Dorothy Online Newsletter


Dear Friends,


Hoping that this gets through to you—8 items below, some very brief.


Item one is short but not sweet.  Israel again assassinated.  The Israeli Chief of Staff has lately almost daily been reminding us that the IOF has to hit Gaza again.  Why?  It has been relatively quiet.  Apparently the war on Iran is not yet quite in the offing, so it has to be Gaza.  Got to keep the arms industrialists in business, after all, and Israelis shaking in their boots.  May it nevertheless not happen!


Item 2 relates that every 3 child lives under the poverty line.  A few years ago it was every 5th child, and I thought that was horrid.  Meanwhile, today the Knesset voted on not cutting the Defense (what defense?) budget, at the expense of health, education, and social welfare (what social welfare?).  So next year we can expect that every 2nd child will live under the poverty line.


Item 3 reports that colony building is going on at full speed.


Item 4 shows us once again that Israel’s High Court goes more often than not with the government, not against it.  I agree with Michael Sfard’s point of view (at the end of the report).


Item 5 reports that the Palestinians, under pressure, are willing to renew talks with Israel without insisting that Israel stops building in the WB, but will as a gesture release 100 prisoners (there are over 4,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails at present).  Israel apparently will refuse.  Naturally, Israel will find reasons to refuse.


Item 6 is brief but sweet.  An American judge has ruled that there is no anti-Semitism in UC Berkeley.  Glad to hear, because in Israel there have also been mock checkpoints, and by Israelis to show the other Israelis (the ones that don’t know and don’t want to know) what a check point is like.  No one so far has accused these Israelis of being anti-Semitic.


Item 7 is an essay after my heart.  I hope that you will read it and distribute it widely.


Item 8 is, you guessed, Today in Palestine—for December 27th.


That’s it for tonight.

All the best,


1 Haaretz

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Israel strikes Gaza Strip for second time in hours, IDF says

Three killed, 10 wounded in two strikes on coastal enclave; Israeli army says strike thwart plans for major attack on Israel-Egypt border.

By Gili Cohen


The Israel Air Force conducted a second strike of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, just hours after the Israeli army confirmed it targeted a terror operative in the coastal strip.

A statement by the IDF Spokesman’s Office said that the second strike targeted a global Jihad terror cell in the northern Strip that was planning to attack the western part of Israel’s border with Egypt.

The IDF identified the two operatives targeted in the second strike as Rami Daud Jaber Kaferana, a global Jihad operative from the Gaza town of Jebalia and Hazzam Muhammad Saadi al-Shaker, a global Jihad man from the town of Beit Hanun.

It was not clear whether or not those operatives were killed in the attack.

Earlier Tuesday, Palestinians sources reported that an explosion killed one person and wounded three others in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian reports indicated that the strike targeted and killed an Islamic Jihad operative..

According to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA, an Israeli reconnaissance craft fired a missile at a motorcycle in the Dowar Abu Sharkh area killing its rider.

A statement by the Israel Defense Forces indicated that the strike was the result of joint actions by Shin Bet and IDF forces and that the target had been a squad involved in recent terror activity.

Both airstrikes came days after it was revealed that the IAF struck two Gaza-bound arms convoys in the past month.

According to two Sudanese media outlets, Israel launched two attacks in recent weeks.

The outlets, however, don’t present a uniform version on the dates. One claims the attacks took place at the end of November and on December 15, the other says they occurred on December 15 and December 18.

The attack at the end of November, one media outlet says, targeted two vehicles in the area of Wadi Al-Allaqi in northern Sudan, near the border with Egypt, and left two people dead and another two wounded.

The second incident, on December 15, saw Apache helicopters over an island off the Sudanese coast. Other reports spoke of Israeli submarine activity off the coast of the African state.

On the other hand, reports appearing in the Al-Intibaha daily speak of an attack on December 15 against a convoy of vehicles that left four civilians dead. The second attack, three days later, also reportedly targeted a vehicle. According to the report, all occupants of the vehicle were killed.

For its part, the Sudanese army has rejected reports of Israeli aerial activity over the country. The Sudanese army spokesman, Col. Sawarmi Khaled Saad, said the country’s aerial defense systems had not recorded any infiltration into the country’s airspace.

The Sudanese military over the weekend dismissed reports of recent Israeli airstrikes in the country.


2  Haaretz

Wednesday, December  28, 2011

Report: Every third child in Israel lives below poverty line

Annual report finds a fifth of Israeli children receive assistance from the welfare authorities.

By Dana Weiler-Polak

Tags: Israel health

The Israeli Council for the Welfare of the Child published its annual report on Wednesday, revealing that a fifth of Israeli children have received assistance from the welfare authorities.

The reports points to a decline in the number of children living in poverty – 889,500 out of a population of 2,519,900 children in Israel, yet finds that every third child lives under the poverty line.

In January 2011, the welfare services assisted 430,863 children at risk – 17 percent of children in Israel. This marks an increase of 48 percent since 2001.

The annual statistical report, “Children in Israel,” has been published for the past 20 years. The head of the Israeli Council for the Welfare of the Child, Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, presented the report to President Shimon Peres on Wednesday.

The report says that the number of schoolchildren in Israel has passed the 2 million mark during the last school year. 82.8 percent of youth between the ages of 15 and 18 inform themselves about the news from the Internet, 7.2 percent from television and 3.6 percent from newspaper.


3  Ynet

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Construction in Gilo (archives) Photo: EPA

    Gilo to get 130 new housing units

Another EU condemnation on the way? Jerusalem Municipality committee approves extensive construction in disputed neighborhood about week after government announces plan to market lands for hundreds of flats beyond Green Line,7340,L-4168224,00.html

Omri Efraim

The Jerusalem Municipality’s District Planning and Construction Committee on Wednesday approved a plan for the construction of 130 housing units in the neighborhood of Gilo, which is regarded by the international community as a settlement.

The move comes about a week after the government decided to market lands for the construction of hundreds of housing units beyond the Green Line.

The plan must next be approved by the Interior Ministry and Regional Planning Committee. Jerusalem Council Member Yosef (Pepe) Alalu of Meretz confirmed the details.

About two weeks ago, the Construction and Housing Ministry and Israel Land Administration announced that hundreds of housing units would be marketed beyond the Green Line.

According to the announcement, 348 of the units will be built in the haredi town of Beitar illit, 500 in Har Homa in south Jerusalem and 180 in Givat Ze’ev in the northern part of the capital.

The announcement was followed by a strong condemnation on the part of UN Security Council powers. Britain, France, Germany and Portugal – EU representatives on the council – said in a statement that they were “dismayed by these wholly negative developments.”

They said Israel’s move to accelerate the construction of settlements in the West Bank “sends a devastating message. We call on the Israeli government to reverse these steps.

The Foreign Ministry issued a harsh response to the condemnation, saying that “if instead of contributing to stability in the Middle East, European countries are investing their efforts in inappropriate bickering with the one country in which the independent law justice system knows how to deal with lawbreakers, then they are losing their credibility and making themselves irrelevant.”

4  Haaretz

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

High Court says Israel can take advantage of West Bank resources

Court adopts state position: no new Israeli-owned quarries should be established in the West Bank, but existing ones should be allowed to continue operating.

By Zafrir Rinat

The High Court of Justice has authorized Israel to exploit the West Bank’s natural resources for its own economic needs by rejecting a petition against the operation of Israeli-owned quarries in the territory.

In its ruling, issued on Monday, the court adopted the state’s position: that no new Israeli-owned quarries should be established in the West Bank, but existing ones should be allowed to continue operating.

The petition was filed two years ago by the Yesh Din organization. It argued that the 10 Israeli-owned quarries in the West Bank violate international law, which states that an occupier may not exploit an occupied territory’s natural resources for its own economic benefit; it may use such resources only for the benefit of the occupied people or for military purposes.

The Israeli quarries sell 94 percent of their yield to Israel and supply almost 25 percent of Israel’s total consumption of the raw materials in question. But until the petition was filed, the state had never seen any problem with this.

Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, who wrote the ruling, began by accepting the state’s view that the Israeli-Palestinian interim agreement permits the quarries to operate in their present manner until a final-status agreement is signed.

She then moved on to discuss what international law has to say, and particularly Article 55 of the Fourth Hague Convention, on which the petition was based. That article requires the occupying power to “safeguard the capital” of the occupied party’s natural resources and “administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct,” meaning the rules governing fair usage.

But Beinisch accepted the state’s position that Israel’s use of the quarries is limited and does not amount to destroying their “capital,” and hence does not violate international law. This position is bolstered, she said, by the state’s decision not to permit any new quarries to open.

Moreover, she said, it is necessary to take account of the fact that the West Bank has been under a prolonged and continuing occupation, so the territory’s economic development cannot be put on ice until the occupation ends. The quarries, she noted, supply jobs and training to a non-negligible number of Palestinians; some of their yield is sold to the Palestinians; and the royalties the quarry owners pay the state – almost NIS 30 million a year – are used by the Civil Administration in the territories to fund projects that benefit the Palestinian population.

“In this situation, it’s hard to accept the petitioner’s unequivocal assertion that the quarries’ operation does nothing to advance the [Palestinian] region, especially in light of the Israeli and Palestinian sides’ mutual economic interests and the prolonged duration” of Israel’s presence in the West Bank, she concluded.

The petition was not a total loss for Yesh Din: Both the decision not to open new quarries and the decision to allocate all the royalties to the Civil Administration were made only after it was filed.

Nevertheless, attorney Michael Sfard, who represented Yesh Din, was disappointed.

“Mining natural resources in occupied territory for the economic needs of the occupying state is looting,” he said. “The High Court’s argument, that one should relate differently to a long-term occupation, cannot legitimate economic activity like this, which harms the local residents.”


5.  Haaretz

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Palestinians offer to renew Israel peace talks without settlement freeze, official says

PA reportedly submits new Quartet offer to restart negotiations, demand Israel releases 100 Palestinian prisoners; Israel likely to refuse.

By Barak Ravid

Tags: Middle East peace Benjamin Netanyahu Mahmoud Abbas Palestinians West Bank

Get Haaretz on iPhone Get Haaretz on Android The Palestinian leadership submitted a proposal to renew peace talks with with Israel that drops their long-standing demand that Israel ceases all West Bank settlement construction, a top Israeli official said on Wednesday.


According to officials with knowledge of the proposal, the Palestinian Authority informed the Quartet two weeks ago that it would renege on its demand for a settlement freeze if Israel releases 100 prisoners as a show of good will.


The Palestinian proposal was reputedly the result of heavy pressure applied by Quartet members – the United States, the European Union, Russian, and the United Nations – on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to renew talks before January 26.


That date marks the expiration of the three months specified by a Quartet statement in September in which Israel and the Palestinians are to resume talks and present concrete proposals concerning issues such as borders and security arrangements.


Quartet officials – especially EU – made it clear to the Palestinians that they would bear equal responsibility in the event that the two sides would not resume talks by late January.


One Israeli official indicated that, in the current situation, January 26 has become the “new September” – alluding to the PA’s September submitting of their UN statehood bid – adding that everyone was waiting to see what Abbas’ next move will be.


“There’s real concern in the Quartet that after that date Abbas will return to UN initiatives,” the Israeli official said, adding that, at the same time, the Palestinian president will have to decide whether or not to proceed with the formation of a unity cabinet with Hamas.


With one month to the Quartet deadline, the two sides haven’t even held predatory meetings that were supposed to take place two months ago, in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s adviser Yitzhak Molcho and top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat were supposed to set the talks agenda.


The Israeli official indicated that Israel rejects the Palestinian offer for two reasons: 1) That is replaces one precondition with another, and 2) since officials say the Palestinian proposal is too vague and did not make it clear whether the prisoners’ release will lead to full talks that would include meetings between Netanyahu and Abbas or just the preparatory sessions.


Israel fears that, upon the prisoners’ release, and after a few early sessions, the Palestinians will announce new conditions or find new ways to stop negotiations.


It seems at least some of the Israeli trepidation is warranted, since the Palestinains refuse to call the move a “resumption of negotiations,” rather defining it as the “talks’ renewal,” meant to define the guidelines for future peace talks.


News of the new PA proposal came after on Sunday, Netanyahu commented on the recent moves by Fatah and Hamas to set up a unity government, saying that Israel would not negotiate with the Palestinians should such a government be established.


“If Hamas joins the Palestinian government we will not hold negotiations with the Palestinian Authority,” said Netanyahu in a speech at a conference for Israeli ambassadors.


He added that he is ready to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas anytime, anywhere, in order to renew negotiations.


“The peace process can only advance while maintaining security arrangements, which is becoming more difficult in light of the current situation in the region,” Netanyahu added.


Last week, Abbas met with Hamas leader Khaled Meshal in Cairo and set the ground for Hamas to join the Palestine Liberation Organization. During the discussions, Hamas and Fatah decided to form a unity government by the end of January 2012, and that the Palestinian parliament, including both Fatah and Hamas legislators, will begin operating in February.


6  Ynet

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

 Pro-Palestinian protest (archives) Photo: AP

     Court: No anti-Semitism in UC Berkeley

Federal judge dismisses Jewish students’ lawsuit, says much of alleged harassment by Muslim students, even if true, constitutes protected political speech that university had no obligation to stop,7340,L-4167727,00.html

Associated Press

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the University of California, Berkeley filed by two Jewish students who alleged harassment by Muslim students.

US District Judge Richard Seeborg said much of the alleged harassment, even if true, constituted protected political speech that UC Berkeley had no obligation to stop.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Seeborg issued his ruling last week.

The plaintiffs, a current student and a recent graduate, said the harassment included checkpoints at an annual event protesting Israeli policies.

Demonstrators in military attire and carrying fake weapons at the checkpoints allegedly asked passing students whether they were Jewish.

The event, Apartheid Week, is held by Muslim student groups.

Joel Siegal, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said his clients are reviewing their options.


7  Al Jazeera

Wednesday, December  28, 2011

Sacred women in Israel and Palestine

 Will protests against ultra-Orthodox Jews’ campaign for gender segregation get justice for women in Israel, Palestine?

Mark LeVine

I can think of about four million Palestinians who can sympathise with Naama Margolese, the eight-year-old Israeli girl, whose routine humiliation by ultra-Orthodox Israelis on her way to school has “shocked” the nation, uniting the majority of Jewish Israelis in anger at the growing power of harshly conservative Jewish movements in the country.

But you won’t be hearing from them any time soon the way this story is being presented.

Coming on the heels of the unprecedented and largely secular protests this past summer in Tel Aviv and other cities to press for affordable housing and “social justice” more broadly, and the recent attacks by extremist settlers against Israeli soldiers, this latest conflict has led many mainstream news outlets to talk of a continuing “religious war” in Israel, pitting secular and moderately religious Jews against an increasingly assertive, militant and expanding ultra-Orthodox sector.

“It doesn’t matter what I look like, someone should be able to walk around in sleeveless shirts and pants, and be able to walk down the street and not be harassed,” the young girl’s Chicago-born mother, Hadassa, explained.

Of course, Palestinians couldn’t agree more. But somehow, the vast majority of the Israeli and Western mainstream media seems unaware of the obviously parallels between the treatment of Naama Margolese and Israeli girls and women more broadly by ultra-Orthodox, and the treatment of millions of Palestinians by Israel. Even the most recent Haaretz editorial criticising the growing militarism and violence of the ultra-Orthodox did not mention Palestinians.

Unpleasant images

In fact, as unpleasant as are the images of a young Jewish girl being screamed and even spit at by Israeli Jewish Taliban, it is still preferable from the point of view of Israel’s propaganda efforts to being confronted with heartrending images of Jews attacking Palestinians, never mind religious settlers attacking of young Palestinian children, which is a routine occurrence in the Occupied Territories.

It is ironic that today Jewish-on-Jewish conflict is, from a certain perspective, preferable (at least at the level of spectacle) to Jewish-Palestinian conflict, because for several decades, part of the accepted wisdom surrounding the unwillingness of Israelis to reach a viable peace agreement with Palestinians was that doing so would lead to an untenable level of conflict, and even civil war, within Jewish Israeli society.

The alternative to focusing on this story would be a focus on Israeli High Court’s determination on Tuesday that Israel can continue to exploit Palestinian mines and other resources for the benefit of Israelis, even though this is a direct contravention of international law. Or to read an email about a young Palestinian boy, so frightened by Israeli soldiers who have given his family 10 minutes to get their belongings out of their house before it’s to be demolished that he stood, shivering outside, wetting his pants. The list goes on and on; all of it, tragically, far worse than the already deplorable hatred and discrimination that Naama has daily faced, just for being a girl.

Sacred women

The Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has described the figure of the “homo sacer”, or sacred man, who from ancient Rome to the Middle Ages, and again today, is considered completely outside the law and deprived of all rights of citizenship. He can therefore be killed with impunity, not merely by representatives of the state (the police or army, for example), but by anyone.

Jews and Roma during the Holocaust are the modern epitome of the homo sacer, as are, to a greater or lesser degree, all colonised people, including – and particularly, today, Palestinians, as the South African theorist Achille Mbembe has shown in his work on necropolitics as well as Irish human rights scholar John Reynolds.

But there is a specific manner in which what I would term the “femina sacra”, or sacred woman, is also a primary object of violence, whether in Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian or most other societies for that matter. The much publicised recent army and police violence against women in Egypt is a good example of how, once the general public loses fear of state violence, the state must press even harder by specifically attacking the repository of honour and values – female citizens – as a way of attempting to break down the resistance of society as a whole. (Of course, it rarely works).

Israeli President Shimon Peres declared solemnly that Israelis are “fighting for the soul of the nation and the essence of the state”, while a member of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party declared that the harassment the young girl faces “have no place in sane and moderate Judaism”. Excluding women from the full rights of citizenship or the realisation of their humanity – at least as that humanity has come to be nearly universally accepted and codified in international law – is, as one sign held up by a female protester in Bet Shemesh against the ultra-Orthodox put it, “my red line”.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared: “Israel is a democratic, Western, liberal state… In a Western liberal democracy, public space is open and safe for all – men and women alike – and has no room for any harassment or discrimination.”

Neither western nor liberal

Of course, Netanyahu is lying. Israel is not democratic in any meaningful sense if one considers that millions of Palestinians under its control for decades have been deprived of citizenship and its attendant rights – a society in which anyway, from elderly man to young girl can become “sacred” – that is, outside the bounds of civilised law, at any moment. Nor is it Western in any meaningful sense in that it has honoured the core ideal of Western modernity largely in the breach (which, of course, only makes it a microcosm of the West writ large). And while gays might have rights – at least in Tel Aviv, for now – it cannot be considered liberal from any perspective when it so thoroughly violates the rights of millions of people.

But as long as Palestinians are absent from the conversation, as long as the focus is on Naama Margolese and the reprehensible conduct towards her, then the fiction that there is still a struggle to be had for Israel’s “soul” can be maintained.

Of course, for some adult ultra-Orthodox women in Beit Shemesh, being forced to the back of buses and being prevented from walking on the same side of the street as men or being attacked for not dressing modestly enough is not a problem. “I feel uncomfortable when men look at me,” one woman declared in explaining why she doesn’t mind being segregated away from men.

We can debate whether the woman who isn’t bothered by segregation or the back of the bus is making a free judgment, or has been so cowed by living in an extremely patriarchal and repressive community that she has internalised male dominance to the point of accepting it as both a given and a source of protection – just as so many Muslim women accept and even defend their second class status in countries across the region. But free adults at least have, in theory, a choice. Naama Margolese has clearly not been socialised into the values of this community, and feels frightened and excluded by what its members are trying to impose on her.

Recognising shared oppression

As her mother complained, “they” want to “push us out of” and “take over the city”.

This is, of course, a lament which untold numbers of Palestinians can appreciate, from residents of Jaffa pushed out to make way for expensive condominiums to Bedouins whose villages remain unrecognised when their lands aren’t being further expropriated to the millions of Palestinians across the Green Line and in exile.

If Israel is to have a chance at surviving as some approximation of the “Jewish democratic state” envisioned by its founders, Jewish Israelis, like Hadassa Margolese and the protesters on behalf of her daughter, or the J20 protesters this summer  who took to the streets in huge numbers for “social justice”, are all going to have to accept that the injustices against which they are fighting are inseparable from the injustice their society as a whole continues to inflict, far more intensely, upon Palestinians.

I won’t get my hopes up for the adults accepting and acting upon this reality any time soon. But as she grows up, we can hope that Naama’s firsthand experience of exclusion, oppression, bigotry and even hatred, will help her see the equal humanity of the Israeli Other – Palestinians – more fully than her parent’s generation has been able to do.

If that can happen, then however unacceptable Naama Margolese’s experience, it will have prepared her for the even greater struggle for full democracy for all the people, men and women, Israelis and Palestinians, living between the River and the Sea, that will soon enough be her generation’s to assume.

Mark LeVine is a professor of history at UC Irvine and senior visiting researcher at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University in Sweden. His most recent books are Heavy Metal Islam (Random House) and Impossible Peace: Israel/Palestine Since 1989 (Zed Books).

Follow him on Twitter: @culturejamming


8  Today in Palestine for December 27, 2011


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *