Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


Trivializing the Holocaust charge

Jan 05, 2012

Nima Shirazi

Orthodox children wearing outfits intended to invoke the Holocaust during a rally in Jerusalem, Dec. 31, 2011. (Photo: AP/Bernat Armangue)

Shortly after reading the “Trivializing the anti-Semitism charge” post on Mondoweiss today, I came across this new Daily Beast article about the Israeli habit of trivializing the Holocaust. The article stems from the recent ultra-Orthodox rallies in Jerusalem which mimicked and exploited iconic Holocaust imagery to protest “an effort by secular Israelis to roll back gender segregation on some bus lines and in certain neighborhoods—a dispute that has surged in recent weeks.”

The article’s author, Dan Ephron, writes that “even as Israel zealously guards the memory of the genocide, many Israelis invoke it frivolously in a manner that can seem shocking to outsiders and might even be illegal in some countries (the EU has a provision against trivializing the Holocaust, as do several European countries individually).”

The litany of “misuses” of Holocaust analogies and references is familiar:

In its more benign form, Israelis might talk about the 1967 line that divides Israel and the West Bank as “the Auschwitz border,” or equate Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Adolf Hitler. Bauer recalls that during Israel’s Lebanon war in 1982, Prime Minister Menachem Begin famously likened the blockade against PLO leader Yasir Arafat in Beirut to the siege on Hitler’s bunker near the end of World War II.

That Ephron uses the word “benign” to describe these ridiculous comparisons is either proof of his own trivialization of the very thing he is seeking to sanctify or, more likely, evidence that he just doesn’t know the definition of the word “benign” (kindly, generous, gentle, benevolent). Surely, a benign reading of Ephron’s word choice would be to assume he meant “banal” instead (i.e. commonplace, mundane, trite, bromidic, clichéd).

He continues,

…it’s not uncommon to hear Israelis refer to other Israelis as Nazis as well. Jewish settlers regularly use the term against Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, as when troops are sent to dismantle unauthorized outposts. The late Yeshayahu Leibowitz, a well-known left-wing intellectual, once described settlers as “Judeo-Nazis.” Israeli traffic cops occasionally complain they’re called Nazis by the motorists they pull over.

Holocaust historian and Yad Vashem academic adviser Yehuda Bauer explains, “People in Israel misuse the Holocaust in politics and other areas all the time,” lamenting, “The comparisons tend to dilute the real significance of the Holocaust.”

Still, the comparisons abound. Just today, a new headline at Ha’aretz reveals that Israeli Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman has “a very hostile attitude toward the media, reportedly calling Haaretz ‘Der Sturmer’ – the Nazis’ propaganda paper.”

After quoting the ever-inane Abe Foxman and describing a new effort in the Knesset to enact anti-trivialization legislation, Ephron ends with another quote from Bauer:

“Israel is a traumatized society that is thrown back onto the trauma all the time,” he tells The Daily Beast. “When a society is traumatized like that, any opponent or perceived enemy is immediately equalized with the worst enemy Israel ever had.”

Read that again. There are two important aspects of Bauer’s observation.

First is the unassailable truth that the idea of perpetual and singular victimhood pervades Jewish Israeli society (and perhaps the American and European Jewish communities at large).

Peter Beinart, in his much-discussed 2010 New York Review of Books article, noted “In the world of AIPAC, the Holocaust analogies never stop, and their message is always the same: Jews are licensed by their victimhood to worry only about themselves.”

Last year, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu used a nearly identical formulation is his speech to an obsequious U.S. Congress. “As for Israel, if history has taught the Jewish people anything, it is that we must take calls for our destruction seriously,” he bellowed. “We are a nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust. When we say never again, we mean never again. Israel always reserves the right to defend itself.”

As this writer has pointed out before, Netanyahu’s turn of phrase is ironic considering the title of former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg’s 2008 book, “The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From Its Ashes,” in which Burg exposes the purpose of playing the victim. “Victimhood sets you free,” he writes.

Furthermore, over thirty years ago, in 1980, Israeli journalist Boaz Evron put it another way: “If we assume the world hates us and persecutes us, we feel exempted from the need to be accountable for our actions towards it.”

Though Bauer, as quoted in Ephron’s article, suggests that Israel is “thrown back onto trauma all the time,” Israeli professor and historian Avi Shlaim addressed that particular formulation almost exactly three years ago as Israeli bombs, bullets, and white phosphorous tore Gaza and hundreds of Palestinian men, women, and children to shreds. He wrote in The Guardian:

As always, mighty Israel claims to be the victim of Palestinian aggression but the sheer asymmetry of power between the two sides leaves little room for doubt as to who is the real victim. This is indeed a conflict between David and Goliath but the Biblical image has been inverted – a small and defenceless Palestinian David faces a heavily armed, merciless and overbearing Israeli Goliath. The resort to brute military force is accompanied, as always, by the shrill rhetoric of victimhood and a farrago of self-pity overlaid with self-righteousness. In Hebrew this is known as the syndrome of bokhim ve-yorim, “crying and shooting”.

Seven months before that, in May 2008, Uri Avnery observed that

the Palestinians are suffering from several cruel strokes of fate: The people that oppress them claim for themselves the crown of ultimate victimhood. The whole world sympathizes with the Israelis because the Jews were the victims of the most horrific crime of the Western world. That creates a strange situation: the oppressor is more popular than the victim. Anyone who supports the Palestinians is automatically suspected of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

The second interesting aspect of Bauer’s concluding quote is that the Nazis, who were in power from 1933 to 1945, are described as “the worst enemy Israel ever had.” Israel was founded in 1948. Bauer is clearly – though perhaps unconsciously – equating “Israel” with “Jews” and utilizes his own Holocaust reference to reconstruct history and erase Palestinian existence altogether.

In so doing, Bauer conforms his worldview to the epitome of Netanyahu’s Zionist chauvinism: Israel is a “Jewish State” that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust, rather than one built – violently, colonially, and deliberately – atop the ruins of Palestine.


Jan 05, 2012

Sarah Ziyad

(Photo: Sarah Ziyad)

August 24, 2011

Once again, I find myself in this place; I feel convicted, compelled to write—of things I’ve seen, of things I experienced, of things that shook me once again to my core and have haunted me ever since. I‘m speaking of Palestine, of the occupation—things I know could alienate me from some who prefer a different story, who will dismiss my words as bias, or simply refuse to read on. Because it’s a mess over there, and there are stories that rarely reach us in our tidy, partisan lives. But I must write. For now, I will only share one story.

After a slightly-painful-crossing into Israel (this time, they only questioned me 3 times, only made my friends wait for me for an hour), my friends and I boarded a bus to Jerusalem, relieved at our good fortune of having made the journey from Amman to Israel in less than half a day. Nearing the city, both bus driver and passengers were puzzled when traffic was re-directed—apparently, the road to the Damascus Gate was closed. Odd. 

We eventually found our way to an intersection near the bus stop, disembarking near the north side of the Old City. Immediately, we sensed something was wrong. Several Israeli officers on large, armored horses trotted quickly by us, and in the distance we saw flashing lights and a large crowd of agitated people.

 I rushed toward the disturbance, finding myself in the midst of a near-riot. Shouts of “Come, let us go down! Let us go pray!” filled the air, as throngs of people attempted to enter the gates to the historic Arab quarter. Police officers standing on barricades swatted at the young Palestinians, while mounted officers charged into the crowd to try and disperse those struggling to get inside.

A young German-Palestinian boy approached me and began to explain what I was witnessing: the Israelis had closed Al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, for Friday prayers. No one from outside the city was allowed to enter, and inside the gates only those age 50 and up were allowed to pray. For all those attempting to come from other Palestinian towns, or, in my friend’s case, all the way from Europe, for this important pilgrimage, the answer was an unequivocal “No.”

The stranger soon vanished into the surging crowd once more, leaving me on the hot pavement, heart pounding painfully beneath the weight of this news. I can’t begin to describe to a non-Muslim the way these people were robbed. It is impossible for a non-Muslim to understand the significance of attending Friday prayers in Al Aqsa in Ramadan—or the sickening injustice of being blocked from doing so. I began to quiver with shock and indignation as I helplessly watched the batons swing at these would-be worshipers, there in the alleged “holy land.” 

Armed vehicles rolled into the streets, and water cannons were turned on the stubborn, shouting masses. As the situation escalated, some of the crowd began to dejectedly pull back, dizzy after so much shouting and jostling in the blistering sun (while fasting). Others continued to argue with the officers, arms waving and as they raised their futile pleas.

Suddenly, the buzz of the crowd was pierced by a lone, wistful cry—someone was reciting the call to prayer. “Allahu akbar….allahu akbar…” (“God is great, God is great…”)

“Time to pray!! Time to pray!!” shouted the crowd, as they clambered away from the soldiers and into quiet, neat rows behind the muzzein (caller). 

And so they prayed. In the street. Kneeled, prostrated, with bowed heads and closed eyes, as over two dozen armed officers, 9 mounted policeman, and two snipers (or more, if the others were better hidden) watched on. Watching their humble motions, dignified and utterly peaceful, I fought back bitter tears.

A thin man with a strong voice gave a sermon next as the worshippers sat quietly in the street, some holding flattened boxes over the elderly as shelter from the unforgiving sun. The man spoke with emotion, calling on his brothers to be strong, united, and faithful. He recalled that so many in neighboring nations were “suffering even more” than they—he cited Syria, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen. He reminded them that God is near to us when we struggle and are victimized. He encouraged them not to lose hope and led the crowd in supplication, as they all raised open hands to the sky and murmured fervent petitions to their Lord. I joined them.

And when they finished with a resounding “Ameen,” they picked up their scraps of cardboard and carpet, and they left. 

They left in peace. 

I wish I could say as much for myself. I mean, yes, my friends and I went on to spend the next few days with Palestinian friends, exploring, laughing, dancing, and living. But I will never forget that Friday afternoon, and the horror I felt as the reality of the occupation came crashing another level deeper into my heart and mind. It was a relatively “small” incident in the grand scheme of things. Worse clashes have taken place, greater injustices have been done, and Palestinians (and Israelis) have been robbed of so much more than Friday prayers. I know this. Fifteen Gazans have been killed this week. My father, he was born in Gaza.

But I haven’t been sleeping well, I haven’t been eating much, because this sickness has infected me, now. I’ve been half-tormented ever since that day, because I carried those faces and voices home with me, and I hate the way those children were born into a world of walls. I hate the way no one will let me finish their story, when I try to speak. I hate this broken, broken “peace process,” and the way their world hangs on a web of agendas that looks more like a noose than a lifeline.
I need to learn so much more. I need to be the student of my Palestinian friends, the ones who live there, under the occupation, who never surrender their dignity or determination to live in freedom, but who, at the same time, cling steadfastly to hope and place their faith so beautifully in God. They take my breath away, with their sad eyes and gracious voices.

Lord, help us.

Jewish power + Jewish hubris = ‘moral catastrophe of epic proportions’

Jan 05, 2012

Philip Weiss

Jerry Haber
Jerry Haber

Jerry Haber wrote this in a new year’s post a week ago. I missed it. A non-Jewish friend sent it to me today, someone who loves Jews. This says it all. It’s why I pour so much energy into this site. (Jerry and I were bar mitzvah’d by the same cantor in the same shul. But I was in the inner city branch, he was in the suburbs.)

So let me start by repeating what I have said before: We are living in a long dark night for Judaism.

No this is no ordinary Jewish pessimism. Historically, American Jews, according to Jonathan Sarna, have often viewed their generation as the last, or next to last, before the American Jewish community went kaput.  My pessimism is of a different sort. If the Holocaust was a hurban, a physical catastrophe for Jews, the “New Chauvinism,” euphemistically portrayed as “Jewish Pride” (as if pride were anything but a vice in traditional Judaism), together with  real power and the loss of Eimat ha-Goyyim / Fear of the Gentiles, has been  a moral catastrophe of epic proportions for Judaism.

Every day Haaretz  publishes at least one article, usually buried somewhere, about how Palestinians are being cheated out of the birthright in a variety of ways by Israelis. It has nothing to do with Israeli security; it has nothing to do with Palestinian “terrorism;” it has everything to do with the theft of land, resources, and the infringement of liberty.

And yet, with very few exceptions among my coreligionists (God bless them), NOBODY CARES.  Of course,  people in general, and Jews in particular, need to feel moral outrage about something.  So they aim for a Jewish consensus in their expressions of such outrage.  Palestinians are being thrown out of houses that they purchased or received legally? Why not protest social injustice against Jews by Jews?  Palestinian women undergo humiliating strip searches by private security firms at checkpoints? Why not protest the separation of Jewish women from Jewish men on public transportation?

… as disgusting as this new practice of public separation is, it pales in comparison with what we Jews are doing on a daily basis to Palestinians.  So, yes, there is injustice here, and  I condemn it, — but Jewish tribalism shouldn’t dictate all priorities, and a sense of proportion should not be lost.

Mixed messages from Syrian National Council on U.S., Israel

Jan 05, 2012

Paul Mutter

This article first appeared on the Arabist.
According to Reuters, the Syrian National Council and the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria – the two largest opposition coalitions in Syria – signed on the last Friday of 2011 a unity pledge that “reject[s] any military intervention that harms the sovereignty or stability of the country, though Arab intervention is not considered foreign.” However, remarks delivered to the U.S. and Israeli press by a Council spokesman seem to contradict the Council’s stated support for the new joint policy.
The rejection of (Western) military intervention is a significant concession on the part of the Syrian National Council – the smaller, more diaspora-oriented of the two main coalitions – as the Council had been calling for NATO to enforce a no-fly zone (“Safe Area for Syria“). The Council’s representatives have compared the situation in Syria to that in Libya (as such, it is not surprising that the transitional government in Libya is the only foreign government to have formally recognized the Council). Those analyzing the feasibility and costs of such intervention argue that Syria’s extensive air defense system and high population densities will make a no-fly zone difficult to enforce, leading to heavy civilian casualties and, ultimately, require major troop deployments.
Despite the unity agreement, one of the Council’s spokesmen/leaders, Samir Nashar, told theWashington Times that “the majority of SNC leaders agree with international military intervention as early as possible” even though “they might not be brave enough to express it openly.” Nashar’s statements (at least those made to the Washington Times) are expressly targeted at garnering U.S. support: he told the paper that intervention would present a “historic opportunity” for the U.S. in the region, and that most Syrians would welcome a replay of NATO’s 2011 Libyan engagement. It is not clear if Nashar’s statements have been approved by the rest of the Council. The Guardian reported that as of December 31, 2011, “the membership of the group [Syrian National Council] has yet to formally adopt” the full terms of the unity agreement.
Nashar, and the Council, may be hedging their bets at this stage. Even if a Turkish or Arab League military mission (the latter would ostensibly be “permitted” by the Syrian opposition) materialized to oppose Assad, the U.S. would be involved. And unless the Syrian military decides to stand down as the Egyptian and Tunisian armed forces did last winter (thus helping force Ben Ali and Mubarak out of office), it is unlikely Assad will find himself adrift within his own inner circle. A violent end, or sufficient threat of one, would really be the only option available to the opposition to secure victory over the regime.
Nashar’s statements have also been picked up by the Israeli media. Haaretz has focused on the Council’s new Israel policy. The Guardian reports that the unity agreement between the Council and the National Coordination Body only makes vague reference to “liberating Syrian territory,” which is almost certainly a reference to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Samir Nashar is quoted as saying that while the Council’s focus would be on rebuilding Syria, “the Arab Initiative will most probably be acceptable after the regime change, and we hope it will become a reality. After Syria will get back the Golan Heights, they will accept whatever will be accepted by the Palestinian people.” Haaretz also noted Nashar’s reiteration of the Council’spromise to distance Syria from Iranian influence if Assad is removed from power. Although Nashar was reticent about the status of Hamas and recognition of Israel, he is clearly striking the right notes for liberal hawks in the U.S. foreign policy establishment.
He’ll have to press harder, though. Despite Nashar’s latest comments, the U.S. and NATO have not publicly committed their forces to taking military or humanitarian action in Syria. The U.S.’s NATO ambassador said in November 2011 that “there has been no planning, no thought, and no discussion about any intervention into Syria.” The Cable reports that while conservatives and neoconservatives have been critical of Obama’s position on Syria, and of the Arab League observer mission, sources close to the administration say that the president is weighing his options for taking new steps against Assad.

Christian group dedicated to derailing divestment bankrolled by settler-funding philanthropy

Jan 05, 2012

Alex Kane


When United Methodists converge on Tampa, Florida this Spring, and the Presbyterian Church (USA) holds its general assembly in early July, the question of divestment from companies that profit off of the Israeli occupation will once again attract significant attention. Delegates at these church wide meetings will be confronted by an array of attacks on any resolution that promotes divestment as one route to pressure Israel and its control over the occupied Palestinian territories. And a familiar face to the delegates will be leading the fight against these resolutions: Sister Ruth Lautt, the national director of Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East (CFWME).

Lautt is a member of the Dominican sisters order of nuns (Roman Catholic) and a former lawyer. Her organization, which she runs on her own (though there is a board), says it “advocate[s]” for “fairness” in American church dealings related to Israel/Palestine. In practice, this has meant leading delegations to Israel, promoting “positive investment” in the region instead of divestment, and working “behind-the-scenes” at religious conventions, “helping opponents of divestment draft motions [and] applying persuasion at the subcommittee and committee levels,” as the New York Times has reported.

But an analysis of donations to the organization reveals a much more complicated picture that raises questions about CFWME’s professed mission and their role in church politics on Israel. My investigation of donation tax records to CFWME show that the organization’s budget has more than doubled since its founding through the support of funders linked to illegal West Bank settlements and promoting Islamophobia in the U.S.

The settlement-funders who contribute to CFWME stand in stark contrast to the Dominican order’s position on Israel/Palestine. An Israel/Palestine briefing on a Dominican order website,part of the order’s “call to justice” which Lautt’s New York-based branch signed onto, calls for prayer and support for the Palestinian United Nations bid for statehood. It also expressed firm support for the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, which does BDS work.

Lautt did not respond to repeated requests for an interview.

Her organization’s website is filled with appeals to fairness, the two-state solution, the peace process and negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians–nothing that on its face would seem to contradict the Dominican order’s take on the conflict. CFWME also routinely issues press releases blasting any church action or rhetoric in support of boycotts or divestment from illegal Israeli settlements.

Their most recent press release quotes a religious leader saying that “Fair Witness supports both the Israelis and Palestinians in their quest for peace. We therefore encourage Israel to continue to accept the Quartet proposal and we strongly urge the Palestinians to also accept the Quartet’s plan and sit down and negotiate directly with Israel. This is the only way peace can come to this region.”

It is a decidedly different Christian pro-Israel take than the usual fire and brimstone rhetoric from Christian Zionists.

“It gears itself, I think, towards otherwise liberal congregations,” said David Wildman, a longtime proponent of divestment who is the executive secretary for Human Rights & Racial Justice at the United Methodist Church’s Board of Global Ministries. But Wildman, a critic of CFWME, also described the organization as an “attack group” that seeks to “block other efforts at achieving a just peace.”

New York Times profile of Lautt published in 2008 says that she “disassociates herself from Christian Zionists of the theological and political right…openly criticizes [the] occupation of the West Bank and laments Palestinian suffering.” The profile also reported that Lautt has “little contact with Jewish advocacy groups, none with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobby.”

Sister Ruth Lautt (Photo: G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times)
Sister Ruth Lautt
(Photo: G. Paul Burnett/New York Times)

But that’s not true. According to the organization’s tax filings, donations to CFWME have steadily increased since the group was founded in December 2005, from $82,432 in 2006 to over $200,000 in 2008, although donations have decreased since then (in 2010, the group received $119,652 in donations). And right-wing Zionist, settler-funding philanthropic groups have contributed to the organization’s increase in funds.

Take, for example, the funding received from the Newton D. & Rochelle F. Becker Foundation, a group that gives to anti-Muslim, right-wing Zionist and neoconservative causes. In 2006, the foundation gave Lautt’s group $16,342, as well as giving $25,000 to the Central Fund of Israel (CFI), which the New York Times described as a multimillion dollar “vehicle” used to “channel donations” to West Bank settlements. A 2009 column by Akiva Eldar in Ha’aretz reported that the CFI gave money to the extremist yeshiva in a West Bank settlement “whose rabbi said it’s okay to kill gentile babies.” This foundation and its affiliated groups were identified by the Center for American Progress as one of the top donors to anti-Muslim causes in the U.S., giving $1.1 million to Islamophobic groups from 2001-2009.

Similarly, CFWME received $5,000 from the William Rosenwald Family Fund in 2006, a philanthropic group that has also contributed to neoconservative groups like the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and Commentary magazine. The foundation was also identified by the Center for American Progress as a main funder of anti-Muslim groups.

Other philanthropic groups that fund the organization tend to give to a wide array of causes, including liberal causes domestically, but also to groups tied to West Bank settlements. For example, in 2008 the Rosenfeld Foundation gave CFWME $1,500, as well as money to the American Jewish Committee, the Innocence Project, Middlebury college and more. The foundation also donated $1,000 to AISH New York, linked to the pro-settler Aish HaTorah network. A representative for Aish once publicly wished for the death of “a hundred Arabs or a thousand Arabs for every one Jew they kill.”

Another philanthropic group that gives to CFWME is the Jewish Communal Fund, which gave CFWME $2,000 in 2006 and $2,500 in 2007. The Jewish Communal Fund gave $18,000 to the Christian Friends of Israeli Communities, a Christian Zionist group that promotes settlements in the West Bank and has given money for settlement infrastructure. The fund has also doled out tens of thousands of dollars to the Aish network. And Jared Malsin recently reported inSalon that the fund also gives to the Hebron Fund, a group Malsin linked to incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in Hebron.

Further linking CFWME to right-wing Zionist causes is the fact that Dexter Van Zile, who hasworked for the David Project and currently works for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), has served on CFWME’s board. Many of the philanthropic organizations funding CFWME also fund CAMERA and the David Project. Van Zile declined a request for an interview, and said on Twitter that he has not been “involved with the organization for several years.”

According to Wildman, Van Zile is a constant presence at divestment battles in churches, lobbying against divestment efforts. The David Project helped lobby to reverse a pro-divestment Presbyterian church resolution in 2006. and CAMERA frequently issues statementsagainst BDS and blasts church divestment initiatives.

The funding revelations complicate the image CFWME projects as a liberal group working for a just peace in Israel/Palestine. Instead, CFWME is being funded by groups that are linked to anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S. and that are partners in Israel’s West Bank colonization project. And Lautt’s advocacy is being bankrolled by people strongly opposed to the Dominican order’s view of the conflict, which calls for solidarity with Palestinian Christians.

Poof, Dome of the Rock, gone: IDF rabbinate edits Dome of the Rock out of picture of the Temple Mount

Jan 05, 2012

Today in Palestine

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Photo used by the IDF rabbinate


IDF rabbinate edits out Dome of the Rock from picture of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount
Photo appears in army packet on Hanukkah describing the Jewish revolt against Hellenistic rule; IDF spokesman: Image meant to illustrate a period in which holy Muslim site did not exist.
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Land, Property Theft & Destruction / Ethnic Cleansing / Apartheid / Refugees

Trial of West Bank Civil Protester to Resume Sunday
RAMALLAH, January 5, 2012 (WAFA) – The trial of Bassem Tamimi, a resident of Nabi Saleh village, near Ramallah, and a known civil protester will resume Sunday, according to local activists. In the trial, Ofer military court near Ramallah will hear the testimony of an Israeli police inspector who took part in the interrogation of a Palestinian minor in order to incriminate Tamimi, arrested in March, said the sources. Inspector Jalal Aweida was one of the key interrogators of 14 year-old Islam Dar Ayyoub who claimed that Tamimi organized groups of youth into ‘brigades’ assigned with different responsibilities during the demonstrations including stone-throwing and blocking roads.
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IOA to confiscate 169 dunums of Salfit land
The IOA has notified the municipal council of Eskaka village, east of Salfit, that 169 dunums of the village’s land would be confiscated, the municipality chairman, Samir Haris, said.
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Israeli forces demolish 2 Jericho homes
JERICHO (Ma’an) — Israeli forces demolished two homes belonging to Jerusalem families in a village near West Bank city Jericho on Thursday. Bulldozers accompanied by military patrols tore down the homes in al-Duyuk, west of Jericho, also destroying the electricity connection to the site, residents told Ma’an. Forces told the owners the houses were built without a permit in Area C, which Israel fully controls under the 1993 Oslo Accords. Encompassing 60 percent of the West Bank, Israel only allows Palestinians to build in 1 percent of Area C, on land which is already heavily built up.
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Israel destroys storage containers in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces destroyed storage containers and confiscated commercial goods belonging to Palestinians in East Jerusalem on Thursday, locals said. Israeli forces and bulldozers entered al-Eizariya and confiscated stone displayed for sale in the al-Mashtal neighborhood near Maale Adumin settlement. They handed residents demolition orders and requested store owners present licenses. The store owners told Ma’an they had licenses from al-Eizariya town council but their requests for permits from Israeli liaison officials were rejected.
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The separation fence could divide the nuns from the monks at the Cremisan monastery, giving new meaning to gender segregation.

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Occupation authorities install cctv cameras inside the Aqsa Mosque
The Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage revealed that the Israeli occupation on Tuesday installed cctv cameras to monitor the Aqsa Mosque, especially from the side of the Maghareba Gate.
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Lebanese MPs: The Boogeyman of Tawteen
 Lebanese politicians habitually invoke the specter of permanent settlement of Palestinians in Lebanon (tawteen) at every political juncture to instill a fear of the other. The other, in this case, is the Palestinian refugee living in refugee camps.
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Violence / Aggression
Israeli Forces Raid Town near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM, January 5, 2012 (WAFA) – Israeli Forces Thursday raided Takou’, a town east of Bethlehem, according to security sources. They told WAFA that after raiding the town, Israeli soldiers raided a house that belongs to a Palestinian and searched it. No arrests were reported.
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Report: Occupation committed 120 violations against Journalists, arrested 17
The Palestinian Journalist Assembly said that 2011 witnessed an escalation of violations by the Israeli occupation against Palestinian journalists.

Vandals spray paint the ‘revenge’ on the truck’s side and ‘price tag’ on a nearby electrical closet.
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Hundreds of Israelis visit religious site in Palestinian village
SALFIT (Ma’an) Israeli forces escorted hundreds of Israelis to a religious site in a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank early Thursday. Soldiers deployed along the streets and barricaded the entrances to Kifl Haris, near Salfit, to check villagers’ identity cards, locals told Ma’an. Dozens of armored buses transferred the Israelis into the village at 12.30 a.m., where they shouted slogans against Arabs, resident Amjad Abu Yacoub said. An Israeli army spokeswoman said “1,400 Israelis entered Joshus Binun tomb in the village, there were no disturbances.”
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Ban on 12 settlers in West Bank
Israeli police issue restraining orders banning 12 settlers from entering the occupied West Bank for up to nine months

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Systematic West Bank Settler Violence, Stephen Lendman
B’Tselem’s been on the story for years. Settler violence is longstanding, troubling, and largely without accountability. Since September 2000 alone (the beginning of the second Intifada), the toll includes 50 Palestinians killed. Since December 1987 (the first Intifada’s onset), it’s 115, besides many more injured, including children. With few exceptions, settlers initiate unprovoked violence. More recently, those under the “Price Tag” slogan rampage out-of-control. B’Tselem documented numerous incidents, including blocking roads, stoning cars and homes, torching fields, uprooting trees and other crops, as well as other forms of violence and damage.
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No jail for Jewish extremists in “price tag” attacks
Twelve Jewish extremists involved in “price tag” arson attacks on Palestinians in recent weeks have escaped jail time, but will instead be barred from the West Bank for up to a year, Israel’s military revealed in a statement on Tuesday. Referring to the men as “activists,” the statement said that one man has been banned for one year, while the others will not be able to enter the occupied Palestinian territory for varied periods between three and nine months.
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IDF Investigations: Will There Be Justice for Tamimi?
IDF policy requires a criminal investigation be launched immediately when military operations in the occupied Palestinian territories cause death. But a defective system essentially ensures that the investigation will not be conducted in a fair and impartial manner, enabling soldiers to continue to act with impunity. This article was first published in The Jerusalem Post and is reprinted with permission.

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French Court To Look Into File Of Child Shot In His Father’s Arms
A French court will be looking into the case of Mohammad Ad-Dorra, 12, who was killed after being repeatedly shot, on September 30, 2000, while seeking shelter from Israeli military fire in his father’s lap; the father was also shot by several rounds.
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Undercover Israeli soldiers kidnap Palestinian child

Undercover Israeli security forces kidnapped a Palestinian child in Aisawiye, to the north east of occupied Jerusalem, on Tuesday evening, local sources said.
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Palestinian Children Detained Oppressively in Isolation, Stephen Lendman
DCI/Palestine “is a national section of the international non-government child rights organisation and movement (dedicated) to promoting and protecting the rights of Palestinian children,” according to international law principles. On December 28, it submitted a complaint to several UN authorities titled, “The use of solitary confinement on Palestinian children held in Israeli detention.” It’s specifically for five children held at Al Jalame and Petah Tikva interrogation centers in Israel.
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Report: Palestinian arrested in Beersheba

TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian man in Beersheba on Wednesday, the Israeli news site Ynet reported. The man, from Jenin, is suspected of planning a stabbing attack and was transferred to the Shin Bet for questioning, the report said.
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Gaza man killed in tunnel collapse
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A man was killed and another injured when a tunnel collapsed under the border with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday morning. Bilal Shaat, 24, from Khan Younis, died while working in the underground passage near al-Salam neighborhood in southern Rafah, officials said. An injured colleague was transferred to Abu Yousef al Najar hospital in Rafah along with Shaat’s body, they added.
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Anwar and Haneen: two beautiful girls murdered by Israel, Sarah Ali

Were 13-year-old Anwar and five-year-old Haneen terrorists? What could possibly explain the Israeli army’s targeting of children during its invasion of Gaza three years ago?
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5 January 2009: Amal al-Samouni
“I have constant pain in my head, eyes and ears. I have been having nose bleeds for the past three years. I can still feel the shrapnel move inside my brain”  On 4 January 2009 at around 6:00 Israeli forces surrounded the house where Amal al-Samouni (11) and 18 members of her extended family were sheltering, in Zeitoun neighborhood east of Gaza City. Israeli soldiers ordered the owner of the house, Amal’s father Attia al-Samouni (37), to step outside with his hands up. Upon opening the door he was immediately killed by shots to the head and chest. Soldiers then started firing bullets into the house, killing Amal’s 4-year old brother Ahmad al-Samouni and injuring at least 4 other people, of whom 2 were children.
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Who remembers Gaza?
For the moment, the Arab revolutions have marginalized the Palestinian issue. For the first time in over half a century, the agenda of the Arab world–both that of governments and the people–is not determined by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but by the social and political difficulties they are facing: poverty, economic development and democracy. And when the Palestinian issue is marginalized, the Gaza Strip is pushed to the margins of the margins.
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Six Common Misconceptions about Gaza that are so 2011
In the sixth place: “The civilian closure has been lifted and only security restrictions remain”. Gaza is not as isolated from the rest of the world as it was a few years ago, but it is still cut off from the West Bank and it’s hard to find convincing security reasons why. For example, Israel prohibits students from traveling from Gaza to the West Bank – individual security checks are not even an option because the ban is sweeping. Israel does not allow goods from Gaza to be sold in the West Bank or Israel, while at the same time allowing exports from Gaza to Europe to be transferred through its own airports and seaports. It also imposes restrictions on the import of building materials into the Gaza Strip. The impact is felt mainly by international organizations rather than the local government, which gets all the cement, gravel, and steel it needs from the tunnels. Ongoing restrictions make it difficult for Gaza’s economy to recover, but they also split families apart and impede Gaza residents’ access to higher education and the opportunity to acquire training in a number of highly needed fields.
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Activism / Solidarity

Video: 10 Years of Struggle for Justice
This year, contributions from supporters will allow us to plant 2,050 olive trees for Palestinian farming families in 2012. Thanks to your generosity, the US Campaign will be able to replace almost 25% of the olive trees destroyed by Israel this year.  Your support will also allow us to capitalize on a decade of tireless work, and challenge U.S. support for Israeli occupation and apartheid on an unprecedented scale in 2012.
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Discrimination / Racism / Sexism
High Court rejects petition against Israel’s controversial ‘Nakba Law’
Arab, Jewish citizens submit petition against law granting finance minister power to reduce budget of state-funded bodies that reject Israel as Jewish state or mark the Palestinian Nakba.
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Israeli credit card firm leaves women out of Jerusalem billboards
Activists working to bring images of women back onto ads in the capital, start a protest on Isracard’s Facebook page.
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Gynecology convention excludes female lecturers
PUAH Institute holds conference on female issues but only male experts are invited to speak; organizers claim rabbis prohibited participation of women doctors.
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Political Developments / Diplomacy & other Palestine / Israel news
Report: Israel submitted 22-point document to Palestinians
Ramallah – Israel submitted a 22-point document to the Palestinians this week during their first face-to-face meeting in nearly 16 months, a London-based Arabic newspaper reported Thursday. Nimr Hammad, an advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, confirmed to al-Quds al-Arabi that Israel had submitted the document, but declined to give details. The newspaper nonetheless reported it had ‘learned’ about the document’s content. It reportedly states that Israel is willing to withdraw from some Arab neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem, but not to the lines that existed before 1967. It is also reportedly willing to evacuate some, but not all, West Bank settlements.
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