How an Israeli raid on a Palestinian rights group unfolded

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A screenshot taken from CCTV footage of an Israeli raid on the office of the Palestinian human rights group Al Haq on Aug 18 shows soldiers taking selfies, at right. (Credit: Courtesy of Forensic Architecture)
Many questions raised about a military operation against a civil society organization.

By Miriam Berger | Washington Post  | Sept 16, 2022

“…there is something about crossing the line for targeting the organizations that are responsible for criticizing centers of power. It’s the height of subjugation and domination.”
— Michael Sfard, an Israeli lawyer

The soldiers can be seen busting down doors and rummaging through documents. They casually take selfies and mockingly distribute business cards.

CCTV footage from an Israeli raid last month on the leading Palestinian human rights group sheds new light on the operation and challenges the official narrative about why the organization was targeted.

The Aug. 18 early morning raid on the Ramallah office of Al Haq, as well as six other rights groups, drew diplomatic backlash and international condemnation of Israel’s tightening restrictions on Palestinian civil society.

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Israel pressuring Biden to accept terrorist designation for Palestinian NGOs

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Joe Biden speaking at the 2019 Iowa Federation of Labor Convention. (credit: Flickr / Gage Skidmore)
An Israeli delegation recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to pressure the Biden administration into accepting its terror designation for six Palestinian human rights groups.

By Michael Arria | Mondoweiss | Sept 14, 2022

“The Biden administration has repeatedly failed to take action and stand up for Palestinian civil society and human rights organizations increasingly under attack by the Israeli government. We have no reason to believe this meeting between Israeli and U.S. officials will result in a different outcome.”
—Brad Parker, Defense for Children International – Palestine

Last week an Israeli delegation was in Washington, D.C. trying to pressure the Biden administration into accepting its terror designation for six Palestinian human rights groups. “Israeli officials told me the delegation that went to Washington last week included officials from the Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency, the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Defense financial intelligence unit that was spearheading the designation of the NGOs,” reported Axios’ Barak Ravid.

According to Ravid, Israeli officials met with the State Department, CIA and the office of the Director of National Intelligence to present them with updated intelligence about the six groups.

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Why does Israel regard Gaza as a constant threat?

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Palestinians stage a demonstration against Jewish settlers raids at Al-Aqsa Compound, in Khan Yunis, Gaza on September 09, 2022. (credit: Ali Jadallah – Anadolu Agency)

By Wesam Abu Shamaleh | Middle East Monitor | Sept 15, 2022

The Palestinian resistance leadership is a unique example of sacrifice; dozens of military and political leaders have been martyred, as have many family members.

This week marked the 17th anniversary of the Israel army’s unilateral evacuation from Gaza in 2005, after a physical occupation lasting 38 years. Gaza was always a thorn in the side of the occupation state, prompting former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to say, “I wish I could wake up one day and find that Gaza has sunk into the sea.”

It also forced Ariel Sharon, Prime Minister in 2005, to retreat from his categorical refusal to withdraw from Gaza and his commitment to Jewish settlements in the enclave. He withdrew his soldiers, evacuated thousands of settlers and destroyed all of their settlements in Gaza, unconditionally. Twenty-one settlements covering around 35 per cent of the Gaza Strip were destroyed as the troops and settlers pulled out.

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A soldier is not a civilian

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An Israeli soldier seen repressing a Palestinian protest against the Israeli outpost of Evyatar, in the village of Beita, near Nablus, occupied West Bank, February 18, 2022. (credit: Nasser Ishtayeh /Flash90)
By blurring the line between combatants and civilians, Israel justifies its repression of Palestinians — and decries all resistance to it as “terrorism.”

By Orly Noy | +972 Magazine | Sept 6, 2022

When it comes to the Palestinian struggle, Israel chooses to have its cake and eat it too: to kill Palestinians as combatants, while jailing them as civilians, not as prisoners of war, as is required by international law.

The shooting at a soldiers’ bus on Sunday in the Jordan Valley, in the occupied West Bank, sent Israel’s military reporters and security commentators rushing to the news studios in familiar fashion. Accordingly, everyone used the same vocabulary to describe what happened: the Palestinian shooters were defined in all of the reports as “terrorists,” while the event itself was a “terrorist attack.”

And yet, none of the reports I saw on the various channels mentioned the basic fact that the shooting happened in occupied territory. The Israeli media avoids making the crucial distinction between an action directed against soldiers and an action directed against civilians; just like the regime it serves, in the eyes of the vast majority of the Israeli media there is no Palestinian struggle that is not inherently defined as terrorism, be it armed or unarmed.

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Seeking Justice and Peace for All in the Middle East

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8 September 2022, Karlsruhe, Germany: Participants in the closing prayer service of the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, held in Karlsruhe, Germany. The August 31-September 8 Assembly’s theme is “Christ’s Love Moves the World to Reconciliation and Unity.” (Photo: Paul Jeffrey / WCC)
Statement of the World Council of Churches 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany.

By World Council of Churches | Sept 8, 2022

The expanding Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, especially those encircling East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law and threaten fundamental demographic and political changes to the region.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) looks to the Middle East region as the place of the historical origins of our faith where Jesus Christ was born, crucified and resurrected. The worldwide ecumenical fellowship has always sought to be in active solidarity with the Christians of the Middle East, who are living in continuation of an unbroken line of faithful Christian witness in the multi-religious contexts of their countries, making vital contributions to the vibrant diversity and development of their societies.

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How Israeli settlers use archeology to displace Palestinians from their land 

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The City of David Archaelogical Site, run by the the Israeli settler organization the Elad Foundation, overlooks the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem. (credit: Allison Deger / Mondoweiss)
A new report from Emek Shaveh shows how Israeli settlers and the government use archeological projects to advance the annexation of Palestinian land.

By Jeff Wright |  Mondoweiss | Sept 4, 2022

“the ruins of the past have become a political tool in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… [we] work to challenge those who use archaeological sites to dispossess disenfranchised communities.”
— Emek Shaveh, Israeli NGO website

In its 18-page biannual report released last week, Emek Shaveh documents the plans of Israeli government bodies and settler organizations it says are “designed to change the demographic and historic character of East Jerusalem.” The report also details “a widespread effort [in the West Bank] to crack down on Palestinian construction, agricultural activity and the development of heritage sites.

”Settlers and government bodies seize land or assume control, the report charges, “under the pretext of archeological research or the development of historic sites for the public benefit.” Continue reading “How Israeli settlers use archeology to displace Palestinians from their land “

Opinion: Haaretz English at 25: Diaspora Jews Meet Israel’s Gritty Reality

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By fostering a less romanticized, more critical view of Israel, Haaretz English has helped inform and fuel a growing debate in the diaspora about Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Credit: Artwork by Anastasia Shub)
For liberal Jewish readers abroad, the front-row seat that Haaretz English provides to a less rose-tinted reality of Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is discomfiting – and compelling.

By Dov Waxman | Haaretz | Sept 8, 2022

Committed to journalistic independence…Haaretz English has consistently delivered unvarnished reporting and unrestrained opinion, in stark contrast to the rose-colored hasbara (public diplomacy/propaganda) of the Israeli government, which is all too often echoed in much of the Israeli and Jewish press.

When the English edition of Haaretz was first published in September 1997, Benjamin Netanyahu was prime minister of Israel, for the first time. A quarter-century later, he looks likely to become prime minister again, for the seventh time.

But while Netanyahu continues to dominate Israeli politics, in many other respects – both positive and negative – Israel has significantly changed since Haaretz English first appeared.

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Has the fight against Antisemitism lost its way?

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Peter Beinart speaking at Temple De Hirsch Sinai, Seattle, Washington, May 23, 2019 at an event sponsored by J Street (CC by Joe Mabel via Wikimedia)

By Peter Beinart | The New York Times | Aug 26, 2022

Defenders of repressive governments often try to discredit the human rights groups that criticize them.

Over the past 18 months, America’s most prominent Jewish organizations have done something extraordinary. They have accused the world’s leading human rights organizations of promoting hatred of Jews.

Last April, after Human Rights Watch issued a report accusing Israel of “the crimes of apartheid and persecution,” the American Jewish Committee claimed that the report’s arguments “sometimes border on antisemitism.” In January, after Amnesty International issued its own study alleging that Israel practiced apartheid, the Anti-Defamation League predicted that it “likely will lead to intensified antisemitism.” The A.J.C. and A.D.L. also published a statement with four other well-known American Jewish groups that didn’t just accuse the report of being biased and inaccurate, but also claimed that Amnesty’s report “fuels those antisemites around the world who seek to undermine the only Jewish country on Earth.”

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‘NYT’ and UN Security Council platform apartheid charge against Israel

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Daniel Levy speaking to the UN Security Council on the Palestine question on August 25, 2022. (screenshot)
Influential Jewish organizations who denounce as antisemitic the reports accusing Israel of apartheid are a “threat to freedom,” Peter Beinart writes in the New York Times.

By Philip Weiss | Mondoweiss | Aug 28, 2022

Here’s the crucial section of Levy’s “wake-up call” speech. There’s just one state, and it’s apartheid.

It goes without saying that Jewish voices have greater weight on the Israel question in the U.S. discourse, and that Zionist voices even greater weight. Well, on Thursday and Friday this week, two leading Jewish former Zionists granted credibility to the apartheid charges against Israel– in the New York Times and at the UN Security Council — and both statements have gotten wide pickup.

The former Israeli negotiator Daniel Levy gave a speech to the United Nations Security Council urging powerful nations to wake up to the fact that their dream of partition is dead. And “the increasingly weighty body of scholarly, legal and public opinion that has designated Israel to be perpetrating apartheid in the territories under its control” is gaining traction among nations around the world.

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The two-state compromise drives arguments for and against Palestine’s UN membership

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Following a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres (L) and President of Palestine and Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas arrive for a photo opportunity prior to a meeting at UN headquarters, February 20, 2018 in New York City. (credit: Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

By Ramona Wadi |  Middle East Monitor | Sept 1, 2022

“It would be hard to explain that in addition to being reluctant to hold Israel accountable for destroying the two-state solution before our eyes, you would also oppose a positive way that contributes to saving the two-state solution, which is the official policy of the United States,”
— Riyad Mansour, Palestinian Ambassador to the UN

The Palestinian Authority is once again seeking full membership of the UN, and the US has already expressed its opposition. The two-state compromise continues to form the premise for the arguments both for and against UN membership, as presented by the PA and the US respectively. However, the PA’s political decision-making is so fragmented, that its arguments in favour of the two-state compromise only strengthen those within the international community, and in this case the US, who oppose Palestine becoming a full UN member state.

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