Dorothy Online Newsletter


Dear Friends,


8 items tonight (at my end of things it is night—nearly midnight, actually).


The first item is not about Palestinians in the West Bank, but about Palestinian citizens of Israel, who, like their brethren in the WB, seldom if ever receive permits to build or to even add on to their existing abodes.  That does not happen to Jews.  So in this wonderful so-called ‘democracy’ apartheid exists.  Equal conditions do not.


Item 2 reports on the numbers of Palestinian children that have been arrested this year—15 in just the last week alone.  Many more during the year.


Item 3 reports statistics on demography.   If Palestinian calculations are correct, the number of Palestinians (total in the WB, Gaza, and Israel) will outnumber the Jews in not too many years.  I personally have no problem with that.  But the reporter does seem to.  The question is, when that happens (if it happens), how will Israel behave.  My guess is that Israel’s leaders will continue to do all they can to encourage or force Palestinians to leave.  I doubt that they (Israeli governments) will succeed.  And anyhow, will the world continue to allow Israel to try to rid Palestine of Palestinians?


Item 4 is a complaint by a professor of chemistry that children in the south of Israel do not study the subject.  He also relates that there are now few teachers qualified to instruct the subject, and of these few a number are over 50 years of age.  Israel’s governments have plenty of money for so-called defense (what defense?), expansion, colonization, and occupation.  But education?  Who cares?  Anyhow, with neo-liberal economics (what a misnomer—nothing liberal about them!) the government needs poor people willing to work for starvation wages.  Why bother teaching them anything?


Item 5 is an update from Salem village.  Remember that just the other day I was so pleased to be able to send you a report of a happy event.  The sequel is of a different nature, unfortunately.


Item 6 is rather positive news.  It’s a summary of successes of the endeavors of the cultural boycott of Israel by musicians.  Lots more work needs doing, but this is an impressive beginning.


Remember a day or two ago there was a report on border police teaching teenagers how to use firearms and the ins and outs of catching individuals illegally in Israel (mainly Palestinians without permits, who come regularly looking for work)?  Well, item 7 consists of photos of kids using or learning to use these lethal weapons.


Item 8 is Today in Palestine for January 2, 2012.  Lots of news in it.


That’s it for this session.


All the best,




1  Haaretz

Monday, January 2, 2012

New housing for Arab villages stonewalled

Residents are forced to build illegally while the authorities demand an upgraded sewerage system that the Galilee communities cannot afford.

By Raz Smolsky

Development projects throughout Israel often get off to a slow start due to poor planning or various delays. In some localities, however, they seem to get nowhere at all – like in three villages clustered together in central Galilee.

Construction plans for about 5,500 housing units in the villages, straddling Route 85 opposite Carmiel, are stuck due to what is termed “lack of a disposal solution” for local sewage. Majdal Krum has 2,000 planned units, Deir al-Asad has four planned developments totaling about the same number of units, and in Bina there are two developments planned for almost 1,500 dwellings.

“We aren’t complaining about housing costs: We are looking for a place to build,” gripes the head of the Bina local council, Abas Titi. He says the last time a new neighborhood was built in the village was in 1985, when three lots were sold by the Israel Land Administration.

“The entire issue of the plans is stuck due to the lack of a disposal solution – meaning there isn’t anywhere to transfer the sewage – which is holding up everything,” explains Titi. “Handling of the matter was passed to the water corporation, which is supposed to collect the money directly from residents and deal with the sewerage line.”

Sitting on a powder keg

The solution lies with Carmiel’s wastewater treatment plant, established in 1999. The plant, owned by Mekorot and the water and sewage corporation for the Carmiel area and environs, treats 22,000 cubic meters of sewage daily – about eight million cubic meters a year. According to Mekorot’s website the plant collects sewage from the Beit Hakerem Valley localities.

But as it stands the Arab localities can’t expand since the Health Ministry claims the treatment plant needs to be enlarged and upgraded to accommodate sewage from the new neighborhoods. Even worse: Sewerage lines must be installed to collect the waste from the three villages and carry it to the plant in Carmiel or another purification pool. Meanwhile the village residents continue to suffer from a housing shortage.

“The top tier, which has money and is financially established – doctors and lawyers – move to Carmiel,” says Titi. “Those without live on a floor they add beneath or above their parents’ house. We have many homes without permits and suffer from fines levied by the planning and construction committee. They should be providing solutions for construction instead. People building without permits don’t want to be criminals: They do it to have a place to live.

“We are suffocating and, as council head, I am warning that this is a powder keg that could explode at any moment,” insists Titi. “Plans need to be put to action and permits given. We were elected to provide these people with an answer, but there are many obstacles. The committee needs to be more flexible.”

“Neglect and discrimination”

Knesset member Dr. Hanna Swaid (Hadash ) is familiar with the plight of Arab villages – and certainly not just these three. “This problem exists in 30 Arab communities in the Galilee,” he says. “The Northern District [planning and building] committee made a decision not to allow or promote plans to enlarge the communities as long as a disposal solution isn’t found: As long as there aren’t purification pools for receiving and treating wastewater – a subject not governed by municipalities.

“The district committee claims current solutions are insufficient and that more sewage can’t be pumped into existing pools, so it cannot approve expansion plans and the building of new housing units,” he explains.

But this isn’t merely a case of neglect by the district committee, or a mess of red tape courtesy of the water corporations, local councils, the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources: It also involves discrimination against Israel’s Arab population. Swaid emphasizes that the sewage collection problem somehow skipped the Jewish localities.

“Carmiel doesn’t have this problem, and neither do the Misgav settlements,” insists Swaid. “It’s a problem only for Arab communities. There is neglect and discrimination. Development of the communities and providing them with basic services doesn’t interest anyone. These projects should cost several millions of shekels, not a huge budget, and if it’s invested the wastewater treatment plant could be expanded and upgraded. That’s the bottleneck.

“The Jewish sector has a problem with prices. The Arab sector hasn’t any problem with prices, but people are forced to build without permits,” adds Swaid. “Building plans aren’t being approved, but the needs and demand erupt in the form of illegal construction. There is land – it’s just not zoned – but without any choice people build and endanger their futures. There are thousands of houses in Arab communities built without permits and demolition orders against them that can be carried out at any moment. The families pay thousands of shekels in fines. These houses also don’t provide any security.”

Swaid estimates that 20,000 dwellings throughout the country are threatened with demolition.

No building permits

Plans for the four projects in Deir al-Asad have been in the pipeline for 15 years already. “The plans were approved in the local committee and are now in the district committee, but until deposition of the plans was announced and objections were heard it took five years,” says Nasr San’allah, who heads the village’s local council.

“After that we reached the stage of announcing their validation, but then the Health Ministry stepped into the picture and refused its approval because we don’t have solutions for sewage disposal – meaning upgrading the wastewater treatment plant in Carmiel and building a new pipe to carry sewage there. This would cost several tens of millions of shekels.”

San’allah has no idea why the water corporation doesn’t upgrade the treatment plant, but until an infrastructure solution is found the younger generation in Deir al-Asad is finding illegal solutions for housing. “The young people are building without permits and turning into building offenders and violators of the law,” he says. “It’s not that we justify them, but they have no other choice. As local council head I cannot confront them because when I tell residents this, they tell me: ‘provide a solution.’

“Approving our plans wouldn’t burden the treatment plant since, if my son is living with me and using my facilities, then he would build a house and use the same amount of water,” claims San’allah. “We’re talking about the same people who are already using the water and infrastructure.”

How many building permits were issued in the past year in Deir al-Asad?

“There hasn’t been a single permit – not even for one house,” rails San’allah. “This defies the Law for Human Dignity and Liberty, which protects people’s basic right to build a home. I’m a member of the local committee in Deir al-Asad: In the past year barely 10 requests were submitted to build homes, despite almost 120 couples being married here each year, and every year there are nearly 200 births.

“This also means a loss for the local council because when people build without permits there is no income coming in from permits or betterment taxes, and the community cannot be developed,” explains the local council chief. “On the other hand they pay thousands of shekels in fines to the Beit Hakerem local council, which incorporates six communities. The communities, though, never see a shekel from the fines.”

Despite fines and demolition orders, San’allah doesn’t report any houses being destroyed. The last time was five years ago when four houses were torn down.

“I am a lawyer and have represented many people in court,” relates San’allah. “I argued that these committees are for lawsuits and destruction. They apparently are not interested in planning and allowing people to build with permits, because this way they have more income. Economically it’s better for them, but I really hope that’s not their intention. I am a bit more optimistic now because I think everyone understands the distress and is doing something to solve it. We won’t be satisfied with answers like ‘it will all work out.’ There will either be clear answers or all the residents will take to the streets.”

Purification pool choosy in the sewage it accepts

Several months ago a house built without a permit in Majdal Krum was demolished. The head of its local council, Mohammed Manna, says the two-story dwelling was built 10 years ago and housed a family with four children.

“Obviously they built without permits, but it wasn’t their fault: It was because there’s no enlargement of the construction area,” explains Manna.

“The first demolition of a house in the village was in June 1972, the second on November 8, 1972. The house torn down several months ago was the 90th destroyed in Majdal Krum since 1972.”

Why was this particular house demolished?

“It’s a very sad case,” Manna replies. “The Interior Ministry and the Beit Hakerem Local Planning and Building Committee claimed the house was too close to Route 85. We measured the distance between the house and the highway: 50 meters. Why is it permitted to build 25 meters from the highway in Carmiel and Moshav Shezor?

“I was head of the council for 16 straight years from 1978,” says Manna. “Before that I was secretary of the council almost 14 years. In 1978 a zoning plan for 1,400 dunams was put together. We had a population of 6,000 at the time. Unfortunately, after 33 years, from 1978 to 2011, the plan hasn’t been expanded and we’re left with the same 1,400 dunams, but we’ve grown to 14,000 residents. Where will 8,000 residents build their homes?”

How long have you been trying to push forward the new plans?

“Ten years already, and they’re still not approved by the local council,” responds Manna. “The reason is sewage disposal solutions opposed by the Health Ministry.”

Manna, like the other local council leaders, doesn’t hide the sense of discrimination dogging him. “In 1990 we built a 15-kilometer sewerage pipe to a purification pool at Kibbutz Yasur, which in my opinion is adequate,” he says. “The Health Ministry claims the pool at Yasur doesn’t purify well enough. If it isn’t alright, why have they allowed the sewage of Yasur and Ahihud to use this pool until now while forbidding us to use it 10 years ago?”

What solutions are there for construction problems?

“The government must stop its nonsense, with its bureaucracy and contempt,” gripes Manna. “It shouldn’t look down on us as third- or fourth-class subjects: We are also citizens of the state, paying income tax and social security, and we deserve to live like human beings and not like animals.”

The CEO of the Mei Hagalil water corporation, Mustafa Abu Raya, responded: “The problem is that the central sewerage pipe of the three villages wasn’t properly maintained and has many defects. With the growing population there are plans to upgrade this line and install a new line to the wastewater treatment plant at Carmiel. A master sewage plan for the three villages was approved three months ago. The estimated cost for putting in the line is over NIS 40 million – with the government funding 80% and the Mei Hagalil water corporation meant to complete the budget with NIS 8 million. Since we aren’t a well-established corporation and don’t have this type of budget, we applied to the energy and water resources minister and the ministry’s sewage infrastructure development administration to provide complete funding for the line. We’ve begun measurement work to submit a detailed blueprint for the sewerage line to derive its precise cost, and we believe that the line will be completed by the end of 2013. Until then, to expedite construction procedures, we have asked the district committee to approve the building plans before completion of the sewerage line, with the receiving of building permits conditional on the line’s completion.”

2  383 Palestinian children arrested in 2011, 15 in the last week alone.


3.  Haaretz

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Israel’s right-wing is trying to stifle the reality of Palestinian demographics

Palestinian Authority’s Central Bureau of Statistics says number of Palestinians and Israeli Jews will be equal by 2015.

By Barak Ravid

Tags: Palestinians Benjamin Netanyahu West Bank Palestinian Authority 1967 borders Palestinian state

Every year, in almost every country, government reports detailing statistics and demographics of the country’s citizens are published during the last week of December. The reports detail how many babies were born that year and how many people died.

Some of those reports are turned into semi-comic articles on the back page of the newspaper, or discussed on current event radio programs, and sometimes they are simply thrown to the wastebasket.

Last week, the Palestinian Authority’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) published its report summarizing 2011. As one could expect, the conclusions of the report barely rose to Israeli consciousness, and the media almost completely ignored the findings. But a brief look over the report shows a worrying picture, which raises hopes that at least some of the government ministers were exposed to the statistics.

The report revealed that the number of Palestinians in the territories stands at about 4.2 million people: 2.6 million in the West Bank and 1.6 million in the Gaza Strip. Added to them are about 1.4 million Palestinians who are Israeli citizens and about 5.6 million Palestinians that belong to the Arab countries and the rest of the world.

Three days after the Palestinian Authority’s statistics was published, the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) released its own report summarizing 2011. According to that report, the number of Israelis stands at 7.8 million people: 5.9 Jews, 1.6 million Arabs and 325,000 defined as “others.”

A conclusion of the findings shows that the number of Jews and Palestinians between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea are almost even. According to the Palestinian Authority’s CBS there are about 300,000 more Jews than Palestinians, while according to the Israeli CBS that number stands at 100,000.

What is especially disconcerting is the bottom line of the Palestinian Authority’s report. “On the basis of the estimations presented by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics in 2010, and provided that natural growth remains unchanged, the number of Palestinians and Jews will become equal and stand at 6.3 million [each] by the end of 2015,” it said. “In addition, by 2020 the number of Palestinians living in historical Palestine will stand at 7.2 million people, while the number of Jews will stand at only 6.8 million.”

One can only hope that in light of the meeting Tuesday between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal emissary Isaac Molho and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in Amman, that Netanyahu was exposed to this data. When I read through the report I was reminded of a briefing Netanyahu gave to diplomatic correspondents in Washington in September 2010, hours after the launch of the direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Those negotiations lasted exactly three weeks before they collapsed.

Netanyahu spoke of the importance of attempting to reach an agreement with the Palestinians and also pointed out the issue of demographics. “We do not want to rule over one and a half million Palestinians in Judea and Samaria,” he had said. A number of reporters then reminded him that the number stands at almost 2.5 million Palestinians. He nodded and continued speaking.

Netanyahu’s words during that briefing represented the right-wing approach, according to which any demographic problem is far less serious than the picture that the Israeli left-wing is trying to paint. The “guru” at the head of this approach is Yoram Ettinger, who served at numerous posts in the Foreign Ministry in the past, including that of Minister for Congressional Affairs in Israel’s embassy in Washington. Ettinger knows Netanyahu well, and the two have been in close contact for many years.

Ettinger actually read the Palestinian Authority’s CBS report, but completely rejects it. He nicknamed the report “a misrepresentation of demographics”. According to Ettinger, the Palestinians publish misleading reports every few years in order to scare Israel. He is sure the PA is “inflating” the numbers of Arabs in the West Bank by 1 million people. This is probably where Netanyahu got his 1.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank figure from. In Gaza, Ettinger asserts, the numbers are inflated by 300,000 people. Similarly, Ettinger points out, the Palestinians “inflate” their birth rate and ignore the sharp increase in Jewish demographics.

The chances that the meeting between Molho and Erekat in Amman this afternoon will not end in failure are slim. The chances that their meeting will lead to a renewal of the peace process are nil. Based on this depressing state of affairs, the demographic data of the Palestinian Authority’s CBS are an even greater cause for concern.


4.  Ynet

Monday, January 2, 2012

     Illustration Photo: Shutterstock

    Israel’s chemistry crisis

Op-ed: State of Israel hurting itself by depriving southern children of chemistry education,7340,L-4170176,00.html

Ehud Keinan


My fellow citizens,

This letter is meant for those of you who assume that the State of Israel offers your children equal opportunities. You should know that if the Chemistry Nobel Prize will ever be awarded again to an Israeli scientist, the winner will not be a member of your communities, simply because your schools do not teach chemistry at all.

The Israeli government knows that you hit the streets with fury if bread and milk prices are raised; so they make sure that the prices of bread and milk will not. Although lack of science education is far more serious and has long-term implications that are graver than price hikes of basic foodstuffs, it does not bother members of Israel’s government much, because they assume it will not bring you out into the streets or even change the way you vote.

Those living in Israel’s upscale neighborhoods would not hit the streets if anyone tries to deprive their children of science education. They will simply make sure it won’t happen, and if necessary open their purses to ensure their children would not remain at a disadvantage compared to children in advanced countries.

Unlike the citizens of advanced countries, most citizens of Israel do not understand why chemistry is so essential and why children cannot climb up the socioeconomic ladder without science education. Most do not know that chemistry is the foundation of biology, medicine, materials engineering, earth sciences, agriculture and all that is produced by the global industry and is the basis of what we eat, wear, see around us and touch every day.

Our children must know what atoms and molecules are, what acids and bases are, what energy is and how proteins are constructed, not in order to be professors at the Technion or at the Weizmann Institute. They need this knowledge to succeed in any career they choose, be connected to reality and the world around them, be better citizens and better parents, and make sure that shrewd sales agents and advertisers cannot take advantage of their ignorance and convince them to spend their money on products that may damage their health, education and personal welfare.

The principle of equality of opportunity requires every child to receive basic education in science and be given the opportunity to choose whatever career they prefer. Those who have never been exposed to science education and never allowed to open up the door to this wonderful world will not choose it as a way of life.

Your children may grow up not knowing that behind that locked door there is an amazing world of science and technology, a world where citizens of the advanced nations speak science – the international language of the 21st century. The only consolation I can offer you, fellow citizens, is that in the near future not only the children of the south will be excluded from studying chemistry, so your troubles will be shared by many others.

Intellectual starvation

Your children do not study chemistry and will not study it in the foreseeable future because there is no one to teach them. Throughout Israel there are now fewer than 800 chemistry teachers, almost half of them over the age 50; many of them will retire soon. The entire State of Israel has only 16 chemistry teachers younger than 31.

Chemistry teachers are disappearing and our education system is failing to attract young people to choose science instruction as a respectable career. Talented young people do not set foot any more in teacher training colleges, probably because the Ministry of Education has other preferences.

The absence of chemistry studies in the south is another chapter in our government fiasco. The government deserves much credit for the establishment of the outstanding industrial park in Ramat Hovav, which hosts only chemical industries. This is a huge economic anchor that exports $3.5 billion a year in the form of life-saving drugs, fire-prevention materials, smart materials for the microelectronics industry, innovative technologies for protecting the environment, agricultural materials, animal and plant protection and plenty of unique products to the State of Israel.

Modern enterprises at Ramat Hovav enable more than 10,000 families in the Negev to make a living and still cry out for additional manpower of chemists and chemical engineers. According to some hidden logic, the same government that established Ramat Hovav deprives the pupils of neighboring towns, your children, of chemical education.

A malicious joke, prevalent in the United States, defines the legendary figure of the Jewish mother (Yiddishe Momme) as someone that cares to satisfy the body but starves the soul. This joke could fit many of our politicians, who make sure that your children do not lack bread and milk, but starve them intellectually and damage their competitiveness in modern society. To be fair, there is no need to ascribe malicious intent to what can be explained by a myopic policy that is based on ignorance and simple considerations of a short-term cost-benefit analysis.

Dear citizens of the south, it is important to fortify your cities against missiles, it is important to keep the price of cottage cheese reasonable, and it is important to build apartments for young couples. But the quality of your children’s education is even more important and less expensive. Lack of proper education is not Force Majeure; it is the result of wrong priorities. You can most certainly take care of your children’s future if you wish.

Ehud Keinan, Professor of chemistry at the Technion, President of the Israel Chemical Society, Editor-in-Chief of the Israel Journal of Chemistry, Chairman of the Chemistry Committee of the Ministry of Education and a Member of the Executive Board of EuCheMS – the European association of Chemical Sciences


5.  An update from Salem village

To all our friends wherever they are,

We would be delighted to add another heartwarming item to the one we sent this morning, Yasmin’s account of the concert celebrating the end of the second year at the Youth Music Center in Salem village.

We would be doubly happy to warm the hearts with an item befitting the optimism that should escort a New Year, but sadly, with the new year at our threshold, we must share with you again the wonders of Israel’s ‘enlightened occupation’:

Last night (between Sunday and Monday), soldiers entered the home of Jubeir (director of the Salem Music Center) with the pretext of searching for weapons. They caused much damage to his new home, let alone deeply upset Jubeir and his wife and terrified his three little children.

We intend to pay him a visit this coming Friday.

Wishing us all a much better year, Inshallah!

Ehud and Erella

About Jubeir and the buds of our contact with him, a contact that led to the founding of the Music Center in Salem, please watch the video under the following link:


6.  Summary of the cultural boycott of Israel by musicians [forwarded by Ofer N]—quite impressive! Recommended reading.


This is the original source:


7.  From the AIC, forwarded by Ruth H.


8  Today in Palestine

January 2, 2012


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