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New Israeli bill aims to put Palestinian stone-throwers in jail for 10-20 years

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A Palestinian protestor prepares to throw a stone towards Israeli security forces during clashes at the entrance of the Jalama checkpoint, near the West Bank city of Jenin, on February 24, 2013. (Photo: Saif Dahlah / AFP)

Al Jazeera reports: Adoption of a bill by Israeli cabinet ministers aimed at imposing tougher penalties on stone-throwers is the latest discriminatory measure by Israel, singling out Palestinians, a Palestinian diplomat has told Al Jazeera. The draft law stipulates 10 years in jail for stone-throwers without the need to prove the defendant’s intention to harm anyone. “When it comes to the Palestinians and Israelis, Israel has two different judicial systems. One is applicable to Israeli citizens and the other for Palestinians,” Maen Rashid Areikat, the chief of Palestinian Liberation Organisation Delegation in Washington DC, told Al Jazeera.

Israeli President: Academic boycott of Israel is ‘strategic threat of the first order’

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Haaretz reports: President Reuven Rivlin yesterday described academic boycotts against Israel as a “strategic threat of the first order.” During a discussion of the issue at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, the chairman of the Council of Presidents of Israeli Universities, Technion president Prof. Peretz Lavie, said it was still possible to stop the snowball effect of the movement, but warned that “we are at the 90th minute.”

West Bank Palestinians stuck in three-hour traffic jam due to Israeli settler bike race

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(Photo: Ma'an Images)

Ma‘an reports: Heavy traffic jams were reported along the main road between Hebron and Bethlehem on Monday as a settler bicycle race took place in the area. The 30-minute drive between the two cities took three hours as Israeli forces closed a main exit from Hebron connecting to Route 60 as settlers from Kiryat Arba took part in a race.

Israeli military attacks Nakba Day protests with live fire

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Protestor shot in his leg with live ammunition during protest in West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum. (Photo: International Solidarity Movement)

AFP reports: “Israeli soldiers fired tear gas, rubber and live bullets at Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip on Friday, wounding at least 21 people, medics and security sources said. Clashes took place near Ramallah and farther north in Nablus, after a new Israeli cabinet took office and as Palestinians marked 67 years since the Nakba.”

New Netanyahu government to expand support for Israeli settlements

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The Israeli flag flying over Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)

The Alternative Information Center reports: Israel’s new government is planning to “legalise” West Bank settlement construction conducted in contravention of Israeli law, according to the coalition agreement between Likud and the Jewish Home. This stands in stark contrast to the demolition policy implemented by Israel against Palestinian-owned homes built without permits.

Jordan Valley villagers call for international intervention as Israel conducts massive military training

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Israeli tank rolls through village of Ibziq in the northern Jordan Valley, March 2014. The military operations at that time caused 20 families to be evacuated from their homes. (Photo: Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI)/T. Kopra)

The Alternative Information Center reports: “Besieged Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank’s Jordan Valley have called on the international community to immediately intervene to halt Israeli military training in the area, which has already resulted in the temporary deportation of residents from four villages from their homes and threatens the future livelihood of these communities. Massive Israeli military training in the northern Jordan Valley began on Sunday, with forces using live ammunition around the homes and farms of Palestinian communities.”

Israeli forces fire tear-gas and stun grenades on Palestinian journalists during World Press Freedom Day march

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Scene from World Press Freedom Day in Bethlehem. (Photo: Ma'an)

Ma’an reports: “A number of Palestinian journalists were injured on Saturday when Israeli forces suppressed a peaceful march organised by journalists to mark World Press Freedom Day. Israeli forces fired tear-gas canisters and stun grenades into the crowd of journalists marching in Bethlehem. [Head of the Union of Palestinian Journalists Abd al-Nasser al-Najjar] said that the march was carried out to express ‘our refusal to systematic Israeli suppression policies against journalists even as they express their right of coverage and freedom of expression.'”

‘Israel assassinated my son in cold blood': Hundreds mourn Palestinian teen killed while walking near separation wall

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Funeral of Muhammad Murad Yahiya, 18, after he was shot dead by Israeli forces late Monday in al-Araqa village west of Jenin. (Photo: Maan News)

Ma’an reports: “Hundreds of Palestinians attended the funeral of Muhammad Murad Yahiya, 18, on Tuesday after he was shot dead by Israeli forces late Monday in al-‘Araqa village in western Jenin. ‘Israel assassinated my son in cold blood,’ Yahiya’s father, Murad, told Ma‘an. ‘After a family wedding Muhammad and several of his friends went walking in our lands near the separation wall when Israeli soldiers opened fire and hit him.'”

In defense of Cornel West’s prophetic voice

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Dr. Cornel West

Marc Ellis first met Cornel West almost thirty years ago when he was invited to share the podium with him on the subject of Israel and the Palestinians. Since then West has become a leading African American public intellectual and has taken daring stands in support of Palestinians, including during Israel’s attack on Gaza last summer. Ellis reflects on West’s career and prophetic voice in light of Michael Eric Dyson’s New Republic article excoriating West. Ellis writes, “Though Dyson’s predicted fall of Cornel West is clearly exaggerated, his penchant for disciplining West’s prophetic voice should be taken seriously.”

Palestinian youth loses eye after being shot by Israeli forces in East Jerusalem

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Sponge-tipped bullets. (Photo: Emil Salman via Haaretz)

From Haaretz: “A Palestinian youth has lost an eye, apparently as a result of being shot at with a sponge bullet. It is the latest of a series of similar incidents in which Palestinian youths and children, primarily in East Jerusalem, have lost eyes to sponge bullets fired by the Israeli security services.”

Thousands in Ramallah mourn Ali Mahmoud Safi, 20, killed by Israeli soldiers while protesting

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Ali Mahmoud Safi's funeral in Ramallah.

Ma’an reports: (Ma‘an) 26 Mar — Thousands of Palestinians on Thursday marched in the funeral of a young man who succumbed to his wounds the day before after being shot by Israeli forces during a protest near Ramallah last week. 20-year-old Ali Mahmoud Safi was buried in the al-Shuhada (Martyrs’) Cemetery in the al-Jalazun refugee camp north of Ramallah Thursday, as thousands mourned the first Palestinian youth to be killed in the camp so far this year.

Netanyahu’s honesty towards Palestinians casts unwelcome light on American Jewish leadership

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Reform leader Rabbi Rick Jacobs, shown speaking at the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly in Baltimore, November 2012. (Robert A. Cumins/JFNA)

In the closing hours of his political campaign, Benjamin Netanyahu announced his opposition to a Palestinian state and evoked Jewish fears of Palestinians outside and inside of the state of Israel. Netanyahu’s honesty caught the American Jewish leadership by surprise. It seems that Netanyahu compromised a special Jewish Occupation Code honed over many years. In essence, Netanyahu cast an unwelcome light on a thoroughly compromised American Jewish establishment that has enabled Israeli policies toward Palestinians for decades. Netanyahu stood up for injustice without apology. It’s time for Jewish leaders to tell us – without apology – where they stand.