Dorothy Online Newsletter


Dear Friends,


The 7 items below begin with a subject very close to my heart on 2 counts: I know Tristan and his family, and I know how Israeli courts operate.  Of course I have been told that the aim of courts is not justice but the law.  Nonetheless, one would think that in cases as obvious as Tristan’s or Rachel Corrie ’s, or of other international activists, and the “countless Palestinians” that the IOF has killed, or the slaying of 13 Palestinians by Israeli police in 2002, 12 of whom were Israeli citizens—one would think that at least some of these cases would end in judgments against the perpetrators.  But this is Israel where the military and other so-called ‘security’ personnel are sacred, while Palestinian and activist-against-the-occupation life is cheap.


In item 2 a veteran of the Iraq tragedy castigates those who protest for social reforms but make heroes of soldiers who killed Iraqis in a war that served the 1%.  Don’t most wars serve the 1%?


Item 3 reports that threats against Israeli anti-settlement activists are escalating, and item 4 hints at why.  An Haaretz editorial, accuses Netanyahu of ‘leading the fight against Israel ’ s peace activists.’   While this is not identical to burning down the Reichstag in 1933 and using the event as evidence that the Communists were plotting against the government—neither is it is entirely different.  Both cases are used to build public opinion against the government’s opponents.  Very dangerous tactic, this.  We know what the Reichstag fire led to, and there are more than enough fundamentalist Jewish crazies in Israel , ready to kill if need be (e.g. Rabin).   Of course if Netanyahu and friends can get rid of human rights and peace/justice activists, then he can get on with his program with no or little opposition, and with the world being no wiser than it was with the Reichstag fire.


Item 5 is in ‘Today in Palestine ’ (item 7), but because I was unable to open it, I went to the internet to read and to make certain that you will be able to, also.  This item relates the trials and tribulations of Beit Jala.  When Netanyahu states, as often he does, that Gilo is and will remain an Israeli entity, he neglects to tell us that its land was stolen from Beit Jala Palestinians.  But, then, all of Israel was stolen from Palestinians.


Item 6 asks a very pertinent question: Why do the U.S. media believe the worst about Iran .


Item 7 is Today in Palestine for November 8.  It has a large section on Iran towards the end, and ends with a small section on the U.S.   Once again I ask you to at least glance through all or most of the summaries.  I recommend reading the whole of the following  if you have the time.

Israeli police harass Palestinian drivers during Adha Eid (the recent Muslim holiday).

Under Activism see PSCC organizes Palestinian ‘Freedom Rides’ on settler busses.

In the Gaza section, Siege of Gaza.

In the Discrimination section ‘Most of Israel’s expendable workers are women.’

In the Other News section ‘Lieberman proposes tax on foreign contributions to the left’

And the final item in this section ‘ Gaza doctor tragedy central in Israeli stage show’


That’ s it for this session.  Thanks for keeping up, if not with all, with as much as you can handle.




1.  Al Jazeera Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Challenging the Israeli army in court 


In 2009, the Israeli military shot US citizen Tristan Anderson in the head with a teargas canister, paralysing him.


Charlotte Silver


Villagers and international activists protest nonviolently every Friday in Nilin against the construction of the Separation Wall – which takes about 30 per cent of the village’s land [GALLO/GETTY]



This month, hearings in Tristan Anderson’s civil case against the Israeli army will begin in Jerusalem . Like the families of Rachel Corrie , Brian Avery and countless Palestinians, Tristan and his family are seeking to hold the otherwise indemnified Israeli military responsible in Israeli courts.


Tristan, a 39-year-old American, was shot in the head with an “extended range tear gas” canister on March 13, 2009 in the West Bank village of Nilin . The canister directly hit the right side of his forehead, breaking his skull, penetrating his right eye and devastating his frontal lobe. Today he remains almost entirely paralysed on his left side and blind in his right eye. Although he continues to slowly recover far beyond what was initially believed possible by his physicians – retrieving lost memories and gaining intellectual strength – he will be forever altered.


“The Tristan that I knew – that was my partner – that we all knew – he doesn’t exist anymore,” Gabrielle Silverman says.


Silverman, who is Jewish, had travelled to Israel and Palestine hoping to gain a clearer picture of the conflict between Israel and Palestine .


“I’ve been told my whole life that what is happening with Israel is relevant to me personally, so I came to get a better understanding of what was happening,” Silverman explains.


Tristan – a world traveller, photographer and a longtime human, social and environmental rights activist – followed Silverman, his girlfriend of 10 months, to the region.


The two travelled to both sides of the “Green Line”, and after seeing the situation for themselves, decided to join up with the International Solidarity Movement.


“I watched him get shot, watched him fall.”


– Silverman, Tristan’s girlfriend



Tristan was shot at the end of his sixth attendance at the regularly scheduled Friday protests in Nilin. Since January 2008, the residents of Nilin have protested the construction of the Separation Wall that steals around 30 per cent of its land. He and Silverman had wandered away from what remained of a dwindling demonstration and found a patch of grass to get a respite from the lingering tear gas.


“And out of nowhere they opened fire on us. The first shot they fired, they got Tristan.”


“I watched him get shot, watched him fall,” Silverman remembers.


‘Like firing a small missile’


At that time, the type of tear gas that hit Tristan had not been in use longer than six months and was advertised by its United States-makers, Combined Systems Inc, as a “barrier penetrator”.


This type of tear gas is particularly dangerous because it has an internal mechanism that propels it forward, significantly increasing its impact. “It’s like firing a small missile,” explains Sarit Michaeli , spokesperson for B’tselem , an Israeli human rights organisation.


The same weapon would kill Bassem Abu Rahma in the nearby village of Bilin , one month later.


For Silverman, Tristan and his family, taking the army to court represents a challenge to a system that has seen 260 Palestinians killed in unarmed demonstrations since 2000. The Israeli security forces responsible for these deaths have been held to no real accountability.


After two requests were filed by human rights organisation, B’tselem and Michael Sfard Law office, the “Judea and Samaria District Police” conducted an investigation into the incident, resulting in no criminal charges filed by Israel’s district attorney’s office.


However, B’tselem, Silverman and the Andersons ‘ representing lawyers argue that the investigation was outrageously flawed.


” It was a sloppy , unprofessional and negligent investigation. It cannot be described as thorough or complete,” said Emily Schaeffer, one of the lawyers representing Tristan in his criminal suit.


“The investigation clearly did not include a visit to the scene of the crime,” Schaeffer continued.    


Schaeffer explained that the investigation revealed that there were three separate groups of border police positioned throughout Nilin for the duration of that Friday’s protest, one of which was positioned on a hill approximately 60 meters away from Anderson and Silverman, and was the only group that would have had access to Anderson . That group of border police was never interviewed.


Instead, an entirely different group of border police was investigated for another shooting that had occurred on the same day, that of an unarmed Palestinian protester in the head. While five out of the seven witnesses to Tristan’s injury were interviewed, their testimonies were apparently disregarded as evidenced by the wrong group of border police being investigated.


Not the exception



A symbolic grave built on the spot where Bassem Abu Rahma was  killed while nonviolently protesting the theft of his land [EPA]


Following two appeals filed by Sfard’s firm, now the State Attorney’s office will determine whether to reopen the investigation and include what seems obviously necessary : A visit to the site and an investigation of the border police who did have access to Tristan from their position.


“Unfortunately the authorities’ treatment of Tristan’s case is not the exception – in my office alone we have seen literally hundreds of cases of Palestinians injured by the security forces whose investigations have also been negligent and have therefore failed to hold anyone accountable,” Schaeffer wrote in an email.


Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence had already determined the legitimacy of the shooting.


Parallel to the criminal investigation, Israel human rights attorney, Lea Tsemel pursued a civil case against the Israeli military for damages. Her suit elicited a letter from the Ministry of Defence on July 12, 2009 claiming the incident was an “act of war”, and therefore legitimate, i.e., they had no responsibility to Tristan.


Lea Tsemel argues that Tristan – and all Palestinians and internationals – were engaging in a legal action , not one of war.


Under international humanitarian law and Human Rights Law, Israel (as the occupying power) may be impelled to conduct both law enforcement and combat operations in the occupied Palestinian territories. The law enforcement component is particularly relevant in Area C of the West Bank – which constitutes 60 per cent of the land. It is under full civil and security control of Israel .


Nil’in falls into this category. Israel ‘s presence there during nonviolent Friday protests is a function of their capacity as law enforcement – not combat.


Indeed, suggesting that all military operations in the West Bank are not intended to result in death or critical injury, the Israeli military does have a set of open-fire regulations that apply to law enforcement scenarios, such as demonstrations in the West Bank. While these rules are classified, the military has publically confirmed that they prohibit their soldiers from shooting directly at people when trying to disperse crowds or protests.


Yet these procedures are hardly evident in reports from activists and human rights organisations such as B’tselem.


“It’s not about the rules, it’s about the lack of enforcement,” says Michaeli.


‘Acts of war’


However, of the 57 deaths that have occurred at demonstrations since the end of the Second Intifada, only four of them were caused by so-called “less lethal weapons”. The other 53 people were killed by live ammunition.


It appears that the army has made no effort to properly train its soldiers to enforce law rather than conduct combat. In a 2005 report on settler violence and expansion, former head of Israel ‘s State Prosecution Criminal Department, Talia Sasson, wrote, “In practice… IDF soldiers do not enforce the law, are not aware of the law enforcement procedure and are not at all interested in functioning like police officers.”


“In practice… IDF soldiers do not enforce the law.”


– Talia Sasson, former head of Israel ‘s State Prosecution Criminal Department



This non-compliance with Israel’s alleged open-fire regulations and its obligations under international humanitarian law and Human Rights Law is validated at the highest levels : Israel provides its soldiers with devices like the extended range tear gas canister – that decimated Tristan’s brain and killed Bassem Abu Rahahma from Bilin – and the Military of Defence is readily prepared to cast these incidents as “acts of war”.


This is nothing new. We know what to expect from the Ministry of Defence in the Jerusalem courtroom – they will dredge through a series of decontextualised facts to defame and belittle Tristan (and Silverman) as thrill-seeking activists, or argue that they were fully aware of the risks involved.


It’s the same justification they used in Rachel Corrie’s case. It was as irrelevant and baseless then as it is for Tristan and all the hundreds of Palestinians who have been maimed and killed while participating in unarmed resistance against a military occupation that has lasted for 44 years. 


During a year of social upheaval, the world has forged new bonds of solidarity as well as new classes of resistance. Whether from Egypt or the United States , people have seen how easily law enforcement can be supplanted by lethal combat for the sake of repressing the revolt and maintaining the status quo.


On October 25, Marine veteran Scott Olson was shot in the head by a tear gas canister at an occupy Oakland demonstration. He is currently in an Oakland hospital, and the extent of the damage to his brain is still uncertain.


Many people have been all too willing to serve as an ally to the state , supporting its repressive tactics by marginalising and dismissing political activism. Israel has acted savagely and with impunity, but the world’s climate is changing. Perhaps, we can expect that increasing numbers will begin to scrutinise the actions of Israel and demand accountability.


Charlotte Silver is a journalist based in the West Bank, Palestine .


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.



2.  Wall Street’s Wars

Fallujah Veteran: ‘I Served The 1%’

Thoughts on the role of veterans in the Occupy movement

By Ross Caputi 

November 08, 2011 ”

Information Clearing House” – I did not serve my country in Iraq ; I served the 1%. It was on their behalf that I helped lay siege to Fallujah, helped kill thousands of civilians, helped displace hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and helped destroy an entire city. My “service” served Exxon-Mobil, Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater, and other multinational corporations in Iraq .

My family in Massachusetts is not safer because of my service , and Iraqis are not freer. I helped oppress Iraqis in a manner far more brutal than what has been experienced by the Occupy movement at the hands of the New York and Oakland police departments.

I was an occupier and am now an #occupier. I once served the 1%, but now try to serve the 99%. That is why I must speak up when I see the Occupy movement being led astray by the same nationalism and “Ameri-centrism,” the same thoughtless praises for U.S. troops and veterans, and the same hypocrisy that led us into the so-called “War On Terror” and the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan .

Many of us have joined the Occupy movement, because we identify as members of the 99%, but the media only began to highlight our participation after Cpl. Scott Olsen was shot in the head by the Oakland police with a projectile on Oct. 25. Olsen was immediately rushed to the emergency room, and his name soon became a rallying cry. A nationwide call was put out for vigils in solidarity with Olsen.

Going to war is not “serving our country”

The Occupy movement was quick to highlight Olsen’s “service” and his two deployments to Iraq . The New York Times noted that “his injury—and the oddity of a Marine who faced enemy fire only to be attacked at home—has prompted an outpouring of sympathy, as well as calls for solidarity.”

Although Olsen appears to oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan —he is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans For Peace, —the Occupy movement’s response to his attack has revealed ambivalence on these issues.

The Occupy movement has glossed over the irony that Olsen was put in the hospital by some of the same tactics that his Marine Corps has used against Iraqis. It has not drawn a connection between what happened to Olsen and what happened to Iraqis who peacefully protested against the U.S. occupation of their country—like in Fallujah on April 28, 2003, when the U.S. fired into a crowd of protesters and killed 13 civilians. Countless other identical incidents have taken place, even today as Iraqis also protest unemployment, corruption and lack of services.

When the Occupy movement mentions Olsen’s “service” without clarifying who he served, they hide the lies of the 1% and ignore the more than 1 million dead Iraqis, the millions of refugees and orphans, and the dramatic rise in cancers and birth defects in Iraq .

We must stand for the most affected victims of Wall Street

I watched a Youtube video the other day of U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Shamar Thomas shouting at the NYPD: “If you want to go kill or hurt people, go to Iraq . Why are you hurting U.S. citizens?” as a crowd of Occupy Wall Street protesters cheered him on.

Over 2.5 million people have watched this video, and Thomas appeared on Rosie O’Donnell’s television show and made several appearances on Keith Olbermann. Everyone championed his “service” and decried police brutality against U.S. citizens. Nobody questioned the dismissal of the value of Iraqi lives.

We should all decry police brutality wherever it rears its ugly head. Yet police brutality and the murder of innocent civilians in foreign countries in service of the 1% are both moral issues, and to decry one without decrying the other suggests a serious disconnect.

These attitudes in our movement are deeply troubling to me. We decry economic injustice at home, but stay silent about the unjust occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan . We decry police brutality at home, while the U.S. war machine brutalizes innocent people abroad. We need to understand that Iraqis, Afghans, Palestinians, Libyans and everyone else who has fallen victim to the 1% and its war machine are part of the 99%, too.

We can love our country, but we should not value American lives more than any other. We can set up a Scott Olsen Support Fund, but we should not ignore the rise in cancers and birth defects that U.S. weapons have caused in Iraq .

Veterans have an important role to play in this movement, but we are not heroes because of our participation in the wars, and it is shameful for anyone to use us to appeal to patriotism; that only serves the 1%. What we have to offer this movement is a first-hand account of what the 1% has done all over the world at the expense of the 99%. We as veterans are in a better position than anyone else to fight against the dangerous beliefs that put veterans on a pedestal. It is our responsibility to speak out against injustice, no matter where it occurs in this world.

The author is a Marine Corps veteran of the second siege of Fallujah and a member of March Forward!. He is the founder of the ‘Justice for Fallujah Project’ which will host various events during the second annual ‘Remember Fallujah Week,’ Nov. 16-19. Click here for more information.

This item was first published at


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3.  LATimes

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Threats escalate against Israeli anti-settlement activists


REPORTING FROM JERUSALEM — Peace Now, a group known for its vocal stand against Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories, says a senior member of its team has received a death threat.


It was the latest in a string of incidents blamed on Jewish extremists protesting the dismantling of illegal settlements in the West Bank. The targets of these so-called price-tag operations — which typically involve vandalism in response to government actions against the settlements — have been individuals, groups, mosques, cemeteries and recently even Israeli army facilities.


The threat against Hagit Ofran , who heads Peace Now’s Settlement Watch project, was found spray-painted in the stairwell of her building early Tuesday.


The vandals wrote “Rabin is waiting for you,” a reference to former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated in 1995 by a right-wing Jewish law student. Commemorations for Rabin were set to begin that night. Many Israelis noted the timing and cautioned that the lessons of Rabin’s death have not been learned.


The graffiti also included the names of settlements that had recently been dismantled or are slated to be. Earlier this week, Peace Now’ s office building was evacuated because of a bomb scare.


Ofran said she would not be intimidated but that police would do well to increase their presence in the neighborhood. Activists called an emergency demonstration outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem on Tuesday evening, declaring in a message posted on the Internet:  “We will continue to work for peace.”


Reuven Rivlin , speaker of the Israeli Knesset, or parliament, and a longtime member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, had planned to address the price-tag attacks in a speech Wednesday in Rabin’s memory. Tuesday’s events prompted him to release his comments to the media in advance.


“This is not a ‘ price’ or a ‘ tag,’ this is terror,” he wrote. “These villainous criminals who harmed houses of prayer, fields, homes and property belonging to Palestinians, are Jewish, and this is Jewish terrorism that should be called nothing less.”


Left-wing commentators warned that the dispute over Israeli policies in the West Bank was heating up dangerously. Lawmaker Zehava Galon said she feared “it might lead to the next political assassination.”


Earlier this year, conservative politicians and activists waged a campaign accusing nongovernmental organizations from the left of undermining Israel . This week, Netanyahu expressed support for a bill limiting foreign donations to human rights organizations, which are already required to disclose their foreign government funding.


Yariv Oppenheimer, secretary-general of Peace Now, said such efforts were partly to blame for increasing violence. Speaking on Israel Radio on Tuesday morning, Opppenheimer said the message was that “what doesn’t work in the Knesset will work on the street.”



4.  Haaretz Editorial

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Netanyahu leading the fight against Israel ‘s peace activists

Right-wing parties blame Israel human rights organizations for aiding what they call ‘campaign to delegitimize Israel ‘, and have turned them into a scapegoat.


Haaretz Editorial

Tags: Price tag Yitzhak Rabin Knesset Benjamin Netanyahu West Bank Israel settlements Jerusalem


The “price tag” graffiti sprayed on the home of Hagit Ofran of Peace Now on Tuesday is part of a consistent delegitimization campaign against left-wing organizations. Virtually not a day goes by without peace activists suffering threats to their lives or damage to their property. On the eve of the 16th memorial day in honor of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who fell victim to a campaign of incitement by the extreme right, it seems that the lesson has not been learned.


Ministers and Knesset members have turned Israeli human rights organizations into scapegoats. The right-wing parties, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leading the band, blame these organizations for aiding what they call a “campaign to delegitimize Israel .” This is their substitute for ending settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which outrages all of Israel ‘s supporters worldwide.


With the start of the Knesset’s winter session, Netanyahu came out in support of a bill by his confidant, MK Ofir Akunis (Likud ), that would ban “political” nongovernmental organizations from receiving donations of over NIS 20,000 from foreign governments or international organizations. The term “political NGOs” is transparent camouflage for a law intended to stigmatize and shackle the activities of NGOs that focus on protecting the rights of minorities and monitoring the behavior of government agencies. The bill’s explanatory notes state explicitly that it is intended to deal with “organizations acting in the guise of human rights organizations that seek to influence the political discourse, character and policies of the State of Israel.”


Since they do not have any legal justification for shutting down these human rights organizations, Netanyahu and his colleagues are trying to achieve this goal via the parliamentary majority they command. As opposed to donations from unsupervised private sources, which also flow to right-wing organizations, human rights organizations receive aid from legitimate bodies like the United Nations and the European Union, which scrupulously abide by the rules of transparency.


The prime minister’s active support for this idiotic bill shows that he has not internalized Vladimir Jabotinsky’s teachings or Menachem Begin’s legacy regarding the essence of democracy. All we can do is urge those of his colleagues who do care about preserving Israel ‘s democracy – first and foremost Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) – to stand in the breach.



6.  Guardian

Wednesday 9 November 2011


Why do the US media believe the worst about Iran ?

In their eagerness to recycle flimsy scare stories about Iran , the US media have failed to absorb the lessons of Iraq and WMD


Brian Whitaker,


Iran ‘s Bushehr nuclear power plant. US media have been quick to believe scare stories about the country’s nuclear programme. Photograph: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

“One of the oldest tricks in the run-up to a war is to spread terrifying stories of things that the enemy may be about to do. Government officials plant these tales, journalists water them and the public, for the most part, swallow them.” I wrote this paragraph in December 2002, some three months before the US launched its invasion of Iraq , but it seems just as applicable today in relation to Iran .



The Iraq war of 2003 followed a long media build-up in which talk about Saddam Hussein’s imaginary weapons of mass destruction, simply by virtue of its constant repetition, led many prominent journalists to abandon their critical faculties. The Washington Post, for instance, devoted an extraordinary 1,800 words to an extremely flimsy (but scary) story suggesting Iraq had supplied nerve gas to al-Qaida. The paper later conceded that its coverage of the Iraqi WMD issue had been seriously defective, but by then it was too late to undo the damage.



At the New York Times, meanwhile, star reporter Judith Miller was churning out more alarmist stuff about Iraq . One story concerned US attempts to stop Iraq importing atropine, a drug used for treating heart patients which is also an effective antidote against pesticide poisoning … and nerve gas. There were various possible interpretations, but the implication of this tale, as presented by Miller, with assistance from anonymous official sources, was that Iraq not only possessed nerve gas but intended to use it and wanted to protect its own troops from the harmful effects.



Another of Miller’s “scoops” was an unverified claim that a Russian scientist, who once had access to the Soviet Union’s entire collection of 120 strains of smallpox, might have visited Iraq in 1990 and might have provided the Iraqis with a version of the virus that could be resistant to vaccines and could be more easily transmitted as a biological weapon.


The story collapsed shortly afterwards when it emerged that the scientist had not, after all, visited Iraq in 1990. Just to be on the safe side, though, the Bush administration still pressed ahead with a smallpox vaccination programme – much to the delight of pharmaceutical companies.



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