Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


Behind closed doors Sarkozy and Obama spill the beans
Nov 07, 2011 08:04 pm | annie

After the G20 press conference Obama and Sarkozy chatted in a private room but the conversation wasn’t so private:


The conversation then drifted to Netanyahu, at which time Sarkozy declared: “I cannot stand him. He is a liar.” According to the report, Obama replied: “You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!”

The remark was naturally meant to be said in confidence, but the two leaders’ microphones were accidently left on, making the would-be private comment embarrassingly public.

The communication faux pas went unnoticed for several minutes, during which the conversation between the two heads of state – which quickly reverted to other matters – was all but open to members the press, who were still in possession of headsets provided by the Elysée for the sake of simultaneous translation during the G20 press conference.

Israel plans to build over 50,000 new homes in East Jerusalem in the next 20 years

Nov 07, 2011


Report: Israel plans 50,000 houses in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 7 Nov — Israel’s Jerusalem municipality plans to build more than 50,000 new homes in the city’s occupied eastern sector over two decades, Israeli media reported on Sunday. A study commissioned by Israel’s Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barakat to address housing shortages in the city, obtained by Hebrew daily Maariv, shows designs for 60,718 housing units in the city, with the majority — 52,363 homes — planned for East Jerusalem. Most of the city’s land available for construction lies in the eastern sector, with West Jerusalem lacking viable sites, the study says…
The vast majority of land on which Jerusalem is built, including the settlements in the city’s occupied eastern sector, is state land, and the property built on it can be purchased by anyone who is an Israeli citizen, or who is Jewish. Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, very few of whom have Israeli citizenship, must first obtain a special permit to purchase land or property there. Rights groups say such permission is virtually unheard of.

J’lem construction in next decades — mostly on occupied territory
[with map] 972mag 6 Nov By Noam Sheizaf — This is not a Peace Now report, but an official document of the Jerusalem Municipality: According to a survey conducted at the request of the mayor’s office, 60,718 new housing units are slated for construction in Jerusalem in the next decades. Of those, 52,363 of them will be built east of the Green Line, in the territory annexed to Israel after the Six-Day War.

Israel cancels plans for new Bedouin neighborhood / Amira Hass
Haaretz 7 Nov — Haaretz has learned that the head of the Civil Administration in the West Bank, Moti Almoz, met recently with representatives of settlements in the Ma’ale Adumim bloc to report on a plan to forcefully concentrate the area’s Bedouin population in the Bedouin village near the Abu Dis garbage dump. According to the same source, Almoz also told the Israeli settlers that the Civil Administration canceled a plan to build another permanent neighborhood for the Bedouin. The canceled plan was prepared in cooperation and consultation with the Bedouin communities living on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, through their representative, Atty. Shlomo Lecker of Jerusalem.

And more news from Today in Palestine:

Russell tribunal on Palestine finds Israel guilty of the crimes of apartheid and persecution
MEMO 7 Nov by Dr. Hanan Chehata — The Russell Tribunal on Palestine and its eminent panel of jurists has determined that Israel’s practices against the Palestinian people are in breach of the prohibition of apartheid under international law. Following two intense days in Cape Town listening to testimony from expert witnesses, the Tribunal concluded unanimously that “Israel subjects the Palestinian people to an institutionalised regime of domination amounting to apartheid as defined under international law.” The jury reached this conclusion having paid particular attention to the legal definition of apartheid and ensuring that each of the defining criteria was met.
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The Russell tribunal on Palestine — Cape Town session
MEMO 7 Nov — SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, 7 NOVEMBER 2011 … The Tribunal finds that Israel subjects the Palestinian people to an institutionalised regime of domination amounting to apartheid as defined under international law. This discriminatory regime manifests in varying intensity and forms against different categories of Palestinians depending on their location. The Palestinians living under colonial military rule in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are subject to a particularly aggravated form of apartheid. Palestinian citizens of Israel, while entitled to vote, are not part of the Jewish nation as defined by Israeli law and are therefore excluded from the benefits of Jewish nationality and subject to systematic discrimination across the broad spectrum of recognised human rights. Irrespective of such differences, the Tribunal concludes that Israel’s rule over the Palestinian people, wherever they reside, collectively amounts to a single integrated regime of apartheid.
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Kadima MK files complaint against Zoaby, MK
IMEMC 7 Nov — Israeli Member of the Knesset (MK), Otniel Schneller, of the Kadima opposition party, filed a complaint against Arab MK, Hanin Zoaby, for travelling to South Africa to testify in a court without Israel’s permission. Schneller claimed that Zoaby of the Balad Party is acting against the state of Israel and ‘must be punished for her actions’.
Furthermore, leaders of the Likud Party, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, are also calling for the ousting of Zoaby, and for preventing her from running for the Knesset in the next elections.
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Tutu: Palestine must not be made of Bantustans
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (Reuters) 6 Nov — Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Saturday called for a Palestinian state that is contiguous and not made of Bantustans, at an international gathering in Cape Town … Addressing delegates, Tutu, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for speaking out against white minority rule in South Africa, called for the creation of a Palestinian state. But, he said, it should not resemble the territories designated for black Africans during South Africa’s apartheid years.
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Palestinians to challenge segregation by riding settler buses to Jerusalem
Media Advisory  Monday, 7 November 2011 Palestinian Freedom Riders to Challenge Segregation By Riding Settler Buses to Jerusalem – Palestinian activists will reenact the US Civil Rights Movement’s Freedom Rides to the American South by boarding segregated Israeli public transportation in the West Bank to travel to occupied East Jerusalem.
When: Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
Meeting point: the Ramallah Cultural Palace at 1:00 PM
Media contact: 054-632-7736
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Netanyahu: Israeli settlement in West Bank important but must be done legally
Haaretz 7 Nov — PM says settlers must not build homes on private lands, and that Israel’s efforts must focus on strengthening existing settlements … Netanyahu stressed that settlers in the West Bank must stop setting up illegal outposts, saying that there are enough places to build homes in the settlements that are not someone’s private land.
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Occupation government decides to change features of Qastal
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 7 Nov –The Israeli occupation government approved the development plan, for Qastal on the outskirts of Jerusalem as “part of its efforts to immortalise the memory of Yitzhak Rabin the former PM on the 16th anniversary of his assassination.” Benjamin Netanyahu said that after 16 years the government decided to develop this site as part of Rabin’s Park, to immortalise his memory and to show appreciation for the founders of the state and Rabin’s role on breaking the siege on Jerusalem [in 1948]. The cost of the project is 2.5 million Shekels, half of it will be paid by a settlers’ fund. Palestine Remembered on Qastal
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Israeli settlers, extremists

UN report shows 40% rise in settler violence in 2011
972mag 7 Nov by Mairav Zonszein — The United Nations Office for Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA) in the Palestinian territories has just published a report on settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank that (not surprisingly) shows a significant rise since last year. The report covers not only physical harm to Palestinians, but also property damage, which can often be just as bad or worse than physical harm, as the impact of uprooted olive trees, damaged tractors or murdered sheep on Palestinian livelihood can be so grave that it ultimately costs lives.
Maybe the most disturbing statistic is that 90% of complaints filed with Israeli police by Palestinians of such incidents have been closed without any indictments. This means no accountability and no justice. As the report explains:
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Farmers arrested for working on their land near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 7 Nov — A farmer, his wife and her sister were arrested Monday for working on their land in the village of Irtas, near Bethlehem, according to local activists.They said Jamal Assad, 58, was working on his land, which is located near the Israeli settlement of Daniel, when a known extremist settler brought police claiming Assad was trespassing on her land and had cut down trees. Assad denied the claims saying he has papers to prove ownership of the land claimed by the settler. He said the settlers had cut down 80 olive trees and set fire to his house in order to force him to leave this land
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Eid in Sheikh Jarrah
ISM 7 Nov — ISM has maintained a daily presence at the al-Kurd residence in Sheikh Jarrah since August 2009 when Israeli authorities paved the way for Israeli settlers to occupy the front part of the family home.  On the first night of Eid al-Adha, on November 6th, 2011, three international volunteers camped in a makeshift area just outside of the residence, located in the same area where the ISM tent was before it was burned to the ground by the settlers just two months ago … After staying the night I had more time to talk with Nabil.  He showed me the blankets he’d been forced to hang to prevent water, vomit, and human waste being tossed at the family from the windows of the house occupied by illegal Zionist settlers … The violence directed toward the Al-Kurds does not stop with the constant verbal abuse and the tossing of liquids.  One female family member, for example, has been beaten on six occasions, each time requiring medical attention.
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We are here because we exist. The story of a shoemaker living in Hebron’s H2
StopTheWall 3 Nov — Tamir: “… they want to scare and despire us, they want us to leave the are, that is why they do this. But we are not leaving. We are here because we exist…”
Tamir or Abu Taleeb (The Father of Taleeb) is a shoemaker and lives in the H2 are of Hebron’s Old City. I met Tamir and his family the day when a group of young Palestinian and foreign volunteers met in his lands to harvest olives. This group of volunteers went to help Tamir and his family because they practically live surrounded by Israeli settlers … Tamir told me that in previous years when he and his family harvested the olives they were frequently attacked by settlers who threw stones at them while they were farming. The settlers also steal Tamir’s olives. Tamir explains that the settler attacks do not only occur during the olive harvesting season, but it may happen at any given moment or place … Tamir and his family not only have to face the soldiers, but also the settlers, he said that when his wife makes laundry, the settlers would come and make it dirty again. Last year, the Israeli authorites gave Tamir a permit to harvest his olives, only for one day and a couple of hours.
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Israel arrests 3 settlers over mosque attack
JERUSALEM (AFP) 6 Nov — Three Israeli settlers have been arrested on suspicion of attacking Palestinian property and buildings, including a mosque, police said on Sunday.
“Three residents of the settlements, two adults and a minor, were arrested at the end of the week for acts of vandalism, including participation in the burning of a mosque in northern Israel at the beginning of October,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP. He said “more than eight” people in all had been arrested in connection with various attacks against Palestinian property in Israel and the West Bank recent months, including two currently in prison and the three detained last week.
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Jerusalem court issues first-ever ‘price tag’ indictment
JPost 7 Nov – The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Monday issued the first-ever indictment for a ‘price tag’ operation, charging two 18-year-olds and a minor in connection to two incidents that occurred in March. The suspects included 18- year-old Hillel Leibowitz of Hebron, 18-year-old Yisrael Katz of Sde Eliezer, and an unnamed minor from the center of the country. he indictment alleges that on March 13, the day of the funeral for the Fogel family from Itamar, Leibowitz vandalized an SUV belonging to Jerusalem resident Muhammed Bakrit, while it was parked in the Givat Shaul neighborhood. Leibowitz allegedly punctured four of the Toyota Land Cruiser’s tires and broke several windows, causing NIS 23,716 in damage. Later that night, police stopped the three suspects near the Arab village of Baka al-Gharbiya, while they were traveling in a car they stole from a resident of the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar. According to the indictment, the car contained two plastic bottles of diesel fuel and three pairs of black gloves.
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Netanyahu urges settler restraint after clashes
JERUSALEM (AFP) 7 Nov — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday urged Jewish settlers to act with restraint after 12 were arrested in a clash with police who were demolishing part of a wildcat settlement outpost. But he reassured the settlement movement, from which his coalition government draws much of its support, that he was committed to building in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem … The arrests occurred early on Monday as police and troops demolished three structures set up illegally in the Oz Zion outpost east of Ramallah, police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP, saying “dozens” of young settlers had tried to prevent the move by hurling rocks. “A total of 12 suspects were arrested, six young women and six young men,” she said. Seven of them were minors.
Earlier, about 150 settlers and their supporters had demonstrated outside the Knesset to protest against plans to demolish some outposts built on private Palestinian land by the end of the year, police and settler officials said.
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Settlement activists plan J’lem march against demolitions
JPost 7 Nov — Activists to march on capital from Supreme Court to Knesset calling on gov’t to intercede on behalf of Migron, Givat Assad, Amona outposts.
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Jerusalem offices of Peace Now evacuated after bomb threatt
Haaretz 6 Nov — Graffiti spray-painted, bomb threat made against offices of Israeli NGO in apparent ‘price tag’ attack; Peace Now director says fears attackers will start harming people.
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Nasr Ibrahim Alean was murdered by Israel Thursday
ISM 7 Nov — Nasr Ibrahim Alean was a 23 year old farmer from Beit Lahia.  He was murdered on November 3, 2011.  He was picking strawberries in his field when he was shot in the leg by the Israeli army.  He called his friend Muhammad Abu Helmeyyah, 22 years old, to help him.  Muhammed tried to take him to safety, but they were both killed by a missile from an Apache helicopter.  Nasr was not the first farmer in Gaza murdered by the IDF, and he will probably not be the last. When Nasr was killed he was working in a field 500 meters from the border.  Outside of the Israeli imposed ‘buffer zone’ which is in reality a 300-meter zone of death that surrounds Gaza.
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Israel forces shell east Gaza City, 3 injured
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Nov — Israeli forces shelled the eastern Shujaiyeh district of Gaza City on Monday, with medics reporting three people were injured. Witnesses told Ma‘an that up to 10 shells were fired from the direction of Israeli crossing Nahal Oz to the east of the city throughout the morning.
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Palestinians say Israel imposing steep court fees to prevent lawsuits
AP 7 Nov — Palestinians who lost family members in the Israeli offensive in Gaza say they cannot seek compensation due to near-impossible barriers placed by Israel … Israeli restrictions prevent Gazans from entering Israel to testify, undergo medical exams or meet with their lawyers. But the biggest obstacle, the victims say, are steep court fees that can reach tens of thousands of dollars.

Islamic Jihad: Israel ‘broke’ truce
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 Nov — Islamic Jihad said it would retaliate after Israeli forces killed a member of its armed wing in Gaza late Saturday, hours before the Muslim festival Eid al-Adha began. “Israel has again broken the truce” agreed by Gaza factions after Israeli strikes killed 12 people in two days last week, spokesman Daoud Shihab said in Sunday’s statement.
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‘Keep Gaza lull, or Israel will attack’
Ynet 5 Nov — Egyptian official says escalation and rocket fire toward Israeli cities could prompt wide military offensive in the Strip; says Cairo’s ability to thwart operation limited
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Former Shin Bet chief: Israel may have to retake Gaza
TEL AVIV, Israel (MaÍan) 5 Nov — Israel’s former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter said Friday that Israel would have to take over the Gaza Strip again unless “neighboring countries” assist Israel in stopping rocket fire.
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OPT: Aid agencies help Gaza’s poor in Eid al-Adha holiday
GAZA CITY (IRIN) 7 Nov — Impoverished Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip are looking to aid agencies to deliver food assistance during this Eid Al-Adha holiday season. International NGOs, many Islamic, have been purchasing sheep and cows in preparation for meat distribution to assist the most vulnerable families across Gaza, with several providing gifts and warm clothing as the winter season starts. Islamic NGOs are launching ‘Qurbani’ appeals worldwide.
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Under the missilefire: celebrating Eid in Gaza
Notes from behind the blockade 5 Nov — Eid-al Adha began in Gaza at sundown. For those of you not familiar with Eid, it’s the Festival of Sacrifice, and marks the end of the Hajj, the pilgrimage that all able-bodied Muslims should make once in their lifetimes. It’s one of the two most important holidays for Muslims, sort of akin to Christmas for Christians. Since everything would be closed tomorrow, we head to Gaza’s Old City to buy some vegetables … When we arrived to the Old City, the streets were packed with people seemingly there for some last-minute shopping.  The tradition here is to give family members gifts of clothes and candy. Though we walked through narrow streets lined small stalls, it became apparent few people actually appeared to be buying anything.
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Freedom Waves Flotilla

Freedom Waves prisoners abused and imprisoned; ‘Anonymous’ hackers strike back / Ben Lorber
Mondo 7 Nov — In the immediate aftermath of the illegal capture of the Freedom Waves flotillas, Israel’s public image has been tarnished, as reports of violence at sea surface to counteract its claims of a peaceful takeover, and as human rights cyber-resistance group Anonymous retaliates by shutting down Israeli government web sites. As Israeli naval soldiers boarded the Tahrir and Saoirse Friday afternoon, the IDF released a statement saying that the ships were intercepted peacefully, and that no activists were harmed in the takeover. In addition, in an attempt to portray its own reasonable benevolence, the IDF released a video of soldiers contacting the ship and offering to reroute its humanitarian aid by land or through Ashdod, shortly before releasing another video which seemed to show Israeli soldiers peacefully and non-threateningly boarding one of the flotillas.  When Egyptian journalist Lina Attalah, an activist aboard the Tahrir, wrote an account of Israel’s seizure of the boats after her release on Saturday, however, the world began to see a different picture.

VIDEO: Israel intercepts Gaza-bound flotilla; Dozens remain detained including DN! correspondent
Democracy Now! 7 Nov — For the complete interview, read the transcript, download the podcast, and for additional reports about the flotilla and years of Democracy Now! reports on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, visit
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IDF satisfied with flotilla takeover
Ynet 6 Nov — Army draws lessons from 2010 Marmara raid, arranges for timely documentation of takeover operation which ended with no violence. IDF denies Haifa student’s claims of aggressive behavior
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With latest flotilla, the IDF celebrates overcoming passive activists
(972mag 6 Nov By Yossi Gurvitz — The military tries to paint the blocking of two unarmed ships as a major military success – and highlights its own faults in the process — Our brave troops have raided, at dawn, two unarmed ships, filled with dangerous and enthusiastic peace activists, and have managed to carry out the operation without casualties. The operation actually had a name – Ruah Kalah, “Light Wind” – and was overseen by the commander of the Israeli Navy himself, Admiral Ram Rotberg Hebrew). Senior brass have told Ynet they were ‘deeply satisfied’ with the results of the operation, though they admit that the success was also derived from ‘the passivity of the 27 activists’.
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Activists: Gaza boat passengers refuse deportation deal
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Nov 22:19 — Activists detained in Israel after they attempted to sail to Gaza are refusing to sign a deportation agreement, a spokeswoman for the group said Sunday.  The document states that they entered Israel voluntarily and in an illegal manner, which the imprisoned boat passengers dispute, Huwaida Arraf said in a statement.
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Canadian Boat to Gaza organizers call for Baird to resign
OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire -11/07/11)- With several Canadians still languishing in an Israeli prison, organizers of the Canadian Boat to Gaza are demanding Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird step down for failing to do his job. “Our friends have been assaulted, tasered, beaten, kidnapped, robbed, and imprisoned and we have now learned that the Department Foreign Affairs is telling them they have to pay for their deportation flight,” says Wendy Goldsmith, an organizer with the Canadian Boat to Gaza. “If Minister Baird wants to put the interests of a far-right Israeli government before Canadians, he should apply for the job of Israel’s ambassador,” adds Goldsmith.
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IDF, Mossad, and Shin Bet back online after day of computer malfunctions
Haaretz 7 Nov — Hackers’ group Anonymous believed to have crashed the websites of IDF, Shin Bet and Mossad, but government denies this, claiming that an IBM computer component was responsible … Anonymous had earlier threatened the Israeli government in response to the Israel Navy’s interception on Friday of two boats of activists trying to reach Gaza, so suspicions arose that the group was responsible.
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PA to provide housing for prisoners released in Shalit deal
Ynet 5 Nov– Palestinian President Abbas tries to outdo Hamas, says Ramallah will take care of all of the newly-released Palestinian prisoners’ needs
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Hamas: PA security arrested 47 resistance activists in the West Bank last month
GAZA (PIC) 6 Nov — Hamas’s information office issued its monthly report documenting the breaches of the PA in Ramallah, during the month of October 2011 … The report comprised three elements: ‘arrests and kidnappings’, ‘oppressive courts, summonses and human rights breaches’ and ‘manifestations of security coordination with the occupation army’. The report stated that the PA in the West Bank continued its campaign of kidnapping and arresting leaders and cadres of Hamas and the resistance in general. In October alone 47 Palestinians were known to have been arrested.
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Israel arrests Palestinian youth involved in Jerusalem stabbing attack
IMEMC 7 Nov — Israeli sources revealed that the police in Jerusalem arrested last Thursday a Palestinian youth allegedly involved in stabbing a Jewish teenager in Ramot, in occupied Jerusalem, which took place three weeks ago. The stabbed youth suffered moderate-to-severe injuries, and was hospitalized in Jerusalem. The sources claimed that Abdul-Rahman Zayed, a student of the Abu Dis University in East Jerusalem, admitted to the charges filed against him and re-enacted the attack in front of Israeli interrogators. Israeli initially imposed a gag order on the arrest.
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UN membership bids

US renews financial aid to Palestinians after US statehood row
AP 7 Nov — Chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee says funds are national security interests of the United States and that Israel does not object to the assistance … The United States recently stopped 60 million dollars in aid to UNESCO after it admitted the Palestinians as a member. Ros-Lehtinen stands firm on that issue, saying recently that she opposes any attempts to change U.S. law that requires a cutoff of American funds to any UN entity that gives membership to the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
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Israel concerned as PA UN bid gains momentum
Ynet 7 Nov — Admittance to UNESCO, France’s decision to abstain in UNSC vote and Quartet’s negotiations failure cause great concern among Israeli officials as UN prepares to deliberate over Palestinian bid … Moreover, France has announced that it intends to abstain in the UNSC vote, a move that increases the chances that the US will need to veto the Palestinian bid, a step the US was trying to avoid at all costs.
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Fatah: Israel undermining PA ‘disastrous’ for region
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 Nov — …Fayiz Abu Aita said the measures announced by the Israeli government the day after UNESCO admitted Palestine as a full member were an attempt to undermine the Palestinian Authority. “This is a declaration of war” on the PA, Aita said in a statement issued by the Media and Culture Commission. “Israel bears full responsibility for this dangerous escalation.”
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Israel’s proposed housing plan diverted to serve ultra-Orthodox
Haaretz 7 Nov –Yet another aspect of the Trajtenberg recommendations for social and economic reform is being adjusted to suit narrow sectoral interests: Having a job will be dropped as an eligibility requirement for affordable housing. This means that most of the homes built under the affordable housing program, Mehir Lemishtaken, are likely to go to Haredi families, as happened in the past.
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Jerusalem women challenge ultra-Orthodox ban on ‘immodest’ posters
Haaretz 2 Nov — On Tuesday, six women met in Jerusalem to be photographed so their pictures can be hung from balconies throughout the city, beginning Wednesday, to counteract what appears to be the attempt to keep women out of advertising in the capital. A group that calls itself Yerushalmim (“Jerusalemites” ) and focuses on issues of pluralism is behind the initiative.
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Reality check: Taking back the billboards / Jeff Barak
JPost 7 Nov — Women have been steadily disappearing from street advertising in the capital, due to self-censorship by secular advertisers scared of antagonizing haredim .. And of course, in the most extreme sect among the haredi community in Jerusalem, women are not just non-existent in street furniture, they’re also non-existent on the street itself. During Succot, the Toldot Aharon group erected a barrier to divide a street in Mea She’arim by gender outside their main synagogue, while large posters throughout the neighborhood forbade women to enter another street during the festival celebrations. Although the High Court has banned dividing streets on a gender basis, this is no guarantee that Toldot Aharon will not try to do the same thing again next year. BUT IT’S not just the haredi sector that is seeking to reduce the profile of women outside of the home. There have been two serious incidents within the Israel Defense Forces over the past couple of months that highlight the increasing religious stringency entering general Israeli life, to the detriment of women.

Ousted Jerusalem councilwoman: Israel surrendering to extremists
Haaretz 6 Nov — With a quivering voice and tense face, Rachel Azaria, freshly ousted from the Jerusalem city council, gave a speech the other day summarizing her campaign against gender segregation in the capital. She had received notification of her firing two days earlier in a laconic e-mail from the office of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.
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Other news

MKs: Amendment to Defamation Law outrageous
Ynet 7 Nov — Legislators say bill suggesting sixfold increase of automatic compensation in defamation cases is meant to ‘shut people up’ … A former journalist, Ben Simon added that the bill “would make reporters’ jobs incredibly difficult. They would constantly have to worry about getting sued for millions.”
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PM supports curbing Left’s foreign funding
Ynet 7 Nov — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly agreed to support imposing restrictions on foreign funding available to leftist organizations in Israel. According to a Monday report on Channel 2, the Ministerial Committee on Legislation will debate legislation barring foreign governments and international organizations from contributing to leftist organizations, and both Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman will back the bill.
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Israel’s general strike ends after four hours of disruption
Haaretz 7 Nov — A general strike by Israel’s public sector ended on Monday after four hours of near paralysis across in the economy. The strike took place from 6:00 A.M. to 10 A.M., after Labor Court President Nili Arad decided after a night of deliberations to limit it to only four hours.
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Turkey resumes commercial flights to Israel after months of suspension
Haaretz 6 Nov — Twelve flights to run over course of week to accommodate Israeli Arabs taking their vacations in Anatalya on the occasion of the Muslim holiday Eid Al-Adha.

Analysis / Opinion

Insanity, not logic guides Israel’s leadership / Gideon Levy
The mens’ men who are threatening Iran now are the real cowards’ cowards. The brave ones are in fact those who are trying to thwart the insanity, from former Mossad chief Meir Dagan to Interior Minister Eli Yishai.
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The struggle to make Israel a normal country / Oudeh Basharat
Haaretz 7 Nov — At a time when the right is tearing its hair out because the Arabs are not willing to give the Jews even one state, life in the Arab villages has become a continuing nightmare with daily shooting and bombs being thrown freely … Even though Arabs make up about 20% of the population, their share among those murdered in 2009 was 60% … The police’s inaction is amazing, since if there had been even the faintest trace of a security matter, as the residents say, they would have ripped the walls open.
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Jewish Feds General Assembly seems paranoid about ‘who is on our side’ inside Jewish community

Nov 07, 2011

Philip Weiss

The Jewish Federations of North America are holding their annual general assembly in Denver. A lot of the program has a bunker vibe.

Like this yesterday:Opening Forum: The Big Blue Tent and Jewish Dissent.” It features two Israel advocacy groups (the Jewish Agency for Israel and Makom) and wants to establish red lines on what people inside the Jewish community can talk about, emphasis mine:

As the international assault on Israel’s right to exist gains momentum, how can we clarify who is “on our side”?…. How should a Federation handle Jewish programming that appears to attack Israel?

Here’s another one, this morning, led by Irwin Cotler, the Canadian neocon leader: The Assault on Israel’s Legitimacy Monday, November 7.

Though Israel has overcome many challenges since its establishment, today the Jewish nation faces an unprecedented assault on its very right to exist. This session highlights the nature of the current global assault on Israel’s legitimacy and examines the strategies, goals and tactics required to counter this increasing threat. Leading political, social and cultural figures will provide you with key insights into the complex issue of delegitimization.

And yesterday there was this one on “community-building” in Jerusalem. Why do I think there was nothing about the Palestinian population of the occupied city? David Makovsky was on the panel, so was Nir Barkat, the Jerusalem mayor. Hmm. Sounds like quite an exercise in obfuscation and misdirection.

And then there’s this one, on delegitimizationwhich is aimed at targeting “vulnerable constituencies.” I’m guessing this means young Jews who may not want anything to do with Israel? More concern about what’s happening inside Jewish life:

Combating Delegitimization: The North American Response Monday, November 7, 11:15 AM – 12:30 PM With anti-Israel efforts taking place on many stages, with many voices and varied tactics, countering delegitimization is a complicated task. Find out about proactive strategies that are being used to combat these challenges within North America, and learn tactical and adaptable strategies to use in your community. Under the guidance of the Israel Action Network, you’ll learn how to effectively lead the conversation about Israel by examining case studies and targeting vulnerable constituencies.

’48 is beginning to replace ’67 in discourse — even at UVa

Nov 07, 2011

Philip Weiss

Helena Cobban reports at Just World News:

On Saturday, I was delighted to attend the first two sessions of a half-day conference held at the University of Virginia on the topic ‘1948 in Palestine.’ The main speakers at those sessions were Susan Akram on Boston University Law School and Rochelle Davis of Georgetown University.

…What was equally notable to the high quality of both of these discussions was, for me, simply the fact of the open-ness of this corner of American academe to discussing this whole issue of 1948 in such an open-minded way.

These days, dealing with the still-unresolved issues of 1948 is moving back to being an inescapably central part of the whole quest to find a workable and equality-based formula for the longterm coexistence of the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, whether in two states or one. For several years in an earlier era– perhaps up to 1999 or 2000; or possibly, even later than that?– it seemed to many people around the world that dealing only with the issues of 1967 (primarily, ending the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza that Israel initiated in that year) would be sufficient and/or workable, while the issues from 1948 (primarily, the question of that large portion of Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed from the area-that-became-Israel that year) could somehow be sidestepped, swept under the rug, or finessed in one way or another.

For many Israelis, however, even trying to discuss the question of the Palestinian refugees as being bearers of rights is still seen as anathema, or as an attempt to “delegitimize Israel”, or whatever… and the same is true of the many pro-Israeli watchdogs and discourse-suppression organizations in the U.S. media and the U.S. academy.

Democracy Now on the ongoing Israeli detention of flotilla activists

Nov 07, 2011

Adam Horowitz

Freedom Waves prisoners abused and imprisoned; ‘Anonymous’ hackers strike back

Nov 07, 2011

Ben Lorber

In the immediate aftermath of the illegal capture of the Freedom Waves flotillas, Israel’s public image has been tarnished, as reports of violence at sea surface to counteract its claims of a peaceful takeover, and as human rights cyber-resistance group Anonymous retaliates by shutting down Israeli government web sites.

As Israeli naval soldiers boarded the Tahrir and Saoirse Friday afternoon, the IDF released a statement saying that the ships were intercepted peacefully, and that no activists were harmed in the takeover. In addition, in an attempt to portray its own reasonable benevolence, the IDF released a video of soldiers contacting the ship and offering to reroute its humanitarian aid by land or through Ashdod, shortly before releasing another video which seemed to show Israeli soldiers peacefully and non-threateningly boarding one of the flotillas.

When Egyptian journalist Lina Attalah, an activist aboard the Tahrir, wrote an account of Israel’s seizure of the boats after her release on Saturday, however, the world began to see a different picture.  “Towards the early afternoon,” she said, “we saw three Israeli warships in the horizon… Soon after, the Israeli presence in the waters around us intensified. We counted at least 15 ships, four of which were warships, and the rest a mix of smaller boats and water cannons. From inside the smaller boats, dozens of Israeli soldiers pointed their machines guns at us. This is when our communications system was jammed and we lost contact with the world…the Israelis sent radio messages to our boat, asking us to stop sailing because they would board the boat and take us to the Israeli port of Ashdod. When our boat refused to surrender, they aimed their canons at us, showering us with salty water. The boat had become highly unstable and panic was in the air… Israeli ships hit our boat and soldiers started boarding. Dozens of masked soldiers screamed “on your knees,” and “hands up.””

The violent nature of Israel’s takeover of the Tahrir and Saoirse became more apparent with a statement released mid-Sunday by Fintan Lane, the National Coordinator of the Irish Ship Saoirse, in a hurried phone call made from an Israeli prison. “The whole takeover [of the Saoirse by Israeli naval authorities] took about three hours”, claims Lane. “It began with Israeli forces hosing down the boats with high pressure hoses and pointing guns at the passengers through the windows. I was hosed down the stairs of the boat. Windows were smashed and the bridge of the boat nearly caught fire. The boats were corralled to such an extent that the two boats, the Saoirse and the Tahrir, collided with each other and were damaged, with most of the damage happening to the MV Saoirse.  The boats nearly sank. The method used in the takeover was dangerous to human life.”

The same day, Saoirse activist Paul Murphy, Socialist Party and United Left Alliance MEP for Dublin, related in a 3-minute phone call, monitored by Israeli prison authorities, that “our boat was almost sunk by the manner in which it was approached and boarded by the Israeli navy. People were shackled and deprived of all personal belongings. In Givon  prison the authorities tried to disorientate us through sleep deprivation and the removal of our watches and the prison clock recording the wrong time. We have been given no time frame as to how long we will be kept here before the deportation trial. We were denied our right by Israeli law to contact our families within 24 hours of our arrest.”

Also on Sunday, Greek captain of the Tahrir Giorgos Klontzas, after his release from jail, told Greek Omnia TV that during interrogation, Israeli forces handcuffed him tightly and stuck fingers in his eyes.

The clearest testament to the abuse suffered by the activists at the hands of the Israeli military has come from Canadian activist David Heap, in a letter smuggled out of his prison cell.  “I write to you from cell 9, block 59 Givon Prison near Ramla in Occupied Palestine”, the letter stated. “Although I was tasered during the assault on the Tahrir, and bruised during forcible removal dockside (I am limping slightly as a result) I am basically ok… [we] were transported in handcuffs and leg shackles…[we have created] a political prisoners’ committee in order to press our collective demands- association in the block, i.e. open cells; adequate writing and reading material; free communication with outside world- i.e. regular phone calls; [and] information about shipmate women held at same prison”. In response to the shortage of information regarding the female activists currently behind bars, the Women’s Organisation for Political Prisoners (WOFPP) offered Sunday night to send a lawyer free of charge to visit the female prisoners.

As reports of Israeli military violence leaked throughout the weekend, an international group of hackers named Anonymous released a video threatening retaliation against “a clear sign of piracy on the high seas.” The ‘Open Letter from Anonymous to the Government of Israel’ was pointed in its critique- “your actions”, it claimed, “are illegal, against democracy, human rights, international and maritime laws”, and an example of “justifying war, murder, illegal interception and pirate-like activities under an illegal cover of defense” which “will not go unnoticed by us or the people of the world”. Anonymous, which has temporarily disabled many web sites in past publicized acts of moral retribution, further threatened that “if you continue blocking humanitarian vessels to Gaza or repeat the dreadful actions of May 31st 2010 against any Gaza Freedom Flotillas, you will leave us no choice but to strike back, again and again, until you stop….we do not forget, we do not forgive. Expect us.”

A day later, Haaretz reported that “the websites of the IDF, Mossad and the Shin Bet security services were down”, likely due to an Anonymous cyber-attack. Hours later, however, the Israeli government released a statement on Facebook claiming that the websites were down “due to a systematic malfunction of the servers”, denying that Anonymous was behind the crash1. It is highly unlikely, however, for this shutdown to follow so soon after Anonymous’s threat as a matter of pure coincidence.

As the international community rises in condemnation of Israel’s illegal takeover of a ship in international waters, 21 of the 27 activists captured by Israel remain in prison awaiting deportation, and the whereabouts of one, PressTV journalist Hassan Ghani, remains unknown. The Irish activists have refused representation by a lawyer in the Israeli court system, on the grounds that they do not acknowledge the legitimacy of Israel’s legal system. In addition, they refuse to sign a waiver which would forfeit their claim to legal representation before a judge and allow for their immediate deportation, because the offered waiver claims that they came to Israel voluntarily and entered illegally, statements which are patently untrue in light of the fact that Israeli naval boats seized the activists from the Tahrir and Saoirse, and forcibly transported them to Ashdod. They will therefore, according to Israeli law, be detained for 72 hours and then brought to court, where they will almost certainly be deported- though, because they refused to sign the waiver, the deportation will occur without their consent.

As Israel unsuccessfully attempts to save face in the aftermath of its illegal and violent seizure of innocent civilians on a humanitarian aid mission in international waters, the international community once again bears witness to the fact that, in the words of a Saturday press release by the Canada Boat to Gaza team, “there is no legal justification for stopping or in any way impeding the passage of the totally peaceful Freedom Waves boats from the international solidarity movement with Palestinian people”. What is clear to all, in spite of Israeli repression, is that the recent aid mission is only the first of many Freedom Waves bound for Gaza’s shore. “Whatever the Israeli Occupation Forces do to us,” said David Heap and Ehab Lotayef, steering committee members of the Tahrir, from behind Israeli prison bars, “this flotilla marks the launching of the Freedom Waves. It is the continuation of many efforts over the years to bring the plight of Gaza and Palestine to the world’s attention. We will keep coming again and again, until the closure of Gaza is ended and Palestinians have been able to achieve liberation and justice… Expect us. Again and again. The Freedom Waves are just beginning.”

Ben Lorber is an activist with the International Solidarity Movement in Nablus. He is also a journalist with the Alternative Information Center in Bethlehem. He blogs

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