After Israeli anchor calls out brutality of ‘occupation,’ political leaders land hard on her

Journalist Oshrat Kotler (photo: Channel 13)
An Israel TV anchor used the word occupation and death threats ensued.

By Jonathan Ofir | Mondoweiss | Feb 19, 2019

They send children to the army, to the territories, and get them back human animals. That’s the result of the occupation.
— Oshrat Kotler

This is a big story in Israel. On Saturday, Channel 13 anchorwoman Oshrat Kotler commented on a case of sadistic Israeli soldier beatings of a Palestinian father and son in occupied territory, saying:

They send children to the army, to the territories, and get them back human animals. That’s the result of the occupation.

The response was immediate. Thousands of expressions of rage streamed in from audiences, and many leaders on the right were condemnatory. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted:

Proud of IDF soldiers and love them very much. Oshrat Kotler’s words should be roundly condemned.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett Bennett wrote:

Oshrat, you’re confused. IDF soldiers give their lives so you can sleep peacefully. Human animals are the terrorists who murder children in their beds, a young girl on a walk or a whole family driving on the road. IDF soldiers are our strength. Our children. Apologize.

Continue reading “After Israeli anchor calls out brutality of ‘occupation,’ political leaders land hard on her”

Israel evicts Palestinians from Jerusalem home

Israeli security forces evict the Abu Assab family from their home in Old City quarter of occupied East Jerusalem [Anadolu Agency]
Israeli security forces evict the Abu Assab family from their home in Old City quarter of occupied East Jerusalem (photo: Anadolu Agency)
Israeli authorities served the Abu Assab family eviction notice ordering them to vacate property by end of February.

By Aljazeera News | Feb 17, 2019

We live there, it’s my house, it’s my whole life. They took everything.
— Rania Abu Assab

Israeli police on Sunday evicted a Palestinian family from their home in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City after the Israeli supreme court ruled Jewish settlers were the rightful owners.

An AFP photographer said residents of the neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem scuffled with police, who stood guard as about a dozen Israeli settlers took possession of the large building.

Rania Abu Assab, who lived in the house with her husband, their children and his aunt, stood weeping outside as the settlers raised the Israeli flag on the roof.

“We live there, it’s my house, it’s my whole life,” she said. “They took everything.”

She said the family was compelled to leave behind all their furniture and belongings. Her husband Hatem and son Mehdi were arrested by Israeli forces after they were physically assaulted, witnesses said.

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For Palestinians, Israeli High Court is a legal fig leaf for home demolitions

A Palestinian holds a child as he watches Israeli hydraulic shovels demolishing a Palestinian building, north of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on 14 February 2018 (AFP)
A Palestinian holds a child as he watches Israeli hydraulic shovels demolishing a Palestinian building, north of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on 14 February 2018.  (Photo: Hazem Bader / AFP / Getty Images)
A new B’Tselem report highlights how the High Court, often seen as the last judicial recourse against demolitions, ends up being complicit in perpetuating such policies

By Tessa Fox| Middle East Eye| Feb 6, 2019

“It’s not an honest game,” Abu Imad told Middle East Eye.

Lying back on a mattress on the ground, Abu Imad soaks up the midday sun.

As he smokes a cigarette in front of the welcome tent of his village, Abu Nuwar, he can see the rocky hills roll down and then up again to the Israeli settlement of Kedar.

In spite of his demeanour, it is hard to imagine how the head of Abu Nuwar could be relaxed while the village is under constant threat of demolition by Israeli authorities.

Since 2005, the village has filled over 250 petitions to the Israeli High Court against planned home demolitions and confiscation of property and land to make way for illegal settlements.

While it is the highest Israeli legal institution that could rule on the fate of the village, Abu Imad believes the court is part and parcel of the Israeli occupation.

“It’s not an honest game,” Abu Imad told Middle East Eye.

Continue reading “For Palestinians, Israeli High Court is a legal fig leaf for home demolitions”

What you should know about AFSC’s support for the BDS movement

Under the occupation, Palestinians are denied their human and civil rights. Their freedom of movement is severely limited by permanent checkpoints, roadblocks, gates, closed roads, barriers, and the separation wall.  (photo: Mike Merryman-Lotze / AFSC)
Quakers pioneered boycotts in the 1800’s and see support for BDS as part of their ongoing work for justice.

American Friends Service Committee  | AFSC Newsletter | Jan 7, 2019

We believe that all people, including Palestinians, have a right to live in safety and peace and have their human rights respected.

Throughout our history, AFSC has stayed true to our belief that there is “that of God” in every human being. Because of that, we have stood with communities facing oppression and violence around the world, opposing such evils as segregation, collective punishment and incarceration, colonization, economic exploitation, and genocide.

We now continue our legacy of speaking truth to power in Israel, the occupied Palestinian territory, and around the world. We see our economic activism as a nonviolent witness against injustice.

That’s why AFSC supports the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. Here’s what you to know:

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Can Arab Evangelicals play a bridging role?

 

Palestinian Christian delegations travel to Latin America to argue the shift of embassies to Jerusalem is counterproductive to peace.

By Daoud Kuttab | The Jordan Times | Feb 6, 2019

Palestinian Evangelicals turned the tables on their counterparts, using biblical arguments that there are no more chosen people and that God’s blessing is no longer limited to one people, but as Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount “blessed are the peacemakers”.

Palestinian foreign ministry officials were in a quandary in recent months. Despite the strong support for the Palestinian cause around the world, a handful of small Latin American countries were causing a political-headache, as they were publicly talking about the possibility of moving their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. For the Spanish speaking Palestinian foreign minister, this was truly troubling. He has been to many Central and South American countries and is aware that Palestinian and Arab immigrants to these countries are among the most important communities, both in terms of economic abilities and political power. Arab social clubs are so powerful that anyone wanting to have a chance for networking and influence wanted to join them.

The trouble, of course, was coming from a wave of new fundamentalist Christian leaders, often referred to as Christian Zionists. These leaders, who often get their theology from fellow American televangelists, were bringing the Middle East conflict into internal discussions and promising their supporters to move their embassies as part of their distorted view that somehow blessing and supporting Israel would bring blessing to them.

To counter these new phenomena, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Maliki and his staff decided to turn to their own Palestinian Christian community to enlist them in the campaign to put a stop or to reverse the pro-Israeli shift that was taking place by some right-wing Latin American leaders. Bethlehem Mayor Vera Baboun and others were asked to travel to countries like Guatemala, Honduras and Brazil to argue the danger of such a reckless move not only to regional peace, but also to the very same religious communities that these leaders claim to be supporting.

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Deep empathy of Irish for Palestinians is in no way anti-Semitic

A new Israeli road divided into a side for Palestinians and another to be used exclusively by Israelis and settlers, in East Jerusalem. Dubbed the “Apartheid Road”, it is divided by an 8m-high wall. File photograph: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty
A new Israeli road divided into a side for Palestinians and another to be used exclusively by Israelis and settlers, in East Jerusalem. Dubbed the “Apartheid Road”, it is divided by an 8m-high wall. (Photo: Thomas Coex / AFP / Getty)
Occupied Territories Bill and criticism of Israel’s colonization are not attacks on Jews

By Dr. Ronit Lentin | The Irish Times | Feb 4, 2019

Settlements, built on Palestinian (often privately owned) lands, impinge on Palestinian human rights

Israel’s response to the passing of the Occupied Territories Bill in the Dáil last week entailed, on the one hand, threatening to impose severe economic-political measures against Ireland, including taxing Irish imports and suspending bilateral economic and commercial agreements with Dublin. On the other hand, Israel accused Ireland of anti-Semitism, often weaponised against any criticism of the Israeli colonisation of Palestine and its ongoing infringements of international law.

There is no need for me to discuss the merits and effectiveness of the Bill here. It’s worth noting, however, that the settlements, from which products would be banned if the Bill becomes law, are considered illegal under international law. According to article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, “The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the territories it occupies”, making Israel’s building and transferring of its population to the occupied Palestinian territory illegal.

Continue reading “Deep empathy of Irish for Palestinians is in no way anti-Semitic”

As Israel steps up ‘Judaization’ policy, IfNotNow takes a step toward anti-Zionism

Member of #IfNotNow is dragged away from Damascus Gate on Jerusalem Day, May 24, 2017. (photo: Jon Atkins)
The American Jewish group IfNotNow calling this forced removal ethnic cleansing.

By Jonathan Ofir | Mondoweiss | Feb 2, 2019

In 1948, as Israeli Jews fought for and celebrated the formation of the new state, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were being forcibly displaced by Israeli military forces. From then to today, Israeli policies have frequently forced Arab residents off their ancestral lands, often for the benefit of the Jewish majority.

Last Monday, Israeli authorities announced a plan to “forcibly transfer 36,000 Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel living in unrecognized villages in the country’s southern Naqab (Negev) region in order to expand military training areas and implement what it called ‘economic development’ projects,” according to Adalah (The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel).

The American Jewish group IfNotNow noticed this, and posted the article with the heading:

This is ethnic cleansing.

IfNotNow are now making it clear that when they speak of opposition to “occupation,” they are not just speaking about the 1967 occupation, but also the 1948 occupation. Or as they formulate it:

And this is part of what, when we demand that the Occupation end, we are talking about.

This is a critical qualification. Opposition to the 1967 occupation, be it real or ostensible, has not really been that radical an issue as far as Zionism is concerned. Liberal Zionists could easily take that position and still call themselves proud Zionists. In fact, liberal Zionists have used this position to claim that they were protecting Zionism from a “demographic threat,” in that controlling a large Palestinian population without rights means Apartheid (which they have warned that people will ‘accuse Israel of’), whereas granting them rights means an end to Jewish State

Continue reading “As Israel steps up ‘Judaization’ policy, IfNotNow takes a step toward anti-Zionism”

Dem presidential hopefuls vote against anti-BDS bill, as Van Hollen says it will ‘strengthen’ the peaceful BDS movement

Rep. Chris Van Hollen savors his victory at an election night party ( photo: Patrick Semansky / Associated Press )
Although no Senator has come out in support of BDS, progressive Democrats are drawing a line about repressive laws.

By Philip Weiss | Mondoweiss | Jan 30, 2019

Just about every single Senator considering a 2020 run voted no. Democrats most in tune with their base have drawn a clear red line that repressive laws targeting Palestinian rights activism in violation of he first amendment are unacceptable,
—Yousef Munayyer of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights

The Senate is once again debating boycott against Israel today, in a sign that Middle East policy is politicized as never before.

The Senate voted overwhelmingly yesterday, 76 to 22, to proceed forward on S.1, a bill sponsored by Marco Rubio — and AIPAC, the leading Israel lobby group — that encourages states to adopt measures to financially punish “entities using boycotts, divestments, or sanctions to influence Israel’s policies.”

The anti-BDS language is an unconstitutional limitation of free speech, the ACLU has said; state laws aimed at crushing BDS have already cost employment to a number of people of good faith who are opposed to Israeli policies.

The good news is that progressive Democrats drew a line in the sand, and presidential hopefuls voted against the procedural vote. Even though no Senator has come out in support of BDS, many have acknowledged the right of their constituents to counter Israeli actions. In a long speech opposing the bill, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said in its overreach, the bill will fuel the BDS movement because Americans will insist on their right to “peacefully” protest the Netanyahu government.

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The 2019 Women’s March: privileging victimhood and the power of class

The first Women’s March in Washington DC, January 21, 2017. (Photo: Getty Images)
While the Women’s March of 2017 was an expression of unity across many issues, the 2019 Women’s March has struggled with accusations of anti-Semitism.

By Alice Rothchild | Mondoweiss |  Jan 22, 2019

 It has become clearer and clearer to many Jewish activists and their allies that if we are working for equal rights for all, if we are condemning racism, anti-semitism and Islamophobia, if we are working to create safe societies for women, if we are working against gun violence, then Zionism becomes increasingly problematic.

Over the weekend I rallied and marched in one of Seattle’s two women’s marches, with speeches from indigenous and immigrant communities, the Washington Poor People’s Campaign, Dreamers, and religious figures. We chanted to end the school to prison pipeline and the building of an expensive youth jail, to fund education, healthcare, housing, gun control, and to end the government shutdown. We gave our support to transpeople and Native Peoples especially Missing and Murdered Indigenous women, to saving our environment, to welcoming immigrants, and fighting racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, homophobia, and “toxic masculinity.” The day celebrated inclusivity and cross-sectional political organizing led by “womxn” and marginalized communities. “Women are the Wall and Trump will Pay!”

The Women’s March in 2017, following the inauguration of the most sexist, racist, and dangerous president in the U.S., was the largest single day demonstration in our history. Despite all the expressions of unity, two years and many marches and outrages later, much has been written about this 2019 Women’s March and the angry schisms around accusations of anti-Semitism. This has resulted in the loss of endorsements, the organizing of competing marches, and an enormous amount of public handwringing, along with calls for the resignations of the leadership and the weakening of the movement. At the same time, Jewish women have been exhorted to march in unity with the original Women’s March and the organizers talk about establishing a “platform on which truly progressive candidates can run and win in 2020.”

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Children’s lives in danger amid Gaza fuel shortage

Children's lives 'in danger' amid Gaza fuel shortage
Sufian Salem is at al-Rantisi Hospital with his one-year old child, Mohammed, who is suffering from breathing problems. (photo: Maram Humaid / Al Jazeera)
Hospitals in the Palestinian territory are facing fuel shortages amidst cold weather that could be deadly for many patients.

Maram Humaid | Al Jazeera | Jan 20, 2019

We feel very concerned due to the news of fuel crisis in hospitals. It’s a disaster. If the hospital stopped, where we would go? All patient children would die, not only my child.
—Suffian Salem

Gaza’s health ministry has made an urgent appeal for help amid an ongoing fuel crisis in the coastal territory, warning of a “catastrophic situation” in its hospitals, including a children’s facility.

Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman of Gaza’s health ministry, said five hospitals in the Palestinian territory would stop operating within hours, because generators were unable to operate due to the fuel shortage.

Last week, Beit Hanoun hospital in northern Gaza stopped operating.

“The lives of hundreds of patients in Gaza hospitals are under a threat of dire consequences,” al-Qidra said.

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