25/2015
      The low-key American reaction to the condemnation of Israel this week by a United Nations-backed commission for its bloody assault on the besieged Gaza Strip is appalling. Gaza is home to 1.7 million Palestinians. Last year, 2,251 were killed in Israel’s war. Out of these, 1,462 were civilians, including 299 women and 551 children. Israeli losses were only six civilians and 67 soldiers.
     The 217-page report issued by the UN Commission of Inquiry submitted to the UN Human Rights Council, found that both Israel and armed Palestinian groups, primarily Hamas, were responsible for violations of international law that could amount to war crimes. But both Israel and Hamas refused to cooperate with the commission; Hamas is reportedly planning to submit its version of the 51-day war later this week.
     Israel’s war on Gaza was triggered by several events in the occupied West Bank, primarily the kidnapping and murder of three young Israeli colonists and the subsequent burning to death of a Palestinian teenager by Israeli extremists.
     There was a huge increase in the use of Israeli firepower in the Gaza aggression, compared to two earlier Gaza wars. There were “more than 6,000 air strikes ... and approximately 50,000 tank and artillery shells fired”. In contrast, the UN commission reported that Palestinian fighters fired 4,881 rockets and 1,753 mortars towards Israel.
     Whether this conflict will lead to an Israeli trial is doubtful in the view of an Israeli analyst who writes that “the UN’s Gaza report makes for good headlines and will keep UN officials busy for weeks to come”. He continued, “but it doesn’t provide any evidence that will help get Israelis in the dock in The Hague” at the International Criminal Court, as the Palestinians are hoping.
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1,000 Palestinian Homes Demolished in Negev Per Year
IMEMC - 25 Jun 2015 - The Israeli Interior Ministry and Land Administration Agency, in cooperation with the Regavim NGO and the Jewish National Fund (JNF), have been demolishing 1,000 Arab homes in Al-Naqab every year, under the pretext that they were built without permits. ...

Poll finds fading support for two-state solution between Israelis, Palestinians
Jerusalem Post 26 Jun 2015 - The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy Research published their findings together Thursday.

Lifting travel restrictions still maintains the status quo
Daoud Kuttab, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 6/24/2015
      Are we in the "managing the conflict" phase? Two recent decisions by the state of Israel both point clearly in the direction of managing a crisis rather than solving it, but they will not help in either.
     Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said on the eve of the Knesset elections that no Palestinian state will see the light on his watch, has closed down every avenue possible for a two-state solution.
     While the Palestinian government has maintained an iron clad-security mechanism in cooperation with the Israelis, this has not lessened Palestinian efforts at nonviolent resistance. Every Friday dozens of demonstrations against the wall and settlements, and in favour of an independent state take place throughout occupied Palestine. And every week these relatively nonviolent protests are put down by the Israelis with violence, causing injury and in some cases death.
     Efforts at boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) which have gained international traction have been dubbed anti-Semitic by a state that has occupied Palestinians for decades and practices institutional discrimination and racism.
     The thousands of travel permits that were distributed to Palestinians on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan have produced a lot of discussions about Israel's motive. In addition to travel to Jerusalem and Israel, the Israelis allowed 500 Palestinians from the West Bank to travel by way of Ben Gurion Airport, an option denied to Palestinians for 15 years. Men over 40 were allowed into Jerusalem without a permit and 300 Palestinians from Gaza were even given special permits to visit the Holy City. Marketed as goodwill gestures, they appear to reflect an internal Israeli decision to manage the conflict, laying the foundations for an even longer and more protracted occupation than many expect.
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Israel official says PA 'not cooperating' with Ramadan travel plans
6/24/2015 - BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- An Israeli official said Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority was not cooperating with plans to allow worshipers to travel directly from the occupied West Bank to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem for Ramadan. Last Tuesday, a spokeswoman for COGAT, the Israeli defense ministry unit which manages civilian affairs in the West Bank, said that for the first time, Palestinians will be....

Israel: Israeli NGOs behind UN Gaza report
Sergio Yahni, Alternative Information Center 6/23/2015
      Israel's justice minister has accused Israeli human rights groups of being behind the UNHRC report on Israel's 2014 military offensive against the Gaza Strip.
     Israel has launched a new diplomatic front in light of an impending UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) vote on whether to adopt as official the findings of a UN report released Monday on Israel's 2014 offensive against Gaza. Israeli officials accuse the UNHRC of being inherently hostile and assume the report may be adopted by a large majority. However, they expect that most so-called developed countries will vote against it.
     The report accuses both Israel and the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip of grave abuses of international humanitarian law that may amount to war crimes. The investigative commission, led by former judge Mary McGowan Davis, called on all sides to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has opened a separate preliminary investigation in this matter.
     The Israeli offensive on Gaza started July 8, 2014, following the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens in the West Bank. Israeli army and intelligence knew the kidnappers were not receiving orders from Hamas, but the failed attempt to crush the Islamic organization in the West Bank prompted the Palestinian resistance to respond with rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip into Israel.
     A ceasefire reached on August 26 ended 50 days of fighting between Gaza militants and Israel in which health officials said more than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed. Israel put the number of its dead at 67 soldiers and six civilians.
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Israel invites you to ‘like’ the occupation on Facebook
Amjad Iraqi, +972 Magazine 6/21/2015
      COGAT’s new Facebook page will not hide the fact that with every ‘like’ it receives, the occupation becomes more permanent in our minds.
     A few weeks ago, the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) unit launched its own Facebook page. COGAT, which operates under Israel’s Ministry of Defense, controls the blockade of the Gaza Strip through the land crossings; it allocates land and resources to the Jewish settlements in the West Bank; it prevents Palestinian development in Area C and oversees demolitions against Palestinian homes; it accepts or rejects Palestinian permits to enter Israel; and it facilitates the cooperation between the Israeli military and the Palestinian security forces, among other roles. To put it simply: COGAT is responsible for managing the Israeli occupation.
     The timing of COGAT’s new social media outlet is no secret. As the tide of international opinion and pressure increasingly turns against Israel’s occupation — a trend that is being felt from government halls to university campuses to the media — COGAT’s Facebook page serves as an online tool to help state employees, ordinary Israeli citizens and their supporters present a more positive and “benevolent” image of Israel’s control of the occupied territories.
     So far, the page has mostly posted infographics that show the numbers of vehicles passing through the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings, the types of goods being transported into the Gaza Strip, and other related statistics. Since the start of Ramadan a few days ago, the page has also posted images of Palestinian Muslims crossing into Israel to attend Friday prayers in Jerusalem.
     While the graphics are impressive, they are still nothing short of laughable....2
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Palestinians between two phases: Bad and worse
Oraib Rantawi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 6/8/2015
      While the international boycott campaign against Israel is growing and the BDS movement is making headway, Arab-Israeli communications are increasing; officially behind closed doors and "popularly" out in the open for the media's camera lenses to capture. We are witnessing one of the largest-scale "solicitation and begging" operations, as described by the former Qatari foreign minister, aimed at convincing Israel to accept the Arab Peace Initiative, which was outlined in Beirut over 13 years ago. During these years, Israel worked towards making critical changes in the "fait accompli" maps in Jerusalem and the West Bank, in a manner that makes the establishment of a viable Palestinian state a far-fetched dream.
     The Israeli Knesset is holding an emergency meeting after the UK's National Union of Students decided to boycott Israel. Hundreds of writers, artists and academics across the country are openly boycotting Israel, the settlement and Apartheid state. Europe's parliaments are taking part in the largest manifestation of symbolic recognition of an independent Palestinian state. Sweden, followed by the Vatican, are leading the churches and the West to officially recognising the Palestinian state, while Israel is discussing, for the first time since its establishment, the danger of "de-legitimisation" and its isolation.
     Israel has no qualms about listening to the "Arab wishes" regarding the initiative, especially since it does not hinder the public and secret normalisation processes occurring between Israel and a number of "moderate Arab states". Netanyahu, who has implicitly and explicitly rejected the Palestinian "state", "right of return", and "the division of the unified eternal capital city", participated in three election campaigns and won them all. His campaign was run under the slogan of "the Iranian danger first", promoting cooperation with the "Sunni Arab world" with regards to this issue. He also added ambiguous talk of the danger and threat of terrorism which unites everyone, of course in reference to Hezbollah and Hamas. While many Arabs agree to his categorisation of Hezbollah as a terrorist group, for doctrinal reasons as well as Iran's influence, they do not share the same opinion with regards to Hamas, which may "serve" in the war on Iran and its supporters.
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Fariz: The security cooperation with Israel "necessary for the Palestinians"
PIC - 4 Jun 2015 - Palestinian ambassador to Sweden Hala Fariz has defended the Palestinian Authority's security collaboration with the Israeli occupation and described it as "necessary for the Palestinians."

IOF closes Nablus in search of missing settler
PIC - 1 Jun 2015 - The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority security apparatuses on Sunday launched a large-scale search for an Israeli truck driver after reporting his disappearance in Nablus.

Perpetrator unknown: The systemic failure to investigate settler violence
Yossi Gurvitz, Yesh Din, +972 Magazine 5/30/2015
      With such an overwhelming number of investigations into Israeli citizens attacking Palestinians in the West Bank closed due to ‘perpetrator unknown,’ one has to wonder why the police have such a hard time finding suspects.
     At the center of a new Yesh Din report, Mock Enforcement, is a depressing piece of data: the Israel Police’s fail in 85.3 percent of investigations into Israelis who harm Palestinians in the West Bank. The report, which which deals with Israel’s continued failure to enforce the law on Israeli civilians in the West Bank, examined 996 cases closed by the police, and found that the main reason cited for closing them is “UP” – unknown perpetrator. Five-hundred-and-ninety-three of the cases examined were closed for that reason, which means the police did not find suspects who committed the crime.
     The UP clause is the official reason police give explaining their decision to close the cases. Israel Police directives allow for nine reasons for closing an investigative case, among them: lack of criminal culpability, inadequate evidence, the suspect is a minor, and, of course, unknown perpetrator.
     Every time a case is closed due to UP, the question arises: just how hard the did the police search for the guilty party? An examination of a series of cases shows that, all too often, the investigation was incomplete at best. At worse, it was farcical. Let’s look at some examples, since there are some facts that simply cannot be conveyed by numbers.
     On September 3, 2009, three Israeli civilians – two of them wearing hoods, one with his face visible, holding a stick and walking a dog – attacked Ibrahim Tawil, a Palestinian from the village of Faratha, on his own land. The three attackers were joined by three others, all of them wearing hoods, and together they removed Ibarhim’s belt and assaulted him with it. They then undressed him, stole his wallet and watch and left him in his underwear.
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The Palestinians between reconciliation and national unity
Abdul Sattar Qassem, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 5/21/2015
      All Palestinians, on every level and front, are concerned with the issue of reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. A lot is focused on the search for this elusive concord.
     Many Arab states and Palestinian domestic parties have tried to mediate a reconciliation agreement in an effort to end this devastating division affecting the people of Palestine; there has not been much success. In fact, every time that such an agreement is signed, something happens to disappoint the people. They used to rejoice at the announcement of every such agreement between the various factions but their joy and celebration was short-lived because the parties would often go against the document that they had just signed.
     The Palestinians have suffered from the conduct of these factions and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) for many years. For this reason, much of the trust that was placed in leaders has been lost; many believe that these leaders are only concerned in advancing their own agendas at the expense of the Palestinian cause.
     This is a destructive situation because a loss of trust means a loss of the ability to develop strategies that will elevate the status and the prestige of the cause. The loss of trust means the deterioration of basic values in society, namely teamwork and mutual cooperation; ultimately, this means the inability to face challenges. The Palestinian issue is a big issue, and there are many strong players, but if the Palestinian people themselves become weak then that will open the door to many outside interventions.
     It will very difficult for the two main Palestinian factions to reach a reconciliation agreement for many reasons, among them the security coordination that is taking place between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli occupation, which forces PA security agencies to ensure Israel's security. This has been the sticking point for several reconciliation efforts.
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Netanyahu shelves Ya’alon’s travel ban for Palestinians after widespread criticism
Jerusalem Post 20 May 2015 - “Separate bus lines for Palestinians and Jews proves that democracy and occupation can not co-exist,” Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said before the decision was cancelled.

Suspending bus segregation won’t solve a thing
Dahlia Scheindlin, +972 Magazine 5/20/2015
      The bus segregation plan is but one policy in a massive system of occupation, which is growing not only geographically but also institutionally, politically and conceptually.
     On Tuesday night the plan to segregate Palestinians and Israelis on buses in the West Bank was put into effect, reported Haaretz. On Wednesday morning the Prime Minister decided to suspend the program, following criticism.
     When each development is more awful than the last, perhaps there are no more wise arguments to be made. Instead, I have documented the cycle of attitudes around this week’s example, which reflects, in broad strokes, the deadlocked mentality of the conflict itself.
     1. The Israeli Defense Minister justified the separation with the following logic, quoted in Haaretz:
     "You don’t need to be security expert to realize that 20 Arabs on a bus with a Jewish driver and two or three passengers and one soldier with a gun is a set-up for an attack."
     According to this, any Arab majority situation is a security threat to a Jew. Israelis inside the Green Line may soon view any bus with 20 Arabs, 2-3 Jews passengers, a Jewish driver and a soldier as a security threat to Jews, even though the soldier is the only one with a gun. They may then prefer to segregate buses inside Israel too.
     2. Those who favor segregation will back it up with any case of Palestinian violence, which they link to the huge, historic and intractable problems. The collective voice will say this:
     "When they stop killing us, we’ll let them ride the buses together...."
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The Nakba and the UN Partition Plan
Hani Al Masri, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 5/15/2015
      The nascent UN issued its Partition Plan for Palestine on 29 November, 1947; less than a year later, the Nakba occurred, the embodiment of the creation of Israel at the expense of the Palestinian people and their displacement. Ever since, there has been a widespread debate amongst Palestinians and Arabs about whether accepting the Partition Plan despite its inherent injustice for the Palestinians would have been the better option; after all, having something is better than having nothing. Accepting the Partition Plan was arguably the only sensible option due to the balance of power, variables and situation at the time. However, the plan disappeared without trace once the ethnic cleansing and genocidal massacres by Zionist gangs began, allowing them to seize control of the largest possible amount of land beyond the borders set out by the UN.
     The Partition Plan was rejected because it gave the proposed state for Jews 56.5 per cent of the land despite the fact that there were only 614,000 Jews in Palestine and 1.363 million Palestinians at that time. It was rejected despite all forms of persuasion, encouragement, privileges, cooperation and assistance from the British, who authored the infamous Balfour Declaration 30 years previously and gave property to those who did not deserve it; and despite the massacres, arrests, home demolitions, executions and all forms of bullying and intimidation. The Palestinian state was proposed by the UN to cover 43 per cent of historic Palestine, with the rest, including Jerusalem and its surrounding area, to be an international zone.
     The bottom line, however, for most Palestinians and Arabs who rejected the Partition Plan, was that it was unjust and violated the rights of the indigenous people in the land. They believed that accepting it would have meant accepting defeat. Their rejection, though, was not the reason why the Arab state was not established, as claimed by those who promoted acceptance of the plan; it was the presence of armed Jewish militias, the aforementioned Zionist gangs, which conspired with and were supported by the British Mandate authorities....
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I have a dream of Israelis and Palestinians celebrating side by side
YNet News, 23 Apr 2015 - Op-ed: We cannot continue to be prisoners of the mentality of enmity. Even if our leaders choose to stay in the swamp of the past, we must rebel and break free in order to bring people together, particularly through symbols. ....

Shocking security agency statistics and the dissolution of the PA
Dr Fayez Rasheed, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 4/3/2015
      Palestinian writer Saed Abu Farha has published a report on the Palestinian security services in Ramallah. This report includes figures that simply cannot be believed due to their disastrous implications and miserable details. For example, the ratio of Palestinian citizens to security officers is 52:1; the equivalent ratio of citizens to teachers is 72:1. As soon as the Palestinian Authority was established, it established 10 security agencies: civil police, civil defence, preventive security, national security forces, naval police, air police, the Palestine Maritime League, military intelligence, presidential guard (Force 17) and general intelligence services.
     The late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat then established two additional agencies: internal security and Special Forces, bringing the total number of security personnel to around 70,000 individuals; together they consume 37 per cent of the PA's general budget. Palestinian human rights organisations have received 3,409 complaints regarding torture and threats during arrest operations, with 82 in December 2014 alone. The agencies' main role appears to be security coordination with Israel, which consists of joint patrols on the streets (which stopped after the second Intifada broke out), joint security committees and civil security cooperation.
     What I am saying (and the statistics back this up) is that the duties of the security agencies are limited to monitoring, spying on, arresting and torturing Palestinians living in the territories occupied in 1967; since the 2007 political split these have been concentrated mainly in the occupied West Bank. The PA (which is also occupied by Israel) is supposed to provide assistance to the Palestinians suffering under the Israeli occupation of their land, the restriction of their freedom and the oppression of their will. What is actually happening is the exact opposite, and this drives me to say that the PA has become a burden on the Palestinian people. Is this what America and Israel want? It is unbelievable that there is one security officer for every 50 Palestinians. The ominous Oslo agreement has a clause which stipulates PA security coordination with Israel and this is used by the authority as justification for not stopping this shameful security coordination....
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Majority of Palestinians support end to security cooperation
4/1/2015 - BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The majority of Palestinians support a decision by the PLO to end security cooperation with Israel, according to the results of a poll released Tuesday by the Center for Opinion Polls and Survey Studies at An-Najah National University in Nablus. The poll, conducted from March 26-28, asked 1,360 Palestinians about their views on security coordination, the Israeli elections, the peace....

The mockery that is ’security for peace’
Lamis Andoni, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 3/26/2015
      Despite their importance, the Palestinian Authority's threats to end security coordination with Israel will not mean anything if they are not part of a larger and broader strategy that includes building Palestinian unity and preparing to face the inevitable Israeli and American punishment. However, we cannot be liberated from the grips of this security coordination without being liberated intellectually from the illusion of the "peace process".
     Such cooperation with the Israelis includes creating a situation in which the Palestinian people are submissive in order to force them to accept Israel's control and end all resistance to the occupation. Meanwhile, Israel continues its expansionist policies of seizing more land and displacing the Palestinian people. The goal behind the security coordination is not coordination per se, but ensuring that Israeli security conditions are met. This basically means that the PA is to prevent all resistance operations against Israel and keep protesters away from the military checkpoints and barriers. In other, words, Israel's security is prioritised over any human, legal or political considerations that might benefit the Palestinian people.
     This blackmail began with the Oslo Accords, as they include clauses that protect the Palestinian people and their land from the brutality of the Israeli occupation, but do not include any reference to international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the confiscation of land, the displacement of the population, and the transfer of settlers to the occupied territories. In addition to this, Israel refused to commit to any charters or covenants that prohibit torture, murder and persecution.
     Since the beginning of the "peace process", the purpose was to impose Israel's conditions by means of military superiority and American support instead of international law and UN resolutions. Hence, the agreements, especially their security aspects, have become the main reference for the phased and final status agreements because Israel does not recognise the historical, political or legal rights of the Palestinians.
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The mockery that is ’security for peace’
Lamis Andoni, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 3/26/2015
      Despite their importance, the Palestinian Authority's threats to end security coordination with Israel will not mean anything if they are not part of a larger and broader strategy that includes building Palestinian unity and preparing to face the inevitable Israeli and American punishment. However, we cannot be liberated from the grips of this security coordination without being liberated intellectually from the illusion of the "peace process".
     Such cooperation with the Israelis includes creating a situation in which the Palestinian people are submissive in order to force them to accept Israel's control and end all resistance to the occupation. Meanwhile, Israel continues its expansionist policies of seizing more land and displacing the Palestinian people. The goal behind the security coordination is not coordination per se, but ensuring that Israeli security conditions are met. This basically means that the PA is to prevent all resistance operations against Israel and keep protesters away from the military checkpoints and barriers. In other, words, Israel's security is prioritised over any human, legal or political considerations that might benefit the Palestinian people.
     This blackmail began with the Oslo Accords, as they include clauses that protect the Palestinian people and their land from the brutality of the Israeli occupation, but do not include any reference to international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the confiscation of land, the displacement of the population, and the transfer of settlers to the occupied territories. In addition to this, Israel refused to commit to any charters or covenants that prohibit torture, murder and persecution.
     Since the beginning of the "peace process", the purpose was to impose Israel's conditions by means of military superiority and American support instead of international law and UN resolutions. Hence, the agreements, especially their security aspects, have become the main reference for the phased and final status agreements because Israel does not recognise the historical, political or legal rights of the Palestinians.
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Palestinians no longer bound by false peace process
Daoud Kuttab, Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN) 3/19/2015
      The Israeli electorate had a choice to make. By re-electing a leader who publicly reneged on his commitments to peace and a two-state solution, they voted against peace. What remains now is to see how the Palestinians and the world will react to the end of the charade that was called peace process. Palestinians had lost hope in the peace process and have been telling everyone who was willing to listen that the Israeli leaders were merely giving lip service to it as their bulldozers were gobbling up Palestinian lands. The world kept on believing this until the Israeli public forced its leader to state his case in Hebrew to his own people. Now that the world knows that Israel is not a democracy to all its citizens (see Netanyahu’s racist comments about Arab citizens) and that its leaders never wanted to live up to their commitment to a Palestinian state, it must react. The vote by the Israeli public has sealed the fate of Mahmoud Abbas who had placed his bets on the peace process and the support of the international community. The 79-year-old will certainly give way to a new generation of Palestinian leaders during the upcoming seventh congress of Fateh. But in the meantime, he has been given the mandate to exert efforts to ostracise Israel internationally while suspending security cooperation. The UN’s non-member state of Palestine’s efforts to take Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) must now be seen as a positive non-violent act that is much kinder to Israel than what would be resistance to an occupying power.
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Minister: 'We will have an economic clash with Israel'
3/19/2015 - RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A plan launched by the National Committee against Israeli Punitive Measures has continued in cooperation with the private sector to stimulate Palestinian economic growth and goods production, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Economy, Dr. Mohammed Mustafa announced Thursday. Discussion of the plan took place at a National Committee meeting held to discuss the proper response to punitive measures taken....

MP Mansour urges PA to halt negotiation with Israel
PIC - 13 Mar 2015 - Palestinian lawmaker Mona Mansour has urged the Palestinian Authority (PA) to halt all forms of negotiation and security cooperation with the Israeli occupation immediately.

’The Joint List isn’t turning its back on Israeli society’
Awad Abdelfattah, +972 Magazine 3/10/2015
      As an oppressed and colonized minority, we will only ever achieve real change in Israeli policy when we behave as a coherent national group. This does not, however, mean we are excluding our Jewish allies.
     The true strategic significance of the creation of the Joint Arab List has eluded most Israelis. Even among Arab Palestinians inside Israel, the common assumption is that the List’s sole objective is to surmount the electoral threshold after it was raised to 3.25 percent by Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party, thereby increasing the influence of the Arab minority in Israeli politics.
     This is undoubtedly a major aim — but it is not the most important one. Rather, the formation of the Joint List finally puts the Arab parties on a shared path towards the much-delayed goal of re-organizing our community.
     The unification of the Arab parties came late, but the idea has been under discussion for many years. It was first proposed by the Balad party back in 1999 and is consistent with our platform that the Palestinian minority must be organized on a national basis.
     The pressure on the political parties from the Arab public to unite had been mounting in recent years. The Palestinian minority has faced ever greater hostility as well as an escalation in racist legislation and incitement from the State. As the Arab members of Knesset became more marginalized, Palestinian citizens’ loss of faith in the political game grew. More and more of them chose to stay at home on election day, either out of indifference or because they actively boycotted Knesset elections. Now that the Arab parties have responded, the Arab public will expect to see this cooperation not only sustained in the Knesset and on the ground, but expanded.
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JNF, settler group seek to evict Palestinian family in Silwan
Moriel Rothman-Zecher, +972 Magazine 3/10/2015
      The Jewish National Fund, known to Jews worldwide as an organization that plants trees in Israel, is once again trying to evict a Palestinian family from their home in East Jerusalem.
     Over the past few decades, the Jewish National Fund (JNF-KKL), an organization known to many in the diaspora for its work planting trees in Israel (I gave a portion of my Bar Mitzvah money to the JNF), has been working in coordination with ELAD, an extremist settler organization whose explicit goals include the “Judaization” of East Jerusalem. Since 1991, the cooperation between these two organizations has led to eviction of a number of Palestinian families from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. While ELAD’s methods of takeover in Silwan have included shady sales agreements and forceful confiscation in the middle of the night, they are also often done in complete accordance with Israeli law. This fact is often cited as a defense by the JNF and its supporters. In a 2012 op-ed, JNF CEO Russell Robinson wrote:
     “JNF respects the legal processes of the democratic State of Israel. Asking us to make a declaration against any evictions — of Arabs or Jews — is beyond our mission. The money we raise is used only for the purpose of making Israel a better place. Everything about us is ‘neutral’…”
     I’ll let the reader meditate on this quote, and the irony of the JNF’s —and the broader Diaspora Jewish establishment’s — admiration for the legacy of the Civil Rights movement in the United States. Even one of their forests in the Galilee is the Corretta Scott King Forest. The Civil Rights Movement was predicated on the violation of unjust ‘’democratic’’ laws. Robinson also writes that ‘’Those who use the term ‘judaizing’ insult the men and women who perished fighting for our democratic Jewish State of Israel.” I wonder if he realizes what he is saying about the administrators of the City of David, backed by virtually all levels of the Israeli politically establishment.
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Another blow to the farcical ’peace process’
Rami G. Khouri, Agence Global 3/7/2015
      BEIRUT — The recommendation by the Palestine Liberation Organization Central Council (PLO CC) this week to suspend the two-decades-old security coordination with Israel illustrates the depths of meanness, desperation and irrationality that have come to define the broken relationship between the Palestinians and Israelis. It reflects both the unsustainable colonial mentality of the current rightwing Zionist leadership in Israel, and the stresses and failures of the current Palestinian national leadership that has not been able to achieve an effective response.
     The decision is problematic because it can only lead to negative consequences and security breakdowns for both Israelis and Palestinians — but it is also inevitable, in view of the severe distortions and weaknesses in the implementation of the 1993 Oslo Accords that have served Israeli purposes and rights more than those of the Palestinians.
     The 124-member PLO CC is effectively the most important national decision-making body of the Palestinian people these days, for two reasons: It includes representatives of all the leading Palestinian political factions, and the larger Palestine National Council (parliament in exile) has not met for years and is effectively moribund in the absence of new elections.
     The Palestinians living under Israeli occupation or siege in the West Bank and Gaza have tried unsuccessfully to negotiate their liberation and statehood with the Israelis, under almost exclusive American mediation, since the Madrid peace conference in 1992. Most of the key elements of the Oslo Accords relating to issues like trade, finance, water, and free movement of people and goods have been forgotten or suspended. Only the “security cooperation” elements remain in force, but in a rather farcical manner from the Palestinian perspective.
     Palestinians feel that their lightly armed police and intelligence system is being used to shield Israel from any attacks by Palestinian militants....
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Red-Dead pipeline is the wrong answer, politically and environmentally
Keren Simons, +972 Magazine 3/6/2015
      Pumping Red Sea water into the Dead Sea to save it from drying up ignores environmental consequences, experts warn. Rights groups decry the plan as an ‘attempt to force the Palestinian population to consent to their own dispossession.’
     Israel and Jordan last Thursday signed a historic agreement to cooperate over their shared bodies of water, in a move to protect the shrinking Dead Sea and to address the looming potable water crisis in the two countries. A pipeline from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea is proposed to refill water in the salt lake, and desalinization plants to be built in Jordan. The Palestinian Authority, a party to the Memorandum of Understanding on replenishing the Dead Sea in December 2013, was not a party to this agreement. The World Bank sponsored this long-awaited plan, hailed as an initiative to promote peace in the region through economic and environmental cooperation, on the understanding that environmental problems have no borders.
     The Red-Dead conveyance, however, is far from a perfect plan. Environmental groups have argued that the World Bank environmental impact study does not adequately address serious concerns about the effect on ecosystems in both the Red and Dead seas, nor did it consider alternative proposed plans. Palestinian human rights groups have maintained that the plan is part of a continuum of violations of Palestinian rights to water. MK Silvan Shalom implied the plan was another element to realization of the Zionist dream, saying, “today we realize the vision of Binyamin Ze’ev [Theodore] Herzl, the visionary of the state, who already at the end of the 19th century understood the need to revive the Dead Sea.”
     Palestinian rights groups state that the World Bank’s feasibility study and Environmental and Social Assessment study lack transparency, or a mandate given to them by a credible consultative and participatory process. They allege that key concerns brought up by Palestinians on Israeli violations of water rights were deliberately ignored.
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Spy Cables show America’s hypocrisy on Hamas
Asa Winstanley, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 2/25/2015
      The publication by Al Jazeera and The Guardian this week of a cache of cables leaked from the files of the South African intelligence services has been enlightening.
     Some of the stories that have come out so far only confirm things that were already known. However, these are still valuable for the extra detail they provide and the way they verify certain stories with independent sourcing.
     For example, it was already well-known that the Palestinian Authority led an extensive diplomatic campaign against the promotion and adoption of the Goldstone report in international forums like the UN Human Rights Council.
     Although the PA publicly claimed to support it, the Palestine Papers in 2011 revealed that behind the scenes they buckled to American and Israeli pressure to ensure the report's recommendations were never implemented.
     The report ultimately accused Israel and Hamas of war crimes during Israel's devastating and bloody assault on the Gaza Strip in 2008-09. Hamas, for its part, fully cooperated with the South African judge's report, although it disagreed with the part of the conclusions that accused its armed wing of war crimes.
     The new revelations in the Spy Cables confirm the story that Palestine Papers tell. One cable shows how Mossad chief Meir Dagan personally called the head of South Africa's State Security Agency on his mobile phone. The number had not been given out: the agents expressed concern, and launched an internal investigation into how the number was obtained by Israeli spies.
     Once Dagan's identity had been confirmed, the South Africans promised to pass his message onto the political echelon, warning they would have little influence there.... -- See also: EI: ex, blackmail and theft: leaks detail Israeli spy operations
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Shooting of Fatah activist could doom security cooperation
Al-Monitor 27 Feb 2015 - The security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is in jeopardy after Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Fatah activist in the Dheisheh refugee camp.

What should Palestinians do?
Mazin Qumsiyeh, Alternative Information Center 2/5/2015
      What is going on in the world today is a serious transformation and transfiguration of power relationships from a unipolar to a multipolar world and from power centered in the north to that centered in the southern hemisphere.
     The height of power of the unipolar world was in 1989-1991. Since then, things have been changing and unless we establish a world based on justice and human rights, the US/Israel axis will lose big.
     Let me again remind you that our choices are 1) a livable world based on justice and human rights, 2) a dead-end world based on might is right, 3) there is no other choice. The Israeli leadership of Netanyahu tried to reassert Israel’s “might is right” impunity by attacking a group of Hizbollah fighters deep inside Syrian territory (Israel also illegally occupies the Syrian Golan heights). Ten days later, on January 28, Hizbollah resistance struck back at Israeli soldiers inside the illegally occupied Shebaa Farms (Lebanese territory occupied by Israel illegally since 1967). This operation buried the notion that Israel can attack anywhere and everywhere with impunity.
     In other world news, an employee of a US subsidiary of Israeli defense company Elbit Systems was apparently killed (“suicided” by falling from his hotel room) in Saudi Arabia. His family says it has to do with the complicated business of Israeli weapons being sold to Saudi Arabia!
     That country had a shake-up recently with the new king even more allied with Israel and the US and he removed a number of officials who were “only” 90-95% pro-Israel. We also had more Snowden leaks about US and Israeli “intelligence” cooperation including in extrajudicial assassination of Imad Mughniyeh and also Iranian scientists.
     The Jewish State of Israel in the Levant (JSIL) apparently also convinced US intelligence to identify Palestinian resistance....
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Israeli authorities plan to destroy wells serving Silwad farmers
2/4/2015 - RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Wednesday delivered demolition orders for several water wells in the Palestinian village of Silwad north of Ramallah. Deputy Head of the Silwad Cooperative Association council Abd al-Rahman Hammad told Ma'an that Israeli forces put the demolition notices on top of agricultural wells belonging to Nasser Issa, Yasser Salim, Bassel al-Tawil, and Muhammad Saleh. Hammad added that....

Hamas ready to cooperate with Iran 'to destroy Israeli occupation'
Jerusalem Post 1 Feb 2015 - Remarks by leader of Palestinian Islamist group come amid reports that Hamas and Iran have agreed to restore their relations.

Palestine and Europe: The post-solidarity phenomenon
Hossam Shaker, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 1/28/2015
      The support for the Palestinian cause in Europe has witnessed multiple shifts since the beginning of the 20th century. After the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, which lasted several years and during which a series of events occurred, a series of developments and interactions emerged on the scene that supported the rights of the Palestinians.
     Since then, the traditional idea of empathy or solidarity has no longer been accurate in its expression of the scene supporting the Palestinian cause in Europe. The concept of solidarity with the Palestinian cause has progressed to the adoption of the Palestinian cause and directly promoting it, as well as developing new effective work mechanisms.
     The concept of adoption is based on the acknowledgement of the gross moral violation of the Israeli occupation, which makes confronting the occupation a joint humanitarian responsibility. Based on this concept, the people are supporting themselves, not only the Palestinians. This is how the motivation to initiate action began, even without needing to link it to Palestinian motivation.
     In this context, the phenomenon of specialisation emerged in the European public's work in support of the Palestinian cause, thus leading to the establishment of groups specialising in the Palestinian cause. This helped overcome the differences between the European ideology spectrum and moves towards specialised work in the cause. In addition to this, the performance shifted from focusing on highlighting traditional sympathy to developing initiative programmes and pressure which seek to move to the frontlines, if only symbolically.
     This also led to the development of a framework of cooperation, coordination, partnership and alliance in areas supporting the Palestinian cause. This allowed interaction between the growing network between the real and virtual worlds, and the growth of the civil society's expertise, capabilities and roles.
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Israel won’t become part of the Middle East until the occupation ends
Prof. Elie Podeh, +972 Magazine 1/26/2015
      The chance of Israel’s re-admittance to the Middle East lies in its ability to show initiative, originality and flexibility of thought. Only by attempting sincerely to solve the Palestinian problem will it have a chance to become a public and recognized player.
     A few months ago, former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni traveled in secret to New York to a meeting attended by the foreign ministers of several Arab countries, Arab League officials and European foreign ministers. The topic of the meeting was the formulation of a regional coalition, or cooperation, against ISIS. Participation of an official Israeli representative of such a call marked a significant achievement in Israel’s foreign policy, and confirms that the post-Arab Spring developments in the region have created an opportunity for Israel to forge new alliances and coalitions with regional actors. Recently, it has been revealed that Foreign Minister Liberman secretly met Arab and Palestinians officials in Paris with the aim of promoting a regional initiative. In light of the diplomatic impasse, this is good news.
     The bad news is that these exchanges are held in the dark. This once again highlights the fact that Israel is still suffering from a “mistress syndrome” in the Middle East— relations with her must be kept a secret.
     Since its existence, Israel has conducted secret contracts with individuals and countries in the Middle East. Common interests led to occasional cooperation, which needed to be hidden so as not to endanger the collaborators. Jordan’s King Abdullah and his grandson King Hussein held many talks with Israeli leaders. Abdullah even paid with his life for secret contacts that almost led to the first ever peace agreement with an Arab country. Even ties in the late 1950s and early 1960s between Israel, Turkey, Iran, Ethiopia and perhaps Sudan—the so-called “Periphery Alliance”—were kept secret.
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A challenge for Pope Francis
Stuart Littlewood, Redress 1/19/2015
      During his May 2014 visit to the Holy Land, Christianity’s top man was (presumably) prevented from bearing witness to the human suffering in Gaza. Since then Israel has launched yet another murderous assault slaughtering civilians, including children, on a massive scale and afterwards obstructing humanitarian aid and re-construction. Is it time for the Pope and other religious leaders to mobilise and used their clout?
     The Pope’s tour of Asia has been greeted ecstatically. He is gaining huge popular support and not just among Catholics. Unfortunately, his earlier visit to the Holy Land could hardly be described in such satisfactory terms.
     Remembering it, Pope Francis told the Diplomatic Corps the other day:
     "My thoughts turn above all to the Middle East, beginning with the beloved land of Jesus which I had the joy of visiting last May, and for whose peace we constantly pray. We did this with extraordinary intensity, together with the then president of Israel, Shimon Peres, and the president of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, inspired by a confident hope that negotiations between the two parties will once more resume, for the sake of ending violence and reaching a solution which can enable Palestinians and Israelis alike to live at last in peace…"
     The Pope, war crimes suspect Peres and quisling Abbas all kneeling together before God? Isn’t that the sort of scene Charlie Hebdo should be having great sport with?
     His Holiness continued:
     "A Middle East without Christians would be a marred and mutilated Middle East! In urging the international community not to remain indifferent in the face of this situation....
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Unreported Israel: poverty, injustice, child abuse
Moti Leybel, Redress 1/5/2015
      Below is an open letter by Moti Leybel, an Israeli citizen who is prepared to risk arrest and even his life to tell the world what is happening in unreported Israel. The letter was received via Marianne Azizi, author of the book Sour Milk and Stolen Honey.
     My name is Moti Leybel. I live in Israel. I am a blogger, journalist and activist.
     I want to tell you some of the things that are happening here that the people of the world don’t really know about.
     There is growing awareness throughout the world of the plight of Palestinian kids. Many people here also feel very bad about this and wish things were different. Instead of war we would like peace but, unfortunately, war is better for the rich and for big companies, and most of it is caused by our prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.
     The economy here is very bad; it is not as the government tries to represent it to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and to the rest of the world.
     Over 30 per cent of the population is living in poverty, and 800,000 of them are children. It is the equivalent of 20 million people in Britain living in poverty. This is unacceptable.
     People in Israel can’t afford to own a home. Owning a home has become a dream for most of us.
     Many of us have to work in two or three jobs in order to exist, and everything here is so expensive that sometimes we just can’t afford food.
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Shin Bet claims arrest of Daash cell in al-Khalil
PIC - 5 Jan 2015 - The Shin Bet, Israel's internal intelligence agency, claimed it had arrested last November in cooperation with the Israeli army a Palestinian cell in al-Khalil city affiliated with the Daash group in Iraq.

Security Council’s election message to Israelis: Keep ignoring the occupation
Noam Sheizaf, +972 Magazine 12/31/2014
      Israel and Washington together blocked a UN Security Council resolution calling for the implementation of a negotiated two-state solution within a year. Abbas’s diplomatic efforts have hit a brick wall.
     The Israeli government came out with the upper hand yesterday at the United Nations Security Council: a joint effort by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry managed to gather enough votes to block a Palestinian resolution calling for a negotiated two-state solution and an end to the occupation within a year (full text here). Jordan submitted the proposed resolution on behalf of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Out of 15 members of the Security Council, eight supported the motion, two opposed and five abstained. Even if the Palestinians would have gathered the necessary nine votes, the American “nay” would have counted as a veto and the motion would have been defeated.
     The outcome is a serious blow to PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s efforts to advance the cause of a two-state solution through diplomatic measures, after both direct negotiations with Israel and moves in the UN effort failed to produce any meaningful achievements for the Palestinians this year.
     There were some indications recently that the Obama administration feared a successful UN bid by the Palestinians would help Prime Minister Netanyahu in the coming general elections (due to take place on March 17). It’s clear, however, that the current outcome is even better for Bibi.
     Netanyahu’s strategy is about maintaining the status quo in the occupied territories. Knowing that he will never win an international majority supporting the occupation, Netanyahu is focusing his policy on gathering the support of several key governments to block any measures against Israel, as they did last night. Netanyahu and his supporters see no urgency in solving the issue of the occupation – most of them deny its existence altogether – and they were proven right yesterday.
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In the fight against apartheid, Christian Palestinians defy Israel’s propaganda
Ben White, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 12/20/2014
      In 2012, then-Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren penned an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal in which he claimed that "Christians in [Gaza and the West Bank] suffer the same plight as their co-religionists throughout the region."
     While the diplomat was looking to capitalise on more recent developments in the Middle East – like Netanyahu did at the UN, with his "Hamas is ISIS" mantra – Oren's claim that Christian Palestinians are being driven out by Muslims is a familiar one.
     Israel and its supporters have tried to use Christian Palestinians for propaganda point-scoring for some time. For example, back in 1997, and during Netanyahu's first stint as prime minister, Israeli media cited government sources for reports about the alleged "brutal and relentless persecution" facing Christians in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas.
     Assessing the coverage in an article for Arab Studies Quarterly the following year, Donald Wagner claimed that Christian Zionists were cooperating with the prime minister's spokesperson "to exaggerate and politicize accounts of Christians being persecuted and circulated it to the international press."
     Almost two decades on, and similar efforts continue. This despite a number of surveys in recent years that indicate the reasons for the shrinking Christian population are rooted in the political and economic conditions of Israeli occupation and apartheid regime.
     In 1993, 88% of Christian Palestinians asked about emigration specified the economic situation. Fast forward to 2006, and three quarters of Christian Palestinians surveyed cited political conditions and employment as the reason for emigration. In a separate poll of Bethlehem residents conducted the same year, 78% of Christian respondents said "Israeli aggression and occupation" was "the main cause of emigration."
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Netanyahu, Europe and Israeli elections
Sergio Yahni, Alternative Information Center 12/18/2014
      Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman accused European governments of fomenting a political attack on Israel, siding with the Palestinians in their latest UN bid for statehood and jeopardizing Israel's security.
     “I said that the attempts of the Palestinians and of several European countries to force conditions on Israel will only lead to a deterioration in the regional situation and will endanger Israel,” Netanyahu said on Monday, after almost three hours of talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry.
     Lieberman also criticised international pressures on Israel, noting that the Palestinian demands are part of “a political attack” on the Jewish state and fanned by the European Union.
     “Any attempt by the Palestinians to impose on us their desired solution will only deteriorate the situation in the region,” the foreign minister added.
     “The European countries that cooperate with the Palestinians are like those who bring a burning match to someone holding a powder keg in his hand,” he concluded.
     At the Monday meeting with Secretary of State Kerry, Netanyahu sought that Washington would block efforts by Palestinians and Europeans on Palestinian statehood.
     “Our expectation is that the United States will stand by its position for the past 47 years that a solution to the conflict will be achieved through negotiations,” Netanyahu added, hinting at Israel's request that the US veto any uncomfortable decision tabled by the Un Security Council.
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Will the Palestinian leadership really halt security cooperation with Israel?
Jessica Purkiss, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 12/12/2014
      Palestinian Authority minister Ziad Abu Ein died on Wednesday after attending a protest against the separation barrier in a village near Ramallah, West Bank. Palestinian and Jordanian doctors who performed the autopsy on Abu Ein said he died of tear gas inhalation, blunt force and a lack of immediate medical attention. Senior Palestine security advisor, Jibril Rajoub, told Al Jazeera that the PA decided to suspend all security coordination with Israel following Abu Ein's death, which he called a "premeditated murder".
     Yesterday Saeb Erekat, Palestine's chief negotiator during the recent failed peace talks with Israel, said the PA would send out an official statement on halting cooperation in the coming hours.
     Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to suspend security cooperation with Israel on numerous occasions. In October this year Abbas threatened to reconsider the cooperation unless a framework for ending the Israeli occupation was set in motion. In November, he threatened the same unless negotiations resumed. In reaction to October's threat, Palestinian American author and activist Ali Abunimah tweeted that the suspension of security coordination is nothing but an "empty threat." Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh calculated via Twitter that Abbas has threatened this 58 times.
     The security cooperation between the PA and Israel is no secret. The Palestine Papers, the largest-ever leak of confidential documents from a decade of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, revealed the extent of this. According to a document leaked from the US embassy in Israel in 2005, Israeli and Palestinian security services had agreed to meet every 10 to 14 days at "operational level", and to follow up with meetings "in the field".
     Years later, Israel's Yossi Kuperwasser, director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs....
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Frontlines Podcast: The end of Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation?
Jerusalem Post 11 Dec 2014 - "Post"'s deputy managing editor discusses ramifications of death of Palestinian official following clashes with IDF; environmentalist assesses impact of oil spill in southern Israel.

Palestinians Halt Security Cooperation With Israel After Minister's Death
The Foward Breaking News 10 Dec 2014 - The Palestinian Authority said it will cease all security coordination with Israel in response to the death of a senior Palestinian official following a confrontation with Israeli soldiers. Click here for the rest of the article...

When music becomes a place of subjugation
B.G. Silver (pseudonym, +972 Magazine 12/5/2014
      If we who consider ourselves to be ‘peacemakers’ cannot identify the power dynamics within our own programs and events, then what we are doing at the end of the day does more harm than good for peace, justice, and those most marginalized in this relationship: Palestinians.
     In our ever-growing jungle of protracted conflict and systemic injustice, there is an unquestionable need for inter-group reconciliation encounters between Israelis, Palestinians, and Palestinian-Israelis constructed with peacebuilding and human rights education. What is often missed is that peacebuilding and reconciliation are not simply the answer. They must and can only be a solution when applied through a critical praxis that addresses systemic injustice and inter-group power dynamics even within peacebuilding and reconciliation endeavors.
     As a musician-activist educator, and member of this extended peacebuilding and reconciliation community, it is my responsibility and the responsibility of my colleagues to speak out when this crucial aspect of our work has been violated. I experienced that violation a number of weeks ago when attending one of the only openly public “peace” events that seem to exist in Jerusalem. To my shock and dismay, we just don’t get it.
     As widespread violence continued to blanket this divided city, there was a pocket of hope: this year’s first in a series of open and free-to-the-public musical “peace” events. Several years ago, this idea was birthed with the purpose of uniting Israelis and Palestinians through song and dialogue. Israeli and Palestinian communities would come together for a night of bilingual singing and teaching of each others’ narrative songs, break bread together, and engage in dialogue. I had attended one of these events in Jerusalem in 2011. To my understanding at that time, it upheld many of the values it committed to as an equalizing, joint Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding and reconciliation encounter.
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North Africa: OIC Countries' Media Invited to Denounce Israeli Terrorism Against Palestinian People
allAfrica.com 4 Dec 2014 - [Algerie Presse Service]Tehran -Communication Minister Hamid Grine invited Wednesday in Tehran the media of the countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) denounced Israel's terrorism against the Palestinian people, "to despoil them of their land and religious and civilizational heritage."

'Terrorism' bill born of nation state law
Sergio Yahni, Alternative Information Center 11/26/2014
      The “anti-terrorist” legislation he proposes is a practical outcome of the Nation State Bill that defines the state of Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people”. Such legislation, desired by Netanyahu, creates a relative citizenship and residency status for Palestinians.
     Knesset coalition chairman, MK Yariv Levin (Likud), proposed an eight-step plan to deal with the recent wave of Palestinian social unrest in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. The plan aims to allow Israeli forces to crack down on Palestinian activists, referred to as “terrorists” in the bill, as well as their families and supporters.
     The proposal was presented Wednesday as time-restricted legislation. According to Levin, it was formulated at the behest of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to give police and the security establishment tools to create “real deterrence.”
     Following fears expressed in relation to the Nation State Law proposed by the government last week, Levin's plan relativises the citizenship status of Palestinian citizens of Israel or the Palestinian Authority.
     His legislation proposes to automatically revoke the citizenship of Palestinians found guilty of “engaging or cooperating with terror”. Moreover, Levin proposes that “After completing their prison term, terrorists will be deported from Israel.”
     In addition, families of Palestinians found guilty of “engaging or cooperating with terror” according to the Israeli law will lose their citizenship and will be deported to Gaza if they express support for their relative's deed.
     The bill highlights that “support of terrorism” can be expressed through public or social media, although it does not define the meaning of terrorism.
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Despite Netanyahu, PA continues security cooperation with Israel
Al-Monitor 26 Nov 2014 - In an interview with Al-Monitor, Adnan al-Damiri, the Palestinian Authority security services spokesman, claims that the Israeli leadership chooses to ignore the tight security cooperation in the West Bank for political reasons.

Obama urges calm after 'horrific' Jerusalem attack
11/18/2014 - WASHINGTON (AFP) -- President Barack Obama condemned an "horrific attack" on a Jerusalem synagogue Tuesday that left four people, including three US citizens, dead and urged Israelis and Palestinians to calm tensions."At this sensitive moment in Jerusalem, it is all the more important for Israeli and Palestinian leaders and ordinary citizens to work cooperatively together to lower tensions, reject violence, and seek a path forward....

Kerry blames Jerusalem synagogue attack on 'incitement' by Palestinian leaders
The Guardian 18 Nov 2014 - Secretary of state decries ‘irresponsibility’ of calls for ‘days of rage’ Obama: Palestinians and Israelis should work together to lower tensions The US secretary of state, John Kerry, blamed Palestinian leaders for the death of three...

Jordan and the myth of Arab security
Lamis Andoni, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 11/4/2014
      In his speech before the National Assembly, the House of Representatives and the Senate, King Abdullah II said that the Palestinian issue is "our number one cause" and that "Arab security [is] an integrated unit". These positions must be given Jordanian strategies, but they do not reflect the reality of the practical positions of Jordan or the Arabs.
     In Jordan's case, there has always been a link between the safety of the government and its future on one hand, and the condition that Jordan does not pose a threat to Israel, neither in terms of security or morale, on the other. The national consciousness is, however, linked to liberation causes, in the forefront of which is the Palestinian cause, and this technically means that there are commitments incompatible and contradictory to the Wadi Araba Treaty signed in 1994 which puts Jordan legally and practically in a state of alliance with Israel at the expense of its own national interests and the Palestinian cause. Jordan is the prisoner of the treaty's conditions and terms which stipulate economic cooperation that makes Jordan a market for Israeli products and it must share its water resources.
     Without the treaty, we would not have reached the gas import agreement with Israel; there is no other option than the Israeli option.
     A unilateral commitment to the treaty has practically become Jordan's top interest to the extent that in an interview with the American Zionist journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, King Abdullah explicitly said that he is willing to concede some of his powers to the government in a reform context. However, he is afraid that the future government would cancel the Wadi Araba Treaty, which is a clear admission that he links the treaty to the survival of his regime, or even the survival of Jordan.
     This means that Jordan's strategic security, not only in the eyes of the King, but also in the eyes of many, inside and even outside the system, is conditional on the survival of the treaty, and not linked to the Arab security....
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IDF court convicts Palestinian non-violent organizer, EU human rights def
Haggai Matar, +972 Magazine 10/23/201
      Israeli military court convicts Abdullah Abu Rahmah of obstructing a bulldozer building the separation barrier. His previous trial and imprisonment was followed closely by western governments.
     Abdullah Abu Rahmah, one of the central organizers of the popular resistance protests against the separation barrier in the West Bank village of Bil’in, was convicted of obstructing the work of a soldier by an Israeli military court this week. He will likely be sentenced to four months in prison.
     Abu Rahmah, who was recognized by the European Union as a “human rights defender” dedicated to non-violence, previously served over a year in prison for organizing “illegal marches” as well as for “incitement.” All political demonstrations are illegal for Palestinians under Israeli military law.
     +972 named Abu Rahmah “person of the year” in 2010. The choice was made, we wrote at the time:
     "Because he has become the face of the grassroots, unarmed resistance movement to Israel’s security barrier; because he is the person who has raised international awareness not only of the devastation caused by the barrier, but also the existence of a well-organized, non-violent grassroots opposition movement – one that brings together Palestinians, Israelis and international supporters in a joint struggle. Because he is the answer to the question, “Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?” (answer: there are many; and they are languishing in Israel’s jails). Because he has never wavered in his commitment to non-violence – not even after his cousin Bassam Abu Rahmah was killed by a high-velocity tear gas canister shot by Israeli soldiers directly at his chest; nor after his cousin Adeeb Abu Rahmah was arrested and imprisoned for participating in weekly demonstrations against the barrier that separates the people of Bil’in from their own farmland."
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Gaza, you are just fine
Nassar Ibrahim, Alternative Information Center 10/21/201
      So that's it for the war, Gaza, and you are doing fine. What generous donors! The reconstruction conference ended with agreement to yet again rebuild what Israel has destroyed so many times, and which will undoubtedly be destroyed yet again.
     It wasn't even breaking news as it occurred: numerous countries and key international institutions participated in the international conference for the reconstruction of Gaza, which was held in Cairo earlier this month. At the invitation of the Norwegian government, a diverse group of participants included the UN Secretary General himself, the EU, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Arab League, the World Health Organisation, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, other UN organisations and non-governmental groups. Participants pledged US $5.5 billion dollars for Gaza's reconstruction, even though the Palestinian Authority itself estimated the needs to stop at $4 billion.
     This is the fourth or fifth or who knows what number conference for the reconstruction of Gaza.
     This conference was characterised by states and governments, presidents and organisations, all of whom flew the banner of “Israel's right to defend itself” in the face of the Palestinian people's resistance. Israel destroyed, killed and exterminated entire families without batting an eye or feeling its heart, while all of these now-generous officials were silent during the 51 day attack. And again we have the same meeting, with the same people, after an Israeli onslaught against Gaza. These countries – with or without shame, I don't know – decide on Gaza reconstruction while the Palestinian people are supposed to accept this 'excessive generosity, humanity and sensitivity' toward Palestinians, especially those numerous children who lost their parents, homes and schools during Israel's implementation of the right to defend itself, i.e. to commit a terrible massacre and bring us to the abyss.
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Palestinians torn over contact with Israelis
Dissident Voice: 12 Oct 2014 - A Palestinian university’s decision to bar from its campus an Israeli journalist and outspoken critic of the occupation has exposed a growing rift among Palestinian activists about the merits of contact with Jewish Israelis. Staff at Bir Zeit University, near Ramallah in the West Bank, ordered Amira Hass, a reporter for the Israeli daily Haaretz newspaper, to leave a public conference late last month. She was told it was for her own “safety” in case students protested against her presence. Hass, who has lived among Palestinians in the occupied territories for many years, is a rare critical voice against the occupation in the Israeli media. Her articles translated in Haaretz’s English edition are widely read outside Israel. Bir Zeit’s decision has provoked a heated debate among Palestinian intellectuals, students and activists about how far refusal to cooperate with Israelis should extend. Observers say hostility towards Israeli Jews of all political...more

Warmongering Hebrew University tries to muzzle Palestinian students
Electronic Intifada: 10 Oct 2014 - After threatening peaceful protesters, the Israeli university signed a cooperation deal with a leading weapons-maker. more..

American partnership in the attack on the Palestinians
Uruknet 29 Sep 2014 - September 3, 2014 - After the Palestinian people in Gaza had withstood 51 says against the Israeli killing machine and imposed the resistance conditions on the ceasefire, a number of questions were raised regarding the level of partnership and cooperation...

Islamic Jihad: Killing of Qawasmeh, Abu Aisha means war still on
9/23/2014 - GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Islamic Jihad movement said Tuesday that the overnight killing of suspects in the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teens is a message that "Israel's war on Palestinians" is ongoing. The faction said in a statement that Palestinians should "cooperate against Israel to thwart its goals and policies."It also demanded the Palestinian Authority "end its policy.... Related: Israeli troops kill 2 Palestinian suspects in teens murder and Official: Cairo ceasefire talks still on

occupied Palestinian territory: Humanitarian Crisis in the Gaza Strip 27.08.2014
Relief Web 1 Sep 2014 - Source: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Country: occupied Palestinian territory, Switzerland Facts and figures 2101 Palestinians killed (with at least 1460 civilians) and 10224 wounded 67 Israelis killed (3 civilians) 244 schools and 17000 homes destroyed or damaged On...

Israeli peace activism: Same slogans for a different reality
Nadia Naser-najjab, +972 Magazine 8/23/2014
      As a fundamental human desire and right, peace traverses time and context. However, if it is to be realized it must be adjusted to political and social realities.
     In a period degraded by extremes of violence and dehumanization, the sight of 10,000 Israeli protestors taking to the streets of Tel Aviv last Saturday to protest against their own government’s actions in Gaza appeared as a welcome chink of light illuminating unremittingly bleak skies. Despite being smaller in scale, the demonstration recalled the early 1990s, when large numbers of Israelis demonstrated in favor of peace, and the possibility of a lasting peace seemed so much closer.
     Watching images of the protests in Tel Aviv took me back to the First Intifada, a time when peace appeared as more than a fleeting abstraction or an illusionary delusion; a period when Women in Black attended silent vigils and commemorated Palestinian deaths across Israel; when B’Tselem first emerged to document the full range and scale of the Israeli state’s human rights abuses; when organizations as diverse and significant as Peace Now and Dai L’Kibush (End the Occupation) established the basis of a constituency for peace.
     These groups brought Israelis and Palestinians together and proactively engaged in a whole range of solidarity actions. I personally worked alongside Israelis in establishing solidarity groups and organizing demonstrations, sit-ins, workshops, seminars and lectures. These actions were not confined to the occupied territories: They were deliberately aimed at the Israeli public, and were predicated upon a sincere belief that there was a body of public opinion that would be receptive and sympathetic to Palestinian concerns.
     While our struggle against the occupation united Palestinians and Israelis it could not conceal deeper tensions, divisions and divergences....
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Boycotts are not the answer
Jerusalem Post 3 Aug 2014 - BDS supporters don’t care that universities in Israel are the one place where Palestinians and Israelis continue to work together.

Southern Africa: SADC Condemns Israeli Massacres
allAfrica.com 29 Jul 2014 - [New Era]The SADC Ministerial Committee of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation (MCO) meeting held in Swakopmund last week strongly condemned the recent disproportionate attacks against Palestinian civilians by Israeli security forces.

Attack on Gaza by Saudi Royal Appointment
David Hearst, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 7/20/2014
      There are many hands behind the Israeli army's onslaught on Gaza. America is not unhappy that Hamas is getting such a beating. As footage of the scenes of carnage on the streets of Shejaiya was coming through, John Kerry said on NBC's Meet the Presson Sunday that Israel had every right to defend itself and the US ambassador Dan Shapiro told Israel's Channel 2 news that the US would seek to help moderate forces become stronger in Gaza, meaning the Palestinian Authority.
     Nor is Egypt overcome with grief. Its foreign minister Sameh Shoukry held Hamas responsible for civilian deaths after their rejection of the ceasefire.
     Neither matter to Netanyahu as much as the third undeclared partner in this unholy alliance, for neither on their own could give him the cover he needs for a military operation of this ferocity. And that can come not from a handwringing but impotent parent like the US. Such permission can only come from a brother Arab.
     The attack on Gaza comes by Saudi Royal Appointment. This royal warrant is nothing less than an open secret in Israel, and both former and serving defense officials are relaxed when they talk about it. Former Israeli defense minister Shaul Mofaz surprised the presenter on Channel 10 by saying Israel had to specify a role for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the demilitarization of Hamas. Asked what he meant by that, he added that Saudi and Emirati funds should be used to rebuild Gaza after Hamas had been defanged.
     Amos Gilad, the Israeli defense establishment's point man with Mubarak's Egypt and now director of the Israeli defense ministry's policy and political-military relations department told the academic James Dorsey recently : "Everything is underground, nothing is public. But our security cooperation with Egypt and the Gulf states is unique. This is the best period of security and diplomatic relations with the Arab."
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As a father who lost his children in Gaza, I call for an end to this bloodshed | Izzeldin Abuelaish
The Guardian 18 Jul 2014 - Palestinians and Israelis must work together to build a new generation that believes in humanity and freedom Insanity, as Einstein said, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. We Palestinians...

Cultures of hate ... Israelis, not Palestinians, excel at vengeance
Jonathan Cook, Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN) 7/8/2014
      Shock and anger have engulfed Israeli and Palestinian societies since they learnt last week of the barbarous murder of children from their communities. Hours after three Israeli teenagers' bodies were located, long after their abduction, a Palestinian youth, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, was kidnapped, beaten and burnt to death, apparently as revenge. These horrifying events should serve as a lesson in the obscene futility of vengeance. As a relative of one of the murdered children observed: "There is no difference between blood and blood." Sadly, that was not the message implicit in much of last week's coverage. On social media, a juxtaposition of pictures from the same day's New York Times showed how easy it is to forget not only that our blood is the same but that grief is too. A headline about Israelis' "heartbreak" was illustrated movingly by the families of the three Israeli teenagers huddled together, overwhelmed by their loss. A report on the killing of 16-year-old Abu Khdeir, on the other hand, was accompanied by an image of masked youths throwing stones. These contrasting depictions of mourning were entirely misleading. True, Palestinian youngsters have been violently protesting in Jerusalem and communities in Israel since Abu Khdeir was buried. But so have groups of Israeli Jews. They have rampaged through Jerusalem and parts of Israel, calling out "Death to the Arabs" and attacking anyone who looks Palestinian. Nonetheless, Abraham Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, a US Jewish organisation that claims to fight bigotry, was peddling an equally divisive message. In the Huffington Post he wrote of a Palestinian "culture of hatred". According to Foxman, Palestinian and Israeli societies are fundamentally different. Palestinian discontent is "fanned and incited into hatred by a widespread, unfettered support for violence against Jews and Israel".
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Award-winning Palestinian novelist declares co-existence "a lie"
Uruknet 11 Jul 2014 - July 5, 2014 - Sayed Kashua, the award-winning Palestinian author of Dancing Arabs, Let it be Morning and Exposure, who famously writes in Hebrew, has branded the idea of co-existence between Israeli Jews and Palestinians "a lie." Kashua, who writes...

News Analysis: For Israelis and Palestinians, Separation Is Dehumanizing
New York Times 11 Jul 2014 - Israelis and Palestinians once worked and socialized together. Increasing separation has made them strangers who distrust and fear each other.

Palestinians protest against Israeli-Palestinian cooperation
Uruknet 30 Jun 2014 - June 23, 2014 -Hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets in Ramallah to condemn the continuous Israeli aggression in the West Bank, as well as the Palestinian Authority s security cooperation with Israel.Large numbers of Palestinians also took part in...

The Making of A Palestinian Uprising
Alon Ben-meir, Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN) 6/26/2014
      The abduction of three Israeli teenage boys is a criminal act and hopefully the perpetrators will be caught soon, face the full weight of the law and end the heart wrenching ordeal of the boys' parents and relatives. Yet regardless of who is responsible, Prime Minister Netanyahu made matters much worse for both Israelis and Palestinians. His sweepingly harsh response has already led to more deaths and may potentially lead to more abductions, if not an outright Palestinian uprising.
     It is legitimate for Israeli security forces to go into the West Bank and investigate in an effort to find the missing boys and capture the perpetrators, especially when President Abbas demonstrated in words and deeds his unreserved cooperation. Abbas condemned the kidnapping, not just for Israeli and US ears but also the Arab world, as he "delivered [his comments] at a high-profile gathering of Muslim and Arab officials in Saudi Arabia."
     Instead of working diligently with Palestinian internal security to demonstrate how the two sides can fully cooperate on matters of security now and in the future, Netanyahu sent his security forces on a rampage throughout the West Bank. More than 1,150 locations were searched including charities, media outlets and university campuses.
     Around 400 Palestinians were arrested and more than half are Hamas operatives and politicians. Netanyahu, who vehemently rejected the Palestinian unity government, seized upon the agonizing kidnapping to play politics with the lives of three innocent youngsters.
     Instead of challenging Hamas to help in the search for the missing teenagers to demonstrate their commitment to the unity government, he immediately accused Hamas as the "usual suspects" behind such a hideous crime without producing any evidence.
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Hamas: PA security coordination with Israel is a crime
6/20/2014 - GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas on Thursday lambasted Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas for his cooperation with Israeli forces as a massive search operation for three missing Israeli teenagers across the West Bank enters its second week. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that security coordination with Israel "is a crime and a violation of the Cairo agreement which stated that security cooperation is punishable.... Related: PA prevents march supporting hunger strikers

What will Egypt’s role be in the case of the missing Israeli settlers?
Al-Akhbar Politics 19 Jun 2014 - A handout picture released by the Palestinian president's office (PPO) shows Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas (R) meeting new Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri in Jeddah in the sidelines of the meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Jeddah, on June 18, 2014. (Photo: AFP-PPO/Thaer Ghanem)...

What will Egypt’s role be in the case of the missing Israeli settlers?
Al-Akhbar News 19 Jun 2014 - A handout picture released by the Palestinian president's office (PPO) shows Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas (R) meeting new Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri in Jeddah in the sidelines of the meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Jeddah, on June 18, 2014. (Photo: AFP-PPO/Thaer Ghanem)...

Abbas: Kidnappers of Israelis aim to 'destroy' Palestinians
6/18/2014 - JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) -- President Mahmud Abbas on Wednesday accused those behind the alleged kidnapping in the West Bank of three Israeli teenagers last week of wanting to "destroy" the Palestinians." Those who kidnapped the three teenagers want to destroy us. We will hold them accountable," Abbas told an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation meeting in Jeddah.... Related: Israel tightens West Bank grip as Abbas blasts kidnappers

Don t let Israeli army brainwash you, warns powerful short film - watch
Uruknet 16 Jun 2014 - June 9, 2014 - A new dark, psychological short film by Nadim Hamed produced by Eyad Barghouti in cooperation with the Palestinian civil society groups 7amleh and Baladna makes a bold statement against Israel s latest attempts to enlist Palestinian...

Conference in support of Palestinian prisoners held in Budapest
6/6/2014 - BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Ministry of Prisoner Affairs in cooperation with the Palestinian Prisoner's Society and the General Union of Palestinian Communities in Europe on Friday launched an international conference in Budapest in support of prisoners in Israeli jails. Lawyer Fadwa Barghothi, Deputy minister Issa Qaraqe, undersecretary of the ministry of prisoner affairs Ziad Abu Ein, head of the Palestinian Prisoner....

Italians say 'No' to Israeli water thief Mekorot
Editorial, Redress 5/31/2014
      All over the world, people of conscience are saying "No" to cooperation with the racist Zionist regime in Israel.
     The latest to speak out are the people of Rome, who have submitted a 25-metre-long petition to the city council against cooperation with Israeli water company Mekorot.
     Mekorot is responsible for serious violations of international law. It steals water from Palestinian water sources and supplies it to Jewish squatter colonies, which are built illegally on occupied Palestinian territory.
     Here's a report we received from the Italian committees that have been organizing the protest against cooperation with the water thieves.
     On Thursday 29 May, with 25 metres of signatures, the resounding "No" to Italian cooperation with Israeli water company Mekorot was taken to Rome City Hall.
     The 7,114 signatures on the petition against the agreement signed between Rome's water utility ACEA and Mekorot snaked their way through the public square, where a delegation of the Committee Against ACEA-Mekorot Cooperation and the Rome Coordination for Public Water delivered a copy to the office of mayor Ignazio Marino. The petition calls on the city of Rome, the majority shareholder in ACEA - thus far silent on the issue - to take the necessary steps to block the agreement signed by the two companies.
     Mekorot, Israel's national water company, is responsible for serious violations of international law. The company extracts water illegally from Palestinian water sources, in turn providing the stolen water to Israeli settlements....
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Who will protect Palestinian journalists?
Aziz Abu Sarah, +972 Magazine 5/24/2014
      Between shootings, beatings and arrests, Palestinian journalists are subject to violence and restrictions that their Israeli counterparts generally avoid.
     Last week at a protest in the West Bank city of Beitunia, a group of Palestinian protestors attacked Israeli journalist Avi Issacharoff and photographer Daniel Book. According to Issacharoff, he was told to leave the protest by Palestinian journalists, and when he refused he was surrounded by a group of angry Palestinian protesters, who he says wanted to "lynch" him. Eventually, he was escorted out of the area with the help of two Palestinian officers. Such incidents are depressing, especially for journalists who are simply trying to report the news.
     This incident, however, raises several issues regarding access and cooperation among Israeli and Palestinian journalists.
     After years of conflict and a failed peace process, trust has been shaken between Palestinian protestors and Israeli journalists. Many Palestinian protestors worry that they cannot trust Israelis with photographs that could lead to their arrest. In addition, the knowledge that Israeli journalists could, at any time, be called up for their annual reserve service in the IDF further complicates their relationship with Palestinian society.
     On a personal note: when I was filming National Geographic's Conflict Zone, the biggest hurdle I had to overcome was the issue of trust. This was true for the settlers, the IDF and the Palestinian protestors in Nabi Saleh alike. For example, it was understood from the onset that we wouldn't film the faces of stone throwers, since our footage could potentially lead to their arrest. And while on their base, the Israeli army asked us on several occasions not to film certain things or people for security reasons.
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Pope Francis and the lessons of Rabin
Dorgham Abusalim, Ma’an News Agency 5/23/2014
      Dorgham Abusalim is a master's candidate in International Affairs at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. He writes frequently on Palestinian and Israeli affairs in Arabic and English.
     The mid-1990s were a time of hope and optimism for many Israelis and Palestinians. At the time, it seemed that the Oslo Accords might actually be going somewhere.
     Much of that excitement can be attributed to two leaders who came together then: PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Their unforgettable 1993 handshake continues to shine some light on the immense darkness that followed.
     And by 1994, the gradual restoration of Palestinian rights and sovereign governance and the slowly untangling of the security needs of both sides, shaped the most concrete deal since the early 20th century.
     Of course, the agreements were the outcome of tough compromises, not least because of their heavy legal and technical character; and because they undoubtedly were brought to life as part of a five-year interim plan that would lead to the successful settlement of final status issues. Not much was settled, and while the prospect of the ensuing five years seemed tumultuous then, Arafat and Rabin remained committed to the principal goal: peace.
     Much has been said about the genuine commitment of the two leaders. Fingers were pointed quickly at violations of the accords. All the while, blame games, a staple of Israeli-Palestinian politics, overshadowed the prospective potential of what would have been.
     Then came November 4, 1995....
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Open Gaza’s seaport, end the blockade
Hanine Hassan, Al Jazeera 5/15/2014
      Opening Gaza's seaport can provide Palestinians humiliation-free access to the world.
     The nonchalance with which the West has been observing the slow decomposition of the Palestinian social fabric in Gaza in its eighth year of Israeli blockade amounts to a level of criminal complicity in the face of international law.
     The ongoing Israeli blockade - recently in full cooperation with Egypt - of the tiny coastal strip has been defined as the collective punishment of approximately 1.6 million civilians. Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that "No persons may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed". Therefore, the Israeli collective punishment of the inhabitants of Gaza is a violation of international law, and as such a war crime.
     Siege and blockade are causing severe shortages of essential supplies from building materials to medicine and generating a sense of despair. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that "the number of patients' applications submitted in March 2014 to Israeli authorities for health access through Erez Crossing was the highest since the WHO began monitoring access in 2005. The increase in need reflects the continuing problems of access through Rafah border to Egypt and lack of drugs, especially chemotherapy and lack of medical disposables".
     Additionally, three referral patients died in March while waiting for approval to exit Gaza, including a young woman who died one day after being interviewed by Israeli security officials. In addition, according to Gaza Ministry of Health's statistics until 2010 at least 373 patients have died while waiting for specialist medical treatment outside the Gaza Strip. These patients were not granted their right to optimal and rapid treatment, as Israeli Authorities gamble with their lives behind a bulletproof fence.
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Women s cooperatives provide support and income for Palestinian women
Uruknet 4 May 2014 - April 30, 2014 - Staggeringly high rates of unemployment, imprisonment, critical injury, and death at the hands of Israeli armed forces have rendered many men unable to provide for their families. As of January this year, according to Palestinian prisoner...

Israeli sanctions on Palestinians could backfire
Al-Monitor 1 May 2014 - The Israeli assumption that economic pressure will return the Palestinians to "the straight and narrow path," has already proven to be ineffective and might endanger the motivation for successful security cooperation.

Hamas Calls for End to PA Security Coordination with Israel
IMEMC - Arab League blames Israel for talks stalemate Hamas said today [Wednesday, April 9, 2014] that Palestinians in the West Bank should "give full rein" to resistance against the Israeli occupation and end security cooperation with Israel. ...

Netanyahu Instructs Israeli Government Ministries to Cease Cooperation with Palestinians
IMEMC - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Wednesday, instructed all Israeli government ministries to refrain from meeting their Palestinian Authority counterparts, and to cease civilian and economic cooperation with the Palestinian Authority. ...

Netanyahu orders govt officials to stop cooperation with PA
4/9/2014 - BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu early Wednesday ordered government officials to stop cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, an official said."Israel government ministers have been told to refrain from meeting their Palestinian counterparts," the official told AFP, requesting anonymity. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted a senior Israeli official as saying that only "low-level field cooperation" would be permitted. Netanyahu's.... Related: Hamas calls for end to PA security coordination with Israel and Fatah leader: Israeli sanctions will lead to collapse of PA

Hamas calls for end to PA security coordination with Israel
4/9/2014 - GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas said on Wednesday that Palestinians in the West Bank should "give full rein" to resistance against the Israeli occupation and end security cooperation with Israel. The moves comes hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered government officials to stop cooperation with Palestinian officials as part of a round of sanctions on the PA as peace negotiations between the.... Related: Netanyahu orders govt officials to stop cooperation with PA

Fatah leader: Israeli sanctions will lead to collapse of PA
4/9/2014 - RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Fatah central committee member Azzam al-Ahmad warned on Wednesday that Israeli sanctions will lead to the dismantling of the Palestinian Authority. Al-Ahmad told Ma'an that the PA will not announce its dismantling outright, but stressed that Israeli actions will "lead to its collapse." Al-Ahmad's comments come amid a near breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the.... Related: Netanyahu orders govt officials to stop cooperation with PA

Israel's Netanyahu orders ministers to halt ties with Palestinians
LA Times 9 Apr 2014 - JERUSALEM — Relations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders continued a downward spiral Wednesday with a new Israeli directive to its ministers to halt cooperation with their Palestinian counterparts.

Jerusalem’s water crisis
Al-Monitor 31 Mar 2014 - Because Israeli authorities are neglecting East Jerusalem residents by failing to ensure a constant water supply, both Israelis and Palestinians have to cooperate on water management as a pollution catastrophe nears.

Western hypocrisy: Crimea and Israeli war crimes
Vacy Vlazna, Al Jazeera 3/24/2014
      The West hits Russia with sanctions for annexing Crimea, but it has yet to punish Israel for war crimes in Palestine.
     The velocity with which the US and EU imposed economic sanctions on Russia for its annexation of Crimea is equal to the mass of hypocrisy on Israel's creeping annexation of Palestinian land through colonial-settlement expansion. The ongoing expansion is seen as a war crime "falling into the provision of Article 8 of the International Criminal Court statutes".
     Following the overwhelming vote by Crimeans to secede from the Ukraine and join Russia in the rushed referendum on March 16, US President Barack Obama, on March 20, ordered a second round of soft sanctions targeting a list of key Russian officials, businessmen and bankers, sending ripples of instability through Russia's stock market.
     Unfazed, the following day, President Vladimir Putin, formalised the annexation into law which was then passed unanimously by the Russian parliament. In parallel, the EU and the Ukraine signed a security and defence co-operation pact with the added sweetener of reduced tariffs to boost Ukraine's debt-ridden economy.
     Countering the large Russian troop presence on Ukraine's eastern border, the US raised the stakes in the sabre-rattling game. The Pentagon cancelled a military exercise, Atlas Vision, that was to be held in Russia and instead announced the inclusion of US forces in the multinational military exercise, Rapid Trident, that will be held soon in the Ukraine.
     Israel's illegal annexations
     When in 1947, the UN grappled with the idea of partitioning Palestine, it was rejected, outright and rightfully, by the Palestinians. Nor were the entire inhabitants under the British mandate granted a referendum, as were the Crimeans, on the matter because the indigenous population far exceeded the Zionist immigrants whom the international community favoured....
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Abu Marzouk slams PA for its ongoing security collaboration with Israel
PIC - Member of Hamas's political bureau Mousa Abu Marzouk criticized the Palestinian Authority's persistent security cooperation with the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people.

The Similarities Between Mahmoud Abbas and Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Rumy Hasan, CounterPunch 3/21/2014
      Paths of Collaboration
     When Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian National Authority (PA), visited South Africa for Nelson Mandela's memorial, he aroused controversy at a press conference on 11th December by declaring:
     'No we do not support the boycott of Israel . But we ask everyone to boycott the products of the settlements. Because the settlements are in our territories. It is illegal. . But we don't ask anyone to boycott Israel itself. We have relations with Israel, we have mutual recognition of Israel' (Quoted in The Star, South Africa, 11th December 2013).
     Despite the growing influence of the BDS (Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions) campaign against Israel (for example, on the 9th February, the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported that 'Netanyahu convenes ministers to discuss growing Israel economic boycott threats') Abbas and the PA have never supported it - so his comments were a confirmation of this stance. This flows from the Oslo Accords of September 1993 (Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements) to which Abbas is strongly wedded. Article XI concerns Israeli-Palestinian Cooperation in Economic Fields; Annex III concerns the Protocol on Israeli-Palestinian Cooperation in Economic and Development Programs and Annex IV concerns the Protocol on Israeli-Palestinian Cooperation Concerning Regional Development Programs.
     Given Oslo's stress on cooperation, acts of non-cooperation such as BDS are excluded. Pioneered in apartheid South Africa, the aim of BDS by civil society is to apply non-violent measures - including rigorously and consistently exposing the crimes of the targeted regime - to fight against injustice and repression where the government concerned refuses to undertake meaningful reforms, and where international institutions are unwilling to robustly intervene. Effective BDS, therefore, implies harming a regime in order to force change. Abbas and the PA diligently adhere to this interpretation so not only do they oppose BDS, they also refrain from diligently publicising the myriad breaches of international laws and conventions by Israel.
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An alternative Palestinian state?
Ahmed Eleiba, Washington, Al-Ahram Weekly 3/5/2014
      As parties to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict entrench on the notion of the Jewish state, the idea of exporting the solution - and even Palestinians - to Jordan reappears.
     There appears to be renewed impetus in the rounds of Palestinian-Israeli talks taking place variously in Washington, Tel Aviv and Ramallah after four months during which US Secretary of State John Kerry undertook 10 trips to the region in order to salvage what he could of the so-called peace process. Yet nothing in Arab reactions suggests any immanent change in any of the negotiating tracks that were initiated in Oslo in 1993. In fact, frustration seems to best describe what Kerry faces as Palestinians and Israelis exchange accusations that the other side is not ready for peace and as Israel notches up its intransigence on the question of recognition of the Jewishness of the Israeli state.
     To complicate matters further, tensions between Tel Aviv and Amman rose last week when the Jordanian parliament unanimously approved a motion (non-binding by law) to expel the Israeli ambassador in protest against a Knesset bill to assert Israeli sovereignty over Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which has been administered by Jordan for the past 20 years. The development could jeopardise the Jordanian-Israeli Peace Treaty and added yet another factor propelling the situation not towards a peace agreement with the Palestinians but towards conflict at worst or a complete breakdown in diplomacy at best amid mounting Arab indifference to the US-led drive to reach a framework agreement by 29 April.
     Thus, in spite of the official attention the US administration is giving according to Kerry's movements and the great plaudits he has received in Congress for his efforts to bring Palestinian and Israeli negotiators together again, experts and think tanks close to the White House and Capitol Hill are not jubilant. In fact, pessimism appears the order of the day in those circles in view of the complications on the ground impeding progress towards any viable agreement between the two sides....
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US: Obama to meet Abbas on March 17
2/27/2014 - WASHINGTON (AFP) -- President Mahmoud Abbas will meet US President Barack Obama at the White House on March 17 to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the White House said Thursday."They will also discuss our continuing effort to work cooperatively to strengthen the institutions that can support the establishment of a Palestinian state," spokesman Jay Carney said. [END]

Abbas: Palestinians want to open, not divide Jerusalem
2/17/2014 - RAMALLAH (Ma'an) - The Palestinians do not want to divide Jerusalem, but rather keep it as an open city to be a capital for two states with Arabs and Israelis living together in the city, President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday. The president's comments came as he hosted a group of Israeli students in his office in Ramallah. Abbas highlighted that it'....

Kerry Plan shakes up Jordanian-Palestinian relations
2/15/2014 - Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist and former professor of journalism at Princeton University. The seriousness of the US-initiated framework for a possible solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem appears to have shaken dormant relations in the region, including in Jordan. The Palestinian-Jordanian relationship, which is experiencing its highest degree of cooperation and mutual trust, is being put to the test. Jordanian politicians, pundits, journalists and....

A Better Israeli-Iranian Relationship
Paul Pillar, The National Interest 2/6/2014
      Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview the other day, "Once the Palestinian problem is solved the conditions for an Iranian recognition of Israel will be possible." Set aside for the moment the fact that Zarif was addressing only one-half of a process and left open the question of what it would take for an Israeli recognition of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which may be the more problematic part of the equation. Note how the mere possibility of the Islamic Republic recognizing the State of Israel is a universe apart from so much of what is continually said about Iran, especially said by the government of Israel. You know-all that rhetoric about how Iran is supposedly dedicated to the destruction of Israel and so forth.
     They are a universe apart because the rhetoric is mistaken and Zarif's comment is an unexceptional reflection of history and of actual Iranian interests. There should be nothing surprising about his remark, and nothing surprising about it while taking it as an honest and direct expression of Iranian intentions. Amid today's rancor it is easy to forget the substantial history of Israeli-Iranian cooperation. That history included not only the time of the shah but also the early years of the Islamic republic, when Israel was providing logistical and training assistance to Iran and urging the United States to tilt toward Iran during the Iran-Iraq War.
     A fundamental basis for cooperation back then, as it would be now and in the future, is the status of Israel and Iran (along with Turkey) as important non-Arab states in a predominantly Arab region. They share concerns about some of the same threats and adversaries, including some adversaries of the violent extremist sort. Being estranged from each other is a missed opportunity for Israel as well as for Iran. It represents part of the cost that Israel incurs as long as its government swears eternal hostility against Iran.
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Kerry Plan shakes up Jordanian- Palestinian relations
Daoud Kuttab, Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN) 2/13/2014
      The seriousness of the U.S.-initiated framework for a possible solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem appears to have shaken dormant relations in the region, including in Jordan.
     The Palestinian-Jordanian relationship, which is experiencing its highest degree of cooperation and mutual trust, is being put to the test.
     The challenges facing this important relationship stem from identity issues that have plagued Jordan for decades but which have been pushed under the rug.
     Jordanian politicians, pundits, journalists and even government officials are expressing different degrees of concern and worry regarding the aftermath of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry plan, even though information about the plan is very sketchy.
     The potential of solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has resurrected badly needed discussion about political reform, which was delayed until the resolution of the Palestinian cause.
     The refugee issue is perhaps the most important part of this discussion. Two million registered refugees in Jordan are the biggest single group of Palestinian refugees in the world. Their case is even more complicated by the fact that they are also full Jordanian citizens, though not equitably represented in Parliament as a result of large-scale gerrymandering.
     Murmurings began on websites and social media, and from former Jordanian officials, including former prime minister Marouf Bakhit, who requested that a Jordanian representative attend the ongoing U.S.-led talks to ensure that Jordanian rights are preserved.
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SodaStream is wrong target for Oxfam’s Israel boycott
Al-Monitor 4 Feb 2014 - Boycott threats against Israel's SodaSteam company will achieve the opposite of advancing peace, by destroying an example of Israeli-Palestinian commercial cooperation and depriving hundreds of Palestinian families of their livelihoods.

West Bank riot illustrates essence of occupation
Yesh Din, written By Yossi Gurvitz, +972 Magazine 1/29/2014
      When residents of one of the most radical settlements in the West Bank terrorized their Palestinian neighbors, the army and police did what they are becoming known for doing: absolutely nothing.
     On April 25th, 2013, Raed Mahmoud Ahmad Sabah was in his house in the village of 'Urif when he noticed three Israeli civilians, all wearing hoods, approaching his house from the nearby settlement of Yitzhar. Shortly afterwards, a settlement security vehicle joined the group, and out stepped a man who Sabah identified as a settlement security officer. Several minutes late, two IDF vehicles arrived, out of which emerged a handful of soldiers. The squad of hooded Israelis was reinforced by even more hooded Israelis who also came from the direction of Yitzhar. Together they began to hurl stones at Sabah's home and at the neighboring houses and uprooting saplings. The Israeli soldiers, along with the settlement security officer, just stood about aimlessly.
     Only when the young men of 'Urif gathered to defend themselves and their property, did the army spring into action. Naturally, the IDF and Border Police began firing tear gas canisters at the Palestinians. Sabah would later count seven tear gas canisters in his courtyard. The Israeli rioters used the opportunity to sneak back home under cover of the gas. Needless to say, none of them were detained.
     Yitzhar is one of the most notoriously radical settlements. Its municipal council recently resigned (Hebrew) after its residents decided to stop cooperating with the IDF and appointed suspected criminal Boaz Albert (Hebrew) as their representative to the army. Last August, the settlers denied Druze workers entry to the settlements. At the time, the army decided once more to give in (Hebrew) and sent Jewish workers in their stead. Yitzhar is home to the Od Yosef Khai Yeshiva (religious school), whose rabbis published the gentile-slaying manual, "Torat HaMelekh...."
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Abbas in Moscow: a different visit
Oraib Al Rantawi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 1/27/2014
      Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's most recent visit to Moscow is different than any previous in terms of the timing, content of the talks and agreements and the possibilities it holds for the future.
     Abbas went to Moscow with the most likely scenario in mind: the failure of the negotiations and the possibility of the Palestinian Authority falling into a cycle of siege and isolation, as it has in the past. Abbas went to Moscow while listening to the daily calls of the Palestinians demanding release from the 'exclusive U.S.' management and sponsorship of negotiations and the transfer of the entire issue to the UN Security Council, or at least the international Quartet, in which Moscow and Washington were supposed to act as co-sponsors before the United States monopolised it. The US is employing this sponsorship to serve Israeli security interests and calculations.
     Therefore, the Palestinian president's visit was an invitation for Moscow to play a more effective and active role in the negotiations and management of the political process. On the other hand President Vladimir Putin's stressing of the "historical legacy" of relations between the two sides was interesting, as it must be preserved and built upon. There must also be a focus on the development of a network of economic and trade relations and bilateral cooperation between the two sides.
     The Palestinian Authority is looking to attract Russian investment in gas exploration and extraction. There has been word that the giant Russian oil and gas company Gazprom plans to invest $1 billion in gas exploration and extraction from a field near Ramallah in the West Bank and on the coast of the Gaza Strip. This implicitly implies that Palestinian-Russian relations will, for the first time ever, have a strong economic, financial, and commercial infrastructure.
     Moreover, three agreements in the field of health, interior issues and customs were signed during the visit aiming to facilitate the flow of economic and commercial exchanges....
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Celebrating water cooperation: Red Sea to Dead Sea
Hilal Elve, Al Jazeera 1/26/2014
      Israel-Palestine Joint Water Committee's work has been referred to as 'water apartheid', and 'pretence of cooperation'.
     "...it is difficult to understand why the Palestinians are denied or significantly restricted access to an equitable share of mountain aquifers and Jordan River basin, while at the same time being encouraged to buy fresh water from Israel."
     In December 2013 the World Bank proudly announced a rare agreement on water among Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority (PA). The Middle East is not a region where cooperation among states is common, especially in relation to water. Therefore, the news about this so-called "water cooperation agreement" made headlines in the global media.
     While the World Bank, and official authorities of the three countries were very pleased with the outcome, environmentalists and Middle East water specialists were sceptical because of the feared adverse impacts of the project on the environment and fragile ecosystem, and its implications for delicate political conflicts on the ground. Some Israeli experts were suspicious, supposing that the main motivation of the agreement was a geopolitical interest associated with giving support to Jordan. "Saving the Dead Sea" which was proclaimed to the public as the main justification of the agreement was seen as distinctly secondary by critics.
     Red Sea to Dead Sea
     The agreement calls for transportation of water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. The goal is to replenish the waters of the Dead Sea that was in serious danger of drying up. The Jordan River had previously been providing feeder waters to sustain the Dead Sea, but these were diminished over the years by diversions in large volumes by Israel, Jordan and Syria.
     The project also responds to the acute shortage of clean fresh water, especially in Jordan. One of the main aims of the project is a commitment to build a new desalination plant in Aqaba, Jordan, that will convert salt water from the Red Sea into fresh water. The desalination project will be built and operated by a private company on a strictly commercial basis....
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Germany toughens stance over Israel research deal
1/24/2014 - JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Germany is insisting that research support and cooperation with Israel exclude Jewish settlements built on Palestinian land, Israeli media said Thursday, weeks ahead of a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. According to the report in Haaretz daily, Berlin's decision "represents a significant escalation in European measures against the settlements" in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. Haaretz notes that a....

A new approach to Jordan Valley
YNet News, 23 Jan 2014 - Analysis: Technology and security cooperation between Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians makes it possible to reduce the Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley to a minimum as part of a peace agreement ....

For Palestinian citizens, nothing but contempt and rejection for Liberman plan
Riad Kabaha, +972 Magazine 1/17/2014
      Liberman's proposals spoil the delicate fabric of relations between Arabs and Jews in Israel. They come from a man who paved his political path using right-wing statements, erecting barriers in the process of peace and leading us to fear and despair.'
     I was born in the early 1950s as an Israeli citizen. I was raised and educated in Israel, where I acquired positive, beneficial things from Jewish society, such as: curriculum, language, clothing, sites around the country, academic studies, employment, Jewish friends, participation in Knessest elections, the ability to struggle for equality and rights, working together with the Jewish people and cooperation with Jews who believe in my way.
     Thus, we became part of a new culture: Israeli culture on the one hand, while continuing to be an integral part of the Palestinian people on the other. Although separated from other Palestinians until 1967, we were able to keep our tradition, language, and culture.
     The occupation of 1967 did not change the fact that we maintain our characteristics both as Israelis and as part of the Palestinian nation at the same time. This makes us unique and different from both the Jews and the residents of the occupied territories.
     That is why Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman's recent statements about exchanging territories and forcing nearly 300,000 Palestinian Arabs Israeli in what is known as the Triangle area (which stretches from Kfar Qassem in central Israel to Megiddo in the North, and includes more than 20 Arab towns and cities) to a future Palestinian state were received with contempt and rejection by all of the Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel.
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Dutch business giants join boycott, causing Israel concern
Uruknet 16 Jan 2014 - January 14, 2014 - In the wake of the recent termination of cooperation with Israeli companies linked to settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories by three Dutch business giants, Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans has declared that the Netherlands rejects...

Dutch business giants join boycott, causing Israel concern
Jessica Purkiss, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 1/14/2014
      In the wake of the recent termination of cooperation with Israeli companies linked to settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories by three Dutch business giants, Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans has declared that the Netherlands rejects boycotts and sanctions against Israel.
     Despite Israel being responsible for the settlements and the creation of the settlement enterprise, deemed illegal under international law, on Friday, according to Dutch News, Timmermans told local media, that while the Netherlands is committed to its anti-settlements stance and discourages Dutch companies from doing business with them, it does not support a boycott of the state itself.
     According to Timmermans, the anti-settlement stance has been a Netherlands "policy for years." He previously summarised the Dutch position in a letter to Parliament in July, "The Dutch government discourages economic relations between Dutch firms and businesses in settlements in the Occupied Territories. Dutch government institutions do not provide services to any businesses established in Israeli settlements. The Netherlands embassy in Tel Aviv advises Dutch firms on the international law implications of doing business in occupied territories. Dutch firms are, where necessary, called to account."
     Despite the launch in December of the Netherlands-Israel Cooperation Forum in an attempt to strengthen bi-lateral ties between the two nations, their relationship was tested in the same week, when Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte cancelled a gala ceremony planned to inaugurate a new container scanner donated by the Netherlands to Israel's border crossing with the Gaza Strip.
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G4S contracts in Israeli occupied territories face major investigation
Global BDS 13 Jan 2014 - G4S, the security company which has lurched from crisis to crisis over the past two years, is facing an investigation by international authorities into its alleged activities in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Sources said the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) UK staff...

Spying for Apartheid
Philip Giraldi, The Unz Review 12/20/2013
      The death of Nelson Mandela and the refusal of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attend the funeral serve as a reminder of the somewhat tortuous relationship between South Africa and Israel as well as a notorious but little known spying case involving both nations and the Israel Lobby's Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in the 1990s. Israel's reluctance to celebrate Mandela is not exactly surprising as he became a prominent critic of Tel Aviv's repression of the Palestinians, a situation that to him was all too reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa. Indeed, Israelis among themselves frequently describe the occupation of the West Bank as apartheid, a fact noted by former US President Jimmy Carter among others, but a characterization which is assiduously avoided in the US media.
     Israel and South Africa under apartheid had a lot in common, given that both states were regarded by many as international pariahs due to their exclusionary domestic politics, in Israel based on religion and ethnicity and in South Africa based on race. Israel also was and still is regarded as an occupying power, in the 1990s due to its direct military control of the Sinai Peninsula, West Bank, Golan Heights, and Gaza Strip. South Africa and Israel's shared perception of victimhood produced a willingness to stand together against world opinion and a mechanism for cooperation between the two governments also existed in the form of a large and wealthy Jewish community centered on Johannesburg.
     It is now generally accepted that Israel secretly helped South Africa develop a nuclear bomb, receiving in return uranium for its own program, while South Africa was also an eager buyer of weapons produced by Israel's fledgling arms industry. The probable test of a nuclear device, either of Israeli or South African provenance, was arranged by Pretoria in the Indian Ocean in 1979. Both nations shared the belief that they would have to possess nuclear weapons to defend themselves against their numerous enemies. Though South Africa ultimately abandoned its arms program and signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Israel continued on its own, using stolen American technology and enriched uranium to construct an arsenal that today consists of between 100 and 200 nuclear weapons.
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PHOTOS: Gaza’s streets remain flooded a week after storm
Activestills, +972 Magazine 12/20/2013
      The UN reports that 10,000 people were displaced in the record-setting storm and that it could take another week to clear the flooding.
     A week after record-setting winter storms pounded the Middle East, areas of the Gaza Strip are still struggling to cope with severe flooding of homes and businesses. Gaza City residents reported that local government officials were slow to respond, had few available resources and showed little evidence of advanced planning. Instead, most immediate assistance was provided by community members who organized fishing boats and other makeshift watercraft to rescue people from their homes.
     This week, Palestinian police and local officials coordinated efforts to help families recover belongings from their homes and restricted access to flooded neighborhoods to deter looters. Prior to the storm, 12-hour blackouts and the lack of fuel to run generators had initially limited the ability of civil defense forces to pump water from flooded areas. These conditions, due to the Israeli siege and Egyptian cooperation which closed trade through tunnels on the southern border, were somewhat mitigated by the entry of 450,000 liters of fuel paid for by Qatar to restart Gaza's sole power plant.
     However, UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness on Saturday said that large regions of the Gaza Strip were a "disaster area" and called on the international community to lift the Israeli blockade in order to allow recovery efforts to proceed. "Any normal community would struggle to recover from this disaster. But a community that has been subjected to one of the longest blockades in human history, whose public health system has been destroyed and where the risk of disease was already rife, must be freed from these man made constraints to deal with the impact of a natural calamity such as this."
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By refusing to drastically amend its settlement guidelines, EU reopens debate on occupation within Israeli elites
Noam Sheizaf, +972 Magazine 11/26/2013
      The EU's new settlement guidelines, which were published last summer, put limits on loans to Israeli businesses operating beyond the Green Line and forbid EU financing of projects in settlements. Right-wing ministers are demanding that Israel reject the new terms, while centrists would like to avoid international isolation.
     File photo of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton with Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli prime minister is looking for a solution which will allow his government to continue cooperation with the EU while maintaining its freedom to settle the West Bank. (Photo: Moshe Milner/GPO) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held two long cabinet meetings with senior ministers on Sunday regarding the difficulty in reaching an agreement with the EU over its new 'settlement guidelines' for joint projects with Israel, Israeli media reported. Netanyahu instructed Justice Minister Tzipi Livni to try and reach a deal that would end the impasse within the next couple of weeks - the deadline for entering the prestigious Horizon 2020 program, which could bring NIS 1.5 billion ($400 million) to Israel in the form of research and developments grants.
     Last summer, the EU published a Commission Notice with new guidelines regarding projects in Israel. According to the guidelines, projects which are carried out in Israeli settlements beyond the Green Line will not be eligible for EU grants of prizes, and organizations which operate beyond the Green Line will not be eligible for EU loans and financial instruments. You can read the full guidelines here.
     Israel rejected the guidelines, demanding that it receive the grants and loans on its own terms. Israeli ministers fear that the guidelines will serve as a precedent that would limit not only the government but also the private sector's ability to conduct its business in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and in the Golan Hights....
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There is nothing artificial about the crisis of occupation
Sabrien Amrov, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 11/7/2013
      Last night, Israeli spokesperson Marc Negev participated in an interview with Al Jazeera to answer inquiries about recent developments in the peace talks, specifically regarding the meeting between Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
     When asked if the latest announcement of illegal Israeli settlements is the main source of the current deadlock, Regev argued that Israel has been both cooperative and loyal to the agreements set out in the original guidelines of the peace process.
     He went on to accuse Palestinians of creating an "artificial crisis" in order to downplay the latest round of talks commencing in August 2013. When asked what he meant by this term - which was also used by PM Netanyahu - Regev refrained from answering the question, instead suggesting that Palestinians must "give the talks a chance".
     After more than 60 years of Israeli occupation, "artificial crisis" is an interesting choice of words. The English dictionary defines artificial as something that is ``manmade rather than natural`` or a ``fabrication`` of the sort. While Regev is quite right to suggest that the occupation is a man-made tragedy, he is at fault to suggest that the settler colonial occupation of Palestine is a fabrication. Rather, it is a deliberate policy to ensure that there is a permanent crisis in Palestinian socio-political life.
     Indeed, the settlement numbers speak for themselves.
     According to a report by Peace Now, the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank was up 70% from January to June of 2013. To date, more than 340,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank, which is more than triple the number 20 years ago when the peace process began....
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An Israeli ’spy eagle’ has landed?
Belen Fernandez, Al Jazeera 10/23/2013
      Israeli surveillance has a history of sophistication, however recently more low-fi techniques have been utilised.
     An October 17 report from Jerusalem-based AP correspondent Aron Heller begins:
     "Israeli eagles dangerously endangered by pesticides, electrical wires and poachers now apparently face a new threat: Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas.
     Hezbollah's Al-Manar website recently boasted of capturing an eagle that carried an Israel-labeled transmission device on its back and claimed the bird was an Israeli spy. It said hunters in central Lebanon shot down the bird and found devices on it as well as a copper ring on its leg that reads 'Israel' in English followed by letters that refer to Tel Aviv University. The fate of the eagle remains unclear."
     Heller goes on to quote ornithologist Yossi Leshem, a Tel Aviv University professor, who complains that "[t]he whole field of conservation is based on regional cooperation and not this nonsense .. It's not enough that they kill people, now they are killing birds too."
     Of course, such complaints might appear more applicable to Israel's behaviour rather than Hezbollah's. After killing dozens of Palestinians in Gaza in May 2004, for example, the IDF unleashed its military might on the Rafah zoo; BBC News reported that the "aviary was smashed" and that there was an "ostrich . rotting in the rubble".
     "Hezbollah Goes Paranoid"
     Leshem alleges that a "paranoia persists in the Middle East" with regard to Israeli feathered friends that stage cross-border incursions.
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Israel and the Erosion of Democracy: An Australian Story
Palestine Chronicle: 21 Oct 2013 - By Samah Sabawi A few months ago I signed my name as co-defendant to a possible legal action threatened by an Israeli law firm, Shurat HaDin, targeting two Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS) academics – Professors Jake Lynch and Stuart Rees for publically refusing to co-operate with Israel’s Hebrew university. Almost two thousand Australian and international academics, writers, human rights activists and other members of civil society have since joined this unprecedented historic act of solidarity signing as co-defendants along with the two targeted professors. Jake Lynch was practicing a basic democratic right when he made a moral and ethical decision to refuse to collaborate with an academic representing Hebrew university. Part of Hebrew university campus and dormitories were built on illegally annexed Palestinian land in contravention of the four Geneva Conventions. The university also sponsors the archeological digs in the Occupied Territories, appropriating Palestinian historical artifacts, preventing...more

Israel and the erosion of democracy: an Australian story
Samah Sabawi, Al Jazeera 10/17/2013
      Academic freedom is in jeopardy after an Israeli law firm threatens two professors with legal action.
     A few months ago I signed my name as co-defendant to a possible legal action threatened by an Israeli law firm, Shurat HaDin, targeting two Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS) academics - Professors Jake Lynch and Stuart Rees for publically refusing to co-operate with Israel's Hebrew university. Almost two thousand Australian and international academics, writers, human rights activists and other members of civil society have since joined this unprecedented historic act of solidarity signing as co-defendants along with the two targeted professors.
     Jake Lynch was practicing a basic democratic right when he made a moral and ethical decision to refuse to collaborate with an academic representing Hebrew university. Part of Hebrew university campus and dormitories were built on illegally annexed Palestinian land in contravention of the four Geneva Conventions. The university also sponsors the archeological digs in the Occupied Territories , appropriating Palestinian historical artifacts, preventing Palestinians from accessing those sites and displacing them from there - an act considered to be plundering under International Humanitarian Law. There is a long list of other violations by Hebrew university such as its links to Elbit systems - one of Israel's largest military security and surveillance companies that monitors and maintains Israel's continued illegal occupation of Palestinian land. But this story is not just about Jake Lynch or Hebrew University, it is a story about how democracy functions.
     Defending the rights of academics to express their views on controversial issues is a basic tenant of democracy. Given that democracies are a work in progress, it is up to us as citizens within democratic nations to use our voice to protect our civil liberties. Part of this means we have to empower those who have been disempowered and stripped of their basic human rights, both at home and abroad. This does not bode well for Israel - a state criticised by UN bodies and reputable human rights organisations for its flagrant human rights violations.
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Palestinian official slams lack of Israeli cooperation after settler death
Al-Akhbar News 11 Oct 2013 - Israeli policemen stand outside the Brosh settlement at the Jordan Valley in the West Bank on October 11, 2013 after an Israeli man was bludgeoned to death and a woman injured in an attack. (Photo: AFP - Menahem Kahana) A top Palestinian negotiator on Friday slammed...

Stop Congress From Rewarding Israeli Discrimination
Anna Lekas Miller, The Nation 9/30/2013
      It's considering a bill that would estrange millions of Palestinian-Americans from their families and their illegally occupied homeland.
     Recently I became one of the many Arab-Americans denied entry to, deported and banned from Israel. My experience is part of a disturbing trend that, at the very least, should figure into the public debate about our country's "special relationship" with Israel. Instead, the US Congress is considering a bill that would reward Israel for its discriminatory practices-not just against Palestinians but against US citizens.
     My story began with an invitation from the Media in Conflicts Seminar, an Israel-sponsored conference on conflict reporting for young journalists. Instead of being welcomed to Israel and sent on my way, I was detained and interrogated for four hours and then informed that I was being deported and banned for ten years. I was denied the right to call my mother-much less the American Embassy-before being escorted by a Shin Bet officer to my plane. My luggage had been broken while it was being ransacked and covered in tags that said "Security."
     My "crime" was not cooperating with my interrogator, who demanded that I divulge information on all of my contacts in the West Bank. I refused, knowing that it is a Shin Bet ploy to tap Palestinian phone numbers.
     Would I have been pulled aside for questioning in the first place if I were not Arab-American? Everyone I have spoken to-including human rights lawyers and researchers-finds my deportation story outrageous. But what is more outrageous is that Congress is considering codifying into law this very kind of Israeli discrimination against American citizens.
     In March, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) introduced the US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013....
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Report: Brazil's cooperation with Israeli violations of international law and human rights?
Stop The Wall - Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign Stop the Wall Campaign and the Palestinian Federation in Brazil - FEPAL have today released a report on the Bilateral Cooperation in Research and Industrial Development between Brazil and Israel. (See below.) We argue that beyond legitimizing and sustaining Israeli policies, the cooperation program risks...

Palestinians freely crossing into Israel with Israeli Arab cooperation
Jerusalem Post 22 Aug 2013 - Municipal council head says the security problem is due to the fact that security barrier has not been completed.

Palestinian-Israeli Negotiations
Khalid Al Mubarak, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 8/15/2013
      The late Palestinian writer, Emile Habibi has coined the Arabic word "AlMutashail" out of the two halves of the Arabic words (mutafail /optimist and mutashaim /pessimist) to describe someone who is both an optimist and pessimist-an "op-pessimist". His word should be remembered upon hearing the restart of peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.
     The reason for optimism is that the two sides are at last talking, negotiating and have agreed to do so for nine months with everything on the table. That might breathe life in the dormant two-State solution and, hopefully, save the remaining 22% of mandate Palestine from being swallowed up by the settlers. A two-State solution would also make it possible for Israel not to live as an isolated transplanted body (the way the Middle Ages crusaders or the French settlers in Algeria did). The Palestinians will be spared the spectre of "transfer" or a repetition of the 1948 Nakba to "cleanse" Israel of all remaining Palestinians. This is a declared intention of several Israeli parties. Peaceful co-existence is the best alternative. The Arab countries and Israel will all reap the dividends of peaceful cooperation.
     Where does the danger to the negotiations lie?
     First: The US resolve has to be consistently and robustly firm. The Financial Times (31 July 13) writer David Gardner has reminded us of what happened about the settlements: "When Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's Prime Minister, refused to freeze settlement building, which Mr. Obama had called illegitimate, the president not only capitulated. In February 2011, he vetoed a Security Council resolution condemning resumed colonisation".
     Assured of such uncritical and unquestioning support, why should the Israeli far-right make any concessions for peace? In an attempt to scupper the present talks, Israel has already approved further settlement enlargement in both the West Bank and Jerusalem; this time with tacit US agreement and apparently as a price for freeing prisoners....
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Israelis ’concerned' about Palestinian livelihood
Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 8/13/2013
      While Israel continues to defy international law by further settlement approval and a lack of cooperation with the European Union about the recently publish guidelines restricting projects in areas beyond the Green Line, the occupying power is now allegedly expressing 'concern' about the livelihood of Palestinians whose quality of life, according to well-rehearsed colonial discourse, depends upon Israeli enterprises in the areas.
     An article published in Haaretz quotes the head of the Shomron Regional Council, Gershon Mesika, as stating "The European Union's direction has no effect on us at all". While the guidelines are primarily targeting research grants and government projects, fears of the EU issuing directives urging member states to boycott settlement produce remains a tangible fear for the Israeli government, which has already suffered setbacks as companies targeted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS), such as Unilever, Veolia and Dexia Bank moved from Israel in an attempt to salvage profits.
     However, while in 2011 Ehud Barak acknowledged the possibility of eradicating the apartheid state through boycotts, defiance has mingled with artificial concern over 'harm' to the peace process and how Palestinians working in Israeli settlements would be affected. Amidst allegations that Palestinian families would suffer and people would lack the opportunity to work together to promote 'peace', supporters of the boycott are described as detached and having no idea of the ramifications which would befall Palestinians, should such a scenario transcend the confines of principles. "People in Europe do not understand the ramifications of their declaration 'We won't buy products from the settlements'".
     The interpretation of Israel's rhetoric lies in its disassociation from the illegality of settlement enterprise. By reinforcing colonial discourse, Palestinians, observers and activists are expected to conform to the processes rendering the occupation of Palestine irreversible....
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Why the EU shouldn’t amend its new settlement guidelines
Noam Sheizaf, +972 Magazine 8/11/2013
      This might be remembered as a key moment in determining the future of the occupation. In an effort to preserve the alliance with settlers and maintain its current settlement policies, the government will demand key provisions of the EU guidelines be changed or postponed.
     One of the most important rounds of talks on the future of the territories Israel occupied in 1967 is about to take place - and it's not the meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators this week.
     The Israeli government is seeking to modify the new guidelines set by the European Union, which will forbid cooperation with Israeli institutions that operate beyond the Green Line. A special ministerial panel, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, decided on Thursday to approach the EU and demand several key amendments in the guidelines before entering any new projects with the Europeans.
     The EU's Commission Notice is due to come into effect on January 1, 2014. One of its first articles states that, "the EU does not recognize Israel's sovereignty" in any of the territories captured in 1967, including the Golan and East Jerusalem, "irrespective of their legal status under domestic Israeli law." The EU, therefore, will not enter projects with organizations that are based or operate in the occupied territories. The Israeli party to such projects will need to guarantee that it is not involved in such activities.
     The guidelines do not apply to individual states or to government institutions and Israeli individuals, meaning that a person can still reside beyond the Green Line and take part in a joint project. But a University, for example, cannot. You can read the full four-page Commission Notice here.
     The guidelines came at an important moment, just as Israel was about to enter the Horizon 2020 scientific program with the EU....
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occupied Palestinian territory: Women run independent food production cooperatives in Gaza
Relief Web 7 Aug 2013 - Source: DanChurchAid Country: occupied Palestinian territory The 6 year long Israeli blockade of Gaza has crippled the private sector and has left thousands of Palestinians unemployed and in severe poverty. DanChurchAid is establishing production cooperatives and creating sustainable working places...

US national interest or lobby interest?
Lawrence Davidson, Redress 8/5/2013
      President Barack Obama and his congressional colleagues are carrying on an established yet clearly dangerous tradition of US foreign policy: the mixing up of national interest and the parochial interests of powerful lobby groups. Indeed, given the way US federal politics has long operated, national interest is, except in rare cases, an impossible notion. This is because almost all politicians and both political parties are so tied to, and financially dependent upon, powerful lobby groups that they cannot formulate independent positions on issues important to these lobbies. Thus, what is put forth as national interest is most often the interest of a particular interest group with too much money buying too much influence.
     The Zionist lobby
     In today's foreign policy arena this conflation of the general and the particular is best seen in US policies in the Middle East. Here are four recent examples:
     1. The renewal of "peace talks" between the Israelis and the Palestinians is presently big news. The Obama administration casts itself as the "honest broker" bringing the two sides together to renew negotiations after a three-year hiatus. However, the United States has never served as an "honest broker" between these two parties and this is one of the reasons that their conflict has remained unresolved so long.
     Why can't the US be the "honest broker"? Because the American government is in no position to formulate an independent policy reflecting the nation's national interest in a just and therefore lasting peace. The Zionist lobby (made up of both Jewish and Christian Americans) is so powerful that the vast majority of politicians and both political parties will not defy it. So, the US position is always pro-Israel.
     That is why the Obama administration recently appointed Martin Indyk "special envoy to shepherd [Israeli-Palestinian] talks toward a final settlement". Indyk is an outright Zionist....
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The politics of selective compromise
Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 8/2/2013
      "They already have a certain amount of self-determination - something that's less than a state but covers almost all of the Palestinian population." Elkin's statement refers to the alleged lack of control over 60 per cent of the West Bank, dismissing Mahmoud Abbas' constantly criticised economic dependency and security cooperation with Israel. In his interview with the Times of Israel, Ze'ev Elkin mangles historical processes to emit a decrepit reasoning amounting to less than a misguided ideology. During a discussion incorporating the peace talks, Netanyahu, settlements and the issue of a Palestinian state, Elkin seeks to highlight an allegedly precarious issue of compromise to destroy any hypothetical possibility of a Palestinian state in light of the latest peace talks.
     Selective compromise remains at the helm of Elkin's lament. Eliminating the colonial aspect which sustains the foundations of the state of Israel, Elkin cites alleged political differences with Netanyahu, a tactic which seems to have corroded after yesterday's news suggesting that Israel will retain 85 per cent of its illegal settlements in the West Bank. Whatever minimal differences might exist within the current coalition, it is clear that through diplomacy and settler-colonialism efforts, the Israeli government is seeking to exploit the farcical peace talks in order to establish a well known fact allegedly reiterated by John Kerry: "One of my major goals is to establish a Jewish country for Jews."
     There is no concrete evidence in support of Elkin's conviction of Netanyahu's belief in the existence of a Palestinian state. Embarking on an analysis of Zionism throughout various stages, the foundations of the Likud charter, as well as the establishment of human rights violations against Palestinians as an integral part of daily routine, does not support Elkin's allegation. Rather, it reinforces the Zionist methods of collective punishment against the Palestinian population and triggers doubts as to whether the Ramallah-based government is ready to pursue alternative avenues in the quest for self-determination and statehood.
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The EU directive needs to be followed by harsher sanctions on Israel
Linah Alsaafin, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 7/29/2013
      'Having issued dozens of reports and condemnations highlighting the consistent Israeli violations of Palestinian rights, the EU's decision seems to be a pivotal step in an attempt to prohibit Israel from acting with continuous impunity' On July 19, the 28 member states of the European Union issued a directive that any future dealings with Israel will exclude the Jewish-only settlement colonies in the Palestinian territories (Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem) and the Golan Heights that were occupied in 1967. The directive will come into effect in January 2014 and last until 2020, marking a time period of regulating EU-Israeli cooperation in sectors such as sport, academia, economics and culture. Unless Israel signs a territorial applicability clause that states the settlements are not part of Israel, the EU holds the right to withdraw the issuing of grants, scholarships or prizes.
     Since 1967, over 125 illegal settlements within East Jerusalem and the West Bank have been recognised officially by the Israeli government, in addition to another hundred outposts that are illegal even under Israeli law. The settlements constitute a land grabbing mechanism, built on stolen Palestinian land, and are populated by over half a million settlers. Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, it is illegal for an occupying power to transfer its citizens to occupied territories.
     The decision to exclude the settlements from any agreements between Israel and the EU was taken at a meeting between EU foreign ministers in December last year. It was preceded by several official reports and statements that expressed real fears of the collapse of the two state solution if Israel continues its settlement policies with impunity.
     The directive will not affect the private sector, but Israeli officials fear that such a ruling might spread to the products grown inside the settlements and exported to Europe, which remains Israel's biggest trade partner. Naftali Bennet, the Israeli minister of commerce, described the directive as "an economic terror attack."
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Resuming the negotiations which never really stopped
Dr. Abdul Sattar Qassem, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 7/27/2013
      'Israel and America use negotiations to buy more time for Israel to build more facts on the ground.'
     The news that Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are to be resumed after a publicly announced three year break hasn't been confirmed by the release of any formal agreement between US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Palestinian Authority. This, of course, may never materialise, but we can consider the fact that negotiations have never actually stopped.
     The Palestinian Authority did say that talks were being stopped until Israel put a freeze on its illegal settlement programme but there have been secret discussions in Jerusalem and Amman. However, the PA was not being entirely honest when it described the Amman talks as just "exploratory".
     What's more important is that the Palestinian Authority announced the stopping of negotiations on one hand while continuing its security and administration coordination with the Israelis on the other. The Israelis care little for talks but care dearly about security, which has been at the core of agreements signed with the Palestinians, whose security agencies act as Israeli proxies in the occupied territories. If a Palestinian throws a stone at illegal Jewish settlers, Palestinian security forces will pursue him; when a Palestinian baby is born, the details and ID number are sent to the Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank.
     If the Palestinian Authority had been serious about putting pressure on Israel, it would have stopped all security coordination, at which point we would have seen a harsh response from the Israelis. Stopping negotiations doesn't have any such effect; in fact, the Israelis have continued to build illegal settlements, which the PA condemns but does nothing to try to stop.
     Israel and America use negotiations to buy more time for Israel to build more facts on the ground. For more than 20 years the Palestinians have not been given any of their national rights; all they have received is money in exchange for their cooperation....
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The irrelevance of peace talks
Talal Alyan, +972 Magazine 7/27/2013
      The world may continue to circle its favorite conflict with hypotheticals and speculation, but to Palestinians the objective remains the same: to continue to build pressure against the occupation.
     It's hard to determine what is less interesting: headlines about the potential resumption of peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis or the ensuing debates about what a solution should look like.
     The cynicism on both sides goes without saying. But it doesn't seem to inhibit the eruption of discourse on the subject. The whole spectacle is tiresome for a number of reasons, the most salient being that the conversation about what a solution will look like, what will be compromised and what will be granted, is entirely premature.
     Moving beyond the traditional skepticism about even getting the two parties together, Israel is not in a position where it is compelled to surrender anything. In the absence of any real pressure, it continues to be unlikely that Israel, by its own volition, will address Palestinian demands with any seriousness. It is not simply a commentary on Israeli politics to point out this glaring fact; very few nations forfeit anything without at least some dimension of compulsion.
     And for whom exactly does Mahmoud Abbas speak? A return to negotiations has already been rejected by significant segments of Palestinians, who continue to regard the U.S. as anything but an honest broker. The Palestinian Left has been clear on its position, with Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine member Jamil Mizher commenting, "twenty years of absurd negotiations achieved a big zero, and only helped the occupation to execute its plans of expansion." Islamists share the sentiment. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad both remark that negotiations will be detrimental to Palestinian objectives, their purpose being to help Israel save face. Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas's party, even issued a statement demanding that negotiations be based on the '67 Green Line.
     The point is not to dwell on the pessimism that already surrounds every aspect of the conflict. There is no Palestinian consensus that rejects peace talks or even a two-state settlement....
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Israel freezes co-operation with EU in Palestinian territories
The Guardian 26 Jul 2013 - Move follows European Union directive banning funding for bodies linked with Israeli settlements Israel has frozen co-operation with the European Union on work in the Palestinian territories in retaliation for an EU directive banning funding or...

Israel snubs EU aid workers in West Bank, Gaza
Al-Akhbar News 26 Jul 2013 - Israeli security forces hassle Palestinians crossing a checkpoint along Israel's apartheid wall on the outskirts of the West Bank town of Bethlehem on 26 July 2013. (Photo: AFP - Musa al-Shaer) Israel has halted cooperation with European delegates and aid workers in the West Bank and...

Israel launches ’price tag’ attack par excellence in response to EU settlement directive
Michael Omer-Man, +972 Magazine 7/26/2013
      Israel's defense minister orders a halt to cooperation with the European Union-funded humanitarian aid projects benefitting West Bank and Gaza Palestinians.
     Israel's defense minister launched a massive 'price tag' attack last week. In response to an EU directive that will help ensure European funding does not benefit Israeli settlements, Moshe Ya'alon ordered a halt to cooperation with European humanitarian efforts benefiting Palestinians in Israeli-controlled areas of the West Bank.
     "We are freezing the relationship on everything," an Israeli official told The Guardian. "We did this as soon as we heard [about the directive]. We can't act like nothing happened."
     Price tag attacks are generally perpetrated by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and their property in response to Israeli government moves against settlements. In other words, they attack an uninvolved third party in retaliation for legally sanctioned harm done to them.
     Ya'alon's order is no different. For all intents and purposes, it is a price tag attack.
     European Union humanitarian projects in Area C tend to focus on water access and reclamation, providing solar electricity infrastructure, waste removal and other basic services to the most vulnerable of Palestinian communities, primarily in the rural south Hebron Hills and Jordan Valley. The decision will also reportedly affect EU training of Palestinian Authority police.
     As part of the Israeli Defense Ministry's new directives, Israel will stop all cooperation, halt issuing new permits for projects and no longer issue documents allowing EU representatives to easily travel through and into the West Bank and Gaza. The new restrictions apply to EU projects but not those of EU member states, Haaretz reported.
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EU Moves Against Illegal Settlements in Palestine
Jeremy R. Hammond, CounterPunch 7/19/2013
      Israel Cries Foul
     The European Union has proposed new guidelines for how it will do business with the state of Israel that will require any Israeli entity seeking funding or cooperation from the E.U. to submit a declaration that it has no links to any of the occupied territories. Any agreement between the E.U. and Israel would need to include a section stating that its settlements in the territories are not part of Israel. The guidelines,obtained by the Israeli daily Haaretz, state that "only Israeli entities having their place of establishment within Israel's pre-1967 borders will be considered eligible for consideration." Human rights organizations like B'Tselem and non-governmental organizations like Peace Now that work to promote peace will be exempt from the requirement not to have links to the occupied territories.
     Haaretz reported a senior Israeli official describing the new guidelines as an "earthquake". Economy Minister Naftali Bennett hysterically called it an "economic terror attack." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded, "We will not accept any external edicts on our borders." That, of course, means that Palestinians must accept Israel's edicts on where the borders of the state of Palestine will be. Palestinians have long since joined the international consensus on a two-state solution, which is rejected only by Israel its main benefactor, the United States.
     That solution is based on U.N. Resolution 242, which requirs Israel to return to the pre-June 1967 "Green Line", otherwise known as the 1949 armistice lines and so-called for the color of the ink with which the line was drawn on the map under the armistice agreements. Under international law, every inch of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is considered "occupied Palestinian territory" to which Israel has no legal claim. Its attempts to annex Jerusalem have been condemned repeatedly by the U.N. Security Council, which has deemed the moves "illegal, null, and void". Israel's settlements in the West Bank are a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
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Will Europe produce Israeli-Palestinian peace?
John V. Whitbeck, Al Jazeera.com 7/18/2013
      EU has the potential to play a crucial role in ending the occupation in the best interests of Israelis and Palestinians.
     On July 16, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on the publication of a binding European Union directive, to be effective from January 1, 2014, which a senior Israeli official described as an "earthquake".
     This directive forbids any form of EU funding or cooperation with any entity established or operating in "the territories occupied by Israel since 1967", which "comprise the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem." Furthermore, the directive requires that any future agreements between EU states and Israel or any Israeli entity must include a clause specifically asserting that those occupied territories are not part of the State of Israel.
     This directive constitutes powerful evidence that European patience with Israeli intransigence and defiance of international law is running out and that the EU may now have embarked on a course of action which will lead to further and stronger initiatives consistent with international law and a more ethical foreign policy.
     Two potential initiatives immediately come to mind.
     In light of the clear and unambiguous EU position that Israel's borders are exclusively those existing prior to the 1967 Six-Day War, there is no legal or logical reason for those EU states which are not yet among the 132 UN member states which have already extended diplomatic recognition to the State of Palestine within its full pre-1967 borders to continue to refrain from doing so. Those borders, as recognised in the UN General Assembly's resolution of November 29, 2012, confirming Palestine's state status, comprise precisely and exclusively that portion of the former Palestine Mandate which the EU does not recognize as Israel's sovereign territory.
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Israel arrests suspected hashish traffickers
7/10/2013 - BEERSHEBA (Ma'an) - Israeli anti-drug officers in cooperation with security forces in the south on Wednesday foiled an attempt to smuggle 162. 5 kilograms of hashish from Egypt to Israel, officials said. Police say a truck driver who works near the border area was arrested along with three other suspects -- all Palestinian Bedouins from the Negev and holders of Israeli IDs. The truck driver....

Fourth of July celebrations bring Palestinians, Israelis together with Big Macs and Chunky Monkey
Ha'aretz - 5 Jul 2013

Celebrating South Hebron Hills popular resistance
Alternative Information Center 6/30/2013
      Over 250 Palestinians, Israelis and internationals attended the Popular Resistance Festival Saturday organised by the South Hebron Hills Popular Committee. The festival was held in the village of Khallet Athaba; almost all homes and buildings in this tiny hamlet are under demolition orders from Israel. Saturday's festival celebrated the local residents' popular resistance to Israeli occupation policies and their right to a life of dignity and peace.
     Residents from all South Hebron Hills villages participated and enjoyed the day-long festival, the sixth such annual gathering in what has become a local tradition. Such widespread and representative attendance reflects the strength of the area's popular resistance; local residents conduct ongoing direct actions in support of their right to a life of dignity and peace on their lands and in their homes.
     Also attending were Palestinian popular resistance activists from other West Bank areas such as Beit Ummar (Hebron district) and al Ma'sara (Bethlehem district), as well as from Jerusalem.
     "This festival provides a crucial opportunity for people from the South Hebron Hills to meet and see what a great job they are doing together", a festival coordinator told the AIC. "People can see the bigger picture of what non-violent resistance is and what its impacts are and can be".
     Three Israeli military jeeps and two Israeli civilian jeeps stood guard on a hill overlooking the festival tent. Unlike other popular protest activities in the area, however, Israeli soldiers did not harass participants or declare the site a closed military zone before expelling everyone. The participation of two representatives from the European Union, which funded the festival, undoubtedly contributed to this exceptional decision. The participation of Palestinian, Arab and international journalists also helped.
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Major UK union votes against Trade Union Friends of Israel
Global BDS 11 Jun 2013 - LONDON – One of the UK’s largest trade unions is to ban its members from visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories on delegations organized by the Trade Union Friends of Israel (TUFI), a London-based organization supporting cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian workers. The GMB, which has...

occupied Palestinian territory: OIC Condemns Israeli Decision To Build 1,100 Settlement Units In Al Quds
Relief Web 3 Jun 2013 - Source: Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Country: occupied Palestinian territory The Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, condemned vigorously Israel’s decision to approve the building of 1,100 new settlement units in the occupied city of...

Buying Time? Money, Guns and Politics in the West Bank
International Crisis Group 5/29/2013
      Many conditions for an uprising are objectively in place: political discontent, lack of hope, economic fragility, increased violence and an overwhelming sense that security cooperation serves an Israeli – not Palestinian – interest.
     Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s resignation has pushed questions of West Bank economic, political and security stability back to the fore. Even under Fayyad, the last year has been the most tumultuous since Hamas seized Gaza in 2007. The Palestinian Authority (PA) found itself in a financial crisis, unable to pay salaries or halt economic decline. Fatah, resentful of marginalisation, exploited the resulting economic-cum-political protests, which quickly escaped its control. Escalating Israeli-Palestinian clashes gave rise to predictions of a third intifada. For now, though rates of violence remain comparatively high, the general mood has quieted; U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s diplomatic initiative faces myriad obstacles, but a sustained uprising is unlikely to be among them. There are ways to further insulate the West Bank against instability, but if the interested parties do not get beyond managing conflict triggers to addressing root issues, today’s relative calm could well be fleeting.
     Protests over the economy (at their largest in September 2012) and prisoners detained by Israel (February and April 2013) led many to wonder if another major eruption, or even the end of the PA, might be on the horizon. Despite the ferment, the preponderance of evidence indicates that such fears – or what for others are hopes – were overblown. As of yet, there is no indication that a critical mass of Palestinians will push their political system to the boiling point or move sharply into confrontation with Israel, which is trying to avoid just such an eventuality by keeping the PA’s economy afloat and limiting Palestinian causalities and especially fatalities, without which protests fade quickly. With no unified Palestinian leadership, no strategy and the people themselves divided and exhausted, an uprising possesses limited popular appeal. -- See also: ICG: Full Report
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This time we were not forced to swim naked in the sea': Gaza fishermen left jobless after illegal arrest in Palestinian waters
6/1/2013 - International Solidarity Movement - 1st June 2013, Mondoweiss, Petra Stastna, Gaza, Occupied Palestine - A young Palestinian fisherman was arrested together with his brother within Palestinian waters on 19 May 2013 by the Israeli navy and released the following day. Their boat and all equipment were confiscated by the Israelis, leaving them with no means to make a living. This is another serious blow to the livelihoods of individual Palestinians....

Domestic fissures in Israel will not benefit Palestinians
Jonathan Cook, Israeli Occupation Archive 5/27/2013
      A claim often made by ordinary Palestinians when discussing their conflict with Israel goes like this: Israel is a state comprised of such varied ethnic, religious and social groups that the only glue binding it together is hatred of Palestinians and Arabs.
     “You know why Israel’s leaders can’t make peace?” a Palestinian friend asked recently. “Because if the conflict ever ended, Israeli Jews would start tearing out each other’s throats.”
     Some Israelis are thinking along similar lines. Commentator Asher Schechter noted in the Haaretz newspaper this month that, with the Palestinians caged behind walls and fences, the occupation no longer registered in most of his compatriots’ thoughts.
     Israelis, he added, “have been freed to finally deal with their own internal problems: inequality, the soaring cost of living, corruption, religious freedom and the separation of religion and state”.
     The evidence seems to bear out his assessment. As the Palestinians and the peace process have slipped out of view, Israelis have begun to take to the streets on precisely these kinds of internal and divisive issues.
     Two protest movements that have captured public attention in recent weeks may hint at things to come.
     The best known are the social justice protests, which began two years ago, just as the Palestinian “problem” slipped off most Israelis’ radar. The demonstrations surfaced again a few weeks ago as the Israeli parliament prepared to pass an austerity budget. Thousands marched in major cities earlier this month demanding an improvement in living standards.
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Dutch probe sends warning to firms abetting Israel’s crimes
Salma Karmi-Ayyoub, Electronic Intifada 5/16/2013
      Corporate complicity in Israel’s occupation potentially carries the risk of criminal prosecution.
     This week sees the conclusion of a three-year criminal investigation into the Dutch crane company, Riwal, accused of complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied West Bank. The case is unprecedented as it is the first time a company has been criminally investigated for involvement in the Israeli occupation.
     Although the case has not resulted in a prosecution, it is nonetheless an important step for those seeking justice for human rights abuses committed against Palestinians. The case sends a clear message to the corporate sector: complicity in Israel’s occupation potentially carries the risk of criminal prosecution.
     The case started with a complaint submitted to the Dutch prosecutor by the Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq in March 2010. The complaint documented the involvement of Riwal’s cranes and aerial platforms in constructing Israel’s wall and illegal settlements in the West Bank. It prompted the prosecutor to launch a large-scale investigation into the company’s activities, including a raid on company headquarters in September 2010.
     The investigation established that the company contributed to constructing the wall and settlements in at least six incidents mentioned in the complaint. However, the prosecutor cited various considerations, including the complexity of the case, limited resources and the likely lack of cooperation by Israel in obtaining further evidence, as reasons not to pursue a prosecution. There is a right of appeal against the prosecutor’s decision, which can also be reconsidered if circumstances change or in light of new evidence.
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Noam Chomsky helped lobby Stephen Hawking to stage Israel boycott
Robert Booth And Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian, Israeli Occupation Archive 5/10/2013
      Noam Chomsky was among 20 academics who privately lobbied Professor Stephen Hawking to boycott a major Israeli conference, it has emerged.
     Chomsky, a US professor and well-known supporter of the Palestinian cause, joined British academics from the universities of Cambridge, London, Leeds, Southampton, Warwick, Newcastle, York and the Open University to tell Hawking they were “surprised and deeply disappointed” that he had accepted the invitation to speak at next month’s presidential conference in Jerusalem, which will chaired by Shimon Peres and attended by Tony Blair and Bill Clinton.
     Hawking pulled out this week in protest at Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, in the wake of receiving the letter and soundings from Palestinian colleagues. The 71-year-old theoretical physicist’s decision has been warmly welcomed by Palestinian academics, with one describing it as “of cosmic proportions”, but was attacked in Israel.
     On Friday the liberal academic David Newman, dean of the faculty of humanities and social sciences at Ben Gurion University in Israel, warned that an academic boycott “just destroys one of the very few spaces left where Israelis and Palestinians actually do come together”.
     Chomsky, who has backed “boycott and divestment of firms that are carrying out operations in the occupied territories”, agreed to add his considerable weight to the pressure on Hawking after email correspondence with the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine campaign group (Bricup), said its chair, Jonathan Rosenhead. -- See also: Source: The Guardian
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Leaders-less Jerusalemites looking to Fayyad
Daoud Kuttab, Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN) 5/2/2013
      Palestinian residents of Jerusalem have been frustrated for years as they are caught between Israel’s unilateral decision to annex East Jerusalem and the inability of the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership to help them.
     Positive homegrown leadership in Jerusalem has not found a way forward due in part to the absence of any mechanism for electoral politics. Ever since the passing away of Faisal Husseini, no leader or leadership structure has emerged for the city Palestinians say will become their eventual capital. The leadership vacuum has not gone unnoticed by many, often by individuals seeking personal gain. While no single person or entity has emerged, scores of de facto groups and gatherings have emerged often around social groups or neighborhoods Some of these groups have done positive acts to advance their local communities, but others have made personal fortunes. The absence of the rule of law and a culture of voluntary national cooperation has played into the hands of these groups that have at times terrorised the population.
     Decades old entities have not done much better as the absence of leadership has resulted in the creation of fiefdoms run by autocratic individuals who often seek Arab and international funding and rule their organisations on the basis of their ability to raise funds and pay salaries. Institutional corruption has skyrocketed because of the contradiction that exists in Jerusalem. On the one hand, Israel, which effectively rules the areas of East Jerusalem, is ambivalent about the state of Palestinians in the city; the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah and Gaza might be more caring, but is unable to implement any policy because of the Israeli repression against any activities stemming from the Palestinian leadership. The same contradiction also exists in terms of simple rule of law issues. If a Jerusalemite is wronged by another Jerusalemite or by a Palestinian institution he or she has little recourse. The prevailing atmosphere makes it politically incorrect to sue a fellow Palestinian or a Jerusalem institute at Israeli courts. Thus they are left with trying to plead their case with the Ramallah leadership. In Ramallah, there is a sense of apathy and exhaustion because of the many unresolved cases that come to them. Even if the Palestinian leadership rules in favour of a particular person, they are unable to execute that decision as they have been barred from having physical presence in the city.
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Arab League agrees to endorse new peace plan including land swap
Syed C, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 4/30/2013
      In a sign that Israel will keep its large illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, Arab foreign ministers have said that they are ready to endorse a new peace plan which includes land swaps and a Palestinian state built otherwise on the 1967 borders. The announcement was made following a meeting between an Arab League delegation headed by Secretary General Nabil Elarabi and US Vice-President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington.
     Speaking on behalf of the Arab League delegation, Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad al-Thani said, "We understand that peace is a strategic choice for the Arab states. We all think that we should work together to find a sound economic package to help the Palestinian state."
     Sheikh Hamad renewed the obligation of the Arab states to the Arab Peace Initiative with the addition of their readiness to accept land swaps. The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said that Kerry has been working recently to bring the Palestinians and Israelis back into the negotiating table.
     Secretary of State Kerry said, "We have had a very positive, very constructive discussion… with positive results." He praised the Arab League for the "important role it is playing, and is determined to play, in bringing about a peace in the Middle East, specifically by reaffirming the Arab Peace Initiative with a view to ending the conflict." Kerry reaffirmed, on behalf of Barack Obama, "The US commitment to pursue an end to the conflict based on the vision that President Obama outlined in May of 2011: Two states living side by side in peace and security brought about through direct negotiations between the parties.
     According to Yedioth Ahronoth, "While little has changed in Israel's public posture, the remarks by Al-Thani suggest that Kerry has had some success, at least, in coordinating a more unified regional strategy between the US and its Arab partners."....
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Abbas urges cooperation for Palestinian unity
Jerusalem Post 27 Apr 2013 - Israeli gov't official says Palestinian reconciliation is a move in the wrong direction, would damage peace process.

Jahalin Bedouins face new eviction
Sergio Yahni, Alternative Information Center 4/21/2013
      Israel is planning on evicting the Jahalin Bedouins from their settlements in the Jerusalem periphery to the Jericho area of the Jordan Valley. Israel's Civil Administration suggests this plan is being conducted in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, and that a Palestinian construction company has already been awarded a project to build 800 housing units in the Jericho area.
     Israeli efforts to evict the Jahalin Bedouins from their settlements in the area of Khan Al Akhmar in the Jerusalem periphery began already in the early 1990s to facilitate construction and expansion of Ma’ale Adumim, now the third largest settlement in the West Bank with a population of some 39,000. Throughout the 1990s Israel issued between 100-120 military or court orders for eviction of the Jahalin Bedouins.
     In 1996 some 4,000 members of Jahalin were evicted. In 1998, however, an appeal to the Israeli High Court resulted in a deal between Israel’s Civil Administration and representatives of 35 Jahalin families, who were permitted to "lease state lands" that originally belonged to the Palestinian town of Abu Dis. Thus, the village of 'Arab al-Jahalin was founded.
     The presence of other Jahalin communities in Area E1, to the north of Ma’ale Adumim, was tolerated, although the risk of eviction never passed.
     In 2012, plans to relocate those living in Area E1, together with 22 other communities for a total of 2,300 people - to Arab al-Jahalin village were dropped and Israel’s Civil Administration began to search for a different location.
     The Jahalin Bedouins are originally from the Tel Arad area in the northern Naqab (Negev), but were evicted from the area in the early 1950s by the Israeli army....
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In Praise of Emotion
Uri Avnery, Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN) 4/19/2013
      IT WAS a moving experience. Moments that spoke not only to the mind, but also – and foremost – to the heart.
     Last Sunday, on the eve of Israel’s Remembrance Day for the fallen in our wars, I was invited to an event organized by the activist group Combatants for Peace and the Forum of Israeli and Palestinian Bereaved Parents.
     The first surprise was that it took place at all. In the general atmosphere of discouragement of the Israeli peace camp after the recent elections, when almost no one dared even to mention the word peace, such an event was heartening.
     The second surprise was its size. It took place in one of the biggest halls in the country, Hangar 10 in Tel-Aviv’s fair grounds. It holds more than 2000 seats. A quarter of an hour before the starting time, attendance was depressingly sparse. Half an hour later, it was choke full. (Whatever the many virtues of the peace camp, punctuality is not among them.)
     The third surprise was the composition of the audience. There were quite a lot of white-haired old-timers, including myself, but the great majority was composed of young people, at least half of them young women. Energetic, matter-of-fact youngsters, very Israeli.
     I felt as if I was in a relay race. My generation passing the baton on to the next. The race continues.
     BUT THE outstanding feature of the event was, of course, its content. Israelis and Palestinians were mourning together for their dead sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, victims of the conflict and wars, occupation and resistance (a.k.a. terror.)
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Gaza’s Siege Intensifies
Ramzy Baroud, CounterPunch 4/12/2013
      The Plan to ‘Moderate’ Hamas, Control Gaza
     On Sep. 17, 2012, Ismail Haniyeh, Prime Minister of the Hamas government in Gaza, made another appeal to his Egyptian counterpart Hisham Kandil to consider setting up a free trade area between Gaza and Egypt.
     The reasonable idea would allow Egypt to support Gaza’s ragged economy while sparing Cairo the political fallout from destroying hundreds of tunnels that provide 1.6 million Palestinians a lifeline under a continued Israeli siege. Palestinians in Gaza rely on goods smuggled through tunnels and to a lesser extent United Nations handouts to survive.
     “We explained the concept in detail (..) the idea is to alleviate the economic hardship in Gaza,” Hamas official, Taher al-Nono was then quoted in Reuters. Kandil promised to look into the matter, indicating that it was too early for a response.
     However this proposal was introduced before and repeatedly after the September meeting. It should have at least served as the basis for a serious platform of discussion regarding future cooperation between Gaza and Egypt on this urgent matter. But Cairo neither responded nor offered an alternative to end Gaza’s seemingly perpetual misery. Even worse, for several months now and notably since the deadly August 5 attack in Sinai by unknown assailants – which killed 16 Egyptian border guards – the Egyptian army has actively been destroying Gaza’s tunnels.
     According to a Gaza-based economist Maher Al-Tabbaa, “30 percent of Gaza’s goods come from the tunnels.” But other estimates, cited by Reuters, place the food reliance on smuggling at 80 percent. Without tunnels, and no real, long term alterative, Gaza will delve deeper into poverty and the crisis will likely reach unprecedented levels.
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Israeli, Palestinian kids come together for soccer
Jerusalem Post 11 Apr 2013 - Shalom: Tournament will teach Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians to be better neighbors in the future.

Kerry juggling pieces of Mideast peace puzzle
4/9/2013 - JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Top US diplomat John Kerry met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday on the third day of talks seeking to piece together a plan to persuade Israelis and Palestinians to return to negotiations. Speaking to reporters late on Monday, Kerry said he was pursuing a "quiet strategy" for ending decades of mistrust.... Related: Kerry: Mideast peace to be done 'right' not rushed and Kerry wraps up 'very constructive' Mideast trip

PA plans conference on medical neglect in Israeli jails
4/8/2013 - RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority is planning an international conference to address Israel's medical negligence of Palestinian prisoners, the minister of detainee affairs said Monday. Issa Qaraqe said the conference would be organized in cooperation with local and international human rights organizations. The recent death in custody of a Palestinian with....

Israeli-Palestinian cooperation aids Kusra victim
Jerusalem Post 24 Feb 2013 - In rare move, joint operation sees wounded Palestinian helicoptered to Hadassah hospital; IDF investigating live fire claim.

Despite increased media attention, there is nothing new about Israel targeting Palestinian youth
Mondoweiss - There was a noticeable increase in British coverage of Israel’s occupation in January, with  The Guardian  and the  BBC  running stories on the string of recent killings by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and Israel’s  refusal to co-operate with the UN’s Human Rights Council . Whilst greater...

VIDEO - Threat of demolition looms over Palestinian village in West Bank
Rabbis For Human Rights, +972 Magazine 1/29/2013
      The Palestinian village of Susya, which has been through numerous demolitions and forced expulsions, beginning in 1986, is facing yet another threat to its existence. This time, the fate of the entire village lays in the hands of Israel’s Supreme Court.
     On Thursday, Israel’s Supreme Court will hold two sessions regarding two petitions affecting the future of the Palestinian village Susya. One will discuss the possibility of expediting the demolition of most of the village, while the other seeks to prevent the villagers’ remaining lands from being rendered off limits to them.
     The first court session involves a petition by the far-right organization Regavim, which petitioned the Court together with the nearby Jewish settlement of Susya, to expedite the demolition of most of the buildings in Palestinian Susya. Regavim claims that the Nawaja family, residents of Palestinian Susya, violated an intermediate court order forbiding any new building in the village. The demolition will in all likelihood mean the complete disappearance of the village. The petitioners have also requested and received a temporary injunction that prohibits any further development in the village until a decision is issued. The petition was submitted against the Minister of Defense and the inhabitants of Palestinian Susya.
     The second hearing covers a petition by the villagers, along with Rabbis for Human Rights, responding to the blockage of about 3,000 dunams of their farmland in the area. The petition names the Minister of Defense, the heads of the Civil Administration, the Chief of the Hebron Police, the Susya Cooperative Association, and the Har Hebron Local Council.
     According to Susiya resident Nasser Nawajeh, the people of Susiya have already been through numerous demolitions and forced expulsions, beginning in 1986, when Israeli archeologists discovered the remains of a Jewish synagouge under Susiya and Israeli authorities then expelled its residents.... -- See also: Important Supreme Court session on the future of the Palestinian village of Susiya
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Will 3rd Intifada replicate the 1st?
Daoud Kuttab, Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN) 1/17/2013
      Israeli security officials have been unable to clearly identify what is happening in the occupied state of Palestine, as the lack of a credible peace process leaves a big vacuum.
     Early in January, Colonel Yaniv Alaluf told soldiers the third Intifada has already begun. His statement, which was reproduced in Arab and Israeli media, was intended to reflect the state of uneasiness and unrest the Palestinians are feeling as the window of hope and opportunity quickly shuts down for the young Palestinian population.
     While Alaluf’s statement might not be reflected in any major way in the level of violence in the occupied West Bank, it could be true in ways that the Israeli commander probably never realised.
     As the level of Palestinian-Israeli security cooperation continues to produce record number of relatively quiet days in occupied Palestine, a totally different form of Intifada is seeing the light of day. And the Israelis are clearly unequipped and totally unready for it.
     There are more and more signs that a possible third Intifada will not look anything like Al Aqsa Intifada, in 2000, but more like the initial 1987 protests that gave the world the name Intifada.
     This week’s creative and disciplined actions by young and unaffiliated Palestinian men and women resemble very much the creativity and experimentation that had been the hallmark of the first Intifada.
     Using a novel by Lebanese writer Elias Khoury, these young Palestinians put to shame the self-declared leaders of Palestine liberation and resistance.
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Human Rights Watch: Time to stand with human rights defenders
Phyllis Bennis, Al Jazeera.com 1/9/2013
      It is disappointing to see HRW's unwillingness to stand with those who are working to promote and defend human rights.
     When the UN Human Rights Council sends its independent investigators, known as Special Rapporteurs, around the globe to investigate the denial of various human rights, it's not unusual for governments accused of violating those rights to go pretty far to keep them out.
     So when Israeli security personnel detained Professor Richard Falk at Tel Aviv airport in December 2008, imprisoning him in a crowded, filthy jail cell overnight and expelling him the next day, it wasn't particularly surprising. Falk had recently taken on the role of United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and Israel had made clear it had no intention of co-operating with his mandate or of implementing its obligations as a UN member to facilitate Falk's official missions. As the Occupying Power, Israel has for years responded with outrage to human rights criticism and, with US backing, has increasingly directly repudiated UN authority and legitimacy.
     Perhaps it isn't even so unexpected that Falk - whose work has been scrupulously fair - has been criticised as well by Palestinian factions, including both Fatah and Hamas.
     But it's pretty rare for Special Rapporteurs to face condemnation, insult, attack from high-ranking UN officials, including the Secretary-General, or powerful diplomatic actors from their home country - such as US representative to the UN, Ambassador Susan Rice. Since taking on the mandate nearly five years ago, Falk has faced those attacks and more.
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Writing a people’s history of Israel/Palestine
Mark LeVine, Al Jazeera.com 1/2/2013
      People's history opens a new understanding of the current situation in the Israeli/Palestine conflict.
     For well over a century now Zionist Jews and Palestinian Arabs have struggled for control over the territory of Palestine/Israel.
     The contest over land has taken place in the context of an equally important set of struggles over identity, not merely between the two national movements but within them as well.
     The dominant Zionist/Israeli and Palestinian identities have long defined themselves through the land and against the other in a unilinear historical progression characterised either by miraculous triumph (the rebirth of Israel out of the ashes of the Holocaust and the subsequent military victories against an array of Arab enemies) or disaster followed by repeated setbacks, with a few small victories in between (1948, 1967, and the two intifadas for Palestinians).
     The reality of Palestinian-Jewish interaction in Ottoman, Mandate and then post-1948 Palestine/Israel as well as their diasporas is far more complex.
     The everyday lives and struggles, not merely of elites but even more so of the "ordinary" people whose lives are rarely captured by scholars, opens new understandings of the history that produced the present moment, and alternative futures in which the two people might better co-exist with equal freedom, dignity and political, economic and social possibilities.
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Press freedom group shocked at Hamas ban on Gaza journalists
The Guardian 1 Jan 2013 - The ban imposed by Hamas on Palestinian journalists in Gaza from co-operating with the Israeli media has outraged an international press freedom watchdog. The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) registered its shock at last week's order...

Hamas bans Palestinian journalists from Israeli media co-operation
The Guardian 27 Dec 2012 - Hamas government in Gaza also orders its officials not to give interviews to Israeli press or television due to media 'hostility' Hamas has banned Palestinian journalists in Gaza from working with or giving interviews to the...

The politics of resistance versus security coordination
Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 12/20/2012
      In the aftermath of "Operation Pillar of Defence", the Israelis have diverted their attention to the occupied West Bank. Mass arrests have been carried out by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) for alleged "recent violent and terrorist activity". Palestinian detainees protesting against administrative detention have embarked upon a hunger strike, joining other prisoners who have sustained their strikes for over 100 days. With their health deteriorating seriously, the prisoners languishing in Israeli jails have refused to end the strike, citing the necessity to further Palestinian resistance, as well as instructing relatives on how to proceed with burial, as death manifests itself to an imminent certainty.
     Samer Al-Issawi, a Palestinian prisoner who has sustained his hunger strike for 141days, has asked to be buried next to his brother, Fadi. The hunger strike, he stated, will continue until victory or death, emphasising that his decision was based upon "defending the dignity of the Palestinian people".
     Meanwhile, Palestinians have voiced concern over misrepresentation by the Palestinian Authority, in the name of security coordination. Under the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority is obliged to cooperate with Israel regarding security matters. The political view that the agreement benefits both Palestinians and Israelis has failed to ingrain itself within Palestinians, who continue to struggle against the occupation without political support, especially in the West Bank.
     With Mahmoud Abbas's inclination to engage in UN dialogue and appease the international community Palestinians feel that their reality is being sidelined to accommodate Israel and international diplomacy. Abbas failed to take a strong stance against the building of further illegal settlements in the West Bank, compromising the already limited land available to Palestinians in return for a fragment of international aid.....
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IDF, PA collaboration in West Bank faltering
YNet News, 18 Dec 2012 - Long-term cooperation between Israeli, Palestinian security forces in West Bank at critical junction ....

A liberal-Zionist writer learns to accept the status quo. A response.
Noam Sheizaf, +972 Magazine 12/9/2012
      The disappointment over the failure of the Oslo process and the rise to power of an extreme nationalistic coalition in Israel have led to a newly founded belief among some liberal Zionists that “there is no solution to the conflict,” or that “peace cannot be achieved.” This view – which dominates Labor Party politics today as well – is both morally and politically wrong.
     The New Republic’s Leon Wieseltier, a self proclaimed “hawkish dove,” expressed the “no solution” idea in a recent post. After blaming the Palestinians for missing past opportunities, Wieseltier writes:
     "But still I concur in the necessity and the justice of their demand for a state, and still I yearn for a serious Palestinian diplomacy.
     "ALL THESE BELIEFS, however, are beginning to seem pointless. Reality appears to have other plans for itself. Hamas maintains its terrorist and theocratic sway over Gaza, and criminally fires hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians, and extols the destruction of its arsenal and its infrastructure by Israel as some sort of apotheosis. Mahmoud Abbas celebrates the attainment of observer-state status at the United Nations with a mean and small speech in which he accuses Israel of “one of the most dreadful campaigns of ethnic cleansing and dispossession in modern history,” and of unprovoked “aggression” in Gaza, and of “an apartheid system of colonial occupation, which institutionalizes the plague of racism.” Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian leader for whom we longed, is a tragic figure, undone by Palestinians and Israelis together...."
     This mistaken analysis leads to disappointment which leads to tacit support of the occupation, thereby thwarting the need to assume any responsibility for it.
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The Geopolitical Chess Game behind the Israeli Attack on Gaza
Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Russia Today, Centre for Research on Globalization - Middle East 12/1/2012
      The recent hostilities between the Gaza Strip and Israel have to be viewed in context of a broader geopolitical chessboard. The events in Gaza are tied to Syria and the US’s regional maneuvers against Iran and its regional alliance system.
     Syria has been compromised as a conduit for weapons to Gaza, because of its domestic instability. Israel has capitalized on this politically and militarily. Benjamin Netanyahu has not only tried to secure his own election victory in the Knesset through an attack on Gaza, but has used the US-sponsored instability in Syria as an opportunity to try and target the arms stockpiles of the Palestinians.
     Netanyahu calculated that Gaza will not be able to rearm itself while Syria and its allies are distracted. The bombing of the Yarmouk arms factory in Sudan, which Israel says was owned by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, was probably part of this plan and a prelude to Israel’s attack on Gaza.
     In this chess game, sit the so-called “Moderates”— a misleading label jointly utilized by Messrs George W. Bush Jr. and Tony Blair to whitewash their regional cabal of tyrants and backward regimes — alongside the Obama Administration and NATO. These so-called Moderates include the desert dictators of the feudal Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Jordan, Mahmoud Abbas, and Turkey. In 2011, the ranks of the Moderates were augmented by the NATO-installed government of Libya and the GCC/NATO-supported anti-government militias that were unleashed in Syria.
     On the other side of the chessboard defiantly sits the Resistance Bloc composed of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah (and Hezbollah’s partners in Lebanon, like Amal and the Free Patriotic Movement), the so-called Palestinian Rejectionists, and increasingly Iraq. The Muslim Brotherhood, which has emerged as a new regional force, is being increasingly prodded into the Moderate camp by the US and the GCC in an attempt to ultimately play the sectarian card against the Resistance Bloc.
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Clashes in West Bank as anger over Gaza is directed at Mahmoud Abbas
The Guardian 18 Nov 2012 - Palestinian Authority blamed for failing to take action and for co-operating with Israeli security forces against protesters Fresh clashes erupted in the West Bank on Sunday as Palestinian youths threw rocks at Israeli soldiers, who responded...

Against forgetting: An interview with Eyal Sivan
Charlotte Silver, Al Jazeera.com 11/12/2012
      Filmmaker Eyal Sivan talks about his exhibit with over 100 testimonies given by the perpetrators of the Nakba.
     Last month in Tel Aviv an exhibit with an unprecedented intention debuted. Curated by two prominent anti-Zionist Israelis, filmmaker Eyal Sivan and historian Ilan Pappe, "Towards a Common Archive" presents over 100 testimonies given by the perpetrators of the Nakba, the period between 1947 and 1949 when over 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their land to create the state of Israel. The exhibit is hosted by Zochrot, the sole Israeli organisation dedicated to remembering the Nakba.
     Sivan describes their project as racing against time, as it collects testimonies from the ageing generation that fought with the Zionists gangs. In the absence of a formal Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Sivan envisages the perpetrators' historic testimonies as forming a basis for truth without which a future reconciliation could not occur.
     Yet despite the significance of the undertaking - and to the surprise of Sivan - the Israeli press has completely ignored the exhibit, save for one right-wing settler newspaper which disparaged it.
     The exhibit serves as a pilot for a much larger project envisioned by Eyal Sivan: A Common Archive for 1948 Palestine, which seeks to build an interactive website bringing together the testimonies of Palestinian refugees and the Zionist perpetrators of the Nakba. If successful in documenting 1948, Sivan hopes to see subsequent historical events in the region also documented on the forum. But for him, it is essential that such a process begin with the Nakba: Sivan believes everything that has happened since represents "repeated episodes of that initial crime".
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An alternative aid agenda for Palestinians
Nadia Hijab, Alaa Tartir and Jeremy Wildeman, Ma’an News Agency 11/10/2012
      In an earlier piece on Maan, we analyzed the persistence failure of the World Bank’s policies in the occupied Palestinian territory and argued for alternative models of international aid that “challenge the status quo while enabling Palestinians to survive.”
     It is often easier to criticize than to make alternative suggestions. Yet there are areas that donors can and should support that would focus aid on ways to counter dispossession, keep Palestinians on their land, and challenge Israel’s occupation policies and practices without forfeiting the ability to function in the oPt.
     Here are three: promoting self-reliance in basic foods and reversing the decline of the agricultural sector; supporting cooperatives and local economic enterprises; and assisting sectors such as information technology that could break through the barriers Israel has erected around the Palestinian economy. Most importantly, they should do no harm.
     None of this is impossible. During the first Intifada, and despite Israeli counter-measures, Palestinians in the oPt reduced their economic dependence on Israel by promoting local consumption and generating local employment. The situation is much more complex today given the far greater fragmentation of the territories and illegal Israeli settlement building. Nevertheless, there is still much that can be done.
     The first step must be to reverse the decline in the agricultural sector: Its contribution to GDP fell from around 13.3 percent in 1994 to 5.2 percent in 2010. Although this was largely due to Israeli colonization practices, it is also due to Palestinian Authority and donor neglect that have left the sector seriously under-resourced. No more than 1 percent of the total annual budget has been allocated to agriculture sector since the PA was formed (around 85 percent of which goes to staff salaries) and agriculture dropped to around 0.74 percent of international total aid by 2006.
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Christian leaders cannot be cowed into silence over Israel’s abuses of human rights
Rabbi Brian Walt, Ha’aretz 10/31/2012
      Eric Yoffie's criticism of the Protestant churches' letter to Congress is misplaced: The price of 'interfaith dialogue' cannot be silenced by Christian leaders on Israel’s human rights violations, evidence of which I saw firsthand in a recent visit to the West Bank.
     In his recent Haaretz op-ed, “Heading toward an irreparable rift between U.S. Jews and Protestants,” my colleague, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, sharply criticized the recent letter to Congress by leaders of Protestant churches that called for U.S. military aid to Israel to be contingent on Israeli compliance with American law. Nowhere in his article, however, did Yoffie mention the central concern of the Christian leaders’ letter: the overwhelming evidence of systematic human rights violations by the Israeli military against Palestinians.
     Over the past two weeks, I had the privilege of leading an interfaith delegation including several leaders of the civil rights movement, younger civil and human rights leaders, Christian clergy, academics, and several Jews, on a two-week trip to the West Bank.
     We were all shocked by the widespread human rights violations that we saw with our own eyes and that we heard about from both Palestinians and Israelis. Several black members of our group, including those who participated actively in the civil rights movement, remarked that what they saw on the West Bank was "frighteningly familiar" to their own experience, a systemic pattern of discrimination that privileged one group (in this case, Jews) and denigrated another (Palestinians).
     Together we walked down Shuhadah Street in Hebron, a street restricted to Jews and foreigners where Hebron’s Palestinians are mostly not allowed to walk, even those Palestinians who own houses or stores on the street. This street was once the center of a bustling Palestinian city. Now the area is a ghost town with all the Palestinian stores shut down by the Israeli military. -- See also: Religious leaders call on U.S. Congress to rethink military aid to Israel
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Tel Aviv University to cooperate with settler group on East Jerusalem dig
Mairav Zonszein, +972 Magazine 10/26/2012
      Tel Aviv University’s spokesperson refuses to explain why its archaeologists will work with Elad, an organization notorious for its pursuit of Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem.
     Haaretz reported on Thursday that Tel Aviv University’s Institute of Archaeology plans to start digging in al-Bustan, located in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem, in cooperation with Elad, a private right-wing organization notorious for using the “City of David” National Park to further expand Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem.
     While a Tel Aviv University spokesperson told me they will be “cooperating strictly with the Israel Antiquities Authority,” it is a well-known fact that any dig in Silwan (whether in City of David, known to Palestinians as Wadi Hilweh, or farther down the road in al-Bustan, where Jerusalem’s mayor plans to build another national park called the “King’s Garden,” at the expense of 22 Palestinian homes) means directly cooperating with Elad, which founded and operates the site – with the backing of the Antiquities Authority, the National Parks Authority and the government.
     The Haaretz story also claims that the dig will be directly financed by Elad, with the Antiquities Authority merely serving as a channel to transmit funds. Moreover, both the paper and other organizations like Ir Amim (which focuses on the political conflict in East Jerusalem and has done extensive research on Elad and the City of David) have already established that Elad is responsible for settling over 500 Israeli Jews throughout Silwan – and Elad director David Be’eri has himself been caught on tape admitting the digs he oversees endanger Palestinian homes situated above.
     Tel Aviv University (where I earned my BA) is the same university that allowed students to conduct a Nakba ceremony on campus last May, despite calls by the Education Ministry to cancel it, and the risk it took of being found in violation of the “Nakba Law.”.... -- See also: Haaretz: TAU to take part in East Jerusalem dig funded by pro-settlement group
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IOF kidnap two university students at behest of PA
PIC - The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) kidnapped on Tuesday evening two students of Al-Khalil university in the context of its security cooperation with the Palestinian authority.

15 Faith Groups: Condition Israeli Military Aid on Human Rights Compliance
Friends Committee on National Legislation 10/8/2012
      Friends Committee on National Legislation's Diane Randall signed the following letter, along with fourteen other religious leaders representing U.S. churches and religious organizations, which calls on Congress to condition U.S. military aid to Israel upon Israel’s “compliance with applicable U.S. laws and policies.” These leaders, representing Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Orthodox, Quaker and other major Christian denominations, agree that “unconditional U.S. military assistance to Israel has contributed to...sustaining the conflict and undermining the long-term security interests of both Israelis and Palestinians.”
     Dear Member of Congress,
     We write to you as Christian leaders representing U.S. churches and religious organizations committed to seeking a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians. Our organizations have been deeply involved in this pursuit for decades, inspired by the call and promise of Jesus Christ who said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
     In response to our Christian call to be peacemakers, we have worked for decades to support both Israelis and Palestinians in their desire to live in peace and well-being. We have worked alongside our Palestinian Christian sisters and brothers to help build a peaceful and resilient Palestinian civil society by supporting hospitals, schools, clinics, and social service agencies. These ministries include cooperative efforts with Israelis and Palestinians as well as with Jews, Muslims, and other neighbors here in the United States. Through our presence in the region, and regular visits to our partners there, we see first-hand the impacts of the conflict on both Palestinians and Israelis and hear from them directly about the reality of their lives. -- See also: Original Letter
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Debunking the racism behind a two-state solution
Haidar Eid, Ma’an News Agency 9/24/2012
      Much has been said and written about the Oslo Accords and the Geneva initiative. The signatories claim that these much debated documents in principle opened up new possibilities for ‘cooperation’ between what has for so long seemed to be irreconcilable positions.
     Yasser Abed Rabbo and Yossi Beilin, the signatories of the Geneva Initiative, for example, believe that "the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the establishment of two-states." And, in what sounds like a warning, the latter adds that the window for a two-state solution will not be available indefinitely and Israel will be forced to deal with the "demographic threat" imposed on it by the Palestinians in historic Palestine.
     This article, on the contrary, maintains that the two-state solution under present conditions denies the possibility of real coexistence based on equality. This is because both the Geneva document and the Oslo accords accept the Zionist consensus and, for the first time in the history of the conflict, seek to legitimize Israel as a Jewish state in historic Palestine.
     In both of these documents, therefore, Israel would appear to have been confirmed as the "state of all the Jews" and never "the state of all of its citizens". The logic of separation implicit in these documents implies some fundamental contradictions and begs certain serious questions.
     The Accord and the Initiative have legitimated apartheid. Both documents include a language that is, euphemistically, reminiscent of the series of laws known collectively as the Group Areas Act which forced the relocation of millions of non-white South Africans into racially-specific ghettos. It was created to split racial groups up into different residential areas.
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Rivlin: Gush Etzion security barrier not needed now
Jerusalem Post 10 Sep 2012 - Knesset speaker calls on PM to reconsider fence, says Israelis, Palestinians must learn to live together not apart.

After Zionism: Only a One State Solution is Possible
Palestine Chronicle: 31 Aug 2012 - By Karen Dabrowska Time has run out for the two-state solution because of the unending and permanent Jewish colonization of Palestinian land. That is the conclusion of Antony Loewenstein and Ahmed Moor the authors of After Zionism, which brings together some of the world’s leading thinkers on the Middle East question to dissect the century-long conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians and to explore possible forms of the one state solution. The book shows that although deep mistrust exists on both sides of the conflict, growing numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs are working together to forge a different, unified future. Progressive and realist ideas are at last gaining a foothold in the discourse, while those influenced by the colonial era have been discredited or abandoned. Whatever the political solution may be, Palestinian and Israeli lives are intertwined and enmeshed irrevocably. The background of the two authors is...more

Palestinian academics act against Israel ties
Jerusalem Post 28 Aug 2012 - Al-Quds University President Dr. Sari Nusseibeh once again under attack for cooperating with Israeli universities, academics.

Migron Settlers To Resist Eviction
IMEMC - Settlers residing in the illegal settlement outpost of Mirgon, built on privately-owned Palestinian lands near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, said that they will resist their eviction, and will not cooperate with the Israeli military. ...

Palestine’s big sister South Africa: precedents and pitfalls
Thayer Hastings, Alternative Information Center 8/23/2012
      On 10 August South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation announced it would cancel visits to Israel by mayors and other members of municipalities in the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Province. As usual, SA is setting precedents when it comes to foreign relations with Israel, but Palestinian and Israeli visionaries should be wary of how they utilize the SA model when strategizing for decolonization.
     In 1994 South Africa became Palestine’s older sister/brother. However, economic inequality and a capacity for violence stand out as contradictions of the Rainbow Nation.
     SA cancels officials’ visits to Israel
     The decision is perceived as a win for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign and as a setback for the pro-Israel lobby in South Africa, the SA-Israel Forum, which had advocated for and organized the trips. The SA-Israel Forum had sought to promote agricultural and technological cooperation between the South African community and the Israeli state.
     Pro-Israeli South Africans demonstrated against the decision, suggesting prejudiced intentions behind the cancelation by singling out Israel over countries with questionable human rights records such as Myanmar or Syria.
     Following the cancellation, Deputy of International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said to the Mail and Guardian weekly newspaper: “Israel is an occupier country that is oppressing Palestine, so it is not proper for South Africans to associate with Israel. We discourage people from going there, except if it has to do with the peace process.”
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Israel Refuses to Cooperate with UN Fact-Finding Mission
IMEMC - The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has assembled a team of experts to investigate the expansion of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. ...

EU pressure for aid change in Area C
7/26/2012 - JERUSALEM (IRIN) - As demolition orders continue to threaten the work of humanitarian organizations in Israeli-controlled Area C in the West Bank, the European Union and humanitarian agencies are pressing to change the rules of the aid game." We all know that when we turn one stone in Area C, what we get is confrontation with.... Related: Palestinian outrage as EU expands cooperation with Israel

EU fails to uphold international law in relations with Israel
Palestinian Council of Human Rights Organisations, Alternative Information Center 7/26/2012
      Following the Association Council meeting on 24 July 2012 between the European Union (EU) and Israel, it was announced that the EU has agreed upon developing cooperation with Israel by offering it 60 new activities in 15 fields. The EU also declared that it would continue technical discussions with Israel aimed at identifying areas for future cooperation. As organizations dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), we are strongly concerned about the EU’s lack of commitment to human rights in light of what is essentially an intensification of bilateral relations with Israel.
     In recent months, the EU has made progress in recognizing and condemning Israel’s practices and policies in the OPT which constitute systematic violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. We welcomed the 14 May Council Conclusions which expressed “deep concern about developments on the ground which threaten to make a two-state solution impossible” and waited for words to turn into action from the EU’s side.
     The Association Council, the most high-level meeting to take place between the EU and Israel, is, however, a step backwards. Aggravatingly, the Association Council statement comes at a time when Israel is relentless in expanding its illegal settlement enterprise; maintains the continued closure of the Gaza Strip which amounts to collective punishment; continues to revoke residency permits of Palestinians; displaces the Palestinian people, especially those residing in Area C; discriminatorily allocates natural resources, such as land and water; as well as continuing the construction of the Annexation Wall.
     Indeed, in the past two months alone Israel has issued demolition orders to some 50 structures in Susiya and ordered the demolition of eight Palestinian villages in the South Hebron Hills so that the land can be used for the training of the Israeli military.... -- See also: Palestinian outrage as EU expands cooperation with Israel
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Presidential adviser: PA did not try to join OSCE
7/8/2012 - BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas' diplomatic adviser denied on Sunday reports in Israeli media that Palestine had tried to join the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe." Joining the organization is not one of the Palestinian Authority's priorities," Majdi al-Khalidi told Ma'an. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported earlier....

Hamas urges Arab League, OIC to act against Israeli theft of Palestinian land
PIC - Hamas called on the Arab League and the organization of Islamic cooperation to intervene to curb the Israeli regime and its settlers from appropriating more Palestinian property and lands.

'Decent, honest and truthful'? How the pro-Israel lobby fails this simple test
Stuart Littlewood, Redress 6/26/2012
      Have you read this? [see link below]
     It is not difficult to figure out why the executive director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) feels he has to write such nonsense. The real puzzle is why a publication with the standing of the Wall Street Journal feels the need to print it.
     "No universities existed in the West Bank until Israel opened them after the 1967 war," claims Mr Harris.
     This will surprise the Vatican and many Catholics in the US. The first university in the West Bank was Bethlehem, opened in 1973 by the De La Salle Christian Brothers with the cooperation of the Vatican’s Congregation for Oriental Churches. It has been closed at least 12 times by the Israeli invader and shelled by Israeli tanks. Its staff and pupils are continually harassed by the Israeli occupation forces.
     Birzeit became a university in 1975 after offering first- and second-year university courses while still a college. It too has suffered repeated closure by the Israeli occupation. In 1988 Israel shut it down for 51 months (until 1992) and the university had to operate underground, off-campus, with students taking up to 10 years to complete their degree. Can you see the good folks of Harvard, Yale, Brandeis, etc, sitting still for that kind of abuse?
     And, just to be bloody-minded, Israel won't allow students from one part of Palestine, Gaza, to attend university in another part, the West Bank, even though the two territories are considered contiguous under international law. War on students is part of Israel’s obnoxious policy mix.
     "There was no Palestinian state before 1967. The West Bank was in Jordanian hands..."
     I often hear this. So what? Before 1948 there was no Israeli state and the West Bank was in British hands.... -- See also: David Harris in WSJ: Mr. Ariekat's Partial Remembrance
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Israeli govt, settlers to cooperate in WBank move
Relief Web 20 Jun 2012 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet Country: occupied Palestinian territory Wed, 20 Jun 2012 06:28 GMT 30 families agree to leave homes slated for demolition Upholding law, satisfying settler base challenges PM By Dan Williams JERUSALEM, June 20 (Reuters) - A cluster...

Obama continues to dither
George S. Hishmeh, Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN) 6/14/2012
      Barack Obama has raised great hopes in the Middle East when he was one of only four American presidents to be awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”. But now, almost four years later, he has yet to show any sign of achievement in ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The Washington-based correspondent of the liberal Israeli paper Haaretz wondered aloud this week, at the beginning of the presidential election in which Obama remains the front runner, whether his neglect means that he is “throwing the Palestinians under the bus?” Natasha Mozgovaya based her point on the fact that there weren’t many meetings in the last two weeks between White House officials and Palestinian or Arab-American delegations — that were “crashed” by the president. This was a reference to the American president’s staged practice of breaking into scheduled meetings between his senior staffers and visiting delegations, as when he “dropped by” two recent but separate sessions at the White House with groups of American Jews, one Orthodox the other conservative. Obama’s “dithering” in handling the US policies vis-à-vis Syria and Sudan was also noted recently by Nicholas D. Kristof. The New York Times columnist described this position as “increasingly lame, ineffective and contrary to American interests and values”. In the Haaretz account, Obama assured his Jewish audience that “there is no justification for Israel’s feeling ‘lonely, pressured and pushed back’.”
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’Social justice? requires an end to the Occupation
Yacov Ben Efrat, +972 Magazine 6/9/2012
      The protest movement in Israel can potentially shake the foundations of the current regime, as it has done in Egypt, Tunisia and Syria. Will Saturday night?s demonstration in Tel Aviv marking 45 years of Israeli Occupation succeed at forming the basis for a movement that explicitly connects the social struggle with the political one?
     The demonstration of June 9 marking 45 years of Occupation connects the struggle against the Occupation with the struggle for social justice, sharpening the debate over whether the ?social? should be linked to the ?political.? Last summer?s protests were careful to distinguish between the two. In the protests? virtual world, it was permissible to talk only of ?social? issues. To avoid any ?political? stain, the protest leaders wrapped themselves in Israeli flags and concluded the vigils with Hatikva, Israel?s national anthem, in a show of consensual patriotism.
     In the real world, however, political parties weave the two issues together inextricably. The Likud, with its neoliberal agenda, promotes its vision of settling all of Eretz Israel (Greater Israel). Shas, in favor of a kind of welfare state for Jews, holds to a rightwing worldview. The Labor Party, supporting a neoliberal social program, emphasizes its desire for making peace with the Palestinians. Among all these, only the social protest tied itself in knots to avoid ?politics.? That is why it is so unstable, so open to manipulation, as both Left and Right try to co-opt it for their political use.
     A sweeping victory for the Right
     The protest?s insistence on avoiding ?politics? is without doubt a victory for the Right. It must be remembered that, for years, governments of both Left and Right have strengthened Israel?s hold on the occupied territories through support for Israeli settlements, thus contributing to the power of nationalist religious factions among Palestinians and Israelis....
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