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Reposted from subir by Assaf

This is a roundup of news related to Palestine with a particular focus on grassroots action and peaceful civil disobedience in the Occupied Territories and within the borders of Israel proper.

We use the name Filasṭīn, since that is the pronunciation preferred by Arabic speakers (irrespective of faith) for their homeland.

For one Palestinian village: A judge, settler and demolisher

(story in +972mag)
>The High Court justice who gave the army a green light to expel an entire Palestinian village just happens to live in a nearby settlement, one of many that thrives on their dispossession.
Justice Sohlberg, who is the most prominent yet not the only settler on the bench, is the standard bearer of a pre-eminent Western judicial tradition, which hails back and openly draws on colonialism. The tenets of that tradition are to exclude “the natives” from decision-making circles as well as to dispense them of the basic democratic principle of the separation of powers. Sohlberg finds himself in the company of the American Supreme Court judges who, in 1857, ruled that African-Americans could not be considered American citizens, as well as those who, a century later, championed the “separate but equal” paradigm.

Soldier pays the price for criticizing the Israel army

(article in Haaretz)
IDF soldier Shachar Berrin was sentenced to a week in prison after he attended the taping of an international TV program, during which he stood up and expressed his opinion of the occupation.
The proposition debated by the panel appearing on the show was: “The occupation is destroying Israel.” The speakers consisted of the settler-activist Dani Dayan and a member of the left-wing Meretz party, Uri Zaki. Berrin, who was in uniform, stood up to address Dayan. The settlers and right-wing activists in the audience filmed him, and in less than 12 hours he was ordered to return to his base, where he was tried and convicted – even before the program was broadcast. (It aired this week.) Berrin makes his comment at minute 43 of the hour-long show.

This whole incident shows that when rapid, determined action is called for, the Israel Defense Forces knows how to act. When soldiers kill Palestinian children, the investigation is stretched out over years, gathering dust before usually going nowhere. When soldiers are filmed holding abusive slogans, or when they identify publicly with “David Hanahalawi” – the soldier from the Nahal Brigade who threatened a Palestinian youth with his rifle and roughed him up a year ago, prompting hundreds of soldiers to express solidarity with him on the social networks – no one considers putting them on trial. But if a soldier dares to attest publicly that his fellow soldiers are humiliating Palestinians, the IDF mobilizes rapidly to trample, punish and silence. That’s what happened to Shachar Berrin.

Berrin: “Sure. Definitely. Just the other week, when some Border Police soldiers were rough with Christian tourists, another soldier, a colleague, said she couldn’t believe what they were doing: ‘I mean, come on, they are people, not Palestinians.' I think that resonates throughout the occupied territories. I serve in the Jordan Valley, and we see every day how soldiers… look at these people not as human beings, not as someone who is equal, but someone who is less than them. And to think that we can just leave the racism and the xenophobia – that they will only be racist when they humiliate Palestinians – of course not… I think that once you are conditioned to think something, you bring it back with you and that it deeply affects Israeli society and causes it, as our president says, to be more racist.”

Israel knew all along that settlements, home demolitions were illegal

(article in Haaretz)
It was March 1968. Yaakov Herzog, director-general of the Prime Minister's Office, received a memo marked "Top Secret" from the Foreign Ministry’s legal adviser, Theodor Meron. As the government's authority on international law, Meron was responding to questions put to him about the legality of demolishing the homes of terror suspects in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and of deporting residents on security grounds.

His answer: Both measures violated the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians in war. The government's justifications of the measures – that they were permitted under British emergency regulations still in force, or that the West Bank wasn't occupied territory – might have value for hasbara, public diplomacy, but were legally unconvincing.

The memo is not the first evidence of Meron's warnings, though. In 2006, I published another of his legal opinions, which I found in the late Prime Minister Levi Eshkol's declassified office files. Written in mid-September of 1967, about three months after the Six-Day War, it responds to a query from Eshkol's bureau about the legality of establishing settlements in the West Bank and Golan Heights.

He answered, "My conclusion is that civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention."

Central figures in Israel’s government at the time – Eshkol, Foreign Minister Abba Eban, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and Justice Minister Yaakov Shimshon Shapira – all received that legal advice. A week and a half later, the cabinet approved settlement in the West Bank for the first time.

World Bank: Gaza facing ‘dangerous fiscal crisis’

(article at Times of Israel)
The Gaza Strip has the world’s highest unemployment rate, and Palestinians, Israelis and donors must take action to avoid a “dangerous fiscal crisis,” the World Bank said Friday.
According to the World Bank, the virtual disappearance of Gaza’s exports can be explained by no other variable than “war and the blockade".

“The impact of the blockade imposed in 2007 was particularly devastating, with GDP losses caused by the blockade estimated at above 50 percent and large welfare losses,” the report said of the blockade imposed by neighbors Israel and Egypt.

Segregation in Israel does not begin or end on buses

(article in +972mag)
As long as there is occupation there will be segregation. As long as the State of Israel interprets being a “Jewish state” as meaning some citizens should have more individual and group rights than others, then discrimination, segregation and inequality will be the norm, not the exception.

Issues like bus segregation get people angry. Activists start to plan freedom rides and massive campaigns, the international media starts to pay attention, and it seems that, for a fleeting moment, people care about the fate of Palestinians living under occupation. Until that same energy and anger and mobilization materializes around the occupation itself, against the concept of institutionalized supremacy and oppression, there will only be more symptoms over which to feign outrage.

A more in-depth diary on bus segregation: Israel "suspends" segregation on buses after global uproar calling it apartheid

For Jerusalem's Palestinians, a city of poverty and division

(report from Association for Civil Rights in Israel and reporting at +972mag)
More than one quarter of Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents live behind the concrete separation barrier; Israel has revoked the residency of over 14,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites since ‘reunifying’ the city in 1967, including 107 last year alone.
At least five children from East Jerusalem, the youngest among them aged 6, were hit in the face by a sponge bullet and lost vision in one of their eyes. A 30-year-old man, who was blind in one eye since childhood, lost his healthy eye after being hit by a sponge-tipped bullet and became completely blind. In other incidents, the firing of sponge bullets caused arm fractures, jaw fractures and a spleen tear. At least three journalists covering the events, who were wearing vests identifying them as media workers, were hit by sponge bullets in the head, face and shoulder.

Testimonies indicate that in a various instances, police officers fired sponge bullets in absolute contravention of the directives prohibiting aiming at the upper body or aiming at children.

ACRI appealed to the Police Commissioner and the Attorney General, demanding an
immediate end to the use of the black sponge bullets until further review of the reasonableness of their use as a riot-control weapon, in light of the severe injuries caused to residents of East Jerusalem.

Over the summer, ACRI received testimonies of severe physical violence by the police, aimed against those participating in riots as well as against uninvolved Palestinian residents. The violence used was at times so severe that residents required medical treatment and even prolonged hospitalization. In July 2014, the media published a video showing Border Police officers severely and brutally beating the teenager Tariq Abu Khdeir while he was lying handcuffed on the ground.

Palestinian teenagers who were arrested reported physical violence used against them by police officers on the way to interrogation and during the interrogation, as well as threats and intimidation; unnecessary handcuffing and blindfolding for long hours; interrogations without parental presence, in contravention of the law; and various forms of abuse, such as denying food and water and prohibiting toilet breaks.

In addition, several incidents were reported in which the police detained minors under the age of 12, which is the age of criminal responsibility.

Another innovation that was introduced during the summer of 2014 was the frequent use of Skunk-spraying vehicles by police. The Skunk is an extremely foul-smelling chemical liquid, intended to disperse riots.

Police use of the Skunk in East Jerusalem included many incidents of excessive and unreasonable use in the heart of crowded neighborhoods. Even when the Skunk is aimed at riot participants, it sticks to houses, cars and asphalt and leaves a fetid scent from which all of the neighborhood’s residents continue to suffer for many days.

In the period of turmoil between July and December 2014, 1,184 Palestinians were arrested in East Jerusalem, about one-third of them under the age of 18 (a total of 406 minors), for offenses related to riots and disruption of public order (stone throwing, assaulting an officer, participating in riots and so on).

So far, indictments have been served against 338 of those arrested (28.5% of all arrestees), including 122 minors (30% of all minors arrested).

+972mag reported on yet another case earlier this week:
Israeli Police wounded a 10-year-old Palestinian child in the eye Thursday afternoon while dispersing protesters near the Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem, according to Arabic media outlets in East Jerusalem. The boy, who was most likely hit by a black-tipped sponge bullet, was hospitalized in moderate condition in Hadassah University Hospital. It is unclear what will be the fate of his eye.

'Death to Israel' Facebook page lands Palestinian in jail

(story in Haaretz)
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court sentenced East Jerusalem resident Sami Deis to eight months in prison, for creating and managing a Facebook page entitled “Death to Israel,” which included many incitement-filled posts. The sentence follows similar punishment handed down to Fatah activist Omar Shalabi; he was given nine months imprisonment for similar crimes.

Deis, a 27-year-old resident of Shoafat, has no criminal background, and though he admitted to his crimes as part of a plea bargain, Judge Shmuel Herbst opted for what is seen as a rather severe punishment. Last week, another East Jerusalem resident, 44-year-old Omar Shalhabi was handed nine months for a number of Facebook statuses he wrote between July and October last year.

No word yet on whether the Israelis posting and chanting "Death to Arabs" will also be prosecuted. For example, the ones chanting it here, posting on FB here, here or here, or here, here or here. Israeli police don't seem too concerned about incidents IRL either, for example the people who scrawled "death to arabs" on cars and buildings, chanted it in Jerusalem, or the ones who sprayed it on a Arab-Jewish school in Jerusalem. One guy who shouted it before stabbing a Palestinian was arrested. But Israeli prosecutors do not seem to be in much of a hurry to find and prosecute the individual who tweeted:
#ZionStandUp for Israeli @ashlisade: "Kill Arab children so there won't be a next generation"

Treating the still-open wound of contested Arab homes in Jaffa

(article in Haaretz)
It all began on Yom Kippur in September 2009. A phone conversation between Tovi Fenster and her mother touched on the period of the family’s immigration from Romania to Israel in 1948, and the house where they lived in Jaffa until the 1960s.
During that phone call, her mother related for the first time how she and a group of other immigrants were sent by the Jewish Agency to find a home for themselves. They walked among the houses that had been abandoned in Jaffa, which borders on Tel Aviv, and from which Arabs had been forced to flee during the War of Independence. When they found one with the door open, they went in and took up residence there.

Fenster asked her mother why she had never told her this before, and her mother replied that she didn’t feel comfortable with everything that had happened – “that we had taken from them what was theirs.” She added that after all the tribulations the family had experienced until they reached Israel, all they wanted was a home of their own.

WATCH: 'Jaffa flotilla' marks destruction of Palestine's cultural capital

(Video and article at +972mag)
Dozens of Palestinians and Israeli Jews sailed along the coast last week to mark the destruction of Jaffa — the former political, cultural and economic capital of Palestine — during the 1948 War. Organized by the Israeli NGO Zochrot, which works to raise awareness of the Nakba and promote the right of return among Israeli Jews, the participants, which included Joint List MK Haneen Zoabi, listened to first-hand stories of the fear, expulsions and mass exodus of Palestinians from the city by the pre-state Zionist militias.  

A lesbian wedding in Israel: Under the chuppah, legal or not

(story in Haaretz)
Let’s get together: The two met nine years ago when, through the twists and fate of life, they found themselves sitting in the same car, on their way from the north to a gay party in Tel Aviv. Inbal: “I got into the back seat, and then someone in the passenger’s seat turned around and said, ‘Nice to meet you, I’m Avishag.’ I said ‘hi’ and stuttered something. I think I immediately wanted what I saw – it was just 'snap,' and it was there.” However, it took four years for something to come out of that “snap.”

At first, head-over-heels Inbal did all she could to win the heart of the elusive Avishag, to no great success. For Inbal, the long courtship felt like she was being played, while Avishag saw it a bit differently: “I wasn’t out of the closet yet, and I was confused, and just out of a relationship. I didn’t know if I wanted boys, girls, or what was up with me.”

Word in the ear: Inbal on the couple’s choice to have a kind of chuppah, despite the illegality of same-sex marriage in Israel: “For the symbolism. Because we’re still Jewish, and we still love the State of Israel, and Judaism is our home.” Avishag: “But not in the way it’s being implemented.”

More stories below the fold:

- Palestinian chief negotiator: No chance of renewing talks with radical right Netanyahu government
- Netanyahu: Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people alone
- Abbas responds to Netanyahu: No Mideast peace without East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital
- Israel's new deputy foreign minister: 'This land is ours. All of it is ours'
- PHOTOS: When Israel decides to cut Palestinian farmers off from their land
- “…but still with a few hope in our hearts”
- Right-wing Jews and Israeli police 'assault Al-Aqsa guards'
- Hundreds of unarmed demonstrators confront live fire at Kafr Qaddum on Nakba Day
- South African students protest against Woolworths
- South African Jews apologize to displaced Palestinians
- Rightist NGO demands eviction of seven Palestinian families
- Arab leaders pledge all-out campaign against destruction of Bedouin village
- PA soccer chief looks to outmaneuver Israel on diplomatic field
- IDF to disband Druze battalion after more than 40 years’ service
- On Scott Walker’s 'listening tour' of Israel, Palestinians aren’t heard
- What Ayelet Shaked can learn from Sarah Palin
- In Adelson's paper, Bibi's man says Pope helping Palestinians crucify the Jews
- Settler leader Rabbi Moshe Levinger dies at 80
- Western Wall gender barriers locked to stop women reading from Torah
- Haredi website censors female ministers from government picture
- Thousands attend prayer protest against Shabbat-violating mall in Ashdod
- Concern in Jerusalem over international decision against Israeli nuclear program
- Clashes erupt between Jews, Palestinians at Jerusalem Day march
- Jerusalem Day: Palestinians met with extreme violence
- On Jerusalem Day, is there anything to celebrate?
- Lieberman apologizes after calling two-state solution supporters 'autistic'
- Report: Swiss court orders Israel to pay Iran $1.1 billion in oil pipeline dispute
- Settlers turning West Bank church compound into new outpost
- A house divided: Hamas torn between long-term truce and renewed war

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Reposted from subir by poco

Earlier today, the Israeli press reported that Palestinian and Israeli passengers on buses to the West Bank would be segregated as part of a "three month trial" starting today. The proposal had been in the works for a while, Israel's Attorney General (Yehuda Weinstein) questioned Defense Minister Ya'alon about it when it was first revealed back in October.

From Haaretz: Israel begins separating Palestinians, Israelis on West Bank buses

Israel on Tuesday launched a pilot program under directive from Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon to separate Israeli and Palestinian bus travel in the West Bank.

Palestinian workers will now have to return from Israel to the West Bank via the same checkpoint they left and will not be allowed to ride Israeli bus lines.

The new regulations, implemented by the Civil Administration, could lengthen some workers' commutes by as much as two hours, according to the human rights organizations that plan to appeal against the new rules to the High Court of Justice.

If you're wondering why some Israelis believe segregation is necessary, here are some answers:
Haaretz also revealed the minutes of a subcommittee of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, in which Karnei Shomron council head Yigal Lahav said: "Arab travel on buses is a victory over the Jewish occupier" and that it gave them "the experience of traveling with Jewish women."


The Defense Ministry was concerned that the state would have difficulty convincing judges that the separation was based on security and not ethnic grounds, due to the army's stance that there is no security risk on the buses in Samaria and in light of the racist remarks that accompanied the idea of separate buses.

Though the plan to segregate buses was discussed and revealed back in October, implementation was shelved till after the election which returned Likud to power. Within hours of the implementation, the government was forced to reverse course and cancel the pilot in response to a global uproar.

There are some suggestions that Netanyahu did not know the plan was to go into effect today. It seems the implementation and then subsequent suspension came as a surprise to a number of people.  As Haaretz reports: Israel suspends plan to segregate Israelis, Palestinians on West Bank buses following criticism

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon decided Wednesday to suspend a program to separate Israeli and Palestinian bus travel in the West Bank.  


Earlier on Wednesday, Zionist Union leader and opposition head Isaac Herzog said "separating Palestinians and Jews on public buses is a warrantless humiliation and a stain on… the country and its citizens." In a Facebook post, Herzog added that the move will fan the flames "of hatred toward Israel around the world."

Meretz leader Zehava Galon said that Ya'alon "gave in to pressure exerted by Jewish settlers, who complained over the large number of Palestinians on the buses." Ethnic separation on buses, she said, is "unacceptable in a democratic country."

"This is what apartheid looks like," said Galon. "Separate bus lines for Palestinians and Jews prove that democracy and occupation cannot coexist."

The NY Times also covered the events: Israel Cancels Project Barring Palestinians From Some Buses
Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian leader in the West Bank, said that the plan for segregated buses was particularly “blunt,” but that other forms of segregation were still in place, pointing to the existence of roads in the West Bank that are exclusively for use by Israelis. “This revealed the fact that Israel unfortunately has transformed the situation into a system of apartheid,” he said.
Mordhay Yogev, a legislator from the Jewish Home party, was quoted in Haaretz at the time saying that the situation was “unreasonable” and that “the buses are filled with Arabs.”

“I wouldn’t want my daughter to ride them,” he said, adding that girls and women had complained of being sexually harassed by male Arab passengers.

The tussle is not over yet, as Haaretz reports, the defense minister is sticking to his guns: Ya'alon vows to revive plan to segregate Israelis, Palestinians on West Bank buses. The Guardian notes that this is the shape of things to come given the ruling coalition's razor thin one-seat margin in the Knesset and the demands of the parties aligned with the settler movement: Israel's bus segregation row shows high wire act facing Netanyahu

More links below the fold:

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Reposted from subir by subir

A blogger who goes by the name "John Brown" writes at +972mag, often with righteous fury. Over the past few months, he's teamed up with Noam Rotem to research incidents where Palestinian civilians have died at the hands of IDF soldiers. They have traced the resulting IDF investigations and highlight a consistent failure to  complete investigations and bring charges. That is a familiar story when it comes to cases of police brutality in the US (and the world over). I'll provide an excerpt from the +972mag article and then discuss the various levels of training that US police forces have been receiving from Israeli forces. The killings in question happened in 2010. As of today, over 5 years later, no one has been charged.

License to Kill: Why did the IDF shoot the Qawarik cousins 29 times?

At first, the IDF Spokesperson published the claim that “a terrorist attack with a pitchfork had been foiled at a checkpoint,” and that two terrorists had tried to attack a soldier using pitchforks. The IDF was later forced concede that the report was inaccurate, and then claimed that the soldiers were attacked with a bottle and a syringe. With every new report, the volume knob was turned down a bit, until the last one, a day after the incident, according to which the two cousins were not terrorists at all, but two young men stopped by settlers after they had entered their own land — without coordinating with the army. But the IDF Spokesperson’s story had already gained prominence. Every Palestinian is a terrorist until proven otherwise.

The chain of events, leading to the moment in which an anxious soldier fired 29 bullets into the bodies of the two cousins, Saleh and Muhammad Qawarik, farmers who woke up early that morning to work their land, shows the null cost of Palestinian lives in the occupied territories. This involves the dubious initiative of a settler with a vast criminal record, one hyperactive shooter and three soldiers who do not remember anything, having managed to miss all 29 shots.

The IDF Spokesperson declined to comment for this article.

The article describes how the incident began when a settler stopped the two cousins as they were walking to their fields that morning. This act of vigilantism started the sequence of events that led to their shooting hours later.
At some stage, Avri Ran, an extremist settler who has been convicted of a series of violent offenses, and calls himself “The Sovereign,” passed by. Ran decided that the two had no right to be there, on their land. He stopped his car, and detained the two by ordering them to sit on the ground, and standing at a distance of 10-15 meters (30-50 feet) from them.
Delegations of senior US police officers have been taken on trips to Israel to learn about the counter-terrorism methods employed by Israeli police and IDF operating among a population that opposes the occupation.

The Jerusalem Post wrote about one such trip in a 2011 article and DKos diaries have asked Are U.S. Police training with the Israeli Military?. Raw Story covered the militarized police response to the Occupy protest movements in the US and its links to Israeli methods as far back as 2011: Israeli model underlies militarization of U.S. police. The ADL sponsors a week-long National Counter-Terrorism Seminar in Israel which it describes as follows:

Every year, American law enforcement executives travel to Israel with ADL to study first hand Israel’s tactics and strategies to combat terrorism. The National Counter-Terrorism Seminar (NCTS) is an intensive week long course led by senior commanders in the Israel National Police, experts from Israel’s intelligence and security services, and the Israel Defense Forces. More than 175 law enforcement executives have participated in 12 NCTS sessions since 2004, taking the lessons they learned in Israel back to the United States.
In particular, the AP reported on the NYPD's "Demographics Unit" (since disbanded):
Ethnic bookstores, too, were on the list. If a raker noticed a customer looking at radical literature, he might chat up the store owner and see what he could learn. The bookstore, or even the customer, might get further scrutiny. If a restaurant patron applauds a news report about the death of U.S. troops, the patron or the restaurant could be labeled a hot spot.

The goal was to "map the city's human terrain," one law enforcement official said. The program was modeled in part on how Israeli authorities operate in the West Bank, a former police official said.

The LAPD backed off from a similar program, largely due to an uproar among residents.
In 2007, the Los Angeles Police Department was criticized for even considering a similar program. The police announced plans to map Islamic neighborhoods to look for pockets of radicalization among the region's roughly 500,000 Muslims. Criticism was swift, and chief William Bratton scrapped the plan.

"A lot of these people came from countries where the police were the terrorists," Bratton said at a news conference, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. "We don't do that here. We do not want to spread fear."

The Jewish Journal reported on an LAPD delegation's visit to Israel in Feb 2014:
The group visited private security firms and drone manufacturers, as well as the terror-prone Ashdod Port, a museum in Sderot full of old rockets shot from nearby Gaza (the same one United States President Barack Obama visited on his 2008 campaign trip to Israel), and a “safe city” underground control center in the large suburb of Rishon LeZion, which receives live streams from more than 1,000 cameras with license plate recognition installed throughout the city.
Frank said he was especially impressed by what he saw while visiting Israeli companies Nice Systems (as tweeted by Perez) and Verint, one of the companies whose services the National Security Administration (NSA) reportedly used in the infamous United States wiretapping scandal. Both companies already count the LAPD as a client. But, Frank said, “we’re looking at some of their additional solutions … They have a lot of new technologies that we are very much interested in.”
The LAPD announced in May that it had acquired drones, though as of November it had not yet deployed them due to public opposition. Israel is the world's largest exporter of drones and has used drones for surveillance, assasinations, and bombings in Gaza:
According to Abu Saif, drones are a fact of life in Gaza, frequently buzzing in the background. But when the buzzing of the drone (called “zanana” in colloquial Arabic) increases, daily life is disrupted; people believe this means an attack is near and they have no way of knowing if they are near the target or if they themselves are the target because of their “suspicious” behavior. Schoolchildren and students find it difficult to concentrate, especially during exam periods, many suffer post-traumatic flashbacks and family and social gatherings are quickly dispersed. “Through their usage of drones, [the Israelis] have become present in the bedrooms of the people in Gaza,” Abu Saif quotes Al-Mezan director Esam Younis as saying. Journalist Asma al-Roul is quoted in the same vein, saying, “I feel like I am naked. All what I do is seen by the drone.”
Or as New York magazine reported in The NYPD Division of Un-American Activities:
Sanchez told colleagues that he had borrowed the idea from Israeli methods of controlling the military-occupied West Bank, the swath of land captured from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War. But the proposal ignored some important differences between the U.S. and Israel. Brooklyn and Queens, for instance, were not occupied territories or disputed land. There was no security wall being erected in New York City. And, where Muslims are concerned, no one would choose Israel as a model of civil liberties.

Nevertheless, Cohen liked the idea. He compared it to raking an extinguished fire pit. Most coals would be harmless and gray. Rake them carefully, and you might find an ember—a hot spot waiting to catch. This was the genesis of a secret police squad, which came to be called the Demographics Unit. Documents related to this new unit were stamped NYPD SECRET. Even the City Council, Congress, and the White House—the people paying the bills—weren’t told about it.

The backlash against such such methods of surveillance and policing continues, which is why President Obama discussed community policing initiatives in a visit to Camden, NJ yesterday:
Today, we’re also releasing new policies on the military-style equipment that the federal government has in the past provided to state and local law enforcement agencies.  We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there’s an occupying force, as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them.  It can alienate and intimidate local residents, and send the wrong message.  So we’re going to prohibit some equipment made for the battlefield that is not appropriate for local police departments.
More on the IDF shooting and another that killed two children (15 and 17) below the fold (and links to earlier articles in the series):
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Reposted from David Harris-Gershon (The Troubadour) by David Harris Gershon
Originally published in Tikkun Daily

A major in Israel's infantry, who fought in the Northern Gaza Strip during Israel's assault in the summer of 2014, talks of devastation. He talks of endless barrages, buildings collapsing, city streets being razed by bulldozers, entire neighborhoods erased.

Then he says, You want to hear a joke? You're reading his words in a report, so you have no choice but to nod as he explains, This is a joke that was popular in the army during the war:

Why do Palestinians only sing the chorus? Because they have no verses left.
The punchline only makes sense if you know that in Hebrew, the word for houses (בתים) is the same word for verses.

The solider tells you this anonymously because he must. You don't know his name—only that he is "01"—nor do you know the names of the over 100 Israeli soldiers who recently gave testimony to Breaking the Silence, an organization which normally works with soldiers who wish to reveal the ugly truths of Israel's occupation.

Now, in a report released this month entitled, "This is How We Fought in Gaza," Israeli soldiers, their identities hidden, have given the world a window into what life fighting in Gaza often looked like.

The overriding theme is destruction. Pure, unrelenting destruction motivated by fear, by the justifiable desire to minimize military casualties at almost any cost.

No House Was to Be Left Standing

The U.N. has estimated that 89,000 homes were damaged during the summer of 2014, many of them severely, and that 7,000 were completely demolished, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. (Today, nine months later, not a single demolished house has been rebuilt.)

When you read the Breaking the Silence testimonies, it becomes clear how such devastation occurred. It wasn't just buildings collapsing under the weight of laser-guided missiles. It was unrelenting razing on the ground.

Soldier after soldier described the same operational process: after an area was taken by the IDF and 'sterilized'—a process which often involved encouraging civilians to flee with leaflets coupled with heavy, targeted air strikes—individual houses were sequentially shelled by tanks, cleared by soldiers firing everywhere inside, and finally demolished by Caterpillar D9 bulldozers.

This last part, the intentional razing of family homes on the ground, is what shocked me the most, the extent of which I had never fully comprehended.

Witness the three testimonies below, which are representative of dozens captured by Breaking the Silence:

bts12 - text has more on beauty of D9 destroying houses
A D9 razes a lone Palestinian home in Gaza.
While some of this destruction was motivated by soldiers searching for tunnels or a desire to minimize the risks of urban warfare by, well, removing the urban environment, tactical goals didn't always precipitate such razing by the D9s. Indeed, houses and farms were sometimes destroyed simply because they could be. Because they were there. Because they were Palestinian.

Nobody Is a Civilian

Aside from the destruction, another major theme which emerged from this report is the looseness of the IDF's rules of engagement in Gaza. Many soldiers testified that they were told to shoot anything which moved, with no consideration given to whether civilians might be present, which some felt was a clear violation of the military's rules of ethics.

Now, it should be stated that the IDF made real efforts, from 'roof knocking' to dropping leaflets, to clear areas of civilians before invading. This process of 'sterilizing' an area had an operational effect: nobody who remained in a 'sterilized' area was considered by commanding officers as civilians. Indeed, soldiers repeatedly remarked that how to deal with civilians was never mentioned, for the overriding assumption was that anyone left behind, anyone who chose to stay behind, was a combatant.

This shoot first, ask questions later engagement strategy was to protect Israeli soldiers in urban environments. However, the practical and tragic problem, of course, was that many civilians had nowhere to flee, were unable to evacuate, or simply chose to stay in their homes rather than expose themselves to an open, uncertain march.

A few soldiers recalled encountering families while clearing a house 'wet' (with live fire), and many more remarked on how they would often shoot anything which moved in houses, regardless of being able to identify who, or what, they were shooting.

The following excerpts (from soldiers 02, 03, 08, and 22) reveal this clearly:

The above words, along with the words of every soldier contained in this report, have been maligned by those who fear what they have to say. Their anonymous characters have been slandered to discredit them. Breaking the Silence has been attacked for not producing a real work of journalism.

However, this report is not an act of journalism. It is a moment of activism by (mostly) Israeli Jews who want their country to be better, who demand that Israelis face the unjust in order to create a just society.

That propagandists are attacking these soldiers' words is not surprising. After all, their job is to protect the state and its leaders by shielding it from critique. However, when the state in question is a Jewish one, such propaganda-led shielding often turns into a dishonest game of spot-the-anti-Semite.

You critique Israel's conduct in Gaza? You're critiquing the Jewish people.

However, I reject this conflation of Israel and all Jews—itself an anti-Semitic trope. And as a Jew who desires a better, just Israel free of occupation and oppression, I reject the notion that my concern for Palestinians in Gaza is anti-Semitic.

On the contrary. It makes me Jewish.


What Do You Buy For the Children
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, recently published by Oneworld Publications.

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Reposted from Daily Kos by Assaf
Lesleigh Coyer, 25, of Saginaw, Michigan, lies down in front of the grave of her brother, Ryan Coyer, who served with the U.S. Army in both Iraq and Afghanistan, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia March 11, 2013. Coyer died of complications from a
Seeking to avoid the multi-day saga that Jeb Bush endured in publicly crafting an opinion on the Iraq War, Marco Rubio was quick to pipe up that he wouldn't have invaded Iraq based on what we now know, but George W. Bush himself wouldn't have either.
Which raises an interesting question: Would George W. Bush still have authorized the invasion in 2003 had he known that Iraq did not actually have the unconventional weapons that intelligence agencies said it did?
It's an "interesting question" because George W. Bush never said he wouldn't have gone to war if he knew the intelligence was wrong. He said he regretted the "intelligence failure in Iraq," but never said he wouldn't happily jump in anyway.
"I think it was the right decision," Bush said in response Scheiffer asking if invasion was the wrong decision. "My regret is that a violent group of people has risen up again."
... because the world is "undoubtably safer with Saddam gone," after all. Despite the fact that it most pointedly isn't.

All of this, though, is a dodge, and it's a pretty shameless one at that. The fact is that we did know the intelligence was flawed at the time. Many people pointed it out; some, like Joe Wilson and his then-CIA wife, were specifically punished by the White House for doing so. The Colin Powell speech to the United Nations was strong on innuendo but weak in facts; the United Nations inspectors in charge of keeping tabs on Iraq considered the White House claims flatly wrong; nonsense about aluminum tubes was debunked in real time. The "intelligence failure" in question was caused in large part due to an independent "intelligence" operation set up by the White House to "analyze" Iraq intelligence independent of career intelligence experts who were unable to give the administration the answers they wanted.

Head below the fold for more.

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Reposted from Daily Kos by Assaf
A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in the city of Mosul, June 23, 2014. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held crisis talks with leaders of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region on Tuesday urging them to stand with Baghdad in the face of a Sunni insurgent onslaught that threatens to dismember the country. Picture taken June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR3VIB1
A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in the city of Mosul.
It must be tough being the brother of the man who is responsible for the world-historical disaster that was the U.S. invasion of Iraq. It's tougher still to try to replace him as the next Republican president of the United States.

This week, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush found that out the hard way. Mocked by the press and his GOP rivals for first announcing, "I would have" gone into Iraq knowing what he knows now, Jeb reversed course days later in declaring, "I would not have gone into Iraq." But even before the pain had subsided from that severe case of whiplash, Bush was embarrassed at an event in Reno by 19-year-old college student Ivy Ziedrich. When Bush tried to pin the paternity for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria on President Obama, the University of Nevada political science major replied simply:

"Your brother created ISIS."
Ziedrich's is a bold claim. After all, for her to be right, ISIS—the dangerous movement combining Saddam loyalists, former Al Qaeda members and disgruntled Sunni fighters—would have to have emerged as a direct result of the war Bush launched in 2003. The disbanding of Saddam's 400,000-man army would have to be laid at the feet of "The Decider." Foreign fighters must have flocked to Al Qaeda—a non-factor in Iraq before the U.S. invasion—specifically to target American troops. And while those unlikely allies forged ties in U.S and Iraqi prisons, Sunni tribesmen once paid by American forces would have to have become alienated by a sectarian Shiite strongman in Baghdad beholden to Iran. The inevitable outcome of such U.S. mismanagement of post-Saddam Iraq, as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld privately warned his boss on October 15, 2002, would be that "Iraq could experience ethnic strife among Sunni, Shia, and Kurds" with the result that "it could fracture into two or three pieces, to the detriment of the Middle East and the benefit of Iran."

Unfortunately for Jeb Bush—and to Ivy Ziedrich's credit—that is precisely what transpired. Or to push in terms even Republican mythmakers can understand: ISIS? George W. Bush built that.

To see how, continue reading below.

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Reposted from subir by poco

This is a roundup of news related to Palestine with a particular focus on grassroots action and peaceful civil disobedience in the Occupied Territories and within the borders of Israel proper.

We use the name Filasṭīn, since that is the pronunciation preferred by Arabic speakers (irrespective of faith) for their homeland.

Violent settlers cleared despite smoking gun (literally)

(story at +972mag)
The location was Qusra, a village in the Shiloh Valley; the date, September 16, 2011. Fathallah Mahmoud Muhammad Abu Rhoda went out with his three sons to pick figs. A short while after reaching their land, they noticed about 10 Israeli civilians standing around their water hole. The Palestinians demanded the Israelis leave the place; the interlopers refused. The residents of Qusra — a village that has already proven it can defend itself against marauders — began heading to the area. An argument ensued, and according to Abu Rhoda’s testimony to the police, three of the settlers (who were armed) opened fire on the Palestinians. One bullet hit Abu Rhoda in the thigh.

Of the three, two were armed with rifles and the other with a handgun. From the police testimony, we see that the handgun’s owner also sicced a dog on the Palestinians. The complainants managed to photograph some of their attackers, among them the handgun owner.

E. was identified by the Palestinian victims, and they even supplied the police with photos of him at the scene, which clearly show him holding a handgun in one hand and the dog in the other. The police picked up cartridges from the scene, and a ballistic fingerprinting – which took place on September 27, 2011 – found that one of the cartridges came from a 9mm Glock pistol (the others were fired from rifles.) E. was summoned for questioning, invoked his right to remain silent, but admitted he owned a Glock. The gun was duly turned over to the police, which sent it to a ballistic fingerprinting. In February 2012 the forensic expert reached the conclusion that there is a match between the cartridges fired from E.’s handgun and the those that were examined on September 27.

Despite the evidence, the police recommended that the case against E. be closed due to — get this — lack of evidence. The recommendation was accepted by the prosecution.

Palestinian woman and her children attacked by settlers

(Int'l Solidatiry Movement) along with video of the incident
Yesterday evening in Al Khalil (Hebron), a Palestinian woman and her two small children were attacked by settlers from the illegal settlement as they were on their way to the shops.

Marwat Abu Remele lives in Tel Rumeida, an area in Al Khalil under Israeli control. She was on her way to buy groceries, when about twenty settlers gathered around them and attacked her son. A Palestinian man, Mohammed Abu Hazerh, promptly ran to protect them from this harassment. Harassment of this kind is not unusual for the Palestinians living in this part of the city.

A settler woman managed to convince Israeli soldiers that the Palestinians were in the wrong, and Mohammed narrowly escaped arrest. When the soldiers agreed to release him, the Israeli woman became hysterical and with a crowd of children ran after him. While she was shouting and insulting everyone standing on the street, the settler children spat, harassed and kicked other Palestinians and internationals that had come to witness the scene.

The soldiers attempted to stop all filming of what was going on and were failing to prevent the settlers harassing and taunting local people. The Abu Shamsiyeh family, who live on the street where the attack took place, were unable to enter their home as settlers were blocking their entrance. One of the Palestinian women who was trying to film the scene was violently attacked by two settlers.

WATCH: Israeli soldiers speak out against rules of engagement in Gaza

(article in Haaretz)

Members of Breaking the Silence said Tuesday that even though many of the reactions to the report had been critical, the group felt it was succeeding in its goal of opening a public debate on what it claims was the army's reckless disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians during last summer's conflict.

"People do want to listen, even if there were angry reactions - we want to initiate a discussion on our morality and on the way we fought in Gaza," said Avner Gvaryahu, a spokesman for the group.

"We want Israeli society to take responsibility," he said at a presentation of the report held in a Tel Aviv conference hall. "We placed a mirror to the face of Israeli society, and the reflection is not a pretty one."

A small group of people protested outside the venue of Tuesday's presentation in Tel Aviv, holding up signs that read: "Breaking the Silence wounds the nation" and "Breaking the Silence – shut up."

"They are trying to paint our soldiers as murders by taking isolated events that shouldn’t have happened and orders that shouldn't have been given, and saying that this was the norm," said Amram Sherby, a 26-year-old student from Bar-Ilan University who held up pictures of soldiers who were killed during the war.

Video footage of soldiers testifying to Breaking the Silence was released this week and is embedded in the story above. The testimonies were covered in depth in three diaries I posted last week:

- "we do not spare ammo – we unload, we use as much as possible" - Breaking the Silence on Gaza
- "2,000 dead, 11,000 wounded, half a million refugees" = Mission Accomplished - Breaking the Silence
- "His wife and kid are in the car too? Not the end of the world" - Breaking The Silence on Gaza

ICC urges Israel to give material for preliminary Gaza probe

(story at Washington Post)
Fatou Bensouda said in an interview with The Associated Press that she hasn’t received any information yet from either side regarding last summer’s Gaza war and urged Israel and the Palestinians to provide information to her.

The Palestinians accepted the court’s jurisdiction in mid-January and officially joined the ICC on April 1 in hopes of prosecuting Israel for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Gaza conflict so they are certain to provide Bensouda with information. Israel, however, has denounced the Palestinian action as “scandalous,” with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning that it turns the ICC “into part of the problem and not part of the solution.”

Bensouda said her office is “making attempts” to contact the Israelis and to reach out to the Palestinians.

“If I don’t have the information that I’m requesting,” she said, “I will be forced to find it from elsewhere, or I may perhaps be forced to just go with just one side of the story. That is why I think it’s in the best interest of both sides to provide my office with information.”

Israel 'surprised' by ICC prosecutor's warnings

(article by JPost)
Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem expressed “surprise” that Fatou Bensouda made the comments in the interview in which she said she has not received any information from either side regarding last summer's operation in Gaza, but that it was in the “best interest” of both sides to provide information.

It is surprising, the diplomatic sources added, that the prosecutor – obligated to act according to the rules of the courts and conduct her job “according to the highest standards of professionalism, prudence, independence, and lack of bias” – chose to related to these matters “through the pages of the newspaper.”

This type of behavior, the sources said, does “not add to the credibility of the process.”

“We hope that the Court will not allow the exploitation of its resources to address an appeal without legal basis that is driven by cynical political motives, and whose promotion will damage both the credibility of the court and chances to maintain an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue,” the sources said.

A tragically unexceptional story of life and death under occupation

(article in +972mag)
Three decades ago the Israeli military government canceled my sister-in-law’s Palestinian residency because she studied abroad for ‘too long.’ Now, Israel is denying her one last visit with her dying father. But my family will not allow her case, like thousands before it, to be buried in silence.

My father-in-law, Mughira Barghouty, is dying. At age 91, his health has severely deteriorated over the last six months. He has three daughters: Sawsan, Serene and my wife, Abeer. Serene and Abeer  live in Ramallah and have become full-time caregivers to their now bedridden father. Sawsan lives in Amman, Jordan. Of late, Mughira has repeated a single request: to touch his daughter Sawsan’s hand one last time. It was about to happen on the last day of April. Sawsan got all the way to the Israel border crossing, Israeli tourist visa in hand, but she was denied entry and told to go back to Amman. The family is crushed, but not surprised.
Sawsan acted without delay. As a Jordanian citizen, she applied for an Israeli tourist visa — the only way a Palestinian citizen of Jordan can reach Palestine. This is done through certified travel agent. The process goes like this: you apply, pay a 50 JD (U.S. $70) application fee, then you wait, and wait, and wait some more. Eventually you get a call from the travel agent when the answer comes back: you either have approval, meaning an Israeli Interior Ministry tourist visa, or you are denied and have to start all over again. If you are one of the lucky ones and get approval, you must pay an additional 70 JD (US $100) fee and place a 20,000-30,000 JD (about US $28,000-42,000) bond (to guarantee you will not overstay the visa period) and you must travel the following day. Throughout the entire waiting period, you must be ready to travel on 24 hours’ notice.
Eventually an Israeli official came and advised Sawsan that she was being denied entry into Israel. Her bus was told to continue on to Israel without her.

The Israeli official brought her two copies of a form written in Hebrew and English; she is fluent in neither. They state two reasons for the denial of entry: 1) “Prevention of illegal immigration considerations”; and, 2) “Public security or public safety or public order considerations.” Despite her protests that she could not read the documents, she signed. Five hours after arriving at the crossing, she was escorted to a bus and sent back to Jordan.

That a Palestinian could lose their residency status in their birthplace is routine practice of the Israeli occupation.

Wave riders: The men and women of Gaza’s Surf Club making waves in Gaza City

(Gaza Surf Club with help from the U.S. nonprofit Explore Corps that helps to provide surf programming and distribution of equipment. Prior to the formal establishment of Gaza Surf Club, organizations, such as Surfing 3 Peace and Gaza Surf Relief, were providing new boards and equipment from companies abroad through person-to-person outreach. Like a band of brothers — and sisters on occasion — they descend from their homes in farmlands or fishing villages to the beach in Gaza City,  young surfers venturing out, whenever time, schedules and modes of transportation allow, to explore their own little slice of the Mediterranean. Most work as lifeguards who gather informally in the wee hours of the morning before the crowds arrive, or whenever enough fellow lifeguards are not working.

Though predominately featuring men, several young girls have taken up the sport as well, wearing a burkini swimsuit.
Most have acquired a love for surfing in part from low-budget American films shown via Arabic television. Exposure to surf culture beyond their borders was slow coming. In April, Explore Corp offered to host one Gaza Surf Club member in Hawaii for a workshop, the first trip abroad for the group.

Hit TV show 'Fauda' offers angle on conflict with Palestinians that Israelis usually prefer not to see

It has been common knowledge, at least since the mid-1990s, that in order to maintain its control over the Palestinian territories, the IDF must resort to a sort of overtly black op tactic. Volunteers who served in elite fighting units and are willing and ready to assume an Arab guise – false biography, alias, language, manners, looks – infiltrate into the fabric of life on the West Bank with the aim of providing firsthand intelligence and act with lethal efficiency if need be.
The series is the brainchild of Lior Raz (writing and acting as the main character) and Avi Issacharoff (at one time a Haaretz reporter on Palestinian matters). Both have considerable mileage in double-and-triple lives on the other side of the Israeli-Palestinian divide – Raz as a member of one of those undercover units, and Issacharoff who has been covering this very confusing reality on a day-to-day basis. The expressed aim was to present the everyday reality that most Israelis prefer not to see up close, and instead of simplifying it in black and white, to show that it is made up of more than 50 shades of all-too-human gray that can explode at any moment into the most crimson red.
The series was created by Israelis who know what is really going on. As such it takes the Israeli side for granted and does not try to present a “balanced view” of the conflict. It assumes – rightly in my mind – that for Israeli viewers, the dice is loaded for the home (Israeli) team. As a result, it sometimes looks as though the Palestinian side of the story is presented with an extra dose of understanding and compassion. If indeed this is so, it is a belated and much needed redress: It is high time for Israelis to accept that there are human beings on the other side as well.

Below the fold:

- Hundreds of Palestinians displaced in Jordan Valley by IDF 'training exercises'
- Marianne heads for Gaza today!
- iNakba app shows two sides of Israel's war story
- Strategic talks between Israel, France deteriorate into serious dispute
- High Court okays plan to raze Arab village, build Jewish one in its place
- Life in a refugee camp – New Askar, Nablus
- Israel sells its story on a new Lebanon war, and the 'Times' bites
- Nine Palestinian fishermen kidnapped by the Egyptian army
- WATCH: Racism-filled march curbs Palestinian movement in Jerusalem
- UPDATE: Shepherds in Salem
- As Israel celebrates a unified Jerusalem, the city is losing its Jewish residents
- Israel steps up diplomatic action as fears grow over FIFA suspension
- Vatican treaty uses term 'state of Palestine' for first time
- Beyond Baltimore: The ugly truth about racism and police brutality in Israel
- As Israel celebrates a unified Jerusalem, the city is losing its Jewish residents
- A tale of two tragedies: From Beitunia to Vienna on Nakba Day

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Reposted from Robert Naiman by poco

[This piece originally appeared at Huffington Post.]

Istanbul, Turkey - I just experienced the blessing of visiting Iran for the first time. Here are some things I learned.

1. If you are visiting someone's office and you appear very sleepy, you may be asked if you want to take a nap. If you say yes, a comfortable place to take a nap may be immediately prepared. I want to state categorically for the record that no country in which you can take a nap any time you want should ever be bombed by anyone.

2. Any American who wants a hero's welcome in Iran right now should compare the Saudi bombing and blockade of Yemen to the Israeli bombing and blockade of Gaza. An American sporting a "Saudi Arabia = Israel" button could get invited to any party in Iran right now.

3. There is a tower in the middle of Tehran from the top of which one can see the whole city. Wow! Which way is north? The mountain with snow on top.


I support President Obama's efforts to get a diplomatic agreement with Iran

97%269 votes
2%7 votes

| 276 votes | Vote | Results

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Reposted from subir by poco

There are a lot of stories on Ayelet Shaked, the newly appointed Justice Minister of Israel and about Netanyahu's new government. I expect her appointment will have a significant impact on the status and treatment of Palestinians across Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. In particular, her close relationship to the Hebron settlers could make matters much worse for Palestinians in Hebron.

We'll start with the Times profile: Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s New Justice Minister, Shrugs Off Critics in Her Path

It was as an instructor in the army’s Golani Brigade that she grew close to the religious-Zionist settlers who form the core of her constituency today. Serving in Hebron, one of the most contested areas of the West Bank, cemented her stance on the right, she said. “I just realized there will not be a solution right now” to the Palestinian conflict.
“She said, ‘Erez, don’t talk, let’s do action,’ and we simply went out and removed all the signs of the Labor Party from the streets of Tel Aviv. From 11 until 4 o’clock in the morning,” said Mr. Eshel, who now runs youth leadership academies.
For Ms. Shaked, a former computer engineer, the main thing is “to strengthen the Jewish identity” of Israel, “to have a democratic, Jewish, strong state.”

That translates, in policy terms, into promoting Israeli annexation of most of the occupied West Bank and ousting African asylum-seekers. It means curtailing the power of the Supreme Court, giving politicians more sway over judicial appointments and prohibiting foreign funding of advocacy groups — which could put the main internal critics of Israeli actions out of business. And it entails a “nationality bill” that many see as disenfranchising Israel’s Arab minority, about 20 percent of the population.

Ms. Shaked asked to be asked about Arab citizens. She said they “should be an integrated part of the Israeli society,” denied they face discrimination and said more spots should be created for them to do national service in lieu of the military.
Her approach was shaped in part by the author Ayn Rand. ““The fact that sometimes you think differently than others,” she explained, “but you still need to insist on your views, although you are being accused.”
I discussed the Libertarian view of Israel in an earlier diary: Ayn Rand v. Murray Rothbard: A deep dive into the Libertarian view of Israel/Palestine

Here's Ayn Rand (who apparently shaped Shaked's views) on Arabs:

The Arabs are one of the least developed cultures. They are typically nomads. Their culture is primitive, and they resent Israel because it's the sole beachhead of modern science and civilization on their continent. When you have civilized men fighting savages, you support the civilized men, no matter who they are. Israel is a mixed economy inclined toward socialism. But when it comes to the power of the mind—the development of industry in that wasted desert continent—versus savages who don't want to use their minds, then if one cares about the future of civilization, don't wait for the government to do something. Give whatever you can. This is the first time I've contributed to a public cause: helping Israel in an emergency. -- Ford Hall Forum Lecture, 1974
By the way, it is not a coincidence that Pamela Geller used that line in an ad:
Pamela Geller ad about
Ayn Rand also had some interesting views on Native Americans:
They (Native Americans) didn't have any rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using. What was it that they were fighting for, when they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their 'right' to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, but just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or a few caves above it. Any white person who brings the element of civilization has the right to take over this continent. -- Q & A session following her Address To The Graduating Class Of The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, March 6, 1974
Murray Rothbard and other contemporary Libertarians had a very different take on Israel.

Haaretz also did a profile of Shaked: What does Israel’s new justice minister really think about Arabs?

For those convinced that MK Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) is a flaming racist and, therefore, entirely unsuitable for her new job, one particular Facebook status update from last summer is providing potent ammunition. Written on June 30, as tensions were escalating between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, it cited an article authored by the late settler leader Uri Elitzur, which included the following passage, widely interpreted as a call by Shaked to murder innocent Palestinians:

“Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. Actors in the war are those who incite in mosques, who write the murderous curricula for schools, who give shelter, who provide vehicles, and all those who honor and give them their moral support. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

In a Channel 2 interview program broadcast in January 2012, she was asked the following question: “When your husband the pilot, when he’s up in the air, do you hope he’ll be pounding the Arabs hard with bombs?” Shaked responded first with a laugh and then said, “Yes.”

While she was running My Israel, Shaked learned that Bank Leumi was promoting the sale of a real estate company in Jerusalem to a consortium that included a Palestinian investor. Here’s how she described what ensued in an interview with Haaretz in April 2011, “In order to prevent the sale of the neighborhood to Arab hands, all members of the group [My Israel] were instructed to call senior executives at the bank and protest, and those with accounts at Bank Leumi were instructed to call their branch managers and notify them of their desire to leave the bank.” The campaign ultimately paid off.

It seems Shaked is fine with boycotts that target Palestinians. But she doesn't like boycotts directed at Israel, on BDS she's quoted in another Haaretz interview as saying "It's 21st century anti-Semitism" and believes the movement should be illegal. The current Supreme Court found a way to agree with her since it approved much of the Knesset Law targetting the BDS movement, as we covered in this diary: Israel Supreme Court: Boycott/Divest is "Political Terrorism". Publishers can be sued for speech.

As the Times reported in the article above:

They broke with Mr. Netanyahu and started My Israel, an online movement that stopped a bank from making a deal with Palestinian investors; vilified an actor who refused to perform in a settlement; published grisly pictures of a family killed in a terrorist attack; and challenged what Ms. Shaked saw as the news media’s leftist bias.
Bit more about the government and the longer-term history of the settlement movement and its impact on Israel's policy towards Palestinian lands below:
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Last week, the Israeli dissident organization "Shovrim Shtika" (Hebrew), or "Breaking the Silence" (English), has released a booklet with 111 soldier testimonies from last summer's war on Gaza.

The testimonies are available as a PDF booklet in Hebrew and English, and also online in single stories - again in Hebrew and English. Some testimonies are available in video.

My far more diligent Adalah teammate, subir, has diaried quite a bit about the testimonies, with many excerpts (see his Diaries One, Two and Three). Here I wanted to point out the most glaring aspect of the testimonies as a whole - one that is completely missed because it is an absence, not a presence.

The diary title hints at what I'm referring to. Below the testimony - and the fold - I will elaborate (not for too long). The testimony is also a hint.

The whole ‘roof knocking’ thing (a practice in which a small missile is fired at the roof of a building as an advance warning that it will shortly be destroyed in an air strike) was understood [by Hamas] very quickly. Hamas forces are very light, really, and for them – in contrast to the general [Gaza Strip] population, and this is the great tragedy –‘roof knocking’ gave them enough time to go down into some burrow, or to run between the houses and vanish from the area.

But for a family with a grandmother who’s sitting in the living room, it’s a bit harder. And that, too, is part of the whole thing. would often get a lot of data that says, 'such-and-such a number of uninvolved civilians were wounded'

From Testimony 82, by a lieutenant in the IDF Gaza Division

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Reposted from Tasini by Flyswatterbanjo

I'm not much for organized religion for a whole host of reasons (starting with anti-feminist, anti-gay stuff). But, hell (ooopppssss, better not say that either), this is pretty cool.

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Mon May 11, 2015 at 07:42 AM PDT

A Breathtakingly Immoral Plan

by gjohnsit

Reposted from gjohnsit by Assaf

 One of the largest humanitarian dramas on the planet is playing out in the waters off the coast of Libya. Thousands upon thousands of desperate refugees are risking their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean, and many of them aren't making it.
   The European Union has drawn up plans to respond to this crisis...with force.

 The European Union has drawn up plans for military attacks in Libya to try to curb the influx of migrants across the Mediterranean by targeting the trafficking networks. It is to launch a bid on Monday to secure a UN mandate for armed action in Libya’s territorial waters.
 It seems incredible that someone would think the proper way to respond to the suffering and dying of hungry refugees is to bomb them, and yet that may not even be the worst part.
 Britain is drafting the UN security council resolution that would authorise the mission, said senior officials in Brussels. It would come under Italian command, have the participation of around 10 EU countries, including Britain, France, Spain, and Italy, and could also drag in Nato although there are no plans for initial alliance involvement.
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