Today in Palestine! ~ Headlines ~


VIDEO: Israel launches fresh attacks on Gaza
Ashraf Shannon, Press TV, Gaza 16 Aug -- Medical sources in Gaza said one man was killed and at least seven others including a woman and a five-year boy were wounded.
Israel claimed that the warplanes attacked the impoverished coastal enclave early Tuesday in retaliation for a rocket fired from Gaza. The fresh attacks came only two days after two Gazans, a farmer and a fisherman, were shot by Israeli forces. Families of the victims expressed their anger at what they called new Zionist crimes against the people of Gaza.
Two more air strikes targeted east of Khan Yunis and a tunnel beneath Gaza's border with Egypt near Rafah.

Medics: 1 killed, 7 injured as Israeli airstrikes hit Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 Aug – One man was killed and seven others injured as Israeli warplanes struck targets in the central and southern Gaza Strip early Tuesday, Palestinian medical sources and the Israeli army said ... Several people were injured as Israeli forces fired at a group of people in the Az-Zaitoun neighborhood in Gaza City, Palestinian medical sources said. All of the victims were evacuated to Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Mousa Shteiwi, 29, later died from his injuries. Three other Palestinians, including a 6-year-old child, also sustained injuries as an Israeli airstrike hit the border area near Rafah, southern Gaza, medics said ... Israeli forces launched air raids in several areas of the coastal enclave after midnight with operations continuing until the early morning Ramadan meal, just before daybreak. Palestinian sources said they counted five air strikes across Gaza. The Israeli army confirmed that airstrikes had hit the coastal enclave.  "Overnight, IAF aircraft targeted four targets in the Gaza Strip. Direct hits were confirmed," a statement said. "These sites were targeted in response to the firing of a rocket from the Gaza Strip at the city of Be'er Sheva." The projectile that hit near Beersheba did not cause any damage or injuries, the military said. Israeli public radio said a second projectile had been fired at Beersheba, but it was not immediately clear where it landed. Israeli warplanes also targeted a Hamas military base in the Tuffah neighborhood in Gaza City, with no reported injuries.

Medics: Gaza teenager shot dead
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 Aug -- Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian teenager near the central Gaza Strip city of Deir Al-Balah late Tuesday, medical officials reported. Medics said the Palestinian, who was not identified, suffered "more than 10" gunshots to the head and upper body after soldiers east of the Al-Masdar area opened fire. Gaza health ministry official Adham Abu Salmiya told Ma’an that an ambulance crew transferred the teenager's body to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in central Gaza. An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma‘an that "IDF forces opened fire at a suspect approaching the security fence. The forces identified a hit," the official said.

Medics: Israeli forces shot Gaza man in leg
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 Aug -- Israeli forces shot and injured a 20-year-old Palestinian man on Monday evening in the southern Gaza Strip, medics said. Medical officials said Hamouda Sami Al-Najjar was shot in his leg after Israeli troops opened fire from a military tower east of Khan Younis.

Israeli siege puts pressure on rehabilitation centers
Yousef al-Helou, Press TV, Gaza 15 Aug -- Gaza's only rehabilitation society which deals with individuals with Down's Syndrome is grappling with a lot of problems because of Israeli siege. The Right to Live society which was established in 1992 offer services to about 1000 individuals from both genders. Officials say that the ongoing Israeli ban on construction materials has hampered the building of another branch in the southern Gaza strip. The beneficiaries receive academic as well as vocational programs that help them integrate in the community. Embroidery, Bamboo and carpets making are some of the programs, which can be a source of income for these people with special needs.

Hamas releases detained Gaza activist
JERUSALEM (AP) 16 Aug -- Hamas security officials released a prominent Gaza rights activist Tuesday, several days after he was repeatedly interrogated and detained over his participation in a French conference about Palestinian activism, his brother said. Mohammed Matar, 25, was released hours after international media reported his arrest, according to his brother, Salem Matar. His colleagues had also urged supporters on Facebook to pressure the Hamas government to release him. Mohammed Matar belongs to a group of activists who held small rallies in March urging Gaza's Hamas rulers to unite with their rivals, the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority that rules the West Bank.

Tarzan and Arab: the Gaza artists determined to make it at all costs / Harriet Sherwood
Guardian 15 Aug -- They are determined to succeed as film directors, yet they have never been to a cinema. They studied fine art at university but have never been to a gallery. They would have much in common with young conceptual artists in London, New York or Paris, but they have never left the tiny Gaza Strip. Tarzan and Arab, identical twin artists who have made an award-winning short movie and a remarkable set of cinema poster pastiches, are undeterred by the lack of training, equipment, funding, a place to show their work or a receptive audience ... Tarzan and Arab -- real names Ahmed and Mohamed Abu Nasser -- cut unusual figures in Gaza. Their hair is long, they wear Converse All Stars smuggled from Egypt through the tunnels, and tangles of beads and chains hang around their necks.

Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid

Israeli security detains five Jerusalemites over the past 24 hours
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM  (PIC) 16 Aug -- Israeli security arrested two Jerusalemite youths at dawn Tuesday as they were leaving the dawn prayers at the Aqsa Mosque, eyewitnesses reported. They recalled that Jewish settlers engaged in a limited clash with a number of youths in the Old City of Jerusalem before dawn.They said that the young men were heading to the dawn prayers when the Jews assaulted them prompting the youths to defend themselves. The settlers called the Israeli police who arrived at the scene and detained the two young men after the prayers.
Meanwhile, local sources in Silwan suburb, south of the Aqsa Mosque, said that Israeli occupation forces stormed the town on Monday and burst into a number of homes.They said that the forces arrested three citizens including two minors 15 and 16 years old respectively.

Syria calls on UN to thwart Israel's separation fence on Golan Heights
Haaretz 15 Aug -- Fence is part of IDF attempt to prevent border infiltration following September vote at UN; Syria's ambassador to United Nations says Israel trying to separate Syrian-Druze population of Golan Heights from their Syrian motherland ... The Syrians are claiming that Israel is trying to create new political and security facts on the ground in order to affect future negotiations. "This fence is creating negative implications on the lives of the citizens on the occupied Golan. This is the continuation of an aggressive Israeli policy against the citizens of the Golan, which includes expulsions, arrests and heavy fines," the letter states. .

Working side by side with the community in Fasayal
[photos] JVS 8 Aug -- ...In June this year the Israeli administration demolished 18 homes and 6 other structures leaving 103 people homeless including 65 children. Israels deliberate policy to ethnically cleanse the Valley by taking away the basic human rights of the Palestinian indigenous population means that these demolitions are commonplace across the valley. Two days ago Jordan Valley Solidarity volunteers and locals from the village of Fasayal launched new initiatives to support the community living in Fasayal ... With a group of 12 JVS volunteers from the 'PEDAL: 100 days to Palestine' group and around 20 volunteers from the village, around 300 mud bricks have already been made for use in the Jordan Valley Solidarity house. This new campaign is aimed at supporting the villages in Fasayal to remain on their land despite the illegal Israeli campaign to force them to leave.


Israeli settlers demonstrate to expand settlements
HEBRON (WAFA) 16 Aug -- Hundreds of Israeli settlers Tuesday participated in a demonstration in Hebron, demanding to confiscate more Palestinian land in order to expand settlements in the West Bank, said a  Palestinian activist. Issa Amro, member of the Youth Against Settlements organization, said that the Council of Settlement in Hebron organized the protest, in which hundreds of settlers from various settlements called on the Israeli government to confiscate land and expand settlements to encourage Israelis to live in the West Bank. The protesters particularly called to expand Beit Romano, a settlement located in the old city in Hebron, added Amro.

PA: Settlers torch farmland near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 16 Aug -- Israeli settlers on Tuesday set fire to farm land in an evacuated settlement near Nablus, a Palestinian Authority official said. Settlement affairs official Ghassan Doughlas said settlers torched hundreds of trees around Homesh settlement shortly before Iftar, the traditional meal to break the daily fast in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Israeli forces

Israeli army bulldozes farmlands in Hebron area
West Bank (Pal. Telegraph) 16 Aug -- Israeli occupation forces closed Tuesday the northern entrance of Yatta, a town in the south of Hebron, razing farmlands belonging to Palestinian citizens. Security sources told that Israeli bulldozers closed the northern entrance of the town and started razing operations to agricultural lands that supported several Palestinian families. Fathi Shatat, a Palestinian farmer, said that Israeli bulldozers uprooted dozens of fruit trees from his land.

Israeli forces intensify military checkpoints in Hebron
West Bank, (Pal Telegraph)- Israeli occupation forces set up a number of military checkpoints at the main entrances of Hebron, south of the West Bank. According to eyewitnesses, Israeli forces erected a military checkpoint at al-Fawar refugee camp, whereas they stopped citizens and verified their identity cards. At the entrance of al-Nabi Younis, Israeli forces attacked citizens after stopping their cars and blocked  their access to different destinations. Another military checkpoint was erected at the western entrance of Hebron under the pretext of  searching for wanted people . Meanwhile, Israeli forces raided Tarqomia and Yatta towns, western and eastern Hebron without arrests reported

US senator seeks to cut aid to elite IDF units operating in West Bank and Gaza
Haaretz 16 Aug -- U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy is promoting a bill to suspend U.S. assistance to three elite Israel Defense Forces units, alleging they are involved in human rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Leahy, a Democrat and senior member of the U.S. Senate, wants assistance withheld from the Israel Navy's Shayetet 13 unit, the undercover Duvdevan unit and the Israel Air Force's Shaldag unit.


Israel detains Al Jazeera's Kabul bureau chief in West Bank
Haaretz 16 Aug -- A senior Palestinian journalist with the Arabic language Al Jazeera satellite network was brought before an Israeli military court Tuesday, nearly a week after soldiers arrested him at a border crossing in the West Bank.  Video footage filmed by Al Jazeera at the military court showed Samer Allawi, the station's bureau chief in Afghanistan, wearing an olive green prison uniform and speaking to his lawyer. Under Israeli procedures, Palestinian nationals in the West Bank are tried in military courts. According to Al Jazeera, Israel is charging Allawi with belonging to Hamas. A spokeswoman for the Shin Bet internal security service refused to release any details about why Allawi was detained, saying nothing would be made public until the investigation was complete. Al Jazeera said Allawi was detained Aug. 10 along the West Bank border with Jordan as he tried to leave to return to Afghanistan. The broadcaster said Allawi was in the West Bank spending his annual vacation with his family in his native village of Sebastia, near Nablus. Speaking briefly to Al Jazeera, Allawi said his arrest was baseless.

Israel extends arrest of Al Jazeera's Kabul bureau chief
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 16 Aug -- An Israeli military court Tuesday ordered Al-Jazeera’s Kabul bureau chief Samer Allawi to remain in custody for 10 more days, according to an Al-Jazeera report. It said Allawi was being investigated for allegations he made contacts with Hamas activists in the West Bank, which his lawyer has denied and the report said was part of his work as a journalist.  The hearing at the court went only for 25 minutes, said Allawi’s family members, who were not allowed into the courtroom. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Monday called on Israel to clarify the legal basis for holding Allawi.

Gaza detainee released after 20 years in prison
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 Aug -- The Ministry for Detainees in the Gaza Strip reported Monday that the Israeli prison administration had released Abu Sahib, 47. Abu Sahib, also known as Ahmad Ismael, had spent 20 years in Israeli prison. Ministry spokesman Riyad Al-Ashkar told Ma‘an that Ismael was detained in 1992, having been accused of participating in operations against Israel with the Al Qassam Brigades during the first intifada ... Ismael's sister died three months before his release, Al-Askar added.

Report reveals harsh conditions in Israeli jails
Haaretz 16 Aug -- The report, issued by the Justice Ministry's Public Defender's Office, reveals widespread overcrowding, inadequate access to medical care, poor hygienic conditions, and excessive punitive measures in most facilities ... PDO officials observed an inmate at Hadarim Detention Center who had been cuffed to his bed 24 hours a day for five and a half months, and afterward remained in restraints at night, for 13 hours a day, for an additional period of about six months.

Hamas: Israel retreated from its extreme position on Shalit deal
Senior Hamas official says Israel has been showing much more flexibility regarding its demands in a prisoner exchange deal to secure the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit ... Earlier on Tuesday, the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat reported that Hamas leader Khaled Meshal was in Cairo for a third round of indirect talks with Israel over a prisoner swap deal. Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ehud Barak confirmed Tuesday that there was "a grain of truth" to reports of renewed negotiations taking place in Cairo for a prisoner swap deal to secure the release of Shalit. Barak told Israel's 103 FM, however, that despite the validity of the rumors he "preferred not to say anything [about the negotiations], because it doesn't help."


VIDEO: As protesters hold Iftar in the 'buffer zone'. Israeli bulldozers sever Gaza's links with the world
ISM 16 Aug -- On Tuesday, August 9, members of the International Solidarity Movement – Gaza Strip joined the Beit Hanoun Local Initiative for its weekly protest by the Erez Crossing against the Israeli-imposed “buffer zone.” During Ramadan, these protests take the form of Iftars with local farmers threatened by Israeli incursions. Protesters observed Israeli military bulldozers operating by the crossing, and later learned that they had severed electronic cables running under it, shutting down the Gaza Strip’s telecommunications and Internet networks for between 12 and 18 hours.


VIDEO: Palestinian refugees flee Syria camp, UN says
BBC 16 Aug -- Thousands of Palestinian refugees have been forced to escape a camp in the Syrian port of Latakia amid shelling by government troops, the UN has said. A spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works agency told the BBC that more than 5,000 of the 10,000 people have had to flee. The BBC's Humphrey Hawksley reports.

Abbas, Suleiman reject resettlement of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon
BEIRUT (WAFA) 16 Aug -- President Mahmoud Abbas and his Lebanese counterpart Michel Suleiman Tuesday asserted their total rejection of permanent resettlement of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. In a meeting in the Lebanese Presidential Palace, Abbas said, "The Palestinian refugees’ existence in Lebanon is temporary, which is under the Lebanese law." ... On his part, Suleiman stressed that the Palestinian refugees' situation in Lebanon must be given more attention, considering that refugee camps’ security is part of Lebanon’s national security."

Medical company donates aid to refugees in Lebanon
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 16 Aug -- The Jerusalem Pharmaceutical Company sent 35 doctors from different specializations to Lebanon on Sunday, the executive manager Iyad Masroujy said. The move comes as part of a campaign by President Mahmoud Abbas to support Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. The Jerusalem based private company has also donated more than 10,000 different medicines to treat a range of diseases, Masroujy said. The donation only goes a small way to meeting the diverse needs of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, he added. There are currently over 400,000 Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA in Lebanon

Racism / Discrimination

Racism in the Galilee Part 2: Underrepresentation in Upper Nazareth
Pal. Monitor 16 Aug -- On 22 June, Adalah, a Palestinian rights NGO in Israel, sent a letter to the mayor of Upper Nazareth, Shimon Gapso, insisting he address the under-representation of Palestinians in his municipality. Palestinians are a significant minority in Upper Nazareth -- up to 17% according to official statistics -- which is not mirrored in the municipal system, of which only 5% are Palestinian. Dr. Raed Ghattas is one of the two Palestinian municipal members in Upper Nazareth, out of a total of 17. "We face a policy of discrimination like Palestinians in the rest of the country," he observes. "There are barely any Palestinians in government companies or the municipalities."

For first time, foreign worker's child born and educated in Israel to be deported
Haaretz 16 Aug -- Arrest of four-year-old girl whose mother is from the Philippines points to further implementation of new Israeli new policy -- In an unprecedented move, the Interior Ministry announced Tuesday that it intends on deporting a four-year-old girl, the daughter of a foreign worker, who was born and educated in Israel. Israel's Population and Immigration Authority on Tuesday arrested the girl and her mother, originally from the Philippines, who are currently in a holding facility in Ben-Gurion International Airport, ahead of their deportation from the country. The four-year-old was born in Israel and since then has been attending kindergartens in the Tel Aviv Municipality.

Gay and lesbian IDF soldiers complain of widespread sexual harassment
Haaretz 16 Aug -- More than 40 percent of gay and lesbian soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces were sexually harassed during their time in the military, according to a recent study by the Israel Gay Youth organization. The report is based on a sampling of 364 gay and lesbian soldiers currently serving in the IDF or who were discharged over the past year. Of the sample, 40 percent reported verbal abuse and 4 percent reported physical abuse as well.

Soldiers say humiliated in Bnei Brak
Ynet 16 Aug -- An IDF officer who boarded a bus in Bnei Brak on Monday claims he and two other soldiers were humiliated by ultra-Orthodox passengers and an Egged bus company employee, who ordered them to give up their seats for "real Jews," Yedioth Ahronoth reported. The reserve officer, 26, boarded bus number 981 to Safed on his way to his military base.,7340,L-4109418,00.html

UN statehood bid

IDF: Allow arms into the West Bank
Ynet 16 Aug -- Military's operational recommendations ahead of nearing Palestinian bid in UN include series of 'confidence-building measures' -- Will the Palestinian Authority's UN bid for statehood in September necessarily mean violent riots? The IDF is not so sure. Ynet learned Tuesday that the defense establishment has put together a series of operational recommendations, which aim to prevent the security situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip from escalating. The IDF's recommendations include allowing several mitigations vis-à-vis the Palestinian Authority and its security forces, mainly allowing more weapons into the West Bank from Jordan ... The defense establishment also recommended increasing the water supply to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, granting permits for the construction of new desalination facilities, increasing the numbers of Palestinian merchants who are allowed to enter Israel -- especially from Gaza, and allowing more Palestinians into the EU agricultural training program. The IDF also recommended other good-will gestures ahead of September, such as returning the remains of 30 Palestinian prisoners and removing various roadblocks.,7340,L-4109763,00.html

Israeli military recommends Fatah prisoners' release
Bethlehem (PNN) 16 Aug -- The Israeli military has advised politicians to grant several concessions to Palestinians ahead of their bid for statehood at the UN in September, according to The options under consideration include the removal of checkpoints, increasing labour quotas for Palestinians in Israel's construction and agriculture sectors, the change of address for Gazans currently living in the West Bank, the repatriation of 'terrorist' remains and the release of Fatah prisoners. The military has also recommended that extremist settler groups be restrained from what it dubs 'price tag activities' which could provoke violence. But according to the Israeli news website, the military's plans stress that all moves should be 'reversible' and should not 'minimize [sic] Israel's maneuvering space in  negotiations'.

Mansour: Palestinian state a priority for Lebanon at UN
Daily Star 16 Aug -- ..."When Lebanon heads the Security Council in September, one of its first priorities will be to vote in favor of a Palestinian state with Arab states and other countries in the world," Mansour told a local radio station Monday, adding that this would commence after Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas proceeds to New York with his proposal.

Abbas seeks Lebanon support for Palestinian statehood bid at UN
dpa 16 Aug -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas traveled to Beirut on Tuesday in an effort to obtain Lebanon's support for its bid for statehood at the United Nations. Lebanon is to assume the presidency of the UN Security Council in September. Palestinian sources accompanying Abbas said "the president is hoping that Lebanon would play an important and effective role in his bid for UN membership on September 20," despite Israeli rejection.

Egypt supports recognition of independent Palestinian state
MEMO 16 Aug -- Egypt's Foreign Minister has said that his country will support the Palestinian move for UN recognition of an independent Palestinian state in September. Mohamed Kamel Amr said that the decision taken by the Palestinian Authority is supported by all Arab countries, and that Egypt has supported the plan from the beginning. Speaking to journalists, Amr said that Egypt, as the head of the Non-Aligned Movement, has sent messages to all countries around the world urging them to back the request for a UN resolution recognising an independent State of Palestine.

Other news

Abbas names PNC speaker to form constitution
RAMALLAH (Xinhua) 15 Aug -- Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday nominated Salim Za'noon, speaker of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), as the chairman of a committee to form the Palestinian constitution. Nabil Shaath, a member of Fatah's central committee, was nominated as Za'noon's deputy, the state-run Wafa News Agency reported.

Preserving Palestinian heritage one stitch at a time / Emily Lawrence
EI 15 Aug -- ...The military has become a formidable presence in Hebron. The often violent settlers are protected by up to 2,000 soldiers and a combination of military checkpoints, watchtowers, roadblocks, iron gates and shop closures have had a dire effect on Hebron’s economy ...Yet in these deserted streets, there are flickers of enterprise and hope. A few businesses still survive in the old marketplace, among them Women in Hebron, a shop and cooperative in the heart of the city, selling traditional Palestinian crafts such as kuffiyehs (checkered scarves), embroidered dresses, cushions, bags and wall hangings, along with slightly less traditional items, including purses emblazoned with the slogan "Women Can Do Anything." All of the products have been handmade by local women, many of whom rely solely on the cooperative for their income.

Israeli Knesset calls for Sharon's medical expenses to be shared by his family
MEMO 16 Aug -- The Finance Committee of the Israel's Parliament, the Knesset, has approved a decision for the family of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to pay half of his medical care expenses. Sharon has been in a coma for five years and the annual cost of looking after him is around NIS 1,500,000 (almost half-a-million US dollars). In January 2006, the former premier, infamous for his massacres against Palestinians, suffered a brain haemorrhage which left him in a coma.

Texas man making dangerous voyage to site of 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty
Veterans Today 16 Aug -- Larry Toenjes, 74, from Clear Lake Shores, Texas, is sailing his 39-foot sailboat, the s/v Liberty, to the coordinates of the June 8, 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty that killed 34 sailors and wounded another 173. 207 were killed or wounded out of the 294 on board the USS Liberty in the 90 minute attack by strafing attack planes and torpedoes.  At the site, Toenjes will be holding a memorial service honoring those killed on the USS Liberty by the Israeli military ... Meadors said Toenjes told him he is considering mooring at the coordinates of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty for a few weeks. Toenjes will be staying well clear of the coordinates of the Israeli blockade of Gaza as published in the Israeli Notices to Mariners, but Meadors said contact with the Naval Attaché’s office in the US Embassy, Tel Aviv had not produced written assurances from the Israeli government that Toenjes will not be harassed or attacked by the Israeli military, even though Toenjes will be in Egyptian waters.

Analysis / Opinion

Donors help keep Palestinians in cages / Charlotte Silver
EI 16 Aug --  "Israel besieges us, puts us in cantons -- in cages -- and the international community is feeding us in these cages. It’s anything but developmental and it’s helping Israel’s colonization, ethnic cleansing and dispossession," Dr. Samia Botmeh said, as she sat in her office in the Center for Development Studies (CDS) at Birzeit University near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank ... Botmeh added that the current international framework for assessing development aid in the West Bank treats the Israeli-occupied region either as a conflict zone or a post-colonial zone. "This is completely unrealistic because we are not in a conflict, we are in a colonization process," she said.

Palestine needs a political solution, not aid / Ben White
Al Jazeera 16 Aug -- The funds received by the Palestinian Authorities have cast a shadow over the liberation that people are demanding ... Rather than go into the specifics of Gaza's socio-economic plight - excellent resources can be found at Gisha/Gaza Gateway, PCHR-Gaza, and OCHA - it is important to emphasise a point missing from Israel's propaganda and also neglected by some rights activists: Palestinians are seeking liberation, not aid. The conditions Palestinians are suffering from have political origins and political solutions. This is not a natural disaster; for more than 40 years, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank have been subject to a military regime shaped by the priorities of colonial settlement and apartheid control.

Apartheid on steroids / Stephen Robert
The Nation 12 Aug -- ...I’ve been a contributor and fundraiser for the UJA-Federation of New York, a governor of the American Jewish Committee, which is dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, and a founding director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. I’ve made five additional visits to Israel since 1962, the last this summer as part of a humanitarian aid trip to East Jerusalem and the West Bank. As a Jew who has been an ardent supporter of Israel since its independence, it pains me to record what I saw there. But it is my love for Israel and for the Jewish people that drives me to speak out at this treacherous time. What I witnessed in the West Bank -- home to about 2.5 million Palestinians and 400,000 Israeli settlers -- exceeded my worst expectations. While the world’s statesmen have dithered, Israel has created a system of apartheid on steroids, a horrifying prison with concrete walls as high as twenty-six feet, topped with body-ravaging coils of razor wire. Spaced along these walls are imposing guard towers that harbor bunkers from which trespassers can be shot by Israeli soldiers. From this physical segregation -- one land for Israelis; another, unequal land for Palestinians --  flows a torrent of misery, violence and human rights abuses.

AJ spells it out: Israel's housing shortage leads to internal tensions / Annie
Mondoweiss 16 Aug -- Two important videos from Al Jazeerah explain the J14 quandary over settlements. "Cementing control of the West Bank...... is increasingly seen as a burden ordinary Israelis are no longer willing to take" -- Protests against high prices and social inequality in Israel are entering their third week. With Israel's social justice movement looking at ways to reduce government spending and the cost of living, settlement spending in the occupied West Bank is now coming under scrutiny. In a tented city in Tel Aviv, the leaders of the social justice movement have yet to issue specific demands from the government, but the expense of maintaining the West Bank settlements is being discussed. Al Jazeera's Paul Brennan reports from Tel Aviv

UK bans settler rabbi who called for killing of non-Jews / Asa Winstanley
EI 15 Aug -- Is the UK government equating a respected Palestinian community leader with an extremist settler who advocates racism and mass killing of civilians? Palestinian religious leader and rights activist Sheikh Raed Salah was arrested by the UK government in June, supposedly for "flouting" a ban on entering the country, as much of the UK press put it. But it later emerged that Home Secretary Theresa May issued the exclusion order only two days before Raed Salah entered the UK for a speaking tour. Crucially, neither he nor his tour organizers had any idea there was such a ban in place. A lawyer acting for the Home Office admitted as much in the High Court on 15 July, saying Salah "didn’t do anything wrong." ... While the UK Border Agency (UKBA) gave no prior warning to Salah, it was revealed last Wednesday that the same agency gave a written warning of a ban to an extremist Israeli settler named Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, who has incited the murder of non-Jews, including civilians and children.
For further information contact Shadi Fadda

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