Israel demands Palestinians quench protests for Obama visit– even as extremist settlers install outpost, bulldozing olive trees

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

Israel announces confiscating land in Jerusalem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 24 Feb — Civic Coalition for Defending the Palestinians’ Rights in Jerusalem warned of the occupation authorities’ intention to confiscate lands and expand settlements, within the policies of judaizing Jerusalem. According to a statement issued by the coalition on Saturday, Israel Land Administration (ILA) announced its intention to confiscate lands for settlement expansion, including the land on which the Cliff Hotel is built; an area of 2975 square meters. The announcement stated that “the ILA announced its decision to confiscate lands for public purposes or as sites to be used for military or security purposes.”

Settlers install new outpost near Nablus
IMEMC 22 Feb — On Friday at dawn, a group of armed extremist Israeli settlers installed a new illegal settlement outpost in Ras Hazem Mountain that belongs to the residents of Salem village, east of the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Head of the Salem Village Council, Abdulkarim Hussein, stated that the settlers previously installed two mobile homes in the area, but on Friday they installed more than 10 other homes while Israeli bulldozers uprooted olive trees in the area. Hussein added that the mountain is 400 dunams of land owned by the villagers, and that the owners have all needed deeds and documents proving their ownership. He further stated that the settlers seem to be planning to expand the Elon Moreh illegal settlement in the area, as they repeatedly expanded it on the expense of the Palestinians and their lands in the village and a number of nearby villages.

IOA to destroy water well
JENIN (PIC) 24 Feb — An Israeli court in Beit El decided to destroy a Palestinian water well in Tanak [Ti‘nnik?] village, west of Jenin, in line with the Israeli occupation authorities’ declared war on Palestinian water resources in the West Bank. Local sources said that the IOA delivered the court decision to the owner of that well, Abdulrahman Zayud. They said that Zayed uses his artesian water well for drinking and irrigation purposes. The court said that the well was not licensed while the IOA refuses to give licenses to Palestinians to dig for wells.

Farmers kicked off land in Hebron area
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 23 Feb — Settlers and Israeli forces attacked a number of farmers while working in their lands in Susiya area of southern Hebron on Saturday, landowners said.  Fuad al-Shamsi said that they were surprised when they headed to their lands as they do every Saturday when a group of settlers were shepherding sheep in their lands which is planted with blooming trees. When farmers tried to enter their own lands, settlers attacked them and released their dogs toward them, frightening young children. Israeli forces looked on but did not intervene. Mohammad Mahmoud al-Shamaste, 45, Mahmoud Mohammad al-Shamaste, 25, were held for half an hour and then released.  Farmers said that Israeli forces announced that the lands of Susiya is a closed military zone. Farmers accused settlers of trying to confiscate their land and include it within Susiya’s nearby settlement.

Soldiers prevent Yatta residents from reaching their land
HEBRON (WAFA) 23 Feb  – Israeli soldiers Saturday arrested one Palestinian resident of Yatta, a town south of Hebron, and prevented other residents from reaching their land adjacent to the illegal Otnael settlement, according to a local activist. Ratib Jbour, member of the local popular committee, said the residents were trying to reach their land which they fear Israel is going to seize for settlement expansion when soldiers confronted them and forced them to go back. The residents’ move was part of the weekly activity of the town residents to protect their land from Israeli takeover.

Settlers destroy 50 olive trees near Hebron, locals say
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 24 Feb — Settlers uprooted over 50 olive trees in the Hebron village of Beit Awwa on Sunday, locals said. Khalid Muhammad al-Suiati told Ma‘an that his father found at least 50 olive trees uprooted and a number of grapevines damaged after arriving to work on his land early Sunday. The trees were planted 35 years ago, al-Suiati added.

Israeli settlers and army raid Yasouf: one person arrested, several cars vandalized
Yasouf (ISM Nablus) 23 Feb — At approximately 3:00 AM in the morning on Tuesday, the 19th of February 2013, 3 armed settlers from the illegal settlement of Kfar Tappuah raided the Palestinian village of Yasouf. Not only did the settlers vandalize several cars by slashing the tires, they also sprayed graffiti on several walls in the village, which included the main council building. The graffiti which was written in Hebrew, roughly translated to: “Paying the Price for Terrorism of Stones.” The mayor of Yasouf commented on the graffiti asserting that “For the Israeli, guns are like flowers but stones are the weapons of terrorists.” The villagers believe that this particular raid is retaliation for them farming their own land near the Israeli checkpoint of Zatara. Not only did the Israeli military continue to watch the situation from the outskirts of the village without intervening to stop the vandalism, this raid was accompanied by the Israeli military itself.

Bedouin communities near Qalqiliya isolated by Israel and facing school demolition
ISM Nablus 22 Feb — The small Bedouin communities of ‘Arab Ramadin al-Janubi and ‘Arab Abu Farda lie south of Qalqilya between the apartheid wall and the green line,close to the illegal settlement Alfe Menashe. They are separated from the rest of West Bank from all sides by the Israeli apartheid wall. The communities, founded by people deported from areas in Negev and Netanya during and after the Nakba are today home to  around 500 people. They suffer from multiple restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities,including no permissions for new buildings or expansion of existing buildings, and limits to the amount of food and gas allowed for sale in the communities … The community of Abu Farda has no access to running water or electricity,and thus water has to be bought in tanks from the village of ‘Azzun. There is a well on the grounds of the village, but the illegal settlement Alfe Menashe has confiscated the well and closed access to it for the inhabitants of Abu Farda. People from the family Fayez living in Abu Farda told us: “The lack of electricity is a big problem, as we are not able to refrigerate food bought from merchants or the yogurt and milk we produce ourselves for sale, and our children are not able to do their homework after dark due to lack of lighting.” Furthermore, the Israeli authorities do not allow veterinaries access to the villages, which is a health risk for the village as it is largely dependent on the raising of livestock.

Al-Sanaa: Negev Palestinians face Israeli schemes
NAZARETH (PIC) 24 Feb — Negev Palestinians threatened to declare a third Palestinian uprising, in case the Israeli authorities implemented its plans to displace and exile tens of thousands of Palestinians in the Negev, aiming to demolish unrecognized Arab villages in 1948 Palestinian occupied territories. The Palestinian fears came following the Likud government’s approval to grab Bedouins lands, based on the recommendation of Minister Benny Begin. Head of the High Steering Committee for Arabs in the Negev, Talab al-Sanaa, confirmed that The Palestinian masses in the Negev face the most serious scheme since 1948, targeting the entire region. The Israeli plan intends to confiscate more than 90 per cent of Arab land in the Negev or the rest of the land, meaning the confiscation of about 800,000 dunums (80,000 hectares) and the demolition of more than 35 Palestinian villages, and this practically means a new Nakba in the Negev, al-Sanaa told Quds Press.

Violence / Raids / Clashes / Protests / Illegal arrests (see also Analysis / Opinion section at end)

Protection of Civilians OCHA Weekly Report 12-18 Feb 2013
[Infographic illustrates events, changes in frequency, etc.] UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs WEST BANK Dozens injured in clashes during solidarity protests with prisoners — There was a significant increase in violent clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli forces during the week; these clashes were in the context of multiple protests held in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention facilities who are currently on hunger strike. At least 88 Palestinian civilians, including 19 minors, as well as four Israeli soldiers, were injured during the clashes … Settler violence continues; settlement outpost partially evacuated — This week, OCHA documented six settler-related incidents that led to one injury and damage to Palestinian property, slightly below the weekly average of seven incidents in 2012. On 13 February, a group of female settlers physically assaulted a Palestinian woman near Za’tara junction in Nablus; the circumstances of the incident remain unclear.

UPDATED: Arafat Jaradat: Israeli prisons’ latest casualty
Megiddo Prison (ISM) 23 Feb — Arafat Shalish Shahin Jaradat was just martyred in a special section for the Shin Bet in one of the occupation’s interrogation centres. Arafat was born on 14 Jan 1983 and had just turned 30 years old and lived in Sa‘eer, a village near Hebron. He was married and father to a four year-old daughter, Yara, and a two year-old son, Muhammad. Arafat and his wife Dalal were expecting their third child in June. Arafat was also in his first year at al-Quds Open University. Arafat was arrested on 18 February this year for allegedly throwing a stone at an armed Israeli soldier near the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement near al-Khalil during November’s bombing of Gaza and was held in al-Jalameh Prison for four days before being transferred to Megiddo Prison, near Haifa in Israel. When he was arrested, he did not suffer from any diseases or health conditions, according to family members … Arafat’s widow, Dalal Ayayda, said that an Israeli intelligence officer brought him back to his home minutes after being arrested and told him to bid farewell to his children. “For that reason I was worried. My husband was detained several times before, but this time the intelligence officer talked in a bizarre way,” she said indicating a degree of premeditation to her husband’s murder.

Palestinian revolt throughout the West Bank and Gaza
WB, GAZA (PIC) 24 Feb — Violent clashes broke out on Sunday between hundreds of citizens and school students on the one hand and the occupation forces on the other in different parts of al-Khalil in the West Bank following the martyrdom of the prisoner Arafat Jaradat in an Israeli prison. In Fawwar Camp, south of al-Khalil, violent clashes erupted between Palestinian youths and the occupation forces who stormed the camp’s entrance and fired tear gas and metal bullets towards citizens, eyewitnesses confirmed to PIC reporter. At the entrance to the town of Beit Ainun northeast of al-Khalil, dozens of students have organized angry marches protesting the killing of the prisoner Jaradat under torture in Israeli jails, where the IOF suppressed the demonstration. Violent clashes broke out in Beit Ummar, north of al-Khalil, after the occupation fired tear gas within a school for girls, leading to dozens of suffocation cases among the students, member of Popular Committee told PIC reporter …
Meanwhile, popular marches were organized in Gaza City on Sunday afternoon condemning the murder of the captive Arafat Jaradat from the city of al-Khalil during interrogation in Megiddo Prison. A number of Islamic and national factions led by Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements participated in the angry marches, PIC reporter stated.

Photos: Palestinians [women] in Gaza protest the death of Arafat Jaradat in Zionist occupation prison
In Gaza 24 Feb by Eva Bartlett

In pictures: Thousands in Gaza protest the prison death of Arafat Jaradat
Mondoweiss 24 Feb by Joe Catron

Dozens injured in West Bank clashes over prisoner death
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 24 Feb — Dozens of Palestinians were injured Sunday including two shot with live bullets at demonstrations across the West Bank to protest the death of a Palestinian in Israeli custody. At least 26 protesters sustained wounds from rubber and live bullets during clashes near Ofer prison, west of Ramallah, medics said. The 13-year-old son of a Preventive Security officer was taken to Ramallah government hospital after he was shot in the chest with a live bullet at the protest. A 19-year-old was shot with rubber-coated bullets all over his body, a Ma‘an reporter said.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said protesters hurled rocks at soldiers who responded with riot dispersal means. She said the army was looking into whether live fire was used at the protest. The army spokeswoman said live fire were used at al-Arrub refugee camp and that one protester was shot with a live bullet.
Several mass protests were held across Hebron on Sunday, in al-Arrub refugee camp, Beit Ummar and Halhul, and in Bethlehem, Qalqiliya and Tulkarem. In Beit Einun, in the Hebron district, a young man was it in the head with a rubber bullet and hospitalized. An Israeli military spokeswoman said five protesters were hit by rubber bullets at the protest.
In the northern West Bank, Israeli forces fired tear gas at protesters demonstrating at al-Jalameh checkpoint. Odai Zakarneh, 16, was hit by an Israeli army jeep and was taken to Jenin Hospital with a broken foot.
Israel on Sunday demanded the Palestinian Authority stem the protests ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit to the region next month. A senior aide to President Mahmoud Abbas gave no indication the PA, which exercises limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank, would issue any call for calm, and blamed Israel for the spike in unrest.

Minister: Autopsy shows torture killed Jaradat
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 Feb — An autopsy has revealed that Arafat Jaradat died of extreme torture in Israeli custody and did not have a cardiac arrest, the PA Minister of Detainee Affairs said Sunday. At a news conference in Ramallah, Issa Qaraqe said an autopsy conducted in Israel in the presence of Palestinian officials revealed that 30-year-old Jaradat had six broken bones in his neck, spine, arms and legs. The information we have received so far is shocking and painful. The evidence corroborates our suspicion that Mr. Jaradat died as a result of torture, especially since the autopsy clearly proved that the victim’s heart was healthy, which disproves the initial alleged account presented by occupation authorities that he died of a heart attack,” Qaraqe said …
After the autopsy, Jaradat’s body was transferred to the Palestinian Red Crescent at the Tarqumiya crossing west of Hebron, and taken to the Al-Ahli Hospital. He will be buried on Monday in his hometown Sa‘ir.
Jaradat’s lawyer Kameel Sabbagh said he was tortured by Israeli interrogators. Sabbagh, who works for the prisoners ministry, was present at Jaradat’s last hearing on Thursday, which an Israeli judge postponed for 12 days. “When I entered the courtroom I saw Jaradat sitting on a wooden chair in front of the judge. His back was hunched and he looked sick and fragile,” Sabbagh said in a statement Sunday. “When I sat next to him he told me that he had serious pains in his back and other parts of his body because he was being beaten up and hanged for many long hours while he was being investigated

Violent confrontations during Open Shuhada Street demonstrations
[photos and video] Hebron (ISM) 22 Feb — Today was the 4th annual Open Shuhada Street demonstration where  activists and organizations from all over the world join in solidarity with the Palestinian residents of Hebron/Al Khalil ,  to demand the opening of Shuhada Street to Palestinians and an end to the Israeli occupation. Shuhada Street used to be the principal street for Palestinians residents, and their businesses. It was also a very active market place in the Palestinian city of Hebron/Al Khalil. Today, because Shuhada Street runs through the Jewish settlements of Hebron, the street has been closed to Palestinian movement and looks like a virtual ghost street which only Israelis and tourists are allowed to access. Hate graffiti has been sprayed across the closed Palestinian shops and Palestinians living on the street have to enter and exit their houses through their back doors or, even sometimes by climbing over neighbor’s roofs. The demonstrators gathered after Friday prayers where around 1000 people marched through the streets towards the entrance of Shuhada Street . We came across a fence which was once also an entrance to Shuhada Street. Several people scaled it and hung Palestinian flags from it. Another young man tried to open it with wire clippers. When demonstrators stood in front Bab Baldier gate which blocks Shuhada street the Israeli army sprayed the crowd with skunk water before throwing stun grenades into the crowd.

Israel demands PA curb protests
Reuters 224 Feb — Israel on Sunday demanded the Palestinian Authority stem a surge of anti-Israeli protests ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit to the region next month.  A senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gave no indication the Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank, would issue any call for calm, and blamed Israel for the spike in unrest. The death in an Israeli jail of a Palestinian detainee on Saturday and an on-going hunger strike by four inmates have fueled tensions in the West Bank, where stone-throwing protesters clashed again with Israeli soldiers on Sunday,7340,L-4348816,00.html

Four injured, two seriously, in Aboud village
IMEMC 24 Feb — Saturday February 23, 2013; Four Palestinians have been injured, two serious, by Israeli soldiers’ fire invaded the village of Aboud, north of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, the Palestine News Network (PNN) has reported. Eyewitnesses reported that Mohammad Asfour, 21, a university student, was shot by a rubber-coated metal bullet in the head causing a fracture in his skull, and was moved to the Rafidia Hospital in Nablus suffering a serious injury. Medical sources reported that Asfour is currently in a coma. Furthermore, resident Najm Abdul-Hamid Al-Barghouthi, 30, was shot by a live round in the knee causing a fracture. He was moved to the Rafidia Hospital. Two more residents, identified as Ehab Al-Barghouthi and Omar Abdul-Qader, were mildly injured.

UPDATE: Young man fighting for his life following settler attack on Qusra
ISM 23 Feb — UPDATE : Today’s confrontations at Huwarra in memory of Jaradat Arafat, took a half an hour pause to let Helmi’s ambulance pass through the checkpoint. Both Israeli soldiers and Palestinian demonstrators stopped, to let the ambulance get to a helicopter which was preparing to take Helmi to Israel for further surgery. Helmi has fragments of the bullet still inside his Aorta artery, the biggest artery in the human body. The bullet is extremely close to Helmi’s heart, his situation is still critical. — Following a violent incursion by Israeli fundamentalist settlers into Qusra, two people have been hospitalized with serious injuries. Around 15 settlers from Esh Kodesh (Holy Fire) and Shilo entered Qusra, the clashes that ensued left many people injured, including a sixteen year-old boy who is currently in surgery and may lose his left eye as well as a 26 year-old man fighting for his life after being shot in the chest, by an Israeli settler. Another, 14 year-old Mustafa Hilal was shot in the foot. At around 11am this morning settlers began attacking the village of Qusra. Armed with rifles, they attacked homes on the outskirts of Qusra, throwing stones they broke windows. The youths of the village attempted to defend their homes. In the clashes that ensued Helmi Abdul Azeez Hassan was shot by a settler, the bullet narrowly missed his heart. Soldiers arrived on the scene and, as usual, protected the invading settlers … A local resident explained to ISM volunteers that he cannot remember a week in which Qusra had not been attacked over the last two years.

Jewish settlers attack Palestinian homes, injure child
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 23 Feb — Jewish settlers, studying at a religious school in Kiryat Arba to the east of Al-Khalil, attacked Palestinian homes in Wadi Nasara suburb in Al-Khalil on Saturday morning. Inhabitants said that groups of Jewish students, walking from Kiryat Arba to the Ibrahimi mosque, threw stones and empty bottles at Palestinian homes injuring 14-year-old child Saadi Jaber. They said that Saadi was taken to Al-Khalil government hospital with moderate injuries.

Hebron boy hit by live gunshot in clashes with Israeli soldiers
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 22 Feb – A young Palestinian man was shot and injured by Israeli troops Friday evening during clashes in Bab al-Zawiya neighborhood in the center of Hebron in the southern West Bank. Palestinian medical sources confirmed that a Palestinian ambulance evacuated a 16-year-old boy to Hebron’s public hospital. They said the boy was hit by a live gunshot in his foot. Medics decided the boy needed surgery to pull out the bullet from his foot.

Palestinian youth injured after being rammed by military jeep
IMEMC 24 Feb — Sunday Evening — A Palestinian youth man suffered a fracture in his leg after being rammed by an Israeli military jeep during clashes that took place between the soldiers and several Palestinian youths near the Al-Jalama Israeli military roadblock, north of the northern West Bank city of Jenin. The clashes took place after the army attacked Palestinians protesting the death of detainee Arafat Jaradat in an Israeli detention facility, and in support of Palestinian detainees holding hunger strike in Israeli prisons. Medical sources reported that an Israeli military jeep rammed the youth, Odai Hatem Zakarna, 16, in the leg after chasing him.

Report: Jewish youths beat Palestinian cleaner in Tel Aviv
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 24 Feb — Jewish youths on Sunday attacked a 40-year-old Palestinian cleaner in Tel Aviv, Israeli media reported. Hassan Ausruf was filling the water tank of his street cleaning vehicle when around 15 youths attacked him, his wife told the Israeli daily Haaretz. “He asked them why they were attacking him and they told him with utmost chutzpah ‘because you’re Arab,'” Nariman told Haaretz. “They attacked him with whatever they could get their hands on, bottles and shards of glass and they inflicted serious wounds to his head and in one of his eyes.” She added: “At some point he managed to escape with his entire face covered in blood and reached a friend where he collapsed.” Ausruf was treated at Wolfson Medical Center for deep cuts to his face and skull fractures, the report said … Police stated that the group that attacked Ausruf was dark-skinned and it is believed that they were a group of Ethiopian-Israelis that left a Purim party.

Night raids in Haris see 3 innocent youngsters arrested
ISM 24 Feb — At approximately 1:00 AM on Sunday morning, the 17th February 2013 as part of a wider raid on the village of Haris, near the Palestinian town of Salfit and the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, 3 Palestinian youth Nur Atar Fareed Sultan, aged 13, Rabia Samia Sala Sultan aged 15 and 18 year old Morad were illegally detained by the Israeli military. This village raid coming weeks after two home demolitions and numerous orders have been issued for more planned destruction of houses. Israeli soldiers burst into the home of 13-year-old student Nur Atar Fareed Sultan, breaking the door and pushing past his grandfather, who was pleading for them to be “mindful that there were children and women not fully-clothed in the house.” The 75-year-old fell to the ground, briefly unconscious. Initially the officer on the scene was after 12 year old Yazan, who was terrified of the balaclava-wearing troops; though, the officer changed his mind upon seeing Nur. Nur was grabbed and pushed hard before being handcuffed, blindfolded and then marched outside without any shoes, leaving behind his screaming siblings. His mother and uncle were roughly handled as the soldiers proceeded to chaotically search their home. Nur’s family pleaded to know why he was being taken, but received no answer. They requested for him to be properly dressed; however this appeal was met with a violent response from the soldiers.

Prisoners / Hunger strikers

Over 4,000 prisoners launch hunger strike in Israeli jails
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 Feb — Some 4,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails launched hunger-strike action on Sunday to protest the death of Arafat Jaradat, who died in Israel’s Megido jail a day earlier. A spokeswoman for Israel’s Prison Authority told Ma’an that around 4,500 prisoners in Israeli jails are refusing food from prison authorities … There are 4,743 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention centers, including 178 administrative detainees, 10 women and 193 children, according to Addameer.

“We are not terrorists, we are only resisting the occupation”
ISM Hebron 22 Feb — Nine Palestinians from Hebron, mostly family members of hunger-striking prisoners, are continuing their hunger strike to express support for, and raise awareness of, the plight of Palestinian political prisoners. They began their strike last Saturday, and gained much media attention thanks to their presence in a solidarity tent in Hebron in the midst of Monday’s demonstration in support of prisoners. The mother of one of the hunger-striking prisoners, who suffers from diabetes, was taken to hospital on Wednesday after losing conscience as clashes erupted around them during another demonstration in Hebron. She has been falling in and out of conscience since. The other hunger strikers continue their strike in the hospital where they go to stay throughout the visiting hours. They refuse any food and are only drinking water. However, one female hunger striker, teacher Nahil Abu Aisha from Hebron, has been forced to interrupt her strike due to a flu.

Protests spread to every city for hunger-striking prisoners
ISM 22 Feb — Palestinians demanding the release of all political prisoners and especially hunger-striking prisoners confront the Israeli army through out the West Bank and east Jerusalem on Friday. The Huwwara checkpoint near Nablus saw around 300 people protesting, in solidarity with the hunger strikers. There were many tear gas related injuries, rubber coated steel bullets were fired and at least one activist was hospitalised as confrontations continued into the evening. Similarly violent episodes were also reported in Tulkarm, Jenin, Bethlehem and of course Ofer which has seen protests almost everyday this week. Following Friday prayers worshipers at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem confronted Israeli Occupation Forces. Israeli forces then stormed the area surrounding the mosque and used undercover police to make arrests … Elsewhere there were also weekly protests in Kufr Qaddoum, Nabi Salah, Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, Jayyous as well as the annual Open Shuhada Street protest in Hebron.

Thousands join Friday prisoners march in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 23 Feb– Thousands of people from Nablus participated in Friday prayers which they called “prisoners’ Friday” in solidarity with prisoners in Israeli jails, specifically hunger strikers … After prayers, people participated in a protest which walked around Nablus shouting in condemnation of the Israeli occupation and asking to release hunger strikers. They called on people to participate in another protest on Monday on 11 a.m.

Center: Long-term prisoner starts hunger strike
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Feb — A Palestinian prisoner from a town in Israel has launched an open hunger strike after being jailed for over 30 years, a prisoners center said Sunday. Maher Abdul Latif Younis, 54, is on hunger strike to send a message to the Palestinian leadership and draw attention to long-serving prisoners who have been neglected in prisoner swap deals, said Foad al-Khafash, the director of the Ahrar center for prisoner rights. Younis told Ahmed Tibi, a Palestinian member of Israel’s Knesset, that he was on hunger strike because Palestinian citizens of Israel were treated worse than Jewish inmates in Israeli prison, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

Stop the Wall youth coordinator is being interrogated by the same investigators involved in Jaradat’s case
EI 24 Feb by Adri Nieuwhof — …Stop the Wall youth coordinator and human rights defender Hassan Karajah, who was arrested in a late-night raid on his family’s home last month, is being interrogated at Jalame detention center by the same investigators involved in Jaradat’s case, according to the human rights group Addameer, which stated on Facebook today: The Jalameh Military Court extended the detention and interrogation of activist and human rights defender HASSAN KARAJAH for 5 more days.His next hearing will be on Thursday 28 February 2013 in Ofer Military Court. The prosecution requested that his detention be extended eight days, which was reduced to 5 days.  Addameer’s lawyer Samer Sama’an confirmed that Hassan has been subjected to long interrogations by the Shin Bet security forces in Jalameh, and that he is being interrogated by the same investigators that were involved in the martyr Arafat Jaradat’s case.

Occupation renews administrative detention for captives Qa‘adan and Ezzedine
JENIN (PIC) 24 Feb — The Israeli occupation authorities renewed the administrative detention of captives Jafar Ezzedine and Tarek Qa‘dan from the city of Jenin in the northern West Bank, who have been on hunger strike for the third month. Mohammed, the brother of the prisoner Jafar Ezzedine, pointed out that the occupation authorities informed his brother’s lawyer that the Israeli intelligence service has issued a new decision to extend the administrative detention of the captives Jaafar and Tarek for three additional months … Mohammed Ezzedine said that his brother was scheduled to be released last Thursday after the completion of his sentence

Prisoner Youssef Shaaban released after two months on hunger strike
JENIN (PIC) 22 Feb — Occupation authorities released on Thursday the prisoner Youssef Shaaban, 33, from Jenin after spending 3 months in administrative detention during which he went on hunger strike for 60 days. Large crowds received the liberated prisoner Shaaban chanting slogans demanding the release of all striking prisoners … The freed captive Shaaban went on hunger strike for two months immediately after his arrest, and then he ended his hunger strike due to medical warnings, while his colleagues Jafar Ezzedine and Tarek Kaadan of Arraba continued their hunger strike for 89 days in row.

Al-Manatir three have been released
Burin, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 22 Feb — Waheeb, Ashraf and Diaa were released on the 14th of February 2013 after spending 12 days in an Israeli prison following the al-Manatir protest village in Burin. During the al-Manatir action, the 3 Palestinian activists were detained by the Israeli military and then arrested by the border police. The 3 of them were pepper sprayed and Waheeb was severely beaten and kicked by the Israeli military as shown in the video evidence below: … The reason for arrest given was that they participated in an illegitimate protest as well as allegedly throwing stones. 2 of the 3 men, Waheeb Qadoos and Ashraf Abu Rahma, were also potentially facing an extra charge of assaulting the soldiers. The trials for the 3 were delayed twice and they were finally released, having their charges dropped after their lawyer adel Samara submitted video footage of the proving that it was the settlers and soldiers who attacked the demonstrators.

Gaza siege

Gaza teen dies in Rafah smuggling tunnel
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 23 Feb — A teenager died on Saturday while working in a smuggling tunnel under the Gaza-Egypt border, medics said. Muhammad Khalil Irbayi, 18, was electrocuted in a tunnel in Rafah, south Gaza, medics said. Six Palestinians died in January in tunnel implosions, raising the death toll amongst workers to 233 since 2007, according to Gazan human rights groups

Palestinian citizen wounded in IOF shooting
GAZA (PIC) 24 Feb — A Palestinian man was shot and wounded to the east of Jabalia, north of the Gaza Strip, at noon Sunday at the hands of Israeli occupation forces (IOF). Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra, the health ministry’s spokesman, told the PIC reporter that IOF soldiers stationed to the east of Jabalia opened machinegun fire at civilians wounding a 36-year-old man. He said that the man was taken to hospital where doctors described his injuries as moderate.
Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes launched mock raids over various areas of the Gaza Strip. A field observer told Quds Press that the raids, which caused big bangs, were made at a time when Gaza masses were walking in the streets of the enclave in a protest march against the death of a Palestinian prisoner in Israeli occupation jails on Saturday.

What a ‘period of calm’ looks like in the Occupied Territories
[with infographic] Al Jazeera 22 Feb by Ben White — Three months after the last major Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip, the “period of calm” is only “calm” for Israel — Three months have passed since the ceasefire that brought an end to Israel’s eight-day attack on the Gaza Strip known as Operation “Pillar of Defence”. This infographic depicts the number of attacks on the Gaza Strip by the Israeli military during this three-month period, as well as the number of Palestinian attacks emanating from Gaza. Since late November, Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip have averaged over one a day, everyday. These include shootings by troops positioned along the border fence, attacks on fishermen working off the Gaza coast, and incursions by the Israeli army. This data is important for three reasons. First, it is a response to the Western media’s failure to cover the vast majority of Israeli attacks… Second, data of this nature lay bare the daily reality for Palestinians and the power imbalance between the occupier and an occupied, colonised people fighting for their basic rights. It is instructive that the Israeli army refers to the entry of its forces into the Gaza Strip as “routine activity” … Third, if or when there is another assault by Israel on the Gaza Strip, the Israeli government and many in the West will seek to emphasise the “rockets” narrative once again. So remember this data, and note what the Israeli army has been doing when – in the words of Israel’s own consul general in Los Angeles – “for the last three months, there hasn’t been a rocket fired from Gaza”.

Egypt seizes 20,000 liters of fuel en-route to Gaza
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 24 Feb — Egyptian forces in Rafah seized 20,000 liters of fuel ready to be smuggled into Gaza on Sunday, security officials said. Egyptian border guards discovered the fuel shipment while monitoring a tunnel smuggling area on the Egyptian side of Rafah, sources said. In late January, Qatari-donated fuel to Gaza was suspended due to the security situation in Egypt … The Qatari fuel is part of 27 million liters donated by the Gulf state to ease Gaza’s energy crisis.

Video: Gaza hosts international conference on Israeli 8-Day War impacts
PressTV 24 Feb by Mazen Naim — The Israeli eight-day war on Gaza is over, but it continues to have multiple effects and consequences on the socio-economic, political, military, and security aspects on Palestine and the entire region. A three-day conference in Gaza is underway to analyze the impacts of the war and their implications on the future of Gaza and the region. The conference which officially kicked off on Friday attracted a very diverse audience including human rights organizations, leading academics, public figures, and senior diplomats.

EU supports Gaza mental health services with €600,000
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 23 Feb – The European Union announced a new €600,000 grant to improve mental health services in the Gaza Strip, a press statement said on Thursday. The grant … is designed to improve the training of medical staff and promote the well-being of local communities as part of the ‘Self Help – Self Heal’ program … “According to the UN, psychological trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder in the Gaza Strip has dramatically risen following the escalation of violence last November. The recently-launched ‘Self Help – Self Heal’ program has been specifically designed to target populations living under prolonged conflict conditions and will empower people in Gaza to take care of their own individual and family mental health needs,” said the EU statement.

Gaza’s only music school may close
Al-Monitor 21 Feb by Asmaa al-Ghoul During rehearsals in a music school in Gaza, Firas al-Sharafi, age 10, and his friend Abdel Aziz Abu Sharkh, age 11, were playing a song by Lebanese singer Fairuz. The two boys were playing the dulcimer, reading musical notes and occasionally glancing at each other with a smile on their faces. They dream of joining a big musical group that plays both Eastern and Western musical instruments … Firas and Abdel Aziz know that their school faces a major challenge this year: financial problems have left the school on the brink of closure.

Refugees in Syria

1024 Palestinians killed in Syria since the start of revolution
DAMASCUS (PIC) 23 Feb — Working group for Palestinians in Syria said that a Palestinian youth from the residents of the Yarmouk refugee camp was killed several days ago in shelling by the Syrian regular army raising number of killed Palestinians to 1024.

Political and economic news

West Bank teachers to go on open strike
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 23 Feb — The union of West Bank teachers decided Saturday to escalate protests against the Palestinian Authority in light of the ongoing financial crisis rendering the government unable to pay civil servants’ salaries. Bassam Naim, a spokesman of the union, told Ma‘an it decided to start an open strike Wednesday.  Teachers, according to Naim, will go to schools but without attending classes. Furthermore, classes will be suspended Tuesday after the second session and teachers will carry out a sit-in strike in front of the Palestinian Legislative Council offices in Ramallah.  An open strike will only end after an agreement is reached with the PA.

Fatah, Hamas trade accusations in heated debate
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) 23 Feb — Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Aziz Dweik and Fatah’s speaker in the PLC, Azzam al-Ahmad, traded accusations Saturday during a symposium organized by the PLO … The rival Hamas and Fatah officials disagreed on the success of reconciliation efforts, with al-Ahmad claiming that reconciliation had come “very close” and Dweik stating that “no tangible breakthrough” had been made. Both officials tried to undermine the achievements of their rival faction, with Dweik claiming Fatah had begun as as armed resistance faction but was now coordinating on security with Israel.

Hamas: PA detains 8 party members
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 23 Feb — Hamas accused the Palestinian Authority security services Saturday of detaining eight of the party’s members and said a ninth was summoned for interrogation. In a statement, Hamas said security services continued to detain two of Hamas’ members in their prisons from Hebron and Tulkarem and transferred another to Jericho prison. In Hebron, the preventive security detained two and summoned another from a village nearby, the statement said. It said two others were detained in Tulkarem and Qalqiliya and a third near Jerusalem.

Hamas security forces prevent Fatah official from leaving Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an)24 Feb — A Fatah official was prevented from leaving the Gaza Strip on Sunday to attend a meeting in Ramallah. Amal Hamad, a member of Fatah’s central committee, told Ma‘an that Hamas security forces prevented her from traveling after keeping her at the border crossing for an hour and a half. She was heading to Ramallah for a central committee meeting. “Such procedures violate basic human rights and remind us of the Israeli collective punishment policy, a measure that would entrench the split,” Fatah said in a statement.

Hamas asks to postpone reconciliation meeting
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 Feb — Hamas has asked to postpone its next meeting with Hamas to ensure the talks will be positive, the party’s deputy politburo chief said Sunday. Mousa Abu Marzouq said in a statement that Hamas requested to delay the meeting scheduled to be held in Cairo on Wednesday. Fatah spokesman in Gaza, Fayez Abu Aita, said Hamas’ request was not helpful to reconciliation, and that the time frame set for national unity should be respected.

Other news

‘5 Broken Cameras’ loses out to ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ for best doc Oscar
[with photo of Burnat and his family on the red carpet] Mondoweiss 24 Feb — The awards have been announced and alas 5 Broken Cameras didn’t win the Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary (the Oscar went to Searching for Sugar Man). Regardless, Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi’s film continues to be an inspiration. Read Emad Burnat’s Oscar nominee questionnaire: …
Visualizing Palestine created the following graphic for the film:

WATCH: IDF reservists threaten to sue makers of 5 Broken Cameras for incitement
972blog 24 Feb by Ami Kaufman And, the Oscar for weirdest item of the day goes to… the group of soldiers who call for charging the makers of ’5 Broken Cameras’ with incitement! The Israeli website Mako reports that the group, known as “Consensus – Guardian of the IDF Spirit,” has posted the following Youtube clip as part of a campaign against the makers of the movie (my subtitles)

Group says US Border Authority should apologize to filmmaker
WASHINGTON (WAFA) 23 Feb – The American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) Friday called on the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to issue an immediate apology to Palestinian filmmaker Emad Burnat, director of the Oscar-nominated documentary 5 Broken Cameras, for the way he was treated upon arrival at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to attend the Oscars, according to a press statement. ADC also formally requested the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General to initiate an immediate investigation to determine to what extent CBP officials engaged in racial profiling based on a recent agreement between the US and Israel.

Official: Gunmen open fire at PA security officer’s car
JENIN (Ma‘an) 23 Feb — Gunmen in Jenin opened fire at a vehicle belonging to a member of the Preventative Security services on Saturday, the governor of the district said. Talal Dweikat told Ma‘an that gunmen fired 15 times at the vehicle, which was parked in front of the officer’s home.

Analysis / Opinion

Palestinians disqualify US as peace broker / Nicola Nasser
Palestine Chron. 22 Feb — The “unbreakable alliance,” which will be confirmed by the upcoming visit of President Barak Obama to Israel, will disqualify the United States as an honest broker of peace in the Arab – Israeli conflict in Palestine, a Palestinian veteran peace negotiator says. This “unbreakable alliance” will doom whatever hopes remain during Obama’s visit for the revival of the U.S. – sponsored deadlocked “peace process,” on the resumption of which depends the very survival of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ leadership, and explains as well the Palestinian frustration, low expectations, unenthusiastic welcome and the absence of celebrations for their most cherished among world celebrities, in a stark contrast to the euphoria that is sweeping Israel in waiting for what the U.S. and Israeli officials are describing as an ‘historic’ visit.

For Samer Issawi: Tribute to a Jerusalem son — a poem / Susan Abuhalwa
Pal. Chron. 24 Feb — Apartheid’s outlaw / Has crooked white teeth / An Adam’s Apple and an angled jaw / A beautiful face / With a knowing smile, gentle eyes /And masculine grace…

After Palestinian prisoner’s death in Shin Bet custody, time to question the interrogators / Amira Hass
Haaretz 25 Feb — Arafat Jaradat, 30, died while under interrogation by the Shin Bet security service. Every week dozens if not hundreds of Palestinians start down the road he began on February 18. Dozens of Israelis whose names are unknown are on a parallel track: the soldiers who make the arrest in the dead of night, the military doctor who examines the new detainee, Shin Bet interrogators in their changing shifts; Israel Prison Service guards, workers at the prison clinic, and the judge who extends the remand. True, thousands of others take this road or sometimes a longer and harder one – and stay alive. This is probably what the Shin Bet and the prison service will say in their defense. But from the Palestinian perspective, every stop on the road of detention and interrogation involves enormous physical and psychological pain that the army, the police, the Shin Bet and the prison service inflict intentionally. This goes well beyond the suffering that should be caused by taking away a person’s liberty and issuing an indictment. Jaradat was not a ticking bomb. He was arrested on suspicion of throwing stones and an incendiary device at Israeli targets.

Israel’s wall of madness
Golan Heights (Counterpunch) 22-23 Feb by Andre Vltcheck and Lynda Burnstein Brayer –  If someone would say: “Israel, Palestine and Golan Heights! And you have only two seconds to describe what first comes to your mind.” Then I would immediately put into words two images that would enter my mind: “Mental asylum, and enormous bag full of the intertwined professional wires.” Mental asylum, because how else to describe those long decades of lies, half-truths, and deceptions? How else to describe the state of things when the language loses its meaning, words turn to fragmented squeaks and shouts and people just don’t seem to get through to each other … Let’s not talk politics, for a while. Let’s address the most practical issues – how to move from point A to point B. How do I go from Rafah to Ramallah? You see, even now, my Word is giving me a two spelling errors for both names, so maybe they do not really exist or they carry no significance? How do Palestinians travel from Bethlehem to Gaza City? How do men and women from Israeli occupied Golan Heights go to their homeland — Syria, and how do they meet their relatives?

Only a modus vivendi is possible between Fatah and Hamas now / Khalid Amayreh
PIC 24 Feb — As widely expected, all reconciliation efforts made recently to end the 6-year rift between Hamas and Fatah have failed to make a real breakthrough. Some pundits are even worried the two sides might once again find themselves in square one, given the inherent mutual lack of trust as well as political disagreements over strategic issues pertaining to the Palestinian question. One of the fundamental issues impeding concordance between the two groups is the dominant Israeli factor. Israel, whether we like it or not, has the final say with regard to holding Palestinian elections and allowing or disallowing Islamists and other anti-Israeli elements to take part in the electoral process. This is especially true in the West Bank where the Israeli occupation army continues to patrol every nook and cranny. This means that the purportedly autonomous Palestinian Authority (PA) is not independent or free enough to take national decisions to restore national unity.

Profiling Israel’s undercover Mistaarvim unit
Palestine Monitor 18 Feb by Jessica Purkiss  — …Little is known about the internal operations of the Israeli undercover units.  The group ‘Mistaarvim’ in Hebrew or ‘Musta’rabeen’ in Arabic is an undercover unit whose members serve in various sections of the Israeli army. Translated from Hebrew it literally means ‘Arab pretenders’. The Mistaarvim are an elite branch of a supposed ‘counter-terrorism’ unit who impersonate Palestinians and infiltrate West Bank communities in an attempt to find information that may be of interest to the Israeli government. Members are indistinguishable amongst Palestinian communities, as they dress the same way Palestinians do, speak Arabic in the local dialect, and drive cars with Palestinian licensed number plates. According to a study by the Palestinian Human Rights Information Center (PHRIC), disguises include stage props such as crutches and fake babies, with members undergoing extensive training on cultural habits to help them blend in successfully.

Palestinian chutzpah / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 24 Feb — Now you demonstrate? After all, we’ve already told you we no longer care what happens to you — My Palestinian brothers (for your information, everyone’s a “brother” around here these days ), aren’t you ashamed? How dare you protest and throw stones? How dare you disturb the peace; build “illegal” outposts on your own private land; go on hunger strikes; demonstrate solidarity with prisoners; protest the closing of Shuhada Street in Hebron and the rearrest of freed prisoners; sneak into Israel to find work; oppose the eviction of people from their homes; protest that you are not allowed to reach your farmlands; protest against the fence that was built in your area; threaten a third intifada? Are you out of your minds? Where do you get such chutzpah?

“Oops. . . one less Arab”: Even more disturbing images from the Israeli army
EI 23 Feb by Ali Abunimah — Since The Electronic Intifada revealed the shocking Instagram photos posted by Israeli soldiers Mor Ostrovsk0i and Osher Maman, even more disturbing images have come to light. Some of the ones below were found by Israeli blogger “Zeatu” and others by The Electronic Intifada.

Photographing tragedy: What the victims actually want / Ramzy Baroud
Palestine Chron. 20 Feb — …Paul Hansen, a Swedish photographer, from the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, convincingly won, on Feb. 15, The World Press Photo of the Year 2012, which is, according to Reuters “the world’s largest annual press photography contest.” The winning photo documented an event that has been repeated hundreds of times in Gaza in the last few years, bereaved families and neighbors, filled with pain and despair, carrying the frail bodies of little children who died in one Israeli strike on another. They walk in the alleyways of their towns or refugee camps, shoulder to shoulder, weeping, chanting and praying to God to send their little ones to Paradise. Photographers snap numerous shots, selected ones get published, and the most prized win awards. Sadly, even then, nothing changes the persistently agonizing reality. An almost trademark demand that most victims have is for the world to know of their plight. There is a pervading impression that when the ‘world’ knows, the ‘world’ will not allow injustice to perpetuate. Of course, it is not so simple, especially in the case of the Palestinians.

Jim Crow in Palestine: parallels between US and Israeli racism / Curtis Bell
EI 21 Feb — The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama does a good job of showing what blacks endured before the civil rights victories of the 1960s. I visited there last fall and was especially struck by one particular image — a 1926 map of the small and isolated patches of Birmingham where city zoning regulations allowed blacks to live. What struck me was the similarity of this map to maps of the isolated patches of the West Bank including East Jerusalem where Palestinians are allowed to live. The map then made me think about other similarities between the oppression of blacks in the Jim Crow South and Israel’s present-day oppression of Palestinians. The methods for keeping blacks within their enclaves in Birmingham were more direct and brutal than the redlining agreements among banks and realtors that maintained a de facto segregation in the North. Municipal zoning laws in Birmingham prevented sales to blacks outside designated areas, and if a black person somehow acquired a house outside the designated area, even if just across the street, the house would be blown up. (listserv) (archive)

About Kate

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

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  1. Avi_G.
    February 25, 2013, 9:58 am

    American, Inanna, and MRW, I have translated below the Israeli TV show I had mentioned a couple of weeks ago.

    I was going to add the translation to the video in the form of subtitles, but the technical aspect of doing so is somewhat complicated, so I decided to leave the translation in the form of a transcript.

    In staying true to the original spoken word, I have translated the video word-for-word with insertions placed in square brackets [ ].

    I will also use what is known as curly brackets or braces { } to offer side notes within the transcript.

    The video reveals several things:

    1. It shows how even in 1994, Israeli mainstream society was exposed to hard truths to which Americans have yet to be exposed.

    2. It also shows the extent to which Israeli society goes to rationalize its crimes against Palestinians and as a result remain in comfortable denial of the pain Israel has inflicted.

    3. It shows that discussions about the existence and legitimacy of a Jewish people/nation are not taboo as they are in American discourse.

    4. It shows how Israeli society is overly preoccupied with its own sense of victimhood.

    5. The panel in question included Uri Avnery (Considered to be part of the far, fringe left), the late professor Yesha’yahu Leibovitch (Considered also the same), followed by a settler leader, a religious right wing journalist, and lastly a leftist journalist (Again, part of a fringe left). Given these participants, the show can give an outsider the false impression that those who speak truth to power in Israeli society dominate(ed) the national discourse. In fact, the opposite is true.

    6. The video also shows how Yitzhak Rabin, despite being eulogized in both Israel and the West for attempting to bring peace to the region, was in fact a wolf in sheep’s clothing, if you will. In addition to what is mentioned in the video, Rabin had also in 1994 demanded permission to torture Palestinian prisoners. Not quite the ‘man of peace’ he’d been promoted to be in Israeli and US discourse.

    7. Please note professor Yesha’yahu Leibovitch’s outrage at 05:25 when he points to the fact that Golda Meir denied the existence of a Palestinian people (See transcript below).

    I’m certain that other conclusions can be drawn from the discussion presented in the video. For the time being, however, the above are the first seven that immediately come to mind.

    The video can be found here:

    On May 4, 1994, the PLO and Israel signed the Jericho-Gaza Agreement in Cairo, Egypt.

    This Popolitika (Pop Politics) program aired on that day — May 4 1994 — on the Israeli Broadcast Authority’s Channel 1.

    Interviewer: ….to the people of Israel to the state of Israel, to exit the West Bank, and do you see in today’s ceremony in Cairo an actualization of something you had always preached?

    Professor Leibovitch: This is a step in a very long way toward peace. But it’s a step on a very long path.

    Interviewer: Sitting here are two women who spoke – in a sense – about the societal/public problem about the existential problem, what do you say to them? They have suffered from Palestinian terrorism.

    { Professor Leibovitch is carefully weighing his response}

    Interviewer: In this ceremony do you see a hope[ful future] for these women and others?

    Professor: What is the meaning of the word, “Hope”?

    Prof.: What are you asking me?

    Interviewer: Do you think that today’s ceremony in Cairo …

    Prof.: I told you, this is a step in the right direction, but I do not know if it will continue on the right path.

    Interviewer: Do you congratulate the Rabin government on this step/move?

    Prof: I’m not congratulating the Rabin government, but the Rabin government made one single step in the right direction.

    Interviewer: This is not a dramatic turning point? You do not attribute to it any dramatic significance of any kind, despite Israel’s recognition of the PLO and vice versa?

    Prof: The significance is that in the last 26 years, hundreds and perhaps several thousand human beings were killed – both Jews and Arabs – as a result of OUR CONTROL OF THE OCCUPPIED TERRITORIES.


    Prof: THAT’S THE [dramatic] SIGNIFICANCE!


    {Side note: The Woman wearing the black beret is a settler leader whose name escapes me at the moment. I will refer to her as “Settler”.}

    Settler: Regarding the issue that we did not try [the path of] peace…they mentioned on the previous panel that the ’67 war broke out as a result of Arab aggression. We, in not doing what we should have done with our victory in ’67 what we did with our victory in ’48, in that we did not expel the aggressors, and [instead] extended them a hand for peace, meaning that we allowed them to stay, and we enabled them to have a better life than the life they had under Jordan’s rule and under the British rule and under the rule of the Turks that preceded them. They never wanted a state under the kingdoms that preceded us. And we did not expel them. Those who wanted to escape, we forcibly brought back and we told them “Come” and “We’ll give you” and “We’ll live with you”. And we established for them universities, and health services, and agriculture, and we allowed them to …

    {At this point, at 03:00, professor Leibovitch taps Avnery’s hand to his right and smiles in response to the settler woman’s self-congratulatory speech}

    Settler {continued}: …And we gave them all that is good in this land, in the land of our fathers. This was an attempt to live in peace.

    {Interruption. Several guests speak at once}

    Settler: Which didn’t turn out well. Why?


    Settler: Wait a moment.

    {Side note: The man with the grey beard and spectacles is a journalist. Alas, his name escapes me at the moment. I’ll refer to him as “Journalist”}.

    Journalist: We were just wonderful to them? They don’t know how to thank us for our wonderful treatment [of them]. Really.

    Settler: I am describing a situation. This situation was doomed to fail from the beginning.

    Journalist: You know this self-love…I want to tell you something. Look I don’t think the Arabs are good and we’re bad or vice versa, but we have this attribute of self-love and we soak ourselves in a bathtub of fragrant [water] that we’re great and we’re good and we are ….


    Journalist: We killed Arabs. We expelled Arabs. We tortured Arabs. We demolished houses. We destroyed families. What is this talk?

    Settler: But it was the result of their aggression.

    Journalist: It’s the result of a cycle.

    Settler: Wait a moment. Let’s talk about…..

    Journalist: It doesn’t matter now who started it.

    Settler: Of course it’s important. It’s certainly important who started it.

    Journalist: What is this, a kids’ game? “Who started it?”

    Settler: Just a moment. Just a moment. Don’t interru….Just a moment. There was
    aggression. In the war of ’48 our state was at the ceasefire lines. Jerusalem remained outside our territory and we longed for ….

    Journalist: Are we now in history class?

    Settler: We didn’t say we wanted to occupy Greater Israel until they came and attacked us. When they attacked us we returned to the sites of our homeland and we didn’t expel them.

    Interviewer: OK. Thanks.

    Uri Avnery: They didn’t attack us. We attacked them.

    Professor Leibovitch: We expelled. We violated promises we had made.

    Settler: But then even our small country wouldn’t have survived if it weren’t for….
    {Overlapping talk}

    Prof: Three years before the Yom Kippur war [of 1973] they offered us peace. The man who was then the most representative figure of the people in this country said “I prefer to have Sharm al-Shiekh without peace than have peace without Sharm al-Shiekh”.

    Uri Avnery: Precisely.

    Prof: Meaning that the State of Israel does not want peace. It wants occupation.

    Settler: Golda wanted to give back….


    Settler: She was right at the time.

    Prof: I question/doubt if today there is a Jewish People.

    Interviewer: OK. Thanks.

    Prof: I question that immensely.

    Settler: Right.

    Professor Leibovitch: Aha, but I do not doubt that there is a Palestinian people.

    Interviewer: Just a moment, professor Leibovitch, what does it mean that you doubt today that there is a Jewish people?

    Prof: Yes. I doubt….

    Interviewer: Why?

    Prof: Why?! Because there are no substantive/distinctive values today, neither in the physical human existence nor in the spiritual human existence that is today shared among those human beings – who are today about 12 million – who consider themselves as Jews. And they have no shared substantive/distinctive values today. Therefore I do not know if the historical Jewish people still exist.

    Settler: And the conclusion…?


    {Nervous laughter off camera}

    Settler: But facts lead to conclusions…

    Prof: No! Not to every fact is there a conclusion. Some facts one simply must accept. And they don’t have any conclusions.

    Uri Orbach {off Camera}: And every time he raises his voice he also thinks he’s right.

    Gila Almagor: They talked about stones and stone throwers and I want to read a poem of Yehuda Amichai’s […]

    {The imagery of stone throwing is prevalent throughout the poem as it plays on several metaphors. However, the imagery of Israel’s tanks, warplanes, bullets, tear gas, missiles, artillery and bombs does not enter the poem.}

    Gila Almagor {Continues reading, 08:33}:

    “Please, do not throw more stones,

    You are moving the land,

    The land that is holy, that is full, that is open,

    You are moving it into the sea and the sea does not want it,

    The sea is saying: Not in me, she.

    Please throw small stones,

    Throw fossil snails,

    Throw fine gravel,

    Justice or Injustice from the quarries of Migdal Tzedek*,

    Throw soft stones,

    Throw clods of earth that may sweeten,

    Throw gravel,

    Throw the sand that is on the beach,

    Throw paper,

    Throw dust,

    Throw wind,

    Throw vapor [also means “nonsense”],

    Throw the eye until the hands shall tire,

    And the war shall tire,

    And even peace shall tire, and be”.

    {*Migdal Tzedek is a Jewish settlement built on the Palestinian village of Majd al-Sadeq (Pronounced: Majdal Sahdeq). The name Migdal Tzedek literally means Justice Tower. After Zionist attempts to expand the settlement in 1936, the quarries became a point of contention during the Palestinian general strike and subsequent uprising. In 1948, Israeli forces ethnically cleansed the Palestinian village of Majd al-Sadeq whose lands where taken by the Jewish town of Migdal Tzedek.}

    Gila Almagor: And that’s Yehuda Amichai, and thanks a lot.

    Interviewer: Thank you.

    {Debate continues at 09:22}

    Interviewer: Marwan Barghouthi from Ramallah, a Fatah man from Ramallah, I
    don’t know if you heard all the lines of this poem…

    {Barghouthi shakes his head to indicate he didn’t hear much of it}

    Interviewer {continues}: …But the word “stones” repeated several times and certainly has relevance to current events; is this an end to stones, the agreement that was signed in Cairo?

    M. Barghouthi: First of all, I want to say, “Good…Peaceful Evening” to the Israeli people and a “Peaceful evening” to the Palestinian people. Perhaps I don’t speak Hebrew well because I spent 7 years as an expellee and I returned to my homeland one month ago. And I was 7 years in prison, before that. And I suffered. I think the agreement that was signed today is a step in a very long way…

    Interviewer: We hear — that on the Palestinian street, according to the news — there isn’t much happiness or joyous [celebration] in light of the signing of the agreement in Cairo.

    MB: Correct.

    Interviewer: Why is that?

    MB: I know that the Palestinian people, especially in the West Bank, in East Jerusalem are disappointed. It’s true that this agreement is an historic agreement. And you know that the Palestinian people took to the streets on the 13th of September and held parades [in celebration].

    Interviewer: But today there is disappointment you say.

    MB: Yes. There is deep disappointment because there is closure, and tens of thousands of laborers cannot manage ….

    Interviewer: Uri Avnery, why do you think there is such disappointment?


    Interviewer: On the 13th of September, the Palestinians were happy, now, apprehension, or disappointment maybe.

    U. Avnery: The negotiations team from our side squeezed every [last] drop of gaiety, of joy, of juice out of this peace.

    Someone off camera: True.

    UA: And the peace….the arrangement that was signed today is a huge step forward, but its spirit they killed. And today there is an agreement….What’s a good agreement? A good agreement is an agreement where all sides are happy [satisfied] about. Today there is an agreement that…

    {Avnery struggles to find the words, looks to Marwan Barghouthi for help}

    MB: Yes it’s a….

    {Avnery finds the words}

    UA: It’s a step, it’s a step that doesn’t solve the problems and it is accompanied with words of contempt. The prime minister today expressed some very deep scorn for the Palestinians and — not Shimon Peres, by the way. Shimon Peres spoke respectfully. The prime minister talked about…..”What symbols?” The symbols of a Palestinian state are on the way and he derides it.

    Interviewer: The prime minister, you’re saying…you said what you said, you passed criticism about him. You are certainly happy [in light of the agreement], no?

    UA: I am very very happy. I think we are a huge step forward. Those who recall 20 and 30 years ago, they said, “There is no Palestinian people”….the ‘great’ Golda Meier. And here today….20 years ago or 30 years ago we said three things that were considered crazy: a) There is a Palestinian people. [b] There won’t be peace without the Palestinian people. [c] There is no substitute for the PLO, and, the man is Yasser Arafat.


    Interviewer {interrupting}: Thanks. Thanks.

    UA: But these things had….

    Interviewer: In our studio in Tel-Aviv is a man who had always claimed – perhaps he was the only person – his party was incredibly in the minority, today of course he claims the crown of ownership; good evening to you former Knesset member Meier Vilner.

    M. Vilner: Good evening.

    Interviewer: Well? What have you to say now?

    M. Vilner: I say that what we fought for, what I fought for, what I dreamt about, is starting to come true.

    Interviewer: You used to say, Mr. Vilner, that what you thought, what you fought for — in accordance to your definition — did it penetrate the government of Israel today under the leadership of Yitzhak Rabin?

    MV: I wouldn’t go that far. I see in this an important start, but merely a start, where we openly ignore/deny the way forward. There was one thing, throughout many years, about which I agreed with Rabin; that is that Rabin said, “Recognition of the PLO means recognition of a Palestinian state.” I said to him in the Knesset, and outside it, “That is correct. Now you recognized the PLO, something a handful of us in this country had always requested….And, press on. What you said for many years, recognition of the PLO is recognition of a Palestinian state. If you continue with the second half….

    Interviewer: Thanks. Thank you Mr. Vilner. Uri Orbach, you disagree entirely with the things that were said here.

    U. Orbach: Yes. To be honest, if it weren’t so sad I would be amused. People are sitting at a victory party ….We are arguing over who was first to say the wrong thing, and it reminds me of the story about the guy who on a Sunday said “Today is Tuesday.” They said he’s just an idiot. On Monday he said, “Today is Tuesday”. Again, they laughed at him and mocked him. Then on Tuesday he said, “You see? Now everyone suddenly realizes that I was right”. And I say to you, in contrast to the joke, even though today is a Tuesday, you are not right. You’re still not right. Nothing has been proven. That they recognized Arafat and shook his hand and gave him almost all he asked for in small font, in large font, and in other types of fonts, that doesn’t say that your justness won. It must now stand a test. To recognize a murderer and to say that he’s a head of a state and to give him all kinds of respectful titles, that still does not make this just/right.

    U. Avnery: About a week ago, a murderer was elected as the president of South Africa. Do you know that? A man who was one of the heads of terrorism in South Africa.

    {Interruption. Inaudible}

    UA: ….A man who sat 27 years in prison because he refused to sign a denunciation of terrorism.

    U.Orbach: Look, if Arafat were to sit in prison for 27 years, then perhaps we could talk about Arafat….

    Interviewer: Thanks.

    Interviewer: Doctor Yossi Yona from the university of Tel-Aviv …

    Dr. Yona: Jerusalem.

    Interviewer: Jerusalem, sorry. Since you’re a lecturer of philosophy, [could you offer] perhaps a philosophical view to this argument?

    Dr. Yona: Yes. I think that this is indeed an historic moment. But I want to start with a short confession. Today, I heard the live report on the radio and I was on my way to the university. And here I apologize to the students for my tardiness as I was sitting in the car listening to the live report from Cairo. So it is indeed an historic moment. Its significance is very clear. It’s an historic moment and I’m not as joyous as [I’m sure] a Palestinian is. It’s different because he relies on this arrangement as a Palestinian patriot. I am joyous as an Israeli patriot, from my own point of view. And why am I happy as an Israeli patriot? Because this is a turning point for the Zionist enterprise. What is the turning point? That we are reaching a stage here with a moment of conciliation. The Zionist enterprise will attain its final/ultimate victory when we are accepted and our neighbors will accept us. And therefore I think that his step is very very important, an important conciliatory stage and it’s possible that it will lead….again I want to indicate that there are problems/obstacles in the way…

    Interviewer {off camera}: Clearly.

    Dr. Yona: But still, this is an historic moment…

    Interviewer: Thank you. Thanks. We will end with a song.

    • Annie Robbins
      February 25, 2013, 11:48 am

      thank you very much avi.

    • Annie Robbins
      February 25, 2013, 12:03 pm

      wow, the professor really tells her off,watching now..5 minutes in

    • American
      February 25, 2013, 12:57 pm

      @ Avi_G

      Thanks! Very illuminating isn’t it…

      • Avi_G.
        February 25, 2013, 3:27 pm

        I knew you guys would like it.

        I found the discussion to be rather spirited and engaging.

        More importantly, I liked the way in which it encapsulates Israel’s views and relationship with the Palestinians.

        Also note the sentiments of a liberal Zionist, in this case Dr. Yona. Toward the end he shows that his main concern is for the success of the Zionist enterprise and for Israel’s acceptance as a Zionist entity in the region. Issues of morality or legality, vis-a-vis Palestinians, are of little concern. Even philosophy is Zio-centric in Israel. ;)

      • Annie Robbins
        February 25, 2013, 4:03 pm

        someone should put subtitles on the video because more than anything, for me, it represents this conflict as a debate between israelis even tho marwan barghouti was there. and one can see why they want him locked up. he is a very reasonable man. the palestinian voice is mostly absent from the debate in israel. the professor is wonderful.

      • Avi_G.
        February 25, 2013, 6:40 pm

        it represents this conflict as a debate between israelis

        Exactly. In general, even outside the realm of this particular program, much of the debate is either inter-Israeli or inter-Jewish. It’s as though Palestinians are an after thought.

        Also, note that Barghouthi knows his place. Israelis can call Arafat a murderer and Barghouthi is expected to remain silent.

        Had he criticized any Israeli, he wouldn’t have left the studio before being spat at. Know your place and never get uppity. That’s the message Israel has been sending the Palestinians for the last 65 years.

        That’s why Barghouthi didn’t dare say anything negative about the same people who exiled him, nor does he directly criticize Israeli policies. He only tells about the experiences he and his compatriots have had; “I suffered. I was exiled. I was imprisoned. Laborers can’t get jobs. We are frustrated.” Never directly criticizing Israel or Israeli leadership, never laying the blame at their feet.

    • Inanna
      February 26, 2013, 2:54 am

      Much appreciated Avi.

      I also appreciate the context you provide in terms of where the participants fit in on the Israeli spectrum.

      I think that we’ve heard many of these same views many times over the past 2 decades and it makes me feel dispirited because even though moving from “There are not Palestinians” to signing an agreement with Palestinians is a step forward, my guess is that there has not been any movement from the latter position in the last 2 decades.

      But I guess ending it all with a song makes everything alright.

    • Inanna
      February 27, 2013, 12:24 am

      Hey Avi_G if my comment from over a day ago ever gets out of moderation, I expressed my appreciation for your efforts.

    • Inanna
      February 27, 2013, 8:35 pm

      Maybe third time is the charm? Avi_G I’ve got 2 comments that are several days old that are still in moderation for some reason that express my appreciation for your efforts.

  2. Les
    February 25, 2013, 11:45 am

    US funds Abbas’ Judenrat equivalent for just that purpose.

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