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Palestinian prisoner placed in admin. detention — after serving 15 years

Palestinians take part in a protest in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoner Bilal Khaled, Nablus, West Bank, June 14, 2016. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Palestinians take part in a protest in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoner Bilal Khaled, Nablus, West Bank, June 14, 2016. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Edo Konrad

972mag.com |

Bilal Kayed was supposed to be released from Israeli prison after serving a nearly 15-year sentence. Instead, he was placed under indefinite detention without charges or trial.

Photos and text by Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org

Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed was meant to be released from Israeli prison on Monday after serving 14.5 years. Instead Israeli military authorities decided to put him in administrative detention for a period of six months, which means he will be held indefinitely without charge or trial.

On Tuesday dozens of Palestinians took part in a solidarity protest in the West Bank city of Nablus. Kayed’s detention came as a shock to his family and relatives. ”His lawyer called us to say that he will not be released today,” said his brother Mahmoud Kayed, adding that only a few hours later did they discover that he was put in administrative detention.

During the protest the demonstrators chanted against the decision, while raising photos of Kayed along with Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) flags, the leftist Palestinian party to which he belongs.

Administrative detention is a procedure that Israel uses to imprison detainees based on secret evidence, without charging them or allowing them to defend themselves at trial. Administrative detention orders may be renewed indefinitely.

The family confirmed that their son is planning on starting a hunger strike to protest his administrative detention. According to a statement released by the PFLP on Monday, its members in prison will begin an initial two-day hunger strike in solidarity with Kayed. “The hunger strike is just the beginning in a series of escalating steps to be implemented by all comrades in Zionist prisons and detention centers,” said the statement.

 

The mother of the Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed (center) takes part in a protest in solidarity with her son, Nablus West Bank, June 14, 2016. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
The mother of the Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed (center) takes part in a protest in solidarity with her son, Nablus West Bank, June 14, 2016. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Kayed, 34, has been imprisoned by since December 2001 on charges of membership in the PFLP, as well as participation in activities against the State of Israel. He was 19 years old at the time of his arrest. Kayed is now among 750 Palestinians held in administrative detention without charge or trial.

Last Friday Israeli authorities placed a Palestinian prisoners’ rights activist under administrative detention for six months, 40 days after he was first detained and taken in for interrogation.

Mohammed Abu Sakha (photo: Courtesy of Addameer)
Mohammed Abu Sakha (photo: Courtesy of Addameer)

 

Hasan Safadi, who works as media coordinator for Addameer, an NGO that supports Palestinian prisoners in both Israeli and Palestinian prisons, was set to be released from detention on June 10 by order of Jerusalem’s Magistrate’s Court, after paying NIS 2,500 in bail and obtaining third-party guarantees. Later the same day, however, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman signed an administrative detention order against Safadi, effectively overriding the court’s decision.

On Monday Israeli military authorities also renewed the administrative detention of Palestinian circus trainer and clown Mohammad Abu Sakha for an additional six months, from June 13 to December 12. Abu Sakha is known for working with special needs children in the West Bank, and runs the Palestinian Circus School. He was first arrested on December 14, 2015 while he was crossing Zaatara military checkpoint near Nablus on his way to work in the village of Birzeit, near Ramallah.

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© 2010 – 2016 +972 Magazine

 

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AMIRA HASS: Israel’s right to sweep away Palestinians

Expelling Palestinians is a paradigm that’s alive and well in the Jews’ state – a plan that was carried out and that is always waiting to be replicated.
By Amira Hass | Jun. 8, 2016 | 7:03 PM | 3
Why are people so shocked that Israel has jailed a professor of astrophysics over his posts on Facebook, along with young girls who brandished knives? It has every right to do so. This right follows naturally from Israel’s essence and past, and can be summed up in a term derived from a statement by Uzi Narkiss, who headed the army’s Central Command in the June 1967 war: the right to sweep away.

“I don’t know if anything will happen,” Narkiss said on the eve of that war, according to Israel Defense Forces documents recently released for publication. “But if something does happen, it will take less than 72 hours for us to sweep all the Arabs out of the West Bank.”

Here are three new examples of the exercise of that right that unfortunately haven’t received appropriate media coverage:

* The right to worship, trespass and kill. Some 4,000 Jews (according to Israel National News), including Knesset members, prayed at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus from late Thursday night to early Friday morning last week, under heavy military protection (this follows from the rights to Judaize graves, to sanctify stones the way a dog marks his territory, and to prioritize memorializing a dead Jew over the daily routine of live Palestinians).

Maj. Elitzur Trabelsi, an officer in the Samaria Brigade’s territorial defense unit, said this unit’s “hard work, before and during the visit” to Joseph’s Tomb “is satisfying when you see the number of people coming here. The Samaria Brigade will continue to enable such visits in accordance with the government’s instructions and work to ensure the visitors’ security.”

The brazen locals, who deny the right to sweep them away, demonstrated. The IDF fired live bullets at them. About 10 demonstrators were wounded, including Jamal Dweikat, 20, who was wounded in the head. He died of his wounds on Monday.

* The right to dismantle a kindergarten (which derives from having turned Area C, the part of the West Bank assigned to full Israeli control by the Oslo Accord, into the rock of our existence). On Sunday, the IDF and Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank raided the Hamadin Bedouin community in Sateh al-Bahr (“Sea Level”) on the road leading to the Dead Sea. Accompanied by heavy engineering vehicles (a crane and a digger) and at least eight all-terrain vehicles, they dismantled and confiscated six prefab houses and one prefab that served as a kindergarten for 12 children.

The buildings, a UN donation, were funded by several European countries (including Germany). Twenty-six people, including 13 children, lost their homes.

The Hamadin, a clan of the Jahalin tribe, are one of the Bedouin communities which the Civil Administration is planning to sweep out of their place of residence of the past several decades (the Jahalin, of course, had first been swept out of the Negev in the early 1950s) and to concentrate them in a township, so that they will adjust their way of life and their movements to our sacred right to spread southward and eastward and build kosher Jewish villas.

* The right to prepare for the coming and welcome wars. Between May 30 and June 1, five Palestinian communities (made up of 58 families) were ordered to evacuate their homes in the steaming northern Jordan Valley for various periods of time due to IDF exercises. Military exercises within Palestinian communities are nothing new. In April 2014, Col. Einav Shalev, then an officer in Central Command’s operations division, revealed that training exercises and the expansion of firing zones in the Jordan Valley are a way of reducing the number of Palestinians. “When the troops march, people move aside,” he said. “There are places where we significantly reduced the number of exercises, and weeds sprang up there.”

When Narkiss spoke of “sweeping out all the Arabs,” he drew a logical line to the expulsion of 1948. In other words, he revealed that expelling Palestinians is a paradigm that’s alive and well in the Jews’ state – a plan that was carried out and that is always waiting to be replicated. That plan hasn’t succeeded. But “sweeping” the Palestinians into crowded enclaves continues all the time, an inseparable part of our right as masters.

A Bedouin of the Jahalin tribe walks in his encampment near the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim, east of Jerusalem, June 16, 2012.Reuters read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.723737
A Bedouin of the Jahalin tribe walks in his encampment near the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim, east of Jerusalem, June 16, 2012.Reuters
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.723737

Read the darn thing

see also Verdict: balanced report, unbalanced reaction


Rear Admiral John Kirby, taking questions, 2014. Photo from US Defense Department

US says UN Security Council should disregard ‘biased’ Gaza report

State Department says report, which accused Israel of possible war crimes, is intrinsically unfair

By i24 news
June 24, 2015

The United Nations Human Rights Council report on last summer’s war in Gaza should not be brought to the Security Council for a vote or used by the UN for other work, the United States said Tuesday.

Dismissing the report as having a “clear bias” against Israel, State Department spokesman John Kirby said Washington viewed the report, which accused both Israel and the Islamist group of possible war crimes, as intrinsically unfair.

“[W]e challenge the very foundation upon which this report was written, and we don’t believe that there’s a call or a need for any further Security Council work on this,” Kirby said during a press conference. “We reject the basis under which this particular commission of inquiry was established because of the very clear bias against Israel in it.”

The UNHCR is slated to examine the findings of the report on June 29 and may vote in favor of sending it to the Security Council for further action. Kirby had already iterated on Monday that the US would not take part in that endeavor.

The US does not “support any further UN work on this report,” Kirby said regarding whether it should be forwarded to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

“We’ve made very clear what our issues were at the time about the use of force and we made very clear to the Israeli government our concerns about what was happening in that conflict,” he added. “We have an ongoing dialogue with the government of Israel on all these sorts of matters; that dialogue continued and continues.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected the report’s finding and slammed the UN Human Rights Council for spending “more time condemning Israel than Iran, Syria and North Korea put together.”

“Israel does not commit war crimes, but rather defends itself from a terrorist organization that calls for Israel’s destruction,” the PM said.

American jurist Mary McGowan Davis, who headed the independent United Nations probe into the events of last summer’s war in Gaza, has said that the investigation’s report would have looked different if Israel would have cooperated with it.

In an interview with Israeli daily Haaretz, McGowan Davis said that if Israel would have co-operated with the investigation, “we could have met with Israeli victims and seen where rockets landed, talked with commanders, watched videos and visited Gaza. We talked to a lot of witnesses but of course an investigation needs to be as close to the scene as possible and it would have looked different.”

Israel refused to co-operate with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) probe, harbouring grave misgivings about the commission’s impartiality.


Think U.N. Gaza ‘War Crimes’ Report Is Biased? Read It First.

By J.J. Goldberg, Jewish Forward
June 23, 2015

When the shouting dies down and folks take the time to read the actual content of the United Nations report on last summer’s Gaza war — all 183 pages plus side documents — you might see some very red faces in the world of pro-Israel activism.

Well, maybe you won’t. The leaders and friends of Israel’s current governing coalition aren’t in the habit of admitting mistakes, especially where Palestinians are involved. But this one will be hard to dodge.

Israeli officialdom and its boosters greeted the report’s June 22 release with a chorus of outrage. They claim it “accuses Israel of deliberately killing civilians,” denies Israel’s right to defend itself, “barely mentioned” Hamas and even “has blood on its hands for allowing the murder of Jews.” None of that is in the report.

What it does contain is a host of questions about the Israeli military actions that led to the deaths of around 2,200 Palestinians, a large proportion of them civilians. It questions whether Israel’s military goals of stopping rocket and mortar fire and tunnel infiltration, goals it admits were legitimate, necessitated all of the actions that caused the massive civilian suffering.

It reads harshly at times, but the events it describes actually happened. Given the numbers killed and left homeless, it’s appropriate to recall. The finger-pointing is actually rather mild, relative to the magnitude of the suffering. And make no mistake: the finger points in both directions.

The report notes that “the threats to the security of Israel remained all too real.” It describes at length the rocket and mortar fire from Gaza, as well as Hamas’s terrifying tunnels into Israeli territory. It describes Israel’s casualties, including children killed, wounded and emotionally scarred. And it charges that the firing of rockets without guidance systems in the direction of civilian residential areas by “Palestinian armed groups” was a blatant violation of international law.

But it cites dozens of cases where Israel’s response might not have been “proportional” to the threat. International laws of war dictate that a military action should be proportional, not to the harm suffered, but to the achievement of a “legitimate military goal.” The investigators studied 15 specific residential buildings out of the thousands that Israel shelled. It found evidence of a military target in nine of them. In the other six it couldn’t find evidence of a military target, raising the suspicion that the building was a purely civilian facility, suggesting that the attack violated international law. Since Israel didn’t cooperate with the investigators, and didn’t allow them entry to Israel or Gaza, the report urges Israel to answer the question of what it was aiming at in each case.

The report praises Israel’s efforts to warn residents by leaflet and telephone to flee before buildings were attacked, even at the cost of losing the element of surprise. However, it claims Israel’s practice of “roof-knocking,” dropping light munitions to warn residents before bombing, was ineffective.

It also raises an explosive question of whether Israel’s top leaders should be culpable for failing to change tactics in midsummer once the high civilian toll of its bombings became clear.

What will evoke the most discomfort and even outrage for many is the report’s lengthy series of grim eyewitness accounts of civilian deaths (“I found the decapitated bodies of my uncle and daughter…”) and destroyed homes. A handful of killings are documented that the report flatly says violated international law, notably a civilian shot twice after falling down wounded, caught on video.

But the report’s most direct, unequivocal allegation of illegality — stripped of “may,” “could” or “should” — involves “executions” of suspected collaborators by “Palestinian armed groups” (its collective term for the military wings of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and several smaller groups). The report describes in detail the arrest, torture and summary execution, often in public, of several dozen suspects, “with the apparent knowledge of the local authorities in Gaza,” the report’s term for the Hamas government. These flatly violated “both international humanitarian law and international human rights law,” along with “Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” and “article 3 common to the 1949 Geneva Conventions,” the laws of war.
The report quotes the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority — or, as it terms it, the Ministry of Interior of the State of Palestine — as condemning the executions as “illegal.” In what’s either wry humor or clueless diplo-speak, it says the State of Palestine intends to investigate Palestinian violations and impose justice as soon as it regains control of Gaza.

The report also notes allegations by witnesses that Israeli troops used Palestinians as human shields, forcing them to enter buildings before the soldiers in case of booby traps. One specific case is cited. On the other hand, it notes that Palestinian armed groups made an apparent practice of using human shields by sending civilians to the roof of targeted buildings “to ‘protect’ the house” — one specific case is cited, but others are suspected — “in violation of the customary law prohibition to use human shields.”

Israel condemned the report as biased from the moment it was first commissioned by the U.N.’s human rights council last July, during the heat of the war. The council has a long history of obsessively focusing on Israel and ignoring far more glaring human rights violators. It’s been responsible in the past for such miscarriages of justice as the 2009 Goldstone Report, which baselessly accused Israel of intentionally targeting civilians in the three-week Gaza incursion known as Operation Cast Lead. Israel refused to cooperate with that inquiry, whose chair, South African judge Richard Goldstone, eventually repudiated many of his own commission’s findings.

The council’s initial choice to head the latest inquiry was Canadian academic William Schabas, a longstanding, vehement critic of Israeli behavior. But Schabas quit the inquiry last February following revelations that he’d done paid consulting work for the Palestine Liberation Organization, a conflict of interest. His replacement was a retired New York state judge and onetime Brooklyn federal prosecutor with a reputation for fairness, Mary McGowan Davis.

The report produced by McGowan Davis and her fellow commissioner, veteran U.N. human rights expert Doudou Diene of Senegal, seems to have caught some Israelis off-guard. Where the Goldstone Report was dismissed out of hand, the Foreign Ministry says it will “study” the new one, despite the bias of the council that commissioned it. Some officials are quietly telling reporters it may have been a mistake to continue snubbing the investigation after Schabas resigned, rather than cooperating so McGowan Davis could hear Israel’s side. Indeed, some warn the report’s relative balance will make it harder to ignore the harsher allegations as they move through international bodies and tribunals.

Israel released its own report on the war a week before the U.N. document came out, on June 14, in an apparent attempt to preempt and blunt the expected the U.N. attack. Simultaneously, a pro-Israel organization in Europe released a report by a so-called High-Level International Military Group, comprising 11 retired generals and diplomats from around the world, headed by a former German chief of staff and head of NATO command. They visited Israel for several days in May and concluded that Israel “not only met a reasonable international standard of the laws of armed combat, but in many cases significantly exceeded that standard.”

Neither of those reports, however, addressed the specific incidents and patterns that McGowan Davis questioned.

It remains to be seen whether and how Israel will address her questions regarding the military necessity of its actions.

The Palestinians have initiated action against Israel at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and McGowan Davis urges Israel to co-operate. But the court doesn’t have jurisdiction over a country that properly investigates and punishes its own crimes. The ball is in Israel’s court. For the rest of us, step one would be to read the darn thing.

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Israel calls on member states to divest from ICC

Beit Lahiya in the far north of the Gaza Strip was badly hit during the 2008-2009 Israeli attacks. / Photo: RafahKid (flickr.com/photos/rafahkid/)

International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda initiated on Friday a preliminary probe into whether the Israeli army committed war crimes during last summer’s offensive on Gaza. In addition, Bensouda indicated that Palestine should be recognized as a state following the UN General Assembly’s November 29, 2012 vote recognizing a “State of Palestine.”


From February 2009 until April 2012, Palestinians made attempts to bring war crimes allegations against Israel in relation to the 2008-9 Israeli offensive on Gaza. However, the ICC Prosecutor’s Office dismissed such attempts, declaring that “Palestine” was not yet a state and that only states could seek ICC intervention.

Bensouda’s decision does not mean actual war crimes trials are imminent. However, Israeli analysts perceive it as a most serious escalation toward possible war crimes trials of Israeli military personnel and political leaders.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry hailed the decision as a “positive and significant step toward achieving justice and respecting international law.”

The ministry added that the Palestinian decided to join the ICC was intended “to put an end to Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, said on Saturday his organization appreciates the move.

“What is needed now is to provide the court with thousands of reports and documents that confirm the Zionist enemy has committed horrible crimes against Gaza and against our people,” he added in a statement.

Not unexpectedly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the ICC move, claiming it is absurd.

“I won’t be surprised if ISIS, Al Qaeda and Hizbollah follow suit,” he added on Saturday.

In response to Bensouda’s decision, Israel is lobbying member-states of the ICC to cut funding for the tribunal.

Israel, which is not a member of the ICC, hopes to dent funding for the court which is drawn from the 122 member states in accordance with the size of their economies, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday.

“We will demand of our friends in Canada, in Australia and in Germany simply to stop funding it,” he told Israel Radio.

“This body represents no one. It is a political body,” he said. “There are a quite a few countries – I’ve already taken telephone calls about this – that also think there is no justification for this body’s existence.”

He said he would raise the matter with visiting Canadian counterpart John Baird on Sunday.

Another Israeli official told Reuters that a similar request was sent to Germany, traditionally one of the court’s strongest supporters, and would also be made to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is separately visiting Jerusalem and whose nation is the largest contributor to the ICC.

source

Settlers: Deport US consulate staff

settlerviolence

Settlement leaders are demanding that Israel deport American consulate staff who clashed with settlers Friday, according to the settler-affiliated news site Arutz 7.


According to Yossi Dagan, acting head of the Samaria Regional Council, the council of northern West Bank settlements, US consulate security guards threatened settlers with a handgun and an M16 rifle.

A confrontation broke out between security personnel from the US consulate in Jerusalem and settlers from the Ramallah-area Adei Ad outpost in the West Bank on Friday, after settlers hurled stones at two vehicles from the consulate.

The consulate staff arrived to the area at the inviation of the village of Turmus Ayya to examine thousands of olive tree seedlings which were uprooted Thursday night. Some of the seedlings belong to Palestinians who are also US citizens.

The Consulate security guards arrived at the agricultural lands to examine the scene and rule out any security risks, while the delegation members waited behind in the village. Settlers claimed they arrived to the area without coordination and brought Palestinians into their territory, saying the American visit was coordinated with the Israeli Civil Administration for next week.

According to police, the settlers pelted the convoy with rocks.

Dagan, wrote to the acting Israeli interior minister that the US consulate security guards crossed all red lines “and participated in a provocative tour with the Palestinians without any coordination as required with the IDF and police, and pulled out a firearm and threatened Israeli civilians.”

“I request that in view of the serious and criminal conduct, that these [US] security guards and officials be deported,” he added.

A State Department spokesman in Washington said US authorities were “deeply concerned” about the stone-throwing incident.

“We can confirm a vehicle from the Consulate General was pelted with stones and confronted by a group of armed settlers today in the West Bank, near the Palestinian village of Turmus Ayya,” said the US State Department spokesman according to AFP.

The spokesman added that “I do want to correct one thing proactively from some of the reporting I’ve read on this incident. No American personnel drew their weapons in the course of these events. What has been reported suggesting otherwise is inaccurate.”

Adei Ad is an unregulated Israeli outpost that was established in 1998 by a group of yeshiva students from the settlement o f Shvut Rachel. The settlement was established on land owned by Palestinians and is also considered illegal under Israeli law. In 1999 Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak ordered the outpost dismantled, although it never happened.

On 10 December 2014, Palestinian Minister Ziad Abu Ein died in a confrontation with Israeli soldiers during a a protest march to plant olive trees on this site.

source

Children in Chains

Netanyahu government knew teens were dead as it whipped up racist frenzy

At a right-wing protest in Jerusalem a sign reads “May God avenge their blood” and a youth wears a sticker stating “Kahane was right,” referring to the Brooklyn-born violent settler movement leader, 1 July. (Tali Mayer / ActiveStills)
At a right-wing protest in Jerusalem a sign reads “May God avenge their blood” and a youth wears a sticker stating “Kahane was right,” referring to the Brooklyn-born violent settler movement leader, 1 July. (Tali Mayer / ActiveStills)

“Cursed be he who says, ‘Avenge!‘ “ 
—Chaim Bialik, from “On The Slaughter”

From the moment three Israeli teens were reported missing last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the country’s military-intelligence apparatus suppressed the flow of information to the general public. Through a toxic blend of propaganda, subterfuge and incitement, they inflamed a precarious situation, manipulating Israelis into supporting their agenda until they made an utterly avoidable nightmare inevitable.

Israeli police, intelligence officials and Netanyahu knew within hours of the kidnapping and murder of the three teens that they had been killed. And they knew who the prime suspects were less than a day after the kidnapping was reported.

Rather than reveal these details to the public, Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency imposed a gag order on the national media, barring news outlets from reporting that the teens had almost certainly been killed, and forbidding them from revealing the identities of their suspected killers. The Shin Bet even lied to the parents of the kidnapped teens, deceiving them into believing their sons were alive.

Instead of mounting a limited action to capture the suspected perpetrators and retrieve the teens’ bodies, Netanyahu staged an aggressive international public relations campaign, demanding sympathy and outrage from world leaders, who were also given the impression that the missing teens were still alive.

Meanwhile, Israel’s armed forces rampaged throughout the occupied West Bank and bombarded the Gaza Strip in a campaign of collective punishment deceptively marketed to Israelis and the world as a rescue mission.

Critical details that were known all along by Netanyahu and the military-intelligence apparatus were relayed to the Israeli public only after the abduction of more than 560 Palestinians, including at least 200 still held without charges; after the raiding of Palestinian universities and ransacking of countless homes; after six Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli forces; after American-trained Palestinian Authority police assisted Israeli soldiers attacking Palestinian youths in the center of Ramallah; after the alleged theft by Israeli troops of $3 million in US dollars; and after Israel’s international public relations extravaganza had run its course.

The assault on the West Bank arrived on the heels of the collapse of the US-led framework negotiations, for which the US blamed Netanyahu, and immediately after Hamas’ratification of a unity deal with the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority. Netanyahu was still smarting from the US recognition of the unity government when news of the kidnapping reached him. Never one to miss an opportunity to undermine the Palestinians, he and his inner circle resolved to milk the kidnapping for maximum propaganda value.

Weeks after the incident, it is now clear that the Israeli government, intelligence services and army engaged in a cover-up to provide themselves with the political space they required for a military campaign that had little to do with rescuing any kidnapped teens.

The disinformation campaign they waged sent a heavily indoctrinated, comprehensively militarized population into a tribalistic frenzy, provoking a wave of high-level incitement, the shocking revenge killing of an innocent Palestinian teen and rioting across East Jerusalem.

Where the chaos will end and how far it will spread is unknown. But its origins are increasingly clear.

Gagging the media, lying to teens’ parents

see full article here

International kowtowing to Israel must end now

The Americans and Europeans have tried being the voice of reason and failed. Now they must speak to Israel in the language it understands best (hint: it’s not Hebrew.)

Israeli settlers of Yitzhar in confrontation with Palestinians

Israeli settlers of Yitzhar take position during a confrontation with Palestinians over an area in Burin village in the West Bank, January 14, 2014. Photo by AP
By | May 31, 2014 | 7:43 PM

If there is a world, let it appear immediately. For now, there’s the sense of an ending of the international intervention in Israel. The Americans folded, the Europeans gave up, the Israelis rejoice and the Palestinians are lost. “Sleep now high road / ending comes, Sleep thou king / here comes the clown” (“Shir Eres” [Lullaby], by Natan Alterman, translated by Avigail Caspi-Lebovic).

Occasionally some pope or foreign minister makes a visit (Norway’s FM was here last week), pays loose lip service in favor of peace and against terror and the settlements, and then disappears again. On the high road ending comes, and the king has been replaced by the clown. But even this waning is a statement, and idleness is action: They leave the conflict to the sighs of the Palestinians and the occupation in the hands of Israel, which is sure to perpetuate it and to ground it even more firmly. For that reason, the world’s withdrawal is unacceptable: The international community does not have the option to leave the status quo as is, even if that is Israel’s most fervent wish.

The current situation is not acceptable in the 21st century. It is easy to empathize with the United States for giving up, with Europe for tiring. How much longer can the same road be trodden? How many times can the same futile proposals be read out to deaf ears.

After a brief recovery from the American failure, the time has come for a new way, one that has never been tried before. Both the message and the medium must change, to a message of civil rights and the medium of punishment. The previous route included sycophancy toward Israel, one carrot after another in order to please it. It was a resounding failure. It only gave Israel an incentive to further entrench its policy of disinheritance.

The message also failed spectacularly: The two-state solution has given up the ghost. The world tried to bring it to life using charm. The proposals came thick and fast, amazing in their resemblance to each other – from the Rogers Plan to the shuttle diplomacy of John Kerry – and each one only collected dust in some drawer. Israel always said no, only its excuses and conditions changing: an end to terror here, recognition of its being a Jewish state there.

In the meantime, the number of settlements in the West Bank grew threefold and fourfold, and the brutality of the occupation increased to the point where soldiers now shoot demonstrators out of nothing but boredom.

The world cannot lend its hand to this. It is unacceptable, in the 21st century, for a state that purports to be a permanent member of the free world to keep another nation deprived of rights. It is unthinkable, simply unthinkable, for millions of Palestinians to continue to live in these conditions. It is unthinkable for a democratic state to continue to oppress them in this way. It is unthinkable that the world stands by and allows it to happen.

The two-state discussion must now become a discussion of rights: Dear Israelis, you wanted an occupation and the settlements – knock yourselves out! Remain in Yitzhar, dig yourselves into the mountainside and build to your hearts’ desire in Itamar. But you absolutely must grant full rights to the Palestinians living alongside, exactly the same rights that you enjoy.

Equal rights for all; one person, one vote – that should be the message of the international community. After all, what could Israel say to this new message? That there cannot be equal rights because the Jews are the chosen people? That it would endanger security? The excuses would quickly run out, and the naked truth would come to light: that in this land, only Jews have rights. Such a message cannot go unchallenged.

At the same time, the entire approach to Israel must be changed. As long as it does not pay the price for the occupation and its citizens go unpunished, they will have no reason to end it, or even to deal with it. The occupation is deep inside the Israeli closet. There is no one to out it, the overwhelming majority want it to remain inside. For this reason, only punitive measures will remind us of its existence. Yes, I mean boycotts and sanctions, which are greatly preferable to bloodshed.

This is the truth, even if it’s bitter. America and Europe have kowtowed to Israel enough. Unfortunately, to no effect. From now on, the world must speak a different language and perhaps it will be understood. After all, Israel has proved, more than once, that the language of power and punishment is its main language.

source

MEKOROT: AN APARTHEID ADVENTURE

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