Dorothy Onilne Newsletter

NOVANEWS

Dear Friends,
 
6 items below.
 
The first one and the 2 following it anger me so that I’m ready to throw something.
 
Item 1 tells us that Israel is again preparing for war, now against Lebanon.  Israel is always preparing for war.  That’s what militaristic countries do.  Periods of calm between wars are times to prepare for the next one!
 
The trouble is that Israelis accept that!  They accept Israel’s wars.  Not that I doubt that some will leave when the next one comes round, which, we are told will be horribly bloody (“Goldstone report will pale in comparison to what will be here next time.”)  But the excuse that this is because the enemy is in the heart of a populated area can also be said of Israel.  Where, for instance, is the Israel’s Ministry of Defense located?  To the east of it, across the road, is the Shalom Towers which houses a large mall and offices.  North of the ministry, across another road lie the Department of Education, the Municipal Court, the Tel Aviv Museum, and the theaters housing the Camari theater, the opera, and other events.  Won’t they become targets if the Ministry of Defense is attacked?  And what about Israeli army camps?  Many are located in areas populated by civilians.  But who thinks of this?  Surely not the officer who so glibly tells us that he intends to murder as many Lebanese as possible, but fails to mention the enormous destruction, and least of all to mention the number of Israeli soldiers and civilians that will be killed.
 
But Israelis buy this attitude of perpetual war.  This is what underlies items 2 and 3—the battle to make ‘serving’ the country at the age of 18 universal, either in the army or in national service.  The main objective is the haridi (ultra orthodox Jews).  Second to that are the Palestinian citizens of Israel.  Bibi has promised that everyone will ‘serve.’  Why do Israelis associate serving with the military?  Isn’t cleaning streets serving one’s country?  Isn’t writing a beautiful poem or piece of music serving one’s people?  How about doctors, teachers, social welfare workers, shop owners, falafel makers—don’t they serve the public, each in his/her own way?  But Israelis are so brain-washed that they think of serving as being of only one kind: military.  It makes me want to scream.  Nurit Peled-Elhanan is so right in saying
 
“We are all the victims of mental, psychological and cultural violence that turn us to one homogenic group of bereaved or potentially bereaved mothers. Western mothers who are taught to believe their uterus is a national asset just like they are taught to believe that the Muslim uterus is an international threat. They are educated not to cry out: ‘I gave him birth, I breast fed him, he is mine, and I will not let him be the one whose life is cheaper than oil, whose future is less worth than a piece of land.’¡¯
 
All of us are terrorized by mind-infecting education to believe all we can do is either pray for our sons to come back home or be proud of their dead bodies” (from a speech given on International Women’s Day in 2005).
 
I know of no other country apart from Israel in which the uterus is a mechanism for producing soldiers.
 
But there was one positive bit of info on Israeli TV News this evening.  The haridi Jews are threatening that if Israel forces them at the age of 18 to enlist in the military, they will start moving in droves to other countries.
May they go—a million or two of them.  Then, maybe, when Jews are a minority here, we can start talking about justice and peace rather than about war!
 
Item 4 states that “Israeli settlements ‘jeopardize’ Palestinian prosperity.  I think to talk of Palestinian prosperity is exaggerating some, but that colonies steal land and jeopardize Palestinian ability to earn a decent living is true.
 
Item 5 advertizes a new Just Vision film, “My Neighborhood,” which is about the non-violent protests (at least from the side of the demonstrators) in East Jerusalem.
 
Item 6 is ‘Today in Palestine’ for July 5, 2012.
 
I apologize for being long-winded tonight.
 
All the best,
Dorothy
 
1 Haaretz
Thursday, July 5, 2012
 
Senior IDF officer: Israel is preparing for the next Lebanon war
Officer says instability in Syria could ignite violent confrontation with the Lebanese army, says ‘Goldstone report will pale in comparison to what will be here next time.’
 
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/senior-idf-officer-israel-is-preparing-for-the-next-lebanon-war-1.449126
 
By Gili Cohen
 
The Israel-Lebanon border,
July 5, 2012.
Photo by Yaron Kaminsky
 
Six years after the outbreak of the Second Lebanon War, the IDF is saying openly that Israel is preparing for another Lebanon war.
 
The commander of the IDF’s 91st Division, Brigardier-General Hertzi Halevy told journalists on Thursday, “We understand that there is more than one factor, whether this is Lebanese, or whether it will come from somewhere else, that can ignite the border here.”
 
The 91st Division, part of the Northern Command, and responsible for the front with Lebanon, sees developments in Syria as one of the factors that could upset the calm that has prevailed in the region since the war. The collapse of the Syrian regime may also bring with it an increase in Jihadi or Hezbollah operatives, who may try to carry out targeted attacks in the area.
 
Already, Northern Command intelligence says certain areas of the border between Lebanon and Syria are “lawless zones,” which enable the transfer of more advanced weapons into the region. The IDF has stated that there are some 60 thousand missiles in Lebanon, ten times more than there were in the country during the first Lebanon war. Hezbollah has the capability to launch a large quantity of rockets in a short period time, and this could cause significant damage on the Home Front.
 
In IDF simulations of what a third Lebanon war would look like, ground maneuvers in villages that are considered bastions of Shiite Hezbollah become particularly important. “The next war will be different, and therefore we should stop it as quickly as possible, in order to make things easier for the home front. This means carrying out a very strong attack against Lebanon, and the damage will be enormous,” says a senior officer in the Northern Command.
 
“The Goldstone report will pale in comparison to what will be here next time. There is no choice but to fight against the enemy where he is, and that is in the heart of a populated area. ”
 
Despite Halevy’s warnings against Hezbollah violence in the north, the majority of violent incidents have actually been taking place on the initiative of the Lebanese army, which has aimed its arms at the IDF. Only last week an unusual incident occurred on the Hasbani River, near Ghajar. A group of eight soldiers, who were on patrol in the area with the company commander, identified five fighters from the Lebanese Army, together with RPG launchers and snipers. In a subsequent investigation, a tracker reported that a commander from the Lebanese force had instructed his fighters to harm IDF soldiers. In response, the IDF advanced the tank force in the area as a cover, sending a strong message to the UNIFIL force in the area that the IDF would respond harshly in case of any fire from the Lebanese army.
 
In practice, the forces serving in the region must practice restraint: Official policy dictates that the IDF must not open fire first, except for extenuating circumstances. Nevertheless, recent violent events have occurred only with the Lebanese army, and not with Hezbollah.
 
“When things happen with the Lebanese army, it is preferable to solve them with an M16, and not with F-16s,” a senior official in the area explained.
 
The Northern Command point out that reconstruction work in Bint Jbeil, the site of a major battle during the 2006 war, was only completed a few months ago. The next confrontation, they point out, will cause even more damage. In the event that the situation would erupt, said Halevy, “the IDF is preparing seriously and professionally for another Lebanon war. The response will need to be sharper, harder, and in some ways very violent. The next war will be with very heavy exchanges of fire on both sides, and so both need to make every effort to stop this happening. In the Goldstone Report, the community and the world tended to get confused and think that this can be done in a nicer way. It cannot be nice. Without the use of great force, we will find it difficult to achieve the aim, and the enemy should also know that.”
+++++++
2 Ynet Friday,
July 06, 2012
 
‘Suckers’ encampment in Jerusalem Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
 
Bereaved mother: Is my son’s blood worth less?
Many parents whose children were killed during army service plan to attend mass Tel Aviv demonstration calling for universal recruitment. ‘Yeshiva students should not use Torah as excuse,’ one of them says
 
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4252098,00.html
 
Shahar Chai, Ilana Curiel
 
Several bereaved parents are expected to attend Saturday night’s “IDF suckers’ demonstration in Tel Aviv against haredi draft-dodging. Others will support the campaign for universal recruitment from afar.
 
Nelly Barak of Arad, whose son, Lieutenant Hanan Barak, was killed during the June 2005 border incident in which Gilad Shalit was kidnapped into Gaza, said she supports the army reservists who are organizing the event, though she will not be attending. “Everyone must contribute their fair share to the national effort. This country is not built for parasites,” she said.
 
The bereaved mother stressed that while she respects yeshiva students, “when our children want to go to the university they first have to serve for three years (in the army. The yeshiva students can also serve three years and then study Torah for the rest of their lives if they so desire.
 
Parents of fallen IDF soldier Hanan Barak (Photo: Herzl Yosef)
 
“They should not use the Torah as an excuse. That’s unacceptable. Everyone is equal in this country. Why is my son’s blood worth less?” Barak said.
 
Tensions surrounding haredi draft-dodging soared after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dissolved a committee that was tasked with drafting a universal draft law to replace the Tal Law, which effectively exempted ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students from army service.
Barak said she support civil service for Israel’s Arabs and haredim. “I don’t think all the Arabs will enlist in the army, but they can perform national service. There are enough schools and clinics out there that could use their help,” she argued.
 
Eli Ben-Shem, who lost his son, 1st Lt. Kobi Ben-Shem, when two military helicopters crashed over the She’ar Yashuv moshav in the Upper Galilee, plans to attend Saturday’s rally.
 
“It pains the bereaved families, who paid a very heavy price for a country that is dear to them, that only half of Israel’s citizens serve in the army while the other half does nothing. We expect the PM to come to his senses. There is a historic opportunity here to change the current situation. If the status quo persists, in a few years there no one will join the IDF,” he said.
 
Netanyahu promised equal service, say parents (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
 
Ben-Shem, who heads the Yad Labanim soldiers’ memorial organization, said he was very disappointed by Netanyahu’s decision to disband the Plesner Committee. “We thought we were on the brink of a historic change in Israel, and now we see it dissipating again due to political interests,” he said.
 
Yaron Baskind’s paratrooper son Matan was killed in a car crash. “The message should be simple: Everyone must enlist. There is one army, and that is the Jewish army in the Land of Israel, and everyone must find their place there. Those who don’t should not have rights,” he told Ynet.
 
Actor Shlomo Vishinsky, whose son was killed on the Philadelphi Route in south Gaza, will also take part in the demonstration. “There cannot be a situation whereby such a large segment of society does not share the burden. My son Lior was an extreme leftist and served in the most elite IDF unit. He separated his IDF service from his personal political views. He was a true democrat.”
 
“Are the mothers of these haredi draft-dodgers not ashamed? Other mothers do not sleep well at night because they are worried about what may happen to their children in the army.”
 
Ami Schrier of Haifa, whose son First Lieutenant Yiftach Schrier was killed in the Second Lebanon War, says the pace at which the activists are trying to change things is too fast. “You can’t a situation that has been created over 64 years in six days.
 
Schrier said Intrerior Minister Eli Yishai visited the family home during the period of mourning (shiva). “I told him that Yiftach was a secular officer who commanded over Yeshivat Hesder soldiers. I said Shas supporters should follow their example and join the army. He (Yishai) told me her served for three years.
 
“So far close to 6,000 haredim have enlisted. If we apply more pressure on them, they will close up,” Schrier said.
 
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3 Israeli Identity is at the Heart of a Debate on Service
 
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/06/world/middleeast/national-identity-at-heart-of-debate-on-israeli-military-service.html?_r=1&ref=middleeast
++++++++++
 
4 BBC Friday,
July 6, 2912
Israeli settlements ‘jeopardising’ Palestinian prosperity
The report says Palestinians can use only 6% of the land in the Jordan Valley
 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18693709
[Use the link to see the maps. D]
 
The economic potential of Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley area of the West Bank is being jeopardised by Israeli settlement activity, a report by the UK charity Oxfam says.
 
The study suggests Palestinians could generate an extra £1bn ($1.5bn) a year if restrictions to their use of land, water and movements were removed.
 
It says Palestinians can use only 6% of the land, while settlers control 86%.
 
Israel criticised the report, saying it had “a clearly political agenda”.
 
About 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.
 
“These discriminatory policies and practices have pushed more Palestinians into poverty and are destroying the prospects for two states living side by side in security and peace”  Jeremy Hobbs Executive Director, Oxfam International
 
The Jordan Valley – most of which lies within the eastern strip of the West Bank – is about 120km long (75 miles) and 15km wide.
 
Oxfam says about 66,000 Palestinians and 9,500 settlers live in the area. Most of the Palestinians live in 20 permanent communities, including the city of Jericho, though thousands live in temporary communities.
 
The Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem say the authorities have instituted a system of permits and restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, making it difficult for those who are not listed as residents to enter it. Israel says the measures are necessary for its security.
 
At the same time, the group says, Israel has allocated almost exclusive use of the valley’s water resources to the 28 Jewish settlements in the area, to the detriment of Palestinian communities.
 
‘Wretched reality’
 
In the report On the Brink: The Impact of Settlements on Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, Oxfam says settlement expansion and restrictions on Palestinians are destroying the viability of a future Palestinian state.
 
“The Jordan Valley… has the potential to be the Palestinian bread basket, yet restrictions on Palestinians use of land, water, and on building in the valley are keeping them poor while helping nearby Israeli settlements thrive,” it adds.
 
“By one estimate, the Palestinian economy could gain an additional $1bn a year in agricultural revenue if the restrictions on Palestinian use of land, water, and mobility in the Jordan Valley were removed.”
 
The report states that Palestinians can use only 6% of the land in the area, while settlers, who account for 13% of the population, have control over 86% of its land. The poverty rate for Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley is nearly double that of the rest of the West Bank, it adds.
 
“Settlements and related Israeli policies, such as systematic demolitions and restrictions on land and water use, are creating a wretched reality for Palestinians in the Jordan Valley,” said Oxfam International Executive Director Jeremy Hobbs.
 
“The government of Israel has an obligation to keep all people safe, but such excessive restrictions on Palestinians inside the West Bank would not be necessary if Israelis were not settling there. These discriminatory policies and practices have pushed more Palestinians into poverty and are destroying the prospects for two states living side by side in security and peace,” he added.
 
The report calls on Israel’s largest trading partner and the biggest donor to the Palestinians, the European Union and its member states, to take urgent action to press the government of Israel to immediately stop building settlements and end the demolition of Palestinian structures.
 
Oxfam also calls on the international community, donors and non-governmental organisations to initiate and support development projects in the Jordan Valley “even if they have not been approved by the Israeli Civilian Administration (unless Israeli refusal is based on genuine security concerns that are legitimate under international law)”.
 
A spokesman for the Israeli embassy in London, Amir Ofek, said: “Oxfam’s latest report on the situation in the Palestinian territories puts a clearly political agenda above any humanitarian concern.”
 
“Its call to the international community and to NGOs to initiate projects which clearly violate existing agreements is irresponsible and inflammatory. Far from advancing peace, such an approach undermines the prospects of reaching a negotiated resolution to the conflict.”
+++++++
5 Today in Palestine
July 5, 2012
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/f_shadi/message/3516
 
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http://www.justvision.org/myneighbourhood?utm_source=SFJFF&utm_campaign=MN+SFJFF&utm_medium=email
 

http://ih.constantcontact.com/fs031/1108760975529/img/6.jpg

Dear Dorothy,
 
I’m thrilled to share that later this month we will be returning to the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival for the West Coast premiere of My Neighbourhood.
 
The film will screen on July 25th and August 1st. We hope you’ll join us after the screening on the 25th for a special Q&A discussion with Just Vision’s Nadav Greenberg, Outreach and Programming Coordinator, and Anya Rous, Manager of Strategic Relationships.
 
Purchase tickets here
(Note: My Neighbourhood is 25 minutes long and will be followed by the unrelated feature-length
documentary Ameer Got His Gun. Tickets must be purchased for both films together.)
From Palestinian refugee camps to Israeli pre-army preparatory programs, and from Capitol Hill and the European Parliament to local churches, mosques and synagogues across the US and beyond, we aim to create a nuanced, forward-looking conversation about the steps needed to strengthen the voices of those working constructively towards resolving the conflict and ending the occupation without arms. 

We hope to see you in San Francisco in a few weeks, and to continue this important discussion in many other cities over the coming months.
 
If you’re interested in bringing My Neighbourhood to your community, contact info@justvision.org.
 
With appreciation,
 
Julia Bacha
Media Director, Just Vision
 
PS – Support from individuals like you enables us to bring this film to new audiences around the world. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to Just Vision today.
 

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