Thanks to all who have written me about receiving or not receiving my sendings. Thanks so much for your patience. Hopefully this one will reach you.
10 items below.
Very nearly every commercial newspaper that I checked today—domestic and international—had a report of one sort or another about last night’s doings by Jewish fundamentalist youth. They had quite a hey-day in Jerusalem, in Palestinian West Bank villages (burning cars and the like), and on an army base. Several political figures called those who engaged in these ‘terrorists,’ and one minister went so far as to say that when Jewish ‘terrorists’ threaten soldiers, they (the soldiers) should shoot them. Quite a to-do. That is item 1. But item 2 states much the same as Carmela Menasha (a military reporter with years of experience with the military) said on this morning’s radio news—all the excitement regarding what to do about these hoodlums is mere talk. Nothing will change.
Item 3 is very brief, and I included it for the contrast. When the IOF wants to go after a Palestinian, it finds him/her! But when it goes after Jews—that’s an entirely different cup of tea.
Item 4 is about Basam Tamimi’s trial. I won’t repeat here the details. What is important in addition to what is written below is that Palestinians are tried by military courts, in which judges are also military personnel. Israelis, no matter how violent because of their fundamentalist ideals are tried in civil courts. This is not to say that judges in civil courts are more prone than military ones to find Palestinians not guilty, but there is nevertheless a difference. Normally military courts are for military personnel. But in the OPT they try Palestinian civilians, including children. (see http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Branches%20of%20Government/Judicial/The%20Judiciary-%20The%20Court%20System for the judicial system in Israel}
Item 5 relates that Israel is meeting opposition to its plan to move the Bedouin tribes near the colony of Maale Adumim. The Bedouins were of course there prior to the colony—long before. Be careful when you read about ‘state land.’ It normally consists of land stolen from Palestinians and then declared ‘state land’ by Israel.
Item 6 reports that this year a record number of Palestinians are being displaced. Of course. Israel would be most happy if they would look for greener pastures elsewhere in the world.
Item 7, ‘Commanders’ authority supersedes rabbis’ relates to the recent attempts by the ultra-Orthodox Jews to separate men and women, and to keep males from hearing females sing. One suggestion below is great: if female voices bother them, they should use ear plugs. The main value of this report is in the stats. Although the IOF is still sometimes referred to as the ‘people’s army,’ it has not been for many years. For although induction is mandatory for males and females about 50% either do not enlist or do not finish their term of duty. These include individuals who are excused by the military as well as those who are conscientious objectors (a status not recognized by Israel). Apparently, the numbers of those who do not enlist are expected to rise, as is expressed below.
Item 8 is a Palestinian response to Gingrich, 9 is a video of about 8 minutes in which Ben White speaks about his new book ‘Palestinians in Israel’ (a much needed coverage), and 10 is the latest OCHA weekly ‘Protection of Civilians’ report.
That’s it dear readers.
Hopefully this will reach you, and you will find the items informative and useful.
December 14, 2011
Israel right-wing activists clash with Jerusalem police following price tag attack
Right-wing activists slash police-car tires, smash windows following attempt to arrest suspects following the arson of a historically significant mosque in the capital.
By Oz Rosenberg and Haaretz
Tags: Jerusalem Israel Police price tag
Dozens of right-wing activists clashed with police officers in Jerusalem on Wednesday, amid attempts to arrest suspects linked to recent so-called price tag attacks.
The rioters, some of whom reside in the capital’s Kiryat Moshe neighborhood aftering being forced to leave the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, slashed the tires and smashed the windows of several police cars. Six rioters were arrested and taken under custody.
Police sources indicated that several youths sought confront officers arriving at the Jerusalem apartment, while some of those present during the clash claimed that police officers hurled several activists through the first-floor apartment’s window.
In the apartment, officers found weapon-like models as well as documents that may be used as evidence.
One of the neighbors, Daniel, told Haaretz that the “police is chasing 20-year-olds around instead of looking for real criminals,” adding that “the youth weren’t violent at all.”
“These were people who were legally expelled and moved here. They have to live somewhere. This is the first time I have ever seen police officers acting without a warrant or due documents,” he added.
Clashes in Jerusalem followed a series of recent violent events involving extremist Jewish activists. Earlier Wednesday, a mosque of historical significance in the capital was set alight overnight in another apparent “price tag” attack.
Arsonists set fire to a deserted mosque in central Jerusalem, with damage mainly consisting of the blackening of walls and graffiti reading “Price Tag,” and anti-Islamic phrases.
Earlier, fears that the Israel Defense Forces was about to evacuate an illegal outpost triggered several violent incidents targeting Palestinians in the West Bank.
Two trucks and a car were torched in the Palestinian village of Duma near Nablus, with the inscription “camaraderie Mitzpe Yitzhar” spray painted nearby.
In another incident, rocks were reported to have hurled at Palestinian vehicles passing through the Tapuach and Rechalim Junction; a young Jewish woman was arrested in relation to the attacks.
On Tuesday, dozens of right-wing activists infiltrated an IDF base in the West Bank, with others assaulting the vehicle of a top military officer, who escaped with minor injuries.
Several Israeli public figures expressed their outrage at the recent wave of violence, with Defense Minister Ehud Barak saying earlier Wednesday that Israel needs to see if the so-called hilltop youth, a group of young people who reared in the settlements and belonging to the extreme right, could be designated as a terror organization.
“From the way they conduct themselves, there’s no question that this is terrorist behavior,” Barak told Army Radio, saying that there exists a need to define them as a terrorist organization: “Is it an organization or is it just a collection of individuals? How can we define them collectively?”
However, Barak added, Israel had to “act fast, so both they and the rest of the normative settler community in the West Bank, the majority of the population, won’t be suspected.”
In an unusually harsh response, former Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said the Israeli soldiers should have shot the right-wing rioters when they assaulted them.
December 14, 2011
Today they are outraged, tomorrow they will forget
When the wave of condemnation passes, everything will be just as it was before: authorities will continue to act forgivingly toward the extreme right, and IDF officers will continue to tread carefully when it comes to settler violence.
By Amos Harel
The mailboxes have been overflowing since the early morning. Newspaper fax machines have practically collapsed in the wake of the barrage of messages: Israel’s president is shocked by the crossing of red lines, Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya’alon warns of “dangerous acts of terror” of Jewish rioters, the prime minister instructed security forces to act with force, the defense minister is entering a briefing, the Yesha chairman has called in to condemn. Even Ya’akov Katz (National Union), “father to seven officers in top units”, as his spokesperson often says, stated that “anyone who hurts the IDF is not part of the settlements”, although in the same breath was quick to remind us of the Avishai Raviv precedent, warning of a “GSS controlled by the radical left-wing.”
Nevertheless, here is a cautious estimation: in two days, when the wave of condemnation passes, everything will be just as it was before. Authorities in the territories will continue to act forgivingly toward the extreme right, the settlement leaders (some of whom took an active role in the ugly campaign against former commander of the Judea and Samaria division, Brigadier General Nitzan Alon) will continue to close deals with the Office of the Prime Minister, and IDF officers will continue to tread carefully when it comes to settler violence.
True, every once in a while a top officer, usually during his farewell ceremony, will dare to warn against “Jewish terror” in the territories. But at the end of the day, these are all fleeting moments when the screen is lifted – when the eyes can readjust. Because there has not yet been a brigadier-general who has not dreamed of becoming general, or a police chief superintendant who has not wanted to reach the rank of commander, they are well aware of the power of the radical branch of the settlers, not to mention its boisterous lobby in the current Knesset.
In practice, this treatment is also reflected in this morning’s events. And although the event could be described as riotous in its scope, only one person was arrested in the attack on the Efraim Division, while two others were detained for questioning. Whoever believes that this time the rioters will be held accountable to the full extent of the law, is welcome to read the updates on the investigation regarding the arson attacks on West Bank mosques, or whether an indictment has been served in response to the torching of the mosque in the Bedouin village of Tuba-Zangaria in the north, which was the last time state leaders woke from their slumber in order to express their shock. The sad truth is that the system of enforcement in the territories is helpless in the face of attacks, while investigators are struggling to gather evidence that will stand the test of the courts. Moreover, judges act forgivingly toward Jewish suspects that acted out of ideological motives, even more so when right-wingers are suspected.
This morning’s events should flash (another) red light, not only due their scope – the military has spoken of hundreds of youths who have taken part in throwing stones on Palestinian vehicles near Ramat Gilad – but also because this time there are many signs that the event was well-coordinated. From a first glance, it ostensibly looks like one group is behind the rioting in Ramat Gilad, the break-in at the Efraim Division IDF base, the infiltration into a baptism site in the Jordan River and the entry into Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus. All this was done in order to create deterrence in the lead up to the evacuation of three West Bank settlement outposts within three weeks, which the government announced to the High Court of Justice.
A few months ago, security forces invested great efforts in preventing a possible conflagration in the West Bank, as the Palestinians were gearing up to turn to the UN. The escalation, as we know now, never came, and “Operation Summer Seeds” was hardly carried out. Today, at least, it seems that the biggest threat to the quiet in the territories comes not from the Palestinians, but from irresponsible provocations of the zealous, insane margins of the Israeli right wing.
December 14, 2011
Palestinians: IDF arrests Hamas parliament member in Ramallah
The Palestinians have reported that IDF forces have arrested a Palestinian parliament member from Hamas, Ayman Dragma.
According to the report, IDF forces raided his Ramallah home and arrested him after conducting a search. (Elior Levy)
3. Press Release
14 December 2011
Bassem Tamimi’s Trial: Police Interrogator Admits Systematic Infringements on Minors Rights
In his testimony before the military court in the trial against Palestinian protest organizer, Bassem Tamimi, police interrogator said today that Palestinian minors are never granted their right to have a parent present during questioning.
Police officer Moshe Madyuni, an interrogator in the Israeli police’s Central Unit, testified before the military court today that Palestinian minors are never offered the right to have their parents with them during questioning and that the police station does not have the facilities to allow them to sleep. Officer Madyuni was one of the interrogators who questioned the two main witnesses against West Bank protest organizer, Bassem Tamimi, both of them minors of 14 and 15 years old.
Media contact: Jonathan Pollak +972-54-632-7736
During his testimony today, the officer said, “Usually, a minor is supposed to be interrogated in the presence of a parent, unless in obstructs the interrogation or if the minor does not want [his parents presence]. In this case I didn’t bother with it – the suspects were brought in from the Territories, so of course we didn’t have any contact with his parents […] I don’t remember a single case in which we questioned a minor from the Territories in the presence of his parents.”
Moshe Maduni was the lead interrogator of both Islam Dar Ayyoub and Mo’atasem Tamimi, 14 and 15 years old, respectively. The two boys, who were questioned unlawfully and in violation of their rights, incriminated Tamimi of having allegedly told them and others to throw stones during the weekly demonstrations in Nabi Saleh.
The law requires that minors be interrogated only by certified youth interrogators. Officer Madyuni was the only qualified youth interrogator out of four policemen involved in their questioning. Despite that fact, the officer himself testified today, “I am a qualified youth interrogator, but as a rule, on a day to day basis, I don’t serve as one […] I know the basic guidelines [for interrogating minors] more or less.”
The video recordings of the minors’ interrogations show that they were not properly informed about their right to remain silent, as the law requires. When Madyuni was asked at court to cite the proper warning of the right to remain silent in Arabic, he did so correctly, saying “You do not have to say anything. Everything you say will be documented and could be used as evidence against you in court. Refraining from answering questions will strengthen the evidence against you.” However, when confronted with what he actually told one of the boys, “We want only the truth, you must tell us everything that happened”, the officer said that such a sentence could also be considered properly informing a suspect of his rights.
Despite clear evidence from the interrogation’s recording that pressure was applied on the boys to incriminate organizers, Madyuni denied having leading them to say what interrogators wanted to hear. Madyuni denied leading his subjects even when confronted with sentences such as “From the first day you started throwing stones, who incited you? You are a young boy – older people incite you”, or “Do you want to turn a page and start over or don’t you? The older people incite you, you are a little boy.”
On March 24th, 2011, a massive contingent of Israeli Soldiers raided the Tamimi home at around noon, only minutes after he entered the house to prepare for a meeting with a European diplomat. He was arrested and subsequently charged.
The main evidence in Tamimi’s case is the testimony of 14 year-old Islam Dar Ayyoub, also from Nabi Saleh, who was taken from his bed at gunpoint on the night of January 23rd. In his interrogation the morning after his arrest, Islam alleged that Bassem and Naji Tamimi organized groups of youth into “brigades”, charged with different responsibilities during the demonstrations: some were allegedly in charge of stone-throwing, others of blocking roads, etc.
During a trial-within-a-trial procedure in Islam’s trial, motioning for his testimony to be ruled inadmissible, it was proven that his interrogation was fundamentally flawed and violated the rights set forth in the Israeli Youth Law in the following ways:
1. Despite being a minor, he was questioned in the morning following his arrest, having been denied sleep.
2. He was denied legal counsel, although his lawyer appeared at the police station requesting to see him.
3. He was denied his right to have a parent present during his questioning.
4. He was not informed of his right to remain silent, and was even told by his interrogators that he is “expected to tell the truth”.
5. Only one of four interrogators present was a qualified youth interrogator.
The audio-visual recording of another central witness against Tamimi, 15 year-old Mo’atasem Tamimi, proves that he too was questioned in a similarly unlawful manner.
Since the beginning of the village’s struggle against settler takeover of their lands in December of 2009, the army has conducted more than 80 protest related arrests. As the entire village numbers just over 500 residents, the number constitutes approximately 10% of its population.
Tamimi’s arrest corresponds to the systematic arrest of civil protest leaders all around the West Bank, as in the case of the villages Bil’in and Ni’ilin.
Only recently the Military Court of Appeals has aggravated the sentence of Abdallah Abu Rahmah from the village of Bilin, sending him to 16 months imprisonment on charges of incitement and organizing illegal demonstrations. Abu Rahmah was released on March 2011.
The arrest and trial of Abu Rahmah has been widely condemned by the international community, most notably by Britain and EU foreign minister, Catherin Ashton. Harsh criticism of the arrest has also been offered by leading human rights organizations in Israel and around the world, among them B’tselem, ACRI, as well as Human Rights Watch, which declared Abu Rahmah’s trial unfair, and Amnesty International, which declared Abu Rahmah a prisoner of conscience.
Bassem Tamimi is a veteran Palestinian grassroots activist from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, north of Ramallah. He is married to Nariman Tamimi, with whom he fathers four children – Wa’ed (14), Ahed (10), Mohammed (8) and Salam (5).
As a veteran activist, Tamimi has been arrested by the Israeli army 11 times to date, though he was never convicted of any offense. Tamimi spent roughly three years in administrative detention, with no charges brought against him. Furthermore, his attorney and he were denied access to “secret evidence” brought against him.
In 1993, Tamimi was falsely arrested on suspicion of having murdered an Israeli settler in Beit El – an allegation of which he was cleared of entirely. During his weeks-long interrogation, he was severely tortured by the Israeli Shin Bet in order to draw a coerced confession from him. During his interrogation, and as a result of the torture he underwent, Tamimi collapsed and had to be evacuated to a hospital, where he laid unconscious for seven days. As a result of the wounds caused by torture, Tamimi was partially paralyzed for several months after his release from the hospital.
At the opening of his trial on June 5th, Tamimi pleaded “not guilty” to all charges against him, but proudlyowned up to organizing protest in the village. In a defiant speech before the court he said, “I organized these peaceful demonstrations to defend our land and our people.” Tamimi also challenged the legitimacy of the very system which trys him, saying that “Despite claiming to be the only democracy in the Middle East you are trying me under military laws […] that are enacted by authorities which I haven’t elected and do not represent me.” (Seehere for Tamimi’s full statement).
The indictment against Tamimi is based on questionable and coerced confessions of youth from the village. He is charged with’ incitement’, ‘organizing and participating in unauthorized processions’,’ solicitation to stone-throwing’, ‘failure to attend legal summons’, and a scandalous charge of ‘disruption of legal proceedings’, for allegedly giving youth advice on how to act during police interrogation in the event that they are arrested.
The transcript of Tamimi’s police interrogation further demonstrates the police and Military Prosecution’s political motivation and disregard for suspects’ rights. During his questioning, Tamimi was accused by his interrogator of “consulting lawyers and foreigners to prepare for his interrogation”, an act that is clearly protected under the right to seek legal counsel.
As one of the organizers of the Nabi Saleh protests and coordinator of the village’s popular committee, Tamimi has been the target of harsh treatment by the Israeli army. Since demonstrations began in the village, his house has been raided and ransacked numerous times, his wife was twice arrested and two of his sons were injured; Wa’ed, 14, was hospitalized for five days when a rubber-coated bullet penetrated his leg and Mohammed, 8, was injured by a tear-gas projectile that was shot directly at him and hit him in the shoulder. Shortly after demonstrations in the village began, the Israeli Civil Administration served ten demolition orders to structures located in Area C, Tamimi’s house was one of them, despite the fact that part of the house was built in 1965 and the rest in 2005.
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5 Israeli plan to move West Bank Bedouin stirs controversy
By Joel Greenberg,
KHAN AL-AHMAR, West Bank — A plan by the Israeli authorities to relocate about 2,000 Palestinian Bedouins living in the desert hills east of Jerusalem is raising concerns among U.N. officials and human rights advocates about Israel’s aims in a strategic area of the West Bank.
The hills are dotted with more than 20 encampments of Bedouins, formerly nomadic goat and sheep herders who migrated from Israel’s southern Negev region in the early 1950s to the West Bank. Their hamlets, consisting of groups of corrugated metal and wooden shacks covered with plastic sheeting, are visible from roads crisscrossing the area.
The Bedouin clusters are near the sprawling Israeli settlement town of Maaleh Adumim, a community of 40,000 that is seeking to expand into an area that would link it to Jerusalem and effectively drive a wedge between Palestinian population centers in the northern and southern West Bank.
The area of planned expansion, known as E-1, already has a large Israeli police station and a major road with lighting and infrastructure for power supply. A plaque put up at the site at a cornerstone-laying ceremony in 2009 testifies to the determination of Maaleh Adumim’s city fathers to extend their community into the zone.
However, stiff opposition from Washington, prompted by concerns that the project could scuttle prospects for a territorially contiguous Palestinian state, has held Israeli governments back from authorizing building in the contested area.
The plan to move out the Bedouins, many of whom live in the E-1 zone or its outskirts, has brought expressions of concern from U.N. agencies in the West Bank and Israeli and foreign human rights groups, which say that the step would violate international law and could pave the way for settlement expansion in a politically sensitive area.
The Bedouins near Maaleh Adumim live in part of Area C, the more than 60 percent of the West Bank that remains under direct Israeli control, where Palestinian building is severely restricted. Israeli authorities say the Bedouin camps are illegally constructed. Demolition orders have been issued for many structures; others have been razed.
Maj. Guy Inbar, the spokesman for the Israeli Defense Ministry’s department responsible for the West Bank, acknowledged that a plan to relocate the Bedouins in the Maaleh Adumim area has existed for several years. He said it was part of a broader blueprint to provide the Bedouins across the West Bank with sites where they can build legally with access to water, electricity and government services.
Inbar said that in the past year, the Israeli military administration in the West Bank had adopted a two-pronged policy: not only cracking down on illegal Palestinian building in Israeli-controlled areas but also drawing up master plans that would allow for legal construction in certain communities. He said that many of the Bedouin encampments were in army firing zones or on state land that had not been licensed for construction.
The plan to relocate the Bedouins around Maaleh Adumim is “still in its early stages,” Inbar said, adding that it would not be carried out before feasibility studies were complete and talks were held with Bedouin tribal leaders, a process he said could take months.
However, residents of the Bedouin encampments say Israeli officers have visited them and they were told they would have to move to an area near a municipal dump on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The site is where about 200 Bedouin families were forcibly relocated in the 1990s after their shacks were bulldozed to make way for an expansion of Maaleh Adumim.
U.N. officials in the West Bank have also been informed of the Israeli plan, though with no clear timetable.
In response, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees have cautioned that forcible relocation of the Bedouins would violate international law and that resettling them near a dump would pose a serious health hazard.
Inbar said that the dump is slated to be shut down next year and that environmental surveys were being carried out to ensure that the relocation site was safe to live in.
At Khan al-Ahmar, a cluster of Bedouin dwellings near the highway from Jerusalem to Jericho, residents from the Jahalin tribe said that Israeli officers pressing them to leave had recently warned that a dirt access road to their encampment would be blocked.
The military government has issued demolition orders for structures in the encampment, including a school built out of tires and mud with the help of an Italian nongovernmental organization, but the orders have yet to be carried out. Residents of the neighboring Israeli settlement of Kfar Adumim have petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court, demanding that the school be torn down.
Id Jahalin, 46, a member of a local action committee in Khan al-Ahmar, said that members of his tribe had been living at the site before Kfar Adumim was built and had no intention of leaving. “I was born here,” he said. “The settlers have roads, electricity and phone service. What’s the problem with giving us the same?”
Jahalin said he believed the motive behind the Israeli plan was to “evict the people and clear the land for the settlements.”
Raphael Engel, a settlement official who monitors land issues for Kfar Adumim, said the Bedouins at Khan al-Ahmar were illegal squatters on land that falls inside the settlement’s municipal boundary, which stretches far beyond its built-up area.
The area, Engel said, is a part of the land reserve for the settlement’s future expansion, which he said could include “green areas, commercial structures, public buildings and a school.”
“Our mission is to safeguard these areas for the benefit of the state of Israel in the future,” Engel added. “These are strategic areas.”
Shlomo Lecker, an Israeli lawyer who represents the Bedouins near Maaleh Adumim and has taken their case to the Israeli Supreme Court, says that the plan to move them out is part of “the struggle over [the future of] Area C” and an effort to “seize virtually complete control of the area without a political agreement.”
U.N. officials say that beyond the political implications of the plan to move out the Bedouins, the step would amount to what the Fourth Geneva Convention calls a “mass forcible transfer” of civilians, which is prohibited in occupied areas under international law. The officials argue that pushing the Bedouins into a built-up neighborhood would deprive them of their traditional pastoral way of life, already undermined by restrictions on grazing areas squeezed by Israeli settlements, closed military areas, nature reserves, and Israel’s separation barrier in the West Bank.
“International humanitarian law clearly prohibits the forced transfer of a civilian population and the destruction of civilian property,” said Chris Gunness, spokesman for UNRWA. “Given how forced displacement has been used to facilitate settlement expansion, it is pretty clear what is happening now.”
© The Washington Post Company
6 Jerusalem Post
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Photo by: Reuters
‘Record number of Palestinians being displaced’
By BEN HARTMAN
NGOs claim “Israeli authorities have stepped up unlawful demolitions in the West Bank including east Jerusalem over the past year.”
An all-time high number of Palestinians have been displaced from their homes as a result of house demolitions east of the Green Line, a consortium of left-wing groups said on Tuesday.
“Israeli authorities have stepped up unlawful demolitions in the West Bank including east Jerusalem over the past year, displacing a record number of Palestinian families from their homes,” the statement released by over 20 groups, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam International said.
In the statement, Jeremy Hobbs, executive- director of Oxfam International, said “the increasing rate of settlement expansion and house demolitions is pushing Palestinians to the brink, destroying their livelihoods and prospects for a just and durable peace.
“There is a growing disconnect between the Quartet talks and the situation on the ground. The Quartet needs to radically revise its approach and show that it can make a real difference to the lives of Palestinians and Israelis.”
The statement claims that “since the beginning of the year more than 500 Palestinian homes, wells, rainwater harvesting cisterns and other essential structures have been destroyed in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, displacing more than 1,000 Palestinians, UN figures show. This is more than double the number of people displaced over the same period in 2010, and the highest figure since at least 2005.”
The statement also referred to what it said is a marked increase in the past year in incidents of settler and police and army violence against Palestinians.
Deborah Hyams, Amnesty International’s “Israel, Occupied Palestinian Territories and Palestinian Authority” researcher, said “not only do house demolitions violate the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights [of which Israel is a signatory], but also the Geneva Convention’s requirements of an occupying power.”
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) called the United Nations report from which the figures were derived “a one-sided, biased report that was printed without taking comment from the relevant factors; therefore it’s impossible to refer to the claims presented on its pages.”
COGAT added that they “and the security forces that are responsible for law enforcement in Judea and Samaria will continue to work professionally and transparently to control and enforce illegal construction, both Israeli and Palestinian, in Judea and Samaria.”
7 Ynet Wednesday, December 14, 2011 13:10
State and Religion
‘On every stage.’ Barbivai Photo: Yoav Zitun
‘Commanders’ authority supersedes rabbis’
Addressing calls to excuse religious troops from events in which women perform, IDF’s HR chief General Barbivai tells Knesset members ‘no one in the IDF can tell a woman she cannot sing’
“Halachic considerations cannot override the considerations of army commanders,” the head of the IDF’s Human Resources Directorate said Wednesday, in response to demands to excuse religious soldiers from events in which women sing.
“The commander knows he must take the religious soldiers’ needs into account,” Major-General Orna Barbivai told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. She was invited to speak in light of claims that Israeli women were being excluded in the public sphere as well as in the military.
“There is no such exclusion in the army,” Barbivai said. “The IDF chief of staff has determined that women will sing in any ceremony and on every stage. No one in the IDF can tell a woman she cannot sing.
“We plan to form more military bands comprised of both men and women,” the Human Resources Directorate chief continued to say. “They will perform at every ceremony in keeping with the state’s character and the army’s spirit.”
Barbivai said the decision on whether to excuse any soldier from events in which women sing is in the hands of his commanding officer. “The commander, who is responsible for leading the force (in battle) and gives his soldiers the go ahead to open fire, can also make this decision,” she told the MKs. “The commander’s authority always supersedes halachic considerations”
MK Nissim Zeev of Shas proposed that “those who do not wish to hear women singing should not listen,” and said that a rabbi he had spoken with suggested earplugs as a solution to the dilemma.
During the meeting, Barbivai presented the lawmakers with some worrying IDF enlistment figures. According to her, by 2020 only 40% of the population will enlist in the army. She said many youngsters were using religion as an excuse to dodge army service.
“It is estimated that in 2020 some 60% of Israeli citizens will not enlist or not complete full army service,” Barbivai said. “Some 42% of women do not enlist. This is a disgraceful figure. (Avoiding the draft) is becoming more and more legitimate. There is no shame in it anymore.”
The IDF’s senior-most female officer said the number of women who are being exempt from IDF service on religious grounds is increasing, adding that many secular women are claiming to be religious just to avoid being drafted.
“We are losing about 1,500 girls who can significantly contribute to the army,” she said. “We must promote legislation to address the issue of female recruitment. The unbearable ease (in which women are exempt from army service) only encourages this phenomenon.”
MK Miri Regev (Likud) said the Defense Committee would submit a bill aimed at mitigating the draft-dodging phenomenon, while Committee Chairman Shaul Mofaz warned that “eventually a minority will serve (in the army). We must be more involved and change this reality.”
8. NY Times
December 14, 2011
We Are Palestinians
JERUSALEM — When they were young, one of my children’s favorite games was reciting the family lineage. In our culture a person’s full name is a combination of his paternal parentage. My son, born in Jerusalem in 1988, would say his name is Bishara Daoud George Musa Qustandi Musa Kuttab.
Our family name came from the profession two brothers had a long time ago. The first Kuttabs were scribes who sat outside the court and wrote up petitions for people who had a claim with the authorities. Kuttab is Arabic for writers or scribes.
Upon graduating from North Park University in Chicago and returning to Palestine, Bishara visited the St. James Orthodox Church in the Old City of Jerusalem. He met with the head of the local Palestinian Christian parish. Using extensive baptismal records, they were able to patch together the history of Kuttabs in Jerusalem for hundreds of years. This turned into a family tree that has been circulated on Facebook to all Kuttabs.
My son’s visit had another reason: He wanted to collect rent on our family’s property. On the eve of World War I, many Palestinian families turned their properties over to local churches or the Islamic Waqf (trust) for safekeeping. The properties were controlled by the churches but the owners were able to collect a meager rent. Our history is typical of many Palestinians.
When my father was born in 1922, the world was abuzz with the self-determination doctrine advanced by President Woodrow Wilson. Palestinian Arabs attempted to become independent after the British mandate ended, but the British pledged Palestine simultaneously to Jews and Arabs.
In addition to owning property, my father had a passport issued by the government of Palestine and he often showed us Palestinian coins that he had used before the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Dad, his brother Qustandi and their mother escaped the violence to Zarqa in Jordan. Their sister, Hoda, decided to stay on with her family and lost her husband, Elias Awad, in the fighting that broke out in the Musrara district just outside Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate.
My grandmother’s family, the Fatallehs, left their home in the Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem and, as Palestinian refugee, have been barred by Israel from returning. Their house still stands, not far from the King David Hotel.
With the unification of the Palestinians under the Palestine Liberation Organization, and with the Arab and international recognition the P.L.O. acquired, questions began to arise over Palestinian identity and nationhood. In 1969, for example, the Prime Minister Golda Meir of Israel declared, “There were no such thing as Palestinians.”
Nearly 25 years later, in 1993, Meir’s successor, Yitzhak Rabin, shook hands with Yasir Arafat after the P.L.O. and Israel exchanged letters of recognition. The handshake on the South Lawn of the White House was witnessed by President Bill Clinton and leading Jewish and non-Jewish American leaders and members of Congress.
Newt Gingrich attended that ceremony, and reportedly shook hands with Arafat. Now, as a Republican candidate for president, he is claiming that the Palestinian people were “invented” because there was never a Palestinian state. The 107 states that recognized Palestine as a full member of Unesco would seriously disagree with this logic.
Gingrich never does say what should happen to this “invented” people if he is elected president.
The people themselves are the best authority on what a people is. If the learned Republican nominee really wants to know who Palestinians are, I would suggest he listen to what they say about themselves.
The historian Rashid Khalidi, in his book “Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness,” argues that the fierce conflict between Palestinians and Israelis is one reason why the Palestinian identity is so poorly understood. He traces the development of the Palestinians’ identity to the late Ottoman area, “when they had multiple loyalties to their religion, the Ottoman state, the Arabic language, and the emerging identity of Arabism, as well as their country and local and familial foci.”
In the end, however, Gingrich’s attempt to deny Palestinians their identity has nothing to do with history. It is simply political pandering.
The majority of Israelis and Palestinians understand that they must share the land between the Mediterranean and the River Jordan. The last thing we need is for American politicians to use our lives and future as a political football.
Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist who was born and lives in Jerusalem.
9. [forwarded by Ruth H.]
Ben White speaks about his new book, “Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy.
Examines and focus on Palestinians citizens of Israel and their reality and marginalization. He shares about his book in the clip.
Video about 8 minutes
Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 30 November – 6 December 2011
One Palestinian armed militant was killed and five others injured in Gaza. In the WB, number of Palestinians injured was roughly 35% higher than ave number of Palestinians injured/wk since the beginning of 2011. 22 Palestinian structures were demolished in E Jlm and Area C of the West Bank. 120 essential medicines and 140 items of medical supplies are completely out of stock in Gaza. Exports of come crops from Gaza allowed to international markets, but still prohibited to Israeli and West Bank markets.
United Nations Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)