Archive for the ‘Israeli Corruption’ Category

Israeli police are a danger to Palestinian public safety

 A video of an Israeli police officer assaulting a Palestinian man may have gone viral this week, leading senior officials to condemn it. It also served as a reminder that police violence is a part of everyday life for Palestinians in Israel.
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The now-infamous video of an I卐raeli police officer beating a Palestinian man in East Jerusalem, which began circulating on social media on Thursday media, won’t leave me. I am trying to figure out precisely why these images are so disturbing and stomach-churning. After all, anyone who knows even bit about the reality in the eastern part of the city knows there is nothing new here. After all, the police’s violent, frightening presence in Palestinian areas is part of everyday life here.

I know this reality well. I know it from the rows of detained Palestinians who are made to stand against a wall, which I see at least twice a day in this city. I know it from the beatings during protests, from the Border Police jeeps that drive wildly in the Palestinian neighborhoods. Too many times have I almost been run over by one while crossing the street. I am guessing they must have thought I was Palestinian, and no police jeep will slow down to allow a Palestinian the right to cross in these areas.

Perhaps it is the fact that none of the Palestinian men present try to intervene or strike back as they watch the officer’s depraved behavior. They just stand there and take it. But the fact is that the officer could very easily claim that his life was in danger, meaning these men would quickly find themselves in court as the attackers. The statistics show that they are right.

Between 2011-2014, in more than 93 percent of cases in which citizens filed reports against the police, the Police Investigation Unit either refrained from opening an investigation or closed the case without taking action against the offending officers. Among the 11,282 complaints filed between 2011-2013, only 306 cases (2.7 percent) led to criminal trials, while only 374 (3.3 percent) led to disciplinary hearings. In 2014, only 2.5 percent of complaints turned into a trial, while three percent led to a disciplinary hearing. The rest of the cases were either closed due to lack of evidence or public interest — or were never investigated in the first place.

In 2016, 2,945…

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“Perhaps as many as half of the Jews living in Israel will consider leaving Palestine in the next few years if political and social trends continue.”

Dr. Franklin Lamb

Perhaps historians or cultural anthropologists surveying the course of human events can identify for us a land, in addition to Palestine, where such a large percentage of a recently arrived colonial population prepared to exercise their right to depart, while many more, with actual millennial roots but victims of ethnic cleansing, prepared to exercise their right of Return.

One of the many ironies inherent in the 19th century Zionist colonial enterprise in Palestine is the fact that this increasingly fraying project was billed for most of the 20th century as a haven in the Middle East for “returning” persecuted European Jews.  But today, in the 21st century, it is Europe that is increasingly being viewed by a large number of the illegal occupiers of Palestinian land as the much desired haven for returning Middle Eastern Jews.

To paraphrase Jewish journalist Gideon Levy “If our forefathers dreamt of an Israeli passport to escape from Europe, there are many among us who are now dreaming of a second passport to escape to Europe.

Several studies in Israel and one conducted by AIPAC and another by the Jewish National  Fund in Germany show that perhaps as many as half of the Jews living in Israel will consider leaving Palestine in the next few years if current political and social trends continue.  A 2008 survey by the Jerusalem-based Menachem Begin Heritage Center found that 59% of Israelis had approached or intended to approach a foreign embassy to inquire about or apply for citizenship and a passport. Today it is estimated that the figure is approaching 70%.

The number of Israelis thinking of leaving Palestine is climbing rapidly according to researchers at Bar-Ilan University who conducted a study published recently in Eretz Acheret, (“A Different Place”)   an Israeli NGO that claims to promote cultural dialogue.  What the Bar-Ilan study found is that more than 100,000 Israelis already hold a German passport, and this figure increases by more than 7,000 every year along an accelerating trajectory. According to German officials, more than 70,000 such passports have been granted since 2000.

In addition to Germany, there are more than one million Israelis with other foreign passports at the ready in case life in Israel deteriorates.  One of the most appealing countries for Israelis contemplating emigration, as well as perhaps the most welcoming, is the United States. Currently more than 500,000 Israelis hold US passports with close to a quarter million pending applications.

During the recent meetings in Washington DC between Israeli Prime Minister Terrorist Netanyahu’s delegation and Israel’s US agents, assurances were reportedly given by AIPAC officials that if and when it becomes necessary, the US government will expeditiously issue American passports to any and all Israeli Jews seeking them.

 

Israeli Arabs need not apply.

AIPAC also represented to their Israeli interrogators that the US Congress could be trusted to approve funding for arriving Israeli Jews “to be allocated substantial cash resettlement grants to ease transition into their new country.”

Protesters outside of AIPAC conference at Wash...

Image via Wikipedia

Apart from the Israeli Jews who may be thinking of getting an “insurance passport” for a Diaspora land, there is a similar percentage of Jews worldwide who aren’t going to make aliyah. According to Jonathan Rynhold, a Bar Ilan professor specializing on U.S.-Israel relations, Jews may be safer in Teheran than Ashkelon these days—until Israel or the USA starts bombing Iran.

Interviews with some of those who either helped conduct the above noted studies or have knowledge of them, identify several factors that explain the Israeli rush for foreign passports, some rather surprising, given the ultra-nationalist Israeli culture.

 

The common denominator is unease and anxiety, both personal and national, with the second passport considered a kind of insurance policy “for the rainy days visible on the horizon,” as one researcher from Eretz Acheret explained.

Now, they know they can live in Russia as part of a community and they don’t need Israel.”
Other factors include:

The fact that two or three generations in Israel has not proven enough to implant roots where few if any existed before. For this reason Israel has produced a significant percentage of “re-immigration” — a return of immigrants or their descendants to their country of origin which Zionist propaganda to the contrary notwithstanding, is not Palestine.

Fear that religious fanatics from among the more than 600,000 settlers terrorists in the West Bank will create civil war and essentially annex pre-1967 Israel and turn Israel more toward an ultra-fascist state.

Centripetal pressures within Israeli society, especially among Russian immigrants who overwhelmingly reject Zionism. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, some one million Jews have come to Israel from the former Soviet Union, enlarging the country’s population by 25 percent and forming the largest concentration in the world of Russian Jews. But today, Russian Jews comprise the largest group emigrating from Israel and they have been returning in droves for reasons ranging from opposition to Zionism, discrimination, and broken promises regarding employment and “the good life” in Israel.

Approximately 200,000 or 22% of Russians coming to Israel since 1990 have so far returned to their country.  According to Rabbi Berel Larzar, who has been Russia’s chief Rabbi since 2000, “It’s absolutely extraordinary how many people are returning. When Jews left, there was no community, no Jewish life. People felt that being Jewish was an historical mistake that happened to their family. Now, they know they can live in Russia as part of a community and they don’t need Israel.”

No faith in or respect for Israeli leaders, most of whom are considered corrupt.

Feelings of anxiety and guilt that Zionism has hijacked Judaism and that traditional Jewish values are being corrupted.

The increasing difficulty of providing coherent answers to one’s children, as they become more educated and aware of their family history, and indeed honesty to oneself, on the question of why families from Europe and elsewhere are living on land and in homes stolen from others who obviously are local and did not come from some other place around the World.

The recent growing appreciation, for many Israelis, significantly abetted by the Internet and the continuing Palestinian resistance, of the compelling and challenging Palestinians’ narrative that totally undermines the Zionist clarion of the last century of “A Land without a People for a People without a Land.’

Fear mongering of the political leaders designed to keep citizens supporting the government’s policies ranging from the Iranian bomb, the countless ‘Terrorists” seemingly everywhere and planning another Holocaust, or various existential threats that keep families on edge and concluding that they don’t want to raise their children under such conditions.

Explaining that he was speaking as a private citizen and not as a member of Democrats Abroad Israel, New York native Hillel Schenker suggested that Jews who come to Israel “want to make sure that they have the possibility of an alternative to return whence they came.”  He added that the “insecurities involved in modern life, and an Israel not yet living at peace with any of its neighbors, have also produced a phenomenon of many Israelis seeking a European passport, based on their family roots, just in case.”

Gene Schulman, a Senior American-Jewish fellow at the Switzerland-based Overseas American Academy, put it even more drastically, emphasizing that all Jews are “scared to death of what is probably going to become of Israel even if the U.S. continues its support for it.”

Many observers of Israeli society agree that a major, if unexpected recent impetus for Jews to leave Palestine has been the past three months of the Arab Awakening that overturned Israel’s key pillars of regional support.

According to Layal,  a Palestinian student from Shatila Camp, who is preparing for the June 5th “Naksa” march to the Blueline in South Lebanon:

“What the Zionist occupiers of Palestine saw from Tahir Square in Cairo to Maroun al Ras in South Lebanon has convinced many Israelis that the Arab and Palestinian resistance, while still in its nascence, will develop into a massive and largely peaceful ground swell, such that no amount of weapons or apartheid administration can insure a Zionist future in Palestine. They are right to seek alternative places to raise their families.”

“Every single member of my family on both sides was exterminated. Both of my parents were in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. And it is precisely and exactly because of the lessons my parents taught me and my two siblings that I will not be silent when Israel commits its crimes against the Palestinians.”

Norman Finkelstein

American Radical is the probing, definitive documentary about Jewish-American political scientist Norman Finkelstein.

A devoted son of holocaust survivors, an ardent critic of Israel and US Middle East policy, Finkelstein has been steadfast at the centre of many intractable controversies, including his denial of tenure at DePaul University.

“You don’t know who Norman Finkelstein is. He’s poison, he’s a disgusting self-hating Jew.”
Leon Wieseltier, literary editor, The New Republic

Called a lunatic and self-hating Jew by some and an inspirational street-fighting revolutionary by others, Finkelstein is a deeply polarising figure.

“Norman is a very careful scholar. And he feels very passionately about the Holocaust. His parents are both survivors of extermination camps and he was deeply involved in their lives and the tragedies and so on. [He] knows everything about the Holocaust. And when he sees somebody using it, exploiting it, demeaning the memory of the victims for personal gain, he doesn’t like it. I can understand that.”

Noam Chomsky, friend and professor of linguistics, MIT

From Beirut to Kyoto, the filmmakers follow Finkelstein around the world as he attempts to negotiate a voice among both supporters and critics.

“If he were not a Jew – that is, I don’t think he is a Jew. As someone once put it ‘he’s only Jewish on his parents side”. If he were not a Jewish person or a person of Jewish heritage with a name like Finkelstein, nobody would have any doubt that he was an anti-Semite.”

Alan Dershowitz, author ‘The Case for Israel’

He taught me everything—how to be a civil libertarian, a Jewish activist, a mensch

Filmmakers: David Ridgen and Nicolas Rossier
The documentary was recently voted fifth best political documentary of all time by http://www.screenjunkies.com.

The second part of American Radical can be seen from Tuesday, April 19, at the following times GMT: Tuesday: 2000; Wednesday: 1200; Thursday: 0100; Friday: 0600; Saturday: 2000; Sunday: 1200; Monday: 0100; Tuesday: 0600.

Source: Al Jazeera

If one disagrees with Israeli Zionist Nazi-like war crimes and conduct, one is a “self hating Jew” and anti-Semite! Go figure!!!

US vetoes UN draft on settlements

The Obama administration finds itself all too often nowadays on the wrong side of history, embarrassingly supporting dictators and occupiers instead of people in their march to freedom.

Washington blocks resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories as an obstacle to peace.
As an obstacle to peace? What peace? 62 years since the illegal establishment of the NaZionist terrorist state and all Israel is interested in, is creating the Greater Terrorist State of Israel – from the Nile to the Euphrates.
The US has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have condemned Israeli settlements as “illegal” and called for an immediate halt to all settlement building. All 14 other council members voted in favour of the resolution.
We still wonder why they hate us! Hint. Read the headline again!

The Obama administration claims that, if passed, such a resolution would have hardened the position of both sides without advancing peace between Israelis and Palestinians and that the ‘Peace Process‘, not the UN Security Council, is the venue to tackle such issues.

In reality, however, the parties’ positions have already hardened because of the settlements’ proliferation with total impunity.

In Israel, Jewish settlers today make up the hardcore base of its right-wing government (arguably the most extreme in its history). And for their part, the Palestinians have for the last two years rejected direct negotiations as long as settlement activity continued.

Moreover, settlements have been most damaging to the peace process, and its goal of a two states solution.

Since the start of this US-sponsored diplomatic process decades ago, the settlers have quadrupled in numbers from 75,000 to 300,000 scattered in about 200 settlements in the West Bank, and has doubled in cosmopolitan East Jerusalem, making it ever more improbable to separate Palestine from Israel, or establish a contiguous viable state.

Washington’s partners in the International Quartet, the EU, France, the UK and Russia, understand that all too well and hence decided to vote in favour of the draft resolution.

It’s terribly embarrassing for the Obama administration that promised to integrate the US and improve its image around the world, to be seen to be so diplomatically isolated.

It’s also humiliating not to be able to pressure Israel to freeze settlement activity and be forced to veto a resolution that was drafted in line with its own declarations.

But Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, says that Washington rejects the legitimacy of these settlements and supports the emergence of a Palestinian state, but that such a resolution would advance neither cause?

Declaring the settlements illegitimate but refusing to call them illegal, relieves Israel from possible sanctions and other international reaction, while at the same time, protecting the US, Israel’s main ally and funder, from possible accusations of complicity.

In reality, settlements have led to terrible instability and further complicated the resolution of the conflict while destroying any hope for the two state solution in the process.

But the Obama administration finds itself all too often nowadays on the wrong side of history, embarrassingly supporting unpopular dictators and occupiers instead of people in their march to freedom.

Allowing Israeli colonisation of Palestine to go on unabated and with impunity in the age of de-colonisation doesn’t bode well for wanting to be on the side of history.

To escape this uncomfortable position, the Obama administration has been using acrobatic statements and formulas to rewrite history in a way that portrays it supporting peoples’ rights.

Does the US veto risk a backlash in the Arab world?

Washington’s refusal to join the international community in affirming the applicability of international law in Palestine, could further alienate an Arab world already in turmoil.

In fact, it could add fuel to Arab anger and deepen disappointment at those crucial times.

But the Obama administration has been carefully balancing its options between angering Palestinians and Arabs or alienating Israel and pro-Israeli groups in the US.

Good to his reputation, the pragmatic president has opted for appeasing Israel and its friends.

When weighing in the costs and benefits of supporting such a resolution, the Obama administration seems to have concluded that angering Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, pales in comparison to angering Israeli premier Netanyahu and his allies in Washington and in Congress.

It’s possible that Netanyahu will reciprocate by offering Obama a tactical compromise to ease the international pressure on both of their countries.

Whether this is in the US national interest or simply in the interests of politics as usual in Washington remains to be seen.

It’s clear, however, that neither the Obama administration nor Congress have internalised the historical transformation sweeping through the Arab region.

Rather, it continues to deal with the Arabs and Palestinians with the same imperial mindset that long managed its relations with self-serving Arab dictators and clients, as if nothing has changed in the region.

Analysis

image of Barbara Plett Barbara Plett BBC UN correspondent 


On paper this was a defeat for the Palestinians but they and representatives of other Arab nations seemed to be in a buoyant mood. They had held out some hope that America would abstain, but not much, so the veto was predictable.

The degree of support, on the other hand, was overwhelming: some 130 countries co-sponsored the resolution, and all the other members of the Security Council voted for it.

The result was strong endorsement of the Palestinian position on Israeli settlements – that they are illegal, and an obstacle to peace – which isolated Israel. It also isolated the United States.

No matter what reasons America gave for the veto (it insisted bringing the matter to the Security Council complicated chances for peace talks) or how fulsomely it criticised settlement building (as a folly and threat to peace) it appeared out of sync with the international consensus, and as Israel’s only defender.

Given the ferment in the Arab world at the moment, that is not a good position for Washington to be in.

Israel hopes peace accord will remain as Egypt changes to democracy – Haaretz

Don’t hold your breath!

The Arab world and People REJECT a peace treaty based on terrorizing, ethnic cleansing and uprooting Palestinians!

There’s no peace when thugs known as settlers cheerfully – supported by the Israeli Occupation Terrorists – evict Palestinians from their homes… throw them in the street and then have the audacity to bill them for the “cost of removing their belongings” from their own homes!

There’s no peace with Nazi-like government who kills and justify the killing of Palestinians through a corrupt violent Talmudic “religion.”

Long gone are the days of traitors you bought…

One by one, these dictators are falling.. and you will face the ugly truth that Arabs never supported their dictator’s “peace-treaties” with Nazi Israel.

Sooner or later you shall let Palestinians  return to their lands and homes.. else await your ultimate fall and demise. And just as the U.S. abandoned its “dictators and so-called allies,” the day will come when you, O’ Israel will be abandoned.

You’ve been served!

As you can see on the home page – under Top Posts, A democracy called Israel is of course about anything but democracy!

 

Pro NaZionists, this article may be hazardous to your sick views!

Aljazeera reports:

The death of Israeli democracy

 

Right-wing Israelis have recently taken to the streets to express their views, but will left-wing Israelis be able to make their voices heard?

As Egyptians demand their freedom, I ask a Muslim in Jaffa if we will see the same in Israel. “I don’t think so,” he answers. “Even with all the mess here, we have democracy.”

But, do we? And for how much longer?

As we speak, the Knesset is debating one of a slew of anti-democratic bills. Some of the legislation targets Palestinian citizens of Israel – people like this man and his wife, who is quick to offer me coffee and her opinions.

If the Admissions Committee law passes, for example, this young couple and their three children could find themselves barred from living in certain communities and villages, even those built on public land. If the Nakba Bill is approved, organisations that commemorate the 1948 expulsion of Palestinians will be ineligible for public funds. This is a “watered down” version of the bill. The original version sought to imprison anyone who publicly marked the Nakba Day. Other legislation aims to silence individuals and groups that criticise the government.

The Israeli Democracy Institute (IDI) says that such bills pose “serious threats” to the country. Explaining that the death of democracy is “a gradual process,” the IDI, a non-partisan think-tank based in Jerusalem, warns:

“People who are concerned but are waiting for the ‘moment of real danger’ to abandon their routines and take steps to defend democracy are making a mistake. The moment of real danger is now.”

It is worth noting that the IDI managed to publish this op-ed in The Jerusalem Post, a centre-right daily, while the centre-left newspaper Haaretz has recently published a number of pieces voicing similar concerns about Israel’s democracy. This suggests that even the Israeli centre – however apathetic – is worried about the state of the state.

Diminishing democratic space


Some critics might say that Israel was never a democracy
in the true sense of the word. Arab citizens of the state were under martial law from 1949 to 1966. A year later, the decidedly undemocratic occupation of Palestinian territories began.

Knesset member Dov Khenin, of the Jewish-Arab party Hadash, puts it like this:

“In Israel there is a specific democratic space. It’s not big, and in connection to the topic of Arabs, it’s even smaller. But the space is important to us because it’s the space we’re standing in.”

He gestures to the room in Jaffa, where he is giving a talk under the banner of “The Danger of Fascism”. There are about 20 people present – a sad number considering what is at stake.

“What has happened in recent years – and it’s a process that’s very dangerous – is that the space is being attacked and clamped down upon,” Khenin continues.

“One of the attacks is coming in the form of racism,” he says.

He explains that while Arab Knesset members have always been regarded with suspicion – the vicious verbal assault Haneen Zoabi faced in the Knesset after she participated in the flotilla comes to my mind – the government is “now attacking not just the Arab Knesset members but all the Arab population”.

“The process is spreading,” Khenin adds. “And if we look at the past two years, it’s not just the Arab population, [the government is] also attacking Jews who think differently.”

A political witch-hunt

That assault is coming in the form of anti-democratic legislation that would limit free speech and campaigns against Israeli human rights organisations.

The Boycott Bill seeks to criminalise those who advocate for the international boycott of Israel, subjecting them to steep fines.

The Anti-Incitement Bill criminalises those who publish anything that denies Israel’s Jewish and democratic character. Because I have authored articles calling for a bi-national democracy, this one could land me in jail. (And, if I’m already headed for the clinker, I might as well state the obvious: A country that must force people to call it democratic, on pain of imprisonment, is not a democracy).

And the Knesset is considering the creation of committees that will investigate the funding of left-wing civil and human rights organisations – most of which are critical of the Israeli occupation. Critics have likened the move to a political witch-hunt as right-wing groups will not be investigated. They also point out that such an investigation, which is the responsibility of the legal branch, would exceed the Knesset’s power.

So the question remains: Will Israel become out-right fascist?

‘Sliding towards fascism?’


At an October protest against legislation commonly referred to as the loyalty oath – a bill that would require non-Jews seeking Israeli citizenship to pledge allegiance to a “Jewish and democratic” state – Gavriel Solomon, a prominent academic and peace activist, likened Israel to Nazi Germany, circa 1935.

That was the year that the Nuremberg Laws – racist legislation that led to the systematic and deadly persecution of Jews – were created.

“There were no [concentration] camps yet but there were racist laws,” he said. “And we are heading towards these kinds of laws.”

Speaking to Al Jazeera by telephone, Solomon softened his message, remarking that: “The question was really if we are not sliding towards fascism.”

“Even though we very clearly have people like [Avigdor] Lieberman [the foreign minister] who are not sensitive to the issue … there [are] enough people on the right not to allow such Lieberman laws to go through,” he says, pointing to members of Likud like Dan Meridor.

But Haaretz recently revealed that right-wing activists are working in Jewish settlements to recruit Likud voters who would push Meridor out of the Knesset.

And rightists are taking other moves to silence dissent. Haaretz reports that they have successfully shut down the Facebook pages of several left-wing groups.

Depending on how these right-wingers spin their projects – are they trying to silence dissent or are they taking necessary measures for Israel’s image and security – the Israeli public may be willing to march lockstep with them.

A recent poll, conducted by the Geocartography Knowledge Group, found that more than half of Jewish Israelis are willing to limit press freedom if the media poses a threat to the state’s image. And nearly two-thirds would clamp down on freedom of speech for the sake of security.

Top-down racism

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) is one of the organisations leading the fight against anti-democratic legislation. Spokeswoman Ronit Sela remarks: “I think what’s troublesome is that it’s not just groups or people on the street that are voicing things that are racist and anti-democratic … [it is] the Knesset and the government.”

“And we don’t see such a strong opposition from the prime minister [Binyamin Netanyahu].”

Sela emphasises that whether or not the bills pass they are damaging.

“When the person on the street reads in the newspaper that there are Knesset members who want to interrogate these organisations about their funding, it makes an impression,” she says. “Damage has already been done to the reputation of the human rights organisations, to the Arabs of this country and to the Jewish citizens who work with them.”

“It is anti-democratic content that is slipping into the Israeli mainstream,” she adds.

Just as Sela warns against focusing solely on the passage of legislation, Khenin cautions against pinning Israel’s political crisis on one person or group.

“When we’re talking about the rise of fascism in Israel, we’re talking about the groups of extreme rabbis and the settler armies,” he says. “But it’s a mistake to focus just on those groups … The danger of fascism is wider.”

He points to a weak high court and problems within Israel’s political parties, as well as a political centre that has disappeared and can no longer keep the right in check.

“We need to understand that fascism isn’t an expression of power, it’s an expression of weakness.”

Khenin points out that not long before Netanyahu became prime minister he called Palestinian citizens of Israel a demographic threat. “And now he’s head of the government,” he adds.
And because the death of democracy is tied up with the occupation, “a people who oppresses another people cannot be free,” Khenin says, paraphrasing Friedrich Engels.

Change is in the air

Will the people hit the streets for democracy?

Oded is a 29-year-old industrial designer who asked to be identified by a pseudonym because he fears social and professional repercussions from voicing his political opinions and doing so on an “Arab” media outlet.

He says that, if current trends continue, it is likely that Israel will see a fascist government. In the past, Oded recalls, dissenting opinions were tolerated. “Now, it’s impossible to say anything against the state or the government. If you do, you’re a ‘traitor’ because the state is the value that’s important.”

And Oded, the grandson of Holocaust survivors, remarks that this kind of ultra-nationalism is at the root of both racism and fascism.

“Are you going to protest?” I ask.

“No,” he says. “Right now, however self-centred it sounds, it doesn’t really interest me because I have things in my personal life that are more important. And I’m lazy.”

When I ask him if he thinks such apathy might allow extremists to take over, he nods. “I think [if we had a fascist government,] I would just leave,” he says, voicing something I have heard many Israelis say.

A recent demonstration held under the banner “March for Democracy while we still can,” attracted some 20,000. Many held signs that read: “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.”
And, on Saturday night, some 200 Palestinian citizens of Israel and far-left Jewish Israeli activists gathered to stand in solidarity with Egypt’s pro-democracy protestors and to demonstrate against oppression in Israel.
A Palestinian-Israeli demonstrator said, in Hebrew, that the Middle East must get rid of “the three b’s: Barak, Bibi [Netanyahu] and Mubarak”.

While meaningful change is probably a long way off for Israel – it may take something huge, like fascism, to wake Jewish Israelis from their apathy and dreams of maintaining both a Zionist and democratic state – change is in the air.

Mya Guarnieri is a Tel Aviv-based journalist and writer. A regular contributor to Al Jazeera English, her work has also appeared in The Guardian and The Huffington Post, as well as other international media outlets.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

 

Meanwhile…

 

Jerusalem set to approve contentious Jewish housing in Arab neighborhood

 

Israel forces Palestinians to demolish their own homes

“families were faced with the decision either to demolish their own home and pay a fine of 60,000 shekels (approximately $17,000 US) “or refuse, and watch as soldiers demolish their house and punish them with a fine of 120,000 shekels ($34,000)”

Palestinian women from Lyd sit on top of the rubble of their home after it was destroyed by Israel, December 2010. (Oren Ziv/ActiveStills)

These NaZionist scum wonder why Palestinians wanted to throw them into the Sea? Just like Israeli Nazis expel Palestinians now, the day Palestinians will reciprocate and expel these thugs, is not too far! Justice will prevail and the Holy Land will be CLEANSED from the terrorism of the Jewish religion!

EI, December 31, 2010

More than 100 Palestinian protesters and their supporters blocked a main street in the city of Lyd on 28 December, demonstrating against the recent demolition of Palestinian homes and what residents say is a rise in racism and police brutality.

On 13 December, officials with the Israel Lands Administration (ILA), the government agency that manages and leases state land, entered the Palestinian section of the segregated city flanked by bulldozers and hundreds of municipal, riot squad and border police forces. The bulldozers then demolished seven homes all belonging to the Abu Eid family in Lyd.

The demolition, which took several hours, subsequently displaced 67 members of the entire family, including dozens of children, during one of the worst rainstorms of the season. Dozens of other Palestinian homes have been demolished over the years in Lyd, which is a few miles east of Tel Aviv inside the state of Israel.

Lyd is a so-called “mixed city,” as is the neighboring city of Ramle, with significant Palestinian minority [after being the majority before being ethnically cleansed] communities living alongside the Jewish majority. Palestinian residents of these communities have been chronically discriminated against and brutalized by police.

Oren Ziv, a photojournalist with Israeli-based photography collective ActiveStills, witnessed the demolitions of the Abu Eid homes and told The Electronic Intifada that the family knew that the ILA had issued demolition orders against their homes, but they were given no notice of exactly when the destruction would take place.

“During the destruction, I climbed onto the roof of a neighboring house and I saw several bulldozers demolishing the fourth house,” Ziv said. “Many neighbors and a few activists were watching it all happen. I’ve been documenting [home demolitions] for seven years and this was one of the biggest demolitions I’ve ever seen.”

Ziv added that when the bulldozers finished demolishing the seventh house, children were starting to come back from school only to find their homes reduced to rubble.

“People were trying to salvage their papers and belongings from underneath the destroyed homes,” he said. “It was hard to find a solution for the family, especially during the terrible weather. They built a protest tent and a tent camp.”

Ma’an News Agency reported that the homes were among more than 100 in the city “under immediate demolition orders” following a decision in the Israeli parliament to destroy an estimated 4,000 “illegal” housing structures “in a plan said to cost millions of shekels” (“Family takes stock after mass Lod demolition,” 13 December 2010).

The ILA claims that the homes and structures that were demolished, or are facing demolition, were built in an “agricultural” zone, and have therefore denied retroactive building permits to residents of Lyd.

Members of the Abu Eid family told Ma’an that they had “paid rent for decades to a state-owned company to use the land, but [were] only allowed to build up to 100 square meter homes since it was zoned as agricultural … As the family grew, it requested but was declined approval to expand their houses.” After they lost a series of appeals, the family was told by the local court to expect demolitions.

Ziv said that after the destruction, the Abu Eid family placed a banner alongside the tents declaring it the “Abu Eid refugee camp.”

He added that the presence of the Israeli border police, usually designated to areas along checkpoints and during demonstrations in the occupied West Bank, was a stark indication of how the Israeli government views Palestinian communities — whether inside Israel or in the West Bank and Gaza strip.

“In the last few years, Israel has been bringing in the border police to deal with Palestinian communities, or poor communities [in Israel],” he said. “I think it shows where the real borders are inside Israeli society — they’re not where you would expect. Israel brings them to guard the borders between Tel Aviv and Jaffa, and within communities in Lyd.”

Ziv added that Israeli police returned to the area a week later, with the clear intention of destroying the Abu Eid family’s tent camp, but residents and solidarity activists blocked the police forces and prevented the destruction.

Following the 28 December protest, residents and activists in Lyd vowed to stage similar demonstrations on a weekly basis.

Arafat Ismayil, a leader of the popular committee in Dhammash, a Palestinian village beside Lyd that is under constant threat of home demolitions, told EI that the recent activism has strengthened solidarity between his community, Lyd and Ramle.

“What happened in Lyd is the same as what will happen in Dhammash,” Ismayil said. “We feel that the homes that were demolished in Lyd were our homes, and the Abu Eid family are our family too. If we are together in solidarity, hopefully the Israeli government won’t demolish another home. We’re hoping to inspire more activism within our communities.”

Meanwhile, home demolitions continued in the Negev region, and in numerous places around the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Negev

On 29 December, Israeli forces bulldozed several homes belonging to one family in the “unrecognized” Bedouin village of al-Sadir, according to Ma’an News Agency (“Israel continues Negev home demolitions,” 29 December 2010).

More than 80,000 indigenous Palestinian Bedouins live in dozens of so-called “unrecognized villages” in the Negev region, communities that the Israeli government refuses to acknowledge despite the fact that they have existed before the state’s establishment in 1948. People living in such villages are denied social services, including running water and electricity, and face regular home demolitions.

Less than a week earlier, the Bedouin village of al-Araqib was destroyed for the eighth time since July 2010. Arab News reported that Israeli bulldozers returned to al-Araqib on the morning of 23 December, flanked by dozens of police officers who “acted violently” towards villagers who attempted to prevent the destruction of their homes (“Israeli Bedouin village razed for the 8th time,” 24 December 2010).

Police declared the area a “closed military zone” and prevented access to journalists. Afterwards, residents and solidarity activists working with the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, a political representative body for Palestinian citizens of Israel, once again helped rebuild the homes and structures that were destroyed, Arab News reported.

The Jewish National Fund (JNF), an Israeli land institution, has been a driving force behind the destruction of al-Araqib and many other Bedouin communities in the Negev.

The JNF plans to build a forest on the village land, continuing a historic policy of cutting off indigenous populations from their land since Israel’s establishment in 1948.

As The Electronic Intifada has reported, international human rights organizations have openly condemned the repeated destruction of al-Araqib and Israel’s policies of violent dispossession of indigenous populations.

Occupied West Bank

Jerusalem

The Palestine News Network (PNN) reported that Israeli forces destroyed an agricultural storehouse, a gas station and other industrial structures in the village of Hazma, near Jerusalem, on 29 December (“Israel Demolishes Industrial Buildings North of Jerusalem, Settlers Uproot 30 Olive Trees,” 29 December 2010). PNN added that at the same time, Israeli bulldozers razed sections of land in the Sheikh Anbar district near the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem.

 

In the at-Tur neighborhood, also on 29 December, Ma’an News Agency reported that several structures were demolished by Jerusalem municipality police as bulldozers uprooted dozens of olive trees ([Arabic only], 29 December 2010.)

Several days earlier, two Palestinian families were forced to demolish their own homes in Sur Bahir village. The families had received demolition orders from Jerusalem Municipality officials three days before, citing “illegal construction” (“Two Palestinian families demolish own homes under municipal orders in Sur Bahir,” SILWANIC, 25 December 2010).

Maryam Iraqi, a member of one of the families, told the Wadi Hilweh Information Center (SILWANIC) that they were forced to destroy the homes themselves, or would face a huge bill if the municipality demolished it. “When they would come to demolish [our home],” Iraqi added, “we would not be able to take the furniture out. The municipality gave us a one-week period in which to destroy our home ourselves.”

SILWANIC added, “The Israeli state does not provide alternative housing or financial compensation to Palestinian families whose homes are ordered to be demolished, going so far as to actually charge families for demolition costs.”

According to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem are faced with discriminatory housing and building policies, forcing residents to build homes without obtaining building permits — thereby designating the homes as “illegal” and subject to demolition (“East Jerusalem: Policy of discrimination in planning, building and land expropriation“).

In Ras al-Amoud, 13 Palestinians were left homeless after being forced to demolish their own home on 21 December, following a demolition order posted on their door by Israeli police. The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) reported that the families were faced with the decision either to demolish their own home and pay a fine of 60,000 shekels (approximately $17,000 US) “or refuse, and watch as soldiers demolish their house and punish them with a fine of 120,000 shekels ($34,000),” ISM stated. “Soldiers showed up outside with a bulldozer. Finally, on 21 December, they tore down their own house” (“13 homeless after home demolition in Ras al Amoud,” 24 December 2010).

After their home was razed to the ground, the family constructed a few tents with their possessions stacked to one side.

United Nations officials visited areas of occupied East Jerusalem last week, and condemned Israel’s ongoing policies of home demolitions in the city, according to Agence-France Presse (“UN envoys criticize Israel home demolitions,” 23 December 2010). Barbara Shenstone, a field worker with the UN Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA), which oversees services for Palestinian refugees, admonished Israel’s policies as “cruel and distressing.”

“While children around the world are enjoying the holiday season in their homes, these children have suffered the trauma and indignity of watching their homes destroyed in the presence of their parents,” Shenstone added.

The day before, Maxwell Gaylard, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territories, said that “The government of Israel must take immediate steps to cease demolitions and evictions in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem.”

The United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) released a report documenting the destruction of 49 homes and structures over a one-week period in the West Bank’s “Area C,” which includes East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, encompassing nearly 60 percent of the West Bank (“Report: Protection of Civilians,” December 8-14, 2010 [PDF]).

Under the Oslo accords signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in the mid-1990s, the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip were carved up into areas A, B and C, the latter of which indicates full Israeli control. Under the Oslo regulations, Area C, which includes East Jerusalem, is administered and controlled by the Israeli government and its military. Approximately 40,000 Palestinians live in Area C.

 

In its report, UNOCHA said that between 8 and 14 December, 29 buildings, including homes, animal structures and an elementary school, were demolished in Khirbet Tana, near Nablus in the northern West Bank. The demolitions resulted in the displacement of 61 Palestinians, including 13 children. “This is the third time this community has suffered extensive demolitions since 2005,” UNOCHA stated.

The report added that 14 water cisterns were destroyed in the Bedouin communities of Umm ad Daraj, Khashem ad Daraj, both near Hebron, and eight trees were uprooted as four vegetable stalls were destroyed in one area of the Jordan Valley.

In addition, UNRWA released a similar report on 23 December stating that there has been an increase in demolitions in the West Bank including East Jerusalem.

In all of 2010, states the report, “396 Palestinian structures were demolished in East Jerusalem and other areas under full Israeli control in the West Bank. This compares to 275 in the previous year — an increase of almost 45 percent. As a result this year, 561 people have been displaced, including 280 children, and the livelihoods of over 3,000 people have also been affected” (“The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, condemns Jerusalem home demolitions and assists affected families,” 23 December 2010).

Days earlier, leading international human rights advocacy organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a 166-page report documenting the effects of Israeli policies of dispossession and discrimination, and called on Israel “in addition to abiding by its international legal obligation to withdraw the settlements, to end these violations of Palestinians’ rights (“Israel/West Bank: Separate and Unequal,” 19 December 2010).”

HRW stated in its press release on the report that it “looked at both Area C and East Jerusalem and found that the two-tier system in effect in both areas provides generous financial benefits and infrastructure support to promote life in Jewish settlements, while deliberately withholding basic services, punishing growth, and imposing harsh conditions on Palestinian communities.”

“Such different treatment on the basis of race, ethnicity, and national origin that is not narrowly tailored to legitimate goals violates the fundamental prohibition against discrimination under human rights law,” HRW reported.

Al-Baqaa

East of Hebron in the southern West Bank, four commercial structures were destroyed in the of al-Baqaa valley on 20 December, according to the Alternative Information Center (AIC) (“Israel Demolishes 2 East Jerusalem Homes, 4 Hebron District Commercial Centers,” 21 December 2010). Al-Baqaa is near the illegal Israeli settlement colony of Kiryat Arba in Hebron.

In the same report, the AIC stated that Israeli forces destroyed a home in the Numan village, between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, on 21 December.

Settlements expand

As the US-brokered peace talks remain dead in the water, illegal Israeli settlement colonies continue to expand in the West Bank including East Jerusalem.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported on 15 December that construction began in a new settlement near the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem (“E. Jerusalem apartment construction begins,” 15 December 2010). Twenty four housing units are being built for students attending a nearby orthodox Jewish yeshiva named after American millionaire Irving Moskowitz, who has bankrolled numerous right-wing settler movements and financed settlements in and around Jerusalem.

In a front-page article in the New York Times, Hagit Ofran of the Israeli settlement watchdog group Peace Now stated that there are 2,000 new housing units currently under construction since the ten-month settlement moratorium officially ended at the end of September, while an additional 13,000 are “in the pipeline” that do not require special government-issued building permits (“After freeze, settlement building booms in the West Bank,” 22 December 2010).

The Palestinian Authority (PA), led by Mahmoud Abbas, drafted a resolution to the United Nations Security Council, demanding that the international body formally declare Israeli settlements to be illegal and call for a halt in construction and expansion, according to the Associated Press (“Palestinians target Israeli settlements in UN resolution,” 29 December 2010).

The PA called the settlements an obstacle to peace, but did not demand sanctions be placed on the Israeli state for its violations of international law. The Associated Press added that the United States, for its part, “has already balked at the resolution and might veto it.”