Beit Safafa: Divided in 1948, United in 1967

Beit Safafa, a Palestinian village South of Occupied Jerusalem, was divided in the occupation of 1948 and united in the occupation of 1967.

The name Beit Safafa is of a Syriac origins. It means the house of the thirsty. This village was amongst the very few Palestinian villages that were divided in the aftermath of the war in 1948. Ironically, when Israel occupied the Eastern part of Jerusalem in 1967, this small village was reunited. Beit Safafa is the home of three clans: Salman, Alian and Hussein. It is currently the home of about fifteen thousand Palestinians.

In November 1947, the United Nations announced its Partition Plan. This plan was refused by the natives, as well as new immigrants, in Palestine. Clashes throughout Palestine erupted between the well-trained Zionist military forces and the poorly-equipped Palestinian citizens. The Zionist forces commenced attacking Palestinian villages in efforts to expel its citizens. As the other Palestinian villages, Beit Safafa was attacked by settlers from the nearby settlements of Ramat Rachel and Mekor Chaim.

A.M., 83 years old resident of Beit Safafa, was 18 years old when the attacks started in 1947. “Settlers from Mekor Chaim started attacking our village nightly after the UN Partition Plan in 1947,” A.M. said. “We used to stop these attacks with the help of some volunteers from Egypt and Sudan.” Beit Safafa lost its first martyr end of December 1947. Musa AlHaj Issa “AbelZeit” was killed while defending the Southern entrance of the village from a Zionist attack.

In light of the attacks in 1947, Safafians [residents of Beit Safafa village] bought some weapons from different sources. Each man was responsible to buy his own riffle depending on his financial capacity. End of March 1948, after 5 months of nightly attacks on the village, the Abdel Qader AlHusseini arrived to Beit Safafa. alHussein was the leader of the Palestinian local military forces, alJihad alMuqaddas, that was formed across Palestine in efforts to resist the Zionist attacks. Along with the Safafians, alHusseini planned the first attack on Mekor Chaim settlement. One Safafian was killed in that operation. The Zionist causalities were unknown.

The next big battle for the Safafians was in the nearby Palestinian neighborhood of Qatamoun. Beginning of May 1948, Zionist militias launched a big attack on Qatamoun in efforts to occupy it and expel its Palestinian residents. Armed Safafians headed towards Qatamoun monastery that was under attack. Six Safafians were killed during the failed attack on the well-equipped Zionist militias that took over the neighborhood.

In May 1948, A.M. with five other men headed to the Eastern entrance of the village to block an attack from Ramat Rachel settlement. The battle that was known later as Dar Qattan battle witnessed the first clear victory for the Safafians. “We saw traces of blood in the battle field the next day,” said A.M. “They suffered many losses and we seized several guns and boxes of ammunition.”

Dar Qattan battle raised the spirits of the residents of Beit Safafa. Ten days after Egypt declared war on the newly established Zionist state “Israel” in May 15, more Egyptian volunteers arrived to Beit Safafa. These volunteers were led by an Egyptian officer Ahmed AbdelAziz. Abdel Aziz led Palestinians to several victories against the nearby settlements. Months later a unit from the Jordanian army arrived to Beit Safafa. The Zionist militias failed to occupy the village.

But this was not the end for the Safafians. On the 3rd of April 1949, Jordan signed the Rodos Armistice Agreement with the State of Israel. In that agreement, Jordan gave up a big about half of the lands of Beit Safafa to the Zionists upon their request. Israel wanted to put its hands on the railway line that passed crossed through the lands of Beit Safafa. What they did not get in war was handed to them by the Jordanian side. This divided Beit Safafa and its families, part under the Jordanian control and the other under the Israeli control. A fence divided siblings and families into two different states.

“We refused!” angrily said A.M. “They [Jordanian Authority] told us that they make decisions and our opinion is irrelevant.

“The families were divided. The separation fence was the location of all our happy and sad occasions from both sides. The UN recorded us as Refugees since we lost many lands.”

This situation lasted for almost eighteen years until June 1967, the Six Days War. “It was not a war,” said A.M. “The Jordanian army gathered our riffles and warned us not to shoot any bullet.

“They claimed responsibility, but they ran away. Some of the Jordanian soldiers wore women clothes and ran away. They did not fight and they did not let us fight. Everything was planned.”

Ironically enough, in the occupation in 1967, Beit Safafa was united. Families reunited again. Nonetheless, since 1967, the Israeli government commenced confiscating the village’s lands and building settlements. In 1973, Gilo settlement was built on confiscated lands from Beit Safafa and Beit Jala villages. Today, Gilo hosts more than forty thousand settlers. In 1991, the Israeli government confiscated more lands to the South East of Beit Safafa. Ethiopian Jewish settlers built caravans and establish Giva’at HaMatos settlement.

“These lands were owned by Jerusalemites from Nashashibi and other families,” said A.M. “After the war in 1967, the Israeli government confiscated the land.

“We protested against the confiscations but the occupation forces suppressed us. And it was gone.”
Today, Beit Safafa remains occupied suffering from land confiscations and the suffocating occupation practices. Safafians refuse to divide their village again under any political solution. “We will not accept the division of our village again,” insisted A.M. “The two-states solution is unacceptable and the occupation must end.”

( / 21.08.2012)



# * Resolution 106: ” . . . ‘condemns’ Israel for Gaza raid”.

# * Resolution 111: ” . . . ‘condemns’ Israel for raid on Syria that killed fifty-six people”.

# * Resolution 127: ” . . . ‘recommends’ Israel suspends it’s ‘no-man’s zone’ in Jerusalem”.

# * Resolution 162: ” . . . ‘urges’ Israel to comply with UN decisions”.

# * Resolution 171: ” . . . determines flagrant violations’ by Israel in its attack on Syria”.

# * Resolution 228: ” . . . ‘censures’ Israel for its attack on Samu in the West Bank, then under Jordanian control”.

# * Resolution 237: ” . . . ‘urges’ Israel to allow return of new 1967 Palestinian refugees”.

# * Resolution 248: ” . . . ‘condemns’ Israel for its massive attack on Karameh in Jordan”.

# * Resolution 250: ” . . . ‘calls’ on Israel to refrain from holding military parade in Jerusalem”.

# * Resolution 251: ” . . . ‘deeply deplores’ Israeli military parade in Jerusalem in defiance of Resolution 250″.

# * Resolution 252: ” . . . ‘declares invalid’ Israel’s acts to unify Jerusalem as Jewish capital”.

# * Resolution 256: ” . . . ‘condemns’ Israeli raids on Jordan as ‘flagrant violation”.

# * Resolution 259: ” . . . ‘deplores’ Israel’s refusal to accept UN mission to probe occupation”.

# * Resolution 262: ” . . . ‘condemns’ Israel for attack on Beirut airport”.

# * Resolution 265: ” . . . ‘condemns’ Israel for air attacks for Salt in Jordan”.

# * Resolution 267: ” . . . ‘censures’ Israel for administrative acts to change the status of Jerusalem”.

# *Resolution 270: ” . . . ‘condemns’ Israel for air attacks on villages in southern Lebanon”.

# * Resolution 271: ” . . . ‘condemns’ Israel’s failure to obey UN resolutions on Jerusalem”.

# * Resolution 279: ” . . . ‘demands’ withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon”.

# * Resolution 280: ” . . . ‘condemns’ Israeli’s attacks against Lebanon”.

# * Resolution 285: ” . . . ‘demands’ immediate Israeli withdrawal form Lebanon”.

# * Resolution 298: ” . . . ‘deplores’ Israel’s changing of the status of Jerusalem”.

# * Resolution 313: ” . . . ‘demands’ that Israel stop attacks against Lebanon”.

# * Resolution 316: ” . . . ‘condemns’ Israel for repeated attacks on Lebanon”.

# * Resolution 317: ” . . . ‘deplores’ Israel’s refusal to release Arabs abducted in Lebanon”.

# * Resolution 332: ” . . . ‘condemns’ Israel’s repeated attacks against Lebanon”.

# * Resolution 337: ” . . . ‘condemns’ Israel for violating Lebanon’s sovereignty”.

# * Resolution 347: ” . . . ‘condemns’ Israeli attacks on Lebanon”.

# * Resolution 425: ” . . . ‘calls’ on Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon”.

# * Resolution 427: ” . . . ‘calls’ on Israel to complete its withdrawal from Lebanon.

# * Resolution 444: ” . . . ‘deplores’ Israel’s lack of cooperation with UN peacekeeping forces”.

# * Resolution 446: ” . . . ‘determines’ that Israeli settlements are a ‘serious

# obstruction’ to peace and calls on Israel to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention”.

# * Resolution 450: ” . . . ‘calls’ on Israel to stop attacking Lebanon”.

# * Resolution 452: ” . . . ‘calls’ on Israel to cease building settlements in occupied territories”.

# * Resolution 465: ” . . . ‘deplores’ Israel’s settlements and asks all member

# states not to assist Israel’s settlements program”.

# * Resolution 467: ” . . . ‘strongly deplores’ Israel’s military intervention in Lebanon”.

# * Resolution 468: ” . . . ‘calls’ on Israel to rescind illegal expulsions of

# two Palestinian mayors and a judge and to facilitate their return”.

# * Resolution 469: ” . . . ‘strongly deplores’ Israel’s failure to observe the

# council’s order not to deport Palestinians”.

# * Resolution 471: ” . . . ‘expresses deep concern’ at Israel’s failure to abide

# by the Fourth Geneva Convention”.

# * Resolution 476: ” . . . ‘reiterates’ that Israel’s claim to Jerusalem are ‘null and void'”.

# * Resolution 478: ” . . . ‘censures (Israel) in the strongest terms’ for its

# claim to Jerusalem in its ‘Basic Law'”.

# * Resolution 484: ” . . . ‘declares it imperative’ that Israel re-admit two deported

# Palestinian mayors”.

# * Resolution 487: ” . . . ‘strongly condemns’ Israel for its attack on Iraq’s

# nuclear facility”.

# * Resolution 497: ” . . . ‘decides’ that Israel’s annexation of Syria’s Golan

# Heights is ‘null and void’ and demands that Israel rescinds its decision forthwith”.

# * Resolution 498: ” . . . ‘calls’ on Israel to withdraw from Lebanon”.

# * Resolution 501: ” . . . ‘calls’ on Israel to stop attacks against Lebanon and withdraw its troops”.

# * Resolution 509: ” . . . ‘demands’ that Israel withdraw its forces forthwith and unconditionally from Lebanon”.

# * Resolution 515: ” . . . ‘demands’ that Israel lift its siege of Beirut and

# allow food supplies to be brought in”.

# * Resolution 517: ” . . . ‘censures’ Israel for failing to obey UN resolutions

# and demands that Israel withdraw its forces from Lebanon”.

# * Resolution 518: ” . . . ‘demands’ that Israel cooperate fully with UN forces in Lebanon”.

# * Resolution 520: ” . . . ‘condemns’ Israel’s attack into West Beirut”.

# * Resolution 573: ” . . . ‘condemns’ Israel ‘vigorously’ for bombing Tunisia

# in attack on PLO headquarters.

# * Resolution 587: ” . . . ‘takes note’ of previous calls on Israel to withdraw

# its forces from Lebanon and urges all parties to withdraw”.

# * Resolution 592: ” . . . ‘strongly deplores’ the killing of Palestinian students

# at Bir Zeit University by Israeli troops”.

# * Resolution 605: ” . . . ‘strongly deplores’ Israel’s policies and practices

# denying the human rights of Palestinians.

# * Resolution 607: ” . . . ‘calls’ on Israel not to deport Palestinians and strongly

# requests it to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention.

# * Resolution 608: ” . . . ‘deeply regrets’ that Israel has defied the United Nations and deported Palestinian civilians”.

# * Resolution 636: ” . . . ‘deeply regrets’ Israeli deportation of Palestinian civilians.

# * Resolution 641: ” . . . ‘deplores’ Israel’s continuing deportation of Palestinians.

# * Resolution 672: ” . . . ‘condemns’ Israel for violence against Palestinians

# at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount.

# * Resolution 673: ” . . . ‘deplores’ Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the United

# Nations.

# * Resolution 681: ” . . . ‘deplores’ Israel’s resumption of the deportation of

# Palestinians.

# * Resolution 694: ” . . . ‘deplores’ Israel’s deportation of Palestinians and

# calls on it to ensure their safe and immediate return.

# * Resolution 726: ” . . . ‘strongly condemns’ Israel’s deportation of Palestinians.

# * Resolution 799: “. . . ‘strongly condemns’ Israel’s deportation of 413 Palestinians

# and calls for there immediate return






Syria’s Golan Heights


242 (1967) (1973) (1981)

Jordan’s West Bank

237 (1967) (1967) (1967) (1968) (1969) (1969) (1971) (1979) (1979) (1980)

note that this is only a subset of UN Resolutions which Israel remains in violation of to this day; e.g. those regarding Gaza and Lebanon

Syria’s Golan Heights

242 (1967)
338 (1973)
497 (1981)

Jordan’s West Bank

237 (1967)
2253 (1967)
2254 (1967)
252 (1968)
267 (1969)
271 (1969)
298 (1971)
446 (1979)
452 (1979)
465 (1980)

note that this is only a subset of UN Resolutions which Israel remains in violation of to this day; e.g. those regarding Gaza and Lebanon

(24 juni 2011 / Facebook / 21.08.2012)

Jewish Settlers Attack Palestinian Home, Attempt to Torch It

Jewish Settlers Attack Palestinian Home, Attempt to Torch It

Armed settlers in the West Bank

 IMEMC – A number of armed extremist Israeli settlers attacked, on Tuesday at dawn, a Palestinian home in Far’ata village, west of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and tried to torch it.

Palestinian official in charge of the Settlements file in the northern part of the West Bank, Ghassan Douglas, reported that several settlers poured flammable liquid at the main entrance of the home and ignited it.

The family noticed the fire fast and managed to extinguish it before it spread to the rest of the property. The home belongs to resident Farid Odah Tawil. Douglas added that the attack was carried out by at least 12 settlers of the Havat Gilad illegal settlement.

On Monday, the Israeli Police apprehended seven Israeli youths suspected of involvement in the lynch attack, carried out Friday, against three Palestinian youths in Jerusalem, leading to serious injuries.
One of the attacked youths, identified as Jamal Julani, 17, is currently in a serious condition at the Hadassah Israeli hospital in Jerusalem.

Israeli Police spokeswoman, Luba Samri, said that the Police apprehended four males and two females, all under the age of 18, and one 19-year old male. The detained youths are currently under interrogation.

One of the detained youth said he is not sorry for what he and his friends did, and that he does not care if Julani dies. The Police believe that 40 Israeli youths participated in the lynch mob attack.

On Thursday, settlers hurled a firebomb at a Palestinian Taxi causing severe injuries to Ayman Mohammad Ghayatha, 36, his wife Jamila Abdul-Hai, 28, their children; Mohammad, 5, and Eman, 4, and Hasan Mohammad Hasan Ghayatha, 26. The Taxi driver, Bassam Mohammad Ghayatha, 55, was also injured.

Medical sources said that the wounded family suffered fourth degree burns, the worst degree of burns as the flesh is burnt to the bone, and that their condition is deteriorating.

The latest assaults are a serious escalation to ongoing attacks carried out by extremist settlers against the Palestinians, their homes and property, and against their lands.

( / 21.08.2012)

Palestinian attacked by Israelis at Hadassah Ein Karem hospital

Jamal al-Maqdisi is at Hadassah Ein Karem hospital after being beaten at the hands of Jews on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli police Luba Simari “broke out brawl in the center of Jerusalem after midnight on Thursday / Friday between young Jews and young Arabs on the background is not clear so far, what led to the injury Arab youth in the 18-year-old injured very serious result of being hit in the chest “. She stressed that the Israeli police started an investigation to arrest the suspects.
And the transfer of the young beauty Subhi Joulani to a hospital, “Hadassah Ein Karem”, where you enter your recovery room. His mother said Nariman, crying, “Jamal was hit in the chest struck his heart. Doctors told us, that his difficult. ”
Said Abdul Hadi Mhlos (17 years), a beauty Friends “We went shopping and we walked in Jaffa Street and the beauty I and other friends. A group of perhaps two fifths of young Jews who were singing. ” “I heard someone say the Arabs, and received a slap on the back of my neck. I looked and found six people attacking Ali, fled and Ahtmit in place. Asked the shop owners to go out, but I stayed until they left. ” “I did not quarrel with them, and did not talk to them. I registered cameras light rail is what happened, they can see what happened with cameras. ” Said Sam Attia (17 years) “I was walking behind them and talking by cell phone, when I saw young people are fleeing. Escaped and saw the beauty of each of us in turn flee in the direction that the police arrived. I found beauty lying on the ground, while the young men fled the Jews. ”
The Root newspaper “Haaretz” what happened on its website, saying that “dozens of young Jews may be carried out an attack against three Palestinian youths from Jerusalem by a certificate, which led to the injury of them seriously injured and was evacuated to the hospital.”
She added that “the testimony received by the newspaper with certificates on Facebook shows that dozens of young Jews gathered around the young Arabs and beat them and they were shouting death to the Arabs, and one of them when he signed a land continued kicking him until he lost consciousness.”
She “turned his eyes and when they thought he was dead, so they Asthjnoa when some volunteers Jews of trying to provide first aid to him.” It quoted a team medic “All indicators in place to indicate the implementation process aggression against the Palestinians and clear the three.” The newspaper pointed out, “when he arrived ambulance team was injured without pulse and unconscious the same, then they revive the operations in place.”
As stated mouthpiece police Arab media Luba Simari – a continuation of the investigations in the case of the attack were arrested 2 girls Mchtbhettin, Qasrtin Jewish, to reach the proceeds of suspects detained, pending their involvement in this case, to seven suspects (4 minors 0.2 Minors 0.1 any suspicion adult, ) This is referred to that, according to the investigations police inferred that this group of suspects arrested were involved central fact of assault and so that the boy suspected detainee, a minor of them, aged 15 years, who had had to pay for the punch of a young Arab in the chest, wounding Last cardiac arrest and was taken for treatment at Hadassah Ein Karem and so described his time Balbalgh, as inferred from the investigations that the background of this incident, come back and it seems, to a Jewish girl (one Almstbhatt detention centers), which has ties of friendship with the suspects had claimed in front of them then that he had been sexually assaulted in the past by young Arabs what was the suspects, but to go to the city center in search of her revenge of young Arabs whatever and there have been fabricating fracas, which included assault on a young Arab as he was accompanied by some of his friends and others from As members of his family and will be implemented in more arrests of suspects and later investigations in all the circumstances of the merits of this case are still ongoing in Police Brigade Jerusalem.

( / 21.08.2012)


Mideast Egypt Israel Sinai

FILE – In this Aug. 9, 2012 file photo, army trucks carry Egyptian military tanks in El Arish, Egypt’s northern Sinai Peninsula. Israeli officials said Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012 they have voiced objections to what they say are improper Egyptian tank deployments in a volatile desert area near the Israeli border. Israel says the deployment, part of an Egyptian crackdown on Islamic militants in the lawless Sinai desert, violate the historic 1979 peace agreement between the two nations.

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli officials say Egypt is violating their 1979 peace treaty by deploying tanks in the demilitarized Sinai desert, which borders Israel.

The officials said Tuesday they have made their objections known to the Egyptians directly and through American mediators. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a sensitive security issue.

Egypt has been building up its military presence in lawless Sinai after Islamic militants there attacked an army post on Aug. 5 and killed 16 soldiers.

Israel has welcomed the crackdown but says tank deployments should have been coordinated. Israel has previously agreed to exceptions to the treaty allowing Egypt to add troops and equipment in Sinai.

An Egyptian border official said he met with Israeli counterparts and heard their concerns about the military presence in Sinai.

( / 21.08.2012)

Egypt deployment of armor in Sinai worries Israel

JERUSALEM (Reuters) — Israel is concerned about the deployment of Egyptian armor in a push against militants in the neighboring Sinai desert, saying the vehicles’ entry wasn’t coordinated and is in violation of a 1979 peace treaty, an Israeli official said Monday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has not lodged any formal protest preferring to try and resolve the issue in quiet contacts including US mediation, to avoid worsening ties with Cairo already strained since Hosni Mubarak was toppled by a popular revolt last year.

Egyptian security sources said this week they were preparing to deploy aircraft and tanks in Sinai for the first time since a 1973 war with Israel, in a crackdown on Islamist militants blamed for killing 16 border guards in an Aug. 5 attack.

The US-brokered 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel sets strict limits on military deployment in the Sinai.

The Israeli official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said Egypt had already sent “some” armored vehicles into the desert peninsula and that “Israel is bothered by the entry of armored vehicles in Sinai without coordination.”

Egyptian television footage showed General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Sinai addressing troops with tanks and heavy equipment behind them. Other images from his visit broadcast by Egypt’s private ON TV showed a row of six tanks and five armored personnel carriers.

While Israel does not view the armor as a threat, the official said, it wants to make sure it has a say over what weaponry is deployed in the Sinai, which the peace treaty intended as a demilitarized buffer zone.

“There is no precedent for armored vehicles being deployed in Sinai and certainly not without any coordination,” he said.

Israel had urged Egypt to crack down on the militants, and its security cabinet had approved an Egyptian request to use attack helicopters in Sinai two weeks ago, after the Islamist gunmen who attacked Egypt’s security personnel also penetrated Israel’s border where they were killed.

But local media say Israel was worried coordination with Egypt may suffer after a shakeup this month of Egypt’s military, including Islamist President Mohammed Mursi’s dismissals of officials Israel had long been in contact with.

In Cairo, Yasser Ali, a spokesman for Mursi, told Reuters security measures in Sinai were “crucial” to Egypt’s security.

An Egyptian military source told Reuters the Sinai security sweep was in keeping with agreements reached with Israel a year ago after eight Israelis died in a cross-border attack.

“We don’t need to issue a daily report to Israel on the operation as it is a matter of sovereignty and national security,” the source went on to say.

( / 21.08.2012)

NYPD: Muslim spying led to no leads, terror cases

  • In this photo released by the New York City Police Department, NYC Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, center, briefs other NYPD officials and John O. Brennan, assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, center right, on events surrounding the alleged plot to bomb NYC commuter trains on Sept. 11, at Police Headquarters in New York, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009. Seated at the table from left are Katherine Lemire, special council to the police commissioner; Deputy Inspector John Nicholson of the Joint Terrorism Task Force; Commanding Officer of the NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau, Assistant Chief James Waters; Deputy Commissioner of the Counterterrorism Bureau, Richard Falkenrath; John O. Brennan; Raymond Kelly; Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence, David Cohen; Commander of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Deputy Chief James Shea; Lt. Joseph Falco of the Joint Terrorism Task Force and Assistant Chief Thomas Galati, who commands the Intelligence Division. In more than six years spying on Muslim neighborhoods, the New York Police Department’s secret Demographics Unit never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation. That’s according to court testimony unsealed Monday, Aug. 20, 2012. The Demographics Unit is at the heart of a police spying effort built with help from the CIA. The unit created databases on where Muslims lived, shopped, worked and prayed. As part of a longstanding federal civil rights case, Galati offered the first official look at the unit. Galati testified as part of a lawsuit over police spying on students, civil rights groups and suspected Communist sympathizers during the 1950s and 1960s. (AP Photo/NYPD) In this photo released by the New York City Police Department, NYC Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, center, briefs other NYPD officials and John O. Brennan, assistant to the President

NEW YORK (AP) — In more than six years of spying on Muslim neighborhoods, eavesdropping on conversations and cataloguing mosques, the New York Police Department’s secret DemographicsUnit never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation, the department acknowledged in court testimony unsealed late Monday.

The Demographics Unit is at the heart of a police spying program, built with help from the CIA, which assembled databases on where Muslims lived, shopped, worked and prayed. Police infiltrated Muslim student groups, put informants in mosques, monitored sermons and catalogued every Muslim in New York who adopted new, Americanized surnames.

Police hoped the Demographics Unit would serve as an early warning system for terrorism. And if police ever got a tip about, say, an Afghan terrorist in the city, they’d know where he was likely to rent a room, buy groceries and watch sports.

But in a June 28 deposition as part of a longstanding federal civil rights case, Assistant Chief Thomas Galati said none of the conversations the officers overheard ever led to a case.

“Related to Demographics,” Galati testified that information that has come in “has not commenced an investigation.”

The NYPD is the largest police department in the nation and Mayor Michael Bloomberg has held up its counterterrorism tactics as a model for the rest of the country. After The Associated Press began reporting on those tactics last year, supporters argued that the Demographics Unit was central to keeping the city safe. Galati testified that it was an important tool, but conceded it had not generated any leads.

“I never made a lead from rhetoric that came from a Demographics report, and I’m here since 2006,” he said. “I don’t recall other ones prior to my arrival. Again, that’s always a possibility. I am not aware of any.”

Galati, the commanding officer of the NYPD Intelligence Division, offered the first official look at the Demographics Unit, which the NYPD denied ever existed when it was revealed by the AP last year. He described how police gather information on people even when there is no evidence of wrongdoing, simply because of their ethnicity and native language.

As a rule, Galati said, a business can be labeled a “location of concern” whenever police can expect to find groups of Middle Easterners there.

Galati testified as part of a lawsuit that began in 1971 over NYPD spying on students, civil rights groups and suspected Communist sympathizers during the 1950s and 1960s. The lawsuit, known as the Handschu case, resulted in federal guidelines that prohibit the NYPD from collecting information about political speech unless it is related to potential terrorism.

Civil rights lawyers believe the Demographics Unit violated those rules. Documents obtained by the AP show the unit conducted operations outside its jurisdiction, including in New Jersey. The FBI there said those operations damaged its partnerships with Muslims and jeopardized national security.

In one instance discussed in the testimony, plainclothes NYPD officers known as “rakers” overheard two Pakistani men complaining about airport security policies that they believed unfairly singled out Muslims. They bemoaned what they saw as the nation’s anti-Muslim sentiment since the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Galati said police were allowed to collect that information because the men spoke Urdu, a fact that could help police find potential terrorists in the future.

“I’m seeing Urdu. I’m seeing them identify the individuals involved in that are Pakistani,” Galati explained. “I’m using that information for me to determine that this would be a kind of place that a terrorist would be comfortable in.”

He added, “Most Urdu speakers from that region would be of concern, so that’s why it’s important to me.”

About 15 million Pakistanis and 60 million Indians speak Urdu. Along with English, it is one of the national languages of Pakistan.

In another example, Galati said, eavesdropping on a conversation in a Lebanese cafe could be useful, even if the topic is innocuous. Analysts might be able to determine that the customers were from South Lebanon, he said, adding, “That may be an indicator of possibility that that is a sympathizer to Hezbollah because Southern Lebanon is dominated by Hezbollah.”

After the AP began reporting on the Demographics Unit, the department’s former senior analyst, Mitchell Silber, said the unit provided the tip that ultimately led to a case against a bookstore clerk who was convicted of plotting to bomb the Herald Square subway station in Manhattan. Galati testified that he could find no evidence of that.

Attorney Jethro Eisenstein, who filed the Handschu case more than 40 years ago and questioned Galati during the deposition, said he will go back to court soon to ask that the Demographics Unit be shut down. It operates today under a new name, the Zone Assessment Unit. It recently stopped operating out of state, Galati said.

“This is a terribly pernicious set of policies,” Eisenstein said. “No other group since the Japanese Americans in World War II has been subjected to this kind of widespread public policy.”

Dozens of members of Congress have asked the Justice Department to investigate the NYPD. Attorney General Eric Holder has said he was disturbed by the reports. But John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, has said he is confident the NYPD’s activities are lawful and have kept the city safe.

( / 21.08.2012)

The Core Issue

11 July 2004

Zionism may mean different things to different people. However, within the context of the conflict in Palestine, Zionism refers to the ideological foundation of a political movement calling for the establishment of an exclusive Jewish State in Palestine. This Zionist political movement began its efforts in the nineteenth century and was officially introduced during the 1st Zionist Congress in 1897.

Theodor Herzl, who presided the 1st ZC, had provided the ideological underpinnings of the Zionist movement in his pa pamphlet, Der Judenstaat, which was published in 1896.  In a nutshell, Herzl called for a colonial project for the exclusive benefit of the Jews and suggested that Der Judenstaat would “form a portion of the rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism.”

Efforts of the Zionist political movement to implement their project, with the support of the Imperialist Great Powers, in complete disregard to the Palestinian rights and human reality in Palestine, were responsible for initiating and prolonging the conflict in and around Palestine.

Establishment of an exclusive Jewish State in a country where the majority of its people were not Jewish meant transplanting Jews from all corners of the world and bringing them to Palestine.  Simultaneously, it meant dispossession and ethnic cleansing for the Palestinians.

This was, and still is, the core issue in the conflict.  All else was derivative.

( / 21.08.2012)

Jewish Settler Attacks on Palestinians Named ‘Terrorist Incidents’ for First Time by US

A recent US State Department terrorism report listed violence by Jewish settlers on Palestinians in the West Bank as “terrorist incidents,” for the first time, following a recent upsurge in such attacks.

Palestinian Taxi burnt as a result of settler attack by fire bomb Thursday near Hebron (Photo: Israeli Police. Source: Haaretz)
“Attacks by extremist Israeli settlers against Palestinian residents, property and places of worship in the West Bank continued,” said the Country Reports on Terrorism 2011.

According to the UN, violent attacks by settlers on Palestinians and their property, mosques and farmland has increased by almost 150% since 2009.

On Friday, the US state department condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the firebombing of a Palestinian taxi near Bethlehem that injured six people.

Israeli officials have also begun increasingly condemning settler attacks in bid to curb an escalation of Palestinian Israeli violence. Referring to several attacks on Palestinians over the weekend, Moshe Ya’alone, Israeli minister for strategic affairs, stated, “The hate crimes committed over the weekend against Arabs in [the West Bank] and Jerusalem are intolerable, outrageous and must be firmly dealt with. These are terrorist attacks. They run contrary to Jewish morality and values, and constitute first and foremost an educational and moral failure.”

According to the UN office for humanitarian affairs, three Palestinians were killed and 183 injured by settlers in 2011 alone. 10,000 trees were damaged or destroyed. More than 90% of complaints filed with Israeli police were closed without charges.

However, rights groups in the region are uncertain as to whether the change in language from Israeli and US officials will actually curb settler violence in the West Bank. “One of the key factors in the growth of settler violence is the lack of effective law enforcement,” said Sarit Michaeli of human rights group B’Tselem. “The Israelis have been calling settler violence ‘terrorism’ for a while now, but that in itself is not a guarantee that they will fulfill their obligations to protect Palestinians.”

( / 21.08.2012)

Jesus was a Muslim, claims U.S. religions professor

Religious professor Robert F. Shedinger argues in his new book that Jesus is a Muslim. (Reuters)

Religious professor Robert F. Shedinger argues in his new book that Jesus is a Muslim.

Religions professor at the Luther College in Iowa, Robert F. Shedinger, has made a controversial claim in a new book, arguing that Jesus Christ was a Muslim.

In the beginning of his book, to be released this year, Shedinger asked “Was Jesus a Muslim?”

“I will answer with a very qualified yes,” he wrote.

In the spring of 2001, Shedinger’s methodology of teaching Islam was questioned by one of his students who was brought up in a Muslim family, according to a report by Fox Nation.

The student, a female, told her professor that the way he was conveying Islam to his students didn’t bare resemblance to the way she was taught about her own religion in her upbringing.

Shedinger said in an interview that the questioning of his view on Islam motivated him to completely re-think his whole concept about the religion and the way he was applying it to his teaching.

Shedinger, who is the head of the religious studies department at Luther College in Iowa, also argued that Islam is a better fit for Jesus since it is not a religion but a “social justice movement,” Fox reported.

“I had to rethink what Islam is… I came to the conclusion that it was a social justice movement and I think that’s who Jesus was in the first century so I conclude Jesus is more like a Muslim,” he said.

Islam’s Prophet Mohammed is believed to have received revelations that were eventually cited in the Quran at around 622 AD; the date historians, Muslims and Christians believe the birth of Islam to be. Jesus is believed to have lived more than 600 years earlier.

Shedinger’s book also addresses the relationship between Christians and Muslims and how they can “work together to promote social justice in the world.”

(23 July 2012 / / 21.08.2012)