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settlers are building a new colony in the Valley

Israeli settlers are currently building a new colony in the Northern Jordan Valley, in Al Maleh, village closed to Al Farsiya that was destroyed twice last July, and surrounded by five colonies.

Last night settlers coming from Maskyyot colony started to build a fence on Ein El Hilwe land, where Palestinian bedouin communities have lived for more than 90 years.

For pictures and more info:

http://www.jordanvalleysolidarity.org

 

 

אל תגידו לא ידענו 237

 מזה שנים נוהגים מתנחלים מחוות מעון, שבדרום הר חברון, לתקוף ילדי בית ספר יסודי, מכפרי המערות הפלסטינים טובה ומרר אל-עביד, כאשר אלה חולפים ליד המאחז, בדרכם לבית ספרם ובחזרה.

בעקבות התקיפות החלו פעילי זכויות אדם בינלאומיים ללוות את הילדים בדרכם. בספטמבר 2004 פצעו המתנחלים קשה את אחד המלווים. פרצה סערה ציבורית, ובעקבותיה הוחלט שצה"ל ילווה את הילדים כדי למנוע את התקיפות. אך לפעמים החיילים אינם מגיעים למשימתם, ואז הולכים הילדים בדרך ארוכה יותר ורחוקה מהמאחז, ואז שוב תוקפים אותם  המתנחלים. כך קרה פעמיים בימים 24-25.10.2010                                                   

   המעניין בכל הפרשה: במקום לשלוח את צה"ל למשימה, אפשר היה לדווח למשטרת ש"י (משטרת שומרון-יהודה) על התקיפות. אני בטוח שאילו  שוטרי ש"י היו מיודעים על כך, היו עוצרים את התוקפים ומביאים אותם למשפט...   

 

שאלות וברורים: amosg@shefayim.org.il

 

 

Don't Say We Didn't Know 237

For years now settlers from the Maon Farm outpost in the South Hebron Hills region have attacked elementary school children from the Palestinian cave villages Tuba and Mughar el-'Abid, as they walk past the outpost, on their way to school and back.

 Following these attacks international  human rights activists started accompanying the children.  In September 2004, the settlers severely wounded one of the activists.  A public outcry followed, and it was decided the IDF would accompany the children, to prevent the attacks.  However, sometimes the Army does not arrive for duty, and the children are forced to go via a longer route that goes farther from the outpost.  Even then the settlers attack them.  This is what happened on 24th and 25th October, 2010.

 What would have been interesting in the whole story:  instead of sending soldiers, why didn’t the Judea and Samaria police report on the attacks?  I'm sure that had they been aware of them, they would have arrested the attackers and brought them to trial...

 

 Questions & queries: amosg@shefayim.org.il

 

 

Shin Bet Mistreatment of Palestinian Detainees

 Shin Bet Mistreatment of Palestinian Detainees - by Stephen Lendman

 

An October B'Tselem/HaMoked, Center of the Defence of the Individual report, titled "Kept in the Dark: Treatment of Palestinian Detainees in the Petach-Tikva Interrogation Facility of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet)" is discussed below. Though, in some respects, treatment over the years has changed, it remains harsh, abusive, and in violation of international law, prohibiting all forms of torture and mistreatment at all times, under all conditions, with no allowed exceptions. 

 

The report is based on testimonies from 121 Palestinian detainees during Q 1 and Q 4, 2009. Clear patterns of mistreatment were revealed - torture and abuse by any standard, what Israel practices as official policy.

 

An earlier article explained it in detail, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2008/08/torture-as-official-israeli-policy.html

 

Though denied, torture is official Israeli policy. The Jewish state and America are the only modern countries sanctioning it. Another link below explains more:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2008/07/torture-as-official-us-policy.html

 

Both countries, in fact, have laws prohibiting it, America under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause alone that automatically makes all international laws and ratified treaties the Supreme Law of the Land. In addition, War Crimes Act provisions make Geneva and Common Article 3 breaches illegal, including torture, abuse, and humiliating or degrading treatment. 

 

Moreover, US Code, Chapter 113C:Torture states:

 

"Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life."

 

Israeli law also prohibits it under Section 277 of its Penal Law, stating:

 

"A public servant who does one of the following is liable to imprisonment for three years: (1) uses or directs the use of force or violence against a person for the purpose of extorting from him or from anyone in whom he is interested a confession of an offense or information relating to an offense; (2) threatens any person, or directs any person to be threatened, with injury to his person or property or to the person or property of anyone in whom he is interested for the purpose of extorting from him a confession of an offense or any information relating to an offense."

 

Israel is also a signatory to international laws banning torture in all forms, including the 1984 UN Convention against Torture. Yet throughout its history, Israel's military and security forces have willfully, systematically and illegally practiced torture against Palestinian detainees. 

 

In three 1996 cases, Israel's High Court legitimized use of violent shaking, hooding, playing deafeningly loud music, sleep deprivations, and lengthy detainments to continue these abuses. A 1999 ruling addressed so-called "ticking bomb" cases, approving physical force and other abuses, short of breaking a detainee's spirit. Moreover, by allowing loopholes, torture's current legal basis was established in Public Committee against Torture in Israel et al v. the Government of Israel et al (the HCJ Torture Petition).

 

Israel has no formal constitution. Yet its 1992 "Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom" authorized the Knesset to overturn laws contrary to the right to dignity, life, freedom, privacy, and property, as well as to leave and enter the country. The law states:

 

"There shall be no violation of the life, body or dignity of any person. All persons are entitled to protection" of these rights, and "There shall be no deprivation or restriction of the liberty of a person by imprisonment, arrest, extradition or otherwise."

 

Another Basic Law deals with "The Right to Life and Limb in Israeli Law." It implies that life is sacred, stating:

 

"Israeli law has abolished the death penalty for murder (and corporal punishment)." The 1998 "Good Samaritan Law" requires assistance be given in situations "of immediate and severe danger to another." 

 

Overall, Israeli law affirms "Fundamental human rights founded upon recognition of the value of the human being, the sanctity of human life, and the principle that all persons are free." Israeli Basic Law exists "to protect human (life), dignity and (assure that) All government authorities are bound to respect (these) rights under this Basic Law."

 

One proviso, however, is disturbing. Israel is a Jewish state so all rights, benefits, privileges and protections apply only to Jews. Others are unwelcome, unwanted, unequal, and unprotected under Israeli law, even its own non-Jewish citizens. Moreover, despite binding international law, torture, abuse, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment aren't unambiguously designated crimes under Israeli law, even though the 1977 Penal Law prohibits their use.

 

In addition, as Law Professor Marjorie Cohn explained in her May 6, 2008 article titled, "Under US Law Torture is Always Illegal:"

 

Torture, genocide, slavery, and wars of aggression have a common thread. "They are all jus cogens....Latin for 'higher law' or 'compelling law.' This means that no country can ever pass a law that allows" these practices. "There can be no immunity from criminal liability for violation of a jus cogens prohibition."

 

No matter, America and Israel commit torture and other illegal practices freely and repeatedly, so far with impunity.

 

Testimony Evidence in B'Tselem/HaMoked Report

 

Testimonies showed arrests were made at homes in the middle of the night. In nearly one-third of cases, detainees were beaten or otherwise abused en route to interrogations. They were taken in military vehicles, forced to crouch or lie on the floor uncomfortably, not sit on a bench seat. They couldn't bring any items with them, articles on their possession seized. 

 

At Petach-Tikva, they were held in interrogation rooms or tiny cells. Thin mattresses in them took up nearly all available floor space. Ceilings were so low they could be touched. Most cells are windowless, making night and day indistinguishable. Ventilation at all times was artificial, 26% of detainees saying available air was either too cold or hot to increase discomfort. Artificial light stayed on round the clock. It caused sore eyes, impaired vision, and disrupted sleep. 

 

Cell walls were grey, very rough and bumpy, making them uncomfortable or impossible to lean against. Over three-fourths of detainees were kept in isolation, without contact with other inmates even for a portion of their internment.

 

Sanitation and hygienic conditions were appalling, including squat toilets that reeked, filthy mattresses and blankets, and no materials to clean cells. In addition, many detainees got no change of clothing for extended periods, for some, during their entire stay. Moreover, 27% were denied showers, many saying they developed skin rashes as a result.

 

Interrogations were brutal. In special rooms, detainees were bound to fixed-to-the-floor chairs. Nearly all their movement was prevented. At times, they were kept in this position for lengthy periods, given only short food and toilet breaks. For some, they were held under these conditions during no interrogations with no one present. 

 

Thirteen detainees reported sleep deprivation, lasting over 24 hours. For some, it lasted days with only short sleep breaks. Overall conditions restricted sleep, even when it wasn't prevented or interrupted. Abuses reported included:

 

-- 36% said interrogators cursed and verbally abused them; 

 

-- 56% were threatened, including by violence; 

 

-- 10% were threatened with "military interrogations," meaning ones entailing violence; 

 

-- 11% said interrogators detained family members to apply pressure; in one case, a 63 year old widow was brought to Petach-Tikva so incarcerated relatives could see her in detention; and

 

-- 42% of detainees were held a week or longer after interrogations ended, some for a month or longer under the above described conditions.

 

Shin Bet treatment includes measures to cause suffering and break detainees' will, including by inducing shock and anxiety. Detached from normal life, they're subjected to extreme sensory stimuli, restricted movement, and human contact stimulation. These are then enhanced by sleep deprivation, too little and poor quality food, exposure to temperature extremes, and severe pain through forced positions, at times while shackled.

 

CIA manuals from the 1960s and 1980s were used as guides, the same ones adopted by Latin American dictatorships. Techniques in them inflicted severe pain and induced mental regression, practices designed to make detainees putty in interrogator hands.

 

Shin Bet interrogators are notorious for committing abuses. Since 2001 alone, the Ministry of Justice received 645 complaints. Yet criminal investigations followed none of them. During arrest and transfer to them, soldiers also commit violence despite Israeli law prohibiting it.

 

B'Tselem/HaMoked described practices "constitute cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, and in some cases constitute torture. All are prohibited, absolutely and without exception." Yet they persist with impunity. Shin Bet interrogators use cruel and abusive measures, "in clear breach" of international law and "the ordinary rules....governing (Israeli) police interrogations...."

 

Authorities justify them as a way to prevent terrorism. It doesn't wash, nor is it likely true, even in so-called "ticking bomb" cases, a vague term with no legal validity. In addition, detainee mistreatment continues long after interrogations end. Imprisonment in Israel guarantees it, nearly always involving torture.

 

It persists because Palestinians are dehumanized, treated like a lower form of life. Moreover, claiming a "ticking bomb dilemma" is a red herring, yet it dominates public debate much like Islamophobia in America, equating Muslims with terrorists. In both countries, the rule of law is a non-starter, the rule of anything goes  replaced it, a notion, of course, with no legal validity.

 

A Final Comment

 

On October 29, the Jerusalem Post headlined, "Report: Foreign Ministry prevents Geneva Convention meeting," saying:

 

Israel's Foreign Ministry "succeeded in preventing a meeting of states which have signed the Geneva Convention, which could have resulted in a public statement that Israel has violated the charter during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip during 2009, Army Radio report(ed) Friday."

 

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also blocked the establishment of a Cast Lead victims' compensation fund. Once again, Israel got off the hook even for its most egregious Palestinian war crimes since 1948. Despite clear evidence from the Goldstone and numerous other reports, the international community shielded Israel, granting it immunity and license to keep slaughtering, torturing, and otherwise abusing defenseless Palestinians and others in the region. When it comes to Israel and America, the rule of law no longer applies, a sad testimony to reality.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.detainees are tortured and abused

Obama's Fake Muslim Outreach

 Obama's Fake Muslim Outreach - by Stephen Lendman

 

While slaughtering Muslims abroad, supporting Israeli's illegal occupation and genocidal Gaza siege, as well as waging domestic war on Islam, Reuters, on November 9, headlined, "Obama says US earnest, reaching out to Muslim world," saying:

 

From Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country, "President Barack Obama said Tuesday that Washington's effort to reach out to the Muslim world was earnest and would help improve security, although he acknowledged that there was still more work to do."

 

At a news conference with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhovono, he said, "With respect to outreach to the Muslim world, I think that our efforts have been earnest and sustained. We don't expect that we are going to completely eliminate some of the misunderstandings and mistrust that have developed over a long period of time, but we do think that we're on the right path." 

 

On August 31, he wreaked of duplicitity declaring an "end to the combat mission in Iraq," saying:

 

"Throughout this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibility." 

 

No matter that after two decades of war, sanctions, occupation, millions of deaths and displacements, disease, and insecurity, Iraq no longer exists. Divided in three parts (the Basra south, Kurdish north, and Baghdad center), it's unsafe, corrupt, terrorized, tyrannized, contaminated, and permanently occupied like Afghanistan and wherever else America shows up, the scourge of the Muslim world.

 

On November 9, New York Times writer Sheryl Gay Stolberg headlined, "Obama, in Indonesia, Criticizes Israel on Housing," saying:

 

"This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations, and I'm concerned that we're not seeing each side make the extra effort involved to get a breakthrough."

 

More duplicity by a president who partnered with Israel's occupation project, funds its wars, supplies billions of dollars in annual aid, more on request, plus the latest weapons and technology. A president with no interest in peace or Palestinian rights. One spurning his own people, especially the poor, disadvantaged, and millions of American Muslims. Who chides Netanyahu's construction plan for 1,000 new homes in the West Bank Ariel settlement, besides 800 more in East Jerusalem (all on stolen land). Who provides annual aid to fund them. Who now extends outreach to world Muslims with policies that betray them.

 

Obama plans a formal November 10 address, either at the University of Indonesia or a Jakarta mosque, venues that should spurn, not welcome him. So should Seoul, South Korea when he arrives Thursday for the G-20 conference, its agenda planning exploitation, not help for global millions in need, especially victims of US imperialism and persecuted Muslims everywhere who reject Obama's rhetoric, the same fake populism his agenda exposes.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.Obama's agenda belies his rhetoric

Israeli and American Rankings on Violence and Corruption

 Israeli and American Rankings on Violence and Corruption - by Stephen Lendman

 

Launched in May 2007, the Global Peace Index (GPI) ranks nations according to peacefulness. Its 2010 report includes 149 countries, graded on the basis of "ongoing domestic and international conflict, safety and security in society and militarisation...."

 

An earlier article discussed GPI's 2008 survey, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2008/05/disturbing-2008-global-peace-index.html

 

This year's index includes 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators, "which combine internal and external factors ranging from a nation's level of military expenditure to its relations with neighboring countries and the level of respect for human rights."

 

According to GPI's founder, Australian entrepreneur Steve Killelea, indicators were chosen by an international panel of academics, business people, philanthropists, and peace organization members.

 

They include:

 

(1) Ones relating to ongoing external and internal wars:

 

-- number of external and internal conflicts fought: 2003 - 08;

 

-- estimated number of external conflict deaths;

 

-- estimated number of internal conflict deaths;

 

-- level of internal conflict; and

 

-- relations with neighboring countries.

 

(2) Ones measuring societal safety and security:

 

-- perceptions of criminality in society;

 

-- number of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) as a percent of total population;

 

-- political instability;

 

-- level of respect for human rights (a political terror scale);

 

-- potential for terrorist acts;

 

-- number of homicides per 100,000 population;

 

-- level of violent crime;

 

-- likelihood of violent demonstrations;

 

-- number of persons imprisoned per 100,000 population; and

 

-- number of internal security and police officers per 100,000 population.

 

(3) Measures of militarization

 

-- military expenditures as a percent of GDP;

 

-- number of armed services personnel per 100,000 population;

 

-- volume of major conventional weapon imports per 100,000 population;

 

-- volume of major conventional weapon exports per 100,000 population;

 

-- budget for UN peacekeeping missions: percent of outstanding payments v. annual peacekeeping mission budget assessments;

 

-- total number of heavy weapons per 100,000 population;

 

-- ease of access to small and light arms; and

 

-- military capability/sophistication.

 

GPI rankings conspicuously omit two factors:

 

-- outside influence causing internal conflicts, instability, and/or disruptions; and 

 

-- responsible provocateur countries.

 

As a result, although America ranks low at 85 (above the 94 average) behind Rwanda, Indonesia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Egypt, it deserves a bottom position for imperial wars. In addition, numerous countries score low because of American and/or Israeli direct or indirect meddling. They might be relatively peaceful without it.

 

Breakdown of America's GPI Score

 

On a 1 - 5 scale (1 best), America should score 5 on number of external and internal conflicts fought directly and/or indirectly. Instead, it got 2.5.

 

It scored 2 on the estimated number of deaths from external conflicts. It deserves an asterisked 5, meaning its global barbarity is unmatched. 

 

For over four decades, Gideon Polya's body count analysis is perhaps the most reliable measure available. He states:

 

"There is no public discussion of the actual human cost of First World policies" - the main cause of global barbarism in all forms, including wars, other conflicts, massacres, genocide, starvation and famine, as well as preventable disease, poverty and neglect. Combined they comprise an "apocalyptic quartet of violence, deprivation, disease, and LYING (about who's) responsible for the continuing carnage."

 

Polya defines avoidable mortality as "the difference between the actual deaths in a country and (those) expected for a peaceful, decently governed (one) with the same demographics."

 

As of October 7, 2010, he estimates 4.9 million violent and non-violent avoidable Afghan deaths since October 2001. Under age five children number 2.6 million. Another 3.2 million are refugees. Daily the body count rises because of America's invasion and occupation.

 

In mid-September 2010, he cited UNICEF data indicating that "every 3 days, more Occupied Afghans die avoidably (3,700) than the estimated 3,000 on 9/11.

 

In March 2009, he cited 2.3 million post-March 2003 Iraqi deaths. Combined, he currently estimates 8 million Iraqi and Afghan deaths, dual genocides by any measure, unmentioned in GPI's index.

 

Except for its highest in the world prison population and military capability, America's GPI rankings understate reality. For example, it scores 3 for potential terrorist acts when, in fact, it's the leading global state-terrorism exponent by far, exceeding most other countries combined. It's the principle imperial warlord, responsible directly or indirectly for most global deaths, displacement, torture, poverty, and overall human misery.

 

It scores 3 on disrespect for human rights when, in fact, it flouts them abroad and at home. It got 2 for perceived criminality in society when its level of corruption, lawlessness, and other forms of malfeasance are unmatched. More on that below.

 

It scored 2 for military expenditures as a percent of GDP. Doing so obscures the fact that it spends more than all other nations combined.

 

It got 2.5 as an exporter of major conventional weapons when, in fact, it's the world's leading arms provider.

 

GPI couldn't hide America's record, but did its best to soften it, coming down harder on nations with no power to object.

 

Breakdown of Israel's GPI Score

 

Justifiably, Israel ranked 144, besting only Pakistan, Sudan, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Iraq in descending order, Iraq ranking last, but Afghanistan is just as bad or worse.

 

On individual categories, it's another story. Israel got 2.5 on number of external and internal conflicts fought when, in fact, it wages daily war against Palestine, occasional ones against neighbors, and more than ever persecutes its 20% Arab population, including violently. That rates 5 by any standard.

 

On number of displaced people as a percent of population, ignored are 9.8 million Palestinian refugees, what the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights (BRC) calls "the largest and longest-standing case of forced displacement in the world today." An earlier article discussed life in Palestinian refugee camps, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/10/life-in-palestinian-refugee-camps.html

 

On potential for terrorist acts, Israel scored 3 when, in fact, it commits daily state terrorism throughout Occupied Palestine, more against Israeli Arabs, and occasionally against neighboring countries. That warrants no less than a 5 ranking.

 

Most others more accurately represent Israel's penchant for violence and disdain for peace, why earlier it was a regional menace. Now it's a global one.

 

Israel and America Score Low Compared to Other OECD Countries on Corruption

 

In its 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), Transparency International (TI) said "nearly three quarters of the 178 countries (surveyed) score(d) below five, on a scale from 0 (meaning highly corrupt) to 10 (relatively little), indicating a serious corruption problem." However, it's downplayed in the West, including for America and Israel, culturally though not regionally Western.

 

Israel ranked 30, America 22, while poor, less developed, and in some cases violent countries scored lowest, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Somalia bottom-listed.

 

Scoring 6.1 out of 10, TI ranked Israel among the most corrupt Western countries, the CPI measuring public sector perception, omitting unmatched corporate levels throughout the West, America in the lead, but Israel a noted offender for its size.

 

Commenting, TI Israel's CEO, Galia Sagi, said:

 

"As opposed to Israel, other countries are improving, and that is a problem. Even though corruption is discussed and condemned, politicians are not doing enough to deal with it. If the political leadership does not prioritize this issue, nothing will change."

 

For the first time, America (scoring 7.5) lost its top 20 position it never deserved, its combined public/private corruption level unmatched anywhere, but don't expect TI to reveal it. By its own admission, it relies mostly on two sources:

 

-- "government development agency budgets and foundations," meaning developed richer nations and corporate backed foundations; and

 

-- "project funds from international organisations, donations from private sector companies and income from honoraria and publications."

 

Saying its independence depends on multiple sources masks the deep-pocketed ones that contribute, expecting softened host country harsh treatment in return.

 

TI gets evaluations from the:

 

-- African Development Bank;

 

-- Asian Development Bank;

 

-- Bertelsmann Foundation, a German neoliberal think tank, addressing political, economic, social and other issues;

 

-- Economist Intelligence Unit, part of Economist Group, including its publication, The Economist, promoting globalization, free trade, and other pro-business priorities;

 

-- Freedom House (FH), another right wing organization, formerly chaired by neocon hardliner James Woolsey, his tenure marked by FH support for US-backed color revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan;

 

-- Global Insight, the US-based largest global economics organization; and

 

-- World Bank, along with the IMF and other international financial institutions, responsible for environmental destruction and massive levels of global poverty and human misery.

 

Three other sources "reflect the evaluations by resident business leaders of their own country - IMD (International Institute for Management Development), Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, and the World Economic Forum," best known for convening the world's top business and political leaders in Davos, Switzerland annually.

 

The above groups soften American and Israeli rankings, ones so poor they can't mask everything, especially for violence, too visible to ignore, but way understated.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.rankings understate reality

Israeli Banks Profiteering from Occupation

 Israeli Banks Profiteering from Occupation - by Stephen Lendman

 

Wall Street does it. Other Western banks do it. They all exploit markets, often ripping off customers illegally. Why not Israeli banks also in their own back yard, easily in expanding settlements.

 

The Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) includes 10 feminist organizations and non-affiliated activist women in Israel. Founded in 2000, it advocates "radical social and political change," and is "a leading voice against the occupation, committed to feminist principles of organizing and Jewish-Palestinian partnership in a relentless struggle for a just peace."

 

In October, it released a report titled, "Financing the Israeli Occupation, The Direct Involvement of Israeli Banks in Illegal Settlement Activity and Control over the Palestinian Banking Market."

 

Besides stealing Palestinian land, economic interests play a large role in Israel's occupation, including resource control, labor exploitation, and commercial enterprises of all kinds, operating freely and illegally in settlements, banks among them.

 

Israeli banks profiteer several ways discussed below, but make no mistake. Like in the West, they're predators, especially in Occupied Palestine, permitted to steal and exploit because what say have occupied people. As a result, banks (construction companies, and other commercial enterprises) breach international law as participants in illegal projects, a lucrative profit center they freely exploit.

 

To encourage migration, Israel offers generous benefits and incentives, most settlements given National Priority Area A status, entitling them to:

 

-- quality, low-cost housing with subsidized mortgages;

 

-- free education from age three and extended school days;

 

-- free transportation to and from schools, and higher teacher salaries to attract qualified ones to move;

 

-- for industry and agriculture, grants and subsidies, indemnification from EU produce tariffs, significantly lower taxes than inside the Green Line; and

 

-- larger balancing grants to help settlements cover deficits.

 

In all aspects of finance, Israel banks are involved, profiteering from an expanding market six ways:

 

(1) Providing mortgages to homebuyers

 

Six large Israeli banks provide them - Bank Hapoalim, Leumi Mortgage Bank (of Bank Leumi), Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, Discount Mortgage Bank (of Israel Discount Bank), The First International Bank of Israel (FIBI), and Jerusalem Bank. All offer mortgages in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Golan, seized from Syria in 1967. By so doing, they actively participate illegally in Israel's occupation.

 

Moreover, as lenders, they're also owners until mortgages loans are repaid, and if not, they seize properties in default, making banks sole owners of illegal ones on stolen land, becoming more than ever criminally complicit.

 

(2) Providing overall settlement financing

 

Israeli housing construction projects (in Israeli and the Territories) depend heavily on loans from inception through completion. They're provided under special terms known as "accompaniment agreements" (Heskem Livui). Moreover, they're regulated by the Sale of Apartments Law (Assurance of Investments for Apartment Buyers) and under Bank of Israel management regulations. They're also supervised by the Israeli Ministry of Construction and Housing.

 

These agreements are crucial. Without them, completion of many projects might be jeopardized. Under their provisions, the accompanying bank holds property as collateral until housing units find buyers. Construction companies, in turn, get a reliable source of financing, including credit and guarantees on projects undertaken.

 

Prior to an agreement, special bank officers evaluate a project's profitability. If approved, development is monitored from start to finish, and banks also are involved in determining prices for finished properties. In addition, homebuyer payments are deposited in special accounts, exclusively for that purpose, controlled by accompanying banks to manage all related financial transactions.

 

In 2008, the Sale of Apartments Law was amended, tightening oversight of accompaniment agreements after fraud was exposed in a case called the Heftziba Affair. It involved one of Israel's largest construction companies - Heftziba.

 

Specializing in low-cost housing, it went bankrupt, after which its owner, Boaz Yona, was convicted of fraudulently stealing millions of dollars from unwary clients, without providing promised apartments. As a result, the amended Law requires an appointed Ministry of Construction and Housing commissioner, responsible for the registration and management of accompaniment agreements. The appointee must then submit an annual activity report to the Knesset Finance Committee.

 

In practice, however, agreements are privileged information between banks and construction companies, unavailable to the public. As a result, the 2009 report omitted privileged details, making it of little value. CWP appealed to the Ministry of Construction under Israel's Freedom of Information Act. Established by its Freedom of Information Law, it's, in fact, weak legislation, exempting many public agencies from complying, especially on security related issues. As a result, sanctions are seldom imposed, and appeals rarely upheld.

 

In response to CWP's effort, the Ministry declined, saying it lacked the requested information, whether or not true. As a result, CWP got what it could from banks and construction companies directly. They, of course, withhold vital details freely if they choose.

 

(3) Providing financial services to Settlement Authorities

 

Like settlements, local and regional councils and municipalities connected to them require financing for infrastructure, other projects, and essential services. Banks provide it for greater profits, including through loans, managing accounts, and other services.

 

Loans finance activities and establish enduring relationships, their provisions making banks investors in continued development and settlements growth, producing reliable income streams and greater profits. Overall, hundreds of millions of dollars are involved for projects ranging from a few to up to 99 years duration, supplement by new ones as settlements expand.

 

(4) Occupied Territory branch banking

 

Besides financing, all major commercial banks service private customers through West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan branches - the more settlers, the more customers, and the more branch banks, the more strengthened Israel's settlement project becomes.

 

According to Bank of Israel data, 34 branches operate in settlements, providing the same services as throughout Israel, including personal and business accounts, mortgage and other lending, credit cards, and other financial services, all of it profiteering illegally.

 

(5) Business Lending

 

Occupation is profitable, including for many Israeli and international commercial enterprises. They also need financing to grow. Banks provide it. CWP learned that "all Israeli commercial banks provide business loans for companies that are directly and clearly involved in the occupation." In other words, they operate illegally in the settlements, and they know it.

 

(6) The relationship between Israeli banks and the Palestinian banking market

 

By agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), only the shekel, dollar, euro and Jordanian dinar are used. The shekel, in fact, increases the Palestinian economy's subordination to Israel's much larger one.

 

The shekel's market share depends on several factors, including taxes, mainly from customs, and the VAT. In addition, most Palestinians with jobs work in settlements, and Israel has a thriving export and import market. The trade balance is illustrative. Of about 20 billion annual shekel transfers, 80% accrue to Israel.

 

Moreover, Palestinian banks have no direct access to the shekel clearing house, so must buy services from Israeli banks, mainly Bank Hapoalim and Discount Bank. However, arrangements impose "several limitations and have severe implications on the" cost burden Palestinian banks must bear.

 

Under established arrangements, Israeli banks demand collateral deposits of over one billion shekels (over 212 million euros), earning no interest. In addition, they charge high commissions, increasing costs and risks for their Palestinian counterparties. As a result, Palestinian banks incur deficits in the arrangement, impeding their development, and for some their viability.

 

Moreover, only some Palestinian banks may transfer shekels to Israeli banks. Newer ones are excluded to obstruct their ability to operate. In addition, the Bank of Israel controls monetary policy, including the amount issued, interest charged, inflation-targeting, foreign currency purchases, and export policies favoring Israel, not Palestine. Overall, Palestinian banks face enormous burdens, unfairly imposed to disadvantage them.

 

A Final Comment

 

Nearly all Israeli commercial banks exploit the Territories freely, effecting erasing the Green Line financially and commercially. Israeli and international enterprises are advantaged at the expense of Palestinian ones. 

 

By profiteering from occupation, these banks bear direct responsibility and must "be held accountable for their role in the financing of economic activity which sustains continued Israeli control" illegally. They also perpetuate the Palestinians' enormous burden under "unjust conditions," ones demanding redress.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.Israeli banks operate like Wall Street

Israeli Settlers Threaten Sheikh Jarrah

 Israeli Settlers Threaten Sheikh Jarrah - by Stephen Lendman

 

Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, including Fourth Geneva's Article 49 stating:

 

"Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of the motive."

 

In addition, various UN resolutions (including 446, 452 and 465) condemned Israel's settlement building, declaring they have "no legal validity" to exist. However, they do and regularly expand, endangering all Palestinian communities, Sheikh Jarrah one of many and their longstanding residents.

 

A predominantly East Jerusalem Arab neighborhood, it's home to about 2,800 Palestinians as well as diplomatic missions and well-known landmarks. However, because of its strategic location, settlers want it, and have encroached for years. So far, over 60 Palestinian families have been dispossessed. Another 500 are at risk. 

 

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) published an October report titled, "The Case of Sheikh Jarrah," explaining the growing threat, saying it's "of serious humanitarian concern." Settlers have used different methods to encroach, including:

 

(1) taking over land or property confiscated or expropriated by Israeli authorities, one way, among others, under the 1950 Absentee Property Law (ABL) defining absentees as:

 

"a person who, at any time during the period between (November 29, 1947) and (May 19, 1948) has ceased to exist (and no longer) was a legal owner of any property situated in the area of Israel...."

 

In other words, Palestinians fleeing for their lives became "absentees" with no legal right to land and property Israel wanted to steal.

 

(2) giving settlers land designated "public" or "state" for environmental, historic or religious reasons.

 

(3) using Israeli law (denied Palestinians) to pursue alleged Jewish ownership of land or property prior to 1948.

 

(4) buying land through intermediaries as well as through a process involving threats, deception, false depositions, or forged documentation, complicit courts cheating Palestinian owners.

 

An earlier article on theft of Palestinian land and property can be accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/01/israeli-theft-of-palestinian-property.html

 

What began incrementally has now intensified through forced evictions, at times involving home demolitions and state-sponsored violence. Sheikh Jarrah areas below have been especially affected.

 

(1) Karm Al Ja'ouni/Tomb Quarter where over 60 Palestinian families have been forced from their homes since late 2008. Evictions followed lost legal disputes over ownership, Jews invariably prevailing over Palestinians. Afterwards, settlers moved in, and according to plans submitted to the Jerusalem Municipality, they'll demolish the entire area for a new settlement, meaning all Arabs will be illegally dispossessed.

 

Over 300 are at risk, mostly refugees in UNWRA-sponsored housing since 1956 after fleeing from their homes in 1948. So far, eight extended families got eviction notices. More are coming. As a result, the affected neighborhood has sharply deteriorated, partly from frequent police-backed settler - resident clashes. Since August 2009, Israeli and international activists have participated in demonstrations, supporting Palestinian rights. Many have been injured, harassed, arrested and/or detained.

 

(2) In Kubaniyat Im Haroun, a protracted legal battle ended in September 2010 after Israel's High Court ruled for settlers, bogusly claiming pre-1948 ownership of Palestinian land. The decision means more forced evictions are coming because Jews nearly always prevail.

 

(3) Originally owned by the Husseini family, Israeli authorities expropriated the Shepherd Hotel and adjacent land in 1967, selling it in 1985 to Jews. They now plan a new 90 housing unit settlement. At least 20 so far have been approved, the others a fait accompli. 

 

(4) Named after its former owner, the Mufti of Jerusalem, the Karm el Mufti olive grove was expropriated by Israeli authorities, later transferring it to the Ateret Cohanim settler association. Although zoned a green area, restricting construction, settlers began a process to build 250 housing units most likely to be approved.

 

(5) In 2009, the Jerusalem Municipality granted the fundamentalist Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful) movement a permit to build a three story office/conference center for their planned Amana headquarters. Construction will be on expropriated Palestinian land, adjacent to Sheikh Jarrah's St. Joseph Hospital, despite objections from area residents.

 

(6) Additional stolen land next to the Al-Hayat Medical Center will be used for a Jewish religious/educational center, funded by Canadian Jews.

 

The fate of Sheikh Jarrah's Hanoun and Al Ghawi families are typical. In August 2009, Israeli police forcibly evicted them. Fifty-three Palestinians, including 20 children were dispossessed, their homes seized, their property loaded on trucks, then dumped on a street near UNWRA's headquarters. Besides losing everything, they now face high legal bills, fines and other charges, including for their own evictions, a shocking contempt for law and justice. Many others have been similarly affected.

 

In 2009, at least 380 Palestinians, including over 90 children, were forcibly displaced in East Jerusalem. Another 190, including over 85 children, were also affected. Moreover, other residents face at least 1,500 demolition orders, their lives to be harmed like the Hanoun and Al Ghawi families. As a result, Palestinian neighborhoods are being incrementally destroyed, their residents discarded like yesterday's garbage.

 

The humanitarian concerns are overwhelming, dispossession having immediate and longer-term physical, social, economic, and emotional consequences on families, neighborhoods and communities. Moreover, depriving people of their main asset and displacing them disrupts their livelihoods, reduces their standard of living, increases their risk for poverty, and limits their access to basic services like water, education and health care.

 

Forced evictions combined with expanded settlements also restrict free movement, and increase settler intimidation and harassment, at times causing injuries or deaths. After similar developments in Hebron's H2 area, over 1,000 Palestinians lost homes and over 1,800 commercial businesses had to close.

 

Under recognized international law, these are grievous violations. Yet Israel lets Jews claim land and property illegally, by alleging they owned it before 1948. Palestinians, however, have no equivalent right to land and property in Israel, legally theirs before being forcibly expelled during Israel's War of Independence.

 

With no enforcement authority, OCHA urges an immediate end to evictions, home demolitions, and dispossessions, as well as returning families to land and property they own, citing international humanitarian law. 

 

Israel, of course, ignores international law, its own as well when it comes to Arabs, remaining defiant because no one intervenes. As a result, Palestinians remain victimized, yet struggle heroically for their rights and dignity, refusing ever to stop until justice they rightfully deserve is achieved.

 

A Final Comment

 

On October 21, the Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement obtained documents on Gaza's closure and isolation policy, 18 months after their existence was denied. In early 2009, Gisha filed a Freedom of Information Act petition "demand(ing) transparency regarding the Gaza closure policy." Israel still withholds  information on its amended guidelines, established after the Flotilla massacre.

 

It's now known, however, that Israel imposed "a policy of deliberate reduction" of essential goods to Gaza, including food, medical supplies, fuel for electricity, and much more. In addition, guidelines dictated a "lower warning line" to notify about expected shortages in advance. At the same time, however, it was ignored. 

 

Moreover, an "upper red line" was set above which humanitarian goods could be blocked as part of state policy to suffocate 1.5 Gazans. In early 2006, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert advisor Dov Weisglass explained saying, "The idea is to put (Gazans) on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger." In other words, make them suffer enough to reject Hamas or force its officials to accede to Israeli demands, giving up hope for equity and justice.

 

After the May Flotilla massacre, Israel eased closure modestly, but hardly enough to matter. According to Gisha Director Sari Bashi:

 

"Instead of considering (legitimate) security needs, on the one hand, and the rights and needs of civilians living in Gaza, on the other, Israel banned glucose for biscuits and the fuel needed for regular supply of electricity - paralyzing normal life in Gaza and impairing the moral character of the State of Israel. I am sorry to say that major elements of this policy are still place."

 

Israel is a lawless rogue state, its Gaza closure policy Exhibit A.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.Stealing Palestinian land

Eroding Conditions for Israeli Arabs: Part II

 Eroding Conditions for Israeli Arabs: Part II - by Stephen Lendman

 

An earlier article reviewed the April Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel report titled, "One Year for Israel's New Government and the Arab Minority in Israel," accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/07/deteriorating-conditions-for-israeli.html

 

This article discusses a new Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) report titled, "Project Democracy - Fighting for the Ground Rules" for Israeli Arabs.

 

Israel's bogus democratic credentials are shameless and transparent, for growing numbers of Israeli Jews, but mainly for denying equal rights to minority Arabs, comprising 20% of the population. ACRI explained, saying:

 

"One of the most important principles in a democracy is to protect the minority against....tyranny. A democratic state is by nature pluralistic and respectful of diversity among its citizens, and enables each group within its population that so wishes to maintain all the components of its own identity, including its heritage, culture, and national identity."

 

Israel governs mirror opposite, disdaining anyone not Jewish, largely denying them any rights, while increasing harsh levels of persecution, especially against unwanted Arabs. As a result, today's reality is lawless discrimination, at times erupting in violence, injuries and deaths.

 

Arab citizens are increasingly persecuted because Israel won't "hesitate to employ lethal violence against" them on any pretext or none whatever. With no accountability or prosecutions, Muslims are unsafe, knowing their government is the enemy, not protector of their rights.

 

At the start of the second Intifada, the events of October 2000 shocked many by the murder of 13 Arabs, 12 citizens and one Occupied Territories resident. No prosecutions followed, a chilling reality that persists. As a result, fear and mistrust grow, instead of adopting the Or Commission's recommendations to diffuse them.

 

Established to investigate the October 2000 incidents, it gave Israel "a historic opportunity to redefine its attitude" to its Arab minority. Ten years later, nothing's changed. In fact, conditions are worse. "(I)n particular, we have seen an unprecedented deterioration in the attitude of the state toward (its) Arab citizens," more than ever since Israel's War of Independence treated them like a fifth column, an enemy to be routed and removed. Today that same attitude prevails.

 

Besides attacks on personal freedoms, authorities propose discriminatory laws, make racist statements publicly, exert force lawlessly, and most recently want Arabs to declare loyalty to "a Zionist, Jewish and democratic state," tarnishing or even made to renounce their own heritage in the process.

 

Moreover, since October 2000, "dozens of Arab citizens have been killed by the security forces." Rarely is anyone held accountable, at most offenders given "light penalties that do not reflect the gravity" of their crimes.

 

Democracies afford equal rights and protections to all its citizens, none excluded for any reason, the true test shown by how minorities are treated. Instead, since inception, Israeli Arabs "have faced systematic and institutionalized discrimination" and repression.

 

Importantly, as recognized by the Or Commission, not only do Arab citizens constitute a large minority, they represent an indigenous people with longstanding roots before Israel's establishment. As distinct from immigrants, they "bear a stronger affinity" to their historic homeland, international law recognizing their right to equality in all respects.

 

Yet an extremist Knesset demands "No citizenship without (pledged) loyalty," what no real democracy requires or enacts repressive measures against any of its citizens. Yet hardline Israelis believe Arab rights depend "on (the) condition that they abandon their national identity, culture, language, and historical heritage, and declare their 'loyalty' to values they do not share."

 

No "loyalty," no rights, they believe, including examples reflecting tyranny, not democracy, such as denying:

 

-- free expression;

 

-- nonviolent protests; and

 

-- participation in social and political life.

 

An example of the latter came from the early 2009 Central Election Committee (CEC) decision to disqualify two Arab parties (Balad and the United Arab List) from standing for Knesset elections. Although Israel's Supreme Court overturned the action, CEC's conduct "constituted an attack not only on the Arab minority itself, but also on the democratic system," exposing its sham nature.

 

Numerous other examples also highlight it, including events after the May Gaza Flotilla attack, unleashing "a tidal wave of attacks and challenges to the Arab Members of the Knesset." 

 

A proposed "Zuabi Law" was introduced, connected to MK Hanin Zuabi's participation. It stipulated that by a special 80 MK majority, any Knesset member could be expelled for having "committed incitement and negated the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state." So far, it's not enacted, but indicates the fragility of personal freedom in Israel, fast eroding and heading for tyranny.

 

This and other examples reflect "the unprecedented deterioration in the current Knesset in all aspects relating to respect for the democratic process." Its most fundamental precept protects the right to dissent, what Howard Zinn called the highest form of patriotism.

 

It also prohibits state-sponsored violence, what Israel uses against its Arab minority, including Bedouin citizens, forcefully removed from their lands with no right to contest. Worse still is cold-blodded murder with no accountability except for meaningless hand slaps.

 

As a result, the attitude of authorities becomes "a role model for many members of the (Jewish) public. The disrespect (and lawlessness) shown by (MKs);" the hostile approach of security force harshness; "the state's denial of the rights of the Arab minority, its preference for (force) over dialogue, and its treatment of Arab citizens" like enemies influences public attitudes and behavior overall.

 

Surveys and other expressions, in fact, confirm an "atmosphere of hostility, hatred, and racism." Countless examples include:

 

-- in 2009, three Misgav district communities (Manof, Yuvalim and Mitzpe) required candidates for membership to declare loyalty to the "Zionist vision" and Israel as a Jewish, democratic state;

 

-- in July 2010, a proposed law passed its First Reading to let communities make these demands;

 

-- discriminatory racism is common in workplaces, at times prohibiting Arabic being used; in other cases excluding non-Jews; "out of 150,000 employees in the industry in Israel, only some 500 (0.33 percent) are Arabs; and

 

-- overall treating Arab citizens like enemies, at times violently.

 

Since inception, government decisions, court rulings, and official documents confirm a culture of discrimination against anyone not Jewish, especially Muslims. The Or Commission, in fact, found that: 

 

"government attention to the Arab sector has largely been characterized by neglect and discrimination." Moreover, "the establishment has not shown sufficient sensitivity to the needs of the Arab sector, and has not taken adequate action to allocate state resources in an egalitarian manner, including to this sector."

 

The Commission recommended genuine equality for Israeli Arabs, saying:

 

"The state should initiate, develop, and operate programs to close gaps, with an emphasis on the fields of budgets, in all areas relating to education, housing, industrial development, employment, and services."

 

Nonetheless, discriminatory gaps widened in areas of education, land, housing, construction, employment, healthcare, politics, civil liberties, and personal safety. Israel institutionalized second-class citizenry for everyone not Jewish, mainly Muslims. ACRI thus concluded, saying:

 

"This reality is morally intolerable and, ultimately, it threatens not 'merely' " Israel's 20% minority, "but all of us....A state that restricts" basic rights; allocates them unfairly; "discriminates against citizens (by misallocation) of resources, infrastrutures, and education; and that labels certain citizens as enemies, is a state" with no democratic legitimacy whatever, heading rapidly toward despotism.

 

A Final Comment

 

Israel's huge political prisoner population belies any democratic pretense, Ahmad Sa'adat a prominent prisoner of conscience, discussed in an earlier article, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/07/ahmad-saadat-palestinian-prisoner-of.html

 

On December 8, 2008, he was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment, Israel's harshest political punishment, illegal under international law.

 

An early October 2010 article updated his status, accessed in a final comment through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/10/israels-persecution-of-ameer-makhoul.html

 

It mentioned an October 4 International Campaign for the Release of Kidnapped Palestinian Legislators press release, saying Sa'adat spent over "500 days in solitary confinement under the most inhumane conditions...."

 

On October 21, Israel sentenced him to six additional months of isolation until April 21, 2011, the web site freeahmadsaadat.org calling it:

 

"another outrage and attack upon the humanity of Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian people. (His) ongoing and repeated isolation (will) now stretch to over two years" to silence him on grounds of "security."

 

In fact, it's to crush his human rights mission and perhaps kill him by repression and neglect. The campaign to free him "calls upon all to confront this outrage," adding that "Isolation will not silence" him, other Palestinian political prisoners, or their cause.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.Israeli Arabs no longer are safe

פוסט ציונות - אנא בכוח \ קיריל הדר

כשיישאלו הישראלים הפטריוטים מה דעתם על אנטי ציונות, סביר להניח כי לפחות 90% מהמגזר היהודי ידחו את הרעיון על הסף. אבל אם וכאשר יוצע הרעיון במתכונת פוסט ציונית, שכן זוהי ברירת המחדל ביחס לשנה בה אנו נמצאים – רובם המכריע יתמוך נלהבות ברעיון.

אם אתם חושבים שזוהי אינה האמת, הבה נבחן את העובדות והנתונים. כן, אני יודע שהימין לא אוהב עובדות ונתונים, אבל בכל זאת ננסה. כשהרשות הפלסטינית מודיעה על אולטימטום בדבר התניית המשך השיחות בין הרשות וישראל בהקפאת ההתנחלויות, מיידית ממשלת נתניהו ושריה מגיבים בזלזול תחת הכותרת "יופי, זה מה שרצינו – סיום השיחות עם הערבים". ובהמשך אף מברכים את ההצעה וטוענים כי יש להוסיף ולפרק את הרשות הפלסטינית.

Life in Palestinian Refugee Camps

 Life in Palestinian Refugee Camps - by Stephen Lendman

 

Besides mass slaughter and destruction, wars create refugees, millions at times, uprooted, displaced and homeless, on their own somehow to survive. Israel's "War of Independence" was no different, dispossessing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, a story Western media reports don't explain or even mention.

 

In his book, "My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story," Ramzy Baroud recounted his father Mohammed's story. Born in 1938 in Beit Daras village, he saw it conquered, leveled and erased, except from the memory he took to his grave. A captive in his own land, he lived years as a Gaza Nuseirat camp refugee, raising his family including son Ramzy, dreaming always of going home, struggling as a freedom fighter to end decades of conflict, violence, occupation, and oppression, what Edward Said called "a slow death," shattered hopes, and inexorable toll of its incalculable horror to so many.

 

Spanning over seven decades of history and survivor recollections, it tells a powerful firsthand story of those who lived it, not the airbrushed Western version of the new Israeli state, born in blood, mass slaughter, destruction, and displacement of hundreds of thousands of survivors, to this day oppressed, harassed, intimidated, humiliated, attacked and arrested for being Muslims, not Jews on their own land, in their own country, illegally occupied for decades.

 

In his book "Behind the Wall: Life, Love, and Struggle in Palestine," Rick Wiles recounts other refugee stories, people he encountered firsthand in the West Bank, connecting them to their original villages, expulsion, daily life and dreams of return. 

 

Abu Gaush shared his own 1967 experience, saying:

 

During the Six Day War, "My family fled to the mountains as we were frightened that 1948 was happening all over again....The soldiers emptied all the houses in the villages and forced everyone out onto the streets. The only direction left was to Ramallah, and they told us to go there. Other soldiers were saying, 'Go to Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) - all land before there is ours - and if you stop before (arriving), we will kill you.' "

 

Including poignant photos, Wiles' book includes seven sections, discussing: Memories of Exile, The Wall, The Spirit of Resistance, Purity and Love, Land of Palestine, Strength and Sumoud (steadfastness), and Dreams of Return, including his final image of a grandfather giving his original home's key to his son, symbolic of the continuing right to return struggle, what won't ever stop until succeeding.

 

Numbers of Palestinian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons

 

Al Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, says Palestinian refugees today are the world's "longest suffering and largest refugee population." In its January 2010 report titled, "Survey of Palestinian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, 2008 - 2009," the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights (BRC) calls them "the largest and longest-standing case of forced displacement in the world today," numbering 9.8 million, increasing by about 100,000 a year. 

 

Most are refugees, another 450,000 internally displaced. For over six decades, they've been denied solutions and reparations for their rights under international law and UN resolutions. An earlier article discussed BRC's report in detail, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/05/palestinian-refugees-and-internally.html

 

Life in Occupied Camps

 

Besides those internally displaced, Palestinians have lived in forced exile for decades throughout the world, most within 100 km of their original homes. Those in camps comprise about 21% of the total. Hundreds of thousands of others are in 17 unofficial camps in Occupied Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. About 79% live outside UNRWA's 58 camps, including many in West Bank villages and cities, about 100 locales comprising over half the population.

 

In 2008, the European University Institute's Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies published a report titled, "Palestine Refugee Camps: Disciplinary Space and Territory of Exception," examining daily camp life in 59 camps: 19 in the West Bank, 8 in Gaza, 12 in Lebanon, 10 in Jordan, and 10 in Syria. Saying they're not "natural" settings, they become "slum areas" or under-developed urban sprawls, some "open spaces," others "closed." 

 

In Lebanon, for example, "the gap between the numbers of camp and urban refugee dwellers....is enormous," compared to Jordan and Syria where differences are minimal, yet even "country-by-country analysis does not in any way suggest internal homogeneity, because the question of camp locations within the different countries matters as well."

 

Some are more urban, other peripheral or rural, the differences among them huge, including job discrimination, poverty, and overall conditions. According to Norweigian Institute for Applied Social Science surveys in Jordan and Syria, Palestinian refugee living conditions for those outside camps differ little from host country populations. In camps, however, it's worse, especially in Lebanon. Education there is one of many problems, 60% of 18 - 29 year old Palestinians not finishing school.

 

In Lebanon and Jordan, 60% of camp homes lack proper sanitary installations for safe drinking water. Population density is a major issue, too many people occupying too little space, creating an enormous environmental and public health problem. Buildings are crammed together in narrow alleys, with little natural light, exposure to hazardous substances, inadequate temperature control, and poor ventilation. In Lebanon, the infant mortality rate is 239 per 100,000 births, and chronic infant illnesses are up to three times higher than the country's norm.

 

The Schuman Centre's study preceded Cast Lead, so its Gaza analysis needed updating. The war displaced up to 90,000 people and caused mass destruction. Yet little reconstruction is possible with the Strip under siege and virtually all needed materials and spare parts banned. In addition, three years of closure wrecked Gaza's economy, and sent unemployment and poverty levels soaring - the former up to 65%, the latter 80% with 96% of the Strip's industrial capacity shuttered, leaving well over 80% of the population aid-dependent. Three-fourths of Gazans live in camps, but all of them get below minimal amounts of everything, struggling daily to survive.

 

Overall, Palestinians see camps as "symbols of illegitimacy," a disconnected gray zone under occupation conditions. Of the 4.8 million registered by UNWRA, about 1.2 million live in Gaza, another 800,000 in the West Bank in 27 camps - 19 in the West Bank, 8 in Gaza, the rest in towns and villages.

 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), their 2009 dependency ratio is 85.3% in Gaza and 72.1% in the West Bank. High unemployment and poverty remain grave in both areas, especially in Gaza. So does public health and malnutrition, causing growing levels of illnesses and chronic diseases. 

 

UNWRA calls the refugee population "victims of health inequalities," the occupation, of course, the main contributor, resulting in a chronic imbalance between needs and demands on the one hand, and resources and other constraints on the other. Healthcare, personal safety, legal and political protection, and human welfare are fundamental human rights. Under occupation, they're consistently denied, especially in Gaza under siege.

 

Despite established laws, no international body has an explicit mandate to protect Palestinian refugees. After the 1948 Nakba, the UN Conciliation Commission for Palestine (UNCCP), UNWRA, and later the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) were supposed to provide aid, protection, and reparations, but supplied little. In addition, UN agencies, the ICRC, and world community, in deference to Israel, avoided durable solutions, including their obligation to enforce binding international law provisions. 

 

Moreover, refugees are seen more as needing humanitarian aid than having mandated rights, even though international law protects them, including their "inalienable right" of return. As a result, displaced Palestinians remain among the world's most neglected, abused people, including diaspora ones (the majority) excluded from the political process and peace negotiations.

 

The Palestinian National Authority (PA) represents those in the Territories alone, but, in fact, given the Hamas/Fatah split, only West Bank and East Jerusalemites. Most Palestinians are thus disenfranchised. As a result, a volunteer Civitas participant, a collective research project on exiled Palestinian communities, expressed her frustration, saying:

 

"Before the peace treaties, Palestinian political parties were more effective, and we had a voice: we worked properly! We made our voice heard to the entire world. But the world now hears only the voice of the Palestinian president, and his prime minister. As a citizen, I no longer have a voice. His voice is enough, (and he collaborates with Israel. Earlier) my voice was heard. If....peace....silence(s) me then I don't want it!"

 

Diaspora and internal refugees demand their legal rights. Those in Gaza and the West Bank can challenge their occupier directly. Those outside cannot. Without legal documents, passports, travel rights, identity papers, electoral involvement, and ownership and inheritance entitlements, they can't seek redress for decades of injustice, what Israel all along has denied, unchallenged by PA officials. Unless their collective voices are heard, the conflict's historical roots and their rights will go unaddressed, and they'll remain the world's "longest suffering and largest refugee population."

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.



an untold story

חוק הנאמנות והגזענות \ קיריל הדר

אוקטובר 2010. בעוד מספר חודשים, מסתמן, מדינת ישראל תציין שנתיים לעליית הימין הקיצוני בראשות נתניהו-ליברמן-ישי. הכוחות הלאומנים בארץ ישראל ממשיכים במגמה התוקפנית נגד אזרחיה הפלסטינים של מדינת ישראל. אחרי שהחליטו לטרנספר את ילדי העובדים הזרים, שכולם נולדו בישראל וחיו תחת התרבות הישראלית ואין להם דבר וחצי דבר בטרנספר לארצות הוריהם, אך למרות זאת, רבים כבר גורשו ונוספים עושים דרכם אל השאול.

חוק הנאמנות? עבר גם הוא ברוב מוחץ. הכל מתוקתק מהיר ומיידי, לעיתים גם ללא מתק שפתיים, כי למי אכפת. אין מי שישמיע את קולו, אין מי שיקים זעקתו, אין כופר ואין איש הפוצה פיו נגד המשטר. העיתונים והתקשורת כולה כאחת קוראים להחרים את שיחות השלום עם הפלסטינים, ומאמרי השטנה נגד זכרון רבין - נשפכים כאילו היה אויב האומה. פסטיבל השנאה נגד רבין.

גם אני רוצה יומן שמציין את הנכבה

ביומן של אגודת הסטודנטים של תל חי, יחד עם מועדים וימים אחרים, צוין גם יום הנכבה ויום הזכרון למאורעות אוקטובר בתוספת שמו של סטודנט המכללה שנהרג במאורעות.

סטודנטים מ"אם תרצו" במכללה מיד הזדעקו, יצאו לתקשורת ופנו למכללה ולאגודה בטענה שאלו ימים שמציונים על ידי "אויבי ישראל". המכללה ואגודת הסטודנטים התנצלו, הסירו מעצמם אחריות, והאשימו את הסטודנטית אשר הוציאה את היומן.

לידיעה ב YNET:

http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3972266,00.html

בואו נשמיע גם את קולנו בפני מכללת תל חי ואגודת הסטודנטים. יחד, נאמר שיש אנשים בארץ הזאת שאינם מוכנים לקבל את ההתייחסות לכל ערבי כאויב, ושמבינים שאנו חייבים להכיר ולזכור - גם את הנכבה, גם את מאורעות אוקטובר, ולא להסתיר את ההיסטוריה של למעלה ממיליון וחצי אזרחי המדינה.

כיתבו למכללת תל חי ולאגודת הסטודנטים שגם אתם רוצים יומן שמכבד את כל אזרחי מדינת ישראל!

מצורף מכתב לדוגמא שניתן לשלוח למכללה ולאגודת הסטודנטים בכתובות הבאות:

 

Chairman@agudatelhai.co.ilאביעד רוזנפלד, יו"ר אגודת הסטודנטים

spokesman@agudatelhai.co.ilאודי מיכאל, דובר אגודת הסטודנטים

 ymalka@adm.telhai.ac.il - יוסי מלכה, מנכ"ל מכללת תל חי

greenbrg@adm.telhai.ac.il - זאב גרינברג, דיקן מכללת תל חי



 

Dutch police raided offices of company for building West Bank separation fence and settlements

Press Release 10/19/2010

 

 

Dutch police raided the offices of a company leasing cranes for building the West Bank Separation Fence and settlements. Company executives, including the Israeli Doron Livnat, may face trial for violating International Law. Dutch government warned the Riwal Company two years ago not to engage in construction in the Occupied Trritories. Gush Shalom: another warning sign of the abyss of international isolation into which the Government of Israel leads us.

חברה הולנדית נחקרת בחשד לעבירות על החוק הבינ"ל
 בגין השכרת ציוד לבנייה בגדר ההפרדה ובהתנחלויות

הודעה לעיתונות  19.10.2010

 

החברה ההולנדית ריוול נחקרת בחשד לעבירות פליליות על החוק הבינ"ל

בגין השכרת ציוד לבנייה בגדר ההפרדה ובהתנחלויות

 

גוש שלום: עוד סימן אזהרה לתהום של בידוד בינלאומי אליו גוררת הממשלה את ישראל

הצעת עבודות לתערוכה: לחם ושושנים 5

התערוכה תערך בגלריית בית הספר מנשר לאמנות

בשבת
ה-25 בדצמבר


Israel's Longstanding Middle East Plan

 Israel's Longstanding Middle East Plan - by Stephen Lendman

 

In 1982, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs senior advisor Oded Yinon published a revealing document for regional conquest and dominance. Still relevant today, it's titled "A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s, translated, edited, and retitled "The Zionist Plan for the Middle East" by distinguished Professor Israel Shahak (1933 - 2001), longtime activist, analyst, and outspoken Israeli critic.

 

Its publisher, the Association of Arab-American University Graduates called it "the most explicit, detailed and unambiguous statement to date of the Zionist strategy in the Middle East....Its importance....lies not in its historical value but in the nightmare which it represents," what thereafter continued to unfold.

 

Its two essential premises include:

 

-- to survive, Israel must dominate the region and become a world power, and

 

-- succeeding requires dividing Arab nations into small states - Balkanizing them along ethnic and sectarian lines as Israeli satellites, controllable satraps, the idea modeled after the Ottoman Empire's Millet (or nation) system under which local authorities governed confessional communities with separate ethnic identities.

 

Israel's 1967 Golan seizure and 1978 and 1982 Lebanon invasions followed the plan, Yinon noting "far-reaching opportunities for the first time since 1967, (created by the) very stormy situation surround(ing) Israel," resurrected whenever Israel wishes. Its method involves preemptive belligerence against Palestinians and regional states, making them all eventual targets to be weakened, fragmented, divided, and reconfigured under Israeli control.

 

In 1982, it included dividing Iraq into Shi'ite, Sunni, and Kurdish areas, what, in fact, unfolded after 2003, Shahak noting that:

 

"The plan follows faithfully the geopolitical ideas current in Germany of 1890 - 1933, which were swallowed whole by Hitler and the Nazi movement, and determined their aims for East Europe." They were then implemented from 1939 - 1941, "and only (a global alliance) prevented their consolidation for a period of time."

 

Citing the "early stages of a new epoch," Yinon said "The existence, prosperity and steadfastness of (Israel) depend(s) upon its ability to adopt a new framework for its domestic and foreign affairs," based on securing its material needs through winnable resource wars and Arab world divisions.

 

"All the Arab States east of Israel are torn apart, broken up and riddled with inner conflicts even more than those of the Maghreb" (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, and Western Sahara). All the Gulf states are "built upon a delicate house of sand in which there is only oil." Jordan is in reality Palestine, Amman the same as Nablus.

 

Other Muslim states are similar. Half of Iran's population is Persian speaking, the rest ethnically Turkish. Turkey is half Sunni Muslim, the rest Shi'ite Alawis and Sunni Kurds. Today, Afghanistan's divisions are clearer, including Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Turkmen, and others. Pakistan also is comprised of Punjabis, Pashtuns, Sindhis, Seraikis, Muhajirs, Balochs and others.

 

From Morocco to India, Somalia to Turkey, stability is absent, "point(ing) to....a rapid degeneration in the entire region" to be exploited to Israel's advantage. Throughout the Middle East, depravation, including hunger and unemployment affect millions, potentially explosive problems only security forces can contain, giving Israel "far-reaching opportunities for the first time since 1967."

 

The Six Day War's strategic error was failing to give Jordan to the Palestinians, thereby "neutralizing" today's problem by removing them. "Today, we suddenly face immense opportunities for transforming the situation thoroughly and this we must do in the coming decade, otherwise we shall not survive as a state."

 

He recommended far-reaching foreign and domestic political and economic changes. He also called Israel's peace agreement with Egypt a mistake, said its economy depends on acquiring oil resources without which it could be destroyed, and named two ways to get them:

 

-- directly by breaking the treaty; or

 

-- regaining control of the Sinai indirectly, Egypt no military obstacle because of its internal conflicts.

 

In 1956, its myth as the Arab world's strong leader was revealed, reiterated in 1967. Its economy is also in crisis, making foreign help essential. Israel's strategic aim is to weaken it further by breaking it into distinct geographical regions. If accomplished, other countries may follow, including Libya and Sudan.

 

"The vision of a Christian Coptic State in Upper Egypt alongside a number of weak states with very localized power (and none centrally) is the key to a historical development which was only set back by the peace agreement but which seems inevitable in the long run."

 

Lebanon's division into five provinces is a precedent for the entire Arab world, including Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and the Arabian peninsula. Syria will divide into a Shi'ite Alawi coastal state, an Aleppo area Sunni one, another in Damascus, and the Druzes will set up their own. This outcome will guarantee peace and security in the long run, "and that aim is already within our reach today."

 

Oil rich/internally torn Iraq is a "guaranteed" Israeli target, more important than Syria. In the short run, it's  Israel's greatest threat. A war with Iran will tear it apart, lead to its downfall, and perhaps fragment Iran, separating its oil rich Arab speaking province from the rest of the country. Confrontations elsewhere will cause further dissolutions.

 

Because of internal and external pressure, the entire Arabian peninsula is vulnerable, especially Saudi Arabia. Jordan won't threaten in the long run after dissolution. "There is no chance that (it) will continue to exist in its present structure for a long time." Thus, Israel's policy should be transferring Jordanian power to Palestinians, hastened by Occupied Territory emigration, resulting in "Arabs to Jordan and the Jews to the areas west of the river. Genuine coexistence and peace will reign over the land only when Arabs understand that without Jewish rule between Jordan and the sea they will have neither existence nor security." Jordan is their only alternative, giving Israel more land cleansed of Arabs.

 

Otherwise, "we shall cease to exist within any borders. Judea, Samaria (the West Bank and Jerusalem) and the Galilee are our sole guarantee for national existence....Rebalancing the country demographically, strategically and economically is the highest and most central aim today."

 

Changes transforming world Jewry make Israel the only existential option. "Our existence is certain." Nothing can "remove us (either) forcefully or by treachery (Sadat's method)."

 

Three important points are stressed:

 

First, Israel's military alone can't occupy more territory. The solution - rule by "Haddad forces" or "Village Associations," controllable local authorities, dissociated from their populations, Israeli garrisons strategically positioned between the mini states. Making it feasible depends on keeping Arabs divided.

 

Second, Yinon's plan was published to win over Israeli society, especially its elites able to influence others. Problems about Arabs awareness are minimal, given their divisions and inability to understand Israeli society.

 

Neither is America of concern, its pro-Israeli media assumes "good intentions" regardless of policy, and the Israeli Lobby does the rest. As a result, Israel operates freely "because the world wants to close its eyes."

 

In 1985, Israeli President and Labor Party leader Chaim Herzog echoed the views of hardline extremists like Sharon and Netanyahu:

 

"We are certainly not willing to make partners of the Palestinians in any way in a land that was holy to our people for thousands of years. There can be no partner with the Jews of this land," leaving resettlement (expulsion) the only option, a favored policy today, the same one revisionist leader Ze've Jabotinsky advocated, including in a 1939 letter, saying:

 

"There is no choice: The Arabs must make room for the Jews in Eretz Israel. It it was possible to transfer the Baltic peoples, it is also possible to move the Palestinian Arabs." Most was accomplished in Israel's 1948 "War of Independence," again in the 1967 Six Day War. Thereafter it continued, supported and funded by Israel's Washington paymaster/partner in crime. As a result, Palestinians have been on their own resisting for over six decades, their courage and determination unreported in the West, but global support builds and offers hope.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.



Israel's divide and conquer strategy

עדות חמורה מהשטח: מתנחלי "חוות גלעד" שרפו אלפי עצי זית החיילים בשטח לא בלמו את המתנחלים אלא עצרו את בעלי הקרקע הפלסטינים

הודעה לעיתונות מאת גוש שלום 16.10.2010

 

את עדותו של א., איכר פלסטיני מכפר פרעתה, על מה שהתרחש במטע הזיתים שלו אתמול בבוקר,  נרשמה והועבר ה אל משרדי גוש שלום בידי דוד ניר, פעיל שלום המבלה הרבה מזמנו במעקב אחר המתרחש בכפרים שבאזור שכם. .

 

בבוקר יום ו' ה-15 באוקטובר עסקו א. ובני משפחתו במסיק בחלקת זיתים בקרבת ביתו בפרעתה.  בשעה 10.30 הוזעק א. אל מטע זיתיו השני, ממנו נראו עולות תמרות עשן. המטע השני סמוך למאחז ההתנחלותי "חוות גלעד", והזיתים ממנו כבר נשדדו בידי המתנחלים עוד לפני שהותר לבעליו הפלסטינים לבקר בו. לאחרונה המתנחלים ייצקו בתוכו יסודות לבניית קבע.

 

A Reduction In Freedoms (An American Point of View)

9/11 was a day which shook our country (America) to its core.  People who would use religion as an excuse for war attacked our great nation on the grounds of its greatest city and two other locations.  In doing so we lost roughly 2988 American citizens, but their memory and the spirit of what that memory means will live with us forever.  Years have passed but it is still something all Americans carry in their hearts as a tragedy and there will never be a shortage of tears for the victims of that day.



 

פסטיבל אקטיביזם – לקראת האסיפה הראשונה...

והפעם:

1.      דרושים מתכנתים.

2.      המכירה הפומבית ממשיכה!

3.      אסיפת ראשונה לקראת 'פסטיבל 2011'

 

העבודה על פסטיבל אקטיביזם 2011 ממשכיה.

מכתב ראשון לארגונים נשלח, צוות ההפקה מתרחב, בחירת המיקום לפסטיבל בעיצומה ואפילו נושא מרכזי הולך להיבחר לפסטיבל הקרוב.

פגישה ראשונה רחבה תתקיים בתחילת נובמבר – כלום מוזמנים. פרטים בהמשך.

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