Wednesday, December 31, 2014

[ePalestine] Open Letter to the Editors of the New York Times

Open Letter to the Editors of the New York Times

By Sam Bahour
December 31, 2014

A view of Gaza City

Re “Gaza Is Nowhere” (By Roger Cohen, Dec. 30, 2014):

I started writing this as a Letter to the Editor, but my anger could not be conveyed in only 150 words, so I am posting this open letter instead:

Readers expect greater accuracy from New York Times columnists.

How dare Mr. Roger Cohen suggest that Gaza, a part of my homeland, is “nowhere!”

If Mr. Cohen is at a loss to know where Gaza lies, allow me to guide him. The Gaza Strip, as well as Gaza City, were both part and parcel of Historic Palestine, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Following the colossal injustice that resulted in the displacement of more than half of the Palestinian people, and then the creation of what we know today as the state of Israel, and the subsequent military occupation of the remaining Palestinian lands of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Gaza Strip become part and parcel of an Israeli-militarily-occupied territory. It is this military occupation under which many of my friends and colleagues were born and live to this day.

Despite the bitter life Gazan Palestinians face, they know exactly where they are and who they are. To Mr. Cohen’s possible disappointment, I will not sugar-coat reality with euphemisms or attempt to bury the international community’s disgraceful failures by dwelling on internal Palestinian political dynamics.

What Mr. Cohen terms a “high-tech Israeli facility,” is, in reality, an Israeli military garrison and checkpoint that is equipped with U.S. technology aimed to keep Palestinians locked into the world’s largest open-air prison called Gaza.

The Palestinian road worker who impressed Mr. Cohen is not “among the more productively employed of Gaza’s 1.8 million citizens.” The Gaza community is alive, albeit not well. If he had taken the time to look again without his biased lens, he would have seen an entire society struggling to be productive in a reality where electricity is a luxury, clean water is a distant thought, and having the ability to travel freely is a foreign concept to yet another generation of Palestinians.

Mr. Cohen claims that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is “the only dust-free environment” in Gaza. Spare me, please. Has he forgotten that Gaza has been on the receiving end of three major Israeli military operations within the past six years, which left scores dead and wounded and the rest traumatized for life. If he had only taken the time to visit Palestinian homes he would have found other “dust-free environments,” if dust was of such major concern to him. He would have experienced the generosity of a people battered for decades yet miraculously finding a way to go on educating their war-affected children, sustaining themselves economically, continuing to love, and stubbornly maintaining hope for a better tomorrow, even as they are forced to live in imposed darkness. Indeed, as retired Palestinian diplomat Afif Safieh has famously said, Palestinians have been “unreasonably reasonable” given what has fallen upon them.

To add insult to injury, Mr. Cohen assumes the role of spokesperson for Palestinians, claiming the utmost urgent matter in Palestinian lives is the need “to end the lockdown of Gaza.” Lockdown, Mr. Cohen, is a move used to keep prisoners in their cells. Ending the lockdown is allowing the prisoners to interact among themselves and visit the prison yard. Thank you Mr. Cohen, but no thank you. We have the right to be free from the prison imposed on us by Israel and bankrolled by your country. Our utmost urgent matter is that Israel end its nearly five-decade-long military occupation and allow Palestinians to return to their homes, after which we will take care of ourselves.

I can go on, but you are not interested in Palestine or Palestinians. Your career requires you to feed the stereotypes about my home, me, and my people, and for that, you are part of the problem, not the solution. That, Mr. Cohen, is what is truly “shameful.”

Sincerely,
Sam Bahour
Al-Bireh/Ramallah, Palestine
www.ePalestine.com

---

Mr. Cohen's Twitter reply on Jan. 3, 2015:



NO COMMENT!

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

[ePalestine] NYT: The Embattled Dream of Palestine (Unpublished Letter to Editor)

My unpublished NYT Letter to the Editor in reply to:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/20/opinion/the-embattled-dream-of-palestine.html



To the Editor:

Re "The Embattled Dream of Palestine" (By The Editorial Board, Dec. 19, 2014):

Readers expect greater accuracy from NYT's editorials.

To deem Palestinian's frustration with nearly 50 years of Israeli military occupation as, "resentment of Israeli rule that leads to unrest" is a pale attempt to dilute the horrific reality on the ground. Employing such language outright ignores the fact that, except for Israel (the occupying force) the entire world (U.S. included) has deemed the state of affairs as a "military occupation."

Likewise, when the Editorial claims that, "successive Israeli governments, including that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have long negotiated on the basis of a two-state solution," one is led to believe that fact checking has lost its role in journalism. Not only has Prime Minister Netanyahu made multiple, recent public statements defying any notion of a solution based on two states, his party, Likud, has yet to insert its support for two states into its political platform.

Another deep flaw in this piece is stating that Israel "withdrew from Gaza in 2005." They did nothing of the sort. Even Israel itself did not call it "withdraw," but rather "Unilateral Disengagement." The international community has made it clear, over and over, that Gaza today is just as militarily occupied as Ramallah or East Jerusalem.

Sincerely,
Sam Bahour
Policy Advisor, Al-Shabaka, The Palestinian Policy Network

---

Dear ePalestine friends,

Happy New Year and, if you can, please support these efforts:

http://epalestine.blogspot.com/2014/12/epalestine-what-i-am-supporting.html

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

[ePalestine] Newsweek: Gaza: One War, One Family. Five Children, Four Dead

http://www.newsweek.com/2014/12/19/gaza-one-war-one-family-five-children-four-dead-290987.html

In Newsweek, of all places. OK, it's the European edition, but still. The tide is surely on the rise. Most of the world may have already forgotten the over 2,220 human beings slaughtered in 51 days this past summer, but we have not.

Thank you Sarah Helm for reminding us what journalism was meant to be, a tool to speak truth to power.

Newsweek
By Sarah HelmDecember 12, 2014
Gaza: One War, One Family. Five Children, Four Dead
http://www.newsweek.com/2014/12/19/gaza-one-war-one-family-five-children-four-dead-290987.html

Thanks also to Philip Weiss from http://mondoweiss.net for writing on this.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

[ePalestine] What I am supporting


Dear friends,

I take this opportunity to wish you all a happy holiday season and a Happy New Year, despite all.

It is this time of year that is also tagged as the month of giving. I, like you, am bombarded with funding requests during the end of every year. Some are agitated by this, I am not. Civil society, one that is not coerced by the powers that be, can only do its work with public support. There are scores of people doing good things around the world that deserve our support. If they do not ask, they cannot be funded, and thus will be handicapped in their work. I take every request in stride and do my part where I can.

In addition to being asked to support various efforts, I am also frequently asked, every year, to suggest things people can support. Many generous friends on this list have targeted their donations to campaigns (I actually support real people, but the requests arrive in your inbox as a campaign) which I have supported over the years and to them I am eternally grateful and humbled.

This year, I am sharing with you more than a single focal point for support because, in reality, I, like you, support many efforts in one way or another. Thus, I share with you here what I am currently supporting and ask that you consider these efforts for your generous end-of-year support. Of course, this is not a comprehensive list.

1. CULTURE: My firm's current CSR campaign to help a professional Palestinian woman actress conduct a feasibility study for the establishment of a Theatrical Museum of Palestinian Oral History. We have already raised $850 toward this project and $6,350 more is needed to start the study. The details are here: http://aim.ps/aim-csr.html.

2. PALESTINIAN EDUCATION: Hashem Abushama is an amazing Palestinian student from a refugee camp near Hebron who is studying in the US and seeking a partial scholarship. Hashem is an impressive young man. In January, he will share the stage with my daughter Areen as they go on a speaking tour to the Jewish American communities in Boston and New York. He did not wait for funds to drop out of the sky to secure his education; he acted and setup a crowdfunding appeal. See: http://www.gofundme.com/supportmyeducation.

3. MENTAL HEALTH: The Palestinian Medical Education Initiative (PMEI) is a dynamic team of mental health professionals who are transfixed on establishing a proper mental health sector in Palestine. I serve on the Board of PMEI. Led by the amazing duo, Palestinian Dr. Samah Jabr and American Dr. Michael Morse, this effort is at a crucial turning point and is about to realize the fruits of years of planning. Your help is needed given this much needed sector is, regretfully, stigmatized in our society. PMEI will change that perception over time, no doubt. Donate here: http://pmedonline.org/.

4. JEWISH EDUCATION: Encounter is dedicated to strengthening the capacity of Jewish American leaders to be constructive agents of change in transforming the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I have the utmost respect for this professional team of Jewish educators and the outstanding work they do on the ground--actually at ground zero of the occupation. Learn more and donate here: http://www.encounterprograms.org/donate.

5. BUSINESS: I went on a speaking tour in Chicago last year that was organized by a retired American businessman, Ed Thompson. After the tour, Ed asked me to join him in establishing Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy (AVPE). We co-founded this effort earlier this year on the simple premise that Positive Investment in Palestine breeds hope for a better future for Palestinians through tangible economic opportunity. Our U.S. nonprofit (soon to be a 501(c)(3)) organization encourages lasting economic partnerships between Americans and Palestinians. A high-powered board of professionals has been assembled and we are already deep into putting our plans into action. Soon the donate page will have the needed info to donate, but for now we need your support in finding American businesses and trade associations that we can reach out to regarding doing business in Palestine. Note: this effort is not about doing business with our military occupiers, but rather it is about direct relations between American business and Palestinian business. Find AVPE here: http://www.a4vpe.org.

6. PALESTINIAN POLICY VOICE: We are sick and tired of others speaking for us. Al-Shabaka, The Palestinian Policy Network, is an independent, non-partisan, and non-profit organization whose mission is to educate and foster public debate on Palestinian human rights and self-determination within the framework of international law. I serve on Al-Shabaka's board. Read and support our work here: http://www.al-shabaka.org/about/donate.

7. COMMUNITY FOUNDATION: Dalia Association is a community foundation that was established in 2007 by members of the Palestinian community, including individuals from the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, Israel, and the Diaspora. Dalia believes that Palestinians have a right to control our own development. Our mission is to mobilize and properly utilize resources necessary to empower a vibrant and accountable civil society. As a co-founder and board member, I invite you to join us in any way you can, materially or otherwise. Find Dalia here: http://www.dalia.ps (Note the site is undergoing a repair and will be up within 24 hours).

Two points I would like to make in closing:

- Some will look at this list and say, what a long list, how can Sam expect someone to support all of these efforts. I do not. I respect people's ability to choose what suits them best, be it from this list or helping your next door neighbor. I am not marketing a product here; I am sharing with you my civic duty toward society and inviting you to join me.

- Secondly, you may be thinking, where's Gaza in Sam's list. Rest assured Gaza is there, embedded in each and every one of the items listed above.

Lastly, for those of you in Youngstown or who know Martha Katz, I ask that you direct your prayers for her wellbeing as she struggles to regain her health at St. Elizabeth Hospital.

I wish all a safe and prosperous new year.

Happy Holidays,
Sam

--
Sam Bahour
Mobile: +970-(0)599-378-278
E-mail: sbahour@gmail.com
Website: www.AIM.ps
Blog: www.ePalestine.com

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

[ePalestine] Rick Steves Europe in Palestine

http://youtu.be/PLNkP7nJ4hg

Guidebook author and travel TV host Rick Steves is said to be America's most respected authority on European travel. He visited Palestine in October 2014.

Thanks to IMEU for sharing the Palestine episode of Rick Steves' travel show, which debuted this fall on PBS affiliates across the country. During the 30-minute episode, Steves -- one of the country's most recognizable travel authorities, with shows on both PBS and NPR -- visits some of Palestine's most famous sites and speaks to people about their concerns and hopes for the future.

I do caution that there is a bit of political naivety, to put it politely. Actually it is more than a little which makes one wonder why such personalities still fear speaking things we assume they know as fact, or should. Nevertheless, the video images are beautiful, so enjoy:

http://youtu.be/PLNkP7nJ4hg (26:45 min)

P.S. If you know Eng. Mahmoud Akel try to catch the glimpse of him in Ramallah:-)

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

[ePalestine] Video: Sam Bahour at Startup Grind Palestine (1:08:33)

October 29, 2014, Ramallah

Video: Sam Bahour at Startup Grind Palestine (1:08:33)



http://youtu.be/R4NfMwIbNRY
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Friday, November 21, 2014

[ePalestine] Amnesty Int'l: Israeli forces displayed ‘callous indifference’ in deadly attacks on family homes in Gaza

The human capacity to bury memory and move on without accountability is incomprehensible.

Report available in En, Sp, and Fr at this link. I wish they would translate to Hebrew too.

Israeli forces displayed 'callous indifference' in deadly attacks on family homes in Gaza

A Palestinian child sits above the ruins of his ruined home, and looks at thousands of homes destroyed because of the war on Gaza.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/israeli-forces-displayed-callous-indifference-deadly-attacks-family-homes-gaza-2014-11-05
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

[ePalestine] Watch: Why is Jerusalem always on edge? (3mins)

As we all mourn, yet more, senseless loss of innocent lives and destruction of property we have no option but to keep hope alive. This is not the time to remind all that we have warned of such an outbreak of uncontrollable violence for years now. Rather, this is the time we wake up to the reality of where the politics of exclusivity, occupation and extremism is taking us all. I, for one, refuse to just go with this bloody flow. I refuse to not try to better understand the underlying causes of violence amongst us, be it murder or mass murder, be it individually-driven or state-driven, and redouble my efforts to bring about a just peace in Palestine and Israel.

---

Why is Jerusalem always on edge?



http://wp.me/p2HBz8-2vI

I thank Samia Khoury for bringing this short and informative video to my attention.


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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

[ePalestine] Interview with Sam Bahour - Jung & Naiv in Israel & Palestine: Episode 207

Jung & Naiv (Germany)

Interview (in English) with Sam Bahour on August 14th, 2014 by the German new media outfit Jung & Naiv (Young and Naive).



http://youtu.be/L8RAZuqildE (48:48)




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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

[ePalestine] The New Yorker: Israel's One-State Reality (By David Remnick)

"I'm not asking if we've forgotten how to be Jewish, but if we've forgotten how to be human." ~Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin, the new President of Israel

"Israel has not moved to the right. It has gone to a madhouse!" ~Dr. Husam Zomlot, a high-ranking adviser in the Abbas government

No one will be able to say they were not forewarned where this is all heading.

The New Yorker

Letter from Jerusalem - November 17, 2014

The One-State Reality

Israel's conservative President speaks up for civility, and pays a price.

By David Remnick

Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin, the new President of Israel, is ardently opposed to the establishment of a Palestinian state. He is instead a proponent of Greater Israel, one Jewish state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. He professes to be mystified that anyone should object to the continued construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank: "It can't be 'occupied territory' if the land is your own."

READ ON AT:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/11/17/one-state-reality

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Friday, November 07, 2014

[ePalestine] NYT: Europe Is Blocking Mideast Peace (By NAVI PILLAY)

A very sound analysis that should be read by all involved.

"This cycle of violence will only be broken when the international community insists upon greater accountability and ceases to turn a blind eye to the horrific human rights violations committed by both sides."


New York Times

The Opinion Pages | Op-Ed Contributor

Europe Is Blocking Mideast Peace

By NAVI PILLAY
NOV. 6, 2014

LONDON — This summer's war in Gaza was the latest episode in a cycle of mistrust, aggression and destruction. Yet again the world is counting the cost in lives, homes, hospitals, schools, factories and other civilian infrastructure. More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed in the conflict, at least half of them civilians and around a quarter of them children. Sixty-six Israeli soldiers also died, as well as five civilians, including one child.

This cycle of violence will only be broken when the international community insists upon greater accountability and ceases to turn a blind eye to the horrific human rights violations committed by both sides.

One way of facilitating accountability would be for Palestine to join the International Criminal Court. The I.C.C., where I sat as a judge for five years, hears cases concerning the most serious international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It plays a vital role in deterring future violence and ensuring justice for crimes that are not being tried or cannot be tried at the national level. The Rome Statute, which is the legal basis of the I.C.C., entered into force on July 1, 2002; 122 countries have acceded.

The I.C.C. currently has no jurisdiction over Israel or Palestine because neither party has acceded to the court's statute. Israel, fearing possible war crimes charges, has decided not to become a party. Palestine, which has been able to accede to the I.C.C. since it was accorded Observer State status at the United Nations in 2012, has threatened to become a party, though it seems reluctant to follow through for fear of losing a political bargaining chip.

If Palestine accedes, the I.C.C. would have jurisdiction to investigate crimes committed by all sides in the territory of Palestine, which includes the West Bank and Gaza Strip, irrespective of Israel's nonmembership. But the problem is that Europe and the United States oppose Palestinian accession. In the latter case, it's not surprising; indeed, America is not even an I.C.C. member. But it is less understandable for individual European member states and the European Union as a whole to take this position.

The European Union is a staunch supporter of the I.C.C. It uses its trade and development deals to encourage other countries to join, and it has withdrawn aid from countries for refusing to cooperate with the court. But in stark contrast to its position on other conflicts, and in violation of the obligations of I.C.C. members to promote the universality of the Rome Statute, European officials have warned Palestine "to use constructively its U.N. status and not to undertake steps which would lead further away from a negotiated solution." This mesage is clear: refrain from joining the I.C.C.

Europe should support Palestine's bid to join the court because I.C.C. jurisdiction could become the ultimate deterrent that breaks the cycle of conflict.

It could ensure that both Palestine and Israel are held accountable for future war crimes. After decades of impunity, and no redress for crimes committed — including indiscriminate firing of rockets, bombing of civilians and targeting of hospitals and schools — I.C.C. accession would deter the worst violence.

Would Hamas continue to fire rockets into Israel or hide militants in schools if it knew its leaders would appear in the dock? Would Israel shell hospitals or shoot down children if it knew its leaders could be jailed in The Hague? The specter of the I.C.C. could be a game changer in preventing or drastically reshaping the dynamics of any future conflict. And by promising serious legal consequences for those who commit war crimes, it would encourage both sides to stay at the negotiating table.

Furthermore, if the Palestinians joined the court, the Israelis would need to think carefully about continued settlement expansion because the I.C.C.'s statute defines as a war crime, "the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the occupying power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies" — which would arguably apply to Israel's settlement activity.

Europe should not be concerned that I.C.C. accession might obstruct peace talks. On the contrary, it is exactly what is needed to build trust and encourage cooperation. For the last few decades there has been no notable progress in the peace talks, precisely because of the lack of an accountability mechanism. Repeated violations of international humanitarian law have gone unpunished, leading to a breakdown of trust and a refusal to negotiate in good faith.

The best contribution the Europeans can make to peace between Israel and Palestine would be to abandon their hypocrisy and encourage Palestine to accede to the I.C.C.

As Palestinian leaders debate whether to join the court, constructive European engagement could make the difference. By removing their opposition, they could send a clear signal that impunity must come to an end, and in doing so boost the chances of success in future peace talks.
 
Navi Pillay was the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008 to 2014 and a judge at the International Criminal Court from 2003 to 2008.

A version of this op-ed appears in print on November 7, 2014, in The International New York Times.

SOURCE: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/07/opinion/europe-is-blocking-mideast-peace.html

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Saturday, November 01, 2014

[ePalestine] Otherwise Occupied / The genius of Israeli evil: It poses as concern (By Amira Hass)

Haaretz

Otherwise Occupied / The genius of Israeli evil: It poses as concern 

How to murder human beings without using an explosive or a knife, how to empty them from within, how to steal from workers of the land the thing they hold most dear. 
 

By Amira Hass | Oct. 27, 2014

The Elon Moreh settlement dominates the olive groves of Deir al-Hatab
The settlement of Elon Moreh, with the city of Nablus in the background. Photo by AP

Israeli evil is not at all banal. Abundant in inventions and innovations as well as in age-old techniques, it trickles like water and bursts out from hidden places. But unlike floods, it does not reach an end, and it affects some while being invisible, undetectable and non-existent for others. The genius of Israeli evil is in its ability to disguise itself as compassion and concern (thus providing Bernard-Henri Lévy and Elie Wiesel with yet another opportunity to praise the Jewish state in widely-read essays). 

Take, for example, the inventive technique of Israeli agriculture: two to five days per year of cultivating the land. A shmita (sabbatical) for land every year, instead of remaining idle every seven years. It does so 360 days each year. Our compassionate and generous army allows tens of thousands of Palestinians living in the West Bank to work their land for only three or four or five days per year in order to protect them from attacks by Israelis, colonizers, settlers – in short, Jews. For the rest of the year, the land is a mirage. 

Take, for instance, the village of Deir el-Hatab. The settlement of Elon Moreh and its outposts dominate about half of its 12,000 dunams (some 3,000 acres). Because of the proximity to the settlement, the village's farmers are not permitted to cultivate about 6,000 dunams of their land, nor are they permitted to walk there, graze flocks, rotate crops, plow, weed, watch birds or transmit their family's accumulated knowledge to the young generation. They may go there only two or three days a year to pick the olives that Allah made to sprout with his rain and that unknown Israelis did not manage to steal. 

Evil also excels at being patient. It knows that land whose owners do not access it for 360 days a year does not disappear. It becomes, de facto, land belonging to the master who loves nature and hikes and grazing flocks, just as our ancestors did. 

As is written on the sign beside the road leading out of Elon Moreh: "May it be Your will, our God and God of our ancestors, that you lead us in peace and guide our footsteps in peace ... and rescue us from the hand of every foe, ambush and highwaymen and all manner of calamity along the way," (an excerpt from the Jewish travelers' prayer.) 

Take Deir el-Hatab and multiply it by ... how many? Seven villages? A hundred? Add in the spring of Deir el-Hatab, the water source that the grandmothers of the village's grandmothers enjoyed and used. It has now become a pool for ritual immersion and a place to relax for Jews only, by the side of the Palestinian-free road leading to Elon Moreh. Multiply it by dozens more springs that have suffered a similar fate. 

Put everything together and you get another innovative technique from the producers of Israeli evil: How to murder human beings without using an explosive or a knife, how to empty them from within, how to steal from workers of the land the thing they hold most dear – not only their livelihood and their children's future, but also the deeply-rooted relationship of love they have with their homeland, which exists without satanic verses or eye-rolling or generous subsidies from the World Zionist Organization's Settlement Department. 

The genius of Israeli evil is that it is broken down into an infinite number of atoms, individual cases that the human brain – and even more so a newspaper column – cannot contain in their entirety, and a single definition cannot conceptualize them. We will write about stolen land, and leave out the demolished home. We will leave out both in favor of writing about the prohibition on family visits in prison, but there will not be enough time to write about the military raids and the invasion of a home with frightened children inside, and the atmosphere of "action" in the army unit. 

We will waste days searching for the soldier who aimed a rifle at the expense of the days required to describe the branching out of the siege of Gaza under the shadow of promises of relief measures. We will write about the relief measures, and it will be forgotten that the Gaza Strip continues to function like a detention facility for 1.8 million people. We will write about a detention camp, and people will tell us that we are repeating ourselves. We will write about a 40-percent unemployment rate in Gaza and about how only seven of 40 graduates in nursing from Al-Quds University found work, and people will say: "But what does that have to do with us?" 

Evil is very good at recruiting linguistic accomplices. "An intifada is running wild in Jerusalem," read one headline. When will we write in a Hebrew headline that the built-in, well-thought-out and deliberate discrimination against Palestinians committed by the Interior Ministry, the Jerusalem municipality and the National Insurance Institute for decades continues to run wild and inflict disasters in the city? It is impossible. It's too long for one headline. 

Or a "human-rights violation" – a definition by which this writer also transgresses, a definition that is dragged into dealing with those who have been harmed ("victim," another despicable collaborating word) instead of those who are doing harm. 

To keep our blood pressure down, we have not touched on the evil embodied in the killing of children by Israeli troops, the evil of Israel's collective disregard of the inevitable wrath that builds up with the burial of each bullet-riddled child, the evil that exists in the evasive wording imposed by so-called objective traditions of news reporting. Killing? Israeli soldiers shoot at Palestinian children because that is the job of soldiers who are sent to protect, with self-sacrifice, the colonialist enterprise and the benefits that it provides to the master nation. Is it any wonder that so few Israelis are emigrating abroad? 

An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to the World Zionist Organization's Settlement Division as part of the Jewish Agency. 
 

SOURCE: http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.622892


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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

[ePalestine] LRB: Organised Hypocrisy on a Monumental Scale (By Robert Wade)

"They [restrictions] are so pervasive and systematic that it almost seems as if the Israeli state has mapped the entire Palestinian economy in terms of input-output relations, right down to the capillary level of the individual, the household, the small firm, the large firm, the school, the university, so as to find all possible choke points, which Israeli officials can tighten or loosen at will." ~Prof. Robert Wade

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SOURCE: http://t.co/6LCXAdi759

24 October 2014

London Review of Books

Organised Hypocrisy on a Monumental Scale

Robert Wade on the Economic Occupation of the West Bank

Late last year I made my first visit to the West Bank. I'd never before been anywhere in what was once known as the Levant, between Anatolia and Egypt, though I've travelled in other parts of the world, as a researcher into economic and political development. Mostly I look at institutions – of all kinds and sizes – and the ways they go about their business, whether it's the management of common resources at village level, such as grazing and irrigation, or the state-level implementation of policies on industry and technology. I visited the West Bank at the invitation of the Kenyon Institute, which arranges visits and lectures by British-based academics. As well as lecturing, I interviewed civil servants and politicians, NGO officials and owners of small factories, and travelled across much of the territory. I was struck by the development impasse in the West Bank, and by the granular details of Palestinian life under the Israeli control system: I mean daily life, at the basic level, as distinct from the high-profile feuds and negotiations with which we're all familiar.

First, some figures. In the combined territory of Israel plus Palestine, the population of Israeli Jews is just over six million, of whom about half a million live in East Jerusalem or settlements in the West Bank. The population of Palestinian Arabs is about six million, of whom some 2.7 million live in the West Bank, 1.7 million in Gaza and 1.7 million in Israel. So the ratio of Palestinian Arabs to Israeli Jews in the combined territory is 49.8:50.2. However, two qualifications have to be made. First, the population of Palestinian Arabs living as refugees is estimated at 6.8 million, bringing the number of Palestinian Arabs to nearly 13 million. Second, within the borders of Israel plus Palestine, the Arabs in the four territories where Arabs live (West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and Israel) have little exchange with one another; they are in no sense a unit.

The West Bank's population of 2.7 million is around a third the size of Israel's (including Arabs), but has a much higher birthrate (though the birthrate among Jewish settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is even higher).

The average income of Jewish Israelis (at market exchange rates) is around $40,000; that of Arab Israelis $13,000; that of West Bankers $3700, and less in Gaza.

At the end of the Second World War, Jews accounted for about 34 per cent of the population of historic or British Mandate Palestine, Arabs 66 per cent; the average income of the Jews was about twice that of Arabs. Today, the population ratio is almost 50:50; the average income of Jews is about 11 times that of West Bankers. Few places in the world have a long land border with such a large average income disparity between the two sides.

Before I arrived in the West Bank I had read about the Israeli system of control. 'The miracle is based on denial,' Ari Shavit writes in My Promised Land. 'Bulldozers razed Palestinian villages, warrants confiscated Palestinian land, laws revoked Palestinians' citizenship and annulled their homeland.' But reading about it is one thing; encountering the system at first hand is quite another.

The souk in Hebron's old city was eerily empty, with almost no people or goods to be seen. Walking through it I noticed netting strung over the street, and looking up towards the bright blue sky was puzzled to see rubbish strewn on the netting. My hosts explained that Israeli settlers had occupied the apartments of departed Palestinians above the souk, or built new apartments on top of the Palestinians'; and from this vantage point had taken to tossing their rubbish onto the heads of passing Palestinians below. Hence the netting. I was told that a minister in the Palestinian Authority recently had a chamber pot emptied on top of her.

The souk was like a ghost town, my hosts explained, because the Israeli government had closed off most access points to Palestinians, in order to ensure that the Israeli settlers could enter and leave the city by dedicated routes, avoiding all contact with Palestinians. The main way in to the souk had a revolving steel gate guarded by an Israeli soldier. As we passed through, two men on one side had a stack of cartons of canned goods on a trolley; they lifted the cartons one by one high up over the top of the barrier, into the hands of two men on the other side, who lowered them onto their trolley, ready to move elsewhere. Think of the transaction costs of shifting those canned goods a couple of metres through the checkpoint.

The next day, on a dusty dirt road outside Nablus, with the Israeli security fence on one side and an olive grove on the other, I met two brothers walking towards the town some three kilometres away, where they lived. They had been working on their (ancestral) land on the Israeli side of the fence. The Israelis manned a gate closer to the town, they said, but opened it for only one hour in the early morning, one hour at midday and one hour in the late afternoon. If they wanted to come or go at other times they walked, or sometimes drove a tractor, several kilometres to the next gate, which had more extended opening hours. They also each needed a permit to cross the fence. The permits didn't last long. The period varied but was commonly about two months. When it expired the men had to apply for another permit, which could take weeks. Last year they applied for a permit to cover the period for harvesting their greenhouse tomatoes, their main source of income. But it took 40 days to arrive, by which time the crop had rotted. They had two more brothers who were not allowed to cross the fence under any circumstances, because years before they had been jailed for protesting against Israeli rule.

On to a nearby herder community, where fifty households tend several thousand head of sheep and goats on barren land. Electricity lines run overhead, water and sewage pipes run below, but the herders have no access to them. They buy water from an Israeli-owned water depot some distance away. They can pay for an Israeli-owned tanker to bring water to their cistern; but it was cheaper for them to tow their own water container to the depot behind a tractor, fill it, and pull it back home. In 2008 the Israeli authorities confiscated their water container, saying it did not meet standards. Now they pay the extra for the Israeli-owned tanker delivery.

The Palestinian Hydrology Group, an NGO, has been working for more than twenty years to improve water and sanitation facilities throughout the West Bank. The Nablus office has provided toilets to fifty poor communities, including this settlement of herders. In Israeli eyes the toilets are illegal, because built without a permit. The PHG knows from experience that the chances of getting a permit are practically zero. So, backed by Spanish aid, it built quickly collapsible toilet cabins. With just a few minutes' notice the components can be spirited out of sight and reassembled when the soldiers are gone. In Area C of the West Bank (more than 60 per cent of the territory) it is illegal even to mend a failing water cistern without a permit – which is rarely given. Solar panels would require a permit, too.

The same restrictions mean that areas A and B of the West Bank (40 per cent of the territory), where Palestinians have greater scope for self-government, cannot be connected to scale-efficient infrastructure networks for electricity and water. The areas are fragmented (ghettoised) into small enclaves surrounded by area C land, where infrastructure projects require Israeli permits, which are rarely given. This greatly increases the cost of infrastructure services and restricts their supply to most of the West Bank population.

At the other end of the socio-economic ladder, I spoke to a senior Palestinian telecommunications executive. He told me that the Oslo Accords explicitly stated that the West Bank administration had the right to establish 'separate and independent telecommunication networks'. But the fine print said that Israel would allocate frequencies for the Palestinians (or not). Unsurprisingly, given the enveloping structure of rule, the Israeli government has not allocated anything like enough frequencies to the Palestinians, with the result that the costs of building networks in Palestine are three times higher than they otherwise would be. Palestinians are unable to access the internet or email on their phones, because Israel has not allocated the frequencies needed for 3G (for 'security reasons'). Israel has however allocated 3G frequencies to Israeli companies serving West Bank settlers and to provide seamless telecom access to Israeli citizens moving about the West Bank.

Telecom equipment can only be brought in through Israeli ports. Several years ago the Palestinian telecom agency ordered equipment from Ericsson, identical to Ericsson equipment imported at the same time by Israel. The Israeli equipment passed through customs in two weeks; the Palestinian equipment was held for two years for 'security checks', all the time incurring daily storage fees. Israel also insists on the same equipment standards for Palestine as for Israel, despite the income disparity.

Israel systematically blocks Palestinian external trade with other countries (70 per cent of the West Bank's exports are sold in Israel). The only alternatives to Israel's ports are two land bridges to Jordan. Israel often closes one of them, and the other is often choked by insufficient infrastructure. Israel levies murky forms of protection against Palestinian products, such as health and safety standards that Palestinian producers cannot comply with. Israeli law requires a wide range of products, including pharmaceuticals, to be certified before entering Israel; but Israeli security law also typically prohibits Israeli citizens from performing inspections in the Palestinian territories. Palestinian products subject to these rules therefore cannot be sold to the Israeli market, because they cannot be inspected by Israelis before entering Israel.

Israel has steadily blocked Palestine's bids for membership of the World Trade Organisation, despite EU support and US non-objection, so Palestine cannot bring complaints against Israel's restrictions on its exports to the WTO dispute settlement mechanism. At the same time as Israel is unconstrained by WTO rules in its dealings with Palestinian trade, the Palestinian economy bears the brunt of the free trade policies – unrestricted imports – instituted by the Palestinian Authority in compliance with the rules of the customs union with Israel and with the prescriptions of the World Bank and IMF.

No surprise, then, that the ratio of Palestine's exports to GDP has steadily declined over the past two decades. One need not believe in free international trade as a magic bullet for development to see that Israel's restrictions on Palestine's international trade – even with Israel – are a major obstacle to Palestine's economic development.

Around 70 per cent of the Palestinian Authority's revenue comes from customs and other fees collected by the Israelis on the PA's behalf. The Israelis take a sizeable collection fee and pass on the balance (or not). If some Palestinians behave badly in Israeli eyes – by striking back against the occupation or pressing for membership of international organisations – they may withhold the revenue, starving the PA of funds and making it difficult to provide even minimal public services.

Universities on the West Bank can usually employ visiting academics from outside Palestine for only one month before a permit is required; the permit may take years to arrive. It is widely said among the Palestinian elite that the quality of university education is deteriorating. To get a quality university education young people must leave, but few have the resources to do so.

Everywhere I went, I encountered despair about the Palestinian Authority and its effectiveness, even allowing for the tight Israeli constraints. Some 70 per cent of the PA's revenues goes on salaries to public officials. Members of parliament, ministers and the president pay themselves extremely generously compared to average income: their average salary is about 24 times the Palestinian average, one of the highest ratios in the world (in Lebanon it's 15:1, in Bolivia 10:1, Saudi Arabia 5:1, USA 5:1, Norway 2:1).

I visited a shoe factory in Hebron and a soap factory in Nablus. They are both supply rather than demand-constrained; they could sell more, mainly for export, if they produced more (though the shoe factory would then have to import more materials, with all the transaction costs that would incur). But the factories are a mess, in bad need of modernisation, not just of their equipment (which would have to be imported) but in terms of layout, storage, cleanliness and lighting.

The engineers of Taiwan's Industrial Development Bureau, which I studied in the 1980s, were required to spend several days a month visiting factories, coaching owners and managers on improving production layout, investing in new equipment, exploring links with foreign-invested firms in Taiwan, investigating export markets.

I asked the shoe and soap factory owners if they had received any visits or support from officials of the Palestinian Authority. They said not. Later I asked a senior official whether the PA had any industrial development coaching or extension service. Yes, he said, we have PalTrade (a trade promotion agency). I said that what I had in mind was quite different from trade promotion. Well, he said, we have a Labour Ministry which looks after work conditions in factories.

His response illustrates what happens when a state is barely able to support itself, at the mercy of its neighbour's (un)willingness to hand over its due revenue and to allow imports and exports. Under such conditions no state can sustain a development strategy, and it is no wonder that many PA officials are focused above all on survival: both their own survival in their well-paid positions, and the survival of the power structure they benefit from. Then the Washington-Brussels Consensus – that market liberalisation is the route to development – can be used to sprinkle justification on passivity. The fact that Chinese textile makers can profitably sell nylon keffiyehs in Palestine for only 10 shekel, undercutting Palestine-made cotton scarves at 25 shekel, can be interpreted as a simple gain for consumer welfare; with the hope, inspired by the theory of comparative advantage, that redundant textile workers will find employment in higher value-added activities elsewhere. But unemployment is high and rising, especially among the young.

The restrictions that the Israeli state imposes on Palestinians in the West Bank (to say nothing of Gaza, which I did not visit) are most visible in the Wall and security fence, which divides the whole length of the West Bank, including deep intrusions to annex additional land for Israel. But the restrictions also cover the movement of people, the import and export of goods and services, investments, and access to basic infrastructure (electricity, water, sanitation). They are so pervasive and systematic that it almost seems as if the Israeli state has mapped the entire Palestinian economy in terms of input-output relations, right down to the capillary level of the individual, the household, the small firm, the large firm, the school, the university, so as to find all possible choke points, which Israeli officials can tighten or loosen at will.

Under these circumstances – which I'm happy to say I have never encountered elsewhere – political and economic development is barely possible. In November 2013, the Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said: 'We can talk seriously about a political settlement with the Palestinians when their per capita GDP reaches $10,000 – not a day before that' (because only then will Palestinians have enough at stake genuinely to want peace). This expresses organised hypocrisy on a monumental scale. Until Palestine has substantial sovereignty, including control over borders and natural resources, the conditions for a 'political settlement' will be postponed indefinitely, and the region will remain a generator of conflicts feeding larger regional conflicts – indefinitely.

Still, even within narrow constraints, the Palestinian Authority or its successor could do more than at present to foster economic development. For example, it could give higher priority to industry and agriculture, and less to 'services' (including the salaries of public officials). It could create a public-private-NGO agency to perform the same functions as Taiwan's Industrial Development Bureau and its agricultural equivalent. The Occupied Territories now get more non-military aid per person than just about anywhere else in the world, through multilateral, US and European channels. Aid donors could do more to steer the allocations in more productive directions, and press the Palestinian Authority not to use aid money as an excuse for constructing a social compact with Palestinian citizens. They could press international organisations like the WTO and the International Olive Council to admit Palestine as a member. But in the end, firms, universities, pension funds and NGOs must mount sustained pressure on the US and Israeli governments to change their joint operating premise, 'a sovereign Palestinian state eventually, but not now'.

ISSN 0260-9592 Copyright © LRB Limited 2014

SOURCE: http://t.co/6LCXAdi759
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Friday, October 03, 2014

[ePalestine] +972/TPM: Why must Gaza wait in the dark? (By Sam Bahour)

+972 Blog
Published October 3, 2014

Why must Gaza wait in the dark?

Separating Gaza's electricity supply from the political conflict is a step long overdue.

By Sam Bahour
Palestians gather near a fire in the At-Tuffah district of Gaza City, which was heavily damaged by Israeli attacks during the latest offensive, Gaza City, September 6, 2014.
Palestinians gather near a fire in the At-Tuffah district of Gaza City, which was heavily 
damaged by Israeli attacks during the latest offensive, Gaza City, September 6, 2014.

When I asked my colleague in Gaza about her biggest dream, her answer made an impression on me: "I dream of what life would be like with 24-hour electricity." This was the answer of a single, mid-career, western educated, professional woman who lives in the more affluent part of Gaza City. Her response suggests the depth of despair among Palestinians throughout Gaza.

Day-to-day life in Gaza between Israeli attacks is unworthy news for Western mainstream media. As a result, few people are aware that electricity in Gaza is a luxury, with blackouts lasting 16-18 hours—every day. This bitter reality has warped people's lives for years now, as they must plan their daily activities around the four-six hours when they anticipate electricity, even if that means waking up to put laundry in the washing machine in the middle of the night.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

[ePalestine] Washington Post: An Israel equal for all, Jewish or not (A MUST READ)

Washington Post
 
Opinions
 
An Israel equal for all, Jewish or not

September 26

Patricia Marks Greenfield is a psychology professor at the University of California at Los Angeles.

An American colleague and I traveled to Israel at the end of June to continue research with an Israeli team composed of Jewish and Muslim researchers from Ben Gurion University in Beersheba. Our team studies how rapid social change has shifted values among Arabs in northern Israel, Bedouin Arabs in the Negev and Ethiopians Jews in southern Israel — Israeli citizens all. In the course of this work, we have been warmly welcomed into the homes of our Arab partners in northern Israel. We also saw the home of a newlywed Bedouin couple that had been destroyed by Israeli bulldozers because some Bedouin ancestral lands are not recognized by the Israeli government, and we learned about racial discrimination against Ethiopian Jews.

Given these experiences, it seems more important than ever to state two things clearly and forcefully: Israel is a full-fledged multiethnic, multireligious society, and it must provide equal legal and day-to-day treatment to all its citizens, no matter their ethnic or religious background. Unfortunately, this is not the case for those who are Arab or Ethio­pian or whose religion is Muslim or Christian.

In this respect, Israel is out of step with much of the world. Over time, nations have become more ethnically and religiously diverse; populations have become more urban and educated; and economies have become more commercial. In response to these social and economic changes, many nations have left behind the notion of a favored state religion.

It is time for Israel to do the same. It must be a fully secular state.

What was necessary for Israel after the Holocaust is no longer necessary and has even become counterproductive. As long as being Jewish holds such a preeminent place in Israel, then Muslim and Christian Arabs will always be second-class citizens, vulnerable to discrimination in housing, employment, education and other areas. Nor can Ethiopian citizens be truly equal so long as their Jewishness and religious heritage are called into question by powerful religious authorities.

While we were doing our work in July, we were close to the fighting in Gaza. Our research activities were disrupted by rocket fire. We could hear, and feel, rockets falling to the ground or being intercepted by the Iron Dome antimissile system. It was nerve-wracking to live this way, and I have a new understanding and respect for what Israelis go through in wartime.

But I also understood for the first time what Isaiah Berlin said of Israel: "Too much history, too little geography." The cut-off nature of the Gaza Strip means that, geographically, Gaza is, in reality, a part of Israel, while continuing Israeli settlement on the West Bank means that Israel has made itself part of Palestine. Gaza and the West Bank may be separated from each other, but they are not separated from Israel. Given this reality, Gaza and the West Bank must inevitably become part of Israel; there can be no two-state solution. And Israel must leave behind its official Jewish identity to acknowledge its multiethnic, multireligious character by providing equal treatment for all.

The Muslim Israelis with whom we worked as researchers, and the Arab communities we studied in northern Israel, are committed to Israel. Their commitment is based on their long history on the same soil, reinforced by the economic and educational opportunities that Israel provides. But this commitment could become even stronger if Muslim and Christian Israelis were treated the same as Jewish Israelis. As for Ethio­pian Jews, their joy and relief at reaching Israel would be renewed, were their unique history to be respected.

Many Jewish Israelis subscribe to the unfortunate demographic myth that high birth rates among Arabs and Ethiopians mean that they will soon outnumber Jews of other national and racial origins. But education and economic opportunity unfailingly drive birth rates down. If Israeli minorities were provided with the same educational and employment opportunities as other Israelis, their birth rates would decline to the same levels and their proportion in the population would stop increasing. Between the 1960s and 2004, as Arabs in Israel became more prosperous, educated and technologically connected, their birth rate fell by more than half, according to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Indeed, the bureau's figures for 2013 revealed that the Jewish birth rate is rising as the Muslim birth rate continues to decline. This is one important reason why Israel will continue to have a culture rooted in Judaism.

If Gaza and the West Bank were truly part of Israel, and Israel were truly a multiethnic, secular society, there would be progress toward peace. The "right of return" championed by Arabs would have new meaning: It would no longer mean the transfer of Israeli land. Instead it would mean the opportunity to live in Israel as fully equal citizens, with all of the privileges from and obligations to the Israeli nation. Internal equality and external peace are two sides of the same coin.

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/an-israel-equal-for-all-jewish-or-not/2014/09/26/83151758-3a05-11e4-9c9f-ebb47272e40e_story.html

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[ePalestine] Haaretz: Why Israel pretends Mohammed isn't there (A Must Read)

Haaretz

Why Israel pretends Mohammed isn't there

It isn't a matter of racism. It's a matter of denial.

By Asher Schechter | Sep. 28, 2014

 Babies born in Israel. Photo by Ancho Gosh

Earlier this week, Israel's Population, Immigration and Borders Authority (PIBA) released its annual statement for Rosh Hashanah. Filled with tidbits about Israel's population, such as the official number of Israeli citizens (8,904,373) and how many births occurred during the outgoing Jewish year (176,230), a main attraction in PIBA's annual publication is the list of most-popular baby names.

The year 5774 saw a stunning upset when it came to girls: Tamar dethroned Noa. Regarding boys, the most popular names stayed Yosef, Daniel and Uri.

But Yosef wasn't actually the most popular baby name in Israel. That, as reported by Haaretz's Ilan Lior last week, was in fact Mohammad.

One would be hard-pressed not to suspect racism. No distinctly-Arab baby name made it to the top 10 of popular baby names in Israel (Yosef and Adam are common among both Jews and Arab-Israelis), although Arabs account for 20% of Israel's population.

On the face of it, the omission smacks of a deliberate attempt to exclude the Arab population of Israel from yet another thing Israeli. Yet this isn't a matter of simple, blatant racism. It's worse. It's denial.

Denial of what? First of all of Arabs, of course. Failing to acknowledge the existence of its big Arab population is a much subtler of exclusion, and in a way worse than outright racism: at least when we discriminate, we acknowledge the other.

But mostly it's a denial of a reality that isn't convenient. In recent years, Israel has developed a habit of trying to embellish or simplify reality by ignoring inconveniences. Let's call it the "not counting the Haredim and Arabs" trick.

Peek-a-boo, I don't see you

For instance, back in April 2012, PM Netanyahu made a revealing admission. Asked about the extreme inequality in Israel and the surge of public anger, as shown in the social protests of 2011, Netanyahu claimed: "If you deduct the Arabs and the Haredim from inequality indices, we are doing great."

His statement caused an uproar but since then, the claim that Israel is doing just great if you don't count it's most impoverished groups has become a cliche of sorts among Israeli officials: if not for those pesky Haredim and Arabs, Israel would have been one of the most advanced countries in the OECD.

A study conducted by the Taub Center for Israel Studies in 2013 proves that even if you discount the Haredim and Arabs, Israel remains a poor, unequal, relatively-unproductive country by OECD standards. But the misconception has become entrenched, appropriated by ordinary and official Israelis for other walks of life beyond economics, whether it's Israel's troubled education system or, well, baby names.

In that sense, if you don't count the name Mohammad, Israel's most popular baby name is Yosef. And if you deduct the Arab population, Israel is a Jewish state. It's a cool mental trick, that enables Israel to be the Jewish country it always wanted to be. It also implies, quite ominously, that Israel as a nation has lost some capacity of dealing with reality.

For years now, for instance, Israel has been concerned with the so-called "demographic threat", a scenario in which Palestinians, both within Israel and in the Occupied Territories, become a majority thanks to their high birth rates and therefore risk Israel's Jewish majority and its status as a Jewish state. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was among the first to raise this concern, back in 2003. Some analysts suggested the fear of it forced Ariel Sharon to unilaterally disengage from Gaza.

Which brings us back to Mohammad, and the reality that its omission masks. After all, what is the acknowledgement that Mohammad is the now most popular baby name in Israel, if not an embarrassing admission that the so called "demographic bomb" has already exploded? That Israel, despite its definition of itself as Jewish, is a lot less Jewish than it would have liked? How would you like a dose of demographic gunpowder with your honey-dipped apple this year?

But, if you deduct Mohammad, everything seems just fine. We are not racists, we swear, we are simply escaping to a much-less complicated fantasy land.

SOURCE: http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/.premium-1.618013
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Sunday, September 21, 2014

[ePalestine] Palestine Pod: Steve Sosebee chats with Sam Bahour + A long read

Palestine Pod: Steve Sosebee chats with Sam Bahour
http://ssosebee.podbean.com/e/palestinian-american-activist-sam-bahour

http://ssosebee.podbean.com/e/palestinian-american-activist-sam-bahour

and

Long, but well worth the read for a comprehensive overview of the U.S.'s role in sustaining the continued deterioration of Palestine. Thanks Nathan Thrall.
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Friday, September 19, 2014

[ePalestine] FILM: To see if I'm smiling (MUST WATCH BEFORE TAKEN DOWN)

The International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court are going to have such an easy time holding Israel accountable for their war crimes. Watch how easy here:


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Thursday, September 18, 2014

[ePalestine] The Hill: US guilty of war crimes in Palestine (By Sam Bahour)

The Hill (Congress Blog)

September 18, 2014

US guilty of war crimes in Palestine

http://bit.ly/US-guilty-in-Palestine

By Sam Bahour

The U.S. is not a neutral mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; it is an active participant and is guilty of the crimes being committed by Israel against Palestinians, most recently, the mass killings and destruction Israel wrought on the Gaza Strip during the summer. The reality that the U.S. is an active supporter of unimaginable suffering may very well be the motivating force behind the U.S.'s adamant attempts to block the Palestinians from using any of the internationally recognized tools of accountability to hold Israel responsible, such as the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. When an indigenous, stateless population is blocked access to opportunities for justice by superpowers like the U.S., something is wrong—deadly wrong.

While Israeli bombs were hammering Gaza, Alice Lynd with the assistance of Staughton Lynd, drafted a 32-page pamphlet which was published by the Palestine-Israel Working Group of Historians Against the War (HAW) titled, Violations by Israel and the Problem of Enforcement (August 2014). The policy paper places the U.S. in front of its own mirror and meticulously documents how one hand of the U.S. government systematically documents Israeli violations of U.S. law and international law, while the other hand unconditionally dishes out financial, military, and diplomatic support to Israel.

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http://bit.ly/US-guilty-in-Palestine

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

[ePalestine] 43 brave Israelis take us behind the system of occupation (A MUST READ)

If you don't have time to read them all, please read the first and last articles below.

IDF Unit 8200
Haaretz: Graduates of Unit 8200, the IDF's technological spearhead. Photo by Moti Milrod
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The Guardian, Friday 12 September 2014

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'Any Palestinian is exposed to monitoring by the Israeli Big Brother'

Testimonies from people who worked in the Israeli Intelligence Corps tell of a system where there were no boundaries

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/12/israeli-intelligence-unit-testimonies

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Israeli intelligence veterans' letter to Netanyahu and military chiefs - in full

Read the letter from 34 reserve soldiers who have served in Unit 8200 explaining why they refuse to serve in Palestinian territories

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/12/israeli-intelligence-veterans-letter-netanyahu-military-chiefs

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Israeli intelligence veterans refuse to serve in Palestinian territories

Innocent people under military rule exposed to surveillance by Israel, say 43 ex-members of Unit 8200, including reservists

Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/12/israeli-intelligence-reservists-refuse-serve-palestinian-territories

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and the initial Israeli response to this crack in the system of oppression:

IDF spokesperson: Discipline of Unit 8200 refuseniks will be sharp and clear

Army spokesperson responds to letter of conscientious objection sent by 43 mid-rank soldiers and officers, says no room for refusal in IDF.

By Haaretz, Sep. 14, 2014

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.615674


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Saturday, September 13, 2014

[ePalestine] Do people understand the magnitude of what just happened in Gaza?


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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

[ePalestine] Mondoweiss: Three-sentence letter to the ‘NYT’ results in Yale chaplain’s resignation

Message Received: DISSENT TOLERATED = ZERO!

One state of Apartheid, here we come... 



Bruce Shipman, Chaplain - Episcopal Church at Yale
Bruce Shipman, Chaplain - Episcopal Church at Yale

http://mondoweiss.net/2014/09/sentence-chaplains-resignation

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Friday, September 05, 2014

[ePalestine] +972: Israelis, stop swimming in our shit

For Hebrew click here.


Published September 5, 2014

Israelis, stop swimming in our shit

A new report by Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network details the damage that consecutive Israeli military assaults have caused to Gaza's water systems, whereby 95 percent of the water consumed in the Strip for decades has been unfit for human consumption. 

By Sam Bahour

Tel Aviv beach (photo: Wikimedia Commons)Tel Aviv beach (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Palestinians in Gaza are starting to wake up from the shell-shock of Israel's 51-day Ramadan Massacre, which left over 2,131 Palestinians killed (of which more than 500 were children), over 10,000 injured (more than half of whom are estimated to be permanently handicapped), and scores of homes and businesses demolished. Reality is bleaker than ever before. Nothing of the underlying reasons why Gaza exploded into a bloodbath has changed; Israeli and Egyptian closures of Gaza's borders remain in place. However, one product is making its way freely across the border into Israel. Actually, this product flows undetected by the almighty Israeli military and rolls right up on to the shores of Tel Aviv. The product is Palestinian shit, or more accurately, to maintain the media bias of the times, Palestinian terrorist shit.

READ ON: http://bit.ly/Israelis-stop-swimming


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