By Ali Abunimah,
Another staple of Israeli propangada has been busted, as Israeli television has – years late – admitted that claims rockets were fired from UNRWA schools in Gaza were false.
UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, issued a statement yesterday, in eastern occupied Jerusalem, that says in part:
Israel’s highest-rating news programme, Channel Two News, has published a statement correcting false claims that rockets were fired from schools operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) during the Gaza war in 2008-2009. The statement makes clear that Israeli officials themselves acknowledged that such claims were false and that there was no evidence to support them.
“We heard this misinformation during the war when there was shelling on and around the Agency’s schools and our main warehouse in Gaza”, said UNRWA Spokesperson Chris Gunness, “but Israeli officials made it clear to the UN during the war itself that they knew claims about militants in UNRWA installations were completely false. Constant, unchecked repetition of this misinformation has been very damaging to the Agency and has produced some very poor and biased journalism, which I will continue to confront. This is the third time in just a few months that a major news organisation has issued a public retraction because of false information about UNRWA.” Read the rest here.
Land Theft & Destruction / Ethnic Cleansing / Restriction of Movement / Apartheid & Occupation / Refugees
Tel Aviv University’s spokesperson refuses to explain why its archaeologists will work with Elad, an organization notorious for its pursuit of Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem.
Churches condemn Israeli security barrier
The heads of Catholic churches in the Holy Land are condemning the route of Israel’s security barrier near Bethlehem, saying it affects the livelihood of Christian families there.
I spent Tuesday inside a cage. Not my usual way to spend a sunny Tuesday – but for the Palestinian farmers I was with, this is routine. This is because their land happens to be near the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel – in fact, it is in the Israeli imposed ‘buffer zone’ between the largest settlement in the West Bank and the surrounding Palestinian villages – of course, the buffer zone is created out of land outside of the settlement, effectively grabbing yet more land from the Palestinians. Many olive trees are trapped in this ‘buffer zone’ between a fence on one side and Ariel on the other. So, during the Palestinian olive harvest, the villagers who own the land must ask for Israeli permission to access their own trees – as is typical across the West Bank. However, they have a second hurdle to cross, as their trees are behind this fence, the soldiers need to let them in and out every morning and evening.
Watch: “We are Palestinians, shout it from the rooftops!” Short film profiles refugees in Lebanon, Ali Abunimah
This new 27-minute video by Chris Den Hond and Mireille Court features the voices and places of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, who live under some of the harshest conditions that Palestinian refugees face anywhere. The video, Palestinian Refugees: Time to return now, includes interviews with Palestinians young and old and men and women, interspersed with archive footage. They talk about moments in their history, their daily travails such as the plight of young Palestinians legally barred from working, and moments of lightheartedness. The filmmakers spoke to Palestinians in the refugee camps of Shatila, Burj al-Barajneh, Mar Elias, Nahr al-Bared, Ain al-Hilweh and Rachidiyeh.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The body of 23-year-old Palestinian man was recovered after he was killed in a tunnel collapse in the southern Gaza Strip, civil defense teams said Thursday. Walid Nasser Marouf, from Beit Lahiya, died in a tunnel under Gaza’s border with Egypt near Rafah, officials said. Two other Palestinians are missing after the tunnel fell in on Wednesday evening, they said. Medics say over 160 Palestinians have died in the network of underground tunnels since Israel imposed a siege on the Gaza Strip in 2006. Egypt started closing the tunnels after an Aug. 5 attack in Sinai when gunmen killed 16 Egyptian soldiers. Egypt suspects the tunnels were used by some of the militants. Hamas says no one from Gaza was involved in the attack. The tunnels have been used to import anything from food to construction materials, fuel and cars, and militants have also used them to import munitions used to attack Israel, which has targeted some of the tunnels with air strikes.
Workers trapped in tunnel collapse
Three Palestinian workers were trapped at a late night hour on Wednesday when a tunnel they were digging at the Egyptian borders collapsed.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the targeting of the Palestinian customs checkpoint, near Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, by Israeli warplanes. As a result of the attack, a Palestinian policeman sustained serious wounds, and damage was caused to surrounding facilities in the area.
Defying expectations, the current regime in Egypt has acted more harshly against Hamas than the previous one, Vice Premier Silvan Shalom told Israel Radio on Thursday. ”It’s good for the public to know that the current leadership is acting against Hamas in a very tough way,” Shalom said, specifying that it is destroying tunnels “one after the other,” limiting movement and blocking it from carrying out terrorist activity from Egyptian territory. ”I can tell you that Egypt’s actions against Hamas are much harsher than it was under the previous regime,” Shalom said. According to Shalom, Hamas thought it would have more freedom to operate from Egypt under the leadership of President Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood movement that spawned Hamas. Instead, Shalom said, Hamas “finds itself exactly in the opposite situation.”
“The security cooperation between us and Egypt is excellent, and is continuing as normal.”
President Mohamed Morsy said Wednesday that Egypt does not accept nor can turn a blind eye to any aggression against Palestinians, the state-owned news agency MENA reported. “We don’t accept that people of Palestine be besieged,” Morsy said during an Endowments Ministry celebration of Preachers’ Day.
Israel’s starvation diet for Gaza, Jonathan Cook
Recently released documents reveal that Israel deliberately allowed much less food than was previously thought to have been imported into Gaza.
Palestinians smuggle sheep to Gaza through tunnel under Egypt border
“Palestinians smuggled sheep to Gaza in a tunnel under Egypt’s border for the Muslim celebration of Eid Al-Adha, where goats, sheep and camels are slaughtered commemorating Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail on God’s command.”
Israeli Terrorism (Past and Present)
PCHR Weekly Report: 4 Palestinians killed, 9 wounded by Israeli forces this week
In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 18- 23 Oct. 2012, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that 4 members of Palestinian resistance groups were killed and 9 others were wounded in the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli forces used force to disperse peaceful protests organized by Palestinian civilians in the West Bank. Dozens of protesters sustained bruising and suffered from tear gas inhalation.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza announced that 13 Palestinians were martyred during the continued Israeli aggression on Gaza since the beginning of this month.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A 24-year-old Palestinian died Thursday from injuries sustained in an Israeli air strike a day earlier, Gaza’s health ministry said. Mohammad Hirzallah had been injured when Israeli warplanes bombed Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip early Wednesday morning. He died in hospital Thursday, the ministry said in a statement. Muhammad al-Sheikh, 32, a member of the Popular Resistance Committee’s military wing the Nasser Saladin Brigades, was killed immediately in the same strike. Israel’s army said it was targeting a launching squad which moments earlier had fired a rocket at southern Israel. At least seven Palestinians have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza since Monday and militants groups have fired a barrage of rockets at Israeli military sites and across the border.
On 28 September 2012, Israel’s forces shot and killed Fahmi Abu Riash (22), a Palestinian fisherman, and wounded his brother Youssef (19), while they and a group of other fishermen were pulling out their fishing nets a few meters from the shore in the northern Gaza Strip. According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), an Israeli infantry unit crossed the northwestern border between the Gaza Strip and Israel , and moved nearly 20 meters into Palestinian territory, along the beach area of the northwestern town of Beit Lahia. Israeli soldiers took position behind a hill at the beach, facing a number of Palestinian fishermen who were fishing a few meters offshore, and opened fire at the fishermen.
IOF storms the abducted MP Ahmed Mubarak’s home
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed on Tuesday the house of abducted MP Ahmed Abdul Aziz Mubarak, searched his house and damaged its contents and confiscated some of them.
Israeli soldiers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque in their military uniforms
A group of 75 Israeli officers, in their military uniforms, stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque on Wednesday morning from the Mughrabi Gate, Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage confirmed in a statement.
The film shows a settler attack on the Palestinian citizens of Tel Rumeida, and how the attacking settlers are guarded, aided and abetted by the soldiers of the Israeli occupation forces. The film shows how the soldiers, rather than deter the criminal actions of the settlers, actually defend them. The film also shows how the occupation soldiers treat the Palestinians and foreign activists who are there to protect the citizens. Also the film documents the arrest of a 50 year old foreign activist, while settlers stand by insulting the Palestinians. According to Engineer Issa Amr, Coordinator of Youth Against the Settlements, the settlers and the IOF appear to coordinate attacks on the population in the area of Tel Rumeida.
“Constant, unchecked repetition of this misinformation has been very damaging.”
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained nine Palestinians overnight in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli military said. An army spokesman told Ma’an that the Palestinians were arrested in raids across the West Bank. Soldiers detained one Palestinian in Jenin, one in Tulkarem, two each from Nablus and Hebron, three in Ramallah, and one in Tubas, the spokesman said.
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Around 150 protestors demonstrated on Wednesday in front of an Israeli chain store east of Ramallah, the Popular Struggle Committee said. Four activists were detained and several injured as Israeli police and soldiers broke up the demonstration, a statement said. Palestinian, international and Israeli protesters gathered outside of a branch of the Rami Levi store, chanting slogans and carrying banners calling for a boycott of Israeli products. ”As long as there is no justice to Palestinians, Israeli and settler daily life can’t continue on as normal,” the committee said. Basim Tamimi, the head of the Popular Committee of Nabi Saleh, was beaten and suffered broken ribs and several other people were injured, the popular committee said. The protest took place near the village of Mikhmas, east of Ramallah. There are several Rami Levi stores in the occupied West Bank, which attract both Israeli and Palestinian customers.
Other Prisoner News
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Hamas said on Thursday that one of its members has gone on hunger strike in a Palestinian Authority jail in the West Bank to protest his continued detention. The party said Anas al-Hashlamoun, from Hebron, is being held by security services despite three decisions to release him. A Hamas statement said the detention of Hamas leader Farraj Rumaneh has been repeatedly renewed for 15-day periods. The party also said a Nablus court extended the detention of seven others affiliated to Hamas and has postponed the cases of four student activists from Nablus’ al-Najah University. Hamas seized control of Gaza in a brief civil war in 2007, ushering in a half decade of rivalry with Fatah-dominated authorities in the West Bank, with both sides accusing each other of detaining their supporters. A reconciliation deal signed by Fatah and Hamas in May 2011 entailed pledges to stop politically motivated arrests, but the agreement has not been implemented.
After 115 Days Of Hunger Strike, Palestinian Detainee Stops Water Intake
Palestinian detainee, Ayman Ash-Sharawna, has been on hunger strike for 115 days, and stopped drinking water on Wednesday, escalating his strike as Israel still refuses to release him, and due to pressures practiced against him by the Prison Administration.
Ramallah, 24 October 2012 – Addameer researcher and human rights defender Ayman Nasser today has had his period of extension extended for a further nine days. Ayman, who was arrested on 15 October 2012, has so far spent 10 days in interrogation. Earlier today Ayman was brought before the Israeli military court in Moskobiyyeh detention center, Jerusalem, where the judge ruled that based on ‘secret evidence’ Ayman’s detention will continue. The prosecution requested that the detention period be extended for 13 days, although following the intervention of Addameer lawyer Mahmoud Hassan, this was reduced to nine days.
Migrant denied treatment, gives birth to dead baby
Illegal Darfur migrant suffers stillbirth after her pleas for medical attentions were denied. IPS says woman didn’t complain; judge order her release, says ‘Israel has moral obligation towards her’.
Arab lawmaker Jamal Zahalka says the survey symbolizes ‘the end of hypocrisy’ and that the ‘Israeli regime isn’t a carbon copy of South Africa’s apartheid, but it is certainly from the same family.’
Nice to make your acquaintance, we’re racist and pro-apartheid. The poll whose results were published in Haaretz on Tuesday, conducted by Dialog and commissioned by the Yisraela Goldblum Fund, proved what we always knew, if not so bluntly. It’s important to recognize the truth that has been thrown in our faces and those of the world (where the survey is making waves ). But it’s even more important to draw the necessary conclusions from it. Given the current reality, making peace would be an almost anti-democratic act: Most Israelis don’t want it. A just, egalitarian society would also violate the wishes of most Israelis: That, too, is something they don’t want. They’re satisfied with the racism, comfortable with the occupation, pleased with the apartheid; things are very good for them in this country. That’s what they told the pollsters. Until a courageous leadership arises here, the kind that appears only rarely in history, and tries to change this nationalist, racist mood, there’s no point in hoping for change to come from below. It won’t come; indeed, it can’t come, because it is contrary to the desires of most Israelis. This fact must be recognized. The world must also recognize this. Those who long to reach an agreement and draw up periodic peace plans must finally recognize that Israelis are plainly telling them, “No thanks, we’re not interested.” The Arab world must similarly recognize that this survey (and others like it ) is Israel’s real Bar-Ilan speech.
Protests / Solidarity / Activism / BDS
Nearly 100 Palestinian activists marched into an Israeli supermarket in the West Bank Wednesday to urge people to boycott settlement goods, receiving violent confrontation from Israeli police shortly after. The incident took place at the Rami Levy supermarket located in the Shaar Binyamin commercial centre on a highway just north of Jerusalem. The low-cost supermarket, which is very close to Geva Binyamin, is not technically located inside the fence of the settlement, and is therefore accessible by both settlers and Palestinians. Activists report being badly beaten by soldiers, and that at least two activists were arrested, including popular resistance leader Bassem Tamimi.
Strike cripples education in occupied West Bank
The Palestinian Teachers’ Union has gone on strike in protest at the delay in the payment of salaries. Classes in all public schools and universities have been disrupted. The union’s General Secretariat said that the strike will last two days and end on Wednesday evening. Thousands of Palestinian students, teachers and university lecturers are taking part in the protest.
“Let us not be brought down”: Last legal recourse for Holy Land Five, Noor Elashi
Noor Elashi anticipates this week’s decision by the US Supreme Court whether or not to hear the Holy Land Foundation case, in which her father is a defendant.
Moriel Rothman, 23, a Jerusalem native who lived in the United States for two decades, says his act is done in “solidarity with the Palestinians living under occupation”.
The U.N. special investigator on human rights in the Palestinian territories is calling for a boycott of all companies that have dealings with Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem until they adhere to international human rights standards and practices.
UN rights expert’s boycott call angers U.S. and Israel
UNITED NATIONS — The United States and Israel on Thursday slammed a call by an outspoken UN rights expert for a boycott of companies helping Israel’s settlement expansion in the Palestinian territories. US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said the boycott appeal by Richard Falk would “poison the environment for peace.” An Israeli spokeswoman criticized the “distasteful sideshow.” Falk, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, said the UN General Assembly and civil society should boycott international firms that help expand Israeli settlements. He singled out Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Motorola of the United States, Veolia Environment of France, G4S of Britain, Dexia of Belgium, Volvo Group and Assa Abloy of Sweden, Ahava, Elbit Systems and Mehadrin of Israel, Riwal Holding Group of the Netherlands and Cemex of Mexico.
Episcopalian bishop’s appeal to presidential candidates ignored her church’s call to review US aid to Israel, Philip Weiss
On October 12, presiding Episcopalian Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote a letter to the two major presidential candidates urging them to support resumption of negotiations to create a “viable” Palestinian state. In reporting at our site on the letter, Mark Braverman said the statement ran roughshod over the reality on the ground in the occupied territories and represented a “church struggle” between Schori and 15 other Christian leaders who had called on the US government to investigate whether aid to Israel violates human rights.
AOHR calls on EU to retreat from drugs convention with Israel
The Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR) based in Britain has criticized the European drug convention with Israel that opens the door to the Israeli medicines without conditions.
Last night, activists from Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Edinburgh University disrupted a lecture by the Israeli ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub. He was met by a lively crowd of 200 protesters outside. There were also protests inside, despite heavy security restrictions. In the days preceding the talk, student union representatives had written to the Politics Society, who organised the event, urging them to cancel it. They cited Israel’s human rights record and occupation of Palestinian land. “Taub was here to defend the racist policies of the state of Israel,” said Pete Ramand, Edinburgh University Students Association’s (EUSA) BME Officer. “and it is an unacceptable situation when someone with such abhorrent and dangerous views can be brought on to campus. It is threatening to students from a Palestinian or Arab background, who are then treated like criminals for attempting to voice their justified opposition to it.”
Response to Mark Aspinwall regarding protest at visit of Israeli ambassador
Today the Head of Politics and International Relations at Edinburgh University, Mark Aspinwall, sent out an all student e-mail condemning the protests last night at the visit of the Israeli Ambassador, Daniel Taub. Below we publish this e-mail and a response to it by one of the protesters.
Attend a 2012 Tree of Life Conference
Our member groups Friends of Sabeel of North America and The Tree of Life Educational Fund are pleased to offer this series of conferences on Israel and Palestine. Their special focus will be on “Education: How Can We Embrace Our Common Humanity.” In both Israel and the occupied territories, increasing numbers of Jews, Muslims, and Christians have reached the conclusion that the Land of Promise will be truly promising when those who live there learn to embrace their common humanity and share that sacred and fragile land. In this series of conferences, you will have the opportunity to hear from a number of Palestinian, Israeli, and American voices of conscience, and their hope is that their stories and their compelling visions of a more peaceful world will inspire us to follow their lead.
Political Developments / Other News
The United States agreed on Wednesday to extend its $4 billion loan guarantee program to Israel until 2016, a gesture that shows continued commitment to the Jewish state less than two weeks before the American presidential elections. The move allows the United States to provide up to $3.8 billion in future loan guarantees, as part of a $9 billion commitment made by the US in 2003. The program was meant to expire this year. The American Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner and Doron Cohen, the director general of the Israeli finance ministry, signed the agreement during a US-Israel Joint Economic Development Group meeting in Washington, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “The loan guarantees agreement attests to the special economic relationship between Israel and US,” said Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s finance minister. “I welcome the growing cooperation between the two countries, especially their treasuries,” Steinitz added while thanking Geithner.
Move comes as attempt to mitigate the effect of a possible unification of centrist, left-wing parties.
Israeli media: Hard-line parties to join forces
Israeli media are reporting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reached a deal to join forces with the hard-line party of his foreign minister in upcoming parliamentary elections.
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israel on Wednesday threatened “difficult and far-reaching consequences” of plans to upgrade Palestine’s status in the United Nations next month. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman relayed the warning during talks with visiting EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Jerusalem, a statement from his office said. If President Mahmoud Abbas “continues unilateral measures against Israel in the UN General Assembly, there will be difficult and far-reaching consequences,” Lieberman told Ashton. Lieberman has repeatedly criticized Abbas’ refusal to negotiate with Israel until Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agrees to freeze settlements. Lieberman is a settler. In Ramallah on Wednesday, Abbas said he would be ready for negotiations with Israel “straightaway” if the UN recognized Palestine as a non-member state.
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority and Bulgaria signed cooperation agreements on security, agriculture and labor, the PA envoy to Bulgaria said Thursday. President Mahmoud Abbas hosted his Bulgarian counterpart Rosen Plevneliev in Ramallah on Wednesday. Ambassador Ahmad al-Madbouh told Ma’an that during the meeting, three deals were signed to strengthen bilateral relations. An agricultural cooperation agreement includes bringing Bulgarian experts to Palestine, and a labor deal will implement protocols between the PA and Bulgarian ministries of labor. On security, Bulgaria and Palestine agreed to share classified security information, the ambassador said, noting this was the first agreement of its kind for the PA.
By Wednesday night, a story of a fire at a Sudanese army munitions depot had morphed into an incendiary allegation: that Israel had attacked. Sudan’s information minister claimed it was the fourth such air strike by Israel, which has not been in Khartoum’s good books since supporting anti-government rebels in the country’s two-decade civil war. Israel, meanwhile, accuses Sudan of supplying weapons to the armed Palestinian movement Hamas. Now, Sudan is talking darkly about relatiation. Al Jazeera’s Harriet Martin reports from Khartoum.
Student Jewish groups are beating back such efforts, according to a new study, because of professional guidance provided by campus Hillels and numerous other Jewish organizations.
Analysis / Op-ed / Human Interest
The Bibi-Lieberman deal: A wake-up call to the world about Israel, Larry Derfner
By unifying himself and the country’s ruling party with an internationally despised neo-fascist, Netanyahu has brought Israel a sizable step closer to the limits of Western tolerance. Ultimately, that’s good news.
On its front page today, the Washington Post has a personality profile of Sheldon Adelson
that follows the money, and dispenses with the usual horse-manure that Adelson thinks Romney will be better on labor issues in his casinos. Nope, it’s all about Israel, and they cut the deal last spring. Just what we’ve been saying. Here’s the lead, by Marc Fisher: When casino magnate Sheldon Adelson
switched his support from Newt Gingrich to Mitt Romney
during the spring primaries, the billionaire and the candidate were eager to shed their skepticism of each other. If Adelson was going to give a political campaign more money than anyone ever had,he wanted to be certain Romney would join him in steadfast support of Israel. And Romney, according to friends of both, sought assurance that Adelson wouldn’t embarrass him.
An official Israeli acknowledgement of what happened in Gaza
“After Hamas won a clear majority, Washington sought to train Fatah forces to crush it militarily in the Gaza Strip. But Hamas pre-empted this scheme by taking control of Gaza in 2007…” The US is yet to admit its criminal, anti-democratic role.
In recent weeks the Palestinian territories have witnessed a wave of demonstrations by citizens demanding better living conditions. The worsening economic crisis has had a serious impact on the lives of Palestinian families and society in terms of health, education, food security and social welfare. Economic analysts acknowledge that Israel’s economic policies during its decades-long occupation have resulted in its near total dominance of the means of Palestinian economic production. Evidence of Israel’s control of the most important facets of the Palestinian economy and its resources has been especially illustrated by restrictions on the movement of workers and the import-export market, as well as access to water resources. The Oslo Accords and subsequent economic agreements facilitated Israel’s complete control of the Palestinian economy. This has led the Palestinian Authority (PA), established in 1994, to fall into the trap of accepting conditional international aid. Its performance and continuity has become dependent on such aid, from which ordinary Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza benefit little.
Eric Yoffie, the liberal Zionist rabbi who defended the Gaza slaughter, has a chilling editorial up at Haaretz
, titled, “Heading toward an irreparable rift between U.S. Jews and Protestants,” suggesting that 15 church leaders
who have called for a congressional investigation of aid to Israel are anti-Semites. The world hates Jews and always has, so you have no standing, Yoffie is saying. You Protestants were silent during the Holocaust and again when Israel needed support in 1967 (a cakewalk started by Israel, with disastrous political results).
Why is a New York hospital being sacrificed for an Israel-backed science facility?, Terri Ginsberg
Plans for massive science campus linking an Israeli and American university in New York City moving forward, despite opposition.
Israel: The End of the Dream, Justin Raimondo
When I was very young, I thrilled to the strains of “Exodus” – the music that accompanied the popular movie depicting the Israeli fight for independence. I played it over and over, every night, falling asleep to its crashing chords of defiance and deliverance.
‘Homeland,’ Obama’s Show
The award winning TV show does little to alleviate the myths and misconceptions about Arabs and Muslims, writes author.