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  1. #241
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    Kashmir & Palestine: Both Occupied, Both Victims Of The Military-Industrial Complex

    The struggle for liberation of both Palestinian and Kashmiri people began in the late 1940s during the waning days of British colonialism.

    By Kit O'Connell @KitOConnell | October 4, 2016

    AUSTIN, Texas — Although their homelands are separated by almost 2,500 miles, Palestinians and Kashmiris share a struggle for liberation and the right to self-determination against occupying forces backed by the might of the American military-industrial complex.

    While the shrinking Palestinian homeland dwindles in size among Israel’s ever-expanding illegal settlements, Kashmir is caught on the border between India and Pakistan, both of which would lay claim to the land despite members of the Kashmiri ethnic group supporting independence.

    The Kashmiri have been in the middle of three wars between India and Pakistan since the British partition of the region in 1947. In one of the biggest parallels between their mutual struggles against colonialism, Palestinians have spent the last 68 years resisting the displacement caused by the British-mandated creation of Israel. Like Palestinians, Kashmiris are treated as second-class citizens in their own land, which has become one of the most intensely militarized borders in the world.

    In an Aug. 24 opinion piece for Al-Jazeera, geopolitical analyst Goldie Osuri explained:

    “There are about 500,000 military personnel in the region — in other words, one soldier for 25 civilians. The Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society reports more than 70,000 killings, about 10,000 enforced disappearances and 7,000 mass graves.”

    While the U.S. government sometimes makes token objections to Israel’s occupation and continued expansion into Palestine, the Israeli military is currently backed by over $3.1 billion in annual aid. This figure will increase to $3.8 billion annually under the terms of a recent agreement, and that doesn’t even include U.S. financial support for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

    Although India receives far less in direct military aid, it is a top recipient of economic aid from the United States and, as a weapons buyer, a key player in the American military-industrial complex. In 2014, India became the second-biggest buyer of U.S. military hardware, just behind Saudi Arabia. In April, Reuters reported India was in talks to purchase Predator surveillance drones from the United States.


    Abby Martin: Many have seen this map, but how did #Palestine become colonized? Essential context to a conflict ppl paint as equal http://bit.ly/2dfnYEr

    Kashmir & Palestine in a global context

    When members of either group fight back against apartheid-style policies, whether through nonviolent protest or in direct retaliation to state violence, they tend to be deemed “terrorists” by mainstream media. This terminology doesn’t just obscure their right to fight for independence from occupation, it also supports their continued oppression. Osuri noted:

    “This terror frame supports the economy of arms trade between India, Israel and the United States. In this story … Kashmiri and Palestinian quests for self-determination are reduced to neighbouring Muslim or Arab states causing unrest.”

    To understand the similarities between Israel and Palestine, Osuri urged that current events be viewed “in a longer context.” Israel is a key ally in the Middle East, helping further the U.S. agenda of controlling the Middle East’s fossil fuels and even guiding foreign policy in the region.
    The United States, meanwhile, seeks to deepen its ties with India as a way of putting pressure on Russia and China. Together with Brazil and South Africa, the five nations have formed the powerful economic alliance known as BRICS, but the United States hopes foreign aid and arms can woo India into an alliance with NATO instead.

    Because the United States depends on maintaining a strategic alliance with both Israel and India, both nations are free to oppress Palestinians or Kashmiris with near impunity.
    Watch “‘Empire Strikes Back’: Eric Draitser On Western Destabilization Of BRICS” from MintPress News’ “Behind the Headline”:

    “Since the 1990s, through a decade of armed struggle against the Indian state, state violence in Kashmir has taken its toll,” Osuri wrote, noting a recent crackdown by Indian forces in which hundreds were blinded or maimed by pellet guns. Osuri reported:

    “The dead numbered more than 70, and 6,000 or more were injured. These numbers continue to rise. Yet, Kashmiris continue to protest against the Indian state and call for Azadi (freedom).”

    By comparison, Israel’s attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014 left about 2,200 dead, including about 500 children, and at least 500,000 homeless. Palestinians live under a military occupation enforced by similarly overwhelming numbers of troops, and are forced to travel through military checkpoints to move almost anywhere, including commuting to work. Everyday items like musical instruments, crayons, and construction materials are routinely turned away at the borders.

    The United Nations has repeatedly condemned the actions of the occupying powers of India and Israel as war crimes, yet this has failed to result in any measurable improvement in the human rights of the Kashmiri or Palestinian peoples.

    By parroting government narratives which paint freedom fighters as terrorists and convincing the audience that occupied people’s struggles for freedom are equivalent to the military force keeping them oppressed, the mainstream media also plays a crucial role in glossing over war crimes.

    ‘Most Kashmiri favor independence’

    “Despite a long history of wide cultural and trade links the people of Kashmir share with Pakistan, which precede its modern creation as a nation-state, most Kashmiri favor independence from both India and Pakistan,” noted Tariq Mir, a journalist based in Pakistan, in an analysis published on Sept. 26 by Boston Review.

    The latest wave of protests and unrest began with the death of Burhan Muzaffar Wani, the 22-year-old leader of the Hizbul Mujahideen insurgency who was killed by Indian paramilitary police on July 8, during the third day of an Eid al-Fitr celebration, one of the most important holidays in Islam.

    Kashmiris tend to divide their support between resistance groups representing various ideologies, including the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, which seeks independence for Kashmir. The Hizbul Mujahideen insurgency is a pro-Pakistan resistance group influenced by Jamat-i-Islami, a group linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. Despite these differences, according to Mir, “for the most part populist sentiment continued to favor all Kashmiri guerilla fighters, regardless of their particular political bent, so long as they resisted India.”

    As news spread of of Wani’s death thousands flooded the streets of Tral, his hometown. “Soon as many as 250,000 people—perhaps the largest gathering in Kashmir in recent times—packed the town’s narrow streets, open fields, and orchards,” Mir wrote.

    Mourners chanted, threw rocks, and burned a few outposts of India’s paramilitary police. The crackdown was swift and severe, sparking protests in which acts of police brutality were reported.

    Though State Department officials have voiced their concerns about violence in Kashmir in the past, the most recent series of events and others have unfolded without any substantial action from the U.S. government.
    Watch “Kashmir unrest: Two more protesters killed in clashes” from Al-Jazeera English:

    ‘Transnational solidarity and activism are urgent’

    With India and Israel able to commit war crimes with the implicit support of the United States, Osuri wrote that “transnational solidarity and activism are urgent when almost every nation-state seems rogue.”

    She concluded:

    “The small but growing pockets of solidarity expressed for Kashmiris are heartening, as is the international solidarity for Palestinian struggle.

    Joining the dots between the occupations of Kashmir and Palestine shows the need for a greater solidarity between these two sovereignty struggles.”

    In October 2011, journalist Tara Dorabji visited Kashmir to report on tensions that continue to simmer even between moments of popular uprising. Dorabji wrote:

    “The torture and death can be buried no longer. … Kashmiri children grow up watching graveyards populate their villages. As people are buried, the community holds their story, the memory. Oral history is their biggest weapon against India’s brutal occupation. Even under occupation, the stories of the dead cannot be silenced.”

    Dorabji saw great hope in the future of Kashmir to create a new kind of indigenous-led nation, writing:

    “Perhaps if the nonviolent, popular movement of Kashmir is allowed self-determination a new brand of democracy will be born: a democracy that is not founded on control through military domination—one that does not wave the flag of democracy to cover up genocide.”

    Years later, and with many more dead, that hope for self-determination remains a dream for both Kashmiris and Palestinians.
    Watch “Mnar Muhawesh & Sut Jhally on Israel’s ‘Occupation of the American Mind’” from MintPress News’ “Behind the Headline”:


  2. #242
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    Palestinian teen in Gaza dies after refusing to serve as a collaborator for Israel in exchange for medical care


    BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- A 17-year-old Palestinian died last week after Israeli authorities refused to allow him to leave the besieged Gaza Strip to undergo treatment for a congenital heart defect, the Gaza-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights said in a report on Sunday.

    Israeli authorities had denied Ahmad Hassan Shubeir from Gaza City, permission to cross into Israel to receive life-saving medical treatment from a hospital after the teen “refused to serve as a collaborator for the Israeli authorities, a coercive measure regularly employed on Palestinian patients in need of permits,” according to the center.

    After being repeatedly denied permission by Israel to cross, despite securing a number of appointments at Israeli hospitals as his health declined, Ahmad died at approximately 4 a.m. on Jan. 14.

    Ahmad’s father told al-Mezan that his son had been suffering from a congenital heart defect since birth. The father said that he accompanied Ahmad several times to Israeli hospitals, including Tel Hashomer Hospital, Schneider Children’s Medical Center, as well as al-Makassed Hospital in the occupied West Bank, and that Ahmad’s condition remained relatively stable throughout the treatment.

    After Ahmad fell into a critical condition, his family applied for a crossing permit in February 2016 with supporting medical documents attached.
    According to the report, Israeli authorities responded to the request by attempted to blackmail and coerce Ahmad’s mother into cooperating with the authorities in exchange for her child’s permit during an interview at the Erez crossing.

    Though she refused, authorities ultimately allowed her and Ahmad to pass after being held several hours.

    A subsequent permit request in September received no reply from authorities, and after the family obtained a new hospital appointment, the applied again in October, again without reply.

    In November, Israeli authorities replied to another permit application with a refusal.

    “The Israeli security services then summoned Ahmad for an interview at the crossing; during the interrogation, he was pressured to serve as a collaborator for the Israeli authorities in exchange for his permit. The child refused and was denied a permit,” al-Mezan’s report continued.

    Finally, the family again obtained an appointment at a hospital for Jan. 30, 2017, as Ahmad’s health continued to decline. He died two weeks before the appointment.

    “Al-Mezan strongly condemns Israel’s ill-treatment of Palestinian patients of Gaza and expresses remorse at the death of Ahmad Shubeir,” they wrote in their report.

    The group warned of the continued “abuse” of critically ill Palestinian patients sealed inside the enclave, where health care services are crippled due to Israel’s ongoing blockade of the small territory that will enter its tenth year this coming June.

    “The denial of adequate medical care, which amounts to ill-treatment, is in violation of treaty and customary international law, and amounts to a prohibited collective punishment,” al-Mezan stressed, noting that the Israeli hospitals Palestinians are attempting to reach are in close proximity to Gaza.

    According to the center, 2016 represented a steep decrease in the number of permits granted to Palestinian patients wishing to pass through the Erez crossing: In 2015, 77.66 percent of patients were granted access, whereas 61 percent were granted in 2016.

    Israeli authorities have also expanded the age group of those subjected to increased security checks from 16 to 35 years old to 16 to 55 years old, "which subsequently expanded waiting times and resulted in increased rejection of permits."

    Between 50 and 60 percent of the patients who were refused permits in 2016 by Israeli authorities were people with cancer, with al-Mezan noting a trend that developed over the year, "whereby cancer patients were granted up to three permits, but not more, resulting in unfinished cancer treatment, and greatly diminished effectiveness of cancer care."

    Furthermore, Palestinians who were finally granted permits were nevertheless subjected to measures that al-Mezan said amounted to “cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment,” including long-waiting periods, intense interrogations, invasive searches, blackmail, and coercion, all of which that were greatly strenuous for the sick patients who were not given sufficient rest amid the procedures.

    The center further noted that obtaining a permit did not even guarantee a successful crossing for Gazans, reporting that Israeli forces arrested at least nine patients in addition to five Palestinians accompanying patients at the Erez crossing in 2015 and 2016.


  3. #243
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    Israeli journalist: Palestinians ‘fair game’ for soldiers


    Israeli journalist and author Gideon Levy has accused the state’s armed forces of treating Palestinians as “fair game”, in a scathing op-ed published by Haaretz newspaper.

    Highlighting a number of incidents where Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the first weeks of 2017, Levy writes that Palestinians are “fair game in the occupied territories and fair game in Israel…because their blood is cheap.”

    He continues: “When a soldier is killed in an accident, it’s front-page news. But when a Palestinian is killed while just waking up at home, nobody cares. Not one of the people killed in the last few days would have been shot to death if he weren’t a Palestinian or a Bedouin. “

    Levy refers to the Israeli police’s killing of Yaqoub Abu al-Qiyan, during a violent demolition raid in Umm al-Hiran, in the Negev. “Behold, Zionism 2017”, Levy writes, “destroying a community of Bedouin refugees in order to build a Jewish community in its place.”

    He went on: “That’s the basic Zionist violence; nationalist and racist. Compare the case to the Amona outpost and you have perfect evidence of apartheid: negotiations and compensation for Jews, brutality for Arabs.”

    Levy’s article mentions Mohammed al-Salahi, woken by soldiers raiding his home in Fara refugee camp, then shot dead with “11 bullets from point-blank range in front of his mother.”

    Levy also cites the killing of Palestinian teenager Qusai al-Amour, who in widely-viewed video footage, is seen shot dead after throwing stones at soldiers, then dragged “like a sack of potatoes.”

    Then there is the killing of Nadal Mahadawi at a checkpoint outside of Tulkarem, also documented by video footage. “The sight was horrific.

    He’s seen standing quietly while the soldiers shoot for no apparent reason. When he tries to flee, in what appears to be a dash for his life, they kill him.”

    According to the veteran journalist, “the dragging of the wounded youth at Tuqu and the execution at the checkpoint should shock anyone”, but “above all, they should shock all Israelis, because the perpetrators are theirs sons, their soldiers and their police.” But – the “victims were Palestinians.”

    Levy concludes: “A straight line passes through Umm al-Hiran, Tuqu, Fara and Tul Karm – the line of dehumanization guiding the soldiers and police. It begins with the incitement campaigns and ends with trigger-happy troops.”

    “The roots are deep; they must be acknowledged. To most Israelis, all Arabs are the same and they’re not human beings equal to us. They’re not like us. They don’t love their children or their lives the way we do. They were born to kill. There’s no problem killing them.”

    He concludes: “They’re all enemies, suspicious objects, terrorists, murderers – their lives and deaths are cheap. So kill them, because nothing bad will happen to you. Kill them, because it’s the only way to treat them.”


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    Israel systematically, unlawfully killed Gazans, EU report


    European body accused on Tuesday Israel of engaging in “apparently systematic unlawful killings” of Palestinian civilians in over the past several years.

    The Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) voted in favour of a resolution, based on an internal report on the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, which charges Israel with “excessive and intentional force without justification against Palestinian civilians.”

    According to the report, the meant civilians are those located in the buffer zone, farmers, journalists, medical crews and peaceful protesters. It stated that this use of force “runs blatantly counter to human rights principles and the international law-enforcement standards.”

    It reads: “Cases of the deliberate fatal shooting of individuals who posed no imminent danger to life amounts to an appalling pattern of apparently systematic unlawful killings.”

    Swedish politician from the Swedish Social Democratic Party Eva-Lena Jansson composed the report, which was presented on January 4 to the assembly, made up of 324 parliamentarians from 47 countries.

    The report cites a Palestinian NGO which is said to have “documented the killing of 136 Palestinians in Gaza by Israeli live fire in the buffer zone, including 20 children,” since 2010.

    On Tuesday, the Assembly passed the resolution with a vote of 46 in favour, 12 against and two abstentions in the assembly during a session in Strasbourg, France.

    According to the report, Israel is accused of “a massive and exceptional escalation in…attacks and harassment of Palestinian fishermen, including use of live fire.”

    It noted that Gazan fishermen “are now reduced to severe poverty and unemployment as a direct result of Israel’s policies and practices against them.”

    The report also noted that since the 2014 Israeli offensive on Gaza, in which a “huge number of people [were] killed” and in which “the destruction of civil infrastructure…was enormous,” the situation in Gaza became so dire that “many people preferred to flee Gaza and join the masses of refugees going to Europe.”

    “It is estimated that over 12,620 houses were totally destroyed [in Gaza] and 6,455 severely damaged. 17,650 families or about 100,000 persons were displaced,” the report said.

    The resolution calls for an end to the blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt on the Gaza Strip, warns of a humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian enclave if regular access to humanitarian goods, water and electricity is not granted.

    It also called on Israel to “refrain from the use of force without justification against Palestinian civilians in the buffer and fishing zones.”


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    Rabbis believe Trump will fulfill Torah prophecies, says ex-minister

    January 25, 2017

    Israel's former Interior Minister Uzi Baram has said that the current government's religious right-wing is relying on the role of US President Donald Trump to help destroy the Dome of the Rock Mosque. The religious right believes that the mosque's presence is hindering the fulfillment of Jewish salvation represented by the construction of the Third Temple.

    In an article published by Haaretz, Baram said that the Jewish religious references and their political representatives in the Knesset and government believe that Trump will help in fulfilling Torah prophecies and fulfill the ideological religious visions of Gush Emunim, the far-right movement responsible for the settlement project in the occupied West Bank. Although it no longer exists formally, the movement's ideology is still influential in Israel.

    "Rabbis believe that God sent Trump to help rebuild Israel
    in order for it to be in accordance with God's instructions," added Baram.



    It's not the Dome of the Rock mosque, but the Al-Aqsa Mosque they want to destroy and build the temple.

  6. #246
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    Israel weaponizes rape culture against Palestinians


    Lawmakers in Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling coalition are trying to deflect attention from sex crime scandals involving the highest echelons of Israeli society by making false allegations against Palestinians and other non-Jews.

    In recent months, a long list of senior Israeli officials, including members of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s inner circle, have been investigated and, in some cases, convicted for sex crimes against women and girls.

    But rather than acknowledging the problem in their own ranks, right-wing members of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, are renewing their efforts to paint Palestinians as the prime perpetrators.

    At a December 2016 session of the Knesset’s status of women committee, legislators from parties in the ruling coalition – particularly the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu – alleged that there was a pattern of Palestinian men and boys preying upon Jewish women and girls.

    Yulia Malinovsky, a representative of Yisrael Beiteinu, started off the session by asserting that in the Jerusalem area in the previous nine years, there have been 800 cases where Jewish Israeli women were sexually assaulted or sexually harassed by Palestinian men “based on nationalist motives.”

    “Why are we forbidden to talk about the phenomenon of sexual harassment by Arabs? Because it’s not politically correct?” Malinovsky queried.

    Her party colleague Oded Forer argued that any sex crime “motivated by religion or nationalism is a terror attack in every possible way.”

    The lawmakers lacked evidence to back up their allegations. That much became clear when Ayelet Orenstein, head of the department for sex crime victims in the Israeli police, testified to the Knesset committee.

    Orenstein told the committee that, according to police statistics, the number of sex crimes in mixed cities where Israeli Jews live in close proximity to Palestinian citizens, has not increased in recent years. Rather, it has decreased.

    Orenstein explained that the decrease applied both to sex crimes in general, and specifically to sex crimes in which a non-Jewish person was the perpetrator.

    The right-wing legislators grew agitated when Orenstein would not corroborate their claims of a plague of Palestinian-on-Jew sex crimes. She was then asked to explain the disparity between her own statements and the aforementioned statistic of 800 sex crimes, which Malinovsky insisted had also been provided by the police.

    After examining a document handed to her by Malinovsky, Orenstein explained that the 800 cases referred to included all assaults committed in Jerusalem in the past nine years, regardless of whether or not they were sexual in nature.

    Orenstein’s “rough estimate” – her words – was that the number of relevant reported sex crimes in Jerusalem during this time period was around 200 – a quarter of that claimed by Malinovsky.

    This was not the first Israeli effort to portray Palestinians as sexual predators – and it was unlikely to be the last. In fact, the committee meeting bore great resemblance to another Knesset session held just over five years earlier.
    Frightening increase?

    In December 2011, the Knesset’s immigration committee convened for an “urgent” session on “the kidnapping of new [Jewish] immigrants by minorities,” the latter a euphemism for Palestinian citizens of Israel.

    Opening the meeting, then-Likud lawmaker Danny Danon said: “We have all heard horrible stories of a frightening increase in the number of cases of young women who come from a poor socio-economic background that are simply kidnapped [by Palestinians]. At first when I was told about it, I said, ‘What do you mean kidnapped? It’s probably a romantic relationship, consensual.’ But it turns out that there are cases in the State of Israel, in the year 2011, of girls physically kidnapped in the middle of the day, in Kiryat Malakhi, in Arad, in Beer Sheva, in Nahariya, that minorities simply force women into the car.”

    Then, too, a representative of the Israeli police department for sex crime victims – Rachel Greibin – denied the existence of any such phenomenon or increase in attacks on Jewish women by Palestinian men. “That phenomenon has not been seen by the police, the phenomenon you have just described is unknown to us,” Greibin said.

    Upon Danon’s insistence that he heard an unnamed police commander claim that this type of cross-cultural sexual violence was increasing, Greibin responded, “We do not have data or lots of cases of kidnapping.”

    Danon now serves as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.

    The attempt to frame Palestinians as sex offenders is a favored tactic of the Israeli far right. Israel’s anti-miscegenation movement is keen to cast the relatively rare romantic relationships between Jews and Palestinians as abusive, in order to justify such groups’ continued existence and their funding budgets.

    Minutes of the 2011 Knesset committee meeting confirm that the session was stacked with members of Yad L’Achim and Lehava, two groups that oppose marriages between Jews and people of other religions.
    Smear strategy

    Similarly, the recent session of the status of women committee heard complaints from female members of Im Tirtzu, an anti-Palestinian group that a Jerusalem court ruled may be fairly described as “fascist,” and Students for the Temple Mount, a group that seeks to destroy the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, one of Islam’s holiest sites. Anat Gopstein, anti-miscegenation activist and wife of Lehava leader Bentzi Gopstein, was also in attendance.

    Unsurprisingly, the December session concluded with Malinovsky proposing that the government dispense additional funds to Israeli anti-miscegenation groups. “Today there is a budget of 50 million shekels [$13 million] for the war on violence against women. I ask of all the relevant bodies and the committee chair that part of this money will be apportioned to treat the problem of sexual harassment on a nationalist basis in mixed cities.”

    Falsely charging Palestinians with rape isn’t exclusive to Israel’s far right. In May, Netanyahu himself falsely accused two Palestinians of raping a Jewish woman.

    Soon afterwards, Israeli police revealed that no such rape had ever occurred. Rather, the woman’s parents had concocted the rape accusations upon learning that their daughter had been dating a Palestinian man, Israeli police said.

    In Israel, the rape smear strategy has even been adopted by Jewish supremacists trying to thwart liaisons between Black Jews and Black people of other religions. In 2013, Israeli journalist Danny Adino Abebe publicly accused African refugees of kidnapping 1,000 Israeli citizens of Ethiopian descent. After this writer demanded that Abebe provide evidence for his claim, he quietly removed his article from the Internet.
    Budgets for bigotry

    The Israeli government continues to fund groups which openly aim to end miscegenation in order to preserve Jewish ethnic purity.

    In October, Or Kashti of the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz reported on anti-assimilation groups receiving funds from the Israeli government to move to cities with a mixed population of Palestinians and Jews. The understanding behind the funding was that its recipients would try to drive wedges between Jews and their Palestinian neighbors.

    Naftali Bennett, in his capacity as Israel’s diaspora affairs minister, has been promoting the importance of the “Jewish family” – a thinly veiled reference to endogamy.

    Preventing sexual relations between Jews and people of other religions appears to be a major goal of a program for which the Israeli government earmarked $50 million between 2014 and the end of 2017.

    The diaspora affairs ministry spent $500,000 on a propaganda video arguing that miscegenation puts the Jewish people in peril. The video was broadcast on Israeli television in December.

    In his role as education minister, Bennett approved a move to drop a Hebrew-language novel titled Borderlife from the academic curriculum in 2015 because it described a fictional romantic relationship between a Jewish Israeli woman and a Palestinian man. In December 2016, the education ministry introduced new rules to make it easier to ban books in the future.

    The accusations leveled at the recent status of women committee meeting against Palestinian citizens of Israel raised the ire of Palestinian representatives in the Knesset. Jamal Zahalka, head of the Balad Party, argued at the meeting that Palestinian citizens of Israel are committed to combating sex crimes.

    “In Arab society, as in Jewish society, men that attack women, regardless of who they are, are considered the scum of the human race, despicable people that are rejected by society,” said Zahalka.

    “In my opinion, the courts do not sentence with enough severity. I want every Arab that is convicted – not by politicians, but by the courts and police – to face the full weight of the law. Even more than a Jew, I don’t care. We as a society want this. Conduct a poll, and 99 percent of the Arab society will tell you: Not five years in jail, 10 years in jail. So let’s not make this a sectarian issue.”

    Zahalka called on Jewish and Palestinian parliamentarians to stop trying to turn sexual assaults into a racial issue and to work together to tackle the problem.

    “On this issue there is consensus,” Zahalka said. “It’s one of the rare issues in the Knesset where everyone agrees that we must combat the phenomenon. So you come here and present it as if it’s a subject for disagreement and taunting?”

    Despite Zahalka’s comments, some elements of Israeli society have continued to display a disturbing attitude towards sex crimes. The week after the status of women committee meeting, former Israeli president and convicted rapist Moshe Katsav was released from jail, granted early release from prison. Katsav was welcomed to his home town of Kiryat Malakhi with public fanfare.

    In the days that followed, Israeli police recommended charging Moshe Dadon, head of a local authority in the Jerusalem area, with rape and other sex crimes against several women.

    In January, it emerged that yet another senior Israeli politician is now being investigated over sex crimes. Amnon Cohen, a member of the Knesset from 1999 to 2015, is accused of being bribed by a businessman with sexual favors. A woman told a court in Lydda (Lod) – a city near Tel Aviv – that she was coerced into having sexual relations with Cohen, saying she was “afraid for my life.”

    For these reasons and others, the liberal Israeli news site +972 Magazine named “the women standing up to sexual harassment” as its “person of the year” for 2016.

    But if the Jewish-Israeli leadership continues to frame Palestinian men as sex predators and interracial relationships as treason, just so that they can avoid tackling the sex crime epidemic in their midst, that honor will offer only cold comfort.


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    Committee: Palestinian prisoners forced to stand outdoors naked after alleged stabbing

    BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Tensions escalated on Wednesday afternoon at Israel’s Nafha prison in the southern Negev desert, as reports surfaced of a Palestinian prisoner allegedly stabbing an Israeli officer inside the prison.

    Israeli news sites reported that a Palestinian prisoner affiliated with the Hamas movement “attacked an Israeli prison warden with a sharp tool,” causing the warden to suffer from a light injury.

    Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' Affairs head Issa Qaraqe said in a statement that the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) “claimed that the Palestinian prisoner stabbed that Israeli officer,” highlighting that immediately following the incident, IPS officials began conducting punitive procedures “humiliating Palestinian prisoners.”

    Qaraqe said IPS officials conducted an “unprecedented raid” in Section 1 of Nafha, forcing the Palestinian prisoners to fully undress, leading them outside of the section “while naked in the cold weather, also searching and destroying their personal belongings and cutting the electricity off.”

    Qaraqe called the situation in Nafha “unbearable,” and said that the stabbing was a Palestinian prisoner “reacting to these [common] procedures and trying to defend himself.”

    Noting that the IPS has banned family and lawyer visitations to prisoners inside Nafha, Qaraqe called upon the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to immediately intervene and visit the prison.

    “Palestinian prisoners will conduct group protests and hunger strikes if humiliating Israeli raids continued against them,” Qaraqe’s statement concluded.

    Later on Wednesday, Qaraqe said in a statement that 400 Israeli prison officers raided section 2 and 12 of Nafha prison, handcuffing prisoners and forcing them out into the prison yard.

    An IPS spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

    Palestinian prisoners on Tuesday set fire to a cell in Nafha prison after IPS wardens stormed the prisoners' cells and assaulted prisoners.

    Qaraqe told Ma'an at the time that "prisoners announced a state of alert and set fire inside a room at Nafha prison” after Messada officers, the “takeover” unit of the IPS, reportedly stormed Section 2 of the prison and assaulted prisoners.

    Earlier in January, IPS forces raided Section 4 of the prison and injured several prisoners, “beating them violently and firing tear gas,” according to Qaraqe, who spoke to Ma’an at the time of the incident.


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    Palestinians sue Trump adviser, Netanyahu for terrorism

    Charlotte Silver Rights and Accountability 2 February 2017

    A group of US citizens and Palestinian nationals is suing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and key members of US President Donald Trump’s administration for perpetrating and enabling war crimes.

    Their lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, alleges a money laundering scheme that involves the US defendants raising charitable donations to send to Israeli government leaders.

    Based on the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Alien Torts Statute, the complaint alleges that the Israeli officials use the money to fund settlements and violent extremism in the occupied West Bank, which the complaint identifies as “international terrorism.”

    It comes as Netanyahu vowed that Israel would soon build an entirely new settlement in the occupied West Bank. Since Trump took office last month, Israel has announced plans for 6,000 additional settler housing units.

    Israel’s current and former defense ministers Avigdor Lieberman and Ehud Barak are named as defendants, as is former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, who recently evaded a war crimes summons from Belgian prosecutors.

    The lawsuit also names the family foundation of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and now his adviser on the Middle East and Israel.

    Other defendants are David Friedman and his charity, American Friends of Beit El Yeshiva Center. Friedman, Trump’s ambassador-designate to Israel, is a major fundraiser for Israeli settlements.
    Pandering to Christian Zionist leaders

    The lawsuit aims to use anti-terrorism statutes and laws governing tax-deductible charities to hold accountable those sending huge sums to fund Israeli colonization.

    It was filed just one day before Trump told a group of religious leaders that he would “totally destroy” the amendment to the US tax code that prohibits tax-exempt organizations, including churches, from engaging in direct political activity to influence elections.

    Trump made the repeal of the Johnson Amendment a tenet of the Republican Party platform during his presidential campaign, drawing the support of right-wing Christian Zionist leaders, including John Hagee, head of Christians United for Israel.

    Hagee is a defendant in another pending lawsuit filed last year over the funding of settlements and occupation.
    Real-estate fraud

    The several dozen plaintiffs include residents of the US, the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. They say they have been directly injured by the alleged war crimes enabled by the defendants.

    For example, Palestinian Americans Linda Kateeb and Ali Ali claim to have lost from $2 to $3 million worth of real estate in the occupied West Bank due settlement activity the complaint describes as real-estate fraud.

    According to the lawsuit, tax-exempt organizations currently raise $2 billion dollars to fund Israeli colonization of the occupied West Bank.

    “Courtesy of the $2 billion in laundered funds that they receive every year, Israeli-based beneficiaries are able to inflict wholesale violence on their Palestinian neighbors and steal more of their real property,” the complaint alleges.

    While Jared Kushner was a director of the Kushner Family Foundation, the group sent nearly $60,000 to West Bank settlements between 2011 and 2013 and more than $315,000 to Friends of the IDF, a group the Israeli newspaper Haaretz describes as “the army’s US fundraising arm.”

    The foundation sent a small amount to the Yitzhar settlement, home to some of the most violent settlers in the West Bank.

    Yitzhar’s rabbi, Yosef Elitzur, has advocated for settlers to commit so-called “price tag” attacks on Palestinians and co-authored a book justifying the killing of non-Jewish babies.

    Until recently, Kushner also sat on the board of the New York-based Friends of the IDF, which holds gala fundraisers to support Israeli soldiers.
    On 25 January, The Forward reported that Kushner’s name was removed from the website.

    David Friedman’s Americans Friends of Beit El Yeshiva Center raises about $2 million a year that mostly goes to the Beit El settlement, near Ramallah.

    The seventh defendant is the accounting firm Billet, Feit, & Prince, P.C., which the complaint claims knowingly concealed the nature of the charities on documents filed with the US Internal Revenue Service, therefore committing tax fraud.
    Follow the money

    The complaint was prepared by attorney Martin McMahon, who has filed three other lawsuits that are currently before the courts, targeting the stream of funding from the US to Israeli colonialism.

    “They’re designed to cut off the money that’s going to the settlements,” McMahon told The Electronic Intifada. “If you cut off the money going to the settlements, they’re dead.”

    One of his lawsuits already accuses American Friends of Beit El Yeshiva Center along with other individuals and companies of profiting from Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank.

    Another charges the US Treasury Department with failing to enforce the laws on charitable contributions.

    “Our tax code is being abused, and the Treasury is not doing its job,” McMahon said.

    The latest lawsuit argues that for the last 20 years, settlements in the occupied West Bank have been fueled by the “personal agenda” of the defendants, in contravention to Israel’s sovereign interests.

    “When financing, encouraging, or engaging in acts of international terrorism the Israeli defendants were not implementing Israeli official government policies but pursuing their own personal agenda,” the complaint states.

    Like previous attempts to invoke US laws in favor of Palestinians, this lawsuit must argue that the settlement activity and violence is distinct from state violence.

    “I don’t want Netanyahu or the Ministry of Defense to claim immunity,” McMahon explained, citing past cases in which lawsuits against Israeli military commanders have been thrown out on the grounds that they were acting as agents of the state.

    “All defendants have been violating US and Israeli criminal statutes for at least twenty years,” the complaint claims, “by engaging in money laundering … and funding settlement expansion, arms trafficking, ethnic cleansing and genocide.”
    Controversial law

    The complaint invokes, but is not based on, the recently passed Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which allows victims to sue state actors for knowingly contributing material support to people or organizations “that pose a significant risk of committing acts of terror.”

    Until now another law, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act has protected states and their agents from civil claims in US courts. This law has repeatedly shielded Israeli leaders.

    The Senate unanimously passed the controversial JASTA statute last May, with the specific intention of allowing families of victims of the 9/11 attacks to seek damages from the state they believe bore responsibility: Saudi Arabia.

    The Saudis reportedly lobbied heavily against the bill. President Barack Obama vetoed the bill, only to see Congress override his veto for the first and only time during his eight-year presidency.

    The bill was strongly supported by Senator Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney-general.

    While arguing against the bill, Obama warned it “threatens to create complications in our relationships with even our closest partners.”

    McMahon intends to use it to do just that.

    The lawsuit argues that by funding belligerent settlements and the Israeli army through Netanyahu and Israel’s defense ministers, Kushner, Friedman and other donors are violating JASTA.

    Past attempts to claim Israeli leaders and military officials violate the Anti-Terrorism Act have failed to overcome the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, while US courts have accepted numerous lawsuits against Palestinian groups.

    This lawsuit stops short of accusing President Trump, but suggests he could be found to be violating federal criminal statutes if his tax returns are released.


    Trump threatens to punish Palestinians if they sue Israel in ICC

    The Haaretz newspaper on its website on Wednesday said that the U.S. president, Donald Trump has threatened to punish Palestinians if they sue Israel in the international criminal court.

    According to Haaretz, officials said that the new right-wing U.S. administration will take “severe punitive measures” that will damage the position of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) if it goes to the ICC.

    Haaretz pointed out that the administration would cut the aids to the PLO and close down the offices of the PLO in Washington.

    Since Donald Trump became president, Israel has approved the construction of over 6,000 settlement units all over the West Bank and Jerusalem.

    Trump has declared his approval of settlement expansion, and in turn received support from the Israeli PM on building a wall along the Mexico borders.


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    IDF soldiers electrocute blindfolded Palestinian for fun, laugh while filming (GRAPHIC VIDEO)

    One soldier from the Netzach Yehuda battalion has been sentenced to seven months in prison for his role in the abuse of a Palestinian detainee who was blindfolded and zapped with electrodes as soldiers laughed and filmed the abuse.

    The military trial of four members of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) centred on mobile phone footage showing soldiers laughing as a blindfolded Palestinian man is subjected to electric shocks with a medical device.

    The incident was uncovered after authorities, suspicious of abusive treatment towards prisoners, confiscated one of the soldiers’ phones, report Mako.
    The helpless detainee was also struck by soldiers as the attack was being filmed, reports Israeli news agency Haaretz.

    The unnamed soldier will now spend seven months behind bars. He will, however, be allowed to keep his job and is set to be demoted to the rank of private.

    IDF officials say they condemn the actions of those involved: “The IDF sees in these extreme incidents a total violation and disregard of the IDF’s Code of Conduct and strongly condemns these actions. The court has not yet come to decisions regarding other suspects involved in these extreme incidents.”

    The sentencing comes after an Israeli border police officer was filmed Sunday flipping a disabled Palestinian man’s wheelchair to the ground.

    Warning: the following video contains graphic content of a violent nature. Viewer discretion is advised.


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    Israel arrest 300 Palestinian children since start of 2017

    Israeli occupation forces have arrested around 300 Palestinian children since the start of this year, most of them from occupied Jerusalem, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club (PPC) said Tuesday.

    According to Quds Press, the PPC has documented several violent raids, including at night, when Israeli occupation forces arrested children who were beaten severely, and verbally and physically abused.

    In a statement, marking Palestinian Children’s Day, the PPC condemned the Israeli violence, including the killing of children at military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank.

    The statement noted that the increase in detentions of children marks a turning point in the use of arrest campaigns supported by racist laws that result in children being sentenced to long terms in prison.

    The PPC also renewed its call for international human rights groups, including UNICEF, to strengthen initiatives and campaigns to protect Palestinian children.

    Meanwhile, noting that children comprise 45.8 per cent of its population, the Palestinian Ministry of Culture called on international groups to help protect the inalienable rights the Palestinian child.

    The Ministry reiterated that the Israeli crackdown on Palestinian children is a “clear cut proof” that the occupying Israeli authorities have launched a “real war” on Palestinian children, who are the “guardians of the future.”

    Concluding its statement, the Ministry said Israel should be held accountable for its “blatant unending crimes against Palestinian children that have continued unabated for decades.”


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    Netanyahu: ‘executing wounded Palestinian an ethical act’

    Israeli Channel Two poll: 68 per cent of Israelis disagree with public criticism of the Israeli murderer

    Days of Palestine, Jerusalem -Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that “executing the wounded Palestinian in Al-Khalil is an ethical act.”

    Commenting on the incident during the weekly meeting of the Israeli occupation government, Netanyahu said: “The soldiers of the IDF, our children, maintain high ethical values while courageously fighting against bloodthirsty murderers under difficult operational conditions.”

    He severely criticised the voices calling for an investigation into the incident. “Any challenge to the morality of the IDF is outrageous and unacceptable,” he said.

    “We must all support the IDF Chief-of-Staff, the IDF and our soldiers, who safeguard our security,” he said, referring to the Israeli murder.

    On Thursday, an Israeli occupation soldier shot and wounded the Palestinian Abdul-Fattah al-Sharif, 21. Then, one of the Israeli soldiers shot him in the head from a very close distance, while he was motionless.

    A couple of hours later, the Israeli rights group B’Tselem published a video for the execution that went viral on the internet and sparked widespread criticism amongst calls to prosecute the murderer.

    Do not arrest murderer

    Meanwhile, a poll conducted by the Israeli TV Channel two found that 57 per cent of the Israelis oppose investigating the Israeli murderer or the unarmed and motionless Palestinian.

    The poll showed that 32 per cent of the Israelis agree that the murderer should have been arrested and investigated over the execution.

    In addition, 68 per cent of the Israeli, the poll found, disagreed with the public criticism of the Israeli murder of the Palestinians.


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    1m Palestinians detained by Israel since 1948

    Israeli authorities have detained approximately one million Palestinians since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in 1967, according to a joint statement released Saturday by the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).“The question of Palestinian prisoners is central for the Palestinian cause,” the statement affirmed, two days before Palestinians mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on April 17.

    The groups said that Israeli forces detained hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the first and second intifadas, which they referred to as one of the “most difficult historical stages” of Palestine.During the First Intifada, which lasted from Dec. 1987 until the Madrid Conference in 1991 aimed at reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, scores of Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces as a result of the largely nonviolent uprising which relied on various campaigns of civil disobedience.

    In 2000, the Second Intifada broke out — known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada — after then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in an act of provocation, causing heavy clashes to break out between Palestinians and Israeli forces, which developed into a full-scale uprising.



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