Dec 06, 2011
Wow this is crazy. Yesterday Matt Lee of AP asked the State Department spokesperson Mark Toner if US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman was speaking for the US government when he said that Israel’s actions have generated anti-Semitism in Muslim communities. And Toner says he was “speaking on his own.”
Under Lee’s questions, Toner repeatedly distances the Obama administration from Gutman with remarks like, “I will leave it to the Ambassador to Belgium to clarify what he meant–” and continually changes the discussion to how much the U.S. loves Israel.
Lee then gets at the heart of the matter: Isn’t there a difference between classic anti-Semitism and anti-Semitism that is based on criticism of the state of Israel. Toner says, Gutman was saying “there are different forms of anti-Semitism. We condemn them in all their forms.”
As Lee says late in this dialogue, “you’re in a very difficult position.” Video goes from 1:00 to about 8:30.
QUESTION: Let’s start with Ambassador Gutman’s speech from last week…. Does the Administration agree with the sentiments that he expressed in his speech?
MR. TONER: …He made very clear in a subsequent statement that they were his thoughts or his remarks. He did condemn and was very vocal about condemning anti-Semitism in all its forms, and I believe he expressed regret that his words might have been taken out of context…
Does the Administration agree with the content of the – of Ambassador Gutman’s speech?
And the Administration and the State Department says that we condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms.
QUESTION: That’s great, Mark. I’m glad that you do, and I’m sure everyone is glad that you do, but do you agree with the content of Ambassador Gutman’s speech?
MR. TONER: We –
QUESTION: I don’t know; it’s a pretty easy question. Yes or no?
MR. TONER: It is – it was his remarks. It was his opinion. He was not speaking on behalf —
QUESTION: So he wasn’t speaking – the Ambassador to Belgium, he was not speaking —
MR. TONER: I think he said as much. He said it was his remarks and he was speaking on his own.
QUESTION: No, he didn’t. He did not say that. He – but he was not speaking on behalf of the U.S. Government?
MR. TONER: I don’t believe so.
QUESTION: So the – okay, the Ambassador to Belgium shows up at a conference in Europe, in Belgium, and he is not speaking on behalf of the U.S. Government. Is that correct?
MR. TONER: The Ambassador was expressing his views on an issue.
QUESTION: They are not the view – so he —
MR. TONER: He subsequently issued a statement clarifying that he was – I don’t know – expressing regret if his remarks were taken out of context. He then said that he does condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms, and in fact, pointed to his own family history as a testament to that.
QUESTION: Well, I understand that, but you’re saying that he was speaking as a private citizen, not as the U.S. Ambassador?
MR. TONER: Well, of course, when – anytime an ambassador speaks, he is representing the United States.
QUESTION: So the views that he expressed in his speech do not represent the views of the Administration?
MR. TONER: Matt, let me be very clear.
QUESTION: Mark, I understand that you condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms. I understand that, okay? I’m asking you if you agree with the content of his speech, which he gave as the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium.
MR. TONER: And I would just say that he was sharing his views on an issue. Our commitment to Israel’s security is ironclad. The United States – or Israel has no greater friend or ally than the United States, and we condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms.
QUESTION: Okay. That’s fine, but I don’t – I’m not hearing in there – unless you’re going to tell me right out he was speaking as a private citizen and not as the Ambassador. Is that – that’s what you’re saying?…
MR. TONER: Again, we’ve been very clear that we condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms regardless of how you call it or how you characterize it.
QUESTION: Do you – okay. So you do not agree, then, with the contents of the Ambassador’s speech?
MR. TONER: I think I’ll just stop there.
QUESTION: Well —
MR. TONER: I think I just said we condemn –
QUESTION: — this guy is the —
MR. TONER: — anti-Semitism in all of its forms. He —
QUESTION: Okay. So you don’t draw a distinction between criticism of Israel —
MR. TONER: No.
QUESTION: — and all criticism of Israel —
MR. TONER: No. We don’t draw any distinctions. We don’t —
QUESTION: All criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism? Is that what you’re saying?
MR. TONER: Look, I will leave it to the Ambassador to Belgium to clarify what he meant —
QUESTION: Does the —
MR. TONER: — by his remarks —
QUESTION: Does the —
MR. TONER: — to this gathering.
QUESTION: Does the –
MR. TONER: I can only speak on behalf of this Administration, and that is that we condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms.
QUESTION: Does the Administration think that Israel is above reproach? In other words, that Israel should not be criticized for anything?
MR. TONER: Speaking largely about the issue that was on the table, which is Middle East peace and the importance of it and, frankly, the stability that it brings to the region, we’ve been very clear that the best way to a lasting peace is through the negotiating table. That remains our focus. We want to get both sides back into direct negotiations….
QUESTION: This Administration has been critical of the Government of Israel before, correct?
MR. TONER: Of course.
QUESTION: Yes. Do you – is that criticism anti-Semitic?
MR. TONER: Of course not.
QUESTION: So all criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism?
MR. TONER: Again, I don’t want to parse this out. I just simply want to say we condemn —
QUESTION: I know you don’t want to because you’re in a very difficult position.
MR. TONER: — anti-Semitism in all of its forms. Okay?
QUESTION: You’re saying, though, that you accept a distinction between criticism of Israel and anti – criticism of the government of – the policies of the Government of Israel and anti-Semitism. You draw a distinction between the two things, correct?
MR. TONER: I’d just say that this Administration has consistently stood up against anti-Semitism and efforts to delegitimize Israel, and will continue to do so.
QUESTION: Does the Administration believe that you can be critical of Israel without being anti-Semitic?
MR. TONER: I think that when it comes to trying to keep the parties focused on the peace process and in citing behavior that is not constructive to that process, we are certainly able to do that, and have done so in the past.
QUESTION: But does the Administration believe that you can be – that one can be critical of the policies of government – the Government of Israel without being anti-Semitic? Yes or no?
MR. TONER: Well, again, I think I just answered the question, that we have been critical —
QUESTION: Okay. So you’re saying that there – you do draw a distinction between criticism of the Government of Israel, of policies of the Government of Israel, and – in other words, not all criticism of Israel – when you come out and you say we think that more settlements are a bad idea, that doesn’t mean the Administration —
MR. TONER: Of course, of course.
QUESTION: — is anti-Semitic, right?
MR. TONER: Of course.
QUESTION: Okay. So in his speech, Ambassador Gutman draws a distinction between classic anti-Semitism and some kind of new form of hatred toward Jews which is based – what he said, based on the policies of the Government of Israel. Do you – it sounds as though you accept that there is a distinction between the two.
MR. TONER: What Ambassador Gutman was – I believe what he was trying to convey is that there are different forms of anti-Semitism. We condemn them in all their forms.
QUESTION: All right. I’ve got another on Israel, but it’s not on this subject.
[Not Matt Lee’s] QUESTION: If I could just follow up briefly on that, some Republicans have called for the Administration to fire Ambassador Gutman. Is there – does the Administration have a response to that, have a position on –
MR. TONER: We have full confidence in him.
Dec 06, 2011
al-Khalayleh House Demolition, 12/6/11
Following the violent demolitions in Qalqiliya yesterday, and in Beit Hanina and Silwan Sunday, Israel continued its displacement of Palestinians throughout the West Bank today in occupied East Jerusalem.
On the day Israel announced a plan to forcibly remove 2,300 Palestinians from their homes, a demolition team arrived in al-Khalayleh, a small village in East Jerusalem. Two homes, an animal barracks, and part of a hardware store were flattened within hours. Palestinians watched as their homes were lost leaving 6 children and several adults homeless. Armed military and police guarded the area as bulldozers destroyed the structures.
One woman was visibly crying during the demolition of the second home. When asked if the home was hers, she answered “no, my uncle’s.”
The ethnic cleansing of non-Jews from Palestine began in 1948 during the creation of the State of Israel. Sadly it continues today through housing demolitions, apartheid laws, and the refusal of Israel to observe the Palestinian right of return as guaranteed by UN Resolution 194 Article 11.
Dec 06, 2011
On Saturday I posted on AEI’s Danielle Pletka surprising admission that a nuclear armed Iran’s threat to Israel wasn’t that it would launch an attack but rather that it could upset the“balance of power” in the region. Mark Wauck responded to the post by emailing me a useful article, The Root of All Fears: Why is Israel so Afraid of Iranian Nukes, by Ariel Ilan Roth, published by the Council in Foreign Relations two years ago; and Roth came to the same conclusion:
Iran needs only to possess nuclear weapons, not to use them, in order to further enhance its international prestige and force adversaries to take it seriously. Likewise, the deterrent power of an unused nuclear capability would allow the regime to spread its ideology without the constant worry of regime change imposed from abroad.
But along the way Roth convincingly breaks down all the reasons Iran is unlikely to initiate an attack on Israel. But fear of attack is not why Israel is so obsessed with Iran. The reason it pressures for an attack is to prop up ‘national morale’ because Israelis believe that their own safety is dependent on an iron wall. “Most Israelis believe the key to enduring peace in the Middle East is convincing Israel’s adversaries that ejecting Israel through force is an impossible task not worth pursuing.” An Iranian nuke would shatter any ‘perception of invincibility’ Israel has continually relied upon.
In a follow up email Wauck articulates:
Unstated in Roth’s article are a number of important factors. Of especial importance is the changing nature of Israeli society itself. Every day brings new news of settler excesses, of the ever growing influence of religious fundamentalism, of the constant brain drain of Israel’s creative secular elite, who no longer feel at home in Israel.
These mean that the Netanyahu regime–and every Israeli government–finds itself increasingly in a bind. Military invincibility is essentially insured, but the pressure of living in a hostile Middle East is taking its toll on the national morale of Israelis, and especially on the segment of its population that is necessary for Israel’s continued economic health. It’s my belief that part of the drive to eliminate even the appearance of an Iranian challenge–however slight–to total Israeli regional hegemony is the desire to reassure Israelis of their security in perpetuity. But societal change is undermining even this hope.
Roth sees a strike against Iran as only a temporary solution–what Israel needs is a rethinking of its future and a new strategy to break out of the dead end of gradual but ever increasing isolation:
The possibility that Israel may no longer be capable of forcing peace upon those who deny its right to exist is beginning to dawn on many Israelis. Whether Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear infrastructure or not, the time has come for Israel’s defense community to develop a strategic doctrine for long-term coexistence that does not rely on a posture of invincibility.
But what could such a new strategic doctrine for long-term coexistence be? Coexistence must begin at home, with the Palestinians, but with the growing strength of fundamentalism such a development is increasingly unlikely.
And so, I believe, there is an increasing possibility that an Israeli government might take a desperate gamble, risk a bold military stroke that it hoped could somehow break the deadlock and force peace on a reluctant Middle East. This may be what Roth is hinting at in his final paragraph:
But, given that widespread Arab acceptance of Israel’s right to exist does not appear to be on the horizon, most Israelis, including the current prime minister, insist that Israel’s most urgent strategic objective is to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Doing so would temporarily remove the threat of a regional nuclear cascade and maintain Israel’s superiority of arms. More important, it would hold at bay the suspicion that Israel may never attain true peace. This increasingly widespread fear has a toxic effect on national morale, is an existential threat to the Jewish state, and lies at the root of Israel’s obsession with the Iranian bomb.
Notice that this has little or nothing to do with an existential threat to Israel in a military sense. Rather, it has much more to do with an existential crisis inherent in the entire Zionist project, the inability to ever attain a nebulous “true peace.” “
Dec 06, 2011
Rep. Gary Ackerman speaking outside the United Nations in September 2011
The controversy over Howard Gutman’s remarks is proving to be a clarifying moment.
Similar to how the Democratic Party attacked Barack Obama over his call for peace negotiations to be based on the 1967 borders earlier this year, liberal Democrats are slamming Gutman, a big-time Democratic Party fundraiser. It’s one more example of this enduring truth: when it comes to Israel, there can be no deviation from the Israel lobby’s line, no critical thought–even when the guy doing it helps Democrats win elections. Gutman could become the latest casualty of the Democratic Party’s squeamishness on Israel.
The Washington Post’s neoconservative blogger Jennifer Rubin calls up some of the Democratic Party’s leading Zionists–and Gary Ackerman, the New York liberal who is one of the most hardline supporters of Zionism in Congress, seemingly calls Gutman an anti-Semite.
Pro-Israel activist and former AIPAC spokesman Josh Block had this response: “This is a very disappointing set of comments from the State Department, which refused to condemn the remarks from the Obama appointee and campaign bundler who said, speaking as US ambassador, that there are two kinds of anti-Semitism. Contrary to his comments, all violence and against jews is anti-Semitism, not ‘anti-Semitism’ in quotes! And is the fault of the society where it occurs, not caused by the justification of its perpetrators. “ He blasted the administration as well: “The Ambassador’s comments were reprehensible, and so is the State Department’s refusal to condemn them directly, and to recall this representative of the American people. Rather than seek to make excuses for anti-Semitism, and promote its justification, Mr. Gutman should spend his breath condemning those who countenance such violence…”
Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) told Right Turn: “There is no difference between the anti-Semites who hate Jews because they hate Jews and those who feel a need to cite a reason for their hateful anti-Semitism. Anyone who thinks they are different is simply anti-Semitic.”
This is the same Ackerman who called efforts at holding Israel accountable through international law an expression of anti-Semitism. And now he is smearing Gutman for a speech that rings true.
As the Democratic Party begins to turn the heat on the Obama administration, just how long will Gutman last in his post?
Dec 06, 2011
US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman gave a speech last weekend saying that Israeli actions are fostering anti-Semitism in Muslim communities in Europe. Many rightwingers are now calling for his head, including Bill Kristol, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.
Below are two great responses to the speech. First, Yossi Gurvitz, “Yes Israel is a source of anti-Semitism,” points out the old If it’s the Jewish state, then how can you then complain when people blame the Jews issue —
See, we have a problem with this deceptively simple logic. Israel is a country which claims most of its citizens-to-be to reside outside its borders. Israel claims that a. It is a “Jewish country,” b. That all Jews are its potential citizens, c. That it is OK for her to meddle in the affairs of other countries on behalf of what it thinks are Jewish interests, and, finally, d. That any opprobrium gained by its actions, resulting in hatred or actual violence directed at those it claims to represent, is derived from racial and irrational causes. This, alas, does not make sense.
This is without even without mentioning the hidden point e., rarely mentioned, which says that Israel thinks it is perfectly acceptable to use Jews living in other countries as its agents.
Then Justin Elliott at Salon says that there is rigorous research by a British org that studies anti-Semitism to back up what Gutman is saying:
As it turns out, there is rigorous research that backs up Gutman’s point – that of, in his words, “tension, hatred and sometimes even violence between some members of Muslim communities or Arab immigrant groups and Jews … largely born of and reflecting the tension between Israel, the Palestinian Territories and neighboring Arab states in the Middle East over the continuing Israeli-Palestinian problem.”
The Community Service Trust is thoroughly mainstream British organization that specializesin the study of anti-Semitism and providing security for Jews. The group publishes an annual survey on anti-Semitic incidents in the UK, and its most recent study (.pdf) would seem to vindicate Gutman.
It notes what happened after the IDF killed nine pro-Palestinian activists on a flotilla to break the Gaza blockade in May 2010:
“The only significant trigger event in 2010 occurred when Israeli forces boarded a flotilla of ships bearing pro-Palestinian activists who were trying to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza; nine activists were killed during the subsequent on-board clashes. Reactions to this episode led to a monthly total of 81 antisemitic incidents in the UK in June 2010, compared to 49 in June 2009, when there was no comparable trigger event.”
And it also discusses the number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2009, the year of the Israeli bombing campaign in Gaza:
“The record total [of anti-Semitic incidents] in 2009 was triggered by reactions to the Gaza conflict in January of that year, which led to record numbers of incidents in January and February 2009.”
Those two points show a correlation between flare-ups in the Middle East and anti-Semitism. But what about causation?
The report explores this complicated question:
“Clearly, it would not be acceptable to define all anti-Israel activity as antisemitic; but it cannot be ignored that much contemporary antisemitism takes place in the context of, or is motivated by, extreme feelings over the Israel/Palestine issue. Drawing out these distinctions, and deciding on where the dividing lines lie, is one of the most difficult areas of CST’s work in recording and analysing hate crime.”
This point by Community Service Trust echoes Gutman’s sentiments almost exactly.
Dec 06, 2011
I can only imagine what Jennifer Rubin’s headline will be:
Dec 06, 2011
The Swiss BDS Group has announced a statement signed by over 150 Swiss artists calling on artists, cultural institutions and the public to boycott the Culturescapes Israel festival and a “Swiss Season” program which hosts Swiss artists in Israel.
Among the signatories are the internationally acclaimed filmmakers Claude Goretta and Alain Tanner, the theater directors François Rochaix and Jean Grädel, as well as the actor Jean-Luc Bideau. A Swiss BDS Group press release says Culturescapes Israel festival and “Swiss Season” programs represent “the largest Israeli propaganda effort ever launched in Switzerland through the domain of culture.”
When Israel, through the Culturescapes festival, conducts a wide public relations campaign in Switzerland, when the program Swiss Season invites Swiss artists to present their works in prestigious venues in Israel, the undersigned artists and cultural actors hereby express their rejection of the politics of the Israeli state, policies which, for over 60 years, violate the rights of the Palestinian people.
The flattering image that Israel seeks to present, an image of a country in which creativity blooms in freedom, clashes with the reality that the Palestinian people endures. The refugees are still refused their right to return, Palestinians citizens of Israel are subject to legal and cultural segregation, the Gaza Strip is still under siege, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem remain under military occupation. In contempt of the law and public protestations, Israel continues the colonization and the construction of the separation wall in the West Bank and Jerusalem. We recognize in these politics the traits of an apartheid regime, as defined by international law.
In order to resist against this oppressive situation, and in order to struggle against the impunity that Israel enjoys through the support of the great powers, Palestinian civil society launched an appeal for solidarity in the form of Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions – BDS). We note that the non-violent boycott, when it gains wide popular support, is an effective means of putting pressure on those in power. Israeli companies such as Agrexco, which exploited agricultural land in the Occupied Territories, and multinational corporations such as Veolia, which is implicated in the construction of the light train project that connects the illegal settlements to the center of Jerusalem, have been subject to the successful pressure of BDS supporters. BDS is also adopted by the group of Israeli citizens, Boycott from Within, continuing their actions despite the anti-boycott law passed recently in the Israeli parliament.
Palestinian artists and intellectuals launched the Palestinian call for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel – PACBI), directed at their fellow artists and intellectuals all over the world. Many internationally recognizes names have responded to the call, including John Berger, Bjork, Elvis Costello, Brian Eno, Eduardo Galeano, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Henning Mankell, Massive Attack, Arundhati Roy, and Carlos Santana. Israel’s present publicity offensive in Switzerland gives us the opportunity to respond in our turn to this Palestinian appeal for solidarity.
We refuse to be complicit. Conscious of our political responsibility as artists and as citizens, we express our support for the boycott, and we pledge not to present our works in Israel, for as long as persist the occupation and the colonization of the Palestinian territories, for as long as equality is denied Palestinian who are citizens of Israel, and for as long as the right of return of the refugees is refused.
Dec 06, 2011
Obama will address Reform Jews next week
Another story, this one from the A.P., on the emerging political debate over Israel, which has Republican hopefuls and Obama trying to out-Israel one another. It’s a fight for donations, even A.P. acknowledges; and the good risk here is that this “fiery debate,” staged this week at the Republican Jewish Coalition and a Reform Jewish gathering, won’t be limited to a Jewish constituency. No– other Americans will get to participate in the forming of public opinion on a matter that involves us all.
The fiery debate will probably continue Wednesday when the GOP presidential candidates attend a Washington forum hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition.
Obama campaign officials say they will be ready to respond. And the next day, Jewish leaders will be at the White House for briefings on Israel and a Hanukkah party, followed by an Obama speech next week to an expected audience of nearly 6,000 at a conference of the Union for Reform Judaism.
Such attention is all being paid in recognition that Jewish voters, though comprising only 2 percent of the electorate nationwide, are an important part of Obama’s base and could make the difference in battleground states including Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Nevada in a close election. Moreover, the Jewish community is an important source of donations, and Obama campaign supporters want to maintain that support as much as Republicans want to chip away at it.
Dec 06, 2011
Child in the the Shaour family whose house was demolished. Israeli soldiers pulled him out of the house by his neck. (Photo: ISM)
On Monday the 5th of December, in the Azzun district of Qalqiliya, a stone factory was destroyed at 6:00 am. The owner, Hussain Anam, explained to us that the factory was built 3 years ago, but his only demolition notice was when the bulldozer came this morning. The demolition order stated that the building was built without permission. The bulldozer was accompanied by 15 jeeps and 50 soldiers to destroy the property. This factory employed 10 people and now they are asking,”Where will we work today?” In Arab an Ramadin al Janubi, two houses were destroyed at approximately 7:30 in the morning. The demolition was executed by 50 soldiers using 2 bulldozers.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Restriction of movement
Residents and leftists claim plan designed to block development of two Palestinian neighborhoods in eastern half of city.
link to www.haaretz.com
New Jerusalem Park To Be Built Mainly On Arab Land
The so-called Regional Construction and Planning Committee at the Jerusalem Municipality prepared a plan for the construction of a new “National Park” in Al Masharef Mountain (Mount Scopus area). Rights activists in Palestine and Israel said that the plan aims at preventing the development of Al Esawiyya and At-Tour Arab neighborhoods.
link to www.imemc.org
Israeli government to relocate 2300 Bedouin in order to expand settlement
Israeli officials have announced a plan to displace twenty Bedouin Arab communities from their homes in the West Bank between Jerusalem and Jericho, and move the residents to a site along the Jerusalem municipal garbage dump.
link to www.imemc.org
Jerusalem lawmaker to be deported to Ramallah
Ma`an – Ahmad Attoun, a Jerusalemite, was detained in front of the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Jerusalem in September. He had taken shelter in the ICRC building along with another Hamas legislator, Muhammad Abu Teir, and former PA minister Khalid Abu Arafa, after Israeli authorities revoked their Jerusalem residency permits.
link to www.kibush.co.il
AICafe 6.12.11: Israeli appropriation of Jordan Valley water
Please join us at the AICafe on Tuesday, 6 December at 8:00 pm, for a discussion with Fathi Khidrat of the Jordan Valley Popular Committee as he addresses water exploitation and increasing water scarcity in the West Bank’s Jordan Valley.
link to www.alternativenews.org
New AIC Jerusalem fact sheet
The Alternative Information Center’s new fact sheet on Jerusalem details the Israeli government’s attempts to Judaicize the city, to break apart Palestinian communities, to create isolated Palestinian enclaves–building physical and psychic barriers against Palestinian self-determination.
link to www.alternativenews.org
PCBS: Half of Households Exposed to Israeli Violence
RAMALLAH, December 6, 2011 (WAFA) – About half of the Palestinian households were directly exposed to violence by occupation forces and settlers before July 2010, the highest in Gaza Strip, 49.1% compared to 47.8% in the West Bank. On the other hand this percentage was the highest in Qalqiliya governorate; 60.0%, according the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) report published on Tuesday. PCBS said about 6% of youths of the age 18-29 years were exposed to psychological violence by occupation forces and settlers during the period of 12 months before July 2011; about 10% among males and 1.4% among females.
link to english.wafa.ps
Army Invades Beit Hanoun
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Tuesday at dawn, an area east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, and opened fire at random, media sources in Gaza reported.
link to www.imemc.org
IOF troops enter northern Gaza, gunboats fire at fishermen
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) advanced hundreds of meters into northern Gaza Strip, to the east of Beit Hanun town, at dawn Tuesday, local sources said.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
IOF soldiers storm offices of Hamas MPs
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed offices of Hamas MPs in Tulkarem on Tuesday morning and confiscated computers of three of them along with work documents.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Extremist settlers hurl blocks at Hebron’s Old Market
Settlers from Avraham Avino targeted Palestinians in the Old Souq in Hebron during the Saturday market on December 3rd 2011. At approximately 11 AM Five unmasked settlers, aged around 20-30, threw concrete blocks down from a roof above the Old City at the booths outside of the shops, and at the people passing. The blocks were of considerable size – each weighing around 5-10 kilos. As they were thrown from a height of eight meters, anyone hit would be severely maimed or killed. Some of the blocks became lodged in the roof above the shops while some landed in the street.
link to palsolidarity.org
Settler Sentenced 3 Months Public Service For Repeatedly Ramming Palestinian
The Israeli District Court in Jerusalem sentenced a settler who rammed a wounded Palestinian with his vehicle, and drove his car over him back and forth, to three months “Public Service”.
Detention / Court actions / Prisoner Exchange
Preventive security rounds up 12 Hamas supporters including 5 students
Elements of the PA preventive security apparatus rounded up 12 Hamas supporters in the past 24 hours in the West Bank including five students, locals said.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Israeli forces ‘arrest municipal council member’ near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli forces arrested a member of a local council near Nablus on Monday evening, local officials said. Soldiers detained Ali Tayyib Faraj, 28, at a flying checkpoint while he was heading to Ramallah, head of the Madama village municipal council Eyhab al-Qut told Ma’an. Israeli soldiers detained Faraj for three hours before taking him to an unknown destination, al-Qut added.
link to www.maannews.net
Troops Kidnap Four Palestinians Near Qalqilia
Israeli troops invaded, on Tuesday at dawn, Kufr Qaddoum village, near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, broke into several homes, and kidnapped three residents.
link to www.imemc.org
French Minister slams Israel’s jailing of Palestinian protest organizer
In a letter to the French-Palestine Solidarity Association, French Foreign Minister Juppé slams Israel’s treatment of West Bank protest organizer, and its settlement policy.
link to www.alternativenews.org
Over the past week, Israeli Naval forces arrested 14 fishermen off the coast of the Gaza Strip. These arrests represent a continuation of the sharp increase in the arrest of Palestinian fishermen by Israel during the month of November. Since 1 January at least 32 fishermen were arrested off the coast of the Gaza Strip, 17 of whom were arrested in November. According to PCHR investigations, at approximately 8:00 on Monday, 28 November 2011, the Israeli navy arrested two fishermen and confiscated their boat and fishing equipment. The fishermen, Mahmoud Yasser Al-Nahal (20) and Mohammed Khamis Kaloub (18), both from Gaza City, were located within the Israeli imposed 3 nautical mile limit off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip when they were approached by the navy and ordered to jump of their boat and swim towards the army vessel. Both men were taken to Ashdod Port where they were detained. Al-Nahal was released the same evening at around 23:30 while Kaloub remains in detention. The boat and equipment have not been returned.
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) manning the Erez crossing to the north of Gaza Strip detained a Palestinian youth while crossing the terminal en route to a hospital in occupied Jerusalem.
One Palestinian journalist from the Associated Press was arrested while the Occupation Forces invaded the village of An Nabi Saleh. Before the beginning of Friday’s traditional protest in An Nabi Saleh, the Occupation Forces placed soldiers at the entrance gate to the village and began searching all cars entering the village, registrating the names of the passengers. Two protesters were hunted for several hundred meters by the Occupation Forces when trying to avoid this checkpoint, escaping a potential arrest.
Israel to reward Abbas in phase 2 of Shalit deal?
Some 550 prisoners to be freed by Israel in December; Jerusalem seeks to boost Abbas’ status vis-?-vis Hamas via release of Fatah detainees.
Military court in Gaza holds the 9th session to consider the case relating to the death of Italian solidarity activist, Vittorio Arrigoni
On Monday 05 December 2011, the Permanent Military Court in Gaza held the ninth session in Gaza City to consider the case relating to the death of the Italian solidarity activist, Vittorio Arrigoni. Lawyers from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) attended the session in their capacity as legal representatives of the Arrigoni family.
Solidarity / Activism / Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment
Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor recently staged a walkout on Israeli Bedouin diplomat and Ministry of Foreign Affairs apologist Ishmael Khaldi. He came to our campus at the invitation of Israel lobby group CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) to whitewash the marginalization of minorities in Israel. I’ve included a video of our walkout.
Festival organizers attributed Milani’s departure to her father’s ill health, but Tehran newspapers claimed that Milani left the festival due to political pressure from Iranian elements.
A South African activist working for the global boycott movement against Israeli apartheid connects the ongoing anti-colonialist struggles from Johannesburg to Palestine.
link to electronicintifada.net
Breaking the Silence: An interview with Yehuda Shaul
“If you don’t look nice, you don’t spend too many hours in front of the mirror,” says Yehuda Shaul, one of the founders and Executive Directors of Israeli NGO, Breaking the Silence. “What we demand of our society is to look in the mirror, so no wonder no one likes it.” Breaking the Silence was founded in 2004 by Israeli soldiers and veterans who collect and publish testimonies from soldiers who have served in the West Bank,Gaza and East Jerusalem since September 2000. They also hold lectures and conduct tours inHebronand the South Hebron Hills area “with the aim of giving the Israeli public access to the reality which exists minutes from their own homes, yet is rarely portrayed in the media.”
Israeli Repression / Discrimination & Racism
An amendment to Israel’s “Prevention of Infiltration” law will mean prison time for asylum seekers and their children — as well as for those who offer them humanitarian aid.
Israeli ministers prickle at Clinton critique
US secretary of state’s concern over gender segregation and limits on NGO funding called “totally exaggerated”.
Though ads featuring women will appear on bus stops and billboards, they will not go on the sides of buses, at least for now.
In many instances, the separation phenomenon has been taking place in recent years contrary to the Education Ministry’s official practices.
Ofir Akunis, who sponsored the bill to limit foreign funding to human rights groups, says he only meant Senator McCarthy was proven right by exposing Soviet agents in the U.S., but adds he strongly opposes McCarthyism.