6 items below—most not positive, to put it mildly, but not out of spite. They are what I found. The international press (at least the 11 or 12 newspapers that I checked) had either nothing about Israel-Palestine or nothing about either worth including here. So all 6 below are from the local Palestinian and Israeli media.
The importance of item 1 is that it is reported in Haaretz. The people who want a halakha law (Jewish law) to rule the country are still a minority, but gaining strength. A sure sign of this is the fact that Haaretz has decided to print the story. Just keep this in mind if you are thinking of immigrating to Israel. Of course if you are an ultra-religious Jew, a fundamentalist, this would be your cup of tea. It’s not mine.
In item 2 the former chief military prosecutor says that the military is not obliged to investigate every Palestinian or Lebanese child’s death or other possible crime, even if international law designates it a war crime. In this article we get a glimmer of what is meant by describing the Israeli military by its pet name in Israel, ‘the most moral army in the world.’ No army that fights is moral, nor can be. Israel’s is by no means an exception.
In item 3 the PCHR denounces the detention and treatment of several
Item 4 reports that fundamentalist settlers have cohorts in the military who help strategize.
In item 5 Gideon Levy comments on the new heights of militarism in education where high school kids are trained to be border police and to capture permit-less Palestinians looking for jobs. Well, I guess that many German parents and teachers were no less proud of their Hitler youth than Israeli parents and teachers are of these Israeli youngsters. Of course if they thought of Hitler youth capturing and incarcerating Jews, perhaps they would understand the evil inherent in Israeli youth being trained in border police methods and purposes. Of course some of these kids will soon enough be a soldier or border policeperson in the OPT. Then they can really have fun demolishing homes, shooting tear gas, disrupting sleeping families in the middle of the night, and so on and so forth.
Item 6, Today in Palestine, is where you will find many more items about what is really happening here in Isra-Palestine.
All the best,
1 Haaretz Sunday, January 8, 2012
Latest update 00:40 08.01.12
Dismantle Israeli democracy and replace it with Jewish law, says settler leader
Benny Katzover tells Chabad journal: Israeli democracy has finished its role, and it must disassemble and give way to Judaism.
By Chaim Levinson
Tags: Israel settlers Jewish law Gaza
Israeli democracy must be dismantled and in its place a halakhic state, based on Jewish law, should be established, says settler leader Benny Katzover in an interview to a messianic journal of Chabad.
In an interview with Beit Mashiach, the journal of the messianic faction of the Chabad Movement with ties to settlers, Katzover says that “the main role of Israeli democracy now is to disappear. Israeli democracy has finished its role, and it must disassemble and give way to Judaism. All leads toward recognition that there is no other way but to place Judaism at the center, above all else, and this is the answer to every situation.”
Earlier in the interview Katzover commented on the campaign against the exclusion of women, saying that his group had information of the pending campaign.
“Our activists are linked to all the networks of the left, and we knew they were planning an incitement campaign. This is just another wave of incitement, targeting the hilltop youth and the Haredi community. The leftist activists prepare well-timed campaigns against anything which smells of holiness, and their aim is twofold: political, to undermine the government and score points among the public, and to strike at all the fundamentals of Jewish faith.
“In Jewish faith, the Land of Israel is central… The media campaigns over insignificant issues in order to undermine Jewish identity. I think there can be cooperation between the Haredim and the religious [national] communities. Incitement against us stems from the same anti-Jewish root which seeks to uproot everything,” Katzover said in the interview.
Since 2008 Katzover has headed the Committee of Samaria Settlers, an NGO which has fought against the freeze of settlement construction and the razing of outposts. Katzover believes that Jews should stay in the territories even after they are evacuated. He is well respected among the hilltop youth because of his views. His ideological line has been gaining popularity among settlers since the evacuation of Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip.
Katzover was one of the first leaders of the settler movement, joining Gush Emunim, and then the nucleus of Elon Moreh, which was established in Samaria in 1979.
“I think that Israeli democracy, under its current structure, is in constant conflict with its Jewish identity, and in recent years, every time it bends its Jewish identity backwards. This structure of democracy has only one mission: to dismantle,” he told Haaretz.
2 Haaretz Sunday, January 8, 2012
Latest update 00:40 08.01.12
Former IDF legal officer slams Netanyahu’s plan to court martial right-wing extremists
Avichai Mendelblit: No one wants to see dead children, Palestinian or Lebanese…it is very sad, but we do not need to initiate an investigation into everything.
By Gili Cohen
Tags: IDF Benjamin Netanyahu West Bank Gaza war Israel settlers
Former Military Advocate General Avichai Mendelblit on Friday publicly criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to try right-wing extremist lawbreakers in military courts.
Speaking at the Israel Air Force Center in Herzliya, Mendelblit said: “If this is assigned to the army, it will be terrible. I do not think it is correct for the IDF to deal with civilians.”
Answering a question on the legal difference between the West Bank and Israel, Mendelblit said that “it was decided that the IDF must not deal with Jewish settlements, even though it is the sovereign power. If a need arises, then the Shin Bet security services and the police [can deal with them], although from a legal point of view the military is able to handle it. But the significance will be very negative if this is done.”
Mendelblit’s statement is part of the broader view shared internally by the Military Advocate General’s Office. Two weeks ago, Haaretz published MAG opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s initiative to try Jewish extremists in West Bank military courts.
The initiative follows a series of ideologically-motivated “price tag” acts of violence by settlers, including targeting IDF soldiers, breaking into a military base, and attacks on Palestinians and fire bombings of mosques.
Among the PM’s additional measures were the right of soldiers to carry out arrests, impose administrative detentions, broader use of restraining orders, and an increase in budgets for police investigations in the West Bank.
During his lecture Mendelblit also commented on the legal issues the IDF has faced in recent years. Addressing the limit to actions that the army can take, he said, “Many things that I thought
I could legally approve, for the Air Force chief or the air force, could not be ethically done. And this occurred on many occasions.”
Responding to criticism that the IDF has become overly sensitive to the need to provide legal advice to its commanders during operations, Mendelblit said this is only done at the level of division commander. He noted that in the U.S., marine battalion commanders also receive legal advice.
“Lawyers will not manage the army,” he continued. “They did not manage it and will not manage it. The commander can decide, ‘I will not attack because it is not ethical to kill 20 babies in their beds.’ If rockets strike a large number of people in central Israel, it is acceptable [legally]. At the start of the Second Lebanon War, there was such a case, which I thought was appropriate. It is the most complicated decision for a commander.”
Mendelblit also commented on Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, the subsequent Goldstone Report and its impact on the battlefield. “No one wants to see dead children, Palestinian or Lebanese,” he said. “It is very sad, but we do not need to initiate an investigation into everything.”
“An excellent tool exists called an operation debriefing,” he added.
“And if we find that they took a small child and asked him to open something so that it would kill him if it exploded, then that needs to be dealt with internally. More than 99 percent of the cases are fine. According to humanitarian law, every case must be investigated, but not by the MAG.”
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
January 8, 2012
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the continued Israeli violations against the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip and is strongly concerned over the escalation of such violations. The violations resulted in the arrest of seven fishermen in two separate incidents, confiscation of two fishing boats, subjecting the fishermen to questioning and cruel and degrading treatment in addition to preventing them from sailing and fishing freely.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 10:00 on Saturday, 07 January 2012, the Israeli Navy Forces arrested four fishermen off the Rafah shore while they were practicing their work. The Israeli soldiers fired at the fishing boat and forced the fishermen to stop, take their clothes off and swim towards the Israeli gunboat while the weather was very cold. The Israeli soldiers took the four fishermen to Ashdod seaport to be questioned, after they were blindfolded and handcuffed. At approximately 00:30 on Sunday, 08 January 2012, the fishermen were released and taken to Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing. The four fishermen are: 1) Rani Sami Baker, 29; 2) Tal’at Othman Baker, 46; 3) Jad Othman Baker, 35; and 4) Mahmoud Yahya Baker, 26, all from Gaza City.
At approximately 13:47 on Thursday, 29 December 2011, the Israeli Navy Forces intercepted a fishing boat with three fishermen on board, including two brothers, who were fishing off the Khan Yunis shore. The Israeli soldiers arrested the three fishermen after they ordered them to take their clothes off, jump into the water and swim towards the Israeli gunboat. The fishermen were handcuffed and blindfolded with bags over their heads, while their boat was confiscated by the Israeli Navy Forces. The fishermen are: 1) Nabeel Ahmed al-Henawwi, 34; 2) Mahmoud Ahmed al-Henawwi, 43; and 3) Monther Mosa Sehweil, 38, all from Khan Yunis.
In his testimony to PCHR, Nabeel Ahmed Mahmoud al-Henawwi, 34, from Khan Yunis, said that he and the two other fishermen had stayed naked for 20 minutes in the water. They were shivering because of the extreme cold. He added that the Israeli Navy Forces transported them to the Israeli shores and subjected them to questioning while they were handcuffed and blindfolded. The two al-Henawwi brothers were released, but the third fisherman was transferred to Ashkelon prison.
It should be noted that the Israeli Navy has imposed restrictions on fishermen at sea, including denying them the right to sail and fish since 2000. The Israeli Navy also minimized the area allowed for fishing in Gaza waters from 20 to 6 nautical miles in 2008; however, the Israeli naval troops keep preventing Palestinian fishermen from going beyond three nautical miles in Gaza waters since 2009, and sometimes chase them in this area as well. As a result, Palestinian fishermen are denied access to areas beyond the three miles, due to which they have lost 85% of their subsistence.
In light of the above, PCHR condemns the recurrence of such attacks against the Palestinian fishermen, and believes that they are part of the escalation of collective punishment against civilians. Besides, they have been carried out in the context of attacking civilians in their livelihood, which is prohibited under the international humanitarian law and international human rights law. PCHR calls upon the Israeli Navy to:
1. Immediately stop the policy of chasing and arresting Palestinian fishermen and to allow them to sail and fish freely;
2. Calls for reparations to the victims for the physical and material damages caused to fishermen and their property; and
3. Immediately return the confiscated fishing boats to their owners and to compensate them for the material damage and psychological effects.
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 – 2825893
4 Haaretz Sunday, January 8, 2012
Latest update 11:04 08.01.12
Israel charges right-wing activists with tracking IDF in West Bank
Jerusalem Prosecutor’s Office says 5 defendants used military sources, were in possession of classified maps in order to disrupt IDF operations against illegal West Bank outposts.
By Chaim Levinson
Tags: IDF West Bank Israel settlements
The Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office submitted a severe indictment against five right-wing extremists on Sunday, charging them with monitoring the movements of army forces in the West Bank, possession of classified military material and orchestrating an attack by activists on an Israel Defense Forces base.
Last week, Haaretz reported that Israel was considering charging the right-wing extremists with espionage over their actions to monitor and disrupt IDF operations in the West Bank, a week after they were apprehended following a joint operation by Israel Police and Shin Bet security forces.
Five of those arrested – Akiva Hacohen, Elchanan Gruner, Yedayia Shoham, Elad Meir, and Yaon Klab – appeared before a Jerusalem magistrate’s court last week, where they were remanded for five days, along with another three suspects who have been in custody for the last three weeks.
On Sunday, the Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office filed an official indictment against Hacohen and Meir, as well as against David Eliyahu, Effi Heikin, and Meir Ettinger.
According to the indictment, the defendants last year took it upon themselves to disrupt army operations geared at dismantling illegal West Bank outposts, with Meir allegedly telling Hacohen that they should operate a telephone-based intelligence center that would collect information on suspicious army movements.
The defendants then allegedly formed an intelligence nerve-center using a pay-as-you-go phone, which was then handed over to several activists in the region. The indictment indicates that the defendants kept “meticulous intelligence reports,” classifying some activists as “watchers” and “surveyors,” and others as “scouts.”
All in all, the defendants allegedly maintained 30 sources, including several active servicemen who provided precise information on the future movements of forces and the exact hours in which they would take place.
In addition, Heikin, Ettinger, and Eliyahu are suspected of holding 11 aerial photographs classified as “secret,” which map the geographical surroundings, and West Bank outposts, using military code.
One document seized by security forces and titled “outposts defense program” stated that activists should push for a situation in which “the authorities cannot agree on the evacuation of outposts.”
The document urges activists to refuse direct military commands as well as the infiltration of army bases where they would disperse flyers urging soldiers to do the same.
Activists, the document said, are ordered to arrange around “ten teams, each able to gather around 10-15 people, and arrange a march toward a [Palestinian] village or a [military] base, to establish a bond of camaraderie.”
Prosecutors said that the activists’ organization ultimately led to action on the night of December 12, which news began to stream from multiple sources regarding IDF movements toward the Mitzpe Yitzhar outpost.
All the reports were then allegedly concentrated on a computer chart, with the massive amount of information leading to the organization of a bus full of activists out of Jerusalem’s Merkaz Harav yeshiva to disrupt the evacuation.
The bus arrived at Yitzhar and continued to the West Bank settlement of Kdumim. At Kdumim, where a central IDF base is positioned, the bus dropped the activists off. The activists later infiltrated the base. The evacuation of Mitzpe Yitzher planned for later than night was eventually shelved.
Responding in the defendants’ name, Hanenu, a right-wing NGO that provides legal representation to right-wing activists, said that the state “was crossing all the lines when it submits an indictment dealing with organizing demonstrations.”
“We’re turning into Russia during its darker days,” Hanenu said, adding that “youths organizing demonstrations are being charged with severe accusations and indictments are submitted against them in the district court. Israel has become a police state for the mind.”
On Thursday, GOC Central Command Avi Mizrahi ordered that 12 right-wing activists be notified of their temporary expulsion from the West Bank, for periods ranging from 3 to 9 months.
The military acted on information, according to which the youths were allegedly involved in the planning, direction, and execution of secret violent attacks against Palestinians residents of the West Bank as well as against Israelis security forces.
Sources said the information indicated that the activists actions posed a real threat to human life and a disruption of public order and peace.
Warrants notifying the West Bank activists of their imminent expulsion were handed in an overnight operation at the Yitzhar, Havat Gilad, Elon Moreh, and Ramat Migron settlements.
5 Haaretz Sunday, January 8, 2011
Reut seeks meaning in her life
Instead of encouraging our young to volunteer and help society, we send them to the Border Police; it be better were they to stay at home.
By Gideon Levy