Israeli military forces have forcefully evicted hundreds of Palestinians and activists from the village of Bab Al Shams, erected yesterday in the occupied West Bank in an area Israel calls “E-1″.
Israel has announced plans to build thousands of settlement units in the E-1 stretch of land in the West Bank in violation of international law. Palestinian and multi-national activists established the village to challenge Israel’s colonization of Palestinian land and to ”establish facts on the ground”, playing on the common phrase used by settlers and Israeli officials to attempt to justify illegal construction in the West Bank.
More than 200 Palestinians established the village of Bab Al Shams and dozens more joined them in building the tent city. Israel is reported to have just completed a full “evacuation” of the village.
Close friend and activist Abbas Sarsour, founder of the popular page The Road to Palestine, was among the dozens arrested and the hundreds forcefully evicted. According to various accounts, over 500 armed Israeli military units surrounded Bab Al Shams, vastly outnumbering the unarmed protesters and Palestinian activists. [Read more...]
I woke up to this smiling face today though it’s not as bad as what Edmond Levy and his panel of dreamers just released to the Israeli Prime Minister’s office.
Israel’s judicial underbelly is a mess. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was acquitted in two major cases of corruption and found guilty in another case for breaching trust, Haaretz reports. He has yet to be tried for his documented crimes against Lebanese and Gazan civilian populations during the various invasions he helped mastermind.
Even more wild is the Levy Committee’s “findings” on Israel’s status in the West Bank. The panel, appointed by Prime Minister Netanyahu and steered by former Supreme Court justice Edmond Levy, “rejects the claim that Israel’s presence in the territory is that of an occupying force and asserts that its settlements and settlement outposts there are legal.” The committee’s claims are based on its reasoning that any structure built with government encouragement (which, let’s be real here, means every Jewish settlement) holds an “administrative assurance” that confers permission to settlers to continue colonizing Palestinian land. [Read more...]
Parodies can be valuable when they force people to consider reality from a different perspective. But most of these e-cards aren’t parodies. It’s what millions of people have to live through every single day.
Families who come from both sides of Israel’s apartheid wall are not always permitted to be together. Husbands and wives are kept apart by concrete walls, checkpoints, soldiers, and residency laws aimed at subsiding a “demographic spillover”.
That’s what happened at the University of California, Irvine when the Orange County district attorney filed charges against eleven Muslim students for protesting and disrupting Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s speech. Oren was attempting to justify the murder of over 1,400 civilians in Israel’s 2008-2009 invasion of the Gaza Strip.
The last few times Israel and the Palestinian Authority met at the negotiations table, among Israel’s many preconditions (continuing settlement building, maintaining control over the West Bank, maintaining the Gaza blockade, etc.) was that the PA not have any preconditions of its own. [Read more...]
Illegal settlers in the West Bank have set up a program for tourists of all ages to learn how to shoot “terrorists”, a term the organizers of the program not-so-implicitly define as Arabs, specifically Palestinians.
The program invites tourists from around the world to learn how to shoot and kill in three seconds or less. The tourists profiled in a recent Ynet report are an American family seeking the “thrill” of firing live rounds at makeshift targets designed to represent Palestinians living in the West Bank.
Located in Gush Etzion, a cluster of twenty-two Israeli settlements illegal under international law and condemned by the international community, the “tourist attraction” — as Ynet euphemistically puts it — awards participants a diploma indicating completion of a “basic shooting course in Israel”. The point, it seems, is to reframe the role settlements and their occupants play as a strictly defensive one.
One participant, Olga, says that she “heard on the news about shootings in the West Bank,” and that she and her family “came to see it in person.”
Little do Olga and her children know, however, that the shootings that occur in the West Bank are almost exclusively perpetrated by settlers firing at unarmed Palestinian farmers and day laborers. In fact, settler violence has increased so dramatically in the last few years that B’Tselem, an Israeli rights agency, has dedicated an entire segment of its field work and research to reporting violence committed by settlers. [Read more...]
Challenging Haaretz’s Moshe Arens: Israeli settlers do not compare to Japanese internment camp victims
Moshe Arens argues that it is “wrong to push out Israeli settlers”, relating this “gross miscarriage of justice” to the expulsion of Japanese citizens of the United States from their homes during World War II.
Moreover, Arens fails to make any mention of the Palestinians forced from their homes. He also fails to discuss international law, claiming that the legal status of the Palestinian territories is “ill-defined”.
All in all, Arens’s opinion piece, published in Haaretz on May 1, is truly one of the most backwards things I’ve read. I challenge Arens to respond.
It is blaringly obvious that Aren’s analogy between Israeli settlers and U.S. citizens of Japanese descents just doesn’t make sense. We’re dealing with two entirely different situations. During World War II, Japanese Americans were forced from their homes and, in most cases, caged in internment camps. These individuals held U.S. citizenship and lived within U.S. borders. It was a time of egregious chaos in which the rights of American citizens were viciously denied. [Read more...]
By the looks of it, yesterday’s Land Day commemoration will go down in history as yet another bloody day of protest. Mirroring the events that unfolded exactly thirty-six years ago in 1976, Palestinian protestors faced both the front end and the butt end of the gun. Tear gas flooded their eyes and burning rubber flooded their lungs. One protestor was shot and killed and dozens more were injured, arrested, or both.
And on the other side, Palestinians battled the rubber bullets, the gas canisters, and the excessive use of force with rocks and Molotov cocktails.
There was violence from both sides today, and as journalist Joseph Dana notes, “this is . . . the reality of this conflict”. When asked who is to blame, each side will undoubtedly point the finger towards the other, and with the news convoluting itself with politicized semantics, it’s virtually impossible to determine, with evidence, who struck the first blow and what the term “first blow” even entails.
But one thing is for certain: no occupation, no Land Day. If Israel didn’t maintain a military presence in the West Bank, if it respected international rulings and dismantled its wall, if it applied itself to the human rights standards it demands from the world, there would be no reason to ask who struck the first blow because there likely wouldn’t be any reason to clash, as the news puts it, in the first place. [Read more...]
The U.S. Speaker of the House has had enough. According to Haaretz, Republican John Boehner, a staunch supporter of everything Israeli, declared his disapproval of the current administration’s policies, stating that Barack Obama’s pressure on Israel crosses the line.
To better understand Boehner’s mindset, I decided to compile a non-comprehensive list of pressures Obama is allegedly directing towards Israel.
In 2011, under the policies implemented by the Obama Administration, each American taxpayer will have paid $21.59 in military aid to Israel.
By the end of the 2011 fiscal year, Obama will have given Israel $3 billion in foreign military financing. By the end of Obama’s four years as President, he will have given Israel between $11.41 and $12 billion in military aid alone. This is enough to provide over 9.2 million Americans with guaranteed primary care for ten years.
Since 2007, military aid to Israel has increased by roughly $150 million every year, and the Obama administration has yet to alter this policy in any way.
In March 2010, Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met for a private meeting. Obama proposed a plan to Netanyahu that involved halting settlement building. Netanyahu responded with a flowchart diagram demonstrating that permission for settlement expansion does not go directly through him and that, as a result, he lacks knowledge of these plans and is unable to adequately intervene. Settlement building continues today.
In 2009, Obama ordered a 10-month settlement freeze during which he allowed Israel to immediately construct 3,000 housing units in occupied East Jerusalem and to further expand illegal settlements and outposts in the West Bank. By the end of the freeze, Israel had begun construction on 1,600 more housing units in Jerusalem. [Read more...]
In response to President Barack Obama’s statements concerning American strategy and outlook in Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected Obama’s stance on the conflict with the most illogical of arguments. Haaretz published a short article outlining his general response. Provided is the Haaretz article in full, supplemented by the reality that Netanyahu’s administration chooses to ignore.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday Israel would object to any withdrawal to “indefensible” borders, adding he expected Washington to allow it to keep major settlement blocs in any peace deal.
The first sentence of this article reveals Israel’s true role in the ‘peace process’. While the anti-Palestinian narrative involves blaming Hamas’ existence for the repeated failures of the most recent peace talks, it has purposely ignored Israel’s continued defiance of both humanitarian law as well as American policy. The United States has repeatedly called on Israel to end all settlement building within the West Bank on the basis that it directly contradicts humanitarian and international law. Striking up a peace deal does not elevate Israel above the law. Settlement building is illegal and it is clear that it remains a source for continued conflict. Even if peace talks continue to fall through, Israel should comply with the law and Netanyahu’s administration should not expect to keep any settlement blocs.
In a statement after President Barack Obama’s speech outlining Middle East strategy, Netanyahu said before heading to Washington that “the viability of a Palestinian state cannot come at the expense of Israel’s existence”.
Establishing a formally-recognized Palestinian state does nothing to Israel’s existence, especially if relegated to the 1967 borders. However, unless Israel’s existence is predicated on occupation, illegal land grabs, and the destruction of a Palestinian identity, than yes, a Palestinian state will come at the expense of Israel’s existence because the occupation, the land grabbing, and the destruction of Palestinian culture and identity will be forced to end, most likely under threat of UN-regulated sanctions. [Read more...]
“They [the Palestinians] deserve better,” says Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu to a live YouTube audience. But I don’t buy it. After all, his political agenda proves that he thinks otherwise.
World View is a unique YouTube campaign featuring monthly interviews of the world’s most recognized leaders using questions asked by online viewers. Netanyahu served as the high profile guest for the month of March and as expected, his interview fell nothing short of openly racist propaganda in which he repetitively promoted the normalization of the occupation while altering reality to shed an artificial favorable light on Israeli policy. Needless to say, my blood pressure peaked at least a dozen times.
Virtually everything Netanyahu said contradicted the reality of the political quagmire into which his administration continues to sink. His responses were both deceptive and illogical. The most prominent example of this happened during his response to a question about settlements.