Tag Archive | Palestine

Israel Owns the U.N. as well as the U.S.*

Israel Owns the U.N. as well as the U.S.*

Head of U.N. Body Resigns Following Pressure from U.N. Secretary-General Guterres to Withdraw Critical Report

The head of the United Nation’s West Asia commission resigned on Friday, after what she described as pressure from the secretary-general to withdraw a report accusing Israel of imposing an “apartheid regime” on Palestinians.

The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), which comprises 18 Arab states, published the report on Wednesday, saying it was the first time a U.N. body had clearly made the charge.

“I stand by my assessment Click here to read the statement of Khalaf posted on ESCWA’s social media.

However two days later, Rima Khalaf, U.N. under-secretary-general and ESCWA executive secretary, announced her resignation at a news conference in Beirut.

In the report, that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid,” she said at the conference.

“I find myself unable to accept the pressure placed on me over the last period of time.

“The secretary-general demanded yesterday that I withdraw the report, and I refused,” she said, adding:

“I believe that discrimination on the basis of skin colour, religion or ethnicity is unacceptable.”

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday asked for the report to be removed from the U.N. website.

The U.N. on Friday accepted her resignation, with spokesperson Stephane Dujarric saying:

“This is not about content, this is about process.”

“The secretary-general cannot accept that an under-secretary-general or any other senior U.N. official that reports to him would authorise the publication under the U.N. name, under the U.N. logo, without consulting the competent departments and even himself,” he told reporters.

Dujarric had earlier said that “the report as it stands does not reflect the views of the secretary-general” and was written without consultations with the U.N. secretariat.

The United States, an ally of Israel, said it was outraged by the report.

“The United Nations secretariat was right to distance itself from this report, but it must go further and withdraw the report altogether,” the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said in a statement.

Click here to read Haley’s statement posted on her social media.

The Israeli ministry spokesman, Emmanuel Nahshon‏, commenting on Twitter, also noted the report had not been endorsed by the U.N. secretary-general.

Click here to read Nahshon’s statement posted on his social media.

“The attempt to smear and falsely label the only true democracy in the Middle East by creating a false analogy is despicable and constitutes a blatant lie,” Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon said in a statement.

What was in report?

The report said it had established on the “basis of scholarly inquiry and overwhelming evidence, that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid.

“However, only a ruling by an international tribunal in that sense would make such an assessment truly authoritative,” it added.

The report said the “strategic fragmentation of the Palestinian people” was the main method through which Israel imposes apartheid, with Palestinians divided into four groups oppressed through “distinct laws, policies and practices”.

It identified the four sets of Palestinians as: Palestinian citizens of Israel; Palestinians in East Jerusalem; Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; and Palestinians living as refugees or in exile.

ESCWA hoped the report would inform further deliberations on the root causes of the problem in the United Nations, among member states, and in society, Khalaf said at an event to launch the report at ESCWA’s Beirut headquarters.

It was authored by Richard Falk, a former U.N. human rights investigator for the Palestinian territories, and Virginia Tilley, professor of political science at Southern Illinois University.

Before leaving his post as U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories in 2014, Falk said Israeli policies bore unacceptable characteristics of colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing.

Source*

Related Topics:

Donor behind pro-E.U. Campaign Holds Big Stake in Israel’s Apartheid Wall*

Codifying Israeli Apartheid into U.S. Law!

Landmark U.N. Report Backs Boycotting Israel*

NFL Players Pull out of Israel Propaganda Tour*

New Israeli Crackdown Aims to Root Out, expel BDS Activists*

An honest Israeli Jew tells the Real Truth about Israel

When Palestine was 85% Arab, 15% Israeli and U.K. and U.S. Paid the Jews from the Caucasus to Live There*

Landmark U.N. Report Backs Boycotting Israel*

Landmark U.N. Report Backs Boycotting Israel*

By Ali Abunimah

New UN report concludes that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole” and calls for broad support of boycott movement.

Ryan Rodrick Beiler ActiveStills

A new U.N. report offers explicit backing for the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign to end Israeli apartheid and support a just peace.

The landmark report’s endorsement of boycotts, economic sanctions and other grassroots initiatives comes at a moment when Israel is desperately attempting to criminalize and suppress international support for Palestinian rights.

Published by the U.N.’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the report concludes that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.”

It finds “beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crimes of apartheid” as defined in international law.

It urges national governments to “support boycott, divestment and sanctions activities and respond positively to calls for such initiatives.”

Racial regime

The U.N. report – “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid” – is not a comparison between Israel and apartheid South Africa, but an evaluation of Israel’s practices against the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid and other key human rights laws.

The convention defines the crime of apartheid as “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”

International law defines racial discrimination to mean “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent or ethnic or national origin,” the report notes.

The Zionist movement’s “claim to Palestine as the exclusive homeland of the Jewish people rests on an expressly racial conception of both groups,” the report states.

“This means that Jews and Palestinians are ‘racial groups’ ” for the purposes of applying the apartheid convention.

“The mission of preserving Israel as a Jewish state has inspired or even compelled Israel to pursue several general racial policies,” the report says.

These include “demographic engineering, in order to establish and maintain an overwhelming Jewish majority in Israel.”

This encompasses the ethnic cleansing of almost 800,000 Palestinians in 1948, the denial of the right of return for Palestinian refugees and “a range of other policies designed to restrict the size of the Palestinian population.”

Although they can vote, the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel – about a fifth of the state’s citizens – are also systematically restricted, while full rights are granted only to Jews.

Meanwhile, Israel’s discriminatory “Law of Return” automatically grants citizenship to Jews from anywhere in the world, “while denying citizenship even to those Palestinians who have a documented history of residency in the country.”

Sham democracy

“As in any racial democracy,” the report argues,

“such a majority allows the trappings of democracy – democratic elections, a strong legislature – without threatening any loss of hegemony by the dominant racial group.”

In a stark illustration of the racial logic espoused by Israel’s leadership, the country’s defense minister Avigdor Lieberman this week reiterated the view that the Jewish state should eventually be ethnically cleansed of virtually all Palestinians.

“There is no reason why Sheikh Raed Salah, Ayman Odeh, Basel Ghattas or Haneen Zoabi should continue to be Israeli citizens,” he said in reference to prominent Palestinian politicians, three of them members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.

Israel prohibits anyone from using its ostensibly democratic system to challenge the regime’s fundamentally racist set-up. Its Basic Law – the closest thing that Israel has to a written constitution – bars parties from running on a platform that explicitly or implicitly includes “negation of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”

“Voting rights lose their significance in terms of equal rights when a racial group is legally banned from challenging laws that perpetuate inequality,” the report states. “Israeli law bans organized Palestinian opposition to Jewish domination, rendering it illegal and even seditious.”

This is not the first analysis to find that Israeli policies meet the legal definition of apartheid: a 2009 study by South Africa’s Human Sciences Research Council concluded that Israel practices apartheid in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

But the new U.N. study goes much further, finding that Israel’s apartheid system dominates the entire Palestinian people. It concludes that the “strategic fragmentation” of the Palestinian people into separate territorial units and legal regimes – as citizens with limited rights within Israel, as stateless persons in the West Bank and Gaza, as “permanent residents” in East Jerusalem, or as refugees and exiles with no right of return – “is the principle method by which Israel imposes an apartheid regime.”

The 2009 study was overseen by political scientist Virginia Tilley. Tilley and the eminent professor of international law Richard Falk are co-authors of the new UN report.

Ending a “criminal enterprise”

Governments have a legal obligation to act immediately to end the crime of apartheid. This includes refusing to recognize an apartheid regime as lawful, refusing to aid a state in maintaining such a regime and cooperating with UN bodies and other states to end it.

The report urges U.N. bodies to act, and even suggests seeking a formal opinion from the International Court of Justice on Israel’s apartheid system. National governments should also back BDS and allow “criminal prosecutions of Israeli officials demonstrably connected with the practices of apartheid.”

But given that states and official bodies are not likely to take the lead, the report recognizes that “civil society institutions and individuals have a moral duty to use the instruments at their disposal to raise awareness of this ongoing criminal enterprise.”

They must use these tools to “exert pressure on Israel to dismantle apartheid structures and negotiate in good faith for a lasting peace that acknowledges the rights of Palestinians under international law and makes it possible for the two peoples to live together on the basis of real equality.”

Transnational movement

Recalling an earlier era, the report notes that research and legal analyses by U.N. bodies – such as the United Nations Center Against Apartheid – were critical resources for civil society activists in their efforts aimed at

“legitimating boycott, divestments and sanctions, and contributing to the overall formation of a transnational movement against apartheid in South Africa.”

One of the report’s key aims today is to encourage “practical measures in accordance with international law to exert pressure on Israel to dismantle its apartheid regime.”

“Efforts should be made to broaden support for boycott, divestment and sanctions initiatives among civil society actors,” the report recommends.

Private sector firms should be “reminded of their legal, moral and political responsibility to sever ties with commercial ventures and projects that directly or indirectly aid and abet the apartheid regime.”

All of this confirms the reasoning and tactics of the Palestinian-led BDS movement – support for which even the staunchly pro-Israel European Union has belatedly recognized as a democratic right.

Source*

Related Topics:

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Israeli Report Admits They Are Descendants of Khazars*

72 Percent of Aid to Palestine Ends Up ‘In Israeli Hands*

For Greater Israel: Israeli Legal Jurisdiction to be Extended to Judea and Samaria*

Trump-Israel Struggling to Save ISIS to divide and Conquer Syria and Iraq*

The ‘Jewish National Fund’ and Its Role in Israel Thus Palestine*

Israel Weaponizes it’s Rape Culture against Palestinians*

Israel’s Rule of Annexation in West Bank*

Israel’s Lobby Lawsuits Aim to Slow Boycott in Spain*

An honest Israeli Jew tells the Real Truth about Israel

 

Netanyahu Steps down as Israel’s Communications Minister Amidst Charges of Corruption*

Netanyahu Steps down as Israel’s Communications Minister Amidst Charges of Corruption*

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday he would shelve his additional role as communication minister after police questioned him over allegations he negotiated a deal for good coverage with a newspaper owner.

Police have questioned Netanyahu three times in two criminal cases in which he is suspected of abuse of office. If charges are brought, political upheaval would likely ensue with pressure on Netanyahu to step down. He denies any wrongdoing.

The first case involves gifts given to Netanyahu and his family by businessmen and the second is related to conversations he held with the publisher of Israel’s largest selling newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth.

Netanyahu said he would appoint Tzachi Hanegbi, a confidant from his right-wing Likud party, as a stand-in running the communications ministry for three months, “and then we’ll see”, he said in a statement.

Netanyahu did not specify the reason for the move.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog, the head of the Zionist Union party, had appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court last month to order Netanyahu to step down as communications minister over the police investigation.

The liberal daily Haaretz and Channel 2 television reported in January that Netanyahu discussed with Yedioth Ahronoth’s owner a deal for better coverage in return for curbs on competition from a free paper owned by U.S. casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, a staunch supporter of the veteran prime minister.

Haaretz said the conversations were recorded in the run-up to the March 2015 election at Netanyahu’s request by a then-staff member, and the tapes were seized by police in a separate investigation.

According to excerpts leaked to Channel Two from a transcript of the conversations, the prime minister told the newspaper publisher:

“We’re talking about moderation, about reasonable reporting, to lower the level of hostility towards me from 9.5 to 7.5.”

It quoted the publisher, Arnon Mozes, as replying:

“We have to make sure that you’re prime minister.”

Netanyahu is not the first Israeli leader to have faced criminal investigation. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was convicted of breach of trust and bribery in 2014 and Ariel Sharon, premier from 2001-2006, was questioned while in office over allegations of bribery and campaign-financing illegalities.

In the past, Israeli prime ministers have stayed in office long after being put under investigation, and officials who support Netanyahu, now in his fourth term, believe the prospect of charges remains remote.

Netanyahu has often accused Israeli media of being biased against him and in recent weeks accused it of being part of a left-wing plot to overthrow his right-wing government.

Source*

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Netanyahu Boasts of Israel’s War on Africans*

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Netanyahu Sues Own Office to Prevent Airing of Dirty Laundry*

Who is Netanyahu?*

Washington Blocks Former Palestinian PM from leading U.N. Mission in Libya*

Washington Blocks Former Palestinian PM from leading U.N. Mission in Libya*

Washington has blocked the appointment of former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to lead the UN’s political mission in Libya, while accusing the world body of being “unfairly biased” in favor of the Palestinian Authority.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley said that the Trump administration “was disappointed” by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ intention to appoint Salam Fayyad as the U.N’s next special representative to Libya, which was announced in a letter to the Security Council.

“For too long, the UN has been unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel,” Haley said, as quoted by AP.

Palestine is a non-member observer state at the United Nations, and its independence has been recognized by 137 of the 193 UN member nations so far. However, Haley noted that Washington doesn’t recognize a Palestinian state “or support the signal” that Fayyad’s appointment would send within the United Nations.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, UN diplomats told AP that Fayyad, a Texas-educated former International Monetary Fund official, is recognized for his efforts to reform Palestine. He served as the Palestinian Authority’s prime minister from 2007-2013. Fourteen Security Council members have thrown their weight behind Fayyad’s appointment to succeed Martin Kobler in the Libya job.

Former US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro lambasted the decision to block the appointment.

“True it’s farce, ridiculous,” he wrote on Twitter. “But if you know Fayyad – decent, smart, honest, ethical, hardworking – it’s much more outrageous,” Shapiro said.

Despite its objection to Fayyad, Haley said Washington is looking forward to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We encourage the two sides to come together directly on a solution,” she said.

True it’s farce, ridiculous. But if you know Fayyad — decent, smart, honest, ethical, hardworking — it’s much more outrageous. https://t.co/AEYetiULnM

— Dan Shapiro (@DanielBShapiro) February 11, 2017

Israel met Haley’s statement with applause.

“This is the beginning of a new era at the UN, an era where the US stands firmly behind Israel against any and all attempts to harm the Jewish State,” said Israel’s UN ambassador, Danny Danon.

“The new administration proved once again that it stands firmly alongside the state of Israel in the international arena and in the UN in particular,” he added, as quoted by the Times of Israel.

According to Danon, “the new administration is working towards the joint interest of the United States, Israel and the special alliance between our two nations.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to meet with President Donald Trump next week.

In December of last year, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution demanding that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities” on occupied Palestinian territories, with the US abstaining. It was the first resolution passed by the United Nations Security Council on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in nearly eight years.

Israeli-American activist and author Miko Peled told RT that the move was clearly “a blow for Israeli diplomacy” that could even lead to the end of Netanyahu’s political career.

Shortly after the resolution passed, Trump criticizing the Obama administration for abstaining from the vote.

“As for the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th,” he tweeted.

As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2016

Israel seized the Palestinian territories in 1967, and over 500,000 Israelis currently live in settlements built on the occupied land. The Palestinians have been demanding that both the U.N. and the international community fully recognize their territories as an independent, sovereign state for decades.

Source*

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Neo-Nazis Help Israel Block Recognition of Palestine*

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Israel Weaponizes it’s Rape Culture against Palestinians*

Dutch Reject Calls to Cease Funding Palestinian Groups*

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Iceland’s Capital Bans All Israeli Products Over Palestine*

Anonymous To Facebook: “For Every Palestinian Account You Ban, We Will Hack an Israeli Website”*

Church in California Bans HP Products*

Israeli Oppression Stoking another Palestinian Uprising*

The ‘Jewish National Fund’ and Its Role in Israel Thus Palestine*

The ‘Jewish National Fund’ and Its Role in Israel thus Palestine*

Iconic “blue boxes” used for JNF fundraising worldwide. Photo credit: Alan English, CC license.

By Maya Schkolne

On Jan. 18, 2017, Israel’s Yoav police unit, specifically set up in 2012 for tasks related to “Bedouin resettlement,” faced off against residents and activists when it tried to demolish the Bedouin village of Umm el-Hiran in the Negev region.

This pre-dawn evacuation and destruction involved the use of extreme physical force, stun grenades, pepper spray and rubber and copper bullets. Following the fierce onslaught, resident schoolteacher Yaqub Abu Qi’an and police officer Erez Levy were killed.

The conflict didn’t begin or end in demolition and bloodshed, either. This Bedouin community had already experienced forcible relocation from Khirbet Zubaleh in 1948 with the establishment of the State of Israel, which Palestinians refer to as the “Nakba” (Arabic for catastrophe), and which saw more than 700,000 Palestinians expelled from their homes.

With this history of “catastrophe” in the region, media outlets regularly find fault with the policies of the Israeli government, but journalists rarely have much to say about the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), better known as the JNF.

What is the JNF?

According to the “Nakba Files,” a joint project launched by Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (a Palestinian-run NGO based in Haifa), and the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University:

“The JNF is a worldwide network of Zionist charities dedicated to acquiring and settling land on behalf of the Jewish people. The JNF’s Israeli branch is a parastatal organization that enjoys special status under Israeli law in the management of land.”

As one of the key entities designed to ensure the Jewish demographic majority necessary for the solidification of a Jewish state, the roots of the JNF go back to the World Zionist Organization conference in 1901, which envisioned a fund to purchase land in Palestine for transfer to Jews. This ambition turned reality six years later through the official formulation and incorporation of the JNF into a company in Britain. After receiving chartered status to assist Israeli governmental functions in 1953, it obtained sizable swathes of Palestinian land from the Israeli Knesset.

The JNF currently has direct access to approximately 13 percent of pre-1967 land, mainly in the Negev and the Galilee, as it transferred urban land to the state for privatization. Moreover, though the Israeli Land Administration (ILA) administers 93 percent of Israel’s land, the JNF has considerable sway over its programs and policies with representation through 6 of the 14 members (43 percent) of its governing board.

In other words, as the Nakba Files reiterates:

“The JNF ceded management of its own land to the state in exchange for a major share in decision-making power over all state-controlled lands. The petition recently filed by Adalah and its partners challenges the constitutionality of this arrangement.

The JNF’s role on the ILA Council affords it enormous influence over the allocation and use of lands. Israel has one of the highest proportions of state control of land in the world; most of that land is held in long-term leases. A considerable portion of state lands were expropriated from Palestinians — refugees of the 1948 Nakba as well as Palestinians who were displaced from their homes but nevertheless became citizens of Israel.”

In the 2016 film “Junction48” by Israeli-American filmmaker Udi Aloni, a lawyer from Adalah points out the role the JNF plays in displacing Palestinian families from their lands:

Director Udi Aloni’s film @Junction48 features Adalah lawyer explaining role JNF plays in displacing Palestinian families from their lands pic.twitter.com/BPfpRK5h40

— Adalah (@AdalahEnglish) 19 décembre 2016

Indeed, over the rubble and dust that the bulldozers will leave in the wake of Umm al-Hiran, fresh layers of brick and mortar funded by the JNF will construct the town of “Hiran” for Jewish residents.

In response, deputy editor and blogger at 972mag Edo Konrad tweeted:

When people tell you that the term “ethnic cleansing” offends them, tell them about Umm al-Hiran. Tell them it’s happening now, in 2017.

— Edo Konrad (@edokonrad) 18 janvier 2017

The neighboring village of Atir faces a similar fate, and its ruins will be cleared to make way for a JNF-sponsored forest called Yatir.

Once Palestinian Bedouin citizens of Israel are expelled from their homes, they are cast off to consistently under-resourced township areas such as Hura. Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Yossi Maimon, an assistant to the director of the “authority for the settlement and development of the Bedouin,” confirmed on Jan, 16 that “the state is pressing for all the approximately 400 residents of the village to relocate to the nearby township of Hura.”

Atwa Abu al-Kaeean, a 62-year-old resident of Umm Al-Hiran told The Jerusalem Post that police called him five times in the course of 10 days to tell him he must “conclude matters with the authority because we will demolish your home.”

According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the state currently refuses to recognize villages that are home to more than half of the 160,000 people in the Negev Bedouin population. As a result, they suffer under the constant threat of demolitions, which is enforced by the Unit for Enforcement in Open Spaces, or the “Green Patrol,” that works in conjunction with the ILA, the JNF, and the Israeli Defence Forces. The Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality lists more than 70 cases of home demolitions and crop destruction that occurred in the Negev in 2016 alone.

The Israeli government insists that these villages are ‘illegal’ and justifies its actions on the basis of “restoring the law.” However, as Ron Dudai, an associate editor of The Journal of Human Rights Practice, who previously worked at B’Tselem and Amnesty International, explained his objections to the government’s position:

Let me emphasize what makes it so appalling is the open, internally legal way in which it is done … an independent and competent supreme court with judges who teach at Yale, which sits calmly and declares those actions to be legal, and eloquent spokespersons who wholly admit to and justify the demolitions, which take place in broad daylight and in front of the media’s cameras. In a sense, it is this constrained character that makes them so distressing.

Various commentators have discussed the ideological background of such practices. Some have pointed out that much of the logic surrounding current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s politics can be traced to the political philosophy of early revisionist Zionist thinker Ze’ev Jabotinsky, whose essay, “The Iron Wall (We and the Arabs),” praised the “virtue” of driving Palestinians to such a state until they lose hope, compelling them to make concessions and accept their oppression:

“My readers have a general idea of the history of colonization in other countries. I suggest that they… see whether there is one solitary instance of any colonization being carried on with the consent of the native population. There is no such precedent.”

To the wider public, the practices of the Jewish National Fund aren’t well-known. But you can’t understand Israel’s colonization of Palestinian land without knowing the JNF.

Source*

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Thousands Rally in Tel Aviv against ‘racist’ Israeli State and Home Demolitions*

Thousands Rally in Tel Aviv against ‘racist’ Israeli State and Home Demolitions*

Thousands rallied in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv on Saturday evening in protest of home demolitions targeting Palestinian citizens of Israel, with demonstrators calling the Israeli state’s demolition campaign “racist” and an act of “incitement” against Palestinian citizens.

Protesters reportedly called on Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan to resign for “lying” to the Israeli public, saying they held him responsible for the killings that took place during a raid to evacuate the Negev region Bedouin community of Umm al-Hiran last month

Local math teacher in Umm al-Hiran Yacoub Abu al-Qian was shot dead on January 18th by police before Israeli authorities demolishes more than a dozen structures in the village, with authorities claiming he was carrying out a deliberate vehicular attack, in contradiction to numerous eyewitness reports and video evidence that attested his car spun out of control only after Israeli police opened fired on him.

Some 5,000 Palestinian and Jewish citizens joined the march Saturday night, travelling from Jerusalem and across Israel to protest the demolitions and the Israeli state’s discriminatory policies against Palestinian citizens in general.

Members of a local committee from Umm al-Hiran also participated, with at least four busloads of Palestinian and Jewish citizens from the Negev arriving to join the rally.

Demonstrators raised posters in Arabic and Hebrew, including the slogans:

 “When the government is against the people, the people will be against the government,”

“Enough of the government’s racism…we demand equality,”

“Jewish and Arabs together, we fight fascism.”

Source*

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Greater Israel and the Tale of Two Temples*

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Israel Starts Demolition of Homes in the their Illegal Occupation of Syria’s Golan Heights*

Israel Weaponizes it’s Rape Culture against Palestinians*

Evict 120 Bedouins from their own Land and Build a Trash Dump Instead*

Another Bedouin Community Razed to the Ground, Leave Children without Water in High Temperatures*

West Bank: Israeli Military Destroys Bedouin Village

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Israel: Thou Shalt Not Drink Water

Netanyahu halts Israeli Funding of 5 U.N. Bodies in Revenge for Settlement Freeze Demand*

Netanyahu Now under two Criminal Investigations*

Israel Weaponizes it’s Rape Culture against Palestinians*

Israel Weaponizes it’s Rape Culture against Palestinians*

By David Sheen

Liberal Israelis protest Lehava in Jerusalem after three of its members were charged in an attack on a mixed Jewish-Arab school, December 2014 - Oren Ziv ActiveStills

Liberal Israelis protest Lehava in Jerusalem after three of its members were charged in an attack on a mixed Jewish-Arab school, December 2014 – Oren Ziv ActiveStills

Liberal Israelis protest Lehava in Jerusalem after three of its members were charged in an attack on a mixed Jewish-Arab school, December 2014 – Oren Ziv ActiveStills

Lawmakers in Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling coalition are trying to deflect attention from sex crime scandals involving the highest echelons of Israeli society by making false allegations against Palestinians and other non-Jews.

In recent months, a long list of senior Israeli officials, including members of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s inner circle, have been investigated and, in some cases, convicted for sex crimes against women and girls.

But rather than acknowledging the problem in their own ranks, right-wing members of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, are renewing their efforts to paint Palestinians as the prime perpetrators.

At a December 2016 session of the Knesset’s status of women committee, legislators from parties in the ruling coalition – particularly the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu – alleged that there was a pattern of Palestinian men and boys preying upon Jewish women and girls.

Yulia Malinovsky, a representative of Yisrael Beiteinu, started off the session by asserting that in the Jerusalem area in the previous nine years, there have been 800 cases where Jewish Israeli women were sexually assaulted or sexually harassed by Palestinian men “based on nationalist motives.”

“Why are we forbidden to talk about the phenomenon of sexual harassment by Arabs? Because it’s not politically correct?” Malinovsky queried.

Her party colleague Oded Forer argued that any sex crime “motivated by religion or nationalism is a terror attack in every possible way.”

The lawmakers lacked evidence to back up their allegations. That much became clear when Ayelet Orenstein, head of the department for sex crime victims in the Israeli police, testified to the Knesset committee.

Orenstein told the committee that, according to police statistics, the number of sex crimes in mixed cities where Israeli Jews live in close proximity to Palestinian citizens, has not increased in recent years. Rather, it has decreased.

Orenstein explained that the decrease applied both to sex crimes in general, and specifically to sex crimes in which a non-Jewish person was the perpetrator.

The right-wing legislators grew agitated when Orenstein would not corroborate their claims of a plague of Palestinian-on-Jew sex crimes. She was then asked to explain the disparity between her own statements and the aforementioned statistic of 800 sex crimes, which Malinovsky insisted had also been provided by the police.

After examining a document handed to her by Malinovsky, Orenstein explained that the 800 cases referred to included all assaults committed in Jerusalem in the past nine years, regardless of whether or not they were sexual in nature.

Orenstein’s “rough estimate” – her words – was that the number of relevant reported sex crimes in Jerusalem during this time period was around 200 – a quarter of that claimed by Malinovsky.

This was not the first Israeli effort to portray Palestinians as sexual predators – and it was unlikely to be the last. In fact, the committee meeting bore great resemblance to another Knesset session held just over five years earlier.

Frightening increase?

In December 2011, the Knesset’s immigration committee convened for an “urgent” session on “the kidnapping of new [Jewish] immigrants by minorities,” the latter a euphemism for Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Opening the meeting, then-Likud lawmaker Danny Danon said:

“We have all heard horrible stories of a frightening increase in the number of cases of young women who come from a poor socio-economic background that are simply kidnapped [by Palestinians]. At first when I was told about it, I said, ‘What do you mean kidnapped? It’s probably a romantic relationship, consensual.’ But it turns out that there are cases in the State of Israel, in the year 2011, of girls physically kidnapped in the middle of the day, in Kiryat Malakhi, in Arad, in Beer Sheva, in Nahariya, that minorities simply force women into the car.”

Then, too, a representative of the Israeli police department for sex crime victims – Rachel Greibin – denied the existence of any such phenomenon or increase in attacks on Jewish women by Palestinian men.

“That phenomenon has not been seen by the police, the phenomenon you have just described is unknown to us,” Greibin said.

Upon Danon’s insistence that he heard an unnamed police commander claim that this type of cross-cultural sexual violence was increasing, Greibin responded,

“We do not have data or lots of cases of kidnapping.”

Danon now serves as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.

The attempt to frame Palestinians as sex offenders is a favored tactic of the Israeli far right. Israel’s anti-miscegenation movement is keen to cast the relatively rare romantic relationships between Jews and Palestinians as abusive, in order to justify such groups’ continued existence and their funding budgets.

Minutes of the 2011 Knesset committee meeting confirm that the session was stacked with members of Yad L’Achim and Lehava, two groups that oppose marriages between Jews and people of other religions

Smear strategy

Similarly, the recent session of the status of women committee heard complaints from female members of Im Tirtzu, an anti-Palestinian group that a Jerusalem court ruled may be fairly described as “fascist,” and Students for the Temple Mount, a group that seeks to destroy the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, one of Islam’s holiest sites. Anat Gopstein, anti-miscegenation activist and wife of Lehava leader Bentzi Gopstein, was also in attendance.

Unsurprisingly, the December session concluded with Malinovsky proposing that the government dispense additional funds to Israeli anti-miscegenation groups.

“Today there is a budget of 50 million shekels [$13 million] for the war on violence against women. I ask of all the relevant bodies and the committee chair that part of this money will be apportioned to treat the problem of sexual harassment on a nationalist basis in mixed cities.

Right-wing activists distribute flyers urging Israelis to “Join Lehava in the war on miscegenation” in Jerusalem in October 2014 - Oren Ziv ActiveStills

Right-wing activists distribute flyers urging Israelis to “Join Lehava in the war on miscegenation” in Jerusalem in October 2014 – Oren Ziv ActiveStills

 

Falsely charging Palestinians with rape isn’t exclusive to Israel’s far right. In May, Netanyahu himself falsely accused two Palestinians of raping a Jewish woman.

Soon afterwards, Israeli police revealed that no such rape had ever occurred. Rather, the woman’s parents had concocted the rape accusations upon learning that their daughter had been dating a Palestinian man, Israeli police said.

In Israel, the rape smear strategy has even been adopted by Jewish supremacists trying to thwart liaisons between Black Jews and Black people of other religions. In 2013, Israeli journalist Danny Adino Abebe publicly accused African refugees of kidnapping 1,000 Israeli citizens of Ethiopian descent. After this writer demanded that Abebe provide evidence for his claim, he quietly removed his article from the Internet.

Budgets for bigotry

The Israeli government continues to fund groups which openly aim to end miscegenation in order to preserve Jewish ethnic purity.

In October, Or Kashti of the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz reported on anti-assimilation groups receiving funds from the Israeli government to move to cities with a mixed population of Palestinians and Jews. The understanding behind the funding was that its recipients would try to drive wedges between Jews and their Palestinian neighbours.

Naftali Bennett, in his capacity as Israel’s diaspora affairs minister, has been promoting the importance of the “Jewish family” – a thinly veiled reference to endogamy. Preventing sexual relations between Jews and people of other religions appears to be a major goal of a program for which the Israeli government earmarked $50 million between 2014 and the end of 2017.

The diaspora affairs ministry spent $500,000 on a propaganda video arguing that miscegenation puts the Jewish people in peril. The video was broadcast on Israeli television in December.

In his role as education minister, Bennett approved a move to drop a Hebrew-language novel titled Borderlife from the academic curriculum in 2015 because it described a fictional romantic relationship between a Jewish Israeli woman and a Palestinian man. In December 2016, the education ministry introduced new rules to make it easier to ban books in the future.

Taunting

The accusations leveled at the recent status of women committee meeting against Palestinian citizens of Israel raised the ire of Palestinian representatives in the Knesset. Jamal Zahalka, head of the Balad Party, argued at the meeting that Palestinian citizens of Israel are committed to combating sex crimes.

“In Arab society, as in Jewish society, men that attack women, regardless of who they are, are considered the scum of the human race, despicable people that are rejected by society,” said Zahalka.

“In my opinion, the courts do not sentence with enough severity. I want every Arab that is convicted – not by politicians, but by the courts and police – to face the full weight of the law. Even more than a Jew, I don’t care. We as a society want this. Conduct a poll, and 99% of the Arab society will tell you: Not five years in jail, 10 years in jail. So let’s not make this a sectarian issue.”

Zahalka called on Jewish and Palestinian parliamentarians to stop trying to turn sexual assaults into a racial issue and to work together to tackle the problem.

“On this issue there is consensus,” Zahalka said. “It’s one of the rare issues in the Knesset where everyone agrees that we must combat the phenomenon. So you come here and present it as if it’s a subject for disagreement and taunting?”

Despite Zahalka’s comments, some elements of Israeli society have continued to display a disturbing attitude towards sex crimes. The week after the status of women committee meeting, former Israeli president and convicted rapist Moshe Katsav was released from jail, granted early release from prison. Katsav was welcomed to his home town of Kiryat Malakhi with public fanfare.

In the days that followed, Israeli police recommended charging Moshe Dadon, head of a local authority in the Jerusalem area, with rape and other sex crimes against several women.

In January, it emerged that yet another senior Israeli politician is now being investigated over sex crimes. Amnon Cohen, a member of the Knesset from 1999 to 2015, is accused of being bribed by a businessman with sexual favours. A woman told a court in Lydda (Lod) – a city near Tel Aviv – that she was coerced into having sexual relations with Cohen, saying she was “afraid for my life.”

For these reasons and others, the liberal Israeli news site +972 Magazine named “the women standing up to sexual harassment” as its “person of the year” for 2016.

But if the Jewish-Israeli leadership continues to frame Palestinian men as sex predators and interracial relationships as treason, just so that they can avoid tackling the sex crime epidemic in their midst, that honour will offer only cold comfort.

Source*

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