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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Israeli Tree Campaign "Judaizes" Expropriated Land

December 26, 2011

Jewish National Fund's practice of selling and leasing land exclusively to Jewish owners is met with growing opposition Watch full multipart The Real News in the Middle East


The Jewish National Fund (JNF), that ownes 13% of Israeli lands forbids the sale or lease of its lands to any but Jewish owners. Many are now joining a global campaign against this policy whose roots come from expropriated Palestinian Land. The Real News' Lia Tarachansky looks at the history of JNF land aquisition from the land taken from 1948 refugees in the village of Ma'alul, 1967 refugees on whose land Canada Park was built, and the Bedouins of Al Araqib on whose land the JNF is attempting to build the Ambassador's Forest. Tarachansky speaks to Gadi Algazi, of Tel Aviv University, Aziz Sayah Al-Turi from Al Araqib, Eitan Bronstein from Zochrot, and Haya Noah of the Forum for Co-existance in the Negev.


LIA TARACHANSKY, TRNN: Al-Araqeeb is a Bedouin village in the Negev Desert in southern Israel. Since 2010 it's been demolished more than 30 times, as the Jewish National Fund uprooted hundreds of the village's trees and dozens of homes to begin planting its own forest. Aziz Sayah Alturi is the son of the sheikh of Al-Araqeeb.

AZIZ SAYAH ALTURI, AL-ARAQEEB BEDOUIN VILLAGE (ENGLISH): This we make oils. This is our job. We had here 4,500 [incompr.] olive trees. It's a good business.

ALTURI (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Everything you see here, this whole hill here, it was all trees. There was my house, here the house of Jum'a and others, beside him the house of Ismael, and the house of Sayah, and of Salim. If we were Jews, the government would have honored us for making the desert bloom. But we are Arabs. What can we do?

TARACHANSKY: The Jewish National Fund, also known as the JNF, was founded in 1901 at the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland. Its purpose was to purchase land for Jewish settlement and forest plantation in historic Palestine. However, by 1948, when the State of Israel was established, the JNF succeeded in purchasing only 6 percent of the land. Over the decades that followed, the territory under its control grew and its role evolved into actively expropriating land for exclusive Jewish use.ALTURI (ENGLISH): This is JNF.

ALTURI (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): What's the difference between this year-and-a-half-old tree and the 35-year-old carob tree they uprooted?

SHEIKH SAYAH AL-TOURI, AL-ARAQEEB BEDOUIN VILLAGE: If we leave the territory to go to work--let's say it's 7 a.m.--they come, declare this a closed military zone, and forbid us from returning. So we can't get out. We live here because we don't have a choice. But even if we die of hunger, we won't leave this land.

TARACHANSKY: An international campaign against the JNF's discriminatory practices led to a member of its Washington, D.C., board to quit last week. Writing in The Forward, the board member, Seth Morrison, says: "Some of my earliest Jewish memories involve dropping spare change in the Jewish National Fund's iconic little blue boxes. I was proud that my money would help plant trees in Israel. The JNF, I knew, was making the desert bloom." But in this project, the Jewish National Fund played a central role in the eviction of thousands of Palestinian families from their homes. Morrison continues to say that "This fall, a subsidiary of the Israeli branch of [the] JNF launched eviction proceedings against the Sumarin family, who live in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem." But East Jerusalem is only a small part of the JNF's role in land expropriation from Palestinians. In the Negev Desert, the fight against the JNF brought together Jewish and Bedouin residents to defend Al-Araqeeb. Haya Noah is the executive director of the Forum for Co-Existence in the Negev. Here she describes how the JNF works to take over the village's lands and dozens of other Bedouin communities.~~~

HAYA NOAH, FORUM FOR CO-EXISTENCE IN THE NEGEV: We are in midst of litigation process. And still the JNF is working as the land belongs to the state, just changing all the ecology here, all the landscape, as you can see. The JNF is actually Judaizing the area by the trees, because--.

TARACHANSKY: What do you mean by "Judaizing"?

NOAH: Judaizing is controlling. And they are saying this with no shame--you know, we are going to control the land in order for Arabs not to control it. You know?~~~

TARACHANSKY: Gadi Algazi is a historian. Here he speaks in Tel Aviv about the history of the JNF and land acquisition in Israel.

PROF. GADI ALGAZI, HISTORY DEPARTMENT, TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY: The story of land in Israel is fascinating, but there are two laws, again, almost none of Israeli citizens, certainly none in my daughter's class (she's now 17), has heard of. The first law is, of course, the law of 1949 regulating the possession of the Palestinian refugees.

TARACHANSKY: The Absentees Property Law confiscated all the property and land of Palestinians who fled or were expelled in 1948, including, in some cases, internally displaced refugees who later became citizens of Israel. During the War of 1948, when Israel was created, two-thirds of the Palestinian population became refugees, most of whom are today in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank, and Gaza. They were never allowed to return. The Absentee Properties Law transferred their land to a custodian, which either sold or gave it to Jewish owners.

ALGAZI: Ben Gurion's idea in June 1949 was to circumvent any future action by simply selling--absolutely illegally--selling the land entrusted to the custodian to some third party, so that the state of Israel, in case of an international debate, can safely say, sorry, you know, like any bicycle thief in the streets of Tel Aviv, sorry, it's not in my hand anymore. So within a few days, 1 million dunam was sold to the JNF. It took about eight days to realize one of the biggest deals, business deals in the history of Israel, for a price well below their value. And the nice thing about it is that the JNF never even paid for most of this land.

TARACHANSKY: The government then reached another agreement with the JNF, where it would be subsidized to build infrastructure on the land in exchange for securing it for Jewish settlements and forestation.

ALGAZI: So, all in all, the JNF has acquired from the land of the refugees, not from its owners but from the custodian, 1,300,000 dunams. And they remain to this very day the property of the JNF. And it applies to this property, which is Palestinian property, the rule that the land cannot be leased or sold to Arabs.

TARACHANSKY: One such example is the village of Ma'alul in northern Israel. Its lands were transferred to the JNF and its Palestinian inhabitants were expelled. In a tour, the Israeli organization Zochrot that works to commemorate the history of 1948 brought together the refugees and their descendents.. Here, refugees from Ma'alul place a sign marking what was once the entrance to their village. Israeli expulsion campaigns against the Palestinians didn't stop in 1948. They continued throughout the '50s and '60s. And during the 1967 War, 300,000 Palestinians were again made refugees. In the Latrun area on the outskirts of Jerusalem, three villages were forcibly expelled. Their residents fled to the West Bank and the village lands were transferred to the JNF. Raising funds from Canadian-Jewish philanthropists, the Jewish National Fund built Canada Park on the site, a history Zochrot is fighting to commemorate.

EITAN BRONSTEIN, ZOCHROT, ISRAELI NAQBA EDUCATION GROUP (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): There are signs in the park that explain the history of this place, but it didn't mention, until Zochrot didn't act... basically forced the JNF, through the Supreme Court, to mention these villages. The JNF history didn't mention them at all. It only mention other histories, like the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Jewish. When they started building this park, one of the refugees from Beit Nuba, which is one of the destroyed villages, found out about it and began writing letters to the newspapers and turning to leaders, and he succeeded in meeting with one or two, if I'm not mistaken. In the midst of this public scandal, one of the things the JNF did was to send him a plaque, a sort of honoring paper. I have it. It's just a simple piece of paper that says that the JNF planted a tree in his name, Ismayil Zayid, in Canada Park.

TARACHANSKY: Today, Palestinians are fighting the JNF in Israel, East Jerusalem, and in the West Bank, where it operates under a subsidiary called Hamuta. It is this daughter company that works to evict Palestinians in East Jerusalem using another law passed shortly after the ‘48 War.

ALGAZI: Number two is another piece of legislation that shapes our lives here. And this is the law from 1952 and 1953. It simply said that whoever was not on his land or her land on the crucial date April 1953 was not cultivating it at this crucial date. The land can expropriate this land for reasons of, for purpose of development, security, or settlement, without even notifying the legal owners. Whereas the first flaw pertains to the refugees, the second law pertained to Palestinian land of Palestinian citizens of Israel. Now, if we just managed to dissociate them, even temporarily, from the land for the important and crucial phase, you could just take it and that's it.

TARACHANSKY: In 2007, the Israeli human rights group Adulah filed a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court. It argued that JNF's policy of leasing land it took from Palestinians for Jewish-only use is discriminatory. Specifically, it referred to a part of the JNF lease regulations that say, "... the land could not be leased to a non-Jew, nor could the lease be sub-leased, or sold, or mortgaged, or given, or bequeathed to any but a Jew... Non-Jews could not be employed on the land or even in any work connected with the cultivation of the land. Violation of this term of the lease rendered the lessee liable for damages to the lessor." In its response to the Supreme Court petition, the Jewish National Fund stated: "The JNF was established and functions solely for the benefit of the Jewish people... the JNF is not obliged to act equally towards all of the citizens of the state in the allocation of lands." A decision hasn't yet been made whether to change the regulations. The fight Al-Araqeeb and residents of East Jerusalem are waging is now part of a global movement. Many, for example, are questioning the JNF's charitable status in countries such as Canada and the United States. For The Real News, I'm Lia Tarachansky in Tel Aviv.


DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Palestinians hoping to leave Gaza Strip asked to collaborate with Israel

Patients in need of treatment across border among those targeted by Israeli intelligence agency, says human rights group.
The Erez crossing from Gaza to Israel.
The Erez crossing at the northern end of the Gaza Strip. Israel insists rigorous security checks have proved to be essential. Photograph: Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images
Palestinian patients and business people hoping to leave the Gaza Strip are being asked to collaborate with Israel in exchange for an exit permit, a leading Israeli human rights organisation claims.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) say that 172 people, mostly men aged 18 to 40, were called for interrogation by the Shabak, Israel's internal intelligence agency, last month. Some who attended interviews were granted exit permits.

Three years on from Operation Cast Lead, Israeli informers play a critical role in monitoring militant cells in the Gaza Strip. Senior sources within the Israeli Defence Forces say a ground operation is more likely now than at any point since the December 2008 offensive. As tensions simmer, collaborators are an invaluable resource.

"The more intelligence you have and the greater the local perception is that you know what is going on, the more Hamas will delay and avoid acts of provocation that may lead to a ground operation by Israel," said Gabi Siboni, director of the military and strategic affairs programme at Israel's Institute for National Security Studies.

The problem for Ahmad Hamada, 20, is that he has no intelligence to give. Hamada fell from a four-metre high wall earlier this year and suffered serious head injuries, including memory loss. Damage caused by a catheter used during his recuperation means his urethra no longer functions properly.

As doctors in Gaza could not solve the problem, Hamada's father, Emad, arranged for him to receive treatment in Israel. He had worked there as a labourer for years and was stunned when a week before the appointment, the 20-year-old was summoned for an interview with the Shabak on 19 September. He was led to an interrogation room deep beneath the Erez crossing terminal where an Israeli officer introduced himself in Arabic. Littering his conversation with Gaza slang, he asked briefly about Hamada's medical condition.

"I know everything," he warned him. "You didn't fall off a wall did you? Why are all those tubes inside you? Tell me the truth. Is your father Hamas? Who is Hamas in the port? Who in your neighbourhood?"

"He became very angry when I kept answering that I didn't know," Hamada recalled. "I explained I couldn't remember much since my fall. I was in pain and I just wanted to go home."

After an hour of questioning, Hamada was left alone in a locked interview room. The entire process had lasted four hours and he needed the toilet. As his knocks and calls went unanswered, he was forced to pee on the carpet.

Hamada was eventually sent home and told he would be called for a second interview. He has not heard from them again but says he will refuse to go if they call. He now has a referral for treatment in Egypt but hasn't gone due to the turmoil there.

Israel insists rigorous security checks have been proved essential. The Shabak website provides eight examples of medical patients from the Gaza Strip who attempted suicide attacks once inside Israel. All of these attempts were made before 2007, when Israel sealed its borders with the Gaza Strip.

Kfah Abd El Halim, who runs PHR in the West Bank and Gaza, counters that the manipulation of medical patients violates a basic right to healthcare: "It puts the lives of patients in danger while forcing them to choose one of two impossible options – risk their chances for getting medical care or risk their lives for getting suspected of collaborating with the Israeli security forces."

It is Hamas policy to execute collaborators but businessmen have their economic survival to consider. To date, 60% of Gaza's businesses have gone under.

Ramez Kaloub imports dairy products to Gaza and his revenue has halved since the blockade was imposed in 2007. In January this year, he was asked by Israeli corporate giant Strauss to meet in Israel for a deal that could make up his losses.

Kaloub had accompanied his nephew for medical treatment in Israel nine months before so didn't think getting a permit would be a problem. But this time, he was called for an interview.

"After trying to speak with me about Hamas the officer said he would like to help me but I have a black spot on my security record. We could sort this out at a meeting in Jerusalem, he said.

"I said no, I would prefer to sort out any problems now."

Kaloub was sent back to Gaza and his request to enter Israel declined. A competitor won the Strauss contract. His case has now been taken up by Gisha, an Israeli organisation campaigning for freedom of movement for Palestinians.

"It's possible other businessmen would give intelligence to Israel," he says. "While the majority will say no, there be those who will have no choice."

Israel 'will launch significant Gaza offensive sooner or later'

Israel Defence Forces chief of staff speaks on third anniversary of start of a major three-week Gaza assault
Benny Gantz said there would be 'no escape from conducting a significant operation'
Benny Gantz said there would be 'no escape from conducting a significant operation'. Photograph: Ariel Hermoni/EPA
 A new Israeli military offensive against Gaza will be launched "sooner or later" and will be "swift and painful", Israel's most senior military officer has warned.

Benny Gantz, the chief of staff of the Israel Defence Forces, was speaking on the third anniversary of the start of a major three-week assault on Gaza during which around 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.

That offensive was "an excellent operation that achieved deterrence for Israel vis-a-vis Hamas", Gantz told Army Radio on Tuesday. He added there were signs that the deterrent effect was wearing thin.

"Sooner or later, there will be no escape from conducting a significant operation," he said. "The IDF knows how to operate in a determined, decisive and offensive manner against terrorists in the Gaza Strip."

Within hours of Gantz's comments, the Israeli military launched two airstrikes on targets in Gaza, killing one person and injuring around 10, according to local reports.

A spokesman for the IDF said direct hits on two "terrorist squads with global jihad associations" had been confirmed. According to security officials quoted by Israel Radio, one of the targets was a cell en route to Sinai with the intention of launching an attack on Israel from Egypt.

Since the end of the Gaza war in January 2009, Hamas has attempted to enforce a ceasefire among militant groups, although sporadic rocket fire has continued. Israel holds Hamas, as the de facto government, responsible for all rocket fire emanating from Gaza.

There have been suggestions in recent weeks that Hamas is ready to distance itself further from attacks on Israel as part of its reconciliation process with its rival faction Fatah.

"They have accepted popular [non-violent] resistance," senior Fatah official Mohammed Shtayyer said, adding that Hamas would stop "these fireworks" being launched.

However, Hamas officials have also said they reserve the right to self-defence and the prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, pledged to continue "resistance" at a public rally this month.

Gantz's comments were meant "to keep [Hamas] on their toes", according to the Israeli analyst Yossi Alpher, who said: "He's letting us know that another operation is possible and it would be successful."

Alpher identified two constraining factors – moves towards Fatah-Hamas reconciliation "which may change the political nature of the Gaza regime", and Egypt. "In the past, we could assume that if we launched an operation in Gaza, [former president Hosni] Mubarak would be largely sympathetic. That's not necessarily the case now," he said.

Hamas's message was not unequivocal or comprehensive, he said, adding: "The question is, are we witnessing an evolutionary process in which Hamas follows the lead of Islamists in Egypt and Tunisia away from violence and into politics? My sense is we are, but it's a slow process."

Shlomo Brom, of the Institute for National Strategic Studies, said a new offensive on Gaza could be pre-empted by political developments, including the opening of a covert dialogue between Israel and Hamas.
"The developments of Hamas's position taking into account the effects of the Arab spring could open different possibilities," he said.

Israeli forces confiscate ID cards of four Silwan residents

 Monday, 26 December, 2011 | 23:28

Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) --

 Israeli troops swarmed Al-Abbaseyah neighborhood of Silwan on 22 December, confiscating the identity cards of four young residents.

Rajaee Ahmad al-Abbasi (24), Muhammad Hasan al-Abbasi (19), Muhammad Mahmoud al-Abbasi (17) and another unidentified boy were accosted by uniformed and plainclothes officers that afternoon, who took their ID cards and instructed them to come to Ras al-Amoud cemetery. When the boys decided to go to Salah al-Din Street police station instead to try to recover their ID cards, they were instructed to come back the next day.

When one of the boys’ fathers returned the following day, he was told that an elite intelligence unit had taken possession of the ID cards and that he would do better to go to the Interior Ministry to get new ID cards.

Confiscation of Palestinians’ ID cards by Israeli forces is a common and deliberate misdeed. Many whose cards have been taken never get them back, and are forced to undergo the long and complicated bureaucratic procedures to obtain new ones.

Israel orders demolition of Jerusalem homes

Published yesterday (updated) 28/12/2011 15:32
Israeli forces demolish two houses in Jerusalem's Beit Hanina neighborhood
on Nov. 24, 2011. UNRWA research shows that 990 Palestinians have lost
their homes already this year, more than double the number in 2010.
(REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces and municipality officials raided a number of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem to deliver warrants for their demolition, locals said on Wednesday.

Soldiers escorted the officials to order the destruction of homes in Salaa, Wadi Yasul and Ein Al-Louza districts of Silwan, local committee for defense of Silwan land Abdul-Kareem Abu Sneina said.

"To face Israel's attempt to put new facts on the ground, a new house should be built whenever a house is demolished," Abu Sneina said.

Israel is working to establish new settlements and outposts in different Jerusalem neighborhoods, he noted, adding that Palestinian inhabitants must maintain their presence in the city.

Spokesman for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees Chris Gunness told Ma'an the demolitions were illegal under international law.

"So many of these demolitions relate to the illegal annexation of Jerusalem, settlement expansion and forcible population transfers which are grave breaches of the fourth Geneva convention.

"The UN is monitoring each demolition. And as well as bringing assistance to those affected, we will continue to press for full accountability against those individuals responsible for breaking the law," Gunness said.

In a report released in early December, UNRWA found that 990 people -- including 507 children -- had lost their homes in 2011, more than double the number displaced in 2010.

Israeli authorities demolished 515 Palestinian structures in the West Bank this year, of which 22 were in East Jerusalem, UNRWA said.

Israel annexed the city's eastern sector -- which Palestinians insist is the capital of their future state -- after a 1967 war, in a move never recognized internationally.

Remember These Children Mr. President

15:00 12/27/2011

The bodycount continues. (Aljazeera)
By Clive Hambidge
Happy Christmas Mr President or may I call you Barack this Yule Tide? As you know 'Christmas is the day that holds all time together' (Alexander Smith) certainly as you rustle through your Christmas stocking and wrestle with your conscience perhaps to find as you dig deep in both and  past ‘hegemonic imperatives’ an  olive twig or a so-called ‘peace process’? Perhaps not. But as you dig, can you hear the whispers?  No. They are not the whispers from the Presidents of Christmas past, we will come to them; no? You are not listening attentively Mr President; that’s because you’ve been genuflecting on the Christmas message of that other great statesman Prime Minister Netanyahu, “we are living in a time of great uncertainty and instability in the Middle East and Israel, throughout this instability, remains a beacon of religious freedom and pluralism.” Wow. On what rock is Israel built and how Netanyahu bestrides it as America holds it, for “As the builders say, the larger stones do not lie well without the lesser” (Plato). And which is which?
No Mr President the whispers are coming from the stones of Palestine and Israel and they do “cry out” for past Presidents have remained quiet behind lofty rhetoric and where are they now? “It was [is] the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”(Dickens). You’re a “keen student of history” Mr President what about the human condition and the children lost to a sordid history created by Israel and paid for by American tax dollars? Below are some of their names, the stone told me to tell you their names. God Bless you and God Bless America.  Which way are you going?
Remember these Children Mr President:
• “Yael Ohana, 11, of Hamra settlement, killed by Palestinian gunfire while in her home. 6 February 2002.”
• “Fadi Tayseer al-Azazi, 16, of Rafaha, Gaza, killed by IDF shelling to his chest. 6 February 2002.”
• “Total Israeli Deaths since September 2002 125” children
• “Total Palestinian Deaths since September 2002” 1470 children
The Stoned
The American stone cast, that gave rise to the ripples that became the waves that is the American Israeli tsunami that engulfs Palestine today, was even in the beginning unusually dense, in the sense obtuse. Quarried and romanced in the USA this stone was to be formed, scuffed then ruthlessly scored by matchless Zionist discontent and ambition, tossed, retrieved, polished and tossed again by successive American Presidents into the same murky American Zionist Israeli foreign policy sea. The rising waves, Israeli aggression and ambition, supported by Zionist America and Presidential weakness, merciless waves beating against the blameless lives of countless Palestinian children past and present and their valiant resistance through the lengthening shadows and dark hours of a brutal occupation as the international community crept decade after supine decade to rectify this grave and ongoing crime against humanity with all the energy of a sloth on diazepam.
American Presidential rhetoric the becoming edict that led to endless Israeli  atrocities   “unlawful Israeli behaviour [supported by US Aid] that start[ed] out as “facts” have over time been transformed into “conditions”, or in the words of the American Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, “subsequent developments” that are treated [unlawfully] as essentially irreversible.” Moreover, “USAID and American taxpayers [are] financing, and thereby further entrenching, the Israeli de facto annexation of the West Bank.” (Richard Falk, UNHRC, 16th Session, Agenda Item 7, A/HRC/16/72, 10 January 2011), and the ruinous blockade and the deaths of Palestinian children.
For these two states America and Israel have been / are up to no good; are, in this criminality together, up to their necks “because everything that Israel does is  done up to the limits that the United States supports and authorizes. So it’s U.S. Israeli atrocities.” (Noam Chomsky, Power And Terror). America and Israel justifying, “represent[ing] the institutionalization of a system of power in which justice is inoperative and its perversion hidden in clouds of rhetoric and obfuscation.” and where, “The rule of law implicitly applies only to others.” (Edward S. Herman and David Peterson)
Successive American and Israeli Administrations, each, an apostate to the other: “See!” he said to all the people “This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the lord has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God.” Joshua 24:27.
All the Presidents Then
President John Adams, his mind high on effulgent heroic, saw conquest, envisioning Mordeca Manue Noah in 1819 “Marching with them [the Israelites] into Judea & making a conquest of that country & restoring your nation to the Dominion of it”. An “independent nation” thought John Quincy Adams, because, they deserved declared Abraham Lincoln a “leg up”. All saw the stone that would be a rock and declared it an American good. And the die and the dying in the stone were cast. Time then, wrapped around the stone, ran through it, became beloved in an American Hegemonic Zionist dream warping space and time, imprisoning Palestinians in a boxed ‘continuum’. An American red hot wax seal legitimising the continuum making it ‘official’ in 1948 as the Ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and the stealing bit by bit of ‘Mandated Palestine’ had begun and in ferocious fashion. The Israeli aggression rewarded with a hundred thousand US dollars in 1949 and Israel’s aggression rewarded with billions of dollars in 2011.
The Children of Palestine in 1948 were standing in an American Israeli wind tunnel they are standing in it today. And as we come back from the future and indeed as we move from the past to the present, we see the pernicious results of successive Presidential and illegal leg ups the art of hubris and a continuum of failure. Here then an American Presidential Israeli nightmare and the subtitles of the Palestinian river of suffering that runs through it:
• “14th November 2011, Israeli aircraft attacked a small naval post building in North Gaza district. As a result, one police officer was killed and ten persons were injured, including one woman and six police officers.”
• “In 2009 in North Gaza, Gaza, Dair El Balah, Khan Younis, and Rafah, 1061 Palestinians lost there lives to Israeli aggression. In the Gaza strip in that same year, 323 children and 104 women were killed by the occupying forces.”
Remember this Child Mr President:
• “Basel Muhammad Nafe abu-Edwan, 14 killed by an unexploded IDF ordinance while he and his brother were herding sheep near their home.” Died 27th January 2011. 
The stone was picked up and skimmed across the surface of the brimming Zionist sea by the deft wrist of Woodrow Wilson 3rd of March 1919 in reaction to the Balfour Declaration, the text of which was presented to him for approval before publication, “The allied nations with fullest concurrence of our government and people are agreed that in Palestine shall be laid the foundation of a Jewish commonwealth.” Then President Warren G. Harding grabbed the stone from the Zionist air stating “the Hebrew people restored to their historic national home,” would enter a “new and yet greater phase of their contribution to the advance of humanity.”
• “Number of houses demolished in Gaza strip, since the beginning of the intifada until the end 2009.  North Gaza, houses 5399, residents, 54900. Gaza houses, 7060, residents,73149. Dair El Balah, houses 1004, residents, 8925.  Khan Younis, houses, 1596, residents, 12247.  Rafah, houses, 3774, residents, 32284.  Total houses 18833, Total residents, 181505.”
• “The number of damaged water wells.  North Gaza, 120.   Gaza, 154.  Dair El Balah, 62.  Khan Younis, 23.  Rafah, 14. Total, 373.”
• “2008 Women and children killed by Israel in the Gaza Strip.  Children, 107, women, 23.” 
Remember this child Mr President:
• “Shiran Ismail Abdullah abu-Shawareb 11, of Nuserat refugee camp, Gaza died of heart problems at Nasr paediatric Hospital in Gaza, which lacked necessary equipment, after Israel denied her entry for medical treatment. Doctors had requested transfer to an Israeli hospital on Dec. 27 [2010] On Jan. 10, believing permission for a transfer had been granted, Shiran’s father took her to the Erez checkpoint where Israel again denied her entry.” Died 15th January 2008
The stone retrieved by Coolidge was polished with expressed “sympathy with the deep and intense longing which finds such fine expression in the Jewish National Homeland in Palestine.” then caressed in short sighted rhetoric by President Hoover who as other Presidents before and after him couldn’t see around histories sharp corner or dint want to saying  1932, “I am interested to learn that a group of distinguished men and women is to be formed to spread knowledge and appreciation of the rehabilitation which is going forward in Palestine under Jewish auspices.”
• “Number of damaged industrial establishments by IOF’s, in 2006 19, 2005 7, 2004 86, 2003 77.”
• “Number of Palestinians killed by Israeli occupying forces in the Gaza strip; 2006 531, 2005 99, 2004 646, 2003 398.”
• “Number of Palestinians killed by Israeli occupying forces in the Gaza strip (women, children) 2006 children 115, women 34, 2005 children 32, women 1, 2004 children 156, women 10, 2003 children 81, women 17.”
Remember this child Mr President:
• “Muhammad Jaber hassan Adila Said, 15, of osreen, near Nablus, killed by IDF gunfire to his chest.” January 2004.
Franklin Roosevelt viewed the stone empathetically, could feel its vital pulse, perhaps he had a pet name for the stone perhaps it was ineluctable? Or was it inexorable he had in mind as he sat to write to Senator Tydings on October 19, 1938 as The Nakba loomed. “I have on numerous occasions, as you know, expressed my sympathy in the establishment of a National Home for the Jews in Palestine and, despite the set backs caused by the disorders there during the last few years, I have been heartened by the progress which has been made and by remarkable accomplishments of the Jewish settlers in that country.”
• “Number of Palestinians killed by Israel occupying forces in the Gaza Strip, 2003 North Gaza 89, Gaza 118, Dair El Balah 75, Khan Younis 42, Rafah 72.”
• “Palestinians killed by Israeli occupying forces in the Gaza strip (women children) 2002 children 94, women 25, 2001 children 69, women 4, 2000 children 38 women 0.” 
Remember this child Mr President
• “Muhammad Jamal Muhammad al-Durrah, 12 of Burejj refugee camp, Gaza, killed by IDF gunfire to his chest as his father tried to protect him during a demonstration at Netzarim Junction.” 
Then shining with Zionist zeal, it was to morph into a rock in 1948 enfolded in to Israel’s emboldened clenched fist, and as the British looked the other way, smashed Palestine leaving Palestinians between it and a hard place, supported by intellectuals with nothing in their heads but the propaganda they were fed, and a Presidential endorsement. Eleven minutes after Israel’s proclamation of independence President Harry Truman declared, “I had faith in Israel before it was established; I have faith in it now.” He further said in 1952 “I believe it has a glorious future before it- not just another sovereign nation, but an embodiment of the great ideals of our civilization.”
• “The majority of these [Palestinian] children were killed and injured while going about normal daily activities, such as going to school, playing, shopping, or simply being in their homes. Sixty-four percent of children killed during the first six months of 2003 died as a result of Israeli air and ground attacks, or from indiscriminate fire from Israeli soldiers”.(Catherine Cook)
Remember these children Mr President:
• “Ophir Rahum, 16, of Ashkelon, killed by Palestinian gunfire in al-Birah after being led to believe he was meeting an internet acquaintance, 17th January 2001.”
• “Omar Farouq Khaled 11,of al-Bireh, died of head wounds sustained Jan.7 2001 from IDF gunfire during a demonstration.”
And after 1948, a Presidential stream of consciousness compounding the problem for Palestine with unquestioning and ever increasing aid for Israel’s gluttony, her voracious appetite to oppress and appropriate, and kill those who would thwart her:
Eisenhower: “our forces saved the remnant of the Jewish People of Europe for a new life and a new hope in the reborn Israel. Kennedy: “Israel was not created to disappear- Israel will endure and flourish.” Nixon: “The United States stands by its friends. Israel is one of its friends Peace can be based only on agreement between parties and agreement can only be achieved only through negotiations between them. The United States will not impose the terms of peace. [But] The United States is prepared to supply military equipment necessary to support the efforts of friendly governments, like Israel’s to defend the safety of their people.”  Carter: “a few days ago in a conversation with about 30 members of the House of Representatives, I said that I would rather commit suicide than hurt Israel.” President Regan: Israel exists; it has a right to exist in peace behind secure and defensible borders; and it has a right to demand of its neighbours that they recognize those facts.” Bush Sr: “The friendship, the alliance between the United States and Israel is strong and solid, built upon a foundation of shared democratic values.” Clinton: “The United States admires Israel for all that it has overcome and for all it has accomplished.” And President George W. Bush: “Israel is a small country that has lived under threat throughout its existence. At the first meeting of my National Security Council, I told them a top foreign policy priority is the safety and security of Israel.”
Remember this child Mr President:
• “Sara Abdul-Azim Abdul-Haq Hasan, 18 months, of Sarah, near Salfit, killed by Israeli settler gunfire to her head while riding with her father in a car. 1st October 2000.”
And last but not the least short sighted lacking historical memory, also will  as did the others President Barack Hussein Obama: “The American people and the Israeli peoples share a faith in the future and believe that democracies can shape their own destinies and that opportunities should be available to all. Throughout its own extraordinary history, Israel has given life to that promise.”
Remember this child Mr President:
• “Haitham Ahmad Mustafa Maruf, 13 of Beit Lahiya, Gaza, died in Shifa Hospital, Gaza, of wounds sustained from an IDF drone attack while working on his family farm 29 August 2011.”
(Click here to read a sourced version of this article.)
- Clive Hambidge is Human Development Director at Facilitate Global. Contact him at: (This article was contributed to

28 December 2008: The Abu Taima family

27 December 2011 | Palestinian Center for Human Rights

“Living under occupation means that whatever hopes we have, it will fall apart one day. For example, you bring up your child and put all of your hopes in him or her, but then they come and kill your child and all your hopes are destroyed.”

(Photo: Palestinian Center for Human Rights)

In the early morning of 28 December 2008 Mahmoud Abu Taima, his wife Manal, and their two oldest sons, Khalil and Nabil were collecting zucchini from their lands in Khuza’a village, east of Khan Younis. After a few hours the two brothers went to their uncle’s farmland a few hundred meters further west. At around 8:30 the Israeli army fired a shell from the border fence which landed between the two boys. Nabil (16) was killed and Khalil was critically injured.

“You must understand, the area was very calm. Many farmers were working on their lands. It is an open area. I saw a projectile coming from the border fence towards the farm lands. Then I heard the explosion. I immediately ran towards the place of impact because I knew my sons were in that area. By the time that I arrived, people had already put the boys on a donkey cart to bring them to the hospital,” recalls Mahmoud Abu Taima (40). Khalil was critically injured by shrapnel in the chest and limbs and underwent a life saving surgery immediately after arriving in the hospital. “While we buried Nabil we were expecting that they would bring Khalil’s body from the hospital too,” says the boys’ mother Manal (37).

The Abu Taima family, who have their home in Abasan village, east of Khan Yunis, has been traumatized by the death of their son and brother Nabil. His parents, and 6 eldest siblings Khalil (20), Naima (18), Isra’ (15), Mohammed (14), Abdel Rahman (9), and Ibrahim (6) all have dear memories of him. “Nabil was a part of us and he had a big place in my heart. I remember him in every moment and I feel that he is present with us. Like now, when I drink tea, I remember him and feel that he is present. When I eat my meals I feel as if he is still here with us. I can never forget him,” says his father Mahmoud.

“Nabil’s mind was older than his age,” says Manal, “he was very clever at school and all of his teachers and the students liked him a lot. On the anniversary date of his death, his teachers and friends come to visit us. Besides going to school, Nabil liked to breed rabbits. Until his death we had about 50 rabbits. Since his death they died and we stopped getting new ones. We don’t feel like it anymore, now that he is not here.” Ibrahim (6) and Abdel Rahman(9) had a very close relationship with Nabil.  Manal says: “They were badly affected by his death. They wanted to take the shovel and open his grave so they could take him from his grave and bring him to a doctor for treatment. Ibrahim was upset and stressed for a long time so I took him to a psychologist. When I told the children that a human rights organization was coming to talk to us Ibrahim asked me if they would bring Nabil.”

Khalil has spent the past years trying to recover from his physical injuries. “After 3 days I was transferred to Egypt for additional surgery. In the months after that I went to Médicines sans Frontières after finishing school and had 3 hour sessions of physiotherapy. I had very long days. Despite everything, there is still shrapnel inside my legs, chest and arms which cannot be removed.  There are places in my left leg in which I can’t feel anything. My ankles always hurt and I can’t move the way I did before. My mobility, including my walking, has been affected. I can’t do everything that I want. For example, nowadays I play football alone because I am too afraid someone will hit my leg and I will be in agony.”

Besides his physical injuries, Khalil is trying to deal with the loss of his brother and the trauma of the incident. “We would always go to school and other places together. I feel as if I lost a part of my body. It is difficult to continue my life without this part. During the war it was my ‘tawjihi’[final high school] year and I had to go to school. I was traumatized after the incident. When I was sleeping I could hear the sound of a missile coming towards me. Somehow, I passed the tawjihi that year and am in university now.” Manal adds that Khalil used to have panic attacks after the incident, “even the sound of birds could make him have a panic attack.”

A few days after the attack, Israeli bulldozers destroyed the farmland belonging to the Abu Taima family, approximately 700 meters away from the fence. “We had zucchini crops, and a small storage room for fertilizers and equipment. We also had a water pump and water irrigation network. It is all destroyed now. We were unable to go to our farm for 2 years as it was too dangerous. Now we go again, despite the Israeli army shooting towards us. It is difficult. Since the death of my son I lost my motivation to work in the land,” says Mahmoud.

Mahmoud does not dare to have hopes or expectations for the future anymore: “living under occupation means that whatever hopes we have, it will fall apart one day. For example, you bring up your child and put all of your hopes in him or her, but then they come and kill your child and all your hopes are destroyed. We try to think about the future and have long-term hopes but it’s not possible for us.”

The family is not optimistic of the chances that they will see a court case against those responsible for their son’s death. “Nabil was not the first and last one who was killed by the army. Many boys like him were killed. Even if they [Israel] can capture the soldier who fired the shell, they will say he is insane,” says Mahmoud.
PCHR submitted a criminal complaint to the Israeli authoritiess on behalf of the Abu Taima family on 2 July 2009. To-date, no response has been received.

Updated on December 28, 2011


Today marks the third anniversary of the commencement of Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s 27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009 offensive on the Gaza Strip. 27 December also marks the anniversary of the single bloodiest day in the history of the occupation; on this day three years ago 334 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces, 76.6% of whom were civilians.
Three years after the fact…. the atrocities continue.
Click on the links to get the full reports….

Israel’s siege punishing Gaza orphans

A post from the archives can be seen HERE

Open letter from Gaza: Three years after the massacre, justice or nothing!

We, Palestinians of Gaza, 3 years on from the 22-day long massacre in Israel’s operation ‘Cast Lead’, are calling on international civil society to make 2012 the year when solidarity with us in Palestine captures the spark of the revolutions around the Arab world and never looks back. On this anniversary we demand an international liberation movement that eventually leads to just that, liberation for us Palestinians from 63 years of brutal military occupation and ethnic cleansing that pours shame on any organisation or government claiming to endorse universal human rights.

We will never forget the hurt of 3 years ago, the criminal onslaught that we lived through, the blood of over 1400 murdered men, women and hundreds of children running through the streets of Gaza, between the rubble, soaking our beds and etched on our minds. We will never forget. For they are still dead, and thousands more are still maimed.[1]

We will never forget the last 63 years during which our land, homes, olive groves, lemon trees and cherished way of life was taken away from us, while Israeli soldiers held our fathers’ faces in the sands, imprisoned them, or shot them in front of us. We will not forget the sickening cowardice of the international community that has allowed and enabled this ethnic cleansing of our people, subjecting us to Israel’s racist Zionist vision that defines us, the indigenous people of Palestine, as the undesired ‘ethnic group’ for the region.
The US continues to ‘reward’ Israel with 6 billion dollars of tax-payers money while the EU increases its trade and diplomatic relations. For the Israeli apartheid regime this translates as the green light to unleash the 4th most powerful military on us to ‘do its worst’ against our civilian population, of which over half in Gaza are children and over 2 thirds are UN registered refugees.
In recent years, civil society and solidarity movements throughout the world have grown in their support for us, especially in 2011. As the world wakes up, the prospect of life without Israeli occupation and its system of race-based subjugation becomes more than a dream. We demand simply, human rights that anyone else would expect. This year, the first taste of liberation in the Western controlled Arab world arrived in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Many of those who took to the streets moved beyond their fear of being killed or tortured, facing up to the despotic, Western-backed regimes in the name of freedom for their families, communities and compatriots.

We will never forget them too, as we have lived much of our lives beyond this fear, our resilience against Israeli apartheid growing as the solidarity movements around the world grow. No longer under the boot of Western governments we urge the Arab street to do what the Israeli Apartheid Regime fears the most, to unite and build against them, the state that has violated more United Nations resolutions than any other. The siege breaking attempts into Gaza must continue, the second Free Gaza Flotilla exposed again the brutal and merciless edge of Israel’s hermetic siege.

In Europe and America the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction 

(BDS)[2] movement is reaching the mainstream. Huge victories have included campaigns against waste and transport infrastructure firm Veolia who build transport routes on Israeli occupied lands.[3] Inspired and supported by Nobel Prize winner and anti apartheid hero Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the University of Johannesburg ended its collaboration with Ben Gurion University in Israel.[4] Other University campuses are pursuing boycott campaigns and major European Trade Unions have broken ties with Israeli Trade Unions. And a growing number of conscientious artists and singers are refusing to perform in Israel.

 All over Israeli internet sites and in government policy are attempts to deter the growing BDS movement,[5]an international strategy that succeeded against a similarly well-armed, Western affiliated apartheid regime in South Africa.

The effect worldwide of the Gaza massacres 3 years ago was a catalyst for a huge rise in worldwide solidarity and action in support of Palestine, just as the South African Sharpeville massacre was for South African blacks in 1960.
Our call this year will accept no compromise. We call upon all Palestine solidarity groups and all international civil society organizations to demand:

  • An end to the siege that has been imposed on the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a result of their exercise of democratic choice.
  • The protection of civilian lives and property, as stipulated in International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law such as The Fourth Geneva Convention.
  • The immediate release of all political prisoners.
  • That Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip be immediately provided with financial and material support to cope with the immense hardship that they are experiencing
  • An end to occupation, Apartheid and other war crimes with immediate reparations and compensation for all destruction carried out by the Israeli Occupation Forces in Gaza.
For us, the sacrifices for resisting have often meant imprisonment, torture, collective punishment and death. Outside, the risks are lower, but with great possibility. We call on you to Boycott Divest and Sanction, join the many International Trade Unions, Universities, Supermarkets and artists and writers who refuse to entertain Apartheid Israel. Speak out for Palestine, for Gaza, and crucially ACT. There has never been a time when mobilizations are gaining such support. 1994 was the year of South Africa when Apartheid was thrown into the dustbin of history; with your support we can make 2012 the year of free Palestine!


List of signatories:

General Union for Public Services Workers
General Union for Health Services Workers
University Teachers’ Association
Palestinian Congregation for Lawyers
General Union for Petrochemical and Gas Workers
General Union for Agricultural Workers
Union of Women’s Work Committees
Union of Synergies—Women Unit
The One Democratic State Group
Arab Cultural Forum
Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel
Association of Al-Quds Bank for Culture and Info
Palestine Sailing Federation
Palestinian Association for Fishing and Maritime
Palestinian Women Committees
Progressive Students’ Union
Medical Relief Society
The General Society for Rehabilitation
General Union of Palestinian Women
Afaq Jadeeda Cultural Centre for Women and Children
Deir Al-Balah Cultural Centre for Women and Children
Maghazi Cultural Centre for Children
Al-Sahel Centre for Women and Youth
Ghassan Kanfani Kindergartens
Rachel Corrie Centre, Rafah
Rafah Olympia City Sisters
Al Awda Centre, Rafah
Al Awda Hospital, Jabaliya Camp
Ajyal Association, Gaza
General Union of Palestinian Syndicates
Al Karmel Centre, Nuseirat
Local Initiative, Beit Hanoun
Union of Health Work Committees
Red Crescent Society Gaza Strip
Beit Lahiya Cultural Centre
Al Awda Centre, Rafah


IDF confirms preparations for extensive future Gaza military action

  • Published 01:23 29.12.11 Latest update 01:23 29.12.11

Border heats up as IDF prepares for possible incursion into Gaza Strip; three rockets fired Wednesday from Gaza into Israel.

By Yanir Yagna and Gili Cohen 

Three rockets were fired Wednesday from Gaza into Israel, with two landing in open areas in the Eshkol region and another landing in the Sha'ar Hanegev region without exploding. There were no reported injuries or damage. 

The strike followed a targeted killing in which two sorties by the Israel Air Force killed three terrorists and wounded another nine overnight Tuesday in communities surrounding the Gaza Strip. 

AP An airstrike on Gaza.
Photo by: AP

The rocket fire comes as the Israel Defense Forces' Gaza Division is preparing for a possible large-scale incursion into the Gaza Strip, now three years after Operation Cast Lead. "We are preparing and in fact are ready for another campaign, which will be varied and different, to renew our deterrence, if we are called on to restore full quiet to the communities [in the south]," said the head of the division's Southern Brigade, Brig. Gen. Tal Hermoni. 

"But I wouldn't eulogize Operation Cast Lead just yet," Hermoni added, in a briefing for military reporters. "On a daily basis, it's pretty quiet here. The mild response [to Tuesday's targeted killings] is evidence that they don't want to feel the IDF's fists." 

Under a plan overseen by Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, the next Gaza operation would be shorter than the one launched in late 2008, but would employ far greater firepower. 

The IDF notes, however, that Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip, including Islamic Jihad, have more weapons now than they did in 2008. The Kornet anti-tank missiles have since become a threat to Israeli tanks, and this year rockets were fired for the first time at IDF troops. 

Since the terror attack on the road to Eilat in mid-August, there has been a rise in targeted killings in Gaza. Southern Command officers cite a policy of attacking terrorist cells planning to strike Israel, even at the risk of rockets being fired at southern communities in response. 

The officers also noted an increase in terror activity coming from Egypt, which they attribute to the weakening of government control in the Sinai Peninsula. 

"We know the Gaza Strip," said an officer who is active in the region. "But over the last year there have been changes in the Middle East that brought new challenges and new realities. The loss of control in Egypt has led to an increase in hostile activity and to a different deployment of our forces." 

The changes in deployment are evident in a tour of the 60-kilometer section of the Egyptian-Israeli border under the Gaza Division's authority. IDF armored personnel carriers are positioned in the area, and work on the new border fence is proceeding at a record pace. 

Rather than stationing a single company of combat soldiers in the region, Battalion 932 of the Nahal Brigade is now patrolling the area and providing security for the fence work. 

But it's not just terror keeping soldiers busy along what was once considered a godforsaken frontier. As work on the border fence has picked up steam, the number of infiltrations has risen sharply, with three times as many attempts recorded this year as the last. 

Large sections of the border are not yet fenced, some as long as 120 kilometers, and the army is on constant alert lest hostile elements make their way into Israel from Egypt. 

Meanwhile, the Gaza Division is also fighting smugglers. In recent months, it has even dug an anti-tank trench in an effort to block Israeli smugglers trying to make their way west to the Egyptian-Israeli border.

Netanyahu: Israel will fight harassment of women in the public sphere

  • Published 19:51 28.12.11 Latest update 19:51 28.12.11

Speaking at the Knesset a day after a massive rally protesting gender segregation, Prime Minister condemns extremists, warns against a generalization of entire ultra-Orthodox community.

By Jonathan Lis


Israel will act against anyone who harasses women in the public sphere, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday, one day after a massive protest against gender segregation took place in the central Israel town of Beit Shemesh.

Benjamin Netanyahu - Olivier Fitoussi - 28.12.2011 Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at the Knesset, Dec. 28, 2011.
Photo by: Olivier Fitoussi

On Tuesday, thousands of Israelis amassed near the Orot girl's school in Beit Shemesh on to protest gender segregation in a city that has become a symbol for the struggle against religious extremism.

Referring to rising tensions over gender segregation in Israel's ultra-Orthodox community, Netanyahu said at the Knesset on Wednesday that Israel will act against "anyone who harasses women, anyone who harasses people in the public sphere."

"We won't accept spitting on people in the street just because someone doesn't approve of their apparel," the PM said, adding that the "public sphere is open and safe and will remain so."

"This is part of what makes Israel a liberal western democracy, that the public sphere is open and free to everyone," the premier said, warning, however, against an attack on the entire ultra-Orthodox community.
"We must beware of generalizing an entire population, because the vast majority of the Haredi public combines an adherence to Jewish tradition and a complete respect of the law," Netanyahu said, commending top rabbis who criticized the actions of extremists.

The Premier reiterated that recent clashes were instigated by "violent, lawless, fringe groups," adding that those criticizing the entire ultra-Orthodox community were better off "uniting to eradicate these incidents."
"We'll stop the extremists, and won't let anyone harm Jews, Arabs, or [vandalize] mosques," Netanyahu added.

Netanyahu's comments came after, earlier Wednesday, a female Israel Defense Forces soldier reported being accosted by a Haredi man over her refusal to move to the back of a segregated bus in Jerusalem.

Ron Paul tells Haaretz: I am not an anti-Semite

  • Published 22:11 28.12.11
  • Latest update 22:11 28.12.11

U.S. presidential hopeful opposes foreign aid and believes that American support for Israel was a main cause of 9/11 terror attacks – but gives a 'green light' to an Israeli attack on Iran.

By Chemi Shalev

Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who is leading the polls in advance of next Tuesday’s Republican caucuses in Iowa, denies allegations that he has promoted anti-Semitism, saying that this would be “a betrayal of my own intellectual heritage.”

Ron Paul - AP - 28.12.2011 Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul during a campaign stop at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011.
Photo by: AP

“Any kind of racism or anti-Semitism is incompatible with my philosophy,” Paul said in an interview with Haaretz, conducted by email. “Ludwig von Mises, the great economist whose writing helped inspire my political career, was a Jew who was forced to leave his native Austria to escape the Nazis. Mises wrote about the folly of seeing people as part of groups rather than as individuals,” Paul said.

Paul said that he has “a terrific chance of doing very well in the Iowa caucuses”, but appeared to be dismissing speculation – though not unequivocally - that he would consider running as a third party candidate. “I have no intention or interest in running as a third party candidate. My staff and I are doing our best to win the GOP nomination,” he said.

Responding to questions submitted before the most recent flap about anti-Semitic and racist content in his newsletters, Paul reiterated his controversial positions that American support for Israel was one of the reasons for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and stuck by his opposition to any and all foreign aid. But he said that he viewed Israel as “one of our most important friends in the world” and that he supports Israel right to attack Iran in self-defense.

“I do not believe we should be Israel’s master but, rather, her friend. We should not be dictating her policies and announcing her negotiating positions before talks with her neighbors have even begun.”
Paul also said that he was “surprised and disappointed” at being left out from the debate sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition, but that he had not asked nor expected the other candidates to insist on his inclusion.

Asked later about the controversial newsletters, Paul’s press secretary, Gary Howard, wrote: “Dr. Paul has stated repeatedly that he did not write those words, they are not his thoughts, he has disavowed them and apologized for such a serious lack of oversight of these things that went out in his name over 20 years ago.”
Here is the full text of the interview:

Q. What was your reaction to your exclusion from the function held by the Republican Jewish Coalition, to which all the rest of the candidates were invited?

Paul: Well, it was a bit surprising and disappointing. I believe that Israel is one of our most important friends in the world. And the views that I hold have many adherents in Israel today. Two of the tenets of a true Zionist are “self-determination” and “self-reliance.” I do not believe we should be Israel’s master but, rather, her friend. We should not be dictating her policies and announcing her negotiating positions before talks with her neighbors have even begun.

Q. Were you disappointed with the lack of collegiality of the other candidates, who did not insist that you be invited as well?

Paul: No. I did not ask or expect them to boycott the event or insist to the organizers that I be invited.
Q. The RJC characterized your views on Israel as “misguided and extreme”. Why do you think they view your views in that way?

Paul: I do not know, as I am the one candidate who would respect Israel’s sovereignty and not try to dictate to her about how she should deal with her neighbors. I supported Israel’s right to attack the Iraqi nuclear reactor in the 1980s, and I opposed President Obama’s attempt to dictate Israel’s borders this year.
Q. Do you think that the American debate on Israel is stifled?

Paul: There is no question that the problems of the Middle East have been intractable and may take new solutions and ideas. These ideas should all be openly discussed. I believe that my opinions have been distorted by those who want to continue America’s current role as world policeman, which we don’t have the money or manpower to sustain.

My philosophy, like that of the Founding Fathers, is that we should use our resources to protect our nation. Our policies of intervention and manipulation in Iran and Iraq and other places have led to unintended consequences and have not made Israel safer. Many in the Jewish community share my opinion, and it’s vital for both nations that we continue to have an open dialogue.

Q. In a 2007 clip that is on YouTube, you say, “Israel should be treated like everybody else”. Is that still your position, or do you believe that Israel and the United States have a “special relationship”?

Q. Well, we do have some unique arrangements. We trade intelligence in areas when it serves our mutual interest, for instance. But I believe we have gone too far, to Israel’s detriment. Instead of being her friend, we have dominated her foreign policy.

Q. In that same clip, you also say that the motivation of al-Qaida for the 9/11 attacks was American support for Israel. Do you still believe that?

Paul: I think most people in the Middle East and probably in Israel would agree that this was a major factor. That in itself does not make our policies right or wrong. Our policies need to be discussed on their own merits, but as a matter of course, yes, our support of Israel has made us enemies.

Other U.S. policies, such as our stationing of troops in Saudi Arabia and our support for repressive regimes in the region, also play a role in hostilities to the U.S. Those in the Arab world who object to the U.S.’ support for dictatorships and to our military presence there often see Israel as the agent of the U.S. Thus, not only do Israel’s relations with the U.S. cause some negative feelings toward America, but they further Arab hostility toward Israel, which is one reason why Israel would be better off without U.S. aid.

Q. In the Fox News presidential debate you expressed understanding and even sympathy for the Iran having nuclear weapons. But Israelis view an Iranian nuclear capability as an existential threat to their country. Do you disagree? Do you not believe Iranian leaders who say that Israel should be “wiped off the map”?
Paul: I am against the spread of nuclear weapons. But I do understand why other nations want them and why they don’t accept the nuclear monopoly as it now stands. You cannot change an opinion you don’t understand. I understand it and would try to change it.

However, there’s a key fact that it seems is being overlooked when my positions are discussed. I believe I’m the only candidate who would allow Israel to take immediate action to defend herself without having to get our approval. Israel should be free to take whatever steps she deems necessary to protect her national security and sovereignty.

Q. Do you support completely cutting all foreign aid, including the aid to Israel?

Paul: Yes, I am personally against all foreign aid. We give $3 billion to Israel and $12 billion to her avowed enemies. How does that help Israel? And in return, we act like her master and demand veto power over her foreign policy.

If I were President, such aid would not end until the Congress agreed and voted for it to end, because I would be President as the U.S. Constitution defines it. I am not running for dictator.
But I believe that federal foreign aid is absurd. We’re broke! We are like a man who used to be rich and is in the habit of paying for everybody’s meals and announces at a lavish dinner that he will pay the bill, only to then turn to the fellow sitting nearby and say, “Can I use your credit card? I will pay you back.” It is ridiculous for us to be borrowing money from China and giving it to Pakistan.

I have described foreign aid as taking money from poor people in rich countries and giving it to rich people in poor countries. I know that many in other nations are hurting, but I also know that the American people are a generous people. While we should end the unconstitutional federal foreign aid program, I would encourage Americans to continue to voluntarily contribute to the needs of other nations.

Q. In the past, you have been accused by various groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, of accepting the support of racist and anti-Semitic elements and of not doing anything to distance yourself from them. What is your reaction to this accusation?

Paul: I have always made it clear, and will continue to do so, that my message is based on the rights of all people to be treated equally. Any type of racism or anti-Semitism is incompatible with my philosophy. Ludwig von Mises, the great economist whose writing helped inspire my political career, was a Jew who was forced to leave his native Austria to escape the Nazis. Mises wrote about the folly of seeing people as part of groups rather than as individuals. Therefore, for me to advance anti-Semitism in any way would be a betrayal of my own intellectual heritage.

Q. Will you win the Iowa primaries? Do you realistically believe that you have a chance of becoming the Republican candidacy for the presidency? If not, would you consider running as a third candidate?
Paul: I have no intention or interest in running as a third party candidate. My staff and I are doing our best to win the GOP nomination, and, while I can’t know for sure what will happen, I think we have a terrific chance of doing very well in Iowa. I have great hope for America, and I have been deeply encouraged by the young people who have been able to understand the issues and stand courageously for the changes we need.

Top Israeli rabbi: Gender segregated buses go against Jewish Law

  • Published 21:12 28.12.11 Latest update 21:12 28.12.11

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed says gender segregation on public buses hurts the 'proper family order', notes gender segregation is appropriate only during when performing 'public acts'.

By Chaim Levinson
A leading Israeli rabbi condemned gender segregation on public buses Tuesday, saying that such policies “destroy the foundations of the Torah.” 

In his weekly column for the religious newspaper B’Sheva, Rabbi Eliezer Melamed said that Jewish law makes a clear distinction between “what is required and what is optional”, and that gender segregation on public buses hurts the “proper family order.” 

Jerusalem segregated bus Emil Salman Ultra-Orthodox men riding a sex-segregated bus in Jerusalem.
Photo by: Emil Salman

Melamed also stated that gender segregation is appropriate only during when performing “public acts”, and said that riding the bus is considered a “private act.” 

Moreover, the rabbi added that there is no need to add new laws regarding modesty, stating that former rabbis were able to create a modest society with “respectable distances between men and women” and that any attempt to prevent interactions between the sexes may “only give rise to unwanted urges.” 

Melamed's comments come a day after thousands of Israelis amassed near the Orot girl's school in Beit Shemesh on to protest gender segregation in a city that has become a symbol for the struggle against religious extremism.

Female soldier: Haredi called me a 'slut'

Soldier says cursed by ultra-Orthodox passenger in Jerusalem after refusing to move to back of bus. Internal security minister urges citizens to file complaints with police

Yair Altman

Published:     12.28.11, 15:09 / Israel News

The Jerusalem police on Wednesday arrested an ultra-Orthodox man for calling a female soldier a "slut" during a bus ride in the capital.

In response to the incident, the soldier, Doron Matalon, said: "This kind of behavior by our people is very hurtful. With all due respect, even though I'm secular and he's orthodox we belong to the same people." She added that this event is part of a "very unfortunate radicalization going on in the country."

Matalon was traveling on bus No. 49 from the Neve Yaakov neighborhood to the Central Command base in Jerusalem. After approaching the front of the bus in order to pay the driver, she was told by a haredi passenger to move to the back. She refused, and he began cursing her.

An Egged bus company worker called the police, and the man was arrested. In his investigation, he admitted calling her a "slut", explaining that the word was a proper response to "her provocative behavior".

The soldier's father said the haredi man had referred to her as a "shiksa" (a disrespectful term in Yiddish for a non-Jewish woman). He added that his daughter had filed a complaint with the police.
"When she called me, she was in tears. You must remember that she's just a girl," he recounted, adding that he was the one who encouraged her to file a complaint. He said it was not the first time his daughter was attacked.
"Two weeks ago it ended with shoving. She's afraid to get on this bus, but there's no other way. We must not give in to their whims."
תל אביב: צעדת נשים ביוזמת ויצ"ו (צילום: מוטי קמחי)
Women protest exclusion in Tel Aviv (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni spoke with Matalon's father, telling him that "Doron was caught in an unbearable reality and her adamant stance against those radicals is commendable."

Meanwhile, State Prosecutor Moshe Lador addressed the exclusion of women phenomenon for the first time Wednesday.

Speaking during a conference on traffic laws in the community of Yad Hashmona, near Jerusalem, Lador said that "the State Prosecutor's Office will work with the police to eradicate the extremism among haredim.
"We understand that we must act against the exclusion of women and the violence we have been witnessing recently."
Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch called on citizens not to be afraid to complain. "I demand and ask citizens to file complaints with the police; that's the most important thing," he said.
"The moment complaints are filed, investigations will be opened and indictments will be served. The police's duty is to defend the country's citizens, not to file complaints."
Aharonovitch pointed a finger at local authorities, saying that "authority heads must wake up and do their job. At the end of the day it's a social phenomenon, which we've identified a long time ago. We have a similar story in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighborhood with the Sicarii faction."


'Spitting on young girl a crime'

Also Wednesday, some 250 women marched on Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard as part of a protest against the exclusion of women organized by the Women's International Zionist Organization.

Tova Ben-Dov, chairperson of World WIZO Executive, said during the rally: "What is happening in Israel is a danger to democracy. It's a shame that we need Hillary Clinton and foreign television networks to warn us about it."

WIZO Israel Chairperson Gila Oshrat said, "This isn't a fight for women's rights, but for the character of the Israeli society.

 De-legitimization of women has made them inferior, and it's a short road to physical violence.

"Excluding women from the public sphere is violence. Spitting on a nine-year-old girl is a crime. We must stop this violence immediately."
Aviad Glickman and Yoav Malka contributed to this report,7340,L-4168181,00.html


  • Published 16:46 28.12.11 Latest update 16:46 28.12.11

Israeli female soldier accosted for rebuffing Haredi bus segregation

Jerusalem resident Doron Matalon says ultra-Orthodox man, 45, chided her for not moving to back of bus, calling her 'gentile' and 'prostitute.'

By Oz Rosenberg

A day after a massive rally in central Israel protested gender segregation and discrimination in Israel, a female Israel Defense Forces soldier reported being accosted by a Haredi man on Wednesday over her refusal to move to the back of a segregated bus in Jerusalem.

Doron Matalon - Emil Salman - 28.12.2011 Doron Matalon in Jerusalem, Dec. 28, 2011.
Photo by: Emil Salman

 According to the soldier, Doron Matalon, a 45-year-old man asked her to move to the back of the bus, threatening her, and calling her "prostitute."

"I didn't want to move back, both on principle and because there wasn't any room. It's always stuffy and disgusting in the back," Matalon said, adding that "everything was fine, I was almost at my stop, and then the conductors came on."

At that point, the IDF soldier said, the ultra-Orthodox man chastised a woman who had come over to the front of the bus to have her ticket checked, saying: "You don't have to come up front to check your ticket, a woman shouldn't move to this side of the bus."

Jerusalem segregated bus Emil Salman Ultra-Orthodox men riding a sex-segregated bus in Jerusalem.
Photo by: Emil Salman

"And then he turned to me," Matalon said, and said 'you too soldier, move back, and then he called me a prostitute." According to the IDF soldier, the man was soon joined by other religious men in the bus, who proceeded to yell out "prostitute," and "Shikse "(gentile woman).

Matalon said that at that point she "felt threatened and a huge commotion began. I yelled out for the conductor to come quick, and two male conductors rushed in. They pushed him away from me and said: 'Why are you shouting, she's a soldier,' but he continued to be abusive."

The bus was ordered to stop in the city's Levi Eshkol Blvd, where the conductors called the police. Eyewitnesses reported that the Haredi men continued his disruptive behavior even after a police officer arrived at the scene.

All those involved were taken to questioning, with the ultra-Orthodox man the only one to be arrested following the incident.

"This isn’t the first time this has happened, I just asked for help this time," Matalon said, adding that she had experienced "worse incidents on this line," including one in which she was shoved off the bus when her stop arrived."

"I'm slowly calming down, but I'm not over it yet," the IDF soldier said.
Police sources indicated that the suspected was to be held until Thursday, at which point he will face a court remand hearing.