Israel to allocate NIS 100 million for BDS battle
Ynet 7 June by Itamar Eichner — “De-legitimization of Israel must be fought, and you are on the front lines,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told attendees in a letter read aloud at a BDS emergency summit organized by Sheldon Adelson in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Thanks to such efforts to combat the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS), “friends of Israel can be armed with facts to defend the truth,” Netanyahu said … Concurrently Netanyahu held talks with several officials over the weekend regarding the possible plans of action to combat BDS. The talks included Strategic Affairs and Information Minister Gilad Erdan, whose office’s purview includes fighting BDS, as well as other officials from relevant ministries. The Israeli government is debating ways to improve cooperation between the different government agencies fighting BDS, and Jewish organizations abroad. The talks included issues of funding and resources for battling the boycott campaign. Netanyahu and Erdan agreed that his office will receive at least NIS 100 million, most of which will go to fighting BDS. Erdan’s office will also receive 10 new positions for employees who will deal solely with the boycott and de-legitimization activities against Israel. The minister mentioned that he is flooded with calls from Jewish leaders from across the globe, who want to join the effort against BDS.
Hollande reassures Netanyahu of France’s anti-boycott stance
Haaretz 7 June by Barak Ravid — PM expresses opposition to proposed French resolution on conflict in the UN security council — French President Francois Hollande told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday evening that he categorically opposes boycotts of Israel and expressed the desire to maintain economic ties between the two countries, according to a statement issued by Netanyahu’s office. Hollande made the remarks in a phone conversation that followed the storm over comments by Orange CEO Stephane Richard last week about his company’s ties with Israel. Netanyahu reaffirmed his commitment to a two-state solution with the Palestinians during the conversation, but expressed opposition to the move by France to pass a resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian issue in the United Nations Security Council, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
AP analysis: Fair to boycott Israel? Global momentum grows
6 June by Dan Perry — In boardrooms and campuses, on social media and in celebrity circles, momentum seems to be growing for a global pressure campaign on Israel. The atmosphere recalls the boycotts that helped demolish apartheid South Africa a quarter century ago. Israel and its partisans can be expected to mount a ferocious defense, but their public relations Achilles’ heel may be the Jewish settlements in the West Bank … Increasingly prominent is the so-called “BDS” (boycott-disinvestment-sanctions) movement, run by Palestinians and leftist activists from around the world. In Israel, politicians have lined up to offer responses, and the talk of the town is how to defend against the boycott peril from abroad … The key part of the Israeli defense rests on Israel’s democratic credentials: the country’s Arab minority, sharing an ethnicity with its enemies, has citizen rights, and in fact, an Israeli Arab political party just posted the third-best result in the election. Critically, however, this argument excludes discussion of the lack of rights for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. Over 2 million Palestinians live in the territory, which was seized from Jordan in a war that began exactly 48 years ago. The Gaza Strip, the other part of the would-be Palestinian state, was also occupied in that war, from Egypt. Israel’s defense, when it claims it is a democracy, is that the West Bank is not part of Israel — just as Iraq was not part of the United States after the 2003 invasion. But there are key differences. Israel builds towns there: about a half-million Israelis live either in West Bank settlements or in former West Bank land incorporated into east Jerusalem, also occupied in the 1967 war. The Israeli settlers can vote in Israeli elections and serve in government as if they live in Israel, but the Palestinians living in the territory cannot….
Israel telecoms firm not satisfied by Orange apologies
JERUSALEM (AFP) 6 June — The Israeli telecoms firm at the heart of a controversy involving France’s Orange that has caused a diplomatic storm said Saturday it is unhappy with Orange’s response to the matter. Partner, Israel’s second largest mobile operator, said Orange chairman Stephane Richard’s declared intent to sever the agreement granting Partner use of the Orange name “continue to cause enormous damage to the Orange brand in Israel and hurt Israeli citizens.” And since making the remarks Wednesday in Cairo, Richard has been contrite. He told Israel’s Yediot Aharonot newspaper “we love Israel,” and the office of Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said he had received a call on Friday to apologise. But Partner is unimpressed. “The recent statements… are nothing more than a smokescreen, the object of which is to manipulate public opinion in Israel and the world,” Saturday’s statement said, slamming what it called Richard’s “offensive statements, apologies and vague and evasive expressions.” “Partner wishes to stress that we have to this day received no official communication (from Orange).”
Violence / Raids / Suppression of protests / Arrests
Israeli forces injure 2 protesters near Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 7 June — Israeli occupation forces opened fire on Friday evening, near Jerusalem, injuring two citizens. Soldiers opened fire at unarmed Palestinian protesters in Abu-Dis, east of occupied Jerusalem, Days of Palestine reports. Witnesses said that the soldiers fired tear gas canisters, stun grenades and rubber-coated metal bullets to disperse the protesters. One of the wounded, according to Red Crescent, was hit in the head and suffered a wound was described as moderate, while the other was hit in his waist and suffered “light” wounds. In response to the Israeli aggression, the Palestinian protesters threw stones at the soldiers.
Palestinian man injured in hit-and-run by Israeli settler car
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 8 June — A Palestinian man was injured late Sunday in a hit-and-run incident involving an Israeli settler near the Ariel settlement, Palestinian officials said. Mustafa Salih Muslih, 56, was taken to a private hospital in Nablus after being knocked down by a settler vehicle, which fled the scene.
Israeli soldiers shoot 2 men in Beit Jala after pipe bomb thrown
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 June — Israeli soldiers shot and injured two Palestinian men on Sunday night after a pipe bomb was thrown at the District Coordination Office in Beit Jala, near Bethlehem. Medics told Ma‘an that one young man was shot in the foot and another in the shoulder after they threw the explosive device at the base. Israeli forces raided Beit Jala following the incident and temporarily closed a gate on the main road. The DCO is located at the top of Beit Jala near the al-Makhrour valley area.
Israeli forces suppress protest over confiscated West Bank church
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 6 June — Israeli forces on Saturday suppressed a march protesting the recent purchase by Israeli settlers of a church compound in the southern West Bank. The 38-dunam compound, known as Beit al-Baraka, is located to the north of al-‘Arrub refugee camp between Bethlehem and Hebron. It has been in the spotlight since an investigative report by Israeli newspaper Haaretz last month alleged that an American millionaire, Irving Moskowitz, purchased the site through a Swedish company in 2012 with the intention of turning it into a settlement outpost. Dozens of activists took part in the march that was also commemorating the anniversary of the Six-Day War, which began on June 5, 1967, a day known by Palestinians as the Naksa, meaning setback. Israeli forces prevented the march from reaching Beit al-Baraka, reportedly assaulting protesters and injuring one activist identified as Younis Arrar who was pushed to the ground … The march had been called for by the Palestinian People’s Party, local popular committees of Beit Ummar and a committee for defending Hebron.A member of the Palestinian People’s Party, Rashad Tmeizeh, said that the protest took place in front of the church compound to emphasize that the building is part of Palestinian lands occupied by Israel in 1967. A popular committee activist, Youssef Abu Maria, called for more protests in front of the site until the plans to turn it into a settlement outpost are thwarted … The church lies in a sensitive location, which when settled, will see Israeli settlements stretch all the way from the Gush Etzion settler bloc south of Jerusalem to the cluster of settlements around Hebron.
Several kidnapped by Israeli forces across West Bank and Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 7 June — Israeli forces detained eight Palestinians across the occupied West Bank overnight Saturday, the Israeli army said … Witnesses told Ma‘an News Agency that five Israeli vehicles entered Kafr Qaddum, east of Qalqiliya, firing tear gas canisters, stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets before they detained 17-year-old Majid Mahmoud Jumaa, who was out on the street. In Hebron, locals said Israeli troops had detained Zeid Akram al-Qawasmi after ransacking and damaging his house. A statement from the Palestinian prisoner’s society in Hebron also said that Israeli forces had detained a 25-year-old woman, Sabrin Khalil Abu Sharar, from her house in Dora near Hebron. The woman’s father said Israeli troops ransacked their home at dawn hours before taking Sabrin to an unknown location. The other five Palestinians detained remain unidentified.
Al Ray further reports that Israeli forces had deployed heavily on Sunday morning at the entrance of occupied Jerusalem, where they detained a young man and a child from Al ‘Issawiya, in the Old City … Head of Jerusalemite prisoners committee, Amjad Abu Asab, stated that soldiers detained the minor, Amir Basti, 17, while he was participating in decorating Bab Hetta lane in the old city in preparations for Ramadan month. Abu Asab explained that a group of Mista’arvim [undercover Israeli forces] attacked the young men in Bab Hetta lane, and kidnapped the minor Basti without clear charges. Basti will stand trial in front of the Israeli magistrate court to consider extending his detention. Forces had also detained Mohamed Elian, 21, from Al ‘Issawiya village, and he was taken to Al Maskobia interrogation center. Clashes erupted later, in Bab Hettan and Al Siwan neighborhood, where soldiers fired sound and gas bombs.
Israeli forces detain 6 Palestinians across West Bank
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 8 June — Israeli forces detained up to six Palestinian men across the West Bank overnight Sunday, the Israeli army and Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an. Palestinian security sources said that Israeli forces entered the village of Asira al-Shamaliya north of Nablus and took into custody 22-year-old Makin Muhammad Saadah from his house in the village center. Meanwhile, Israeli police officers arrested two unidentified Palestinian men near the town of Beita south of Nablus, sources said. They were reportedly handed over to Israeli forces who took them to a military base in the town of Huwwara south of Nablus. An Israeli army spokeswoman could only confirm that one Palestinian had been detained in the Nablus district. She also said that one Palestinian had been arrested in Tulkarem, one in Ramallah, and one in Bethlehem.
7 Palestinian workers narrowly survive Gaza tunnel collapse
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 June – Seven Palestinian workers narrowly escaped death after a smuggling tunnel collapsed beneath the southern Gaza Strip’s border with Egypt, sources told Ma‘an. Sources said that Palestinian Civil Defense rescue teams had managed to pull out the workers who were trapped under rubble after the tunnel collapsed while they were inside it. Smuggling tunnels that pass beneath the Egyptian border have served as a lifeline to the outside world for Gaza’s 1.8 million inhabitants since Israel imposed a crippling siege on the coastal enclave in 2007, which is supported by Egypt … The smuggling tunnels are notoriously dangerous, and workers are frequently killed working inside them.The Institute for Palestine Studies reported in 2012 that Hamas authorities had counted 160 deaths inside the tunnels since the Israeli blockade began in 2007, and in August 2014, Al-Jazeera reported that figure to be as high as 400.
Turgeman: Israel won’t launch operation over a few rockets
Ynet 7 June by Matan Tzuri & Elior Levy — The mayors of Israeli towns surrounding the Gaza Strip met with IDF Chief of the Southern Command, Major General Sami Turgeman Sunday night when the IDF official told locals that Israel won’t launch a military operation in Gaza in response to cases of sporadic rocket fire from the Strip that lands in open areas in Israel. Turgeman did stress however, that the military would respond accordingly in such instances, most likely with targeted air strikes as seen in the early hours of Sunday morning. Hamas, claimed Turgeman, is working hard to prevent sporadic attacks like the three instances seen in the last several days – rocket strikes for which ISIS supporters claimed responsibility. The general added that great effort was going toward increasing the IDF’s defense capabilities against such attacks from rockets and tunnels dug by Hamas. The mayors at the meeting told Turgeman that they understood that the situation was complicated and said that they trusted the IDF to act appropriately.
Israel hits Gaza, closes crossings after rocket attack
GAZA CITY (AFP) 7 June — Israeli warplanes struck Gaza early Sunday for the second time in three days after cross-border rocket fire by an Islamic extremist group which is locked in a power struggle with Hamas. It was the third time Israel had staged retaliatory air strikes on the war torn Gaza Strip in the past fortnight after three instances of rocket fire, all of which were claimed by Salafist extremists loosely allied with the Islamic State group. During the raids, the air force hit “terrorist infrastructure” in northern Gaza, the military said. The government also ordered the closure until further notice of the Erez crossing for people and the Kerem Shalom crossing for goods. Israel said it held Hamas responsible for all attacks emanating from the Palestinian enclave, where it is the de facto power, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning that nobody would prevent Israel from defending itself. “I have not heard anyone in the international community condemn this firing; neither has UN said a word,” he told ministers at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. “It will be interesting if this silence continues when we use our full strength to uphold our right to defend ourselves. Let it be clear: The spreading hypocrisy in the world will not tie our hands and prevent us from protecting Israel’s citizens.” Palestinian security sources and witnesses said the raids targeted a training site belonging to Hamas’ armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, in the northern Beit Lahiya area.
White House backs Israel over air strike on Gaza
KRUEN, Germany (Reuters) 7 June — The White House reaffirmed on Sunday its support for Israel’s right to defend itself after Israeli aircraft struck the Gaza Strip in retaliation for a series of Palestinian rocket attacks. “Clearly the U.S. stands with the people of Israel as they defend their people and their nation against these kind of attacks,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest, accompanying President Barack Obama at a G7 summit in Germany, told reporters.
Israel to reopen Gaza crossings after brief closure
AFP 8 June — Israel was to reopen its border crossings with the Gaza Strip on Monday, the IDF said, after closing them in the wake of a series of rocket attacks from Gaza. “I can confirm that they are opening,” an IDF spokeswoman.
Israel grants 90 permits to Gaza businessmen for 1st time since 2007
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 5 June — Israeli authorities on Friday granted Palestinian businessmen from the Gaza Strip permits for the first time since 2007, officials at the Palestinian liaison said. An official told Ma‘an that Israel granted 90 “BMG” permits to Gazan businessmen to facilitate their movement for 6 months. Businessmen in Gaza have previously been granted “BMC” permits. A BMC permit allows its holder to enter Israel through crossings or checkpoints used by Israelis, for example to travel via Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv. The permits were changed however to “BMG” permits, which last for six months rather than a couple days, according to COGAT guidelines for administering the permits. Carriers of BMG permits enable the businesspersons to enter Israel as well to travel via Allenby bridge as “VIP” travelers, however travel via Israeli airports requires a separate approval process. The new permits are being issued amid a reported increase in the detention of Gazan business workers at the Erez crossing in March and February of this year. “The Erez crossing has become a trap for Gaza merchants who have newly received entry permits from Israel,” a Palestinian liaison official told Ma‘an after an electronics salesman was detained in March. Israel, he added, had recently started to issue entry permits to new Gaza traders while veteran businessmen were being denied entry.
Egypt quashes Hamas terror listing
CAIRO (AFP) 6 June — An Egyptian court on Saturday quashed a February decision by another tribunal branding the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas a “terrorist” group, a court official said. He told AFP that the earlier ruling was thrown out because the court that issued it was not “competent” to make such verdicts … The Islamist movement had strongly condemned the February verdict — which came a month after another court ruled Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, a “terrorist group”. Egypt is a traditional broker between Israel and Hamas. On Saturday, the group issued a brief statement saying that the new ruling corrects “a wrong decision.” “Hamas welcomes the Egyptian court’s decision,” it added … Egyptian authorities have accused Hamas of backing jihadists who have carried out deadly attacks on security forces in the Sinai Peninsula that borders the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip … In March 2014, Egypt banned all Hamas activities on its soil and froze its assets.
VIDEO: All aboard. Witnesses of the Mavi Marmara attack (2010)
Published on Jun 4, 2015— On May 31, 2010 the Freedom Flotilla was attacked by Israeli commandos in international waters. Three years later, there is still a legal trial in Turkey filed against those who hold responsability of the Mavi Marmara. The case has been taken to the International Criminal Court and there are several cases still open in many parts of the world. The Mavi Marmara survivers demand justice and continue fighting against the impunity of one of the world’s strongest countries.
For more information: http://www.freedomflotilla.org Video made by: http://www.laura-arau.com
Khader Adnan is starving for freedom again
ARRABEH (EI) 6 June by Budour Youssef Hassan — Maali was only 4 years old when her father, Khader Adnan, embarked on a 66-day hunger strike in protest at being held without charge or trial, a practice known as administrative detention, after his December 2011 arrest by Israeli occupation forces. All she could understand back then was that her father was starving himself to be reunited with her and her sister Bisan — and to be next to their mother when she gave birth to baby Abd al-Rahman. Adnan was released in April 2012. Three years later, at age 37, he is being held in administrative detention yet again — and has entered his second month of yet another hunger strike. Maali, now 7 years old, explains that he’s doing it to “demand his freedom and defend the rights of prisoners.” … His wife Randa laments the lack of mobilization in support of Khader Adnan although it has been more than 30 days since he began the strike … Adnan’s father believes that one of the factors contributing to the relative silence is fear. Not fear of Israel, however, but of the Palestinian Authority. “The Palestinian Authority regards my son as a threat because while Khader supports all forms of resistance, the Palestinian Authority supports all forms of normalization,” he said.
Khader Adnan in ‘critical condition’ as hunger strike continues‘
PSP 7 June — Adnan, who staged one of the longest hunger strikes in history in 2012, is showing sharp weight loss and low heart rate as a result of his ongoing protest of being held in Israeli prison under administrative detention, PA offical Issa Qaraqe said.
12 Palestinian members of parliament are in Israeli prison
+972blog 6 June by Noam Rotem — While we often hear Palestinian prisoners in the news, little is said about the lawmakers currently sitting in Israeli prisons. Many of them have spent years in jail, often as political prisoners in administrative detention, suffering beatings, interrogations and imprisonment in difficult conditions. Yet many of them still see a chance of living side-by-side with Israel, whether in one or two states — An Israeli military court decided last week to continue detaining Khalida Jarrar, a member of the Palestinian parliament, who has been imprisoned by Israel for the past two months. Jarrar was first arrested and put in administrative detention, which in effect meant that she could be held indefinitely without being charged or seeing trial. However, in the wake of a global campaign for her release, the state decided to release her from administrative detention and put her on trial. Jarrar is not the only member of the Palestinian parliament, known as the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), to be held by Israel. Israel is currently imprisoning 12 other Palestinians parliamentarians, who were elected in the last democratic elections to take place in the Palestinian Authority in 2006. Some are in administrative detention, which in the eyes of the international community makes them political prisoners who are being held solely due to their political and social activities. According to statistics published by the Israel Prison Service on April 30, there are 394 administrative detainees in Israeli prisons. The very fact that Israel indefinitely holds Palestinian prisoners without charges is problematic in itself — but when we are talking about elected officials, the problem grows tenfold. Take Jarrar, for instance, who was placed under administrative detention until she was formally charged. Why? Because she belongs to an organization that she represents in the Palestinian parliament to which she was democratically elected.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restrictions on movement
Israel ‘minimising Palestinian presence’ in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Al Jazeera) 7 June by Patrick Strickland — The increase in forced evictions is part of Israeli policy to push Palestinians out of Jerusalem, rights groups say — Raafat Sub Laban, 27, is a legal researcher who was born and raised in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s historical Old City. Although his grandparents moved into their home more than six decades ago and passed it on to his mother, the Sub Laban family is now facing an eviction order to make way for Israeli settlers. Standing outside an Israeli court in East Jerusalem, Raafat explained that his family “has nowhere else to go”, adding that his parents, siblings and their children all live in the house. “There are nine of us, including two children aged three and nine years old,” Raafat told Al Jazeera. “Where are we supposed to go? This is our home.” … “Increased numbers of arrests and forced evictions prove that the [Israeli] government remains committed to minimising the city’s indigenous Palestinian population and expanding illegal Israeli presence,” Rima Awad, a member of the Jerusalemites Campaign, a group that advocates for Palestinian rights in the city, told Al Jazeera. The Sub Laban family was secure in their home until last year, when an Israeli court stripped them of their status as protected tenants on the grounds that they hadn’t been consistently living in the home and had allegedly neglected it. The settlers have also argued for the Sub Lubans’ eviction by evoking an Israeli law permitting Jews to make claim to Palestinian property that was registered under Jewish ownership before Israel’s establishment. Passed in 1970 and deemed the East Jerusalem Law, it allows owners to evict residents who have not consistently lived on the premises or paid rent. Settlers have knocked on their door twice this year and tried to take over the property, first in February and again in March.
Donkeys the only means of transportation for Palestinian farmers
[with video] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 June — Uncommon as it may be to see a beast of burden making use of a highway, in the western outskirts of Bethlehem the sight of donkeys walking up and down Route 60 has become a daily occurrence due to Israeli restrictions on movement. Donkeys are in many cases the only means of transportation for Palestinian farmers wishing to access their fields in Area C after Israel closed the main agricultural roads leading to them. Even where it is possible to take tractors and heavy machinery onto the fields, locals have reported Israeli authorities confiscating them, sometimes for lacking proper registration but also for coming too close to illegal Israeli settlements. “I travel tens of kilometers back and forth on the back of my donkey to access my land near the Gush Etzion settlement bloc,” Ibrahim Issa Mousa, a farmer from the village of al-Khader south of Bethlehem, told Ma‘an. He said his donkey is his only means of transportation, without which, “I would never be able to reach my land after the Israeli occupation closed all exits and agricultural roads appropriate for vehicles.” … “Donkey prices range from 250 Jordanian Dinars (about $400) to 800 Dinars (about $1300),” Salah said, adding that farmers are also required to buy specialized equipment, including packsaddles and metal boxes for loading. Omar Naim, who sells and makes packing and tilling equipment, told Ma‘an that he has seen an increasing number of customers in recent years. Al-Khader has seen thousands of dunams of land cut off by the Israeli separation wall, with access only possible through a road connecting with Route 60.
Other news, opinion
Israeli minister calls on world to recognise Golan annexation
JERUSALEM (AFP) 7 June – A far-right Israeli minister on Sunday called for the international community to endorse his country’s 1981 annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights, where he called for increased Jewish settlement. “I call on the international community… to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan,” Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, said in a speech at a time of increasing world pressure on Israel over the occupied West Bank and Arab east Jerusalem. Bennett sees the sparsely populated Golan as a very different case from the Palestinian territories and a vital buffer between Israel and the turmoil raging a few hundred metres (yards) away where the Syrian government has lost control of the border region to rebels. “I understand that there is a disagreement on Judaea and Samaria, what the world calls the West Bank. I understand that on this we shall agree to disagree,” he said. “But the Golan, to ban agricultural exports from the Golan? Where is the logic, where is your morality.”
China demands workers sent to Israel not be put in West Bank settlements
Haaretz 7 June by Meirav Arlosoroff — Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s plan to bring Chinese construction workers to Israel to accelerate home building has hit a diplomatic snag as Beijing conditions signing a bilateral labor accord on its nationals not working in West Bank settlements. China’s condition, which it says is due to safety concerns rather than politics, has snagged implementation of a year-old cabinet resolution authorizing an increase in the number of foreign construction workers initially to 8,000 and later to 15,000. The extra workers are part of a range of government efforts to build more homes and bring down prices, but without an accord with China, the 8,000 target hasn’t been reached. The stalemate with China comes as Israel comes under pressure from Europe to distinguish between pre-1967 Israel and West Bank settlements.
Erdogan: Turkey’s abrasive ‘Sultan’ suffers setback
ANKARA (AFP) 7 June by Burak Akinci, Stuart Williams in Istanbul –– Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has dominated Turkey for over a decade first as premier and now as president, has suffered the worst election setback of his career in legislative polls amid increasing controversy over his polarising rule. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) co-founded by Erdogan won the most votes in Sunday’s elections but lost its absolute majority in parliament for the first time since it came to power in 2002. The result has scuttled Erdogan’s plan to push through the constitutional changes he yearns for to create a presidential system that would give him greater powers.
Hezbollah vows to displace ‘millions’ in Israel if Lebanon attacked
BEIRUT (AFP) 5 June — The head of Lebanon’s powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah threatened on Friday that his group would displace “millions” in Israel if the Jewish state attacks Lebanon. Hassan Nasrallah made the threat in a televised address weeks after an Israeli army official warned that Israel would “have to” target civilian areas in Lebanon in a future confrontation with Hezbollah. “If they threaten to displace 1.5 million Lebanese, then the Islamic resistance in Lebanon (Hezbollah) threatens to displace millions of Israelis,” Nasrallah hit back. “We are not afraid of your war or of your threats,” he said. “If you assume that we are busy in Syria, then you are wrong — because this changes nothing in how we deal with our enemy.”
Israel’s grip on the Palestinian tourism industry
+972 blog 5 June by Amjad Alqasis — Through a regime of permits, licenses and visas, Israel controls who guides most tourists to the Holy Land, what they are told and where they spend their money. Can Palestinians use tourism to take back the discourse on occupation? — Israel’s occupation and colonization of Palestine is not limited to its military elements — the occupation is also manifested in Israel’s use of tourism as a political tool. Tourism is used to strengthen Israel’s position as occupying power, to maintain its domination over Palestinian land and people, but also as an instrument for the dissemination of propaganda to millions of tourists, including politicians, community leaders and journalists who sometimes receive free-of-charge first-class tours to Israel. All of these trips are accompanied by well-drilled Israeli tour guides spread the official Israeli narrative among visitors. This narrative is crafted through the omission of crucial information, and by ensuring that there is little or no contact between visitors and local Palestinian communities. Simply put, Israel knows that being exposed to the present and historical realities of the occupation would have a transformative effect on the majority of tourists to Palestine. Such tourists might then return to their home countries as opponents to Israel’s oppressive policies against Palestinians — the opposite effect of the tours sponsored by pro-Israel organizations.
Why I won’t be participating in Tel Aviv’s Pride Parade
+972 blog 7 June by Fady Khoury – –Israeli security forces exploit Palestinians’ sexual orientation to blackmail them into becoming collaborators. The Israeli LGBT mainstream’s silence about this persecution exposes a moral lapse — This weekend, LGBT Israelis will take to the streets of Tel Aviv as part of the yearly Pride Parade, this year under the banner, “gender equality and support for the transgender community.” People from all over the world will throng to the streets of Tel Aviv, adorned with rainbow flags and Israeli flags, all in order to take part in the days-long party. It is a massive tourist attraction and the pride and joy of Tel Aviv … However, the Tel Aviv parade is problematic, particularly from the perspective of LGBT Palestinians — which, if you ask me, should be problematic for the entire LGBT community. It is partly problematic because of its official institutional sponsorship. But primarily, it is problematic because while LGBT Jewish-Israelis take to the streets, either to celebrate or as an expression of political protest, the same state that is sponsoring their celebrations within the Green Line is also exploiting sexual orientation to blackmail gay Palestinians on the other side of the Green Line. There, the state threatens to expose Palestinians’ sexual orientation if they don’t collaborate with the security forces, which in certain cases, is a direct threat to their lives.
Study: Israelis, Palestinians would gain billions from peace
AP 8 June — RAND Corp. says two sides stand to receive significant economic benefits if peace deal is reached, and lose much more if not; two-state solution found to be by far the best scenario financially — The RAND Corp., a US-based nonprofit research organization, interviewed some 200 officials from the region and elsewhere during more than two years of research into the costs of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Its main finding was that following a peace agreement, Israelis stood to gain $120 billion over the course of a decade. The Palestinians would gain $50 billion, marking a 36-percent rise in their average per-capita income, the report said. In contrast, the Israeli economy would lose some $250 billion in foregone economic opportunities in a return to violence, and the Palestinians would see their per-capita gross domestic product fall by as much as 46 percent, the report said. The findings are in line with long-time arguments that peace is in the economic interest of both sides.
Opinion: For the sins of occupation, boycotts are a light punishment / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 7 June — Orange or SodaStream, academic or artistic boycott, the penalties will grow worse the longer Israel persists in settling, exploiting and stealing Palestinian land — What are you defending? What are you fighting for? … Why is the boycott starting to gnaw at Israel now, and is this all worth it? As usual, there are questions that are not even asked. Soul-searching, after all, is a clear sign of weakness. And so an explanation has been invented that absolves us of responsibility: The boycott fell out of the sky, an unavoidable force majeure of Israel hatred, and the only way to fight it is to fight right back at them … The Israelis are fighting for their right to persist in settling, exploiting and stealing land; to continue breaking international law that prohibits settlement, to continue to thumb its nose at the whole world, which does not recognize any settlements. They are now defending their right to shoot children who throw stones and helpless fishermen pursuing the crumbs of a livelihood in the sea off the coast of Gaza, their right to continue snatching people from their beds in the middle of the night in the West Bank; they are fighting for the right to detain hundreds of people without trial, to hold political prisoners, to abuse them. That is what they are protecting, that is what they are fighting for — for an area that most of them have not been to for years, and don’t care what happens there, for conduct that is shameful even to some of them. These are the sins and this is the punishment. Does anyone think that Israel can go on without being punished? Without being ostracized? And to tell the truth, doesn’t Israel deserve to be punished? Hasn’t the world been unbelievably tolerant so far?
Book Review: How the Israeli-Palestinian conflict divided US Jews and blacks / Alex Kane
Haaretz 7 June — ‘A Shadow Over Palestine’ by Keith P. Feldman probes how the conflict affected political thinking of American liberals, black radicals and Arab activists and how they then informed the contested terrain of race in the U.S. — The annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC] policy conference in March featured tributes to the famous 1965 march in Selma, Alabama to demand expanded voting rights for black Americans, including a particularly stirring speech from U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice. “The Jewish community amplified the rightness and the urgency of the civil rights movement with its own unassailable moral compass — guided by the basic principle that people should be free in their own land,” she told the crowd. “I stand before you knowing that I and many others would not be where we are today without all those who fought for equal rights — African Americans and white Americans, including so many Jewish Americans.” Rice is right: Liberal Jews did march in Selma alongside black civil rights activists. However, this narrative of two minorities working together for the betterment of America papers over real conflict that has existed over the years between blacks and Jews in the United States. Some of the friction between blacks and Jews, most of whom are considered white, stemmed from economic inequality, while some resulted from political differences … Feldman ends with a look at how different groups in the United States continue to link Palestine with domestic issues, an internationalist vision that owes much to the ‘60s and ‘70s-era movements he writes about. Academic groups like the American Studies Association, concerned with U.S. settler colonialism that eviscerated indigenous cultures in America from the 16th century onward, have endorsed the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement targeting Israel over human rights violations. Meanwhile, the U.S. establishment has looked to Israel as a source of inspiration. The New York Police Department’s surveillance of Muslims was modeled on Israel’s methods in the West Bank, while the neoconservative movement, empowered under the Bush administration, figured Israel as the front lines of the U.S. “war on terror.”