450 elderly immigrants will be displaced by US embassy move to Jerusalem

The former Diplomat Hotel, now part of the United States consular compound in Arnona area of Jerusalem, is built on disputed territory. (photo: Artur Widak / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The US Embassy move to Jerusalem will cause 450 elderly immigrants to lose their homes, and the Knesset doesn’t have a solution yet.

By Avichai Scher | Forward | Mar 21, 2018

“There are only two years left to create a practical and fair solution, and today we hear again from the Ministry of Immigration that they still have no solutions. . . . We have lost too much time, but we will not wait any longer. The issue of Diplomat Hotel and its tenants must be solved immediately.”
— Ksenia Svetlova, Zionist Union member of Knesset

The Diplomat Hotel, which is owned by the US and is located next door to the Jerusalem consulate that will become the embassy in 2020, is being leased as housing for elderly immigrants. But the building is slated to become part of the embassy, forcing the residents to find other housing.

At a heated discussion at the Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee on Monday, Ksenia Svetlova of the left-wing Zionist Union blasted the committee for not moving quickly enough to find a solution for the residents.

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Facebook shuts down Palestinian news site

(photo: Dado Ruvic / Reuters)

The Israeli Justice Ministry has asked Facebook to disable 12,351 Palestinian accounts.

By Adam Rasgon | The Jerusalem Post | Mar 25, 2018

“While Facebook is taking action against Palestinian content, it is not even paying attention to inciting posts by Israelis.”
— Iyad Rifai, coordinator of Sada Social, an NGO documenting Facebook’s actions against Palestinian accounts

Over the weekend, Facebook disabled the account of Safa, a Gaza-based Palestinian news site; it had almost 1.3 million followers.

Safa is widely seen as sympathetic to Hamas, but an employee at the news site said in a phone call that the media outlet is “independent” and “has no relationship with Hamas.”

Facebook disabled Safa’s account, along with the accounts of 10 Safa editors, just after 5 pm on Saturday, without issuing a warning or providing an explanation, a manager of Safa’s social media team told The Jerusalem Post.

“We were totally surprised,” said the social media manager, who asked not to be named. “We are now working to restore the account because 60% of [the] website’s traffic comes through Facebook.”

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Trump’s plan to relocate US embassy to Jerusalem stuck in red tape

A US flag flies over part of the the consulate compound in Jerusalem. (photo: Ammar Awad / Reuters)

The Israeli Finance Minister is promoting an emergency move that would bypass planning regulations.

By Yael Darel | Haaretz | Mar 22, 2018

“It is not at all certain that the effort now underway to convert the consulate to an embassy meets the standard of the law.”
— Yossi Miller, Israeli attorney specializing in planning and building law

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said he was seeking an exemption from planning regulations to ensure that the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem can be upgraded to become the American embassy in time for Israel’s 70th anniversary celebrations on May 14, 2018.

Kahlon said he has asked the National Planning Committee, chaired by Avigdor Yitzhaki, to impose a rarely used exemption in the National Planning and Building Law empowering him to request the exception and hoped the committee would approve the measure when at an emergency meeting next Tuesday.

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Inspiring Hope: The Kids4Peace Seattle Annual Benefit (Apr 24)


Please join our brothers and sisters at Join Kids4Peace Seattle for their fifth annual spring celebration!

Date: Tuesday, Apr 24, 2017
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Location: Temple De Hirsch Sinai
1441 16th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
Information: Event information here →
Email questions here →
Tickets: $50 per person
Register here →
Event Details

Help us recognize the many successes of the past year as we also look forward with excitement to upcoming programs. You will hear directly from youth involved in Kids4Peace and get updates on our work in the US and Jerusalem.

Tickets are $50 per person; there will be an opportunity to make an additional pledge of support at the event. The ticket price is fully tax-deductible, and all donations go directly to support the work of Kids4Peace as we develop a new generation of peace leaders.

Wine and coffee will be served, along with a delicious dessert buffet. Continue reading “Inspiring Hope: The Kids4Peace Seattle Annual Benefit (Apr 24)”

Bolton’s plan to make Palestine disappear

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and newly-appointed US National Security Advisor John Bolton. (photo: Shahar Azran)

Bolton is unlikely to be any check on Trump’s worst instincts — and, in fact, is apt to cheerlead those instincts.

By Michael Brown | The Electronic Intifada | Mar 26, 2018

Bolton has proposed a “three-state solution”: Israel, giving Gaza to Egypt, and giving the West Bank to Jordan.

One of the few times Donald Trump talked an iota of sense during his 2016 presidential campaign was when he lambasted the trillions of dollars wasted waging war in the Middle East.

In Charlotte, North Carolina on 26 October 2016 he argued that those wars “have produced only more terrorism, more death, and more suffering” and the money involved could have been better spent at home.

Yet in the last few weeks Trump has announced his determination to move CIA director Mike Pompeo — to be replaced there, he hopes, by torturer Gina Haspel — to head the State Department and has named superhawk John Bolton, a former ambassador to the United Nations, to be his national security adviser.

Bolton’s bellicosity strikes terror into the hearts of activists who have followed his career. Social media lit up between fears of war with Iran and war with North Korea.

He is, as The New York Review of Books rightly put it, “one angry man.”

Continue reading “Bolton’s plan to make Palestine disappear”

UN Blacklist: Why Israel is doing everything it can to thwart the UN Human Rights Council

Israeli security forces take aim as a Palestinian protester looks on during clashes in the village of Kfar Qaddum, near Nablus in the occupied West Bank, Nov 24, 2017. (photo: Jaafar Ashtiyeh / AFP)

About 100 local companies and 50 international companies that operate in the West Bank and east Jerusalem have received warning letters that they will be on the list.

By Haaretz | Nov 26, 2017

“We will do everything we can to ensure that this list does not see the light of day.”
— Israeli UN ambassador, Danny Danon

Weeks ahead of the expected completion of a UN database of companies that operate in Israels West Bank settlements, Israel and the Trump Administration are working feverishly to prevent its publication. . . . [Ed. note: The publication has subsequently been postponed.]

While Israel is usually quick to brush off UN criticism, officials say they are taking the so-called blacklist seriously, fearing its publication could have devastating consequences by driving companies away, deterring others from coming and prompting investors to dump shares of Israeli firms. Dozens of major Israeli companies, as well as multinationals that do business in Israel, are expected to appear on the list.

Continue reading “UN Blacklist: Why Israel is doing everything it can to thwart the UN Human Rights Council”

Interfaith activities improve ties between Jews and Muslims

Sheik Imam Mohammed Shchata and Rabbi Albert Gabbi talk during a public assembly for religious tolerance on Sep 11, 2010, in Philadelphia. (photo: Joseph Kaczmarek / AP)

Frequent contact created a sense that the two religions were more similar, more inclusive, more evolving, and more modern.

By Jewish Telegraph Agency | Mar 21, 2018

“Muslim-Jewish relations are thought to be in conflict but this study shows that they are in a state of cooperation. This is the first definitive study of its kind to quantify that, with cooperation and dialogue between the two groups, we are stronger together.”
— Rabbi Marc Schneier, President of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding

The more that American Jews and Muslims interact with each other, the more likely they are to see the two faiths as more similar than different, a comprehensive study of Muslim-Jewish relations in America has found.

Fifty-four percent of Jews and 65 percent of Muslims surveyed in a poll for the Foundation of Ethnic Understanding responded that “Judaism and Islam are more similar to each other than they are different.” Jews who had frequent exposure to Muslims said Islam is more inclusive, more evolving and more modern than those who were exposed more infrequently.

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Why I stay in Gaza

The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. (illustration: Michelle Thompson / NY Times; photo: ymphotos / Shutterstock)

Life in Gaza is hard. Then it gets worse and we think it’s intolerable. Then it gets even worse.

By Atef Abu Saif | The New York Times | Mar 21, 2018

[My best student has] been trying to leave [Gaza], legally, through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt for five years. But the border is closed much of the time — last year, it was opened for a total of just over 30 days. . . . The other exit is via Erez, into Israel, and then onward to Jordan. That’s an even harder way to go. Again, you need permits. Until recently you first needed a permit from Hamas. Then there’s the permit from Israel. And then the one from Jordan. My student has never been able to get even the first of those.

“Are you still living there?” he asks.

“Where else should I live?” I answer.

It’s the same conversation I have every time I catch up with this one Palestinian friend in France. Same question, same answer. Life in Gaza is hard. Then it gets worse and we think it’s intolerable. Then it gets even worse. . . .

“You must be tempted to leave,” my friend says.

When so many basic things are so fundamentally beyond your control, you sometimes do feel like giving up, saying goodbye to both country and past, and letting Palestine go. The problem is, Palestine won’t let you go.

Continue reading “Why I stay in Gaza”

US blasts UN Human Rights Council over resolution condemning settlements

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley speaks during a Security Council meeting, Mar 14, 2018. (photo: Mary Altaffer / AP)

Ambassador Haley steps up threats to quit international organization over its “grossly biased agenda against Israel.”

By Noa Landau | Haaretz | Mar 24, 2018

“When the Human Rights Council treats Israel worse than North Korea, Iran and Syria, it is the council itself that is foolish and unworthy of its name.”
— US Ambassador Nikki Haley

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley slammed the UN Human Rights Council on Friday, saying that “the United States would continue to examine our membership” in the organization following a series of decisions the council took against Israel’s policy in the occupied territories.

Sources in Brussels told Haaretz that most European countries supported decisions only after their wording was softened so as not to evoke immediate practical significance.

The US said it was losing patience with the UN Human Rights Council, threatening again to quit the international body after the organization passed five resolutions against Israel.

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Were Palestinians wrong to endorse a nonviolent struggle?

A demonstrator protests against Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Nablus, Dec 29, 2017. (photo: Mohamad Torokman / Reuters)

Europe told us that only after we Palestinians endorsed non-violence and the 1967 borders would they act on our behalf. We did. Now they refuse to act, because of pressure from a rogue state — America.

By Saeb Erekat | Haaretz | Mar 21, 2018

By refusing to work with the only established international order to assert Palestinian rights [the United Nations Human Rights Council], the Israeli government gets carte blanche to continue colonizing Palestinian land, while the Palestinian people get the message that international law and diplomacy are useless in their quest for freedom, justice and independence.

This is actually happening. European countries, members of the European Union, itself birthed out of the ashes of the last century’s unprecedented atrocities, are currently putting pressure on Palestine not to demand its rights at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

This Friday, four resolutions on Palestine will be voted on, and some European countries are concerned about the political implications of any calls to hold Israel accountable for its systematic violations of international law.

The very international legal standards Palestine clings to — self-determination, non-acquisition of territory through force, and equality — are the bedrock of the European project.

Continue reading “Were Palestinians wrong to endorse a nonviolent struggle?”