Dorothy Online Newsletter


Dear Friends,


I’ve just gone through most of the reports in ‘Today in Palestine’ and notice that there are several duplicates of these below.  Never mind.  You needn’t read them twice.  Besides, there is so much more there than I could ever put together, even considering the items that I have omitted.


Today’s 9 items begin with the prisoner release.  Had been looking for news about it all day, but only at this evening’s TV news did the information come out.  For some unexplained reason, the release was scheduled for 10:00 PM Israeli time.  Am sure that the families of the 550 or so who were released (assuming that it has already happened) will be extremely happy to have their loved ones home.  But apparently hopes were high for life-termers and other ‘heavier’ political prisoners to be released, but who will not be.


Item 2 is brief.  It informs us of the arrest of Mohammed Khatib.  Whoops!  Just had an update, which I added to item 2.


Item 3 is an interview of the incoming President of the EU, who states that the EU will block Israel’s entry until the ‘peace process’ (what process???) moves forward.


Item 4 reports on new building (over 1000 units apparently) on the other side of the so-called Green Line.  Will any country stop Israel?  Unlikely.  However, there are some signs of change. While in the US presidential race candidates are outdoing one another in expressing their love for Israel, some countries in the EU are beginning to show signs of losing patience.


In item 5 Abbas tells us that Hamas has agreed to the use of non-violent means to resist the Occupation.


Item 6 is about Palestinian textbooks.  Please remember to listen again to Nurit Peled Elhanan talk about her study of Israeli textbooks.  Better yet, read her book on the subject.  In any event, those who examined the Palestinian textbooks found that Newt Gingrige’s accusation was false.


Item 7 is about caroling—but for boycott not for Xmas, even though the melodies may be the same.


In item 8 Gideon Levy expresses joy at last week’s events with the ‘hill-top boys.’  Those events managed to get headlines into the paper, were much more effective, he says, than all his years of his writing about the occupation.


Item 9 ends this evening’s message with ‘Today in Palestine.’  The 2-3 minute video that opens the reports is in English and gives you a good picture of what happens when Palestinians peacefully protest.  Don’t miss reading an item that comes a bit later: “In Beit Omar, soldiers (IOF) threaten to kill a Palestinian and his family.”  There is an element of surprise (and consequent disgust) that I won’t reveal.  You have to read to see!


That’s it for tonight.  Let’s hope for a better day tomorrow.





1, Haaretz

December 18, 2011

Second stage of Shalit swap underway; Palestinian prisoners transferred to crossing points

Hundreds of Palestinians clash with IDF soldiers at Beitunia checkpoint in West Bank ahead of prisoner release; several injured after inhaling tear gas.


Tags: Hamas Gilad Shalit Gaza West Bank Fatah Mahmoud Abbas Shalit swap

The second stage of an Israel-Hamas prisoner swap got underway Sunday evening, as 550 Palestinian prisoners slated to be released were taken in buses from a jail in central Israel to crossing points into Palestinian territory and Jordan.

The prisoners are scheduled to begin crossing over at 2000 GMT [10PM Israeli time, according to Israeli TV news channels. D]

Modest preparations were underway in Ramallah in the central West Bank, where the vast majority of the prisoners were to be dropped off, and in Gaza, the home of 41 of the 550.

Two others, from Jordan, were to cross the border with Israel’s eastern neighbor via the Allenby Bridge over the River Jordan. Two others were from East Jerusalem.

Hours before the release got underway, hundreds of Palestinian clashed with Israeli soldiers at a central West Bank checkpoint. They were among the crowd gathered at Beitunia, southwest of Ramallah, anxiously awaiting their relatives who are being freed.

Tempers ran high and, when youths began pushing the nearby security fence and throwing rocks, soldiers fired tear gas and stun grenades, witnesses said. An Israeli military spokeswoman said some of the protesters also threw firebombs.

Several were injured after inhaling tear gas.

Israel Prison Service (IPS) spokeswoman Sivan Weizman said that 55 of those to be freed Sunday were minors, aged between 14 and 17, having apparently been held for up to 18 months for throwing stones and firebombs.

The prisoners included six women, the IPS said.

In the first stage, carried out on October 18, Israel released 477 Palestinian militants, many serving multiple life sentences, in return for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held hostage for more than five years by the Islamist movement, which rules Gaza.

None of the prisoners scheduled to be released is serving a life term. Most are members of the armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement.

Many were sentenced for attacks that caused no major casualties.

Under the Egyptian-mediated deal, Hamas hand-picked many of the names freed in the first stage, while Israel decided who to release in the second wave. Ahead of the exchange, all 550 prisoners had already been moved to two central facilities on Thursday, one near Tel Aviv and another at a military base outside Ramallah.

Because of the late hour of the release, no immediate mass celebrations were planned in the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas had welcomed the first wave with a huge reception in a Gaza City park. However, the second wave includes no members of the Islamist movement, residents said.

Families had driven to Ramallah from other cities across the West Bank, waiting anxiously for the arrival of their relatives.

Israel’s High Court of Justice late Saturday rejected petitions against the release, filed by relatives of Israelis killed in attacks by Palestinian militants, Israel Radio reported.

The court ruled that the issue had political and security ramifications and therefore was a government decision in which it would not intervene.

A military spokeswoman, asked by dpa, said 330 Palestinians had been arrested on security-related charges since October 18, but roughly as many had gone free.

Some 4,250 Palestinians will remain in Israeli prisons for security-related offences, the IPS said. That is down from almost 5,300 before the Shalit deal.


2.Forwarded by Darlene

From: Irish

Dec 18, 2011

Subject: Muhammad Khatib arrest [not likely that he will be among the above released]

Muhammad Khatib of Bilin, a (still living) symbol of Palestinian non-violent protest, has been jailed without charges by the IDF since Friday, and the media hasn’t even noticed (or chosen not to).They won’t let him see a judge until Tuesday (totaly against the law)

He heads the Bilin Popular Committee, which organized the struggle against the barrier built on their lands illegally (as ruled by the Israeli High Court).His lawyer, Gabi Lasky, is trying to find out what’s going on.

Updates [from Ruth E]:

Mohammad Kahtib is out. Mohammad Tamimi from Nabi Salih is still in jail and apparently charged with stone throwing (to be confirmed).


Clashes now taking care in front of Ofer prison where families are waiting for the release of prisoners/Several injuries.

Still unclear actually where the prisoners will be released


3.  Haaretz

December 18, 2011

Incoming EU president: Europe to block deals with Israel until peace process moves forward

Incoming president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz tells Haaretz the euro will not collapse, calls Merkel’s conduct ‘arrogant’ and Cameron’s ‘obstructive’.

[This is a longish interview, most of which is not relevant to our concerns here, but to which the link will take you to if you wish to read the entire piece.  Below I have included only the part respecting the above statement about the EU blocking deals with Israel until. . . D]

By Adar Primor

You favor enlarging the EU, such that it would also include the Balkan states. Could Israel also be a candidate to join?

“As long as the Netanyahu-Lieberman government is in power, even those who theoretically favor Israel’s membership have no chance of persuading others to back the move. Israel cannot become a member of the EU, but may certainly be granted maximal access to the European markets. The Europeans are aware of the fact that they must act in favor of its maximal integration in the framework of the Association Agreement, to which Israel is a signatory.”


The European Parliament, which represents the half-billion citizens of the EU, has in recent years amassed authorities and power. For instance, it is now blocking ratification of agreements to upgrade relations between the EU and Israel. Will the policy of exerting pressure on Israel continue during the period of your presidency?

“Yes. The Parliament’s decision to block the agreements with Israel stems from the lack of progress in the peace process and from our ambition to pressure the Israeli government to alter this situation. If Israel would seriously act to get out of the dead end, the European Parliament would respond accordingly. As president, I will work to find compromises. Right now, it is my impression that the desire to find these sorts of compromises is greater in the European Parliament than in the government of Israel.


4.  Ynet

December 18, 2011

More Construction

 Construction in Har Homa Photo: Reuters

    Government markets 1,000 apartments beyond Green Line

Hundreds of housing units to be built in Beitar Illit, Har Homa and Givat Ze’ev. Will Netanyahu come under fire from Obama, Europe?,7340,L-4163327,00.html

Attila Somfalvi


Hundreds of housing units will be marketed beyond the Green Line as part of tenders published by the Construction and Housing Ministry and the Israel Land Administration on Sunday.

Among the housing units, 348 will be built in the hraedi town of Beitar illit, 500 in Har Homa in south Jerusalem and 180 in Givat Ze’ev.

Previous announcements of construction beyond the 1967 lines prompted outrage by the Palestinians, the US, Europe and the UN.

Extra housing units in Har Homa (Photo: Reuters)

“Some countries won’t be pleased with this (tenders), but they won’t be surprised,” said Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias (Shas). “The decision was reached last month after the Palestinians were accepted into UNESCO, and the right thing to do was to alleviate the shortage of housing units designated for young couples in Israel – with an emphasis on the capital, Jerusalem.

Also Sunday, the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs rejected a bill which retroactively legalizes outposts built on Palestinian land.

MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), who initiated the bill, said it would eventually be passed. “I have experience in legislation, and I know it will pass. I also know that due to political considerations outposts will not be evacuated during while this government is in power – because it wants to complete its term, and we will not be part of a government that evacuates (West Bank) communities.”

According to Minister Benny Begin (Likud), the ministerial committee “rejects proposals that contradict government policy and jeopardize our desire to reach compromises.”

Deputy Attorney General Orit Koren said the proposal was “problematic” from a legal sense, but according to Minister Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz (Habayit Hayehudi), who voted for the bill, it was based on “Hebrew law.”

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said he will not be able to defend the bill at the High Court of Justice. The Prime Minister’s Office said Sunday that the government’s policy aims to reach a dialogue as part of negotiations so that some of the illegal outposts will be moved to state lands.

Negotiations are currently being held with residents of Ramat Gilad, sources in the prime minister’s bureau said. They however added that should talks failed “we can expect to see what happened in Mitzpe Yitzhar” last week.


5.  Ynet

December 18, 2011 22:46

 Embracing Peace?

 No more terror? Abbas and Mashaal Photo: AFP

    Abbas: Hamas agreed to renounce terror

Palestinian leader says Hamas’ Mashaal agreed to endorse peaceful resistance, willing to accept state based on 1967 borders,7340,L-4162912,00.html

Elior Levy

Fa+tah and Hamas agreed that future Palestinian resistance to Israel will utilize popular and peaceful means, rather than military moves, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared Saturday.

In an interview with the Euronews channel in Brussels, Abbas recounted his meeting with Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal about a month ago.

Palestinian agreement? Abbas and Mashaal (Photo: AFP)

 “We set the agreement’s pillars, and Hamas agreed with us that resistance will be popular and adopt peaceful ways, rather than military resistance,” the Palestinian president said. “The solution is the establishment of a state in the 1967 borders, and Hamas agreed to that, as well as to holding the elections on May 5, 2012.”

The surprising statements were made a day before another meeting is slated to be held in Cairo where the two Palestinian movements will be discussing the implementation of their reconciliation agreement.

‘Palestinians ready for state’

Notably, Abbas’ declaration contradicts various statements issued by Hamas this week on the occasion of its 24th anniversary. In one case, the group said that “resistance will continue in all its forms, as the movement’s favored way until victory, the liberation of Palestine and the return of refugees.”

In his remarks Saturday, Abbas also emphasized the Palestinian readiness for a state and the change underwent by the Palestinians in the past decade.

“We are a people under occupation, we demand independence and believe in peace and in international law, and we’re also implementing the culture of peace in our country,” he said. “Our institutions are ready and we received confirmation from the World Bank, from the International Monetary Fund and from donor countries.”

Abbas also characterized Israel as a peace refusenik and charged that to some extent the United States supports the Jewish state’s approach. He added that the Palestinians are trying to make clear that peace is not only a Palestinian interest, but also an Israeli, regional and international interest.

6.  Ynet

December 18, 2011


[when reading debates on Palestinian textbooks, you should keep in mind Nurit Peled Elhanan’s study of Israeli textbooks, which led her to remark that she ‘had not expected to find so much racism in them’ ;  in nationalistic societies textbooks aim to mold the minds of the children to believe the nationalist narrative.]


  Newt Gingrich Photo: AFP

     Palestinian textbooks debate reaches US campaign

Researchers say Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich’s remarks on how Palestinian textbooks ‘teach terrorism’ largely unfounded,7340,L-4163032,00.html

Associated Press

Do Palestinian school textbooks “teach terrorism,” as Newt Gingrich claimed in a recent debate among US Republican presidential hopefuls?

His example, that Palestinians “have text books that say, ‘If there are 13 Jews and nine Jews are killed, how many Jews are left?'” is not in any of the texts, researchers said.

As for Gingrich’s broader claim, the textbooks do not directly encourage anti-Israeli violence, but they also don’t really teach peace, studies say.

A review of some texts by AP, as well as several studies by Israeli, Palestinian and international researchers, found no direct calls for violence against Israel.

Confused? Gingrich (Photo: AFP)

The books do, however, lack material about the historic Jewish presence in the region and scarcely mention Israel and then mostly in a negative way. Peace with Israel rarely comes up. Texts for religious schools are harder-core, openly glorifying martyrdom.

Researchers disagree sharply in their interpretation of the material.

Two NGOs, one Israeli and one international, support the view of Israeli officials that the texts promote hatred of Israel. For example, Israel is not included in a list of the countries of the Levant, and Hebrew writing was removed in a depiction of a stamp from British Mandate rule of the Holy Land.

A joint Israeli-Palestinian study takes a softer view, saying that there is no direct attempt to delegitimize Israel, but that “the way and contexts in which Israel is presented may give rise to the impression of an implicit denial of its legitimacy.”

The books must be seen in the context of ongoing conflict, said Nathan Brown, a George Washington University political scientist who has written about the issue. While highly nationalistic, government texts do not glorify violence, explicitly deny Israel’s right to exist or portray Jews as villains, he said.

“I think the textbook critics have cause and effect mixed up – when there is a viable political process it may be possible to introduce a process to revise the books in a reciprocal way,” Brown said.

Skewed views

The argument looms large in a debate driven by the Israeli government, which frequently accuses the Palestinians of incitement in their schools.

“How can you take someone seriously as a partner in peace, if instead of teaching their children reconciliation they teach hate,” said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev. “It’s the heart of the matter.”

The Palestinians say their books legitimately focus on their national narrative, including hardships of life under occupation. “We might have a problem with Zionism, but this is not incitement, this is a difference in views,” said Ghassan Khatib, spokesman of the Palestinian Authority, which controls part of the West Bank.

Khatib further defended the omission of Israel from Palestinian textbooks: “When Israel is going to include us in their textbooks, we will include them in our textbooks,” he said. “It is supposed to be a mutual thing.”

The question has suddenly become an issue in the US presidential campaign and Brown, as well as researches Itamar Marcus from Palestinian Media Watch and Eldad Pardo from IMPACT-SE, said the example Gingrich cited does not exist in the texts.

Texts taught in secular Israeli schools continue to promote the Jews’ right of return, but more space than in the past is now allocated to the Palestinians and their pain, said Ruth Firer, of Hebrew University.

Since it took control of parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1994, the PA has been working to replace the Egyptian and Jordanian books used in its schools for decades previous.

Under intensive scrutiny from Israel and the international community, the Palestinians developed their own curriculum and purged their new textbooks of some controversial references, but kept the focus on the Palestinian narrative.

Palestinian Media Watch and IMPACT-SE harshly criticized the Palestinian textbooks: “There is a lot of jihad, martyrdom, a complete ignoring of anything Israeli,” said Pardo, a Hebrew University of Jerusalem professor and member of IMPACT-SE. “There is no education for peace, there is education for conflict.


Shelley Elkayam of IMPACT-SE said the religious school students are influential since they go on to be religious teachers and preachers.

The textbooks include statements glorifying martyrdom. One 8th-grade text says Muslim fighters must “get rid of the usurping Jews from the usurped lands in Palestine and in the Levant.”

The Palestinian Education Ministry only began supervising the Islamic schools in 2010 and is gradually replacing the old texts with new ones “based on moderation,” said Mohammed Jihad, head of the religious school system.

“Although there is no direct instruction for immediate violence against Israelis … hate, rejection and a vision of one Greater Islamic-Arab Palestine are fostered,” said the study, which was released in May and reviewed 70 government textbooks and 25 religious school texts. “An imaginary geography in which Israel does not exist is being taught.”


7.  Palestine News & Information Agency—WAFA

December 18, 2011


New Yorker Protesters Carol for Boycott of Israel


NEW YORK, December 17, 2011 – Sixty New Yorkers sang parody holiday carols calling for a boycott of Israeli settlement-developer and diamond magnate Lev Leviev this afternoon outside Leviev’s Madison Avenue jewelry store, according to a press release by the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel.

It said around twenty-five protesters continued on to the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) where they sang, chanted and distributed flyers in front of Daphne Guinness’ clothing exhibition there, which is sponsored by Leviev Extraordinary Diamonds.

Outside Leviev’s high-end Madison Avenue jewelry store, the carolers, many wearing Santa hats, greeted holiday shoppers for the fifth consecutive year with favorites from the Anti-Apartheid Caroling Songbook including, “We Wish You a Loss of Business” (“We Wish You a Merry Christmas”), “Oh, Boycott, Boycott, Boycott” (“Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel”), and “Lev We All Can see the Folly” (“Deck the Halls”).

The press release said they sang new songs, including “Lev’s Dirty Rocks” (“Jingle Bell Rocks”) and “Diamond Mines” (“Silver Bells”).

To the tune of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” they recognized West Bank communities like Bil’in, Jayyous and Nabi Saleh that are protesting Israel’s seizure of their land for Israeli settlements.

They sang; “The people of these villages said heed the boycott call, With international pressure to help Apartheid fall, Each time we sing here in the cold their courage we recall, O-oh justice for Palestinian, women and men, The question is not i-i-f, but when.”

The protesters held signs in front of the Museum at FIT, saying “Oppression Isn’t Fashionable,” they sang to the tune of the Mickey Mouse Club song: “Come along and sing a song and take a stand for peace, F-I-T, Hey Daphne, Leviev’s not for me.”

On November 21 and December 8, human rights groups wrote letters to FIT and Daphne Guinness, as well as the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), to disassociate themselves from Leviev, detailing his companies’ construction of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land in violation of international law, and human rights abuses and unethical business practices in the diamond industry in Angola and Namibia.

FIT told Women’s Wear Daily on November 29 that it was “pursuing the matter very actively,” but has yet to respond to the letters. Daphne Guinness and BCRF have not commented publicly.

Riham Barghouti of Adalah-NY told the protesters, “We are here to send a clear message to Leviev that apartheid cannot be fashionably designed. And we are here to demand that FIT, Daphne Guinness and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation do as their predecessors have done, and distance themselves from Leviev and his illegal activities.”

Organizations including Oxfam America, CARE and UNICEF; governments including Norway and the United Kingdom; major investment firms and Hollywood stars have all sought distance from Leviev’s companies over their human rights record, the press release said.

In November 2010, presumably in response to international pressure, Leviev’s company Africa Israel made ambiguous statements suggesting it would not build more settlements. But a separate Leviev company, Leader Management and Development, continues development of the Zufim settlement on the land of the West Bank village of Jayyous, with devastating consequences.

Over the last two weeks, New York human rights advocates have distributed hundreds of flyers outside the Museum at FIT calling on FIT to “Say No to Leviev.”

Londoners staged a protest outside Leviev’s Bond Street jewelry store on December 1st.According to the press release, Adalah-NY began a campaign to boycott Leviev’s companies in November 2007.

This year’s holiday caroling protest was endorsed by a coalition of both New York–based and national groups, reflecting the rapid growth of the Movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

This nonviolent strategy to pressure Israel to respect Palestinian rights is modeled on the international boycott movement that helped bring an end to apartheid in South Africa.  M.H./F.J.

8.  Haaretz

December 18, 2011

Israel, wake up and smell the coffee

Years of rioting against Palestinians, uprooting of trees, vandalism, arson, destruction, dispossession, theft, rocks and axes didn’t cause a ripple, but one rock to the head of a deputy brigade commander made all the difference.

By Gideon Levy

  If I could, I’d send a modest bouquet of flowers as a gesture of thanks for the work of the rioters – the ones who infiltrated the Ephraim Brigade base in the West Bank last week. They achieved, at least for a moment, what others had failed to do: stir Israeli public opinion and maybe even the army and government against the West Bank settlers.

Good morning, Israel. You’ve woken up? Years of rioting against Palestinians, uprooting of trees, vandalism, arson, destruction, dispossession, theft, rocks and axes didn’t cause a ripple here. But one rock to the head of a deputy brigade commander, Lt. Col. Tzur Harpaz, made all the difference.

An all-out riot. Jewish terrorism. There are militias in the West Bank, settler-terrorists in a no-man’s-land. And all this due to a rock that drew a few drops of sacred Jewish blood.

Here they are again: arrogance and nationalist ideology. How is it possible that terrorism has arisen from the Chosen People? How could a few drops of blood from one person shock more than streams of other people’s blood? How did the rock that scratched Harpaz’s forehead reverberate immeasurably more than the teargas canister that ripped through the forehead of Palestinian Mustafa Tamimi, killed four days earlier by soldiers from the army Harpaz serves in?

No, the right wing’s hilltop youth haven’t endangered the State of Israel. They haven’t even distorted its image, as it’s now popular to proclaim. What do you want from them? They’ve been made accustomed to think that anything goes. Enough with the self-righteous clucking of tongues. Enough with the “condemnations” and expressions of bogus and belated shock. There is nothing new under the sun when it comes to the settlers. It’s not a “new level” of activity, and it doesn’t involve the crossing of “red lines.” The only line that has been crossed, perhaps, is the line of apathy.

We’ve been reporting for years about the settlers’ misdeeds, week after week. We’ve recounted how they have threatened Palestinians, hit their children on their way to school, thrown garbage at their mothers, turned dogs on elderly Palestinians, abducted shepherds, stolen livestock, embittered their lives day and night, hill and vale, invading and taking over. And it never touched a soul.

Now all of a sudden there is shock. Good morning, Israel. Why? What happened? You can’t chastise those young people after years of not only apathy toward their parents’ misdeeds but also the warm embrace of most of society and sweeping support from the IDF and every Israeli government. You can’t speak about them as brother-pioneers, give them huge budget allocations, promise they’ll be allowed to remain where they are forever, view them as a legitimate, not to say principled, segment of society, and then suddenly turn your back on them, condemning and attacking them. And all due to a rock.

You can’t change the rules that way, one fine day. And the rules were set long ago: It’s their land, the land of the settlers; they’re the masters of it and can do anything there. Only a distorted double standard would permit a change in the rules due to a minor injury to the Israel Defense Forces. Only in the name of a distorted double standard could you be shocked about the recent acts, which were by no means the most serious or cruel.

Of course Israel has the right (and duty ) to change the rules, but such a change must be revolutionary and be carried out across the settlement enterprise, halting it entirely and changing the illegal, unethical and intolerable reality that exists in our backyard. The government isn’t interested in such a change. The IDF isn’t either, and it’s doubtful most Israelis want such a change. But anything less than that is hollow lip service, nothing more than a small wave on the hull of this decades-long enterprise.

Until that happens, let’s leave them alone. There’s no point evacuating a chicken coop at the Mitzpeh Yitzhar outpost while the settlement of Efrat is lapping at the edge of Bethlehem. There’s no point waging war against the “illegal” outposts while the “legal” settlement of Ofra has been built on stolen land. And there’s no point issuing restraining orders to keep out a clutch of rioters while it never occurs to Israel to issue similar orders against all their brethren.

The violent demonstrators at the Ephraim Brigade base are the opposite of anarchists, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called them. They just want to preserve the existing order, just as most Israelis, led by the prime minister, do. Flowers for the rioters? On second thought, they haven’t done a thing.


9.  Today in Palestine

December 18, 2011


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