Category Archives:
Israeli Government

Israel’s plan to retool occupation includes color-coding ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Palestinians

Jonathan Cook on
Avigdor Lieberman. Photo: AP

Launched this month, Avigdor Lieberman’s plan for the Palestinians – retooling Israel’s occupation – received less attention than it should. It includes, the defense ministry producing a map of the West Bank marking in green and red the areas where, respectively, “good” and “bad” Palestinians live. Collective punishment will be stepped up in towns and villages in red areas, while green areas will reap economic rewards.

After Israeli military clears soldiers of killing families in Gaza, Palestinians call on Hague to investigate

Allison Deger on
Palestinian men sit amidst the debris of a neighbouring house which police said was damaged after an Israeli air strike destroyed Tayseer Al-Batsh's family house, in Gaza City July 13, 2014. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)

Israel’s military has cleared soldiers of criminal wrongdoing in alleged human rights violations committed during the 2014 summer war in Gaza. According to a report published yesterday, Israel closed investigations into the killing of three Palestinian families and other civilians, and the shelling of a medical clinic, Gaza’s main power plant, and a United Nations shelter, among other offenses. “We did not expect anything less than Israel’s justification of war crimes,” chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said after the publication of the military report, and urged the International Criminal Court to investigate the offenses.

Israel bans entry for two more US activists

Wilson Dizard on
Ben Gurion airport

Israel has banned an American activist who has worked for years helping Palestinians in Gaza, after denying her entry into the country, detaining her for hours and deporting her against her will. The woman’s ban comes after Israel banned five U.S. citizens at the border in July, all of them the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, and another American woman last week crossing from Jordan.

A losing battle in Israel’s High Court of Justice

Yotam Ben-Hillel on
The swearing in ceremony of Israeli Supreme Court Chief Justice, Justice Miriam Naor, January 15 2015. (Photo: Spokesperson unit of the President of Israel)

Two recent decisions in the Israeli High Court of Justice represent different policy trends regarding the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem: using the annexed territory to Israel’s own benefit; and keeping a clear separation between the two city populations and treating its Palestinian inhabitants –residing in their hometown for many generations – as second-class citizens. These rulings and others have proven to East Jerusalem Palestinians that their Israeli IDs are no shield against the systematic discrimination of the Israeli judiciary.

Israel has demolished more Palestinian homes in first half of 2016 than all of 2015

Allison Deger on
Screen shot of B'Tselem video on increased demolitions of Palestinian homes in the West Bank and Jerusalem. More units were razed in the first half of 2016 than in all of  2016.

More Palestinian homes were demolished in the occupied territories in the first half of 2016 than in all of 2015, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. The increased demolitions have been accompanied by a rising number of new settler homes under construction, prompting the U.S. State Department to issue an atypical condemnation of the Jewish state.

Israeli racism unmasks Netanyahu goodwill video

Jonathan Cook on
Screen shot of Israeli Prime Minister's video message titled, "PM Netanyahu: Dear Arab citizens of Israel--take part in our society in droves." (Video original: IsraeliPM/YouTube)

In an effort to apologize for last year’s notorious election-day comment when he warned that “the Arabs are coming out to vote in droves,” Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to social media to last week to urge Palestinian citizens to become more active in public life. They needed to “work in droves, study in droves, thrive in droves,” he said. “I am proud of the role Arabs play in Israel’s success”. Swiftly and predictably, the reality of life for Israel’s 1.7 million Palestinians upstaged Netanyahu’s fine words. In a radio interview, Moti Dotan, the head of the Lower Galilee regional council, sent a message to his Palestinian neighbors: “I don’t want them at my [swimming] pools.” Sounding like a mayor in the southern United States during the Jim Crow-era, he added: “Their culture of cleanliness isn’t the same as ours. Why is that racist?”

Palestinian Foreign Affairs Ministry to World: Stop issuing useless condemnations

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

On the heels of the Israeli government announcing 1500+ illegal settlement tenders since Monday, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a strongly worded statement, available in Arabic only, that said in part, “as long as these countries’ bilateral relations with Israel are treated separately from the occupation all Palestinian land will be annexed in the not too-distant future, relieving these countries from the trouble of circulating their useless condemnations.”

Israel’s opposition parties plan to filibuster bill to expel Hanin Zoabi

Allison Deger on
Hanin Zoabi

Members of Israel’s opposition coalition will filibuster overnight to stall a vote on a controversial bill to expand the Knesset’s power to oust one of their own. The expulsion bill, formerly called the suspension bill, grants parliamentarians the authority to permanently kick their peers out of office, without loose criteria for disqualification. It is aimed at one member: Hanin Zoabi of the Joint List.

Israeli human rights organizations push back against law designed to ‘silence opposition’

Emily Mulder on
Israelis from the left-wing organization Peace Now protest in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem over the "Jewish state" bill, November 29, 2014. (Photo: Peace Now/Facebook)

Israel’s human rights NGOs pushed back this week after the Knesset passed a transparency law that critics say was the most recent attempt by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition to persecute the country’s left. Leading Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now vowed to wage legal war against the new law, which requires NGOs that receive more than half of their funding from foreign donors to declare their funding sources prior to addressing Knesset committees, speaking with public officials, as well as on publications and websites.

After attack, Netanyahu gov’t pours money into rightwing settlements

Allison Deger on
Israeli security forces gather near the scene of what the Israeli military said was an attack by Palestinian in the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba near the West Bank city of Hebron 30 June 2016. Israeli army said the Palestinian was shot and killed after he stabbed and killed an Israeli female settler and injured others. (Photo: Wisam Hashlamoun/APA Images)

Israel’s security cabinet said Sunday it will spend $13 million to expand social and education programs in West Bank settlements “in order to make it easier” for residents “to deal with the effects of the security situation and minimize its impact on the daily routine.” Peace Now said the funding was a backdoor policy to build up settlements under the cover of responding to the recent bout of violence.

Video: All hell breaks loose in Knesset as Zoabi demands apology following Israel-Turkey agreement

Allison Deger on
Screen shot of Knesset plenary session.

Israel’s parliament sank into bedlam yesterday as the Joint List’s Hanin Zoabi addressed the recent rapprochement between Israel and Turkey over the flotilla raid and demanded an apology for a 2010 session in Knesset where Zoabi was shouted down as a “terrorist” for her comments on the deadly attack. This time, members of government once again jumped out of their seats, with more than a dozen rushing towards Zoabi, yelling “terrorist”– to which she responded, “hit me!” An official in the Zoabi’s faction described the scene as the most volatile inside of the Knesset halls in recent memory.

Despite Turkish posturing, detente with Israel won’t change the Gaza blockade

Allison Deger on
Palestinians hold flags during a rally marking the 6th anniversary of the Mavi Marmara Gaza flotilla incident, at the seaport of Gaza City May 31, 2016. Nine activists, eight Turkish and one Turkish-American, died on May 31, 2010, when Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara ship, which was part of a flotilla seeking to break the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/ APA Images)

Israel and Turkey announced an end to the six-year diplomatic rift that began in 2009 after Israeli commandos killed 10 Turkish nationals during the seizure of a passenger ship, which departed from Turkey as part of the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla.” As a term of the agreement, Turkey will pass a law to make illegal any “criminal and civil claims” against Israel or it’s military forces for the death of the activists, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in Rome. Netanyahu added the blockade over the Gaza Strip, which was an area of dispute between the two countries, will remain in full.

Critics say Israel’s new ‘terrorism’ law criminalizes Palestinian political activism

Emily Mulder on
Hanin Zoabi

The Israeli parliament on Wednesday passed a law expanding the power of the state to label individuals or groups as “terrorists,” in what critics said will be exploited to criminalize legitimate Palestinian political activity. Among its most controversial tenets is an expanded definition of “terrorism” as well as official procedure for declaring a group a “terrorist organization.” The law also enables the state to outlaw charity groups “indirectly” contributing to “terrorist organizations,” imprison its members by association and issue a life sentence to those who “support” but are not directly involved in “terrorist acts.” MK Hanin Zoabi of the Joint List said the new legislation is not intended to indict “real terrorists.” but has a different aim. “It aims to prevent citizens from being critical and express their views, from being involved in a popular political struggle against the [Israeli] occupation, to talk about the boycott, and in general to think outside the box,” Zoabi tells Mondoweiss.

Family of Tel Aviv attacker tries to understand how star pupil turned to violence

Allison Deger on
Mohammed Makhamri, father of Palestinian identified by local media as one of the shooters in the attack in Tel Aviv last Wednesday where four Israelis were killed, stands in his son Khaled's bedroom, Yatta. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Khaled Makhamri was an excellent student enrolled in university in Jordan on a prestigious governmental scholarship. Now his family is trying to understand why he carried out one of the deadliest attacks in Tel Aviv in years. More than 60 of the attackers in the last 9 months came from Khaled’s district in the southern West Bank and his hometown of Yatta is a particularly difficult place to live. It has the highest school drop out rate in the occupied Palestinian territory, settler attacks on agricultural land in the outskirts of town are common, and Israeli army ordered home demolitions in the surrounding areas are frequent. “The reason why he did such a thing is the occupation, he is not working with any illegal organization,” his father tells Allison Deger.

Palestinians forced to delay the start of Ramadan as Israel celebrates 49 years of ruling Jerusalem

Allison Deger on
Jerusalem Day paraders march through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Blue and white banners filled Jerusalem yesterday to mark 49 years of Israeli rule in the city. Crowds of settler youth chanted the slogan “the Jewish nation lives” as they marched under the ramparts of Damascus Gate. Many wore stickers supporting rabbi Meir Kahane, a former Knesset member kicked out of the government after calling for violence against Arabs, while others pasted their clothes with decals backing a greater Israel, a Jewish-nationalist movement that seeks to annex the occupied Palestinian territory. Meanwhile, Palestinians were barred from sections of the city and postponed the start of their own festivities for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to avoid conflicts with the settlers.

Israel wants a peace process – but only if it’s doomed to fail

Jonathan Cook on
Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu wants to deflect attention from a French peace plan by pushing a “regional peace summit” based on the Arab Peace Plan of 2002, which promised Israel normal relations with the Arab world in return for ending the occupation. Israel’s sudden interest in the plan is odd, given that it has not been discussed in cabinet since the Saudis unveiled it 14 years ago. In truth, Netanyahu backs the idea because he knows reaching a region-wide agreement would be impossible with the Middle East in turmoil.

Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar returns to West Bank after more than a year in Israeli prison

Allison Deger on
Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar in her West Bank home in Ramallah after being released from an Israeli prison on Friday June 3, 2016. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar returned to her West Bank home in Ramallah today after more than a year in an Israeli prison on charges related to her political activism. Jarrar was arrested in April 2014 first under an administrative detention order, a form of imprisonment without charge. In December of that year she signed a plea deal for a 14-month sentence after a lengthy hearing. After a tearful reunion with her husband, mother, and supporters at the checkpoint, Jarrar then traveled to her house in Ramallah. Once in her backyard amid shrubs and fruit trees Jarrar described her legal ordeal, and the long journeys she made to Israel’s military court to stand trial.

Yehuda Glick’s meteoric rise from messianic margins to Israeli parliament

Dan Cohen and Tamar Aviyah on
Yehuda Glick holds a copy of his guide to ascending the Temple Mount with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“Extremist and dangerous forces have taken over Israel and the Likud movement,” Moshe Ya’alon remarked at a press conference following his ouster as defense minister. The focus of attention was on Netanyahu’s imminent appointment of Avigdor Lieberman to the defense ministry, overlooking Ya’alon’s replacement in Likud: US-born settler and face of the Temple Movement Yehuda Glick. While Lieberman’s appointment signifies a success for Israel’s secular right wing, Glick’s entrance to the parliament is a major step forward in the Religious Zionist takeover of Israel.