Hacker group ‘Anonymous’ prepares DDOS attack on the Israeli Knesset

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Operation Intifada: Hacker Group Anonymous Prepares For DDOS Attack On Israel Parliament
The latest target of Operation Anonymous, which following the dissolution of LulzSec is the last substantial non-amorphous hacker collective left out there, could lead to some substantial geopolitical fallout. That is because the target of the just announced upcoming DDOS attack is none other than the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, and while Israel has allegedly been happy to dispense hack attacks in the past, the onslaught on the Iranian nuclear power plant courtesy of the Stuxnet virus coming to mind, we doubt it will as happy to be seen on the receiving end of decentralized computer warfare.

Knesset targeted by hackers
Ynet 28 June — “While Israel has allegedly been happy to dispense hack attacks in the past… we doubt it will be as happy to be seen on the receiving end of decentralized computer warfare,” was the announcement that appeared Tuesday on the AnonOps blog which is known to be connected to the Anonymous group. The announcement went on to state that their latest target was “none other than the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset” and that the expected attack would be “over the next 24 hours”.

And more news from Today in Palestine:

Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid

UNESCO censures Israel over Mughrabi Bridge
Ynet 28 June — World Heritage Committee calls on Israel to stop archaeological excavations in Old City. Jerusalem ‘shocked, furious’ over Jordan’s involvement — UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee decided to accept a petition by Jordan and issued an official censure of Israel over the archaeological excavations near the Mughrabi Gate in the Jerusalem’s Old City … Jordan’s petition was also signed by Egypt, Iraq and Bahrain. The decision was carried with a unanimous vote by UNESCO 21-member nations. Australia, Switzerland, Brazil and Mexico voiced their reservations over the strong anti-Israel language used in the resolution, but did not oppose it in the vote.

Knesset to vote on law forcing Palestinians to pay demolition costs
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 27 June – The Israeli Knesset’s Law Constitution and Justice Committee has passed a draft law forcing Palestinians to cover the costs of home demolitions issued against them without recourse to the courts.  Israeli Radio reported that the committee agreed not to empower the West Bank regional commander to apply the law there, in opposition to the government. The draft will be brought to the Knesset for a second and third reading.

French court decision on Jerusalem light rail must be challenged
EI 27 June — A French court ruling on the construction of a light rail network to service illegal Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem betrays a lack of understanding about how the project abets the Israeli occupation. On 30 May, the High Court of Nanterre dismissed a petition by the France-Palestine Solidarity Association (known by the acronym AFPS) to nullify under French law contracts signed by French transport giants Veolia and Alstom for building a light rail system in Jerusalem. AFPS has until 30 June to appeal the decision. In its petition, AFPS asserted that the Jerusalem light rail project will connect West Jerusalem with Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, normalizing the illegal situation on the ground.

IOA bulldozes land in Silwan
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 28 June — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) bulldozers leveled land in Wadi Al-Rababa in Silwan near to Bustan suburb south of the Aqsa Mosque. The spokesman for the committee to defend Silwan town, Fakhri Abu Diyab, said that the IOA bulldozers have been working since Monday morning, noting that landmarks in the area along with old trees were all being wiped out in preparation for opening a Talmudic garden and Judaizing the entire area.

IOF soldiers destroy tens of Palestinian olive trees
SALFIT (PIC) 28 June — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) bulldozed tens of Palestinian olive trees in Deir Estiya village west of Salfit city on Tuesday. Nazmi Salman, the village’s mayor, said that the bulldozing took place west of the village and damaged trees that have been planted there for five years. Noting that the land was in the proximity of Revava settlement, Salman said that the step is aimed at evicting the inhabitants then grab their land.
In another area, IOF soldiers started to bulldoze a land lot, which they seized from its owner, south of Al-Khalil city on Monday, local sources said, adding that the land was being prepared to serve as a landing pad for IOF military choppers.

Israeli soldiers uproot 300 olive trees in Salfit
SALFIT (WAFA) 28 June — Israeli soldiers Tuesday razed a large area of land and uprooted 300 olive trees in Deir Istiya, a village in Salfit north of the West Bank, according to the village mayor, Nathmi Salman. Salman said the land belongs to Kamal Abdul-Rahman, a middle-aged Palestinian suffering from heart disease. Israeli soldiers assaulted Abdul-Rahman and prevented him from reaching his land, which necessitated bringing a doctor immediately to treat him.

Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron reports increase in raids
IMEMC 27 June — Christian Peace Maker Team in Hebron have reported in increase in house raids with the arrival of a new brigade of Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city. The team have stated that night time raids have become a common occurrence in the city “as Palestinians try to live some semblance of a normal life and Israeli Defense Forces prepare for war”. The Team have reported two instances of night time raids on local Palestinian families they say is indicative of the increase in Israeli raids with the change of brigades

Activism / Solidarity

Bil‘in’s next battle: Settlement
Ynet 28 June — Palestinian village decides to build illegally on land ‘liberated’ by successful anti-fence battle — Following the IDF’s dismantling of a separation fence running through Bil‘in, residents of the West Bank village have decided to adopt a new battle. Ynet learned Tuesday that the Popular Committee of Bil‘in will replace its weekly anti-fence protests, which take place Fridays, with the construction of new structures on the land added to the village when the fence was dismantled Sunday. Around 170 acres of land were added [returned!] to the village with the removal of the fence, 130 of which are privately owned Palestinian lands.  It is on this land that the residents plan to construct a new neighborhood, called West Bil‘in. Organizers of the protests against the fence are still fuming, however, at the fact that some 330 acres belonging to the village remain inaccessible, because they lie to the west of the wall that surrounds nearby Israeli towns such as Modi’in.

Meanwhile in Nabi Saleh: Reflections on the physical and legal assault on nonviolent protesters / Rae Abileah
Mondo 28 June — From the chambers of Congress to the shores of the Mediterranean, non-violent protesters are rising up against the Israeli occupation … the small West Bank village of Nabi Saleh has been struggling without the attention it deserves. …between January 2010 and April 2011, the Israeli Army carried out 73 protest-related arrests, rounding up men, women and children. Two of the arrested are cousins Bassem and Naji Tamimi, main organizers and members of the local Popular Committee.  The Tamimis are key organizers in the Nabi Saleh resistance and have been arrested under the blanketed charge of ‘incitement’, similarly to the case last of Abdallah Abu Rahmah of Bil‘in who was convicted in an unfair trial and served 16 months in jail. Bassem and Naji were scheduled to appear before a judge yesterday, Monday, June 27th at the Ofer Military Court.  Naji Tamimi took a plea bargain and will be jailed for 12 months, and is barred from organizing protests for five years after his release … Bassem’s court date was postponed until late August because a witness didn’t show up and it looks like he is determined not to take a plea bargain.  Present in court were diplomatic representatives of the UK, the EU and France.

US government moves to criminalize Palestinian solidarity / Maureen
EI 27 June — In an op-ed, published by Al Jazeera English today, I write about the US government’s attempts to criminalize the Palestine solidarity activists — including the State Department’s threats to prosecute activists involved with the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. I also appeared on Al Jazeera English’s The Stream today to discuss FBI raids and subpoenas targeting activists … The use of counterterrorism tools against social justice acts is nothing new. But it poses a special threat to the growing Palestine solidarity movement in the US, which is increasingly challenging the US government’s military aid to Israel and its diplomatic cover for Israeli war crimes and apartheid.


‘Mohammed is dead’ sprayed on home
Ynet 28 June — Unknown persons sprayed racial slurs and a Star of David on a Palestinian home in the West Bank village of Beit Ilu … Mohammed Raduan, head of the village council, told Ynet that the graffiti was found Tuesday morning. He added that it was not the first time Beit Ilu had been targeted in such a fashion. “They wrote, ‘Mohammed is a pig’ and ‘Mohammed is dead’, as well as ‘Revenge’ and ‘Settlement 18’,” he said. The latter may have been in reference to a recently evacuated settlement near Beit El. g


Army kidnaps several Palestinians including legislator, journalist, human rights activist
IMEMC 28 June — In Salfit, in the central part of the West Bank, soldiers broke into the home of Dr. Nasser Abdul-Jawad, 46, of the Hamas Change and Reform Parliamentarian Bloc, and kidnapped the elected official.
Furthermore, soldiers kidnapped a journalist in Kufr Qalil village, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Nawwaf Al Amer works with the Al Quds Satellite TV; he was repeatedly kidnapped and imprisoned during the first and the second Palestinian uprisings. He was previously deported to southern Lebanon along with dozens of Hamas political leaders.
In Nablus, in the northern part of the West Bank, the army kidnapped human rights and detainees’ rights activist, Fuad Al Khuffash, head of the Ahrar Center for Detainees’ Studies and Human Rights. Al Khuffash is originally from Marda village, near the central West bank city of Salfit.
Troops also kidnapped Firas Jarrar after breaking into his home in Nablus. Jarrar is a human rights activist who spent 16 years in Israeli prisons.
Soldiers conducted a large-scale arrest campaign in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday at dawn, and kidnapped eleven Palestinians from several villages, towns and refugee camps.

Israeli army detains Tawjihi students in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 28 June — Israeli army Tuesday detained a number of Palestinian high school students after they finished Tuesday’s session of the Tawjihi exam, the final general secondary examination, in Al Khader, a town south of Bethlehem. Director of Education in Bethlehem governorate, Abdullah Shakarneh, told WAFA that Israeli soldiers stopped the students on their way home after leaving the exam halls and searched them. Shakarneh considered this arbitrary action “a part of the attack on the educational process.” Witnesses said that Israeli soldiers handed a number of the students notices to report at the intelligence services in Etzion settlement south of Bethlehem. Palestinians can be detained for a number of hours or days when they report to Israeli intelligence. If the students are held and prevented from attending Thursday’s Tawjihi exams, they will fail their high school senior year.

Israeli forces detain 5 Palestinians in Azzun
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 28 June — Israeli forces on Tuesday detained five Palestinians from the northern West Bank town of Azzun after ransacking their homes, witnesses said. Locals said troops raided the town at around 1 a.m. They identified those detained as Samir Sahir Shelo, 13, Ahmad Basim Shbeita, 17, Othman Samir Shelo, 22, Muath Bilal Sweidan, 19, and Yousif Hussein Shbeita, 49. … Israel detained around 20 Palestinians in Azzun in June, most of whom were aged 14 – 23.

More than a third of Palestinian prisoners denied visitation rights
GAZA (PIC) 28 June — Prisoner affairs expert Abdul-Nasser Farwana has said that more than a third of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons have been denied the right to family visits. Prisoners from the Gaza Strip were denied visits as a ‘collective punishment’ in mid-June of 2007 and others faced the same restrictions for security reasons, he said. He added that the families of those allowed visits are harassed, searched, and treated with brutality ahead of visits, and at times they are even sexually harassed. Farwana said that the restrictions on visits contravene international law, which calls for intervention by international organizations to pressure Israel into restoring visitation rights.

Palestinian prisoners to go on hunger strike en masse
RAMALLAH (PIC) 28 June — More than 6,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation jails have decided to go on a single day hunger strike on 3rd of July to protest the Israeli occupation authority’s repressive policy against them. They said in a statement on Tuesday that the strike would protest the solitary confinement policy and the deprivation of education.

Center: Israel detains prisoners’ rights worker
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 June — Israeli forces on Tuesday detained a prisoners’ rights worker and confiscated his cell phone and computer, a detainees’ center said. The center said Sami Hussein, an employee in the Bethlehem-based organization, was detained during a raid on his home. Hussein has been detained several times and has spent 20 years in Israeli prisons, the center said, adding that he had three children.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said 11 Palestinians were detained across the West Bank overnight.

Detainee’s mother dies without seeing son
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 June — The mother of a Palestinian detainee died Tuesday without seeing her son for many years, a rights group said. A prisoners’ association said the dying wish of 80-year-old Wadhah Daamsa was to see her son Yahya. Yahya Daamsa, 40, is sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment plus 40 years. Israeli forces detained him on April 7, 2002, and demolished his home in Duheisha refugee camp in Bethlehem. He was accused of making explosive devices to be used in operations inside Israel and membership of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades.

IOA isolates oldest serving prisoner in the world
RAMALLAH (PIC) 28 June — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) isolated the oldest [longest] serving Palestinian and Arab prisoner in its jails Nael Al-Barghouthi for refusing to be strip searched. The Palestinian prisoner’s association said on Tuesday that Barghouthi, who entered his 34th consecutive year in prison last April and is considered the oldest serving prisoner in the world, was moved to the isolation ward after refusing the prison administration’s humiliation of prisoners topped by strip search. [He’s the longest-serving political prisoner in the world according to this site]

Protesters urge Abbas to appoint prisoner in new government
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 June — Spokesman for Palestinian deportees Fahmi Kanaan on Monday urged President Mahmoud Abbas to appoint a detainee as a minister in the upcoming unity government. Kanaan called for the appointment during a speech delivered at a protest organized by the prisoners’ society in Unknown Soldier Square in Gaza City. The protest was held in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to worsen conditions for Palestinians in Israeli prisons in order to pressure Hamas to release captured Israel soldier Gilad Shalit.
The spokesman also condemned the treatment of Palestinians deported to Gaza and Europe after Israel’s siege of the Nativity Church in Bethlehem. Twenty-six Palestinians who took refuge in the church were deported to Gaza and 13 were expelled to Europe following Operation Defensive Shield in 2002, during which Israeli forces besieged the church and Bethlehem in a bid to locate Palestinian combatants.

PA court sentences 5 Hamas cadres
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 28 June — A Fatah-controlled court in Al-Khalil city on Tuesday passed a one and a half year sentence on five Hamas cadres, including one still held in Israeli jail, in blatant disregard of the reconciliation agreement. The committee of relatives of detainees said on its Facebook page that Nabil Al-Natshe, held in Israeli custody, was among those sentenced. The PA preventive security apparatus was holding those detainees in its jails for the past six months

Gaza – under siege for 1,476 days now

Gaza children send messages to Sderot on kites
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 June — Children in Gaza released kites on Tuesday carrying messages to residents of Sderot across the border in Israel. The kites carried messages urging Israel to end its siege of Gaza. Fourteen-year-old Einas Naim told Ma’an she hoped residents of Sderot would understand the messages … Nine-year-old Muhammad wrote “Gaza is love” on a kite made of a Palestinian flag. “My message to the Israeli residents is that our country has suffered enough destruction,” he said. Coordinator of the initiative Sabir Zaanin said the kites released Sderot were in response to the messages Israeli children wrote on artillery shells which killed dozens of children [Lebanon, 2006]. Sderot was originally built on land belonging to Beit Hanoun, a town in northern Gaza, Zaanin said.

Gaza woman calls on Qatar Emir to save her husband
GAZA (PIC) 28 June – The wife of Iyad Ali Hassan Salim has called on the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani to open the country’s doors to her husband as he desperately needs treatment … “Despite the many treatments he takes, they put him in a constant state of sleep and have not done away with the convulsions,” she said.  She also explained in an appeal that Salim sustained injuries after an Israeli missile strike on the Gaza Strip in November 2006 that left shrapnel and burns on his body, especially the head. He has lost his right eye and sustained fractures and wounds all over the body.

Gazans head to the beach
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 June — Tourism facilities and entertainment sites in the Gaza Strip are preparing to host and service people from all social classes in Gaza this summer. The vice-chairman of the council of the Palestinian association of restaurants, hotels and tourism services in the Gaza Strip, Samit Skeik, pointed out that Gaza beaches are full of visitors due to the calm weather. Going to the beach in the summer is an important tradition for Gazans. The Israeli siege and restrictions on movement leave Gazans with few options for entertainment; families spend time at the beach as it is one of few respites.

Limited goods to enter the Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 June — Israeli authorities decided Tuesday to open the Kerem Shalom crossing and allow limited goods and fuel into the Gaza Strip.

The blockade is illegal no matter what Israel claims
Canadian Boat to Gaza — date? — An expert legal opinion on International Maritime Law and the Gaza blockade — Ambassador Craig Murray is a former Alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the United Nations Preparatory Commission on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.  He was deputy head of the teams which negotiated the UK’s maritime boundaries with France, Germany, Denmark (Faeroe Islands) and Ireland … Ambassador Craig Murray is therefore an internationally recognised authority on maritime jurisdiction and naval boarding issues. His analysis of the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the right of the Gaza flotilla to sail: “The legal position is plain.  A vessel outwith the territorial waters (12 mile limit) of a coastal state is on the high seas under the sole jurisdiction of the flag state of the vessel.  The ship has a positive right of  passage on the high seas.


Israel to cope with ‘hardcore terror activists’ on flotilla
JERUSALEM (AFP) 28 June — Israel will be able to handle any violence from “hardcore activists” on board a new Gaza-bound flotilla, the foreign minister said Tuesday, amid claims some were planning attacks with chemicals. “The moderate elements who were planning to join the flotilla… know that for everyone who wants to help people in Gaza, that there is a legal way to do it,” Avigdor Lieberman told public radio in a telephone interview from Zagreb. “It is clear that those who are still participating in the flotilla are the hardcore terror activists,” he said … Some 350 pro-Palestinian activists from 22 countries including Canada, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy and Spain are set to join “Freedom Flotilla II” — among them a good number of middle-aged and even elderly Americans and Europeans.

Gaza flotilla organizer: We have no intention of attacking IDF soldiers
AP/Haaretz 28 June — Israeli officials say passengers may be stowing chemicals on ships to be used against IDF soldiers and have threatened to ‘spill their blood.’ — The organizer of the Gaza-bound flotilla dismissed Tuesday Israeli allegations that extremists aboard the ships plan to harm Israeli soldiers who would be dispatched to stop them. Dror Feiler says the hundreds of people planning to sail soon in a bid to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Palestinian territory have signed a declaration of nonviolence. Feiler told Army Radio on Tuesday that if Israel has information about specific suspects, it should pass it along to flotilla’s organizers.

US boat rejects Israeli Army allegation of violence
UStoGaza 28 June — Passengers on the U.S. boat to Gaza rejected as ludicrous and provocative an unsubstantiated accusation by the Israeli Army that passengers in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla plan to kill IDF soldiers with chemical weapons. The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday an Israeli Defense Forces allegation that some passengers on the flotilla had prepared sacks of sulfur which they planned to pour on Israeli soldiers … “These spurious claims are merely an attempt to establish a justification to attack us,” said Brad Taylor, another passenger on the U.S. boat. “Instead of fabricating horror stories about the hundreds of unarmed civilians in the flotilla, Israel should come clean about what it is they have in store for us. It is safe to conclude that the only chemical weapons, including tear gas and smoke bombs, that will ever be brought on board our ships to Gaza are those that the Israeli military apparently intends to fire at us.”

Israel’s defense ministry proposes confiscating boats that breach Gaza blockade
Haaretz 28 June –  Government warns of two passengers’ alleged ties to Hamas, claims others have smuggled ‘chemicals’ aboard — Israel’s defense Ministry has proposed setting up a special naval court that could confiscate ships that attempt to break through Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza, a move aimed at deterring future flotillas to the Strip … Noting that the Justice Ministry had looked into setting up the naval courts, called prize courts, a few years ago, Barak urged Neeman to bring the matter to the cabinet for approval in the near future. Defense sources said that ship seizures would make it harder for pro-Palestinian activists to rent ships for future flotillas. They also said a prize court could be established very quickly, enabling even ships in the current flotilla to be impounded.

US, Israel escalate threats against flotilla, including US citizens
Salon 27 June — …That type of uncontroversial statement — you shouldn’t shoot our unarmed citizens — is inconceivable when it comes to the U.S. and Israel.  So devoted is the U.S. Government to defending the actions of Israel’s that it will even preemptively justify violent attacks on its own citizens, threaten Americans protesting Israel’s policies with prosecution for aiding Terrorism, and isolate itself from the world to defend them.

International solidarity and history in the making / Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK
28 June — Today we had a great international press conference. [photos] There were representatives from Greece, Sweden, France, Norway, Canada, Spain, Turkey and of course, the U.S. The room was packed with press and passengers; there was really a feeling that we are part of something historic. Our US speakers were Ann Wright and Alice Walker, as well as Huwaida Araf, who was not representing the U.S. boat but the international flotilla. Ann talked about the efforts of the Israeli government to stop our boat, the bogus complaint against us launched by the Israeli legal center. (This is the same center, by the way, that has been suing us, trying to get insurance companies not to insure and pushing satellite companies not to help us get wired on the boat.)

Video: One of Freedom Flotilla II boats sabotaged in Greek port
A passenger boat aiming to participate in the Freedom Flotilla II – Stay Human mission, was sabotaged on Monday, June 27. In this video, Captain Thodoris Boukas explains [in Greek] about the discovery of the sabotage, and also footage from the examination by diver Yorgos Vardakas can be seen.

In Athens, flotilla organizers shake off threats / Mya Guarnieri
ATHENS, Greece (Ma‘an) 28 June — Organizers and participants of the second Freedom Flotilla announced in Athens Monday that recent events have not weakened their resolve to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. At a spirited news conference, they also called into question American foreign policy. While organizers remain reluctant to give an exact exit date — saying only that the flotilla will set sail for Gaza in the next few days — a departure seems imminent.

Fewer than 300 join flotilla
Ynet 28 June — Major blow to organizers with number of activists failing to meet expectations, more may cancel — An internal flotilla memorandum which reached Ynet reveals that the flotilla is expected sail with fewer than 300 participants and a few dozen journalists, assuming that no further delays or incidents occur before the flotilla sets sail. According to the memorandum the Italian ship Stefano Chiarim is expected to have 65 people on board – the largest number of passengers in the flotilla. The Canadian ship “Tahrir” will have 48 passengers and the American ship Audacity of Hope, which is currently being held at port by Greek authorities, is set to have 40 passengers. There are an additional seven ships from Spain, Ireland, Sweden, Greece and Norway which are expected to set sail. The organizers’ most optimistic scenario is that there will be 292 passengers with an additional 36 journalists. But it is highly likely that some of the ships will be declared unfit to sail.

This time, Israel can pass the test of the flotilla / Bradley Burston
It’s not the test that Israel thinks it is. It’s a test to see if the country can act in its own rational interest, and let the flotilla simply go — Friends of Israel, countries and individuals that sincerely wish Israelis well, should send a message this week: Mr. Netanyahu, Mr. Barak, for your sake, for Israel’s sake, let the flotilla sail to Gaza … You know that the flotilla is a test for Israel. You believe that it’s a test of your ability to stop the boats before they reach anchor in Gaza. You see it as a test of your ability to keep the siege of Gaza in place, and to fight against the delegitimization of Israel. It’s a test of the siege, all right, but not at all the test you think it is.

Gaza-bound: A mystery worthy of Henning Mankell / Amira Hass
Haaretz 28 June — Swedish author Henning Mankell, who took part in last year’s flotilla and is joining the currently planned one, said that the flotilla was not a declaration of war, but a declaration of peace — GREECE – The organizers of the flotilla to Gaza yesterday remained vague about the date it would set sail and its ports of call. The unexpected delays are worrying the organizers although they are trying not to show it … Dozens of activists attended yesterday’s press conference, armed with well-made signs and rhythmic calls that sometimes turned the press conference into a pep rally. But the organizers of the briefing did not share the various reasons for the delay. A few days ago, the Greek port authority required the Greek-Swedish cargo ship to undergo repairs, soldering work and the addition of equipment that its crew said were completely unnecessary. As for the American ship, an anonymous complaint had been lodged that it was not seaworthy … Yesterday, a port authority inspection team checked out the American ship. Also yesterday, a surprise “stricter than usual” inspection was made of the Canadian vessel, the Tahrir. According to information that reached the organizers Sunday, a similar inspection is planned for the Italian ship.

Freedom Flotilla 2 determined to reach Gaza; Israel determined to stop it
LA Times blog 27 June — … Meanwhile, until any encounter at sea, the skirmish is being waged on YouTube and all sides are uploading fast and furious — some straightforward, others kind of clever. And back to that media lesson learned. One of the main problems Israel had getting its message across last time (besides the message) was the long delay in releasing timely visual images and information from the scene while the operation was still ongoing, leaving the media stage to activists and semi-professionals and an anti-Israeli angle. For weeks, Israeli officials have been stressing the importance of the media battlefield and assuring outlets that professional and credible material will be much more timely. [includes Israel video explaining the ‘reasons’ for the blockade]

Gaza boat: Three questions for Marwan Bishara
AJE 27 June — Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst, comments on three crucial issues surrounding the convoy and Israel’s vow to prevent it from reaching the Palestinians. …2. Does it pose security risk to Israel? It’s rather strange despite last year’s debacle, that Israel insists on deploying military means to confront peace activists trying to deliver humanitarian aid to a besieged people. The Israeli security cabinet has instructed Defense Minister Ehud Barak to stop the flotilla after failing to pressure European governments to block their exit to sea. But Israel’s security justifications don’t add up. Could anyone imagine that France, Greece or Turkey would allow a ship carrying European civil society activists and more than a few journalists to sail from their shores carrying arms, and/or “terrorists”! Even the claim that there are “extremists” on the board of the ships doesn’t hold water, since according to Israel, Gaza is already infested with and dominated by extremists and terrorists.

German activists hold ‘solidarity flotilla’ on Berlin canals
IMEMC 27 June — in Germany, several dozen activists sailed down Berlin’s canals with banner-covered boats, waving Palestinian flags in support of the Freedom Flotilla. The boats were draped with banners saying, ‘Fishing Under Fire’, ‘No Occupation’, and ‘Free Palestine’. One fishing boat was made to look like a Palestinian fishing boat, the type used by Palestinian fishermen for their livelihood. These boats are frequently attacked by Israeli naval vessels stationed just off the coast of Gaza, and dozens of fishermen have been killed and wounded, and their boats confiscated, by the Israeli navy.

Unlikely sailors: an inside look at the people on the Canadian boat to Gaza
27 June — Tomas Urbina gets up close and personal with five members of the Canadian Boat to Gaza’s crew — Today, Forget the Box presents the story of five of Canada’s 32 delegates, their motivations and their state of mind as they prepare for a humanitarian mission with the highest of stakes.

Video: Gabriel Schivone, US Boat to Gaza passenger
27 June — Passenger Gabriel Schivone talks about why he is going aboard the US Boat to Gaza with the Stay Human Flotilla at the end of the month. Bio: Gabriel Matthew Schivone is a Chicano-Jewish American and undergraduate student who was born in Tucson, Arizona. He is a volunteer with the humanitarian/migrant-rights organization, No More Deaths/No Más Muertes, which works to end death and suffering on the US/Mexico border and throughout Arizona. [See videos from other passengers/crew on same YouTube page]

Racism / Discrimination

Report: Schools discriminate against Ethiopians
Ynet 28 June — New survey presented to Knesset’s Immigration Committee reveals Ethiopian student body ‘forced’ into specific schools … The percentage of Ethiopian student to successfully graduate from high school has risen from 32.7% to 42.1% between 2007 and 2010, but it is still significantly lower than the percentage noted in the general Jewish student body — 64.6%.

Israel refuses citizenship for gay man married to Jewish immigrant
Haaretz 28 June — The Law of Return is being put to the test by couple from United States — The Interior Ministry is refusing citizenship and new immigrant status to a homosexual married to a Jewish new immigrant, despite the law’s stipulation that the child, grandchild and partner of a Jew are entitled to Jewish immigrant rights.

Israel’s chief clergy decry arrest of top rabbi who called for killing Gentiles
Haaretz 28 June — Hundreds of right-wing activists attempted to storm the Supreme Court yesterday to protest the detention of Kiryat Arba Chief Rabbi Dov Lior earlier in the day. Protesters also blocked the entrance to Jerusalem and other streets in the capital … Lior was wanted for questioning after he endorsed the controversial book “Torat Hamelech,” which justifies the killing of non-Jews.

Rule of law bolstered following Rabbi Lior riots – [and ‘King’s Torah’ sales boom]
JPost 28 June — As politicians speak about equality before the law following arrest of Kiryat Arba chief rabbi, controversial book’s sales boom …The 2009 book by Yizhar Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira gives Jews permission to preemptively kill gentiles under certain conditions in wartime.

Israel’s justice ministry: No one is above the law, even rabbis
Haaretz 28 June — Officials respond firmly to the attacks on Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, following the arrest of Chief Rabbi Dov Lior Monday on suspicion of incitement.

Deputy prosecutor fears rightist attacks
Ynet 28 June — Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, who is responsible for cases of freedom of speech violations at the State Prosecutor’s Office, is said to be fearing for his life as rightists continue to threaten him and his family over the arrest of Rabbi Dov Lior for incitement … The source added that rightists had attempted to force entry into Nitzan’s home while he is abroad.

Human trafficking report ranks Israel with 3rd world nations
Ynet 28 June — US State Department annual Trafficking in Persons report paints grim picture of phenomenon, states ‘Israel is destination country for men, women subjected to forced labor, sex trafficking’


Hasbarapocalypse — pinkwashing hoax gone berserk / Annie
Mondo 28 June — This story has more legs than a centipede. Robert Mackey, on his NYT blog, further unfurls a hoax Benjamin Doherty @EI first exposed on Thursday and that Max Blumenthal and Doherty discovered was linked to Netanyahu’s office on Friday (a connection Ali Abunimah @ EI confirmed later that same day). But before we continue, check out the video, and read Mackey’s take:

Did Netanyahu’s office distribute a fake video against Gaza flotilla?
Haaretz 28 June — …This is exactly what some American bloggers have been claiming, after probing a video that was uploaded to YouTube on Sunday. The video, nearly three minutes long, featured a young man who called himself Marc and claimed to be a gay and human rights activist. The man recounted a story in which he asked the organizers of the upcoming Gaza flotilla to join their mission, and claimed that his request was allegedly denied on the grounds that participation of the gay and lesbian group with which he was affiliated would not serve the flotilla’s “interests.”

Political / Diplomatic / International news

Netanyahu to Abbas: Accept Israel as Jewish state — it’s a basic demand for peace
Haaretz 28 June — Prime minister tells Jewish Agency trustees that he has already declared readiness to accept the creation of a Palestinian state, but now it is the Palestinian president’s turn to voice compromise.

US, EU to present Mideast peace plan in last push to prevent Palestinian UN bid
Haaretz 28 June — In a last-minute effort to stop the Palestinians from seeking unilateral recognition at the United Nations in September, the Mideast Quartet is planning to present a new international peace plan at a summit in Washington on July 11, senior Israeli and European officials said Tuesday. The Quartet’s envoys – representing the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia – will be mapping out a peace plan based on U.S. President Barack Obama’s Mideast speech on May 19, which is supposed to present an alternative to the Palestinian move at the UN.

Sha‘ath: PA optimistic about statehood bid
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 June — The Palestinian leadership is to step up efforts to consolidate a UN statehood bid this September, Fatah Central Committee member Nabil Sha‘ath told local media in Ramallah on Tuesday … “There is no return or retreat from the UN step in September; the efforts from now until September will focus on maintaining the countries that recognized the Palestinian state and consolidating their positions in the face of Israeli and American pressure, and recruit an additional number of countries that support the Palestinian step at the UN,” Sha‘ath told reporters.

AP interview: PM Fayyad skeptical of UN bid, says declarations don’t change reality
28 June — U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state would largely be a symbolic victory and would not change the reality of Israeli occupation, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Tuesday .Fayyad’s skepticism, voiced in an interview with The Associated Press, set him apart from the rest of the Palestinian leadership.

Hamas’ Zahar says Fatah to blame for talks delay
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 June — Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar has reportedly blamed Fatah for the delay in reconciliation talks, confirming reports that talks reached a dead end. ”After we signed the agreement, Fatah on the ground worked against it,” Al-Zahar told the Jordanian newspaper Al-Dustur on Tuesday. He added that Fatah were linking the whole reconciliation process to the position of prime minster, an approach which was damaging unity efforts.

Bahar says arrest of West Bank MP aimed at disrupting unity deal
GAZA (PIC) 28 June — Deputy Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Ahmed Bahar has called Israel’s arrest of PLC member Nasser Abdul-Jawwad (Nablus) a bid to disrupt the PLC, which was reactivated after the signing of the national unity deal.  Bahar said that Israel’s foiling the unity deal by breaking down the PLC and ridding the West Bank of its elected members “will only reap failure and loss, and will only lead to more determination and steadfastness until Palestinian national rights are restored”.

Israel furious with Jordan over condemnation of Jerusalem’s Old City renovation
Haaretz 28 June — Ambassador Barkan says Israel is upset over the Jordanian about-face concerning the Mughrabi renovations near the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Report: Egypt forms Palestine Administration
CAIRO, Egypt (Ma‘an) 28 June — Newly appointed Egyptian Foreign Minister Muhammad Al-Urabi announced Tuesday that his ministry would form a new department to handle Palestinian affairs, the Egyptian newspaper Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat reported. The Palestine Administration was created one day after the new foreign minister took office. After he was sworn in Monday, Al-Urabi told reporters that “a new strategic situation emerged and it necessitates a united Arab stance towards the question of Palestine.

Israel threatens invasion of southern Lebanon
IMEMC 27 June — The Israeli Radio reported that a number of Israeli security and military officials threatened that Israel could invade southern Lebanon should the security situation in villages there continue to deteriorate. The officials claimed that the Lebanon-based Hezbollah party “transformed villages in southern Lebanon into explosive areas,” and that the party deployed combat materials and weapons in the villages and installed bases and headquarters.

Other news / analysis

Half of young Israelis are not convinced they should stay in the long run / Philip Weiss
Mondo 28 June — The “reverse aliyah” story is in the news, all the Israelis seeking passports, just in case. First there’s Russia Today segment, shown below. Gideon Levy: “Israel was established to become a shelter for the Jewish people. Now Europe becomes the shelter for the Jews living in Israel.” … The Russia Today segment just underlines what Ian Lustick reports in an important recent political science paper on the ideological problems surrounding the emigration discussion: “…In dozens of interviews conducted in Israel in November 2010, Israelis from political positions across the spectrum found themselves unable to describe a future for the country that they found appealing and believed was possible.”

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About Kate

American; political science major, M.A.; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank

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