IDF pushing for thousands of Gazans to work in Israel
Ynet 3 Jan by Yoav Zitun — Israel Defense Forces Chief of General Staff Aviv Kochavi made a dramatic announcement on Wednesday, in which he declared his support for the plan to offer Gaza’s citizens certain relief in return for calm in southern Israel. The plan, which Kochavi refers to as “government policy,” would see thousands of Gaza citizens enter Israel for employment purposes, and is nothing less than a breakthrough since it deals with a subject that was considered taboo in Israel ever since the doors to Gaza were locked 13 years ago. Bringing workers from Gaza into Israeli territory is a step which was publicly sanctioned by the IDF and will potentially be endorsed by new Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, who tends to adopt the classic “carrot and stick” method, which proved itself when it successfully prevented a third intifada four years ago. According to this method, civil and economic relief will be given to the people of Gaza as long as calm persists, but if Hamas instigates an attack on Israeli soil for any reason, it will be the people of Gaza who will pay the price – which will be high, uncompromising and extremely severe. Israel hopes that this will cause the people of Gaza to rein in Hamas with demands for calm, effectively forcing the group or any other instigators in the Strip to adhere to the people’s wishes.
Quietly and effectively, Israel has increased the number of Gaza merchants and workers allowed to enter its territory….
Israel floods Gaza farmland with rainwater
[with photos] Palestine Chronicle 6 Jan — Israel deliberately flooded hundreds of acres of farmland on Sunday, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. Israel opened one of the gates of its rainwater stores east of Gaza, making the water drown hundreds of dunums of agricultural land. “Israel flooded agricultural lands, cow ranches, and bee farms in eastern Shujaiyyah neighborhood after opening its dams,” Adham Basiouni, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture, told Andalu Agency. “Opening the dams caused soil erosion and caused crops to be flooded,” he added. “It also led to losses in the cattle and bees, which resulted in severe losses for the farmers”.
Israel arrested 25, wounded 21 fishermen in Gaza in 2019
MEMO 6 Jan — Israeli occupation forces arrested 35 and wounded 21 Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza coast during 2019, the Coordinator of Palestinian Fishermen Zakariya Baker said yesterday. Speaking to Quds Press, Baker said that all of these violations took place at sea, noting that the Israeli occupation navy open fire at the fishermen during their work at night. He also said that the Israeli occupation confiscated 15 fishing boats while at sea. Israeli strikes completely destroyed 12 fishing boats which were moored at the fishing port and partially damaged 11 others. Several fishing nets and other equipment were also damaged during air strikes. He noted that the Israeli occupation carried out 24 air strikes against the fishing port during 2019 and reduced the fishing zone 22 times.
Israel defence minister wants Palestinians crossing Gaza fence detained as ‘illegal combatants’
MEMO 7 Jan — Israel’s Defence Minister Naftali Bennett has told security officials that he wants to treat Palestinians who cross through the Gaza Strip perimeter fence as “illegal combatants”, reported Haaretz. According to the paper, “Bennett seeks to use them in the event of future negotiations over the return of Israeli prisoners or dead soldiers.” The move would mean such Palestinians can be detained without charge “indefinitely”. Haaretz reported that “officials in the defence establishment were shocked by Bennett’s demand, arguing that such a decision would have major significance, not just in terms of international law.” Most Palestinians to whom this would apply have sought to leave Gaza “out of economic distress”, seeking to find work, or simply looking to get arrested. Many so-called “infiltrators” are children. According to Haaretz, in a recent case involving charges against four young “infiltrators”, the indictment “stated they came here intending to be arrested without being returned to Gaza”. As the report explains, “an illegal combatant in Israeli law is defined as a person who participates in hostile acts against the state, directly or indirectly, or as a person who identifies with a unit committing hostile acts, one that is not affiliated with any state or organisation.”….
Gaza needs 120,000 new housing units urgently
MEMO 6 Jan — The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip need 120,000 new housing units as a matter of urgency, Deputy Housing Minister in the enclave Naji Sarhan revealed on Sunday. This is in addition to the urgent need for tens of thousands of dilapidated homes to be renovated to meet basic housing standards. Sarhan made his comments at a press conference in Gaza. He pointed out that the territory needs 14,000 new housing units each year in order to keep pace with the natural rise in the population. The statistics, he revealed, were produced after a joint survey by his ministry and the Ministry of Social Affairs during the second half of 2019. At least 7,000 housing units need to be completely rebuilt, the official added, because they are in such bad condition….
Miles of Smiles send 14 ambulances to Gaza
MEMO 7 Jan — Miles of Smiles Convoy announced yesterday that 14 ambulances equipped to meet the needs of the disabled had arrived in Gaza Strip. “The ambulances entered into Gaza through the Rafah Crossing and were handed over to the Ministry of Health,” the statement said, noting that these ambulances were mainly donated by philanthropists from Jordan. “This distinctive donation was blessed by King Abdullah II and the Jordanian government, in addition to the Jordanian people,” the statement said. “This donation represents the continuous support from Jordanians to the Palestinian people.”
Palestinians in Gaza mourn Iran’s Soleimani
GAZA (Reuters) 4 Jan — Hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Saturday mourned the death of Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Qassem Soleimani, killed by a U.S. air strike in Iraq. Leaders of the Islamist Hamas group, which rules Gaza, and of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad faction, both backed by Iran, joined mourners at a tent erected in Soleimani’s honor in the heart of Gaza City. Flags of the United States and Israel were laid on the ground for visitors to tread on as they entered, passing posters of Soleimani. The flags were later set on fire. “We are loyal to those who stood with the resistance and with Palestine and we hold the U.S administration and the Zionist occupation fully responsible for the consequences of this deplorable crime,” said Ismail Radwan, a Hamas official. Soleimani, 62, was the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ foreign legions. As head of the Quds Force, he was the architect of Iran’s drive to spread its influence in the Middle East through proxy militias, some of them now operating on the doorstep of its arch-enemy Israel….
Hamas, Islamic Jihad heads give condolences to Iran’s FM on Soleimani’s death
Times of Israel 5 Jan by Adam Rasgon — Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh and Islamic Jihad secretary-general Ziad al-Nakhalah called Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday and expressed their condolences to him on the death of powerful Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in an American strike on Friday, according to the terror groups. Soleimani was the commander of the elite Quds Force in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, the body responsible for Tehran’s military campaigns and expeditions abroad. Haniyeh spoke highly to Zarif of Soleimani’s “role in supporting the resistance and backing the Palestinian people’s rights,” Hamas said in a report posted on its website. Iran is widely believed to significantly support the military wings of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad with weapons and training. Zarif thanked the Hamas chairman for the call and stated that Iran would continue to back “the Palestinian people’s rights and resistance in defense of its land and holy sites,” the terror group’s report said …
Meanwhile, the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, which maintains relations with many of Iran’s rivals such as Saudi Arabia, has not taken a position on the Iranian general’s killing….
Egypt fuming over Hamas chief’s visit to Iran for Soleimani funeral: report
i24NEWS 7 Jan — Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh has drawn Egypt’s ire by traveling to Iran to take part in the funeral ceremonies for the late Quds force commander Qasem Soleimani, Dar al-Hayat website reports. According to “trusted Egyptian sources” cited by the website, Egypt, which controls parts of Gaza Strip’s borders, permitted Haniyeh foreign travel on the condition that he would not head to Iran, as requested by the United Arab Emirates. Furthermore, multiple Arab states specifically advised Haniyeh against heading to Soleimani’s funeral, the report adds. This has not deterred the Hamas chief from heading to Iran, however, where he proclaimed Soleimani “the martyr of Jerusalem” and also met the new head of the Quds force. This has not gone unnoticed in Cairo, apparently, with Israel Hayom citing a chief Egyptian intelligence official as saying that Haniyeh’s move came as nothing short of “a shameful attack on Egypt’s national honor”. With the move predicted to lead to a major crisis between Egypt and Hamas, some reports circulating on social media stipulated that Cairo may now choose to forbid Haniyeh from coming back to Gaza.
Hamas says chief’s visit to Iran ‘must not affect ties with Egypt’
GAZA, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) — Hamas, ruler of the Gaza Strip, said on Wednesday that the visit of its chief Ismail Haniyeh to Iran “must not affect the ties with Egypt.” Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas official, said in a press statement that the Hamas leadership is not aware of any Egyptian criticism of Haniyeh’s visit to Tehran to pay condolences for the killing of the senior Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani. “The visit must not influence or affect the relationship with Cairo because we are a liberation movement and we want to liberate our occupied Palestinian lands,” al-Zahar said. “We don’t want to back any party against any other,” he added. Last week, Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq’s paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces, were killed in a U.S. drone strike near Baghdad airport, sparking outrage among some political factions and military wings in Gaza. It is worth noting that the Hamas-led militants in Gaza have never denied financial and military support from Iran. “Iran has always supported the Palestinian armed resistance groups with arms and money and it has never asked anything or political price in return,” al-Zahar said.
Films from Ammar festival to go on screen in Gaza Strip
TEHRAN (Tehran Times) 10 Jan — A selection of movies on Palestine and Yemen screened during the 10th Ammar Popular Film Festival in Tehran last week will be presented during a three-day program, which will open today at the Commodore Hotel in the Gaza Strip. The organizers plan to commemorate Quds Force commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, who was martyred in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad last week, during the opening ceremony. Mahmoud al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas, and Khaled al-Batsh [of Islamic Jihad], and a daughter[Suhailah?] of the jailed Nigerian Shia leader Ibrahim Zakzaky are scheduled to deliver speeches during the ceremony. “No Fly Zone” directed by Amir Dasargar will also go on screen during the opening ceremony. Established by a number of Iranian revolutionary figures, the Ammar Popular Film Festival has been named after Ammar Yasir, a close companion of Prophet Muhammad (S).
Hamas voices unwillingness to escalate against Israel in Gaza
RAMALLAH (Asharq Al-Awsat) 5 Jan — Well-informed Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip said that Hamas reaffirmed that it is “not concerned” with any escalation against the backdrop of the US killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Qassem Soleimani. Sources, speaking under the conditions of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat that Hamas had agreed with Egypt to maintain the current state of calm and move forward with truce deliberations. Hamas had informed all of its contacts that it would not allow Gaza to be turned into an arena for external conflicts or to be used to settle scores, sources added. This stance, according to sources, stems from the harsh realities the Gaza Strip endures and which leaves Hamas reluctant from undertaking any escalatory action …
Hamas’ reluctant position followed leaks about an Israeli threat to the Gaza Strip. Israeli media published reports about the arrival of a high-level Israeli security delegation on a private plane to Cairo to meet the head of the Egyptian intelligence. The meeting discussed interfering with the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip, especially Hamas and the PIJ, to discourage them from attacking Israel if Iran asks them to do so in retaliation to Soleimani’s death. Israel fears that Gaza would be dragged into the Soleimani revenge quest. It does not want to engage in the Gaza Strip front now, given that it is preoccupied with its northern front with Syria and Lebanon.
What is behind the foreign tour by Hamas’s Haniya?
Al Jazeera 7 Jan by Adnan Abu Amer — Egypt’s decision to allow the Hamas leader to travel signals progress on ceasefire negotiations with Israel — In December, Ismail Haniya, chief of the Hamas political bureau, embarked on his first foreign tour since being elected to the position by the Shura Council of the movement in May 2017. Since the Israeli siege was imposed on Gaza more than 13 years ago, officials from Gaza have only been able to travel abroad through Cairo. This has given Egyptian authorities control over their movements, and in the past, they have declined repeated requests from Haniya to allow him to travel abroad. His tour appears, therefore, to signal some development in Hamas-Egypt relations and regional dynamics. So far he has visited Turkey, Qatar and, most significantly, Iran. He may also be going to Russia. This allows Haniya to push forward Hamas’s international relations and internal affairs …. Haniya left the Gaza Strip on December 2 and upon arrival in Cairo held a series of meetings with Egyptian officials. According to London-based Al-Araby newspaper, the focus of the meetings was on negotiating a long-term ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, with the Egyptians admitting that the “deal of the century” put forward by the Trump administration had been set aside. At the conclusion of the meetings, he was informed that he could embark on his foreign tour. Egypt’s permission for Haniya’s tour means Hamas likely acquiesced to certain conditions and made progress on some issues important to Egypt and its allies….
Gaza’s women entrepreneurs make it possible to send gifts to residents in the ‘open-air prison’
The New Arab 10 Jan by Israa Jamal — Due to the Israeli blockade, getting personal items other than books into the Gaza Strip is next to impossible, unless they are carried in by returning Palestinians or internationals. That means relatives and supporters can’t celebrate special occasions with the people they love like most others in the world – by sending gifts. Until now, that is – thanks to four female entrepreneurs in Gaza who founded the online business Giftbox. “The idea for the business came from having friends and relatives outside Gaza, who can’t share important events and occasions with us because of closed borders,” says Yasmin Sarsour, 35, an engineering graduate. Joining Sarsour to found the business, with the help of funds from a startup incubator, were Soha Abu Alfoul a 34-year-old information technology department graduate; Islam Dahman, 24, who has a degree in business administration; and Noha Joma, 30, another IT graduate. Sarsour is the general manager, Alfoul and Dahman select the items to be sold and Joma promotes the business on social media. Customers can purchase gifts ranging from cakes and chocolates, to perfume, flowers, backpacks, miniature trucks and other toys. If a customer has a specific item in mind that is not featured on the website, the women will secure it if it can be found in Gaza. Finally, they personally deliver the item. If requested, they even will shoot a video of the gift being delivered and opened….
The trauma of sending children from Gaza to fight illness alone
+972 Magazine 9 Jan by Ghada Majadle — In 2019, more parents from Gaza were able to travel with their children for treatment outside the strip. But the numbers leave out a crucial part of the story — Fewer children from Gaza were separated from their parents when receiving treatment outside the strip in 2019 than in the previous year, according to statistics by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli military body responsible for administering the occupation and blockade. This appears to be an improvement, but what the data fails to show is the anxiety and trauma inflicted on these children and their families as a result of Israel’s restrictions on movement….The improved figures may have brought relief to many families in Gaza, but it remains important to discuss what the numbers are hiding. Parents who were denied permits to accompany their children were forced to send their kids to hospitals escorted by relatives or strangers. These other individuals tended to be the elderly, whose permit requests take a relatively short time to process by the army or who do not need to undergo security checks. In other cases, because of the rejection of the parents’ requests, children were deprived of vital — and sometimes even urgent — medical treatment … Dozens of parents and children from the Gaza Strip go through this ordeal every month. These children face illness and pain in unfamiliar surroundings, with their parents sitting hours away, worried and helpless. No parent wants to send their child far from home to fight an illness alone, not even accompanied by another relative. We must not normalize this bleak reality just because they are Palestinian families from Gaza.
Palestinians in Gaza are bringing their stories of siege to Israelis
+972 Magazine 6 Jan by Orly Noy — A new site aims to bring the experiences of Palestinians under siege in Gaza into Israelis’ homes — by translating their stories into Hebrew — “We, Israelis and Palestinians, those who live between the river and the sea, deserve to live here in peace and equality, with no discrimination or oppression of any kind.” This declaration, written by 25-year-old Palestinian journalist Ahmed Alnaouq, who lives in Gaza, accompanied the launch of a new Hebrew-language website, We Beyond the Fence. The site, which provides Israeli readers with articles, poems, and personal essays about life in the Gaza Strip, is jointly run by Alnaouq and Yuval Abraham, 25, a student and activist from Jerusalem. We Beyond the Fence is run from the strip and offers a platform for young Palestinians to share their stories of life under siege. The work, which is translated by a group of Israelis, draws from the English-language website, We Are Not Numbers … Abraham himself is experienced in breaking down walls, both mental and concrete, between the two sides. Four years ago, he decided to study Arabic, which he says changed his entire understanding and experience of this country….
West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli soldiers injure many Palestinians in Jericho
IMEMC 8 Jan — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Wednesday at dawn, Aqabat Jaber refugee camp, southwest of Jericho city in the occupied West Bank, and injured many Palestinians during ensuing protests. Medical sources said the soldiers shot six Palestinians with rubber-coated steel bullets, including one who was shot with three bullets in his left leg, and another Palestinian was shot in the forehead, before they were rushed to Jericho Governmental hospital. They added that many Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, especially at the entrance of the refugee camp, and in its center; most of them were in their owned homes. Furthermore, a Palestinian car crashed into an electricity pole after its driver lost control on his vehicles, due to the severe effects of teargas inhalation and concussion grenades fired by the soldiers. The soldiers also invaded and violently searched many homes in the refugee camp, and interrogated the families.
Israeli forces injure Palestinian man while demolishing his home
IMEMC/Agencies 7 Jan — Ras Al ‘Auja, a community, located in ‘area C’ of the occupied West Bank, North of Jericho City, and home to 700-800 Palestinians, was stormed, on Monday, by Israeli soldiers and teams of ‘Civil Administration’ staff, Quds News Network reported. Activist, Hamzah Zbeidan, said that over two hundred Israeli soldiers accompanied by the Israeli civil administration and bulldozers, stormed the Bedouin community and started demolitions without any prior notice. Zbeidan stated that Palestinians are rarely granted building permission in the area, the Israeli authorities deny Palestinian requests. Israeli forces declared the area a ‘closed military zone’ and prevented journalists from reaching it or covering the incident before starting the demolition. Many locals tried to fight the Israeli soldiers back and prevent them from demolishing their homes. Suleiman Ka‘abneh, 50, was wounded when he refused to leave his home, and Israeli forces began demolishing his house while he was inside it. Soldiers then left Ka‘abneh to bleed for an hour before allowing medical teams to reach him.
Israeli soldiers abduct a wounded Palestinian teen in Hebron
IMEMC 8 Jan — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Monday at dawn, a wounded Palestinian teenage boy from the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron. The soldiers stormed the homes of Hassouna Badawi, after smashing the main door, and conducted violent searches of the property, causing serious damage, before abducting his son Ahmad, 17. The soldiers also attacked the family with clubs and batons, causing various cuts and bruises, and illegally confiscated 6000 Shekels (Around $1730). The father said that his abducted son was previously shot by the soldiers with live fire, and is still receiving treatment, as he also needs to undergo another surgery.
Israeli settlers cut 50 olive trees in occupied West Bank
MEMO 9 Jan — Israeli settlers yesterday chopped down more than 50 perennial olive trees in the occupied West Bank’s northern village of Nablus. The Palestinian official in charge of the settlement file in the northern West Bank, Ghassan Douglas, told Wafa that the settlers from the Jewish illegal settlement of Rahalim were responsible for cutting of the trees in Nablus’ southern area Al-Sawiya. He pointed out that the owner of the removed trees Al-Sawiya’s governor Hamad Mahmoud. The Israeli settlers, Douglas noted, had taken advantage of the country’s cold and rainy weather where citizens are unable to reach their lands.
Palestinians face mounting barriers to peaceful protest
RAMALLAH (AP) 5 Jan — Israel systematically denies Palestinians their civil rights including right to gather — Abdullah Abu Rahma has been arrested by Israeli soldiers eight times in the last 15 years, spending weeks or months in prison and paying tens of thousands of dollars in fines for organizing protests. He’s among a growing number of Palestinians who have embraced non-violent means of protesting Israel’s military rule and expanding colonies, and who are increasingly finding those avenues of dissent blocked. More than 50 years after occupying the West Bank, Israel is still systematically denying Palestinians civil rights, including the right to gather, Human Rights Watch said in a report released last month … Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director for Human Rights Watch, said Israel has “all but declared Palestinian opposition to the systematic discrimination they face illegitimate.”… If it succeeds in banning forms of peaceful advocacy, he says, Israel will have “effectively left Palestinians no choice but submission to a regime of systematic repression, or violence….
Israel arrests hundreds of Palestinian minors in Jerusalem, violating children’s rights
[behind paywall] Haaretz 10 Jan by Nir Hasson — The use of force, nighttime arrests, questioning not in the presence of their parents, rides in patrol cars for intimidation and unnecessary handcuffing – these are just some of the violations of the rights of minors arrested by police in the ‘Issawiyah neighborhood of Jerusalem over the past few months. More than 600 residents have been arrested since the launch of regular police raids in ‘Issawiyeh, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) said. Residents and lawyers say about a third of those who have been held are minors. In a case reported by B’Tselem, a 13-year-old boy said police officers broke into his house even though they were told that his parents were not at home. “The policeman pushed my head against the sofa and then hit me in the head with something hard. I think it was a tear gas grenade. I was really scared. They pushed my hands forward, and handcuffed them with plastic cuffs and took me outside while my little brothers were screaming and crying,” the boy said. He was questioned and released a few hours later after his father was summoned to the police station. By law, minor suspects have a long list of rights. For example, minors may not be arrested or questioned at night, they may not be arrested in educational institutions, or by plainclothes police officers, and may only be arrested “if it is impossible to achieve the purpose of the arrest in a way that is less harmful.” The police systematically violate the rights of minor suspects in ‘Issawiyah, ACRI says….
PPS: Israeli forces arrest 15 Palestinians including mother of prisoner
IMEMC/Agencies 9 Jan — Israeli forces detained fifteen Palestinians, on Wednesday, from across the West Bank, including a woman from occupied Jerusalem and a senior member of Fatah movement, the Palestinian News and Info Agency (WAFA) reported. A statement released by the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said that Israeli forces detained Sana Rajabi, from Jerusalem, the mother of Palestinian prisoner, Ammar Rajabi, who is serving a six year prison sentence in Israel, for resisting the occupation. Soldiers also detained Bassem Masalmeh, the Fatah secretary, after invading his home, in the town of Beit Awwa, Hebron district in the southern occupied West Bank. Occupation forces also detained three Palestinians from the town of Beit Fajjar, in the Bethlehem district, five from Ramallah district, one from Arroub refugee camp, in the Hebron district, and two more from Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem. A father, identified as Sameeh Refa‘ey, and his son Mohammad, were arrested Wednesday afternoon, from their home in the Zeitoun neighborhood, in Anata town, east of occupied East Jerusalem.
Israeli army abducts 17 Palestinians including 4 children in pre-dawn raids throughout the West Bank
IMEMC 6 Jan — Israeli forces abducted 17 Palestinian civilians on Monday in pre-dawn raids in various parts of the West Bank. In Bethlehem, the Israeli forces abducted six Palestinians from the town of Beit Fajjar. They were identified as: Radhi Salah Taqqatah, 17 years old, Amer Khaled Taqatqa, 17 years old, Mujahid Yousef Taqatqa, 16 years old, Mahmoud Ahmad Taqatqa, 19 years old, Majed Salah Taqatqa, 21, and Muhammad Khaled Thawabta, 23, after they raided and searched their family homes. The young men and teens abducted by Israeli troops were at their homes, asleep in bed, when Israeli forces broke into their homes, ransacked the contents, and took them from their rooms to unknown destinations for “interrogation” and imprisonment without charge….
Undercover police arrest prominent Israeli anti-occupation activist
+972 Magazine 6 Jan by Oren Ziv — Undercover police officers arrested prominent Israeli anti-occupation activist Jonathan Pollak at his workplace Monday morning, after he repeatedly refused to appear in court over a private prosecution filed against him by a far-right organization. Witnesses said three officers arrived at the Haaretz building in south Tel Aviv, where Pollak works as a graphic designer, and took him into custody. Pollak later stated that around 15 officers were at the scene. In December 2018, Local Call reported that far-right group Ad Kan launched a private prosecution attempt against three Israelis, including Pollak, for participating in protests against the West Bank separation barrier. Ad Kan’s private prosecution, the first of its kind against anti-occupation activists, accused the defendants of “attacking IDF soldiers and Border Police officers.” When Israeli authorities did not see fit to charge the three activists, Ad Kan — which came to prominence in the last few years for sending its employees to infiltrate human rights organizations and record their every move with hidden cameras — took matters into their own hands. The organization claims it was involved with Monday morning’s arrest, and noted that police had surrounded the area where Pollak works in order to prevent him escaping … “It is unbelievable that the police acts as the private militia of an extreme-right organization that filed a baseless private prosecution without any jurisdiction to do so,” said Atty. Gaby Lasky, who is representing the two other defendants in the prosecution.
Graduates scramble for better pay
EI 9 Jan by Jaclynn Ashly & Alaa Daraghmeh — Even a college degree couldn’t help Fathi Taradi. Taradi, 34, tried for a decade to find work as a journalist in the occupied West Bank. He eventually had to settle on construction work in Jerusalem. “The first few days working in Israel, it felt like my heart was breaking because I gave up all of my dreams of being a journalist,” Taradi told The Electronic Intifada at his home in Taffuh, just west of Hebron. Taradi is one of many Palestinian university graduates forced to seek menial work in Israel or its settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem after abandoning hope of finding employment in their field. He spent several years interning or working for low pay at local radio stations in the West Bank until, five years ago, he received an Israeli work permit. “I never thought I would be working in Israel,” he says. “I had so many skills. I thought I would be a successful cameraman by now.” At first, Taradi had to wake up at 3 am every day to travel to Checkpoint 300 north of Bethlehem, sometimes standing for hours with hundreds of other Palestinians penned in between concrete walls and metal bars, waiting for Israeli soldiers to unlock turnstiles and check the Israeli-issued permits that allow them to pass into Jerusalem. He barely saw his four children. Earlier last year, Israel “upgraded” Checkpoint 300, along with the Qalandiya checkpoint near Ramallah, creating more lanes and introducing automatic gates at which Palestinians tap biometric entry permits to pass. The upgrade has made passing the military checkpoint quicker and more efficient, reducing to minutes what used to take hours …
According to Sabri Saidam, the Palestinian Authority’s minister of education, the Palestinian economy is incapable of absorbing university graduates because Israel does not allow “serious development and investment in Palestine.”….
Israeli Bar Association revokes license of Palestinian lawyer
IMEMC/Agencies 9 Jan — On Tuesday, the family of Palestinian lawyer, Tareq Barghouth, 44, received a decision to withdraw his license to practice the profession, Quds News Network reported. The decision was issued by the Israeli Bar Association, which requires the withdrawal of the license to practice law from Barghouth, on the pretext that he was involved in ‘resistance operations’. Israeli occupation forces arrested Barghouth from his home in Ramallah, on February 27, 2019; he was then transferred to the “Al-Maskoubiyya” center, where he was subjected to harsh and prolonged interrogation. The military court in “Ofer” sentenced him to thirteen and a half years, in July of 2019, as part of a deal between the defense and the prosecution, when he was accused of carrying out four shootings with Zakaria Al-Zubaidi. Barghouth was transferred to several Israeli prisons, and is held today in the Negev desert prison. He was subjected to medical negligence, which he wrote about in a letter from prison, the punishment for this was solitary confinement. Barghouth is considered one of the lawyers who defended many Palestinians over the course of his career, as he defended the prisoner Ahmed Manasra, the wounded prisoner Israa Ja`bis, and the wounded prisoner Bilal Abu Ghanem….
Palestinian convicted in murder of Ari Fuld
JPost 6 Jan by Yonah Jeremy Bob — Palestinian Khalil Yusef Ali Jabarin was convicted by the Judea Military Court on Monday in the murder of well-known American-Israeli activist Ari Fuld as well as for three other murder attempts. Fuld, 45, was stabbed in the upper back on September 16, 2018, outside the Gush Etzion shopping center, by Khalil Yusef Ali Jabarin, a 17-year-old Palestinian from Yatta, south of Hebron.
Israel to punitively demolish houses of alleged attackers across West Bank
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 10 Jan – Israeli forces today overnight notified the families of three alleged Palestinian attackers of their intention to demolish their houses across the occupied West Bank. The Palestine Prisoners’ Society (PPS) confirmed that Israeli forces broke into the family house of Mohammad Walid Hanatsheh in Attira neighborhood of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and handed the family a military order to demolish their house. Forces also handed the family of Yazan Mghamas a military order to demolish their house in a raid in Birzeit town, located to the north of Ramallah. Hanatsheh and Mghamas are currently in Israeli custody for their alleged involvement along with Samer Arbeed in the killing of an Israeli settler back near the illegal colonial settlement of Dolev, located near the Palestinian village of Ras Karkar, in August 2019. Arbeed was hospitalized in critical condition for 45 days after undergoing interrogation with the Israeli internal security agency, the Shin Bet, for his involvement in the settler’s killing.
Meanwhile, Israeli military handed a similar demolition order to the family of Mahmoud Atawneh in Beit Kahel town, northwest of Hebron. Kamel Atawneh told WAFA that soldiers wrecked havoc into his 140-meter-sized house, and took photos and measurements of it in preparation for the planned punitive demolition. Atawneh’s son, Mahmoud, who is currently in Israeli custody, is accused of allegedly stabbing a settler at the Gush Etzion colonial settlement bloc, south of Bethlehem, in July 2019.
Israeli military court rejects appeal of Palesitnian prisoner on hunger strike for 107 days
IMEMC/Agencies 7 Jan — The Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission said that the Israeli military court of Ofer rejected an appeal submitted for the release of prisoner Ahmad Zahran, who has been on an open-ended hunger strike for 107 consecutive days in protest of his detention without charge or trial, the Palestinian News and Info Agency reported. In a press statement, The Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Committee said that the court demanded that Zahran end his hunger strike before meeting his demand to end his administrative detention, alleging the need to investigate him but his current health condition does not allow it. To be noted, Israeli investigators from Maskubiya detention and interrogation center attempted to investigate Zahran while he was on al-Ramlah hospital bed, despite his deteriorating condition after 90 consecutive days of hunger strike, however, they were unable to pursue the investigation due to the severity of his health condition. The commission condemned the Israeli court’s claims and confirmed that it will appeal against its decision at the Supreme Court of Israel. Zahran was transferred to Kaplan Medical Center in Israel, on Monday, following an even more severe deterioration of his health. Zahran has lost more than 35 kilograms and his health condition is rapidly deteriorating….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israel confiscates sole vehicle of Palestinian medical team in West Bank firing zone
[behind paywall] Haaretz 7 Jan by Hagar Shezaf — Israel has impounded the only vehicle available to a medical team that provides assistance to 1,500 Palestinians living inside an Israeli military firing zone in the West Bank. This is the second time the vehicle serving residents of Masafer Yatta in the south Hebron hills has been confiscated within one year, cutting off healthcare to an isolated and impoverished population. The medical team, comprised of a doctor, nurse and driver, belongs to the Palestinian Authority’s Health Ministry. They come every week to hamlets in the area, located an hour’s drive on dirt roads from the nearest town of Yatta. The team’s jeep, which also carries medicines, is the only vehicle available for providing medical services to these communities. Last Thursday, when the team arrived at Khirbet al-Majaz, a Civil Administration patrol told them they were not allowed there without prior coordination, since the area was inside a firing zone. Later, the patrol impounded the jeep and detained the team for half an hour. Dr. Faris Abu-Ali, the team’s doctor, said medical assistance was provided for these villages because of their large distance from a city and because of their meager financial means. “We come here with all the medications we can administer outside a hospital to treat the villagers,” he related …
Firing zone 918 covers 7,400 acres and was declared a closed military zone in the 1980s. In 1999, the army expelled residents from their homes, arguing that they were living in a firing zone illegally. A temporary injunction by the Supreme Court later let them return to their lands. According to Israel, the area was uninhabited when it was declared a firing zone. In the course of the petition filed on this matter, residents provided evidence that they have lived in the area for decades, before the area was conquered in 1967 by Israel….
In 2019, Israel demolished 686 homes in West Bank, almost half in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 6 Jan — At least 300 Palestinian buildings were demolished in Jerusalem, by the Israeli occupation authorities in 2019, compared to 386 in other parts of the occupied Palestinian Territories, Palestine News Network reported. Walid Assaf, chairman of the Commission Against the Wall and Settlement, said in a press conference on Israeli violations in the Palestinian territories that the Israeli authorities are aiming to isolate Jerusalem City and divide al-Aqsa Mosque by demolishing Palestinian homes and intensifying the settlement construction activity. He touched on the largest demolition campaign in Jerusalem, which was Sur Baher when 82 Palestinian homes were demolished at once, he also noted that in Shu‘fat refugee camp, 22 homes were demolished in one day. Assaf said that the Israeli demolition policy has witnessed a dangerous shift, explaining that the Israeli authorities moved from demolishing homes to erasing entire communities. Assaf added that Palestinian national and popular resistance committees, with the help of Palestinian citizens, staged a six-month sit-in in 2019 to protest the demolition of al-Khan al-Ahmar community, and managed to stop the forced displacement of its residents.
Israeli defence minister seeks ‘million’ settlers in West Bank
JERUSALEM (AFP) 8 Jan — Israel’s defence minister on Wednesday said he aimed to boost the number of Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank to one million within a decade, from around 400,000 at present. Naftali Bennett, a hawk who draws much of his support from settlers, is leading his New Right party to elections in March. He was speaking at a Jerusalem congress on Washington’s November policy shift stating that it no longer considers Israeli settlements illegal, alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US ambassador David Friedman “Our aim is that within a decade a million Israeli citizens will live in Judaea and Samaria,” Bennett said, using the biblical term for the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Friedman, who is also Jewish and a strong supporter of settlements, disputed the use of the term “occupied”. “We are not occupiers in our homeland, we are not occupiers in our own land, we are not like the Belgians in the Congo,” he said….
Israel approves more than 1,900 new settler homes: NGO
JERUSALEM (AFP) 5 Jan — Israel has approved the construction of 1,936 new settler homes on occupied Palestinian territories, watchdog Peace Now said Monday. The green light was given on Sunday and Monday, Peace Now said, adding that 89 percent of the new homes will be erected in “settlements that Israel may have to evacuate under a future peace agreement with the Palestinians”. The watchdog says settlement building has vastly increased under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ally US President Donald Trump. Netanyahu has been fighting for his political survival faced with corruption charges and after failing to form a new coalition government following April and September elections. The premier, who was indicted in November on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, is now facing a third general election in March. “Despite lacking a clear mandate, for this caretaker government it’s business as usual — continue the massive promotion of harmful and unnecessary construction in occupied territory and in places that Israel will have to evacuate,” said Peace Now in a statement. “Netanyahu continues to sabotage the prospects of peace, dragging Israel into an anti-democratic one-state reality resembling apartheid.” According to Peace Now, 1,150 of the units were approved for “deposit” or phase one of the planning process. A total of 786 units received final endorsement, including 258 that are to be built in Haresha, an “illegal outpost” west of the city of Ramallah on the West Bank, the watchdog said.
Photos: Displacing 15 individuals – two brothers self-demolish their homes
Silwanic 7 Jan — Two brothers self-demolished their homes in the village of Jabal Al-Mukabber following orders issued by the occupation municipality, in order to avoid paying “fines and demolition fees for the municipality’s crews and the accompanying forces.” Wadi Hilweh Information Center stated that Mohammad Nassar and his brother Maher emptied the contents of their homes in Jabal Al-Mukabber village yesterday, and they started to self-demolish them, following an order by the occupation municipality. Maher Nassar said that the municipality had given him and his brother 24 hours to carry out the demolition of their homes, or they would be charged a fine for the municipality’s crews, forces, and bulldozers” at a value of NIS 80,000. He added that they had built the two houses about 8 years ago, and a NIS 35,000 fine was imposed on them two years ago. Maher Nassar added that the municipality had handed him a decision, two weeks ago, to demolish the two homes. He submitted an appeal to the municipality court and was able to freeze the decision until yesterday’s session. He continued: “During yesterday’s session, the judge informed me of the final demolition decision and the necessity of implementing it within 24 hours.” Fifteen people lived in the two homes, including 11 children.
Twelve Palestinians receive home demolition notices in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 9 Jan — The Israeli-run Municipality of Jerusalem delivered at least 12 home demolition notices to Palestinian residents in the city’s Al-‘Issawiya neighbourhood, on Wednesday, the Middle East Monitor reported. The notices were issued under the pretext that the homes were built without a permit, rarely granted to Palestinians by the Israeli occupation authorities, especially in occupied East Jerusalem. Muhammad Abu Al-Hummus, activist and member of local follow-up committee, explained that teams from the Israeli municipality took pictures of more than 50 buildings and homes in and around the neighbourhood. Some of the places where demolition notices were issued have been identified as Abu Al-Homs, Al-Dhahra, Abu Riyala, Al-Shaheed Yasser Arafat Street, Muhaisen neighbourhood and Olayan neighbourhood. The Olayan family, having lived in their home for three years, were ordered by the Israeli authorities to empty their home within 21 days so that it is ready for “immediate” demolition. The family will be left homeless by the Israeli authorities. Abu Al-Hummus pointed out that Israel has increased the rate of destroying Palestinian homes, and noted that some of the buildings earmarked for demolition were built nearly 25 years ago….
Orthodox kick off Christmas Day celebrations in Bethlehem
IMEMC/Agencies 7 Jan — On Monday morning, Christmas celebrations for the Orthodox churches began running on the Eastern calendar, PNN reports. The procession of Archbishop Kabriel Daho, the Patriarchal Vicar of the Syriac Orthodox in the Holy Land, Jordan, was accompanied by Captain Shimon Jean and Captain Paul Khanu, with the elders of the community, departing from Saint Mark’s Monastery for the Syriac Orthodox in Jerusalem, to Bethlehem. The group was additionally accompanied by priests, deacons, and representatives of the Syriac institutions, the Mukhtar of the sect and its leaders, to be greeted by dignitaries and representatives of the Syriac institutions in the governorate, with the motorcade heading through Al-Mahd Street, to Nativity Square and the Paradise Hotel. The procession was presented by the Palestinian Traffic Police, at the junction of Beit Sahour Terra Sancta School for Girls Nuns of Mar Youssef, leading to the procession of Scout groups. The procession was received at Nativity Square by the mayor of Bethlehem, lawyer Anton Salman; the mayor of Beit Jala, Nicolas Khamis; the mayor of Beit Sahour, Jihad Khair;the governor, Major General Kamel Hamid; and Colonel Hqouti Tariq Al Haj, director of the police of the province and the commander of the region; Brigadier General Nazer Amro, the head of the Presidential Committee for Church Affairs, Dr. Ramzi Khoury; Eng. Ziad Al-Bandak; Mrs. Rola Ma’aya, the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Ministers and Representatives….
Trained American Santas hit Jerusalem for Orthodox Christmas
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 5 Jan — Dozens of Santa Clauses turned heads in Jerusalem on Sunday, catching a ride on a sightseeing tram and parading in its walled Old City in a visit to the Holy Land for Orthodox Christmas. The Santas were trained in spreading holiday cheer at the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in Michigan. The trip was hosted by Israel’s Tourism Ministry to coincide with the date when many Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas – Jan. 7….
NGO: Israel forces killed 133 Palestinians in 2019 including 28 children
MEMO 6 Jan — Israeli forces killed 133 Palestinians during 2019, reported human rights group B’Tselem today, more than a fifth of whom were children. The fact that the death toll is “a direct outcome of Israel’s reckless open-fire policy, authorised by the government and military and backed by the legal system”, reaffirms that an International Criminal Court investigation into possible war crimes is “unavoidable”, the NGO stated. According to B’Tselem, Israeli occupation forces killed 104 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, 26 in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, and three within the Green Line. In the Gaza Strip, Palestinian fatalities include 56 who B’Tselem claimed “were not taking part in hostilities”, 46 who reportedly were, and two others where this was unclear. Overall, the Palestinian death toll in Gaza included seven women and 22 children. B’Tselem noted that in the context of “March of Return” protests, Israeli forces killed 31 Palestinians during 2019, including 11 children – six of whom were under the age of 16. Of the 31 protesters killed, 26 were shot with live fire, four were struck in the head by high velocity tear gas canisters and one was struck in the head by a stun grenade.
Meanwhile, in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), Israeli forces killed 26 Palestinians, including five children. The majority were found by B’Tselem investigations to have posed no immediate danger when lethally shot, including 17-year-old volunteer paramedic Sajed Mizher, “was shot and killed as he approached to treat an injured person in a-Duheisheh Refugee Camp”. In another case highlighted by the organisation, “15-year-old ‘Abdallah Gheith was lethally shot by a Border Police officer as he tried to enter Israel in order to pray in Jerusalem.” In addition to those killed by Israeli forces, two Palestinians were killed by Israeli settlers, including 38-year-old father of two Hamdi Na‘asan, “shot in the back by settlers who attacked his village”.
B’Tselem recorded that, alongside the 135 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and settlers, nine Israelis were killed by Palestinians. Five were killed in the occupied West Bank – including two soldiers – and four were killed by projectiles from the Gaza Strip. According to B’Tselem, three Palestinians were also killed in the Gaza Strip by misfired rockets.
US envoy: Next plan is to let Israel annex West Bank
MEMO 9 Jan — US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said yesterday that America’s next step, after recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, is the annexation of the occupied West Bank, Ma’an reported. In a press conference held jointly with the Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett, Friedman said that he has been doing his best since he become ambassador to “fix” the issues which remain outstanding after the 1967 war. “Since coming here l’ve worked to add one more item to a busy agenda: helping to find a fix to the issues that still linger from the Six Day War.” … He pointed out that the West Bank is the most complicated issue because of the large number of Palestinians living there, noting that the US would propose its vision for the solution, referring to the deal of the century. “It does not obfuscate the very real issue that 2 million or more Palestinians reside in Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank], and we all wish that they live in dignity, in peace, and with independence, pride and opportunity. We are committed to find a way to make that happen.” Friedman added that Israel “recovers” it from Jordan in 1967 after it had “occupied” it for 19 years. “Jordan had occupied Judea and Samaria for only 19 years and almost no one recognised its rights to the territory,” he continued.
Foreign ministry condemns US ambassador’s statements on occupied West Bank
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 8 Jan — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates condemned statements made by US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, in which he emphasized the right of Israeli presence in the occupied West Bank which he described as ‘Judea and Samaria’. Speaking at the Kohelet Forum Conference in Jerusalem, Friedman said: “Judea and Samaria – the name Judea says it all – is territory that historically had an important Jewish presence. As they say, it is the biblical heartland of Israel.” … Freidman reportedly said during the conference held with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the US Administration is preparing for other announcements regarding the occupied West Bank. The foreign ministry slammed in a statement Friedman’s remarks as indicative of US disregard for UN resolutions and international law which regard the West Bank as occupied territory. It stressed that such statements are an open incitement to commit more crimes against the Palestinian people, their property, homes, and holy places.
Israel and the PA are seeking to prevent Hamas from running in the elections
MEMO 10 Jan — Israeli intelligence in the West Bank has started calling a number of potential candidates in the upcoming Palestinian legislative elections, who may run on the Hamas lists, asking them not to run. They have threatened them with spending the four-year term of their appointment inside Israeli prisons. Israel and the PA have arrested dozens of Hamas members in different areas of the West Bank, and the arrests included former ministers in the resigned Hamas government, legislators, university academics, journalists and unionists. Hamas considered this a coordinated campaign to prevent their participation in the upcoming elections, expected in the coming months. It is noteworthy that the joint security campaign against Hamas in the West Bank is occurring while the occupied territory is experiencing security calm and no armed operations. This raises legitimate questions about how the security coordination between Ramallah and Tel Aviv continues, despite their political estrangement. The campaign of arrests has been on-going in the cities of Nablus, Tulkarm, Ramallah, Al-Bireh, Hebron and Jericho and the number of those arrested has not been disclosed. While this security crackdown affected PLC member Mohammad Al-Natsheh, former Minister of Local Government Issa Al-Jabari, a leader in Hamas Abdel-Khaleq Al-Natsheh, and a number of freed prisoners, Hamas revealed that more than 40 of its cadres were arrested, 50 more were summoned for questioning, while 30 had their homes raided and searched … Hamas circles in the West Bank have said these arrests will not stop it from participating in the upcoming elections, adding it will participate with the hope of being victorious due to the internal fragmentation experienced by the Fatah movement….
Book Review: Palestine’s sci-fi future in today’s repressive reality
EI 8 Jan by Marguerite Dabaie — Palestine + 100: stories from a century after the Nakba, edited by Basma Ghalayini, Comma Press (2019)– Palestine + 100, an anthology of science fiction by Palestinian authors, is likely the first of its kind. Its 12 writers were given a simple, but flexible, prompt: What would Palestine look like in 2048, a century after the Nakba? The Nakba refers to the ethnic cleansing of Palestine before, during and after the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. The anthology’s focus on this never-ending trauma results in an overall feeling of loss, nostalgia and grief. The stories range from doomsday dystopia (but only for Palestinians) to noir to the absurd. None foresee peaceful resolution to the present reality of Israeli colonialism, occupation and apartheid. Saleem Haddad’s classically sci-fi “Song of the Birds” portrays the idyllic life of a teenage girl in Gaza, featuring clean seawater, beach resorts and personal “robo-cleaners” to help with the chores. All this begins to unravel when her older brother, who died by suicide the year before, appears in her dreams….
Film Review: The story of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin’s assassin
CC 6 Jan by Mordechai Beck –The assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995 was a watershed event in Israeli history. The deed brought to light deep fissures in Israeli society—divisions whose significance had not previously been widely recognized. In hindsight, Rabin’s murder also marked something else: the end of the Israeli peace movement that was hoping for the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. The words of Israeli poet Dahlia Ravikovitch seem to capture this moment in Israeli life: “Even rocks break, this happens suddenly / also with men.” The release of an Israeli film about Rabin’s assassin, Yigal Amir, has sparked heated debates in Israel that reflect the very conflicts in Israeli society that have shaped the country in the years since Rabin’s murder and have led Israel into its current political stalemate: after two consecutive elections, no bloc of parties has been able to form a government. Directed by Yaron Zilberman, with a script by Ron Leshem, Yamim Nora’im (“Awesome Days”)—titled Incitement in English—has received the Ophir Award as the year’s best Israeli film and was picked to represent Israel at the next Academy Awards. The movie has been both widely praised for taking viewers inside Amir’s life and thought and denounced for making him a sympathetic figure.
Defense Ministry announces breakthrough in anti-missile laser development
Times of Israel 8 Jan by Judah Ari Gross — New laser system to be tested over coming year, is meant to complement the Iron Dome air defense system to shoot down incoming rockets, drones —Israel’s Defense Ministry on Wednesday announced that it was developing a laser beam capable of shooting down incoming rockets and small drones, which it plans to test throughout the coming year.According to the ministry, the development of this laser system was possible due to a recent unspecified “technological breakthrough,” following years of investment in research efforts by defense contractors and academic scientists.The futuristic defense system is only in the early development stages and won’t be operational in the near future, the ministry said….
Jewish National Fund host genocide promoter
EI Lobby Watch 8 Jan — The Lawfare Project, an Israel lobby group, announced Monday that Brooke Goldstein, its executive director, will be participating in a Jewish National Fund event with former US official Dennis Ross later this month. They all deserve each other. In June 2016, Goldstein made plain her anti-Palestinian genocidal vision for the region: “Why are we using the word Palestinian? There’s no such thing as a Palestinian person.” Watch the video of her making that statement above. Goldstein also made clear that the goal of her organization is to silence students and activists who speak up for Palestinian rights by filing lawsuits against them. In her words, the aim is to “make the enemy pay.” Her hateful view of Palestinians has much in common with the Crusader mentality Donald Trump Jr. conveyed to his Instagram followers over the weekend. The president’s son posed for a photograph with an assault rifle decorated with Crusader symbolism – a gaudier version of guns used by US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan that carried secret engravings of Bible references. There is a view on the political right that Palestinians and Muslims can be removed from the region and an exclusivist Jewish or Christian reality violently imposed….