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Putting Israel’s cynical humanitarian work in Nepal in the proper context

Jonathan Cook on
Pro-Israel propaganda produced by the US-based organization The Israel Project.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was quick to congratulate Israeli soldiers on their relief efforts in Nepal, where an earthquake late last month claimed many thousands of lives. However, Israel’s humanitarian concern for the victims of disasters looks more cynical when set alongside its record once the TV cameras depart.

New Netanyahu government to expand support for Israeli settlements

Kate on
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.

In Israel, racism is standard procedure

Lauren S. Marcus on
A ad for the party in

Lauren S. Marcus writes about trying to attend a DJ pool party in Israel with some Palestinian friends: “’Identification cards, please,’ said the woman at the entrance. I had a sinking feeling in my stomach as soon as I heard the words. I passed the woman my card. She looked over it without a second thought and my female friend was given the same treatment. We were quickly waved through to enter the party. As soon as she saw our male friend’s ID, she clucked and shook her head slightly. I knew exactly what had happened; she saw his city of residence and his name, both of which are distinctly Arab.”

Families in Khuza’a forced to live in shipping containers as politics prevent Gaza reconstruction

Dan Cohen on
Ahmad Najjar and his parents sit in the donated shipping container they have lived in since last fall. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

The Najjar family’s stately home in Khuza’a was one of 100,000 homes damaged or destroyed during Israel’s war on Gaza in 2014. Eight months after the final ceasefire reconstruction in Gaza has not begun, and the Najjar family is is forced to live in a donated shipping container just across the street from the four-meter-high mound of rubble that used to be their home. Youssef Najjar, 46, breaks into tears as he talks about the situation, “In this caravan, our life is all about suffering.”

Bedouin village razed 83 times must pay $500,000 for demolitions, Israel says

Allison Deger on
Israeli authorities enter al-Araqib village and its cemetery. (Photo: Rabbis for Human Rights)

The unrecognized Bedouin village of al-Araqib was in court Wednesday, where the state of Israel argued the southern desert town must pay $500,000 [2 million Shekels] to cover the cost of demolitions, and more than 1,000 police deployed to carry out the destruction. Since 2010 al-Araqib has been razed to the ground 83 times, more than any other locality in Israel.

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

Kate on
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.”

Netanyahu’s coalition: Who’s in, who’s out

Allison Deger on
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett announce the formation of a coalition government Wednesday shortly before the task of forming government would have been given to another party. (Photo: Gali Tibbon/AFP/Getty Images/AP)

Late Wednesday evening Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cinched a deal with Naftali Bennett’s hardline pro-settler group Bayit Yehudi to finalize a ruling coalition and secure his fourth term as Israel’s leader. Even with the deal, Netanyahu now hangs by a thread. His coalition includes a scant 61 out of 120 parliament members, down from the 67 votes he thought were in his pocket. The government will convene with a cabinet full of Netanyahu’s political rivals and a weak coalition—one of the weakest in Israel’s history. If Netanyahu cannot appease every member of his ruling government, he will need to seek support from his opposition led by the Zionist Camp’s Issac Herzog in order to survive.

Searching for my grandmother’s home in Yafa

Tamara Ben-Halim on
Yafa Centre (Photo: Tamara Ben-Halim)

Tamara Ben-Halim writes about visiting Yafa and searching for the house her grandmother’s family was forced out of during the Nakba. She writes, “I stood on the street that my grandmother once stood on nearly 70 years ago. I listened to the sound of the same waves lapping onto the shore. I saw and touched the same beautiful old Arab, unmistakably Arab, buildings that she had walked past hundreds of times. I told myself it didn’t matter whether I found her house or not, but of course I knew that nothing could replace the feeling and the fact of actually knowing that this was her home, this was the place she had grown up in, the setting of all those stories we had been raised on, this was the place from which her and her father and siblings had fled in terror.”

Netanyahu appoints Ayelet Shaked—who called for genocide of Palestinians—as Justice Minister in new government

Ben Norton on
Ayelet Shaked with HaBayit HaYehudi leader Naftali Bennett 
(Photo: Haaretz/Tomer Appelbaum )

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to appoint Ayelet Shaked as justice minister in his fourth government. During Israel’s summer 2014 attack on Gaza, Shaked essentially called for the genocide of Palestinians. In a Facebook post on July 1—a day before Israeli extremists kidnapped Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir and burned him alive—the lawmaker asserted that “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy” and called for its destruction, “including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.”

Palestinian farm struggles to survive in West Bank town caught between Israeli sewage and the separation wall

Allison Deger on
Fayez (R) and Mona Tneeb in their Tulkarm farm. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Fayez Tneeb marveled at his organically grown banana tree even though it is failing and rooted in a waste water stream. He and his wife Mona are proprietors of Hakoritana Farm in Tulkarm, located in the northern West Bank only 100 meters from Israel. For the Tneebs, harvesting pesticide-free agriculture that they take to a local market is a constant struggle. The couple’s plot of land is caught between an Israeli factory that manufactures fertilizers and agrochemicals, and Israel’s separation barrier.

‘The Israelis never stopped shooting': Gaza endures under Israel’s one-way ceasefire

Dan Cohen on
Moaeen Al-Kheysi sits in his home holding a poster commemorating the life of his grandson Wadie. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

For Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the period since last summer’s war has been a one-way ceasefire. While Palestinian armed factions have observed the ceasefire, with a handful of exceptions, Israel has violated the ceasefire on a near-daily basis. Soldiers fire at farmers in the buffer zone, gunboats shoot at fishermen, and warplanes and drones are a regular sight over Gaza’s skies. Dan Cohen talks to several people in Gaza about life under this mostly unreported barrage. Moaeen al-Kheysi in Shujaiya says, “We wake up every night to the sound of shooting. The Israelis never stopped shooting at us but Palestinians aren’t shooting them. We want the ceasefire to be from both sides, not just one side.”

Palestinian actor on Israel’s top tv show sets off uproar over the occupation

Richard Flantz and Udi Aloni on
The cast of 'Fouda' (Photo: Ohad Romano)

Hisham Suleiman is an Palestinian Israeli actor from Nazareth and one of the stars of “Fauda” a political thriller television series that is the most popular show in Israel. An interview with him published last weekend in Yedioth Ahronoth, he is reported as having said that injuring a soldier inside the Occupied Territories is not a crime because the soldier shouldn’t be there. The interview has provoked outraged responses, and Suleiman has responded in turn.

Palestine’s moment of truth for the International Criminal Court

Joe Catron on
International Criminal Court. (Photo: Getty Images/iMatin)

The State of Palestine’s ascension to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court offers the global tribunal a choice between two clear paths into the future. By launching a serious prosecution of Israel’s crimes against Palestinians, the court can begin to repair its tarnished reputation, restoring confidence in the impartiality of the justice it dispenses. Its failure to do so would confirm growing suspicions that it has little purpose beyond helping the world’s old empires police their former colonies.

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

Kate on
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.'”

Is it a crime to own your own land?

Amos Gvirtz on
Ambassadors Forest, paid for by the Jewish National Fund

When you visit Sheik Sayah in the tiny Bedouin village of Al Araqib not far from Beersheva, he will show you documents signed by his great-great-grandfather who purchased and registered his land in 1905 during the Ottoman Empire. But Israeli police have demolished their homes 83 times.