Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


IDF kills Palestinian protester and tweets ‘#Fail’

Dec 10, 2011

Phan Nguyen

Warning: graphic image below 

Usually when the Israeli military kills a high profile civilian, the response from its spokespeople is limited to words along the lines of: “It’s under investigation, but we’re innocent anyway.”

However, with the shooting and eventual killing of Mustafa Tamimi, the IDF feels free to speak its mind via Twitter. Here’s what its spokespeople have to say:

IDF Spokesperson Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich:

1 Leibovich

IDF Spokesperson Capt. Barak Raz:

2 Raz

In other words, the smoking gun is the slingshot, not the tear gas launcher that was fired at close range from an armored Israeli miltary jeep that was invading a Palestinian village situated outside of Israel.

Personally, I couldn’t care less if Tamimi had a boulder and a catapult in his back pocket. But there’s something depressing about laying out a single slingshot for display as if it were a major arms or drugs cache at a press conference.

And is it me, or is it rather tasteless to boast that you are treating someone in your fine, fine hospital right after you shot that person in the face?

IDF Spokesperson Maj. Peter Lerner:

3 Lerner

That’s right. If Tamimi really had nothing to hide, he would have been wearing olive green fatigues, combat boots and a helmet, while firing from the back of an armored military jeep.

However, the award for the most sickening response to the shooting of Mustafa Tamimi is this additional tweet from Lerner, which was retweeted by Leibovich:

4 Lerner

Take a look at the image below and imagine Lerner’s “#Fail” hashtag superimposed on it. Then excuse yourself and vomit.

5 Tamimi
(Photo: Lazar Simeonov)

The lobby blinks! Democratic insiders throw Josh Block under the bus

Dec 10, 2011

Philip Weiss

josh block
Josh Block

In the last 24 hours, a giant battle has taken place at the gates of Washington, and the Israel lobby has lost.

Former AIPAC operative Josh Block’s attempt to crush critics of Israel inside the Democratic Party has failed miserably. Block has issued an apology for calling those writers “anti-Semites,” and Block’s own business partner, former Clinton lawyer Lanny Davis, has categorically rejected Block’s views. 

Today the prospect of open debate inside the Democratic Party is stronger than ever. As Lanny Davis says, “Israelis debate the subject. We debate the subject.” My dear, even that much would be a breakthrough.

The story so far:

On Wednesday, Ben Smith published a piece on Politico headlined, “Israel rift roils Democratic ranks.” It pointed out that two thinktanks with connections to the Democratic Party now had writers working for them who are critical of Israel– Matt Duss, Eli Clifton and Ali Gharib at John Podesta’s Center for American Progress (CAP), and M.J. Rosenberg at Media Matters.

The article was at once a worthy journalistic effort to chronicle a trend and an effort to damage those critics (Smith is an avowed conservative who has shlepped water for neocons).

The piece drew blood; Smith got Ken Gude, the frightened national security director at CAP, to throw Gharib and Duss under the bus:

“There’s a distinction here that we have between the policy work that we do and the blogging work that we do,” [Ken Gude] said.

And Gude specifically rejected the bloggers’ assertion that the absurd Iranian assassination conspiracy the Justice Department has discovered is not serious.

Smith also quoted Josh Block attacking the critics:

“There’s two explanations here – either the inmates are running the asylum or the Center for American Progress has made a decision to be anti-Israel,” said Josh Block, a former spokesman for AIPAC who is now a fellow at the center-left Progressive Policy Institute. “Either they can allow people to say borderline anti-Semitic stuff” – a reference to what he described as conspiracy theorizing in the [Eric] Alterman column – “and to say things that are antithetical to the fundamental values of the Democratic party, or they can fire them and stop it.” [A reference to liberal Zionist Eric Alterman, who scoffed at the charge]

And Smith ended the piece quoting Ali Abunimah celebrating the change in mood. Abunimah is a friend of our website, we promote his views all the time; but his advocacy for one democratic state in Israel and Palestine has made him persona non grata for establishment organizations.

Leaders at the Center for American Progress reacted swiftly to Smith’s story, by genuflecting to Zionist sensibilities– we are not anti-Israel, they declared that same day in an official statement.

But Smith’s story was quickly upstaged. A day later Justin Elliott at leftleaning Salon broke a bigger story: Josh Block, the very same Josh Block who works at a “progressive” thinktank, had sent out Smith’s story to a neoconservative listserv (a private internet community) with many journalists on it, urging them to “AMPLIFY” Smith’s piece and call Democratic leaders, including Steny Hoyer, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, about the critics– whom he smeared as anti-Semites.

“This kind of anti-Israel sentiment is so fringe it’s support by CAP is outrageous, but at least it is out in the open now — as is their goal – clearly applauded by revolting allies like the pro-HAMAS and anti-Zionist/One State Solution advocate Ali Abunumiah [sic] and those who accuse pro-Israel Americans of having ‘dual loyalties’ or being ‘Israel-Firsters’ – to shape the minds of future generations of Democrats,” Block writes. “These are the words of anti-Semites, not Democratic political players.”

Elliott’s piece contained a 3000-word “opposition file” on the bloggers/critics compiled by Josh Block– basically a dirt file– and it set off a firestorm bigger than the Smith story. (I covered it here.)

Josh Block’s big error was smearing Establishmentarians as anti-Semites. That is a libel, and it hurt Block more than the Center for American Progress. There must have been a lot of frantic telephone calls around Washington yesterday, we can only imagine how high the rage went. But when I say “the lobby blinked,” it’s because Josh Block went crawling back to Ben Smithyesterday afternoon with this truculent apology:

I’ve been accused of leveling the charge of anti-Semitism against the Center for American Progress. That is not true, and suggesting so is an attempt to distract from what I am actually saying.

As a progressive Democrat, I am convinced that on issues as important as the US-Israel alliance and the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program, there is no room for uncivil discourse or name calling… [jabs follow]

Sort of like Newt Gingrich calling for tighter divorce laws.

Then at 7 o’clock, Block’s own business partner, Lanny Davis, himself a relentless defender of Israel’s right to colonize the West Bank (and formerly a consultant to an African dictator), talked to Eli Clifton, and threw Josh Block under the bus:

He’s done this all independently without any input from me. I respect Josh Block but I 100 percent disagree with much of his language. People can disagree about Israel’s policies without being anti-Semites. In fact I think it’s a terrible mistake to blur the two. We should be able to debate Israel’s policies. I am very pro-Israel. I believe the onus for negotiations is on the Palestinians but both Israelis and Palestinians share responsibility. However, that’s all fair debate. Israelis debate the subject. We debate the subject. Impugning motives of people at the Center [for American Progress] and impugning [that] those motives are driven by anti-Semitism is, in my opinion, wrong. I respect John Podesta and the Center greatly.

That’s where the story is right now. Josh Block, once an eminent member of the self-claimedprogressive pro-Israel establishment, has been revealed as a sleaze-merchant working with neocons and has had to hobble off the field. I wonder how long his association with the Progressive Policy Institute and Lanny Davis will last….

Most importantly, the Israel critics inside Democratic Party thinktanks are more entrenched than ever. They have won this battle. Even Lanny Davis has said, We must debate this subject.

In a word, Ben Smith set out for scalps, but Justin Elliott got the scalp.

That raises the issue of Ben Smith’s role. Smith is a wonderful journalist who gave me help when I started this site, but the question arises of whether he allowed himself to be used by Josh Block, and why.

Smith has admitted under battering on twitter that he received the oppo file from Josh Block before he wrote the story. Did Smith know how virulent Josh Block’s view of the Center for American Progress was– that he viewed it as a nest of anti-Semites? And given the weakness of the Block quotes Smith actually used (“borderline anti-Semitic,” with respect to one article, when Block was about to unleash an email accusing many people of being anti-Semites), was Smith protecting a political operative from himself? Was the Abunimah quote a setup? Justin Elliott has suggested that Block was shopping the oppo file for a client. And the natural question is, Was that Block’s former shop, AIPAC?

The answer to these questions is simple: Ben Smith knew about Josh Block’s political activities, but Block was Ben Smith’s source, and good journalists protect their sources. But that’s the problem, too: Why was Ben Smith relying on a smear artist former AIPAC lobbyist who veers from progressive to neoconservative in a New York second?

Because he thought it wasn’t the story. Well last week it wasn’t the story, and this week it is. And we’ve won this battle: The Democratic Party is committed at some level to debate these issues fairly. And so progressive is beginning to mean progressive on Israel/Palestine, too.

Hajoo family hands its Jerusalem house keys to a court, to make way for Jews

Dec 10, 2011


and other news from Today in Palestine:


Gaza death toll rises to 4
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Dec 23:13 — Violence has flared between Israel and Gaza, with the Israeli air force killing four Palestinians and armed groups firing rockets far across the border. The fighting erupted on Thursday when an airstrike on a car killed an operative for Hamas’ armed wing and another from a group affiliated with Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Israel accused them both of planning to send gunmen to attack it through Egypt. Fighters responded to Thursday’s airstrike with a barrage of rockets, some of which landed near Beersheba. No one was hurt. Air-raid sirens summoned residents of southern Israel to shelters. Another Israeli airstrike followed before dawn Friday, hitting a Hamas facility in Gaza City. The blast flattened a nearby home, killing its owner; the man’s 12-year-old son was pronounced dead hours later. The man’s wife and five other children were wounded, hospital officials said … Militants stepped up rocket attacks as night fell … Witnesses in Gaza reported heavy activity of Israeli drones overhead. Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister in Gaza, said he was “pursuing intensive contacts with several Arab and international parties, and we stress the necessity of this aggression being stopped immediately.”
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Palestinian killed, 17 injured as army bombards Gaza
IMEMC 9 Dec 08:37 — Palestinian medical sources reported that the Israeli Air Forces carried out a Friday dawn airstrike, targeting the Gaza Strip … Adham Abu Salmiyya, spokesperson of the Higher Committee of the Medical and Emergency Services in Gaza, reported that resident Bahjat Az-Za’lan, 38, from Gaza City, was killed. Twelve residents, most of them members of his family- including his wife and a number of their children- were injured. Two of his wounded children are in serious condition. The injured include seven children, two women and two elderly. Abu Salmiyya described the attack as a ‘Massacre targeting the civilians’. Also, medics provided treatment to five more residents who were injured by shrapnel. The Israeli Air Force also bombarded three more areas in Gaza City, in addition to bombing lands located northwest of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip; no injuries were reported.
On Thursday, the Israeli Air Force assassinated two fighters of the Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, after firing a missile at their car in the centre of Gaza City. The two fighters were identified as Sobhi Ala’ Al Batsh, 21, and Isam Al Batsh, their bodies were severely mutilated and several bystanders were wounded. Sobhi Al Batsh is a member of the Al-Qassam Brigades, while Isam Al Batsh is a member of the Ayman Jouda Brigades.
The Ayman Jouda Brigades claimed responsibility for firing shells at Shear Ha-Negev and Eshkol. The brigades stated that the firing of the shells comes in retaliation to the latest Israeli military escalation.
On Wednesday, Maher Abdul-Rahman Timraz, 47, of the Al Qassam Brigades, died of wounds suffered several years ago after being targeted by the Israeli army. Maher is the son of Abdul-Rahman Timraz, one of the founders of the Hamas movement.
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Child injured in Gaza strike dies of wounds
GAZA (WAFA) 9 Dec 20:59 – A 10-year-old child severely wounded earlier in the day from an Israeli air strike died late Friday, according to Gaza hospital sources. They said Ramadan Za‘lan died of wounds sustained when his family’s house collapsed when three Israeli missiles hit an alleged nearby Hamas training base in northern Gaza. The child’s father, Bahjat Za‘lan, 38, died immediately when their house collapsed as a result of the strike.  Za‘lan’s 30-year-old wife, his 58-year-old mother and his four children, aged 10, 8, 5 and six months, were severely injured in the incident and so were residents of a nearby house, which also collapsed in the strike.
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Still casting lead: Israeli air force kills 1, injures 13 in single family
[many photos of destroyed house] 9 Dec by Radhika Sainath — “This is the occupation,” a neighbor mumbled as we stepped into what remained of twenty-year-old Migdad El Zalaan’s cement-block home in the north of Gaza City this afternoon.  The Israeli Air Force dropped the first of three bombs near Zalaan’s home at approximately 2 a.m. this morning, killing his uncle, wounding El Zalaan and the rest of his twelve family members, and destroying his home … “After the Israelis dropped the first bomb, I took my family and left my home,” explained El Zalaan, periodically looking up at the sky, where the ceiling once was. “Then the second bomb dropped and I went to my uncle’s home to find out if they were okay. My uncle’s wife [Saada El Zalaan] called me from under the rubble. She was holding her baby, I took the baby and then Israel dropped the third bomb.”  El Zalaan then helped his aunt out of her house despite her pleas to get her son out and leave her. “I kept digging, looking for my uncle, then I found him, buried, but still breathing. He told me ‘take care of my family, take care of my wife and my children’ and then he died in my arms.”  Bahjat El Zalaan was 33 years old and the father of 5 when he died.
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Gaza attack: ‘My uncle died in my arms’ / Ruqaya Issidien
Al-Akhbar 9 Dec — …As 20-year-old Elzalaan stood recalling the night’s attack, he dislodged blocks of rubble poking through large holes in the roof, fearing that they might fall on our heads. He stumbled through the remains of his home while rubble cracked and snapped underfoot, small pieces of house falling occasionally while a drone buzzed heavily, circling above the ruins of the house. Elzalaan was sitting at the computer before the first bomb hit. “I brought my younger sisters, Samaa and Samar into the living room, with my grandmother. I tried to shield them and as the first bomb hit, I was injured in my back and leg by pieces of falling rubble. Afterwards, I took my family out of the house to safety.”
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Israel holds Hamas responsible for latest escalation
IMEMC 9 Dec — The Israeli Army and the Defense Ministry held the Hamas movement in Gaza responsible for the death of a Palestinian father, on Friday, and the injury of 17 residents, including seven children of the same family … A spokesperson of the Israeli army claimed that explosions took place after the army carried out an air strike in Gaza City, adding that side explosions took place following the strike and attributed the explosions to the claim that Hamas and other armed groups “stored weapons and explosives near the targeted area”.  The spokesperson added that “he is sorry that innocent civilians were killed, and injured, in the Air Strikes”, and stressed that “Hamas is fully responsible for this outcome due to its terrorist activities”.
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Gaza militants fire rockets at Israel’s south following IDF strike
Haaretz 8 Dec 20:13 — Gaza militants launched several rockets toward Israel’s south on Thursday, hours after an Israeli air strike in central Gaza killed a Palestinian militant planning a terrorist attack on the Egypt border. A Grad-type rocket exploded in an open field near the southern city of Be’er Sheva, with another Qassam landing in an open field in the Sdot Negev Redional Council. No injuries or damages were reported in either incident.
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Egypt holds Israel responsible for escalation
IMEMC 9 Dec — The Egyptian Ambassador to Palestine, Yasser Othman, held the Israeli government responsible for the latest escalation against the Gaza Strip that led to the death and injury of several Palestinians, including children. Talking to the Ma‘an News Agency, Othman stated that Israel is behind the latest wave of violence, and demanded Tel Aviv to stop its assaults, so that Cairo can hold talks to regain clam in the region.
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Rights group wants investigation after children die in sewer
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Dec — The Palestinian Center for Human Rights called Thursday for an investigation into the deaths of two children in a sewage basin in Khan Yunis refugee camp … The bodies of Wisam Ahmed Nazmi Sahloul, 5, and his sister Malak, 3, were discovered about eight hours after they disappeared, according to the rights group.  They were found inside the basin, about 150 meters from their home, after a search by civil defense, a witness said. The children were pronounced dead at Nasser Hospital, PCHR said. The tragedy seems to be the result of a failure to determine who is responsible for securing the basin, which was built for an Israeli settlement before the army withdrew from Gaza in 2005.
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1000 Gazans join forces to combat violence against women
GAZA (WAFA) 8 Dec – United Nations agencies and civil society organizations joined forces together with a vibrant audience of more than 1000 people to mark the second edition of the Central Festival to Combat Violence against Women in the Gaza Strip, Thursday said a UN Women press release.
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Activism / Solidarity
Palestinian protester severely injured in Nabi Saleh
[click on link to PSCC for video (warning: graphic) ISM 9 Dec — Mustafa Tamimi, a 28 year old resident of Nabi Saleh, was shot in the face today, during the weekly protest in the village of Nabi Saleh. He sustained a severe injury to his head, under his right eye, and was evacuated to the Belinson hospital in Petah Tikwa. He is currently anesthetized, breathing through tubes, and his condition is described as serious. Tamimi is undergoing treatment in the trauma ward of the hospital, and is expected to undergo surgery later tonight. A photo of the incident shows Tamimi at a distance of less than 10 meters behind the semi-open door of an army jeep with the gun aimed directly at him. Clearly visible in the photo is also the tear-gas projectile flying in his direction … In complete disregard to the army’s own open fire regulations, soldiers often shoot tear-gas projectiles directly at groups of protesters or individuals and rubber bullets are indiscriminately shot at protesters from short distances. The army has also resumed using high velocity tear-gas projectiles in Nabi Saleh, despite the fact that they have declared banned for use after causing the death of Bassem Abu Rahmah in Bil‘in in April 2009, and the critical injury of American protester Tristan Anderson in Ni‘lin in March of the same year.
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Nabi Saleh: Palestinian shot in head with tear gas canister / Omar Rahman
***Please be aware some of the photos are very graphic.*** 972mag 9 Dec — A Palestinian from the village of Nabi Saleh remains in critical condition after he was hit in the face with a direct shot from a tear gas canister.
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Protester seriously hurt by gas canister
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Dec — A tear-gas canister fired by Israeli forces struck and seriously injured a Palestinian demonstrator in the occupied West Bank, protesters said Friday. Onlookers said Mustafa Tamimi, 28, suffered a critical head wound after being struck in the face by the canister in Nabi Saleh … “Tamimi is in very critical condition. Half his face is gone,” said Linah Alsaafin, a Ramallah-based blogger. She was reporting from the scene in Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah …
A teenage boy suffered a leg fracture after being struck by a rubber-coated bullet, onlookers added. A young woman’s arm was also broken during the demonstration, they said.
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Dozens tear-gassed in the village of Bil‘in, west of Ramallah
ISM 9 Dec by Sameer Bornat — Dozens were wounded by poison gas suffocation in the weekly march organized by the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Bil‘in, with the participation of a delegation from Belgium, dozens of Palestinians, and international and Israeli peace activists.
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Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Threats to Palestinian culture
Israel evicts Palestinians from their Jerusalem home to give it to Jewish settlers
MEMO 9 Dec — A Jerusalem human rights centre has revealed that the Israeli occupation authorities have forced a Palestinian family out of their home in order to give it to illegal Jewish settlers. Hussein Hajoo and his family had to leave the house in Wadi Hilweh, Silwan, near Al Aqsa Mosque. According to the Wady Hilweh Information Centre, the eviction process followed a court order issued in October. The keys of the house were handed over to the court. The Centre said in a press release on Thursday that the occupation authorities raided the house on Wednesday and emptied it of all its contents before changing the locks … Six members of the Hajoo family are now homeless and sleeping in a tent outside their home. Hussein Hajoo’s 6-year old son suffers from heart disease and is dependent on a machine to support his lungs and other bodily functions; for that he needs a secure electricity supply, something not possible in a tent on the street.
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Municipality demolishes homes in Beit Hanina
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC)  8 Dec — Jerusalem Municipality officers and Israeli troops demolished a Palestinian home in Al-Ashqareyeh neighborhood of Beit Hanina on December 5. The owners of the home, Al-Ashqareyeh family, were given no warning prior to the demolition, and all 6 family members are now without a home … Majdi, who was at work when troops arrived, received a panic-stricken call from his wife when troops surrounded the house and began removing their furniture. When he arrived, he asked the commanding officer to show him the demolition order, but was ignored.
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Seventeen settler families move into new Ras al-Amoud settlement
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 9 Dec — Seventeen Israeli settler families moved into a settlement in the Palestinian neighborhood of Ras al-Amoud in Silwan today, 8 December. The building, formerly an Israeli, then Jordanian police station, is claimed by Israeli police to now belong to the Bukharist political party. Police made a deal with settlers allowing them to take the building provided they be prepared to leave it at a later date if Israeli police require it for its original purposes. The main Israeli police station in East Jerusalem is currently under construction next to  Ma’ali Adomim settlement.
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Palestinian man demolishes own house to avoid government fines
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 8 Dec  — Silwan resident Osama al-Shweiki of Althury neighborhood demolished his own home on 5 December. Shweiki demolished the 96 square meter house, which he built himself in 2005, to avoid being charged heavy fines by the Jerusalem Municipality for demolition. Shweiki built the house after becoming fed up with the cost of renting. The house was raided by the Municipality after being built, and Shweiki was ordered to pay Municipality fines for the so called ‘illegal construction’ over six years to an estimated total of 96,000 NIS. Despite this, the Israeli courts ultimately ruled that the house was illegal and must be demolished.
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Wadi Hilweh under attack
[photos] Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 9 Dec — Israeli authorities have escalated their push to take over the Palestinian neighborhood of Wadi Hilweh in Silwan in recent weeks. Two families have been issued eviction orders, while local children have been abducted by Israeli forces from the local playground that was built by residents of Wadi Hilweh … Municipality officers and armed troops conducted a neighborhood sweep this week, confiscating the iconic ‘I Love You Silwan’ flags that adorn many homes and the color wire lamps used for fest celebrations … Two representatives of the settlement association ELAD accompanied Municipality officers and troops, taking any opportunity to provoke Palestinian residents. One representative compared a local resident to a cat lying on the side of the road who had been run over by an Israeli settler guard. Arguments erupted when several residents demanded that Municipal officers remove Israeli flags and logos from settler homes in return, a request refused by officers. One Municipality employee stated that “this is a Jewish area now, and we can do whatever we like here.”
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Eviction stalled in East Jerusalem: family awaits new hearing
Silwan (EI) 9 Dec by Nadia Walid Somrein — … On the evening of 28 November, the head of the family, Mohammed Somrein, was overwhelmed with gratitude when the family lawyer informed him that the eviction order was indefinitely postponed. In celebration, he passed around knafa (a Palestinian dessert) to all those present. Although the family have been given a few weeks respite, the threat of eviction continues to hang over their heads. The family believe that the decision to postpone the eviction was tactical in nature, merely to allow some time for the attention surrounding the case to die down. The family also believes that only a miracle will save it from the formidable machine employed by the JNF, an organization that promotes the dispossession of Palestinians.
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Gaza doctors ‘barred from medical conference’ in Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Dec — The Palestinian Center for Human Rights says the health ministry in the Gaza Strip is preventing medical professionals from receiving training in Israel. A medical delegation was barred from crossing at the Erez terminal ahead of a medical conference in Jerusalem, a statement from the rights group said Thursday. Bassam al-Badri, an external medical treatment specialist, was told by the World Health Organization that the Gaza health ministry had banned him and and four members of his delegation.
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Rights group: Land swap agreement ‘illegal’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Dec — Palestinian agreements to swap land with Israel as part of a peace deal are illegal under the law governing occupation, rights group said Al-Haq said Thursday. A recent proposal by Palestinian officials to Mideast Quartet diplomats on the borders of a future state could endanger Palestinian rights and be legally invalid, a new report by the Ramallah-based legal organization says. The November PLO offer proposed swapping 1.9 percent of West Bank land with Israel, the Tel-Aviv based daily Haaretz reported.
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Arab town’s ‘noisy’ prayers annoy Jewish neighbors
Haaretz 9 Dec — Rosh Ha’ayin’s mayor and his constituents are taking a stand against Muslim muezzin prayer calls emanating from nearby Kafr Qasem, objecting that the sounds are a disturbance that harms their quality of life. Rosh Ha’ayin Mayor Moshe Sinai has turned to the government, demanding that the Environmental Protection Ministry’s director of central region affairs, Gideon Mazor, take action to enforce noise pollution laws … For their part, Kafr Qasem residents complain about intolerable infringement of their worship. “We are doing everything, in terms of acoustics,” explains Kafr Qasem Mayor Nader Sarsur. “We lessened the tone and decibels, but we can’t do anything beyond that because this is part of Islamic religion. What’s happening here is straightforward racism.
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Israeli aggression
PCHR weekly report: 2 Palestinians killed, 7 wounded, 52 abducted by Israeli forces this week [Dec 1-7]
IMEMC 9 Dec — …Israeli troops abducted 52 Palestinians, including 8 children, and waged a campaign targeting members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. The Israeli Navy has continued to attack Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip … Israeli forces conducted 61 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they abducted 43 Palestinians, including 3 children … Israeli forces waged a campaign of arrests against members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine on the eve of the 44th anniversary of its establishment. The campaign also targeted Hamas, and the troops raided the office of Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in Tulkarem.
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Palestinian farmers disappointed with olive harvest
AIC 7 Dec — Palestinian farmers had a disappointing olive harvest this year, their trees yielding only two-thirds of last year’s harvest … There are many reasons for the decrease in this year’s crop, but most are directly connected to the Israeli occupation. In particular, the growing settlers’ violence has been a major obstacle. OCHA estimated that 7500 trees were uprooted, set on fire, or otherwise vandalized by Israeli settlers in the West Bank between January and September this year, adding to the half a million trees which have been destroyed by Israeli occupation forces over the last ten years. None of the 97 reported settler attacks against olive trees has so far led to any indictments. Palestinian farmers also face tremendous water restrictions and limited access to their groves, diminishing their crop.
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In Photos: The devastation of the Price Tag campaign in Bruqin
ISM 8 Dec — The smell of fire and sorrow was evident in Bruqin today, which is located to the west of Salfit in the northern area of the West Bank.  Even eight hours later  the feeling of loss populated the air. At approximately 2:30 AM a group of settlers entered the village and set fire to a mosque, a bulldozer, and a car. Israeli police and soldiers documented the attack, but claimed that they did not know who committed it. Many people are skeptical due to the fact that the roads coming into Bruqin are secured and monitored by soldiers and cameras. This was another attack to make life miserable for the Bruqin people. It has been targeted by settlers and Israeli soldiers many times, so the people are certain that this attack will not be the last. The mosque was saved by the villagers.
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VIDEO: ‘Force, might and beatings’: Indelible images of the First Intifada / Ali Abunimah 
EI 9 Dec — December 9, 1987 – exactly 24 years ago – is the day Palestinians remember as the start of the first Intifada, or uprising, against Israel’s brutal and unending occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip that had begun 20 year earlier. One piece of footage in particular had a profound impact all over the world: a group of Israeli soldiers on a hillside in the West Bank systematically breaking the bones of two captive Palestinians, using rocks and sticks … They committed these war crimes at the behest of Israeli leaders, especially then Israeli defense minister Yitzhak Rabin who ordered troops to use “force, might and beatings” (as well as the live ammunition that claimed lives almost daily) to crush the uprising  … The Israeli violence against the completely unarmed first Intifada was intended specifically – as Rabin made clear – to crush any form of Gandhi-like protest, and Israel’s brutality perhaps more than anything else, convinced the next generation of Palestinians that armed resistance was unavoidable. [The video] includes a much longer clip of the hillside bone-breaking that is even more chilling to watch in silence as the soldiers work at their gruesome task methodically.
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Detention / Prisoner swap
Occupation is preparing list of captives’ names to be released
RAMALLAH (PIC) 9 Dec — Israeli radio on Friday morning quoted a high ranking security official as saying that Israeli occupation security has started preparing a list of 550 Palestinian captives to be released in the second stage of the prisoner exchange deal between the occupation and Hamas. The security sources said that the second phase of the prisoner exchange deal reached two months ago will be carried out on 18 December, while the Israeli radio said that the release of the second group of captives might take place next Sunday.
link to Palestinian Information Center
PA: Israel re-arrests prisoner after swap deal
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 8 Dec — Israeli forces detained Thursday one of the prisoners who was released in the latest prisoners swap deal, the ministry of prisoners’ affairs said. The ministry said soldiers detained Ayed Muhammad Khalil from Qaffin village in Tulkarem with his brother and sister in law after they were stopped at a flying checkpoint. The ministry condemned the arrest, saying it was a clear violation of the agreement between Israel and Hamas, the first stage of which was carried out in October.
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Palestinian children suffer from severe trauma after imprisonment
AIC 8 Dec — Children who experienced arrest and detention suffer from multiple problems after being released, ranging from mental and emotional to social and economic difficulties. More than 90% of Palestinian children who have been held in Israeli prisons have severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). East Jerusalem-YMCA has launched a program to support the young ex-detainees
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Israel racism, discrimination
East Jerusalem hospital cut off from all communication due to technicians’ fears to visit area
Haaretz 8 Dec — Al-Quds maternity hospital in Kafr Akeb is an Israeli hospital under Health Ministry supervision; technicians will not visit hospital to fix phone line, internet service, outside separation fence, without security escort … On Tuesday, a woman in labor arrived in great distress. She gave birth prematurely in an emergency operation that saved her life. The baby was rushed to Al-Muqaddas Hospital in East Jerusalem. But the medical file, which is usually sent by fax, could not be delivered … The hospital cannot receive the results of routine laboratory tests, so infants are discharged without the test results about diagnosed sensitivities or diseases. Mothers delivering babies, ambulance drivers, suppliers and staff members are forced to contact the hospital by calling senior doctors’ cell phones … Al-Quds is an Israeli hospital under Health Ministry supervision, within Jerusalem’s municipal borders. Most of its patients are Israeli citizens or legal residents. .. 
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Israeli government to vote on PM’s plan to stem illegal immigration
Haaretz 9 Dec — Plan calls for completing fence along Egyptian border within a year, expanding the Negev-based Saharonim detention facility to increase capacity and building adjacent facility… In November, the number of known illegal border crossings hit a record high of 2,676, bringing to 13,581 the number of illegal immigrants seized while crossing the border in the first 11 months of the year … Migrants’ rights activists voice concern about what they say is an escalation in the rhetoric of Netanyahu and Yishai. “The people they call infiltrators for work purposes are asylum seekers whose applications Israel never reviewed,” says Reut Michaeli, executive director of the Tel Aviv-based Hotline for Migrant Workers. .. 
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Yishai: Every African ‘infiltrator’ will return home
JPost 8 Dec — Interior Minister Eli Yishai vowed Thursday to exert every effort to see that “the last of the infiltrators return to their countries,” referring to the some 50,000 African economic migrants, asylum seekers and refugees currently in Israel. Speaking with Army Radio, Yishai dismissed the notion that Sudanese, Eritreans and other Africans in Israel have any standing to seek political asylum. “These are not refugees, these are economic migrants who want to come to Israel for work,” he said.
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Israel’s High Court to hear petition against segregation at ultra-Orthodox girls’ schools
Haaretz 8 Dec — A petition against the Education Ministry, Jerusalem and several other municipalities is to come before the High Court of Justice today seeking to stop the “apartheid-like” ethnic segregation at state-funded, ultra-Orthodox girls high schools … Laloum said dozens of girls are sitting at home after being rejected by ultra-Orthodox high schools merely because of their Mizrahi origin. He submitted lists of 25 Mizrahi girls in Jerusalem, 48 in Bnei Brak, six in Betar Ilit and 11 in Beit Shemesh. The petitioners submitted papers showing that the quota for Mizrahi girls at 25 state-funded high schools in Jerusalem does not exceed 30 percent and is often much lower.
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One in four Ethiopian Israelis winds up deserting IDF service
Haaretz 8 Dec — They thought that army service would be their entry ticket into society. But internal Israel Defense Forces data reveals that for many Ethiopian immigrants, integrating into Israel society’s chief melting pot, the IDF, is difficult: One in four Ethiopian men winds up deserting, three times the overall rate for male recruits. Furthermore, over 60 percent of Ethiopian soldiers spend some time in an IDF jail
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Political news
Hamas denies seeking guarantee of Jerusalem vote
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Dec — Hamas dismissed a report in the Israeli press Thursday that it was demanding certain preconditions be met before agreeing to hold national elections for a new government. Israel’s Haaretz daily reported Thursday that Hamas was demanding Jerusalem be included in any future election, something Israel could block, as a way for Hamas to avoid carrying out the reconciliation deal. Party spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Hamas was committed to the deal and reiterated that holding elections in Jerusalem is a basic right of the Palestinian people, not a bargaining chip in internal politics.
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Hamas: “We affirm our right to all forms of resistance”
IMEMC 9 Dec — Marking the twenty-fourth anniversary of the first Palestinian Intifada, the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, issued a press release affirming that it will continue all forms of resistance against the Israeli occupation until liberation, independence and the return of the Palestinian refugees.
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Ayalon blasts UNRWA, saying it perpetuates conflict
JPost 9 Dec — A day after the US praised the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon took the organization to task on Thursday. He accused it of perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by not finding permanent solutions for refugees. Speaking at a conference in Geneva marking the 60th anniversary of the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, Ayalon underlined the anomaly that the UN has one organization that deals with tens of millions of refugees from around the world, and another to deal with 4.7 million Palestinian refugees.
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Other news
Dozens of criminal cases closed due to Israel Police negligence in West Bank
Haaretz 9 Dec — Complaints by settlers, Palestinians are handled with equal incompetence — The police’s Shai District, which is responsible for the West Bank, consistently fails to conduct even the most basic investigatory actions, such as taking fingerprints, checking alibis, questioning witnesses and conducting identification line-ups. As a result, case after case – against settlers and Palestinians alike – is either closed without going to trial or thrown out of court, Haaretz has found … In one egregious case, in July 2005, a security guard patrolling the separation fence near Beit Likiya shot and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian. A witness saw the shooting, but police never questioned him. They also failed to obtain a court order barring the suspect from leaving the country – with the result that he fled overseas, beyond the reach of the law.
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Opinion / Analysis
Where’s my friend? / Sam Bahour
9 Dec — My friend is Walid Abu Rass. He is the Finance and Administration Manager for the Health Work Committees (HWC, at, one of the largest community health service providers in the occupied Palestinian territory. … For nearly a week I was emailing Walid with no reply. This was not like him. He and I nearly live behind our keyboards … Then, last night I learned why Walid stopped replying to me. On November 22nd, Israeli occupation soldiers arrived at his home at 1:30 A.M. Walid lives in Ramallah with his wife, Bayan, and two daughters, Mais, 13 years old, and Malak, 4 years old, who were all frighteningly awakened during his arrest … The Israelis have been arresting Palestinians nightly for years now. Israel releases a few hundred prisoners in a media frenzy and then, the same night, starts to refill its prisons, a few Palestinians at a time. Although, as per the Oslo Agreements, the Palestinian side is responsible for security inside the Palestinian cities, Israeli armed forces routinely — read nightly, every night — enter the cities in their armored vehicles in the middle of the night and arrest a dozen or so Palestinians from their homes. Walid was merely the latest victim of this kidnap-by-night strategy.
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Former political prisoner reflects on the 24th anniversary of the First Intifada
AIC 9 Dec — On the anniversary of the outbreak of the First Intifada, which began on December 8-9, 1987 when four Palestinians were killed by IDF forces at the Erez crossing in Gaza, the Alternative Information Center interviewed Ziad Hmaidan, activist, former political prisoner, legal researcher at the Human Rights Organization Al Haq and analyst for the AIC …It is often argued that “both Intifadas did not achieve anything.” What did the First Intifada achieve? The Intifada shaped the Palestinians’ identity inside the Occupied Territories and even inside Israel. It is not true that it did not achieve anything, on the contrary, it was a key experience in building up the Palestinian identity as people–it strengthened the national spirit of the Palestinians in the Territories as well as inside historical Palestine, and it increased the sense of solidarity among them. They went from being people under occupation to people struggling jointly [against the occupation].
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Photo essay: The symmetry of an asymmetrical conflict / Dahlia Scheindlin
972mag 9 Dec — 2011 is drawing to a close and it has been a year full of expectation and suspense regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I admit that I thought it was a year in which significant things might change. But after a weekend trip to some of the hottest spots in the hot spot, I reflected that a few things may always remain stable. Both sides have dreams that will probably not be fulfilled. Both sides have elements – people – who seek a maximalist position. The dreams of those extremes are ultimately likely to be foiled by reality. Despite the asymmetry of power in this conflict, those basic dynamics of maximal demands and the limitations of reality are common to both sides. Here is a short visual rendition from early December, 2011.

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