Just 5 items tonight—the initial 3 are on incidents of Israeli racism—the first with respect to refugees, the 2nd with respect to airport harassment, the third with reference to a law to disposes the Bedoin farmers and husbandmen in the Negev of their villages and land.
Item 4 is a link to an article on Israeli expansion the past 2 years in the West Bank and Jerusalem (very informative).
Item 5 is a book review, which, for a change, offers something positive to end this evening’s collection.
1 Haaretz Sunday, June 9, 2013
Israel in ‘advanced’ talks with four additional countries over deal to deport illegal migrants
Israel confirms it has reached deal with one African country willing to absorb migrants living in Israel, and is pursing similar agreements with four other states.
By Ilan Lior
Israel confirmed on Sunday that it has reached an agreement with an African country willing to absorb migrants living in Israel and that similar deals are being negotiated with four other states.
The government has refused to reveal which countries are involved.
In an affidavit submitted by the state to the High Court of Justice on Sunday, an envoy appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the African countries in question have asked not to be named. Israel has agreed to the request, he said, due to the “diplomatic and political sensitivity” of the issue.
The envoy, Hagai Hadas, said that he has recently made a trip to promote the deal with one of the countries.
“During this visit, we have reached major points of agreements with the country that has consented, at this stage, to serve as a destination for some of the [migrant] populations at stake,” he said. “However, specific details regarding these populations have yet to be addressed, and operational measures have yet to be devised.”
He added that Israel is in “advanced” talks with four other states regarding similar agreements, without offering any specifics.
“The characteristics of the [migrant] population and the pace of their arrival will be coordinated with the target countries,” he said, noting the migrants will be deported via commercail flights.
While the envoy has not said so outright, the confirmed deportation agreement applies mainly to Eritrean migrants. In the four other forthcoming deals, the states in question could serve as layovers for Sudanese nationals on their way to their home country.
Hadas’ affidavit was submitted to the High Court alongside the state’s response to a petition against an amendment to a law that allows the prolonged incarceration of people who enter Israel illegally. The deal was first announced by Attorney Yochi Gnessin, who represents the state prosecution, in a hearing that dealt with the petition last week.
In its response, the State Prosecutor’s Office has sought to clarify the difference between Eritrean and Sudanese migrants.
Israel has avoided deporting Eritreans as a matter of policy, but has sought to deport Sudanese migrants. It has been unsuccessful in the latter case because Israel does not have diplomatic relations with Sudan, the state prosecution said. It added that it sees no obstacle to returning the Sudanese migrants to their country via a third state.
Last week, Gnessin said the state will first address in the international agreements the 2,000 migrants currently being held in detention facilities in Israel, most of whom are Eritrean and Sudanese nationals who entered Israel through the Egyptian border.
According to the Population and Immigration Ministry, some 36,000 Eritrean and 14,000 Sudanese migrants are living in Israel. Many have applied for asylum but evidently the state has only responded to three of the requests, which have been rejected.
The human rights groups that have petitioned the High Court against the amendment to the “anti-infiltration” law blasted the state’s response.
“Just one week ago the state’s representative stated at the High Court that an agreement has been reached with a third country willing to absorb the asylum seekers who are being detained under the anti-infiltration law,” said attorney Yonatan Berman, the head of the Clinic for Migrants’ Rights at the College of Law and Business.
“Now, after the state has been asked to provide details, it appears that its statements have been inaccurate, to say the least … From Hadas’ affidavit, this isn’t an ‘agreement’ but a multi-year plan, and no one knows when it will be executed, if ever, and to whom it will apply,” he added. “This is nothing but a smoke screen meant to allow for the prolonged imprisonment of asylum seekers in Israel.”
Last week, a senior Israeli official said an African country has agreed to take in Eritrean labor migrants living in Israel if Israel gives them agricultural training first. He said the resettlement process is likely to last at least five years.
Hadas, who was appointed to coordinate talks with African states a year ago, has personally approached several African states, offering that Israel establish agricultural farms in their territories for refugees from Eritrea. The obvious benefit to the African states is Israeli assistance in promoting agriculture. The states included, South Sudan, Ethiopia and probably Uganda.
Israel has also offered incentives like financial grants, medical aid and infrastructure assistance to any country that agrees to take the migrants in.
2 East Jerusalem Arab says El Al ‘racist’ airline
Attorney says Islam Abu Ziad says subjected to humiliating security check at Ben Gurion Airport, prevented from boarding flight to Holland despite clean record
Hassan Shaalan Published: 06.09.13, 17:02 / Israel News .
Attorney Islam Abu Ziad, 35, a resident of east Jerusalem, was planning to fly to a conference in Holland a few weeks ago, but he did not make the flight.
Upon arriving at Ben Gurion Airport, Abu Ziad was taken to a private room and asked to strip down. A coworker who was traveling with him was taken to a separate room, where she was also asked to take her clothes off.
Abu Ziad, who was never suspected of a security offence, told Ynet that after he and his coworker were taken out of the respective rooms, they were sent to passport control. But “when they looked at our travel documents… they decided to change our seats on the flight. As if we were suspects.”
“This is an indicative of discrimination and racism in El Al,” he added.
The two coworkers nonetheless made it to the gate and waited to board the plane. “Suddenly we heard our names being called. They told us we can’t travel because we don’t have passports,” Abu Ziad related.
‘Discrimination and racism in El Al’ (Photo: Benny Doutsh)
I told them that residents of east Jerusalem travel with documents approved by the Interior Ministry and that I’ve traveled many times this way. But they said that El Al talked to (authorities in) the Netherlands, where they were told we could not enter with our travel documents,” he claimed.
“We couldn’t get through to them and ended up going home. That’s racism. It’s either because of my name, Islam, or the fact that I’m an Arab. It’ll be very hard to convince me that the way we were treated was the result of anything else.”
Following the incident, the east Jerusalem lawyer contacted the Dutch Embassy in Israel and was told there was no reason not to allow him entrance to the country. He was also given a formal document attesting to the fact that he was in the possession of a visa to the country.
“The next day I found a different flight to the Netherlands with a different airline and there was no problem,” Al Ziad added.
El Al commented that it was not the airline’s responsibility to conduct security checks. “The matter is the responsibility of the Israel Airports Authority. El Al operates in accordance with security guidelines.
The Israel Airports Authority said security checks are aimed at guaranteeing the safety of the passengers. The Airports Authority is responsible for the safety of some 1.5 million passengers a year.
3 [email protected]; on behalf of; Yeela Raanan [[email protected]]
Mass Displacement Law to be legislated tomorrow.
The Prawer Law – Displacing tens of thousands of Bedouin.
By Dr. Yeela Raanan
The Prawer Law has been cooking for years, and it seems that it will be ready to be served in the very near future. Tomorrow it is being brought for first appeal to the Knesset. It has already been approved by the government. From here on it is almost only procedure…
And what is in this Prawer Law, or as it is officially called: The Bill for the Settlement of the Bedouin in the Negev, 2013. Unfortunately, it is anything but settlement.
The 45-page bill is divided into two: the first and massive part is all about the process of giving up one’s land claims. The second and smaller part is about how to clear the land of Bedouin.
Sliman Abu-Obaid, one of my closest friends and a Bedouin, yesterday as we were running a family errand together asked with amazement, “They for sure understand the consequences of this bill, how can they, then, wish to legislate it?”
I believe that the answer to this very very basic question is that currently in Israel, the State views the Arab citizens as no more than a nuisance. Therefore the Arabs must accept the breadcrumbs of citizenship and resources allowed to them by the State with thanks and silence. Thus it is possible to put into law a bill that forces at least 40,000 residents of the unrecognized villages to accept displacement, land loss and urbanization.
However, the Bedouin will not accept this plan with silence. And when the law is implemented, and the bulldozers come to erase 20 historical villages of thousands of people, there will be resistance. There will be intense and wide-spread suffering. There probably will even be loss of lives. And most likely, after a couple of years of unsuccessfully trying to bully the Bedouin into yet more ghetto-towns, the government will give up on its grand plan, but the damage done by then will be great.
Old man by his demolished home. Bir Hadaj Aug. 2012
(Read at your own risk. I tried to simplify it. If it is important for you to understand the nuts and bolts – do plod ahead…)
First part: the legal process of forcing Bedouin to give up land claims.
In the 1970s the Government of Israel attempted to complete the land ownership registration that had been initiated by the Ottomans and the British Mandate. The Negev was the only land that had not yet gone through this process. In this process, all that claim that they own any part of the northern Negev land need to submit a land claim, which then needs to go through the legal process, and if there are no competing claims – then it belongs to the claimer. Thus about 10% of the Negev was claimed by Bedouins within the Negev during this process. The government decided to halt this legal process indefinitely. The Bedouin land claimers were left with a piece of paper named a “land claim”. Today after different legislations and government decisions – only 5% of the Negev land remain under land claims – no more than 800,000 dunams (200,000 acres).
During the last decade the government of Israel has started a counter-claim process: the government claims that a piece of Negev land is owned by the state, and the Bedouin with the land claim needs to counter-prove his ownership. The catch is that the only acceptable evidence is a certified land registry, nulling the traditional Bedouin land ownership testimony. In all cases brought before the Israeli courts, the Bedouin lost, attesting to the unfair legal playing ground.
The Prawer law offers each Bedouin land claimer up to 50% of the land claimed in land compensation, and some minimal monetary compensation for the remaining 50% to be kept by the state. This seems more than generous. But once you delve into the stipulations, it is obvious this is a draconian law. I will explain.
The most horrible aspect of this law is that in order to receive any land compensation the person has to agree to be removed from his home, and to be re-located at a location chosen for him by the government. The person and his family must forgo their traditions, their land-based economy their community and life with their extended family. The Bill stipulates that a man must clear the land of everything – his home, his belongings, his animals, even his trees, to be eligible for this land compensation.
Demolitions Abu-Tlul. 2007.
Further, the person giving up the land claim will not know to where he and his family will be moved, nor where the land given in compensation will be located.
As the stipulations presented here are impossible to adhere to, most people that join this process eventually will not see any compensation for forgoing their land claim.
Further, not only is this person expected to give up his land claim in order to be deserving of the 50% land compensation, also all his siblings and cousins – the descendants of the original land claimer – must come together to forgo their land claim. If less than 50% of the descendants of the original land claimer are willing to accept this process – then the land compensation is reduced to 20%. This same level of land compensation – 20% – for forgoing the land claim, has been offered by the government for the past 30 years, and has not been accepted by the land claimers. This conditioned compensation is to create family pressure on members of the family to give up their land claim. It will indeed create family pressure – and family feuding – and all for the need of the government to get another couple of people into this proposed process.
Further, a person has to show that the land he is claiming was being used by his family in 1970, and has been in continual use until today if he wants any land compensation for his land claim. This automatically means that about half land claims will not be eligible for land compensation, as they had been removed from the land by the government in the 1950s.
And – within five years, anyone who had chosen not to enter in the process of redeeming the land claims – their land claims are automatically nulled.
Demonstration in Tel Aviv. May 2010
It sounds complicated – and it is. However, I laid it out for you so that you will know that people who claim that this is an amazing bill either don’t know the facts or are in fact lying.
And why should the government bother with such an elaborate plan to allow under these difficult conditions a certain amount of land compensation? This is because, while the government of Israel does not see reason to accept the Bedouin land laws, the Bedouin do. Thus, as long as a Bedouin has not officially given up his land, no other Bedouin will move onto this land. Convincing the Bedouin to forgo their land claims cleans up the land ownership issues and allows for dense urban planning.
And now the second part of the Bill – evacuation procedures.
1. The prime minister claims a certain area for un-settling.
2. A government official gives a decree for all to clear the land. There is no need for a court authorization (as is law today).
3. People have 30 days to clear off this area, including breaking down their homes and clearing the land.
4. Those who don’t can be jailed for up to two years.
5. The courts cannot intervene, beyond procedural issues, and cannot stop a home from being demolished under this decree.
6. There will be billions of shekels available for this bill: police, bulldozers, whatever it takes.
That’s it. There is no mention of where the people are expected to go; there is no mention of under what circumstances a village will be recognized. There is no mention of planning procedures. There is no mention of the government’s responsibility towards the tens of thousands that it is going to make homeless by this bill.
And this is the Prawer Bill to be voted on in the Knesset tomorrow.
It is a really dark day for Israel.
For more information: Dr. Yeela Raanan, [email protected], +972 54 748 7005
More information can be found on
• The Negev Coexistence Forum website: http://www.dukium.org/eng/
• Rabbis for Human Rights website: http://rhr.org.il/eng/category/bedouin-rights/
• Association for Civil Rights in Israel website: http://www.acri.org.il/en/2013/05/06/ministers-begin-bill/
We call on the Government of Israel to recognize all the unrecognized Bedouin villages, and to act in accordance to the values of equality and human dignity.
4 Statistics and analysis on Colony (settlement) expansion in the West Bank the past 2 years:http://www.poica.org/editor/case_studies/view.php?recordID=6039
A very informative document.
5 The Wall by William Sutcliffe – Book ReviewBy Susan Abulhawa
Jun 7 2013 [forwarded by JPLO]
Writing a novel that depicts an oppressed society when you are not a
member of that society is a risky undertaking in my estimation. When it
comes to the Palestinian narrative, the task is even more sensitive, as
Western audiences have mostly been exposed to reductive stories, written
It is not surprising then, that a Palestinian might have reason for
pause when confronted with a novel that reflects life under Israeli
occupation, written by a British Jewish author.
Right or wrong, the author’s background is relevant to me in such
circumstances. So I admit that I picked up Sutcliffe’s latest
novel, The Wall (Bloomsbury, 2013), holding my breath, because a
people’s narrative, their truth, their memories, and their very real
pain, is not to be taken lightly in literature.
Sutcliffe clearly understood this, and he created what I believe is the
best work of fiction on Palestine written by a non-Palestinian. The Wall
is many things – a coming of age story, a fast-paced, captivating
novel. Most importantly, it is a fresh and intriguing look at the most
intractable conflict of our time, written with suspense and cultural
The story opens when Joshua’s ball lands in a fenced construction
zone. When he climbs over to retrieve it, he finds a destroyed home
unlike anything he had ever seen in Amarias, the clean, manicured place
where he lives. The things of living still inhabit the house, like
“a telephone with no receiver, trailing a wire that snakes away as
if it is still expecting call”. Joshua is immobilized by a feeling
he cannot understand, “something to do with the obvious suddenness
with which this place was transformed from a home into a heap of
There, Joshua discovers a tunnel that runs under the separation wall to
the forbidden side, where the enemies live. Compelled by curiosity and
a sense of adventure, Joshua crawls through, and the prose carries the
reader in Joshua’s heart as he navigates through fear in the dark
dank underground. What Joshua finds at the other end of the tunnel
unhinges everything he had been taught to believe and he emerges with
eyes that see clearly the surreal way in which his world had been
manufactured. “..not one thing I can see feels like it is
mine,” he says. “A man speaks, and it’s Liev – the man
who pretends to be my father, sitting at the table that pretends to be a
dinning table in this house that pretends to be my house.”
Sutcliffe tells us that Amarias, the fictional town where Joshua lives,
is based on the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. But the
words “Israel” and “Palestine” are never used, allowing
for a weightless narrative unencumbered by preconceptions.
I thought the superficially apolitical approach to a deeply political
space was effective, reminding me of Orwell’s Animal Farm. It has
the ability to speak to readers of a wide range of ages, from young
teens to senior adults, with layers of meaning revealed in accordance
with the reader’s background. Further, and importantly, there is an
authenticity to the narrative that speaks to the author’s insight
and ability for true empathy.
The most wonderful thing about this novel, however, is the way it keeps
the reader teetering on the edge of Joshua’s innocence, in the place
where fundamental choices about an individual’s life path are made.
We root for Joshua to follow his heart at the same time we fear for him
to do so. The brilliance of The Wall is also in the way it allows the
reader seamless and natural access to a great unfolding international
drama. It does so through the eyes of a boy enchanted with a young girl
on the other side of a wall that splits the world; and through his
promise to an old farmer to heal a parched patch of earth with dying
The tenderness of this novel is matched only by the author’s
integrity, as Sutcliffe stipulated in his book contract that a
significant percent of his royalties go to the world and children whose
lives he wrote about. Playgrounds for Palestine, a Palestinian
children’s NGO that I founded has received (and will continue to
receive) 15% of the author’s royalties for The Wall. It should be
noted that Playgrounds for Palestine is an all-volunteer labor of love
organization that does not pay compensation to any staff or board
I highly recommend this novel, for young and old alike. It’s a fast
read that grips the reader’s attention from the beginning, and long
after you’ve read the last pages, you will be thinking of
Joshua’s life, peeling back the layers, and finding deeper meaning.
– Susan Abulhawa is the author of Mornings in Jenin
<http://morningsinjenin.com/> , an international bestselling novel,
currently translated into 33 languages. Abulhawa is also the founder
ofPlaygrounds for Palestine
<http://www.playgroundsforpalestine.org/homepage.php> , a children’s
NGO dedicated to upholding the Right to Play for Palestinian children
living under occupation and/or in refugee camps. She contributed this