“Conquer and Divide” — B’Tselem launches interactive map to mark 52 years since the Israeli occupation began

Conquer and Divide, screenshot from project
Conquer and Divide Screenshot from Project. (photo: B’Tselem)
This interactive map follows a timeline illustrating the implementation of the various measures Israel has implemented to achieve this reality.

By B’Tselem | Jun 5, 2019

‘Israel has doggedly chipped away at Palestinian space, breaking it up into conveniently exploitable pieces, the easier to control and oppress.’
— B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad

Today — 52 years to the day since Israel began occupying the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, and against the backdrop of measures undertaken by the Trump administration to promote its “deal of the century” — B’Tselem launched a new interactive project illustrating Israel’s encroachment upon Palestinian space over the decades, shattering the land into small, isolated units, and keeping Palestinians apart from one another and from Israelis.

A collaboration with independent research agency Forensic Architecture, the Conquer and Divide project traces how government resolutions, military orders and state planning have created ever-expanding Israeli settlements and infrastructure, promoting Israeli interests at the expense of Palestinians’ rights. The map throws into stark relief the current situation of Palestinian communities, which have been intentionally cut off from one another and exist as islands in a vast sea of Israeli control.

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Inside Israel’s million dollar troll army

People in a room sit at computers with an Israeli flag on the wall
Act.IL’s Israeli headquaters in Herzliya. (photo: Act.IL/Facebook)
A leaked report raises questions about social media campaign for Israel.

By Asa Winstanley | The Electronic Intifada | June 12, 2019

Much of the last several years of the establishment media’s time has been wasted raising hell about supposed Russian interference in US elections, despite a lack of real evidence. Israel’s interference in western democracies, however, is now very well documented, and is often quite open.

A global influence campaign funded by the Israeli government had a $1.1 million budget last year, a document obtained by The Electronic Intifada shows.

Act.IL says it has offices in three countries and an online army of more than 15,000.

In its annual report, from January, Act.IL says its goal is to “influence foreign publics” and “battle” BDS – the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights.

Through its app, Act.IL issues “missions” to this troll army in exchange for “cool prizes” and scholarships.

The app directs comments towards news websites in support of Israeli wars and racism, while attacking Palestinians and solidarity campaigners.

The leaked report claims Act.IL’s app completes 1,580 such missions every week.

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The treacherous falsification of Palestine-Israel history

"Mirages" of the Israeli army fly over the Sinai at the Israeli-Egyptian border on June 5, 1967, on the first day of the Six-Day War between Israel and Egypt. On June 5, Israel launched preemptive attacks against Egypt and Syria.
Mirages of the Israeli army fly over the Sinai at the Israeli-Egyptian border on June 5, 1967, on the first day of the Six-Day War between Israel and Egypt.  (photo: AFP / Getty Images)
A call for censure and the topic of academic freedom and the First Amendment.

By Ariän Taher | Truthout | June 9, 2019

Hill peddles the myth that the Six-Day War — whose first attack was carried out by Israel — was ‘defensive’.

Supporters of international humanitarian law must condemn the views espoused by DePaul University’s Jason Hill, a tenured philosophy professor, regarding his statements on Palestine-Israel, both in the past and in his recent article in The Federalist.

Hill’s opinions on Palestine-Israel must be examined carefully as a microcosm of the myths broadly perpetuated by the right wing to justify Israel’s military occupations, operations and land seizures in Palestine.

Hill’s article fails to present any primary-source and peer-reviewed material to justify his argumentation, instead providing only neophyte analyses, historical falsification and historical negationism.

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Pompeo admits Kushner peace plan likely unworkable as Trump’s son-in-law openly dehumanizes Palestinian people

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser speaking in an interview that aired Sunday on
Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, speaking in an interview that aired Sunday on “Axios on HBO.” (photo: Screengrab)
Kushner’s comments expose the multiple reasons this peace plan has little chance of success.

By Andrea Germanos | Common Dreams | June 3, 2019

‘I get why people think this is going to be a deal that only the Israelis could love.’
— Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admitted that the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan could be seen as “unexecutable” while Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, suggested that Palestinians aren’t capable of governing themselves.

Kushner, who’s in charge of the administration’s supposed peace plan, made the comments in an interview that aired Sunday on “Axios on HBO.” He told interviewer Jonathan Swan that there is a “high bar” for Palestinians to be rid of Israeli interference.

Kushner said that before Palestinians can be seen worthy of investors’ money, they “need to have a fair judicial system … freedom of press, freedom of expression, tolerance for all religions.”

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Save the Date: Seattle Arab Festival

Please join our brothers and sisters for the largest gathering of Arabs in the Pacific Northwest.
Date: August 10-11, 2019
Time: TBD
Location: Seattle Center Fisher Pavilion
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free
Event Details

The Seattle Arab Festival offers Arab music, art, poetry, storytelling, theater, singing and foods for all attendees set in a big tent “souk”.  Also featured are exhibits from many Arab countries, and booths by individuals and various groups.  Enjoy the many activities created for the children such as henna fingers and painted faces.  Join hands at the Hafleh and dance the night away.

More information here →

In Jerash refugee camp, 2-minute doctor’s appointments and rage at American visitors

Pharmacy at the Jerash Refugee camp. (photo by S. Komarovsky)
Continuing series of reports from Dr. Alice Rothchild in Amman, Jordan after attending the Lancet Palestinian Health Alliance Annual conference in March/April 2019.

By Alice Rothchild | Mondoweiss | May 25, 2019

I struggle with the concept of ‘ex-Gazans’ who arrived in 1967 during the war and are not recognized as refugees by the Jordanian government, are granted temporary two-year Jordanian passports, but do not hold a national ID number.

Even “Ex-Gazans” Have More Trouble

We Uber over to the UN Headquarters again (Uber just bought Careem in the never ending cycle of capitalism). We are heading north to Jerash Camp (aka Gaza Camp), with Julia McCahey and several Japanese and German/Iraqi interns and analysts. In the van we learn that in Jordan, where 42% of Palestinian refugees live, there are ten official and three unofficial camps which accommodate less than 18% of the total refugee population. The aspirational UNRWA microfinancing program was largely cut in the latest financial crisis. There is a Department of Palestinian Affairs in Jordan; the UNRWA camps are owned by UNRWA or rented for about 1 Jordanian Dinar per year, either from the state or leased by the state from local landowners. The EU and the Saudis are providing funding to upgrade buildings which are often dilapidated and desperately in need of renovation and repair.

It seems that financial allotments to each clinic depend on need, plus local field officers approach donors and funds get earmarked for special projects like education. The 2018 and 2019 budgets for UNRWA were $1.2 billion per year. With the budget cuts, UNRWA launched the #Dignityispriceless campaign in 2018 to raise money for health and education. The reasons for the extreme disparities of resources and structures in the different camps still feel murky to me. I suspect it’s complicated. Jerash may give us a clue.

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Israel creates a new political normal

selective focus photography of black barbwire
Old City Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel. (photo: Cole Keister / Unsplash)
The new normal is a constant state of deceit with support from US political leadership.

By James M . Wall |  Wallwritings | May 16, 2019

To convince the world of its success, Official Israel lives in a constant state of deceit.

Adam Shatz, writing in the London Review of Books, described Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s legislative victory on April 9, as a “tribute” to his “transformation of the political landscape”. He wrote:

At no point were [the legislative elections] discussed in terms of which candidates might be persuaded by (non-existent) American pressure, or the ‘international community’, to end the occupation.

This time the question was which party leader could be trusted by Israeli Jews – Palestinian citizens of Israel are now officially second-class – to manage the occupation, and to expedite the various tasks the Jewish state has mastered: killing Gazans, bulldozing homes, combating the scourge of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS), and conflating anti-Zionism with antisemitism.

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Foreign aid that costs an arm and a leg — literally

Palestinian amputees break their Ramadan fast at a community center in Rafah, which was destroyed by Israeli warplanes. (photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Shutterstock)
The US funded Israeli military is shooting so many unarmed Palestinians that the UN is warning of an amputation crisis in Gaza.

By Phyllis Bennis | Foreign Policy in Focus | May 22, 2019

…the Trump administration has cut off funding for the very UN refugee agency that staffs health clinics in Gaza, even as it funds the Israeli military that’s filling them with gunshot victims.

My friend Andrew Rubin is an amputee. He’s lost his right hand, lower arm, right foot, and lower leg.

He used to be an avid runner and cyclist. He can’t do much of that anymore, although his walking is getting much better. Soon he might be able to run with his artificial leg.

Andrew is incredibly lucky.

The medical catastrophe that left his hand and foot so terribly damaged didn’t kill him. But when his limbs never healed even after a decade, he decided to undergo the amputations. It was his choice, and it was made much easier because he knew what lay ahead: the most advanced artificial limbs ever imagined. The kids call him Bionic Man now.

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German parliament smears quest for Palestinian rights as anti-Semitic

Hundreds of people march, some with signs that say
Activists in the 2017 May Day march in Berlin demonstrate support for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights. (photo: Keren Manor / ActiveStills)
BDS responds that this is a betrayal of international law and German democracy.

By Riri Hylton | The Electronic Intifada | May 21, 2019

More than 60 Jewish and Israeli academics critical of the move signed an open letter stating ‘we all reject the deceitful allegation that BDS as such is anti-Semitic.’

In a symbolic move on Friday, the German parliament condemned the BDS – boycott, divest and sanctions – movement for Palestinian rights as anti-Semitic.

The Bundestag passed the motion “Resisting the BDS movement decisively – fighting anti-Semitism,” brought by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, the center-left Social Democratic Party, the Greens and the liberal Free Democrats.

Inspired by the tactics of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, the BDS movement was founded by some 170 Palestinian civil society organizations in 2005 with the aim of pressuring Israel to respect Palestinian rights and international law.

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US complicity in Israel’s violations of international law

Nikki Haley and Benjamin Netanyahu (photo: Wikimedia Commons)
The United States bears responsibility for the disregard of international law and enabling of Israel’s settlements.

By James J. Zogby| Lobe Log | May 19, 2019

Successive American administrations’ attitudes toward Israeli settlements have gone from passive acquiescence to outright acceptance.

Last week, I addressed a United Nations Security Council meeting on “Israeli Settlements.” Because I knew that other speakers, experts, and diplomats would address the illegality of Israeli settlements, the economic and human rights impact on the Palestinian people, and the stated design of the entire settlement enterprise to eliminate the possibility of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state, I focused my remarks on my government’s role in enabling Israel’s settlements and its complicity in Israel’s violations of international law. This may seem like harsh language, but when nothing is done to stop an activity that violates international law, contributes to human rights abuses, and presents a clear danger to peace – then I don’t know any other way to describe American actions.

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