Turkey expels Israeli ambassador, cuts military ties and promises further legal action following UN flotilla report

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Turkey expels Israel envoy after Gaza flotilla report, freezes military ties
Haaretz 2 Sept — Turkey has decided to downgrade its diplomatic ties with Israel to the lowest possible level, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Friday, following Israel’s continued refusal to apologize for a 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

And more news from Today in Palestine:

Land, property, resources theft and destruction / Ethnic cleansing

Silwan foils City of David concert as tensions run high over Eid
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 31 Aug — Palestinian residents of Silwan were joined by international and Israeli solidarity activists in staging a protest outside the archaeological City of David settlement’s visitors’ center today. The protest, the second in two weeks, was held to offset settler plans to stage a concert at the settlement. Many have denounced the concert as an attempt to deliberately interfere with the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Fitr this week. The protest met with a violent backlash, as right-wing Israeli extremists attempted to attack protesters and urged police to exercise full force against them. Demonstrators reported that employees of settlement association Elad worked closely with police to repress the protest. A military blockade at the northern entrance to Wadi Hilweh neighborhood currently prevents worshipers from reaching Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Woman wounded, child kidnapped as Israeli forces raid Bir Ayyub
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 31 Aug  — A woman has sustained injuries to the head during confrontations in Bir Ayyub district of Silwan between Palestinians and Israeli forces, say eyewitnesses. Clashes were sparked when Israeli forces raided a Palestinian home and arrested one child. Undercover units kidnapped two young men during the clashes.

Dawn raid launched on long-suffering family in Wadi Hilweh
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 31 Aug  —  Israeli forces launched a dawn raid on Wadi Hilweh district of Silwan this morning, in search of a young resident. Mahmoud al-Banna, 23, who has served a 22-month house arrest sentence outside the village since becoming a target of police, was not at home during the raid. He has been summoned by police and is expected to face the Magistrates Court tomorrow. Israeli forces raided the al-Banna home a second time several hours after the first, arresting Mahmoud’s younger brothers Nassem Nabil, 21, and Mohammed Nabil, 19 …  A family member told Silwanic that “this latest attempt at arrest should be be surprising at all. It’s common to arrest children in the middle of the night — even to beat them, for no reason. It is also common for Israeli forces to take Palestinians during our celebrations such as Eid. Our family has a long history of being targeted by the authorities, on random unfounded charges, supported by non-existent evidence.

Wadi Ara next in line for Judaization project / Sophie Crowe
Pal. Mon. 31 Aug — The small village of Harish has become a hot spot of contentious debate since plans were unveiled to build an ultra-Orthodox only city in the predominantly Palestinian region. Harish is a village in the Wadi Ara, a region in northern Israel that falls in the Haifa District and “The Triangle” in Israel. Wadi Ara is home to roughly 120,000 Palestinians and 10,000 Jews. Harish was built as a kibbutz in 1992, one of a string of settlements positioned along the Green Line as a means of strengthening Israel’s hold on the border, a strategy conceived of by then housing minister Ariel Sharon. Failing in its original formulation, today it is home to only 1000 people. Since 2009, plans to transform Harish into an ultra-Orthodox city have been pushed forward by members of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, namely Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Housing Minister Ariel Atias. Plans for expansion, approved in 2010, are now being implemented with 6,000 housing units soon to begin construction.

Israel profits from the holy month of Ramadan
JVS 27 Aug — Israeli settlers in the Jordan Valley are awaiting their large bonuses at the end of Ramadan. Dates, which are grown on stolen Palestinian land are currently being sold around the world in preparation for the celebration of Eid. Since 1967, the indigenous population of the Jordan Valley has seen the development of 36 illegal Israeli settlements which have taken 50% of the land in the region. The settlements in the Valley are predominately agricultural, generating approximately 135.6 million dollars per year, based on figures for 2010. This is one of the key reasons that ‘Israel will never cede the Jordan Valley’ (Benyamin Netanyahu, 2010). The vast expanse of date palm plantations can be seen from the main north south road in the Jordan Valley, growing on land once inhabited by Palestinian communities. Every August the dates are harvested by Palestinian workers as young as 12, forced to work on their own land through economic slavery, for less than 1 dollar per hour.

Rivlin in Itamar: Zionism is a policy of settlement
JPost 31 Aug — Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin declared that “the entire Land of Israel belongs to us” on Wednesday, during a visit to Itamar in honor of the new school year. “Zionism is a policy of settlement,” Rivlin explained … Rivlin also stated that the last time he visited Itamar, it was with former prime minister Ariel Sharon, who suggested connecting settlements in Samaria to the Jordan Valley “out of a strategic way of thinking that included territorial depth and continuity.” [So, the ‘land of Israel’ is between the Jordan and the Mediterranean? Or between the Nile and the Euphrates? Or….? Is there any end to it?]

Landau: Israel should declare sovereignty over occupied territories
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 31 Aug — Israeli minister of infrastructure Uzi Landau said he believed that Israel should unilaterally declare its sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, major settlement blocs in the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip in response to the Palestinians’ intention to seek statehood recognition with the United Nations this September. Landau, a member of Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party, told Israeli Radio Wednesday morning that silence over the Palestinians’ step would be a disaster, and that practical steps must be taken to ensure Israeli security and let the Palestinians understand that they cannot impose their vision for a solution to the conflict on Israel.

Changing directions – expanding activity in Sheikh Jarrah
SJS 1 Sept — For nearly two years, we have demonstrated each Friday in Sheikh Jarrah. We demonstrated because we saw yet another Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem being turned into a den of extreme right-wing fanatics. We demonstrated because the police did whatever it deemed necessary to turn Sheikh Jarrah into “Shimon Ha-Tsadik.”  We demonstrated because joint Israeli-Palestinian demonstrations were a rarity in East Jerusalem. Today, thanks to you, the situation has changed. The settler takeover of properties in Sheikh Jarrah has been hindered in parts of the neighborhood, and halted in other parts. The courts have begun, for the first time in years, to rule against the settler organizations in hearings about the future of the neighborhood. The police, the executive arm of the settlement, has retreated from the neighborhood.
Nonetheless, the goals of our struggle — the removal of the settlers from Sheikh Jarrah, the return of the families to their homes, and above all, the liberation of the residents of East Jerusalem from repression — are still far from being realized. Therefore we, the activists of Solidarity and the residents of Sheikh Jarrah have decided to move on to the next phase of the struggle.

Jordan Valley Solidarity: Monthly report June & July
JVC 30 Aug – Main Project Summaries:  Building Vittorio School, Raz Al Auja; Building work on the Jordan Valley Solidarity House; Renovating 7 houses in Arab El Ka’abne village in Al Auja, situated in area C, a mile north of Jericho; launch of the third annual Jordan Valley Football tournament; Renovating 20 homes in Abu Al Ajaj. Number of volunteers: 206 Range of days stayed per month: 1 to 61 days Nationalities: 26. Information on volunteering

Language marginalization

Language becomes a political weapon in Israel / Mya Guarnieri
MWC 1 Sept — Arabic is the mother tongue of 20 per cent of Israel’s citizens. It has been an official language of the land since 1924, when the British mandate set three: English, Hebrew, and Arabic. When the state of Israel was established in 1948, English was struck from the books. While Arabic remained an official language, it has always gotten second class treatment- as have the citizens who speak it. Many government forms – including those for Social Security and National Insurance – come in Hebrew only. Arabic-speakers are under-represented in the public sector. So if a Palestinian citizen has weak Hebrew, he or she may be deprived of services or benefits they are legally entitled to and desperately need. The results are sometimes devastating. In Lod, for example, 25 per cent of the population is Arab. But out of the city’s 50 social workers, only two speak Arabic and both are part time employees. After a rash of domestic violence left three Arab women from Lod dead, NGOs questioned the state’s commitment to protecting Palestinian citizens. Could the deaths have been prevented by better access to resources?


Grazing on tragedy and the promises of scripture in South Hebron Hills
ISM 1 Sept — Shortly after dawn on August 29th, with the soft light spreading across the hills, eight armed soldiers climb out of their military vehicle to watch sheep. Na’il is unperturbed. He makes a clicking noise with his tongue and drives his flock a little further up the slope. The soldiers are on the opposite hill, visible against the brightening sky. They guard an illegal settlement from us — two Palestinian shepherds, two international activists, and a small battalion of sheep and goats. In these hills, sheep farming is political. Rights to this land are re-enacted daily by grazing flocks. The sheep kick back the dusty earth to find short grasses and sparse roots; goats strip the sharp thorns from the scrub. Some days, the shepherds will hang back in the low fields. Others, they will push a little higher, a little further, a little closer towards the boundary … But it is not the army that Na’il and Khaled are worried about. Soldiers can be brutal, but they are by and large ordered, pragmatic, predictable. The illegal settlers, by contrast, are zealous, fanatical. They follow no commands, only Commandments; they recognize no law, only the Law, the Torah, the eternal and unalterable word of God. An army sergeant who used to serve in these hills describes it as the Wild West: ‘the Arabs can be beaten up, the settlers are untouchable.’

VIDEO: Attack dogs of the West Bank
Reuters Aug. 31 – West Bank settlers want to put teeth into their security with attack dogs ahead of Palestinian bid for statehood. Deborah Lutterbeck reports. Transcript: A Jewish settler group is training attack dogs and supplying them to Jewish settlements ahead of a planned Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations. In a video made by the “Civilian Dog Handlers Battalion of Judea and Samaria”, dogs are seen attacking a Palestinian man in a simulated video …

Israelis to unleash dogs on Palestinians
PressTV 31 Aug — An Israeli group is set to give settlers attack dogs, which have been trained for months, so that they can be used against Palestinians. The ‘Civilian dog Handlers Battalion of Judea and Samaria (the Israel-occupied West Bank)’ is to provide the animals. The group says these canines will be useful against potential rallies by the Palestinians in support of their bid to seek recognition by the UN, Reuters reported. “These dogs are trained to attack upon command,” said American-Israeli settler leader and dog trainer, Mike Guzovsky. A promotional video has also been provided, simulating dog attacks on a Palestinian ‘infiltrator’.

recall this from 2009; the army has been using dogs on Palestinians for years:
Video: Israeli defends dog attack on 99-year-old man
24 Apr 2009 — 99yr old Palestinian man is recovering in hospital after being attacked by Israeli army dogs. The pensioner’s ear and shoulder were bitten as he lay in bed when soldiers conducted a house search. Question is what danger does a bed ridden 99yr old man can POSSIBLY do to a well armed soldier

MP Barghouthi warns of massacres after Israel arms, trains settlers
RAMALLAH (PIC) 31 Aug — Palestinian MP Mustafa al-Barghouthi warned that Jewish settlers may massacre Palestinians after the Israeli government supplied them with arms and training … Barghouthi, who is also secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative, said the Israeli government would be responsible for armed attacks that could take place against the Palestinians in the West Bank

Israeli military arming, training vigilantes to put down Palestinians: What will UN do about it? / Julie Webb-Pulliam
Scoop 31 Aug — In what can be interpreted as a clear admission that Israeli state institutions are not up to the task, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) has admitted it is training settlers in occupied Palestinian territory, and arming them with stun grenades, tear gas, and other weaponry “to handle any unrest which breaks out during the UN campaign.”

Israeli forces / Detention

Al Khalil/Hebron: Six children detained by Israeli soldiers during first day of Eid al-Fitr
CPT 31 Aug — At 4:00 p.m. on 30 August 2011, Israeli soldiers detained six boys, ages five to nine, in Hebron’s Old City under the suspicion of intending to harm the soldiers with their toy guns.  The soldiers brought the children to the military compound at Bab il Baladiyye by the entrance of the old city. Members of Christian Peacemaker Teams observed as the soldiers detained the children for forty minutes before releasing them.  At one point the soldiers brought them into the compound to have their toy guns examined by military police officers.  This investigation took place just a couple of hours after the soldiers entered the souq (Old City market area) and held several groups of young boys based on the same suspicion. August 30 was the first day of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, which celebrates the end of the month of Ramadan.  The Eid is a time for charity, exchanging gifts, and visiting family and relatives.  The detention of the children had the same impact on them and their families as military or police detention of children playing with their toys on Christmas would have had on Christian families.

Witnesses: Israeli forces detain Hamas lawmaker at checkpoint
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 31 Aug — Israeli forces detained Hamas lawmaker Sheikh Hassan Yousif on Wednesday at Zatara checkpoint south of Nablus. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers held Yousif at the checkpoint for hours before detaining him.

Nine of Hamas’s cadres sentenced to arbitrary administrative detention|AL-KHALIL (PIC) 31 Aug – Nine of Hamas’s cadres from Al-Khalil governorate in the West Bank have been sentenced to administrative detention without formal charges by an Israeli military court. The men were arrested less than ten days ago in a massive campaign that saw the arrest of more than 120 Palestinians, a rights group told the Palestinian Information Center.
The men have been identified as Mohamed Naeem Abu Isnineh (6 months), Anwar Abul-Raheem Harb (6 months) …

IDF arrests top Hamas official in West Bank amid heightened security
Haaretz 1 Sept — Israel Defense Forces arrested a top Hamas West Bank late Wednesday, amid recent security measures taken in the wake of intelligence reports claiming that terror groups were planning a major attack in Israel’s south. Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a Hamas founder and one of its leaders in the West Bank, was reportedly arrested by IDF soldiers late last night, and held for a few hours at the Tapuach junction near Nablus after being transported to a military detention facility. Yousef, the father of Shin Bet operative known as “Son of Hamas,” was released from Israeli prison last years after five years for his involvement in terror activities. At the time, his release came as part of a larger Israeli gesture in honor of Ramadan.

IOF combs Jenin, arrests son of Islamic Jihad leader
JENIN (PIC) 1 Sept — Israeli occupation forces arrested late Wednesday night the son of imprisoned Islamic Jihad leader Bassam al-Saadi in an ambush on the Ramallah-Nablus road in the occupied West Bank. Suhaib, 20, from Jenin refugee camp was returning from Ramallah to Jenin when Israeli soldiers set up a mobile checkpoint and detained him and his vehicle, locals reported. Another of Saadi’s sons Izzuddin was arrested by the PA late last week.
Separately, the IOF combed Thursday morning much of Jenin governorate Thursday at dawn without report of arrest. Ambushes were set up in open areas and in olive groves, Palestinian sources reported.
Witnesses said dozens of soldiers were deployed in the region between the towns of Al-Yamoun and al-Irqa and incursions were made in the al-Irqa until morning hours. Jenin governorate has recently seen significant military movement and increased arrests at checkpoints.

Israel sentences journalist to six months in administrative detention
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 1 Sept — Israel has sentenced Wednesday evening reporter of the Shehab News Agency Amer Abu Arafeh to six months in administrative detention. Abu Arafeh received the decision Wednesday morning from the Ofer prison administration on grounds of being a threat to the Israeli state, SNA said quoting members of Abu Arafeh’s family. His family was shocked that the ruling was made without formal charges being placed and without a hearing in an Israeli court. They confirmed that Abu Arafeh is currently behind bars in the Ofer prison near Ramallah city in the West Bank. SNA condemned the decision, calling on rights groups and the local and international media to urgently intervene.

Jenin family seeks news of son arrested last week
JENIN (PIC) 1 Sept — A concerned family has called on the Red Cross to retrieve news of Hudhayfah Jarrar, 21, from Jenin, as Israeli occupation authorities have detained him for nearly a week and prohibited him from receiving visits by a lawyer. The Jarrars called on all human rights organizations to ensure that he is receiving the proper treatment for his foot for which he was scheduled to undergo surgery days after he was arrested. Israeli occupation forces arrested Jarrar at the Za‘tarah checkpoint while he was heading to Ramallah city to get treatment for his foot. Jarrar studies journalism at Al-Quds University and is the son of Abdul-Jabbar Jarrar, who was held prisoner on several occasions in the Israeli prisons.

Um Hassan celebrates Eid without her loved ones
ABNA 31 Aug — The family of Um Hassan in al-Khalil have not gathered all around the dinner table for the past twenty years during Ramadan or Eid, as no Ramadan or Eid passed without having one of the family imprisoned or killed. Um Hassan, the mother of two martyrs and seven captives in occupation jails and a tenth studying abroad said that the occupation forces detained five of her sons two weeks ago. Two of her sons are already serving prison terms; Iyad is serving a 13-year term and Mahmoud is serving a 20-year term. In addition to the seven captives Um Hassan told aljazeera.net that two of her sons were killed by the occupation; Murad was killed in November 2002 and Ahmad in December 2002.

Israel police orders its Arab and Bedouin officers to leave illegal homes
Haaretz 31 Aug — Regavim, an NGO whose stated aim is ‘preserving national lands,’ sends letter to national police chief containing names of seven Israeli Arab and Bedouin officers it claims lived in unauthorized dwellings.


30 Aug 2011: Civilians and civilian infrastructure hit in Gaza Strip, interim report
B’Tselem — On 19 August 2011, around 9:30 P.M., the Israeli air force fired a missile into a street in the heart of Gaza City, killing Mu‘ataz Kreqa’, his two-year-old son Islam, and his brother Munzar. The IDF Spokesperson’s announcement of 20 August said that Mu‘ataz Kreqa’ “had been the operations officer in charge of rockets. . . [and] had played a major role in planning and firing long-range rockets at Israel” in the period preceding the attack on his life … B’Tselem wrote to the military judge advocate general, demanding that he order a criminal investigation in the case. B’Tselem also examined two other cases.

Rafah crossing to open Saturday after Eid vacation
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Sept — The Ministry of Interior in Gaza said Wednesday that travel via the Rafah crossing on Saturday will only be for passengers who registered to travel on August 29, 30, 31 and September 1.  The crossing will also be open Sunday for passengers who registered to travel on September 2 and 3, a statement said … The ministry called on passengers to carry no more than one bag during their journey.  Egyptian authorities have closed the crossing since Tuesday for the Eid Al-Fitr holiday which marks the end of the Holy Islamic month of Ramadan.

Resheq hails ongoing Palestinian campaigns in support of Somalia
BEIRUT (PIC) 1 Sept — Member of Hamas’s political bureau Ezzat Al-Resheq urged the Palestinian people everywhere not to cease their support for their brothers and sisters in Somalia … The Hamas Movement started last Friday a wide fundraising campaign to help the Somali people overcome the famine plight.

Israeli army: Projectile fired from Gaza Strip
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Sept — A projectile was fired at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip Wednesday night, an Israeli army spokeswoman said. The projectile landed in the Eshkol regional council with no reported injuries.

Iron Dome system deployed in Ashdod
Ynet 31 Aug — Missile defense system stationed near coastal city a day before beginning of school year. Defense Minister Ehud Barak: ‘Battery to give residents tangible protection from rocket attacks’

Photos: Eid with a different taste in the Gaza Strip
MEMO 31 Aug — Hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were forced to observe Eid of a different kind this year. Many spent the first day after their period of fasting visiting the graves of their loved ones who were killed in Israeli attacks during the month of Ramadan. Instead of the traditional celebrations, some Gazans spent the first day of Eid visiting relatives and friends in hospitals.

Don’t test us, Israel army chief warns
JERUSALEM (AFP) 31 Aug — Israel’s top military chief has warned Gaza militants not to “test” Israel’s strength as troops and police remained on high alert on Wednesday over warnings of a planned attack from Sinai.

On verge of Gaza war
Ynet 26 Aug — Special: Israel was on verge of launching major Gaza operation, but Hamas blinked — When Defense Minister Ehud Barak arrived at the Defense Ministry Headquarters’ meeting room last Saturday, a thick war book titled “Operation South” was already awaiting his approval on his desk. In those hours, Israel was on the verge of embarking on war in the Gaza Strip. The book did not pertain to a limited operation. The selected targets would have certainly prompted a major flare-up, including difficult regional implications. Just like in Operation Cast Lead, the political leadership granted immunity to no one in the Strip, regardless of his position or stature.

Eid al-Fitr in Gaza, in pictures

Egypt-Israel border

All-time high of 2,000 illegal infiltrators crossed Israel-Egypt border last month
Haaretz 1 Sept — Population Authority says 10 to 15 percent of those who cross elude authorities and reach cities across Israel; most come from Africa, some also from Turkey and China … The Israel Defense Forces has since beefed up its presence on the Egypt-Israel border, following the mid-August terror attack on Road 12 to Eilat, and in the face of warnings about further attacks. There have been three separate warnings of terror attacks along the Israel-Egypt border, one in northern Sinai near the Gaza Strip and two near Eilat. Yet despite the augmented IDF forces, about 111 infiltrators reportedly crossed the border during the past 24 hours.

Israel media: Shin Bet ‘furious’ Eilat warning ignored
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 1 Sept — Relations between Israel’s internal security service and defense minister were severely strained by the Eilat ambushes in August, a senior security source told Israeli newspaper Maariv on Wednesday. “The GSS (Shin Bet) chief was furious over (Defense Minister Ehud) Barak’s handling of the detailed warning provided by the GSS” on the attack, Maariv quoted the source as saying. The Shin Bet chief “really exploded” on Barak, the source said, adding “it has been years since the security establishment has received such a high-quality warning.”

Zionism overtakes fear on Israel border
Ynet 31 Aug — Amid terror alerts, growing tensions in western Negev, eight young families settle in new community – just 700 meters from Egyptian army post … The majority of the new residents are young couples with children, who graduated from national-religious Mechina Otzem (pre-army preparatory course). The eight-family community is expected to grow to 17 families by the end of the year, and eventually reach 500 families and include a shopping center, industrial zone and educational institutions.

Activism / Solidarity / BDS

Beit Ommar teacher’s trial is delayed; refused bail
PSP 31 Aug — Majde Za‘aqiq, a 38-year-old teacher from Beit Ommar and member of the organizing committee for the Center for Freedom and Justice, was yesterday (Tuesday) denied bail by an Israeli military court in Ofar, West Bank. In response to the lack of evidence presented by the prosecution, the judge ruled that the trial be delayed by up to 100 days in order to allow the prosecutor more time to gather evidence. The judge then refused Majde’s application for bail. Following an unsuccessful appeal today (Wednesday), Majde now faces the possibility of spending several months in prison before any trial takes place.

Despite boycott law, Israeli BDS activists forge ahead — an interview with Kobi Snitz / Alex Kane
Mondoweiss 1 Sept — The anti-boycott law passed by the Israeli Knesset in July was aimed at slowing down the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel for its violations of international law.  But the Palestinian-led BDS movement, both inside and outside Israel, has showed no signs of slowing.  The most recent victory the movement is claiming is the liquidation of Agrexco, an Israeli produce exporter that has long been a target of the BDS movement because of the company’s involvement in illegal Israeli settlements.
The law has also done nothing to deter the small group of Israeli activists part of Boycott From Within, a group of Israeli citizens in solidarity with the Palestinian BDS call.  The group has continued to call on various groups and artists to not violate the BDS call.

The Holy Land Five case / Noor Elashi
CP 31 Aug — As we approach the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and my father remains incarcerated in a modern-day internment camp, the time in which we live begins to feel less like 2011 and more like 1942. But this week could determine whether today’s justice system is capable of rewriting the sad chapters of our history. I say this week because on Thursday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the long-awaited oral arguments in the Holy Land Foundation case, involving what was once our country’s largest Muslim charitable organization.
Meet my father, Ghassan Elashi. The co-founder of the HLF. Inmate number 29687-177, sentenced to 65 years in prison for his charity work in Palestine.

Thousands of SoCal Muslims praying for ‘Irvine 11’ night before trial begins
Irvine11 28 Aug — Mosques across Southern California will be filled with worshipers echoing similar prayers this Sunday night, showing support for ten students who could be facing up to one year in prison for interrupting Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s speech last year. The trial is set to begin Monday … Peaceful protesters, especially on college campuses, usually never face criminal charges. This has led some to believe that District Attorney Tony Rackaukas is singling the students out because of their faith and the politics involved.

Is BDS campaign working?
Ynet 31 Aug — Ynetnews special: Anti-Israel boycotters increasingly successful in strangling economy of Jewish state: More than 20 organizations in Europe in 13 countries endorse boycott of Agrexco, Israel’s leading flower exporter — …International pressure, boycotts and sanctions on South Africa’s apartheid government played a major role in ending its power. Modeled on that global campaign, the anti-Israel boycott movement has notched notable victories of late

Video installation documenting Israel apartheid to premiere at Toronto festival
EI blog 31 Aug — Road Movie, a six-screen video installation documenting apartheid in Palestine by Elle Flanders and Tamira Sawatzky of Public Studio, will have its world premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, 8-18 September 2011.

Racism / Discrimination

Despite promises after closing schools, some first-graders still homeroom-less
Haaretz 31 Aug – …School starts Thursday, but not all the children of Ethiopian origin in Petah Tikva who were to begin first grade in Ner-Etzion have been assigned to other schools. Some have been enrolled in schools in a different community and will have to be bused, while others have been assigned a different school from the one their siblings attend because they have been refused a place or the school has no room. Among the schools that have not yet accepted children because of “lack of suitability” is the Shuvu school in Petah Tikva

Children facing deportation find friends / Jillian Kestler-D’Amours
JERUSALEM (IPS) 31 Aug — After Israel’s Interior Ministry attempted to deport the first migrant workers’ child educated in the Israeli school system, human rights groups are calling on the Israeli government to develop a clear immigration policy and an official protocol that will minimise the psychological impact of detaining and deporting young children.

Jewish/Arab child: My parents’ marriage was a mistake / Dimi Reider
972mag 1 Sept — Ynet [Hebrew] carries today an interview with a girl of 14, daughter to an Arab father and a Jewish mother. The girl, presented under the false name of “Amanda”, explains that although her father, who has since passed away, initially signed her into an Arab school in the city of Lod (most schools in Israel are segregated), she has since-moved to a Jewish school in another city, where she lives in fear of her classmates finding out she’s half Arab. There’s everything in the interview -racism and discrimination, chauvinist theocratic patriarchy, and, most heartbreakingly, the self-loathing Amanda uses to cope with a society which has been constructed in such a way that being Arab became a source of shame (and being a woman doesn’t make it any easier). Some select quotes: …. To me, that a child should be pushed to the conclusion their parents’ marriage (and their own resulting conception) was a mistake, is beyond outrageous. It is obscene, and underscores the urgency of changing a social order and a culture that puts ethno-cultural group above the others.

Tel Aviv sending foreign children to separate schools
Haaretz 1 Sept — Municipality to open four kindergartens in violation of usual policy of integrating migrant children in city schools; migrant workers’ NGO says move illegal — …Parent Anat Ben-Moshe said she was shocked and astonished by the children’s separation, which she discovered when she came to city hall to register her daughter for kindergarten. At that point, an official told her there might not be room for her daughter in the Israeli kindergartens. “When I asked why they don’t mix the children, they said when the majority are foreign, there’s a problem with the parents,” she related. “As a parent, I now have to explain this separation to my daughter, which seems much more problematic.”

Ethiopian-Israelis protest outside ‘ghetto’ school
JPost 1 Sept — Approximately 300 Israelis of Ethiopian descent, including students and their parents, demonstrated Thursday morning outside the Nir Etzion School in Petah Tikva. They were upset that despite city provisions, the school, which they considered an “Ethiopian ghetto” because the student population was made up of nearly only Ethiopian children, was not closed and the children not integrated throughout other schools in the area.

Messianic Jews ‘named and shamed’ in J’lem-area town
JPost 1 Sept — In an apparent infringement on personal privacy legislation and in defiance of laws preventing incitement, an anonymous group has taken to distributing flyers “naming and shaming” Messianic Jews (Christians) living in the Jerusalem-area town of Mevaseret Zion.

Statehood bid

Palestinian UN bid ‘greater threat’ than Hamas
AFP 31 Aug — The Palestinian campaign to secure full UN membership presents a greater threat to Israel than that posed by Hamas, the Israeli finance minister said on Wednesday … If the Palestinians made good on their plans to seek United Nations membership, Israel would “respond,” he promised … Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau, who was also interviewed on public radio, said that if the Palestinians went ahead with their bid it would signal the end of all agreements signed with Israel.

Palestinian UN bid – a blow to Israeli economy?
Ynet 30 Aug — While economists warn of widespread boycott of Israel in wake of Palestinian declaration of state, senior ministers more concerned about allocating billions for defense against third intifada — … In fact, Israel’s leaders are not worried about boycotts that could harm the economy. “A boycott doesn’t happen that fast,” said a top minister who serves on the seven-minister forum and the Political-Security Cabinet. “Israel does research and develops software, but it doesn’t produce the final products…”

Jordan urges Abbas to rethink UN bid
Ynet 31 Aug — Saudi Arabia’s al-Madinah newspaper says Amman has been trying to convince Ramallah to pull its appeal for UN recognition, fearing such unilateral moves may compromise Palestinian right of return

Sarkozy: EU needs united position on Palestinian statehood
Reuters 31 Aug –  French president says world cannot let Israel-Palestinian peace process remain frozen while Arab Spring forces change elsewhere; EU lawmakers support trade deal with PA — French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Wednesday he wanted to see a united European Union voice on the issue of Palestinian statehood at next month’s United Nations General Assembly and urged the United States to do more for peace. “The 27 countries of the European Union must express themselves with one voice,” Sarkozy said

Rabbi Froman supports Palestinian bid to UN
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 31 Aug — Rabbi Menachem Froman Wednesday supported and expressed his and other Israeli rabbis’ wishes for success to the Palestinian bid to gain full United Nations membership of a Palestinian state within 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital in September, during his meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas. Froman said that establishing a Palestinian state benefits the peace process and Israel, as well as working to achieve comprehensive, just peace and stability for the region and the world

‘PA statehood vote to risk bilateral agreements’
Ynet 31 Aug — Unilateral recognition bid at UN could jeopardize existing security, economic arrangements between Palestinian Authority and Israel, United States, says Israeli Ambassador to US Michael Oren in interview with Foreign Policy magazine

Video: PLO status after statehood debated
PressTV 31 Aug –  A British expert in international law says Palestinian refugees outside the West Bank and Gaza could lose their representation at the UN if the Palestinian Authority (PA) succeeds in its UN statehood bid, Press TV reported — …Speaking to Press TV, Sha’wan Jabareen from the Al-Haq Organization – an independent Palestinian non-governmental human rights organization based in Ramallah – said, “the concern and question is whether or not the state would precede the PLO or vice versa”.

Diplomats split on support of Palestinians’ UN statehood bid
AP/Reuters 1 Sept — Diplomats expect Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden to back a Palestinian proposal in the General Assembly planned for late September — The European Union remains undecided whether to recognize the Palestinian push for recognition at the United Nations, diplomats said Thursday. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Thursday the question remained “hypothetical” because no resolution had been tabled yet. Ashton said the EU’s 27 members were united “over the most critical issue, which is to try to get the talks moving,” and reiterated the bloc’s position that Israeli settlement-building in the occupied territories is illegal under international law.

Erekat: EU support for UN bid upholds peace process
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 1 Sept — PLO official Saeb Erekat said Wednesday the European Union’s support for Palestinians bid for statehood at the UN will support the peaceful negotiation of a two state solution. The former chief negotiator said EU backing would act as a “crane” upholding the peace process, following meetings with the Permanent Secretary of State at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Claus Grube, and the Consul General of France in Jerusalem, Frédéric Desagneaux.

PLO official: UN bid not over in September
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 Sept — A PLO official said Wednesday that the Palestinian leadership will continue its “political battle” at the UN even if the upcoming September bid fails. Speaking to Voice of Palestine radio, PLO executive committee member Saleh Rafat said that if the US vetoes Palestine’s UN bid for statehood in September, “we will go back again, and five times more” with initiatives for UN recognition. Rafat insisted that threats from Israel could not frighten the Palestinian leadership and people out of their determination.

Turkey affirms its support of Palestinian bid to UN
CAIRO (WAFA) 1 Sept — President of the Turkish Parliament’s Political Committee Zaki Douser Thursday affirmed, during a visit to Cairo, Turkey’s support of the Palestinian bid to seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state, saying that it would be a historical moment for Palestinians and the entire world.

Israeli finance minister refuses to transfer money to PA
IMEMC 1 Sept — Israeli Finance Minister, Yuval Steinitz, refused a request from the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to transfer NIS 380 Million to the P.A so it can pay salaries as the Muslims celebrate the Al Fitr feast. The Israeli Radio reported that, despite recommendations from the Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, and several officials, to advance the transfer as “an act of good will”, Steinitz refused the demand. Steinitz said that Israel must punish the Palestinians for insisting to head to the United Nations in September to seek international recognition of statehood … Israel collects customs and tax money on behalf of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, as the Israeli Army controls all borders, the money, under signed peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, must be transferred to P.A accounts. Every time there is a political crisis with the P.A, Israel withholds the money to pressure the Palestinians into abiding by Israeli preconditions.

Knesset report slams Israel’s preparations for Palestinian statehood bid
Haaretz 1 Sept — A harsh and pessimistic report by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee warns that faulty preparations by the government may result in Israel’s standing being undermined when the Palestinians seek recognition as a state from the UN General Assembly later this month. According to the report, commissioned by the committee chairman, MK Shaul Mofaz (Kadima), the government “did not prevent what could have been prevented, and afterward failed to prepare accordingly.”

Israel surveys options after Palestine UN bid
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 1 Sept — Upgrading the Palestinians’ U.N. status would be a “strategic mistake by the world”, a senior Israeli official said on Wednesday, cautioning that Israel had prepared a slew of punitive and diplomatic responses. Outlining government strategy ahead of next month’s showdown at the United Nations, the official said long-stalled peace talks would sag further should the Palestinians sidestep Israel in staking out statehood. “It’s clear to all that no foreseeable Israeli government could give the Palestinians what they get from the UN,” the official said, referring to proposed recognition of their claim on all of the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. “It will create an unbridgeable rift. It could set negotiations back by years,” he said

Other news

[Israel] finance minister reneges on deal to give early payment to Palestinian Authority
Haaretz 31 Aug — PA stuck without means to repay a loan that was taken out to pay the salaries after Defense Minister, Customs Authority approved early transfer; Steinitz associates: refusal stems from recent rocket fire on Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Haneyya, Abbas: Further action taken towards reconciliation
GAZA (PIC) 31 Aug — Prime Minister of the government in Gaza Ismail Haneyya and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have confirmed that further action has been taken for the sake of Palestinian reconciliation, a statement from Haneyya’s office says. This came after Haneyya phoned Abbas to mark Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. The statement, which was disseminated to the media, says that many important issues were discussed by the leaders of the mending Palestinian territories, issues that include seeking state recognition with the United Nations.

EU lawmakers back open markets for Palestinian goods
BRUSSELS (Reuters) 31 Aug — The EU moved closer to a trade deal with the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday after unanimous backing from European lawmakers to fully open markets to farm and fish products from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The 27-0 vote by the European Parliament’s international trade committee paves the way for full parliamentary approval for a deal later this year, signalling EU support for the Palestinian Authority as it prepares to bid next month for statehood recognition at the United Nations.

Urgent appeal | The Freedom Theatre – crime and punishment
Occ.Pal. 30 Aug — An appeal for moral and financial support following a new wave of harassments against The Freedom Theatre by the Israeli army — The Freedom Theatre in Jenin refugee camp was attacked by the Israeli army on the 27th July. Two of its members, Adnan Naghnaghiye and Bilal Saadi were taken. On the 22nd of August they were released from Israeli custody … Unfortunately, this is no time for rejoicing. Mohammed Eisht Naghnaghiye, the brother of Adnan and security guard at The Freedom Theatre, was taken by the Israeli army on the 22nd August and yesterday received a 15 day extension of his arrest … Two technicians at The Freedom Theatre, Mohammed Saadi, 21 years old and Ahmad Matahen, 20 years old, have been told to hand themselves in at the Salem military base outside of Jenin.

Rights group: Local elections must move forward
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 31 Aug — The Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq on Tuesday called on President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw his presidential decree postponing local elections. The decree violates the provisions of the Basic Law and elections law, Al-Haq said. Abbas last week postponed the elections, scheduled for Oct. 22, “until appropriate circumstances” exist and to give time “to provide the Central Elections Commission with the opportunity to continue preparations for holding elections in all Palestinian districts.” The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, on the other hand, welcomed the decision. Its position is that elections cannot be organized before achieving national reconciliation and ensuring appropriate conditions for a fair and transparent vote that reflects the will of voters.

‘WikiLeaks docs embarrassing, not perilous’
Ynet 31 Aug — Could reports of exposure of intelligence agents in new Wikileaks cables endanger national security? US condemns leaks but Israeli experts believe concern is overrated

Israeli women visit Beit Ommar
PSP 28 Aug — This past Saturday, twenty-eight Israeli women visited Beit Ommar at the invitation of the Beit Ommar Women’s Committee. The event was organised to give the women a chance to eat together, mingle, and discuss the challenges that citizens of Beit Ommar face on a daily basis.

US: Ex-tech worker pleads guilty to attempting to spy for Israel
AP 31 Aug — A former employee of a company that helps websites deliver content to users pleaded guilty Tuesday to a charge of foreign economic espionage for providing trade secrets to an FBI agent posing as an Israeli intelligence officer. Elliot Doxer, 43, admitted at a plea hearing in federal court in Boston to providing trade secrets from Cambridge-based Akamai Technologies Inc. over an 18-month period to the agent, the US Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts said in a statement.

Analysis / Opinion

The Israel-Egypt junta alliance / Zvi Bar’el
Haaretz 31 Aug — Now Israel stands in fear and trepidation, counting the days until the Camp David agreement with Egypt comes crashing down  — …We would, of course, very much like to see a military junta stay on in Egypt, under General Tantawi, managing affairs and keeping Tahrir Square from deciding who will lead the country. Peace with Egyptian citizens is much more expensive than peace with a junta or with a dictator. The people demand peace with the Palestinians, withdrawal from the territories, the demarcation of borders, and the rest of the demands that the dictators did not insist on. But how is it possible to continue living in peace with a military junta that answers to the voice of the street?

In new Egypt, foreign policy not just for diplomats
Reuters 31 Aug — New rulers faced with dilemma to pursue more assertive policy towards Israel in line with public opinion, while still protecting integrity of peace treaty that gives them billions in US aid

UNRWA: Beyond the myths / Chris Gunness
HuffPost 30 Aug — …Some commentators have focused on neutrality issues around UNRWA, its staff, its installations and its education programs. Also, UNRWA has been accused of “perpetuating the refugee situation” and the question has been asked “why not dissolve UNRWA and hand the refugees over to UNHCR which would resettle them?” The alleged issues around neutrality are founded on discredited myths and misunderstandings … The other set of arguments advanced against UNRWA is based on the fanciful notion that UNRWA itself and its approach to its work are per se the reason for the continuing existence of Palestinian refugees. Therefore, as the false argument goes, Palestinian refugees and the issues they represent would disappear if UNRWA were dissolved and the refugees became the responsibility of another agency such as UNHCR. These notions have no foundation.

WikiLeaks: ISF intelligence chief boasts assassinating Hamas leaders will change paradigm
Tikun Olam — Former U.S Rep. Robert Wexler may be a liberal pro-Israel sycophant, but thank God he visited IDF intelligence chief two weeks before Operation Cast Lead began along with a U.S. embassy staffer.  Otherwise, we wouldn’t have this rich portrait of Israeli thinking just prior to the Israeli assault on Gaza.  The cable was written on December 8, 2008 and the war commenced on December 27th. 

Analysis: West Bank dogged by high cost of trade
RAMALLAH (IRIN) 1 Sept — West Bank trade remains largely isolated from global markets due to restrictions imposed on the movement of goods to, from, and within the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), according to a July 2011 study by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Constraints on imports and exports inflate prices for Palestinian businesses and consumers, apparent as families struggle to buy gifts during the Eid post-Ramadan holiday. Constraints facing Palestinian trade to or via Israel include access within the West Bank itself prior even to reaching the border with Israel or Jordan; a time-consuming and expensive back-to-back truck loading system; and severe scrutiny measures imposed at the border crossing to Jordan (Allenby or King Hussein Bridge, the West Bank’s only international crossing point) and the commercial crossings between the West Bank and Gaza and Israel, according to an unpublished World Bank report drafted in February 2011 and seen by IRIN.

Legal interpretation of the demolition of homes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories / Mahmoud Al-Mubarak
MEMO 1 Sept – Observers of the systematic Israeli abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), especially the demolition of houses and the resultant forced expulsion of the Palestinian population, may be surprised at the absence of any international legal action by Palestinian officials against Israel. They would probably conclude that the Palestinians have a “successful case in the hands of an unsuccessful lawyer”. The demolition of houses and confiscation of Palestinian land is now well-documented in United Nations reports and by many human rights organizations around the world, and even in Israel. The Palestinian Authority (PA), however, has not fulfilled its duty by initiating legal action internationally against these serious violations by the Zionist state … In this brief study, the issue of house demolitions in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967 will be assessed from an international legal point of view. I will try to identify the legal avenues that can be followed to prosecute the Israeli government and the parties involved in these violations of international law.

Polish-Jewish sociologist compares West Bank separation fence to Warsaw Ghetto walls
Haaretz 1 Sept — Sygmunt Bauman, the Jewish sociologist and one of the greatest philosophers of our time, castigated Israel harshly this week, saying it did not want peace and was afraid of it. Bauman said Israel was “taking advantage of the Holocaust to legitimize unconscionable acts,” and compared the separation fence to the walls surrounding the Warsaw Ghetto, in which hundreds of thousands of Jews perished in the Holocaust. In a long interview to the important Polish weekly “Politika,” Bauman said Israel was not interested in peace. “Israeli politicians are terrified of peace, they tremble with fear from the possibility of peace, because without war and without general mobilization they don’t know how to live,” he said.

Israel wages lawfare against Gaza flotilla / Philip Giraldi
I have already reported how ‘lawfare‘, which was defined by Air Force Deputy Judge Advocate General Maj. Gen. Charles Dunlap following 9/11, is becoming the new hot button for defenders of Washington’s and Tel Aviv’s foreign policies. Using the law itself to subvert existing constitutional arrangements and, ironically, to undermine legal restraints has been around for quite a while, having been developed by Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt in the 1930s … The law was also exploited in an attempt to stop June’s Gaza flotilla. A lawsuit filed in federal court in New York City claimed that the sponsoring organization, the Free Gaza Movement, was raising money and preparing ships to be used in ‘hostilities’ against American ‘ally’ Israel. This would be a violation of the U.S. Neutrality Act … The New York lawsuit was filed by a U.S. citizen with the assistance of the Shurat HaDin, or the Israel Law Center, which was established as a nongovernmental organization (NGO) to use the law against groups that are perceived as being hostile to Israel. It is headed by Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and her husband, Avi, who have described their organization as a means of “fighting back,” which is particularly appropriate for Israel because, they say, “the Jews invented law.”

‘March of the Millon’ is litmus test for a new Israel / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 1 Sept — In two days we’ll be able to see whether the town square turns into revolution square. These lofty and somewhat flowery words reflect a reality that is no less lofty and flowery: Anyone who does not show up on Saturday night does not exist. In other words, what happens in two days in Kikar Hamedina is the test of this country and Israeli society. It has been a long time since these two have faced such a test of maturity and civic behavior.

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About Kate

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

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