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Under cover of night, nine Jewish families take over two buildings in Silwan

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An Israeli flag decorates the right-wing Jewish settler complex of Beit Yonatan in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. March 1, 2010. (Photo: David Silverman/Getty Images Europe)

972 mag reports: “Nine Jewish Israeli families took over two empty buildings in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem overnight Sunday. According to the NGO Ir Amim, the families took control over 10 housing units in two buildings in the heart of Silwan. They moved in under the auspices of Ateret Cohanim, a settler organization based in the Muslim quarter of the Old City that works to create a Jewish demographic majority in East Jerusalem.”

Chomsky at 85

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noam chomsky

Marc Ellis comments on Noam Chomsky’s recent appearance at the United Nations

Israeli settlers set West Bank mosque aflame in ‘price tag’ arson attack

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Hebrew graffiti spray-painted on a wall at the entrance of a mosque that had been set alight in the West Bank village of Aqraba, near Nablus October 14, 2014. The graffiti reads, "Price tag. Tapuah is Kahane".   (Photo: REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini)

Reuters reports: “A mosque [Abu Baker al-Saddiq] was set alight in a suspected arson attack in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday and the name of an Israeli vigilante group called ‘price tag’ was found scribbled on an outside wall, Palestinian officials and witnesses said. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin condemned the incident in ‘Aqraba, a village east of Nablus, and urged Israel’s police chief to head an investigation adding that the case ‘should be treated as terrorism.'”

Deconstructing John Kerry’s address to the Gaza Donors Conference

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during the Gaza Donor Conference in Cairo, Egypt, Oct. 12, 2014. (Photo: AP)

John Kerry’s address to the Gaza Donors Conference in Cairo on Sunday was remarkably vacant, if not disingenuous. Reading through Kerry’s address paragraph by paragraph is an exercise in futility. Yet the political ramifications are extreme. Everyone knows that after the Gaza war a profound reckoning is needed. Yet John Kerry – and the Gaza Donors Conference – isn’t even clos

Israeli settlers terrorize annual Palestinian olive harvest

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olive-palestinian-_1106310c

Ma‘an reports: A large group of Israeli settlers on Saturday morning violently beat a young Palestinian woman while she was picking olives from trees in an orchard in the village of Yasuf in the Salfit district in the central West Bank, a Palestinian official said.

Stop the Yom Kippur prayers if they don’t make sense in the Gaza rubble

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Abdul Rahman describes destruction in Beit Hanoun, photo by Max Blumenthal

Devastation as far as the eye can see is our Yom Kippur geography. If a closing prayer is a must, chant the Amidah. The Shema. Anything that comes to mind. With a caveat. Stop the prayers if they don’t make sense in the Gaza rubble. If a prayer doesn’t make sense when the names of the murdered are read, call up another prayer. This goes for any comments that are made as well. If they make sense in the presence of the Gazan dead. Otherwise be silent

‘Only a suicidal country doesn’t recognize the Bedouin problem': Israeli minister seeks ways to lower Bedouin birthrate

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Al-Arakib, an unrecognized village of the Al-Turi Arab Bedouin tribe (8 km north of Beersheba), being demolished for the 54th time in August 2013. (Photo: Eloise Bollack)

Haaretz reports: “Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir said during a visit to the south on Sunday that he was examining ways to lower the birthrate of the Bedouin community. Shamir heads the ministerial committee on Bedouin resettlement arrangements. “We have to take all the Bedouin and get them out of the desert a bit and bring them closer to a normal state from the perspective of legislation, life expectancy, education and livelihood,” Shamir said. “Perhaps we could even deal with the phenomenon of multiple wives to reduce the birthrate and raise the standard of living.”

Rosh Hashanah After Gaza

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Rabbi Jill Jacobs, T'ruah

Rabbi Jill Jacobs’s words are worth considering as the High Holiday season begins: “To be a rabbi is to be a moral leader. Moral leadership requires us to move beyond cheerleading to drawing on our tradition acknowledge fear, address ethical questions, offer loving critique, and inspire the hope that will move our communities toward supporting peace.” As Executive Director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, Rabbi Jacobs is a religious leader with ethics at the core of her Jewishness. She should be congratulated for her efforts. But no matter how much passion she brings to her task, there’s something essential missing from her analysis

West Bank settlers exporting dates labelled as ‘Made in Palestine’

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An Israeli date palm orchard in the Jordan Valley. (Photo: Moti Milrod/Haaretz)

Middle East Monitor reports: “Along one of the roads in the city of Ariha in the north of the occupied West Bank, merchants Khaldoun and Hassan regularly receive 30 tons of dates produced in the neighbouring Israeli agricultural settlements, in preparation for their transfer to one of the packaging factories built on the outskirts of the city, Anadolu news agency reported. Inside the factory, about 13 miners are working on “screening” the dates and repackaging them in bags that read “dates of the Holy Land” in both Arabic and English and “Made in Palestine” in order to market them locally, in the Arab states and in Europe.”

After war, children in Gaza return to school

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The girl in this photo didn't wear the school uniform; she wore the last dress her mother bought for her - she lost all her family. (Photo: Mohammed Zeyara/Facebook)

The AP reports: Some half million Gaza children made a delayed return to school on Sunday after a devastating 50-day war with Israel that killed more than 2,100 Palestinians and damaged hundreds of school buildings

Report: 10,000 have fled Gaza in past 8 months due to siege and Israeli attack

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Palestine News Network reports: Numbers of Palestinians from Gaza illegally emigrating to Egypt and Europe have tripled since the Israeli assault on the enclave, sources told PNN. It is claimed as many as 10,000 people have fled in the last 8 months as life in Gaza has become unbearab

Brant Rosen’s prophetic voice elevated him beyond the rabbinic politics of our day

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Rabbi Brant Rosen

Marc Ellis writes: “Reading Rabbi Rosen’s letter of resignation and the Tribune article I can’t help but think of the Biblical saga. Out of the blue the prophets arise, are shot down, then reappear. It hasn’t changed much in thousands of years. The prophetic is too deeply ingrained in Jewish life to pass quietly into our newly embraced colonial night. Apparently, synagogues are not for prophets. Those who practice the prophetic and attend synagogue, should take note. Your expulsion is inevitable.”

Rabbi Brant Rosen steps down from Jewish Reconstructionist Synagogue saying his activism on Israel/Palestine has been ‘lightning rod for division’

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Rabbi Brant Rosen

The Jewish Reconstruction Synagogue in Evanston, Illinois is looking for a new rabbi. Rabbi Brant Rosen is moving on. In a letter to the congregation Rosen wrote: “it has become clear that my [Israel/Palestine] activism has become a lightning rod for division at JRC. This crisis has taken an increasingly emotional toll on our community – and it has taken a considerable toll on my own well being as well. Given the current environment in our congregation, I believe my decision to resign is the healthiest one for all concerned.”

Deconstructing J Street’s statement on the latest Israeli land grab

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J Street founder Jeremy Ben-Ami speaking at the group's conference in 2012. (Photo: J Street)

J Street had trouble finding its voice during Israel’s bombardment and invasion of Gaza. Now after some internal infighting and desertions, J Street is back, ostensibly seizing the moment with Israel’s confiscation of Palestinian land on the West Bank. Yes, back it is, but to where is the important question

‘It’s 120 years that the world has opposed our construction, and we’ll continue to do it': Naftali Bennett defends Israeli settlement expansion

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Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)

Israeli government ministers Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni argue that the Israeli government’s decision to appropriate nearly 1,000 acres of Palestinian land to build settlements in the West Bank will hurt Israel internationally, but Economy Minister Naftali Bennett says “It’s 120 years that the world has opposed our construction, and we’ll continue to do it.”

Although focus has been on Gaza, Israel’s plan for the West Bank is still in place

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Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)

Israel isn’t resting content with its gains in Gaza. Hence the new settlement expansion and the confiscation of land in the West Bank. So having withdrawn troops from Gaza, though still keeping its (somewhat adjusted) blockade in place, Israel is pushing the international Israel-gets-to-keep-all-it-has-taken envelo

Occupied Religion

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Ohr Somayach plans to open a yeshiva in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. (Photo: Wikimedia)

The Gaza war appears over – for now – but while Gazans are picking up body parts amid the rubble, the settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank are expanding. There’s even a yeshiva set to open in East Jerusalem. Just what the (un)Holy Land needs, more – occupied – religion. After all that’s where this invasion of Gaza ostensibly started.