Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


Testimony of an Israeli activist who was robbed and beaten by settlers while attempting to assist the olive harvest

Oct 25, 2011

Ofer Neiman

The settlers arrive.

This is a testimony of A’, a 61 year old peace activist, who was beaten badly with clubs on his head and entire body by Jewish settlers during an olive harvest in the Palestinian village of Jalud; his ribs and several fingers were broken, and his camera and personal belongings were robbed:

Last Friday we arrived at the Palestinian village of Jalud to participate in an olive harvest with a group of Palestinian farmers from the village. Joining us were a group of international peace activists and a group of members from a Palestinian agricultural cooperative from the Hebron area. We climbed a hill in order to begin with the harvest; it is about a kilometer from the village. We went to the terraces where the olive trees were – some ladders and a tractor which came before us to unload the equipment required for the harvest were already there.

No more than five minutes passed from the time of our arrival, when four or five masked Jewish settelers arrived on the scene, accompanied by an armed guard in civilian clothes. Except for the guard, they all covered their faces with cloths – all white except one who covered his face with a black cloth. Seeing the direction that they came from, I assumed that they came from the illegal Jewish outpost of Esh Kodesh (“Holy fire”).

Upon their arrival, I immediately started filming them. They started arguing with the Palestinian farmers and shouted: “Get out of here! This is our land!”, “You haven’t been here for 10 years, haven’t farmed the lands, now they belong to us”. A shouting match developed, but at that point it did not become anything more than that.

Settlers surround the activists.

After the shouting ceased a bit, the farmers returned to the olive harvest. I continued filming, when suddenly I saw the armed guard and one of the masked men approaching me. I heard a sudden, loud explosion and I realized that one of them threw a shock grenade to where the people were harvesting. Immediately after the explosion I heard a round of shooting. At this point people started to disperse and I too began walking in the opposite direction. Stones were being thrown by both sides and the masked men started to cruelly beat the people left in the area. I distanced myself to about 20 meters from the area and went to a lower terrace, to avoid being in the range of the rocks being thrown, after I felt a rock hit my backpack. At this point I was about 50-60 meters away and quite far from the harvest area. In any case, everyone was already escaping in the direction of the village.

At this point three or four of the masked men approached me quickly. I was convinced that when they would realize I was an older man and that if I would identify myself as Israeli, nothing would happen. When they approached me, they initially thought I was Arab and told me: “Jib al-hawiya” (“Give your I.D”). I tried to tell them: “Calm down, guys, I’m Israeli, no need for violence”. At this point the man with the black cloth pulled my camera and tried to take it. I argued with him: “Aren’t you ashamed? Why do you act violently? I’m old enough to be your father!”. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I felt a blow to my head, followed by the feeling of blood gushing out of the wound. I fell to the ground and they continued to beat me with clubs. I yelled at the top of my voice: “Help! Someone stop this!”, but no one heard me.

The masked men managed to grab the stills camera from my hand, and took my backpack which had the video camera, cassettes and my glasses in it. When I tried to fight back to take my camera, I was again beaten, this time on my wrist. At this point they ran away with my belongings, while I was left bleeding and beaten, but with full consciousness and completely aware of my situation and of what had just happened. The truth is that at this point the actual beatings didn’t hurt as badly, and I was more worried about the amount of bleeding. In addition, I was completely in shock, and was in disbelief that this had just happened to me.

Settlers throw a sounds grenade.

I got up and started running up the hill. On the way I met A’ and M’, who was also covered in blood, and I realized that she had been beaten by the masked men at the beginning, right after the shock grenade exploded. After we met, we started walking down the hill, towards the village, while tear gas grenades were falling all around us, shot from a military jeep which was parked under the hill. I believe a second jeep was firing at us from the left side of the hill; we saw this other jeep only later on.

Somehow, between the falling grenades, we managed to get of the hill and we stopped about 50 meters from the military jeep. A’, who was with us, kept yelling at the IDF soldiers to stop firing at us and that people were wounded – but they just kept firing. When we arrived at the edge of the field, close to the road which leads to the village, the second military jeep approached. It was a border police jeep with the word “Police” on it, and it stopped about 20 meters from us. E’ or A’ yelled: “Come help us, there are wounded people here!”. A soldier emerged from the jeep, I was sure he was coming to help us. But instead, he walked to the back of the jeep, extracted a tear gas grenade and shot it at us. The grenade fell about five meters from us, but the wind was blowing in the other direction and the Palestinians told us to stay where we were and let the gas blow in the other direction. At this point I was continuing to bleed from the wound in my head and one of the Palestinians tied his kaffiyah (head cloth) around my head in order to stop the bleeding. M’, who was standing next to us, was also bleeding profusely.

A wounded Palestinian is evacuated.

After the gas blew away, we continued walking towards the village and A’ hurried forward in order to bring his vehicle from the village. We entered his car and M’, H’ and I drove to look for the Palestinian ambulance which was in the village. The ambulance took us to the clinic in the Palestinian village of Qablan, where they disinfected our wounds, cleaned the blood and the Palestinian paramedic instructed me to call Madah (Israeli emergency medical services) and to call an ambulance for ourselves. We called, and Madah instructed us to reach the Tapuach junction and that the ambulance would be waiting for us there.

When we arrived at the Tapuach junction, we waited for some time before the military ambulance arrived. An Israeli police car arrived with it and the policeman started to ask questions about what happened. The military paramedic tried to speed up the questioning, so the policeman came on to the ambulance with us in order to continue with the questioning until we arrived to the Ariel junction. The policeman, accompanied by an officer, followed us in a car to the Ariel junction and informed us that an investigator had already been sent to the area of Esh Kodesh to investigate. One of the policemen said that after we receive medical treatment, they will contact us to continue collecting our testimonies. From there we were evacuated to Belinson hospital in the Madah ambulance.

Comrades in Cairo send solidarity, and advice, to Occupy Wall Street

Oct 25, 2011


To all those in the United States currently occupying parks, squares and other spaces, your comrades in Cairo are watching you in sol­i­dar­ity. Having received so much advice from you about tran­si­tion­ing to democracy, we thought it’s our turn to pass on some advice.

(Photo: Nick turse/Alternet)

Indeed, we are now in many ways involved in the same struggle. What most pundits call “The Arab Spring” has its roots in the demon­stra­tions, riots, strikes and occu­pa­tions taking place all around the world, its foun­da­tions lie in years long struggles by people and popular movements. The moment that we find ourselves in is nothing new, as we in Egypt and others have been fighting against systems of repres­sion, dis­en­fran­chise­ment and the unchecked ravages of global cap­i­tal­ism (yes, we said it, cap­i­tal­ism): a System that has made a world that is dangerous and cruel to its inhab­i­tants. As the interests of gov­ern­ment increas­ingly cater to the interests and comforts of private, transna­tional capital, our cities and homes have become pro­gres­sively more abstract and violent places, subject to the casual ravages of the next economic devel­op­ment or urban renewal scheme.

An entire gen­er­a­tion across the globe has grown up realizing, ratio­nally and emo­tion­ally, that we have no future in the current order of things. Living under struc­tural adjust­ment policies and the supposed expertise of inter­na­tional orga­ni­za­tions like the World Bank and IMF, we watched as our resources, indus­tries and public services were sold off and dis­man­tled as the “free market” pushed an addiction to foreign goods, to foreign food even. The profits and benefits of those freed markets went elsewhere, while Egypt and other countries in the South found their immis­er­a­tion rein­forced by a massive increase in police repres­sion and torture.

The current crisis in America and Western Europe has begun to bring this reality home to you as well: that as things stand we will all work ourselves raw, our backs broken by personal debt and public austerity. Not content with carving out the remnants of the public sphere and the welfare state, cap­i­tal­ism and the austerity state now even attack the private realm and people’s right to decent dwelling as thousands of foreclosed-upon home­own­ers find them­selves both homeless and indebted to the banks who have forced them on to the streets.

So we stand with you not just in your attempts to bring down the old but to exper­i­ment with the new. We are not protest­ing. Who is there to protest to? What could we ask them for that they could grant? We are occupying. We are reclaim­ing those same spaces of public practice that have been com­mod­i­fied, pri­va­tized and locked into the hands of faceless bureau­cracy , real estate port­fo­lios, and police ‘pro­tec­tion’. Hold on to these spaces, nurture them, and let the bound­aries of your occu­pa­tions grow. After all, who built these parks, these plazas, these buildings? Whose labor made them real and livable? Why should it seem so natural that they should be withheld from us, policed and dis­ci­plined? Reclaim­ing these spaces and managing them justly and col­lec­tively is proof enough of our legitimacy.

In our own occu­pa­tions of Tahrir, we encoun­tered people entering the Square every day in tears because it was the first time they had walked through those streets and spaces without being harassed by police; it is not just the ideas that are important, these spaces are fun­da­men­tal to the pos­si­bil­ity of a new world. These are public spaces. Spaces for gathering, leisure, meeting, and inter­act­ing – these spaces should be the reason we live in cities. Where the state and the interests of owners have made them inac­ces­si­ble, exclusive or dangerous, it is up to us to make sure that they are safe, inclusive and just. We have and must continue to open them to anyone that wants to build a better world, par­tic­u­larly for the mar­gin­al­ized, excluded and for those groups who have suffered the worst.

What you do in these spaces is neither as grandiose and abstract nor as quotidian as “real democracy”; the nascent forms of praxis and social engage­ment being made in the occu­pa­tions avoid the empty ideals and stale par­lia­men­tar­i­an­ism that the term democracy has come to represent. And so the occu­pa­tions must continue, because there is no one left to ask for reform. They must continue because we are creating what we can no longer wait for.

But the ide­olo­gies of property and propriety will manifest them­selves again. Whether through the overt oppo­si­tion of property owners or munic­i­pal­i­ties to your encamp­ments or the more subtle attempts to control space through traffic reg­u­la­tions, anti-camping laws or health and safety rules. There is a direct conflict between what we seek to make of our cities and our spaces and what the law and the systems of policing standing behind it would have us do.

We faced such direct and indirect violence , and continue to face it . Those who said that the Egyptian rev­o­lu­tion was peaceful did not see the horrors that police visited upon us, nor did they see the resis­tance and even force that rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies used against the police to defend their tentative occu­pa­tions and spaces: by the government’s own admission; 99 police stations were put to the torch, thousands of police cars were destroyed, and all of the ruling party’s offices around Egypt were burned down. Bar­ri­cades were erected, officers were beaten back and pelted with rocks even as they fired tear gas and live ammu­ni­tion on us. But at the end of the day on the 28th of January they retreated, and we had won our cities.

It is not our desire to par­tic­i­pate in violence, but it is even less our desire to lose.

If we do not resist, actively, when they come to take what we have won back, then we will surely lose. Do not confuse the tactics that we used when we shouted “peaceful” with fetishiz­ing non­vi­o­lence; if the state had given up imme­di­ately we would have been overjoyed, but as they sought to abuse us, beat us, kill us, we knew that there was no other option than to fight back. Had we laid down and allowed ourselves to be arrested, tortured, and martyred to “make a point”, we would be no less bloodied, beaten and dead. Be prepared to defend these things you have occupied, that you are building, because, after every­thing else has been taken from us, these reclaimed spaces are so very precious.

By way of con­clud­ing then, our only real advice to you is to continue, keep going and do not stop. Occupy more, find each other, build larger and larger networks and keep dis­cov­er­ing new ways to exper­i­ment with social life, consensus, and democracy. Discover new ways to use these spaces, discover new ways to hold on to them and never give them up again. Resist fiercely when you are under attack, but otherwise take pleasure in what you are doing, let it be easy, fun even. We are all watching one another now, and from Cairo we want to say that we are in sol­i­dar­ity with you, and we love you all for what you are doing.

Comrades from Cairo.

24th of October, 2011.

Israeli effort to remove Bedouins from East Jerusalem is part of the plan to make two states impossible

Oct 25, 2011

Zach Resnick

The Israeli Civil Administration (ICA), which is in charge of all civil operations in the West Bank (though in practice routinely blurs the line between civil and military), “…is committed to removing all Bedouins from the West Bank”, and plan to start with the Jerusalem periphery. Forced deportation, the practice of forcibly removing civilians from their homes, is an example of a war crime (4th Geneva Convention, Article 49).

The roughly 2,300 people of the Bedouin community that the ICA is targeting reside in 20 communities in the hills to the east of Jerusalem, in the E1 settlement bloc. More than 80% of them are 1948 refugees. Over two-thirds are children. The communities have all lost access to land due to settlement expansion, most have demolition orders pending against their homes, none have access to the electricity network, and only half are connected to the water network. Despite receiving humanitarian assistance, 55% of Bedouin/herding communities in Area C of the West Bank are “food insecure”; the U.N. defines food security as, “when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” Over 200 families were re-located from the area in the 1990s, some by force. Of these, more than 85% report they had to abandon their traditional livelihoods. More than 500,000 Israeli civilians live in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, built in contravention of international law (4th Geneva Convention, Article 49). In this year alone, at least 755 Palestinians had been forcibly displaced due to demolitions, and 127 due to settler violence – some 40% of these were Bedouin.

The relocation deal proposed to the roughly 20 Bedouin small communities that live in the Jerusalem periphery, is to move inside a major municipal garbage dump (also see thisPDF). This is a ‘settlement’, not of two parties negotiating (relocation agreement), but of the ICA giving a compensation package. This is akin to saying, “sorry we are removing you again (first time was in 1948) from your homes and traditional lifestyle, but take this money and we’ll call it even?”  The ICA has argued that this is a step up from their current lifestyle, mainly because the ICA is essentially bribing them by building up their new infrastructure and giving them money; they also maintain that urbanization is superior to their traditional herding lifestyle. The current Bedouin way of life is only in a humanitarian and cultural crisis due to Israeli colonization and restrictions over their lives. The new ‘deal’ the ICA is proposing may not even meet basic standards of living and a minimum standard of cultural perseverance, as enshrined in international law and previous bilateral agreements on the part of the Israeli government.

There is an ethical dilemma for NGOs and those generally in the human rights world here. When a case of deportation or something similar gets high media visibility, it makes it more likely that the Israeli government will punish the occupied population. Increased humanitarian support always results in more demolition orders and a furthering of the elaborate matrix of control. Sometimes the soundest advice for Palestinian communities is to ‘settle’ with the Israeli government, and in turn get maybe slightly more land and cash in their new package. The ICA and the Israeli government have long understood the colonial principle of ‘divide and conquer’ by cutting deals with small individual communities and coaxing them not to resist colonization.

The ICA strategy is to make life as terrible as possible for the Palestinians where they are now, while making the land where they want the population to be moved to as desirable as possible so they ‘choose’ to move. The ICA is planning to make this forced relocation happen in 2-3 months, so it’s very important that the story of the Bedouin community gets heard in the international community soon. It’s only a matter of time before the ICA tries to forcibly remove the Bedouins elsewhere in the West Bank. The Israeli government wants to urbanize a traditionally rural population to make it easier to judaize the West Bank, and to more easily control the Palestinians. It makes strategic sense that they are trying to remove those in the E1 settlement bloc first, because full colonization of that area as planned, would effectively divide the West Bank into two parts, eliminating any illusion of territorial contiguity that was once there. It unarguably destroys the possibility of any two state solution that isn’t legitimized apartheid.

Zach Resnick is living for a year in Israel/Palestine and blogging at Thoughts from Jerusalem. He recently graduated high school and is spending a year before Oberlin College interning for the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions, studying jazz music at Shtriker Conservatory, and taking in life in Israel/Palestine.

Israeli police target Sheikh Jarrah store for hanging posters of Erdogan

Oct 25, 2011


For the past year Palestinian store owner Azzam Maraka has been displaying posters of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in his store windows near the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Today Israeli police arrived for the fifth time since the posters were hung to fine Mr. Maraka 475 Israeli shekels (equivalent to approximately 130 US dollars) totaling 2375 shekels (~$650) to date.

azzam Maraka argues with Israeli police over his right to display posters in store window.

Maraka considers Erdogan a friend of the Palestinians partly due to Turkey’s participation in the 2010 flotilla to Gaza. Diplomatic relations between Israel and Turkey have deteriorated after Israel refused to apologize for the killing of nine Turkish passengers on board the Mavi Marmara, a ship loaded with humanitarian aid bound for Gaza.

According to Maraka, the citations were issued in violation of a law prohibiting signs of any kind to be displayed on the street on which the store is located. Yet the signs of neighboring businesses and public buildings are of similar size and have not been targeted.

Maraka believes that he is being singled out because of political reasons related to strained relations between Israel and Turkey.

Israel’s seemingly political crackdown is further complicated because the neighborhood where the store is located is behind the green line, the internationally recognized border dividing Israel from the Palestinian West Bank.

Mr. Maraka intends not to pay the fines and is prepared to have the issue heard before the courts.

The author of this post is currently traveling in Israel/Palestine and would prefer to remain anonymous.

DAM is touring the US – and needs your help to finish their 2nd album

Oct 25, 2011

Adam Horowitz

Mali Huriye is my favorite song from DAM‘s 2006 album Dedication (lyrics here). DAM is a Palestinian hip hop group from Lyd, and they’re currently trying to raise money to finish their second album. From their IndieGoGo fundraising page:

Heralded by the major French newspaper Le Monde as “the spokesman of a new generation,” DAM, the first Palestinian hip hop crew and among the first to rap in Arabic, began working together in the late 1990s. Struck by the uncanny resemblance of the reality of the streets in a Tupac video to the streets in their own neighborhood of Lyd, Tamer Nafar, Suhell Nafar, and Mahmoud Jreri were inspired to tell their stories through hip hop.

 After their timely song “Min Irhabi” (“Who’s the terrorist”) was downloaded over a million times shortly after its internet release in 2001, DAM became a household name among youth throughout the Middle East. Rolling Stone in France distributed the song free in one of their issues, and the song has been featured in various compilations.

Ten years of performing all over the world have strengthened DAM’s commitment to continue living in their hometown of Lyd – fifteen minutes from Tel Aviv – working to provide the youth of the city and neighboring communities with programs and opportunities that have otherwise been denied to Palestinian citizens of Israel. In addition, they have conducted workshops for young people from the West Bank to the US, Canada, and Europe.

DAM’s music is a unique fusion of east and west, combining Arabic percussion rhythms, Middle Eastern melodies, and urban hip hop. “IHDA” (“Dedication”), DAM’s long-awaited first international album, was released in 2006, and DAM has seen its songs and members featured in films such as “Ford Transit” (Dir. Hany Abu Assad), “Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?” (Dir. Morgan Spurlock), “Salt of this Sea” (Dir. Annemarie Jacir), and “Local Angel” and “Forgiveness” (Dir. Udi Aloni). DAM’s history and influence on the Arab hip hop scene is detailed in the feature-length documentary “Slingshot Hip Hop” (Dir. Jackie Reem Salloum). The group has also been featured in Vibe, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Q, Basement, Reuters, and The New York Times, and has appeared on MTV, CNN, BBC, and Al Jazeera. . .

Our new album will cost us over $35,000 and we have covered some of this but we need $23,000 more to finish and get it out. The money we raise will cover studio bills, recording the last few songs, mixing, mastering, cover art, design and printing of the CD. Anything extra will go towards making a music video for a song from the new album and promotional material.

Help DAM finish their album here.

Also, DAM is about to kick off a U.S tour be sure to check them out if they’re playing near you:

DAM U.S TOUR Oct/Nov 2011

Saturday, October 29 Slingshot Hip Hop screening followed by Q&A with DAM & Jackie Salloum
Location: Wayne State University Community Arts Auditorium
Time: 4 PM; doors at 3:30 PM; $3 public, $2 students
Detroit, MI

For more info:

Sunday, October 30, Songs For Freedom: A Benefit for the Freedom Theatre of Jenin 
Location: Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette Street, New York, NY)
Time: 7PM; $100 tickets
New York, NY

Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winner Tony Kushner
Directed by Jo Bonney
Musical appearances by DAM, David Byrne, Suzan-Lori Parks, Aimee Mann, Angelique Kidjo, Audra McDonald as well as a special performance by the acting company of The Freedom Theatre.

Tickets and info:,com_shows/task,view/Itemid,40/id,5863

Tuesday, November 1, Fordham University
Location: Fordham University
Time: to be announced
New York, NY

Wednesday, November 2, Slingshot Hip Hop screening followed by Q&A with DAM & Jackie Salloum
Time: 6:00pm at Daniels Auditorium
Location: Nichols College, Daniels Auditorium
Dudley, Massachusetts
More info:

Friday, November 4,  Slingshot Hip Hop screening and DAM show
Slingshot Hip Hop screening, Time: 5:30pm followed by Q&A with DAM and Jackie Salloum
DAM performance, Time: 8pm
Location: Portland State University
Salmon Street Studio, 109 SE Salmon St Portland
Portland, OR
Info: link to oia.pdx.edudetails/an_evening_of_palestinian_hip_hop/

Wednesday, November 9, Hip Hop for Palestine event – DAM and INVINCIBLE
Location: The Loft at Center Stage (1374 West Peachtree Street)
Time: 9pm (doors @ 8pm)
Tickets $15
Atlanta, GA

Friday, November 11, Rutgers University
Time: 8-11pm
Trayes Hall, DCC
New Brunswick, NJ

Saturday, November 12, Brown University
Providence, RI
More info coming…

Sunday, November 13, The Middle East Downstairs
DAM, Shadia Mansour, Mazzi, Yusef Abdel Mateen
Time: 8pm
Location: 472 Massachusetts Ave,Cambridge, MA, 02139
Boston, MA

Tickets & info: link to www.ticketweb.comsale/SaleEventDetail?dispatch=loadSelectionData&eventId=3987875&pl=mideastrestaurant


There are still dates open to book DAM: please contact [email protected]


Hamas achieves something the peace process could never deliver

Oct 25, 2011

Mohammed Said AlNadi

On Tuesday October 18, 2011 a prisoner exchange deal was successfully carried out between Hamas and Israel for the first time. Since the capture of Shalit, Israel had been intractably headstrong on negotiating any deal with Hamas, and therefore, many attempts and mediations to broker an agreement failed.

On the one hand, the Israeli government was clearly caught in a dilemma, being under heavy pressure from the Israeli public, including Shalit’s family, demanding his release, and, at the same time, from those Israelis who rejected any deal, which, according to them, would secure the release of “terrorists” who had “blood on their hands.” On the other hand, Hamas always seemed unflinching and couldn’t lose but win, since it had nothing to lose.

For more than five years, the Palestinian people have suffered from countless Israeli incursions and military operations, which Israel constantly claimed were in search of Shalit, and which claimed the lives of thousands of Palestinians. Add to this, a strangling blockade—termed as “illegal” and a “collective punishment” by almost all international and human rights organizations—was enforced on 1.6 million people in the Gaza Strip.

At the beginning, the “we will not negotiate with terrorists” rhetoric was dominant in Israeli officials’ speeches. But later, Israel came to realize, after more than five years, that any armed endeavor to retrieve Shalit would be unavailing, and that it should succumb to Hamas’s terms.

There were several incidents in the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in which kidnapped soldiers were exchanged for prisoners, and this always was the way to go. When Gilad Shalit was captured in 2006, the then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert knew there was nothing to do except to negotiate with Hamas, and that the issue would go on to the next Netanyahu government. So he must have preferred to abdicate that responsibility, especially amidst continuing lobbying by thousands of Shalit supporters and his family, who set up a protest tent outside his residence, trying to push him to agree to Hamas’s demands. Olmert then fumblingly accused both parents of hampering any possible talks to release their son, because they were launching a huge media campaign.

The new Netanyahu government seemed enormously unmanageable in the talks that were brokered by the German mediator and Egypt as well and unequivocally refused Hamas’s demands. Netanyahu himself was said to be “shocked” by the scope of concessions he would be making if he had agreed to Hamas’s terms, and then proposed what was called a “final offer” to the Palestinians, with much poorer conditions. Hamas rejected the offer and made its position clear that Shalit would not be released unless its demands were met.

Now the question is, doesn’t the fact that Israel surprisingly gave in to Hamas’s demands mark a historic victory for Hamas and a huge gain for the Palestinian people, and, at the same time, show Israel’s weakness? Still, one may argue that some Palestinian political prisoners like Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Saadat, who were initially named to be released, were not included in the final list; also, some of the released prisoners were either exiled to a number of countries or to the Gaza Strip. And, most importantly, several thousands of the Palestinian prisoners are still incarcerated behind Israel’s bars.

The shift of Israel’s stubborn stance on the deal five years ago to a more condescending one represents a humiliating blow to Israel’s big ego. The effect of this stunning knockdown was evident in Netanyahu’s first public statement as saying “I would like to make it clear: We will continue to fight terrorism. Any released terrorist who returns to terrorism—his blood is upon his head. The State of Israel is different from its enemies: Here, we do not celebrate the release of murderers. Here, we do not applaud those who took life. On the contrary, we believe in the sanctity of life. We sanctify life. This is the ancient tradition of the Jewish People.”

Right after Shalit was released. Netanyahu tried to look smart and convincing in front of the public when he said it was a compelling Jewish tradition to ransom a Jewish life even if at a high price. This also implies Netanyahu’s racist mentality and moral bankruptcy, through vilifying the released Palestinian prisoners. He obviously wanted to avoid any awkward situation before the Israeli people, among whom a considerable number thought he had given a heavy price, and that the government “conducted itself incorrectly” in the negotiations, while some other backed the deal. So he tried to contain the turnabout by emphasizing Israel’s commitment to cracking down on the released “miscreants”. Also, he deliberately meant to stir the public’s altruistic emotions when he said: “Citizens of Israel, today we are all united in joy and in pain.” He tried to redeem himself when he reminded the public with “the pain of the families of the victims of terrorism” but “a leader finds himself alone and must make a decision. I considered – and I decided. Government ministers supported me by a large majority,” he maintained.

Furthermore, at the same time, he came to play the role of the “savior” since he was able to bring Israel’s boy home when he fatherly escorted him to his parent’s bosom. “I have brought your son back home,” said Netanyahu, addressing Shalit’s parents.

The 477 prisoners already released and the other remaining 550 to be released in two months, making a total of 1027, is indeed a good number, if we take into account the fact that a number of those prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment would have never been released if such a deal didn’t take place. And I think it wouldn’t have been wise if Hamas turned the deal down because of some prisoners Israel struck off the list. Those prisoners, unfortunately, will have to continue to steadfastly face the same fate of the rest of the prisoners, lead them and go on with their struggle against the Israeli Prison Service.

Exile definitely feels like another prison for those who were forcibly made to leave their families and homeland according to the terms of the deal, but still it’s better than staying in Israeli jails.

Regardless of the pros and cons of the deal, it was a momentous achievement by the Palestinian resistance. At least, it was enough to see the happiness of a 70 year old prisoner’s mother while embracing her son, who would never have been freed through the peace process.

Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin promotes a call for Palestinian genocide– Blumenthal

Oct 25, 2011


Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin promotes call for Palestinian genocide, Max Blumenthal

In a blog post cheering the release of the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, neoconservative activist Rachel Decter Abrams descended into a twisted call for genocide, calling for Israel to throw released Palestinian prisoners whom she described as “child sacrificing savages” and “unmanned animals” — along with “their offspring” — “into the sea, to float there, food for sharks.”

And more news from Today in Palestine…

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Erasure of culture & history

Al-Barghouthi: “There Should Be A Complete Cessation Of Settlement Construction, Not A Partial One”
Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative Movement, Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, calls on the national consensus for the complete cessation of settlement activity, including Jerusalem, the Ma’an News Agency reported.
link to

PLO ‘not informed’ of US proposal on settlement freeze
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — PLO official Saeb Erekat said Tuesday that the US had not officially informed the Palestinian leadership of any proposal to partially freeze settlement building. The Hebrew-language daily Maariv reported Tuesday that the US had made an offer to the Israeli government and the PA suggesting Israel halt the construction of new neighborhoods but could continue building in existing settlements on occupied Palestinian land, apparently to cope with natural growth.
link to

Israel plans building 4000 new housing units south of occupied Jerusalem
The Israeli government has recently endorsed the building of a new Jewish suburb south of occupied Jerusalem that envisages the construction of 4000 housing units, Hebrew press reported on Monday.
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Zionist plan to isolate the village of Eksa to the north of Jerusalem
Hebrew media sources revealed a plan to isolate the village of Eksa to the north west of occupied Jerusalem to separate it from the nearby Ramot settlement in the city.
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Days before the beginning of the 36th session of UNESCO—the body expected to approve Palestinian membership and grant protection to Palestinian heritage sites—a group of 84 international archaeologists signed a petition calling Israel to stop building the planned Museum of Tolerance on the site of the Mamilla Cemetery in Jerusalem.

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Ir Amim, a nonprofit that seeks to make life in Jerusalem more equitable for Arab and Jewish residents, claims agreement is illegal and ostensibly privatizes one of Israel’s most important tourism and archaeological sites.

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World condemns Israel’s Jerusalem landgrab, while US says it is ‘within the frame of our policy concern’, Philip WeissIsrael is pressing ahead with its plans to colonize more of the land between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, a settlement that cordons off Jerusalem from the Palestinians. The Givat Hamatos project destroys the two-state solution–even in the eyes of ardent supporters. still demolishing Palestinian homes in occupied Jerusalem
Israel is continuing with its policy of demolishing the homes of Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem on the pretext that the properties do not have official permits. In at least one case, the home owner was forced to demolish his home himself; failure to do so would have landed the man with demolition by the authorities and a heavy fine. A staggering 95 percent of building permit applications submitted by Palestinians are refused by the Israeli authorities.

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Strength of the Right

Welcome to the rural community of Wad Rahal (the Valley of Travelers) in Palestine. Located only three kilometers from Bethlehem, 1700 people call this village home. This community sits in between Palestine’s hillsides creating a picturesque farming village.
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Palestinian Village of Umm Salamuna

The cement curb-like structure is deceiving to the viewer. It looks harmless next to the winding road. At most, its existence might strike the viewer with curiosity, not alarm. Yet this curb not only brings a reminder of the occupation’s past violent actions but also a bleak future. For this curb is the start to the route of the Apartheid wall that is being built in the small Palestinian village of Umm Salamuna.

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Existence is Resistance
Khalil lives with his 4 children and his wife in a small neighbourhood near the Etzion Settlement Block. Khalil is a farmer in the area, tending olive and fruit trees. For generations Khalil and his family have lived in this small neighbourhood where about 35 other people live. His home is humble. It is a two-room house. The washroom does not exist within his house but just outside his front gate there sits an outhouse. His walls and roof have been patched with tin and scrap wood. The oven for cooking is outside in the yard. His home has been unchanged since 1967. Not by choice, but through an order from the Israeli Military.

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Hebron teachers protest measures that keep them from school
Ben Lorber – +972 Magazine – The IDF has suddenly decided to force Hebron school teachers to go through checkpoint metal detectors that place the health of preganant women and people with heart devices at risk. The teachers refuse and schoolchilrern join their protest, meeting army violence. In the background hover the Hebron settlers, who have long since targeted the Qurtuba School.
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Overdue Books: Returning Palestine’s “Abandoned Property” of 1948,  Hannah Mermelstein
Cultural genocide extends beyond attacks upon the physical and/or biological elements of a group and seeks to eliminate its wider institutions… Elements of cultural genocide are manifested when artistic, literary, and cultural activities are restricted or outlawed and when national treasures, libraries, archives, museums, artifacts, and art galleries are destroyed or confiscated.
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Israeli Regime Violence

Israeli rights group reverses verdict, brings about indictment of abusive policeman

According to the indictment, Sahar Tannous allegedly pulled a handcuffed Palestinian by the shirt, threw him to the floor, hit him in the legs with a club and cursed him.

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Violent confrontations in Bir Ayyub

 Violent clashes erupted in Bir Ayyub district of Silwan on Saturday evening, 22 October. Confrontations were provoked by settlers and Israeli forces, who maintain a heavy presence in the neighborhood. Bir Ayyub has been one of the hardest hit districts of Silwan by state and settler violence, particularly since the 2008-09 Gaza assault.

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Israel Police raid Jerusalem buildings suspected of housing Hamas activity
Police raid two buildings in Dahiyat al-Barid in north Jerusalem, where Hamas allegedly operates, and another in Shuafat neighborhood in East Jerusalem where PFLP operatives suspected of gathering.

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Settler Violence & Aggression

Settlers throw stones against the crowds celebrating the prisoner’s release

The settlers in Silwan tried to provoke the Palestinians, who were celebrating the prisoner’s release, by throwing stones, showering them with water pipes, and verbally insulting. Despite the settlers’ attempts to end the celebrations, Palestinians continued celebrating for a second day.

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RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority on Monday said the Israeli government was “implicitly encouraging settlers to continue on their rampage” by failing to hold them to account for violent crimes. “Israeli violations against Palestinians and their property and livelihood continue to increase with little or no action by the Israeli authorities to hold people to account under the rule of law,” a government statement said.

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Medics: Gazan man killed in Rafah tunnel collapse
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A smuggling tunnel underneath the Egypt-Gaza border collapsed on Tuesday morning killing a young man from Khan Younis, medics said. Medics in the Gaza Strip identified the man as 29-year-old Ahmad Rabee. The victim had been missing for hours after the tunnel collapsed in the Brazil neighborhood of Rafah before his body was found
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IOF artillery blasts southern Gaza
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) opened artillery fire at southern Gaza Strip at a late hour on Monday night targeting the vicinity of the Gaza international airport to the east of Rafah city.
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OPT: New projects to ease Gaza housing crisis
GAZA CITY 25 October 2011 (IRIN) – In response to a growing housing crisis in the Gaza Strip in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), several new building projects have been initiated by the Hamas-led government, and thousands of families have begun purchasing properties in new communities, officials say.

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Besieged Gaza paid the price for the release of the prisoners
Without doubt, the prisoner exchange deal between Hamas and Israel is a huge achievement for the Palestinians. Ex-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in 2006 that he would not give in to Hamas and would not release any Palestinian prisoners. The entire population of Gaza was then besieged by Israel in its efforts to find and free their soldier held captive in Gaza, Gilad Shalit; Israel wasn’t prepared to give anything in return for their man. During the siege, of course, Israel bombed and invaded Gaza, killing 1,400 Palestinian civilians, one-third of them children. They could still not find and free Shalit. His freedom came when the deal suited the Palestinians and the Israeli government caved in to their demands.
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Political Detainees

Army Kidnaps Ten Palestinians In The West Bank
The Palestine News & Info Agency (WAFA) reported Tuesday that the Israeli military kidnapped ten Palestinian citizens in different parts of the occupied West Bank.
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Israeli Troops Arrest Jerusalem Development Worker, Raid Home

On Sunday evening Israeli soldiers raided the offices of the Jerusalem Organization for Development, arrested the director of the social department Kifah Sarhan, and tampered with files. The raid lasted more than five hours, according to eyewitnesses, and soldiers isolated workers in one room of the office. Palestinian official news wire Wafa reported that the soldiers broke many private doors in the organization. “The

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