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By arresting its co-founder, Israel has confirmed BDS as a strategic threat

Omar Barghouti

Omar Barghouti, the Palestinian co-founder of the BDS movement has been hit with a de facto travel ban. On Sunday, another Israeli minister announced that a task force will be created to “target” BDS activists in the country with foreign citizenship and expel them from the country

It is now one week since the Israeli authorities arrested Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement in Palestine. His arrest follows years of intimidation and threats by various state agencies. If the purpose is to isolate and silence Barghouti, his arrest was, at best, short-sighted and counterproductive. BDS, meanwhile, is already a Palestinian-inspired global movement, which will be impossible to stop.

Although Israeli President Reuven Rivlin described the BDS movement in May 2015 as a “strategic threat”, when it was launched back in July 2005, officials dismissed the campaign as a poor attempt to imitate the international boycott which played a pivotal role in dismantling the criminal apartheid regime in South Africa. That disparaging belief no longer exists. The mere fact that the country is spending millions of dollars every month to collect data and counter BDS at home and abroad, is in itself a measure of how seriously the Israelis now view it.

By resorting to high-handed tactics of repression and intimidation, Israel is doing the ultimate disservice to its own cause. Unwittingly, it has, by such measures, created the perfect conditions for BDS to grow and attract supporters the world over, for it does not take much to convince open-minded people about the need for BDS.

Policies that deny basic freedoms and human rights are inherently repulsive to the sense of justice of reasonable human beings.

Today, those who support BDS are driven by values of equality and fairness, as well as recognition of a shared humanity. This is why they find the denial of full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel so repugnant; why they demand an end to the military occupation of Palestinian territories captured in 1967; and why they ask why the Palestinians who were expelled by Jewish militias in 1948 are not allowed to exercise their legal right of return to their homes. There is nothing conspiratorial or bigoted about this. The latter is, after all, a right that is recognised internationally.

If nothing else, it is the continued denial by Israel of all Palestinian rights that has fuelled the BDS movement. On every continent, minority and disadvantaged communities, churches, labour unions and human rights organisations are supporting this non-violent campaign because they are convinced it is part of their own self-preservation.

Gone are the days when celebrity A-listers, entertainers and sports personalities give their unqualified support to Israel. Today, such support is conditional; it will only be given when Israel respects the dignity of the Palestinian people. Under no circumstances can today’s celebrities be seen to endorse or legitimise discrimination openly, irrespective of the perpetrator. There is simply no moral or legal justification for discrimination of any kind, least of all the state-sanctioned manifestation that we see in Israel.

As cruel as it may sound, Omar Barghouti’s arrest was inevitable; not because of any criminal activity on his part, but because of the longstanding threats made against him. Last year, Amnesty International expressed concern for his safety and liberty after a number of Israeli ministers issued veiled threats against Barghouti at an anti-BDS conference in Jerusalem on 28 March.

BDS MovementOne threat which was especially grotesque was that made by Minister of Transport, Intelligence and Atomic Energy Yisrael Katz, who called on Israel to engage in “targeted civil eliminations” of BDS leaders with the help of its murderous intelligence agencies. Amnesty said that the term alluded to “targeted assassinations”, which is used to describe Israel’s policy of targeting members of armed Palestinian groups.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) has no doubt about the motive for the arrest of its co-founder; it is all about repression. The BNC pointed out that the current investigation, which includes a travel ban, was not coincidental, coming just weeks before Barghouti was scheduled to travel to the US to receive the Gandhi Peace Award jointly with Ralph Nader in a ceremony at Yale University.

Would the BDS movement collapse if Omar Barghouti is imprisoned or assassinated? Of course not. The legal, political and human rights similarities between the Palestinian reality and that which existed in apartheid South Africa are so blatant that they would not go unnoticed or unchallenged anywhere in the civilised world.

To date, none of the measures adopted by Israel to combat the BDS have succeeded. Whether it is the banning of activists from entering Palestine, the creation of special dirty tricks units to discredit activists, or their imprisonment, all are methods that were tried in South Africa where they proved to be wholly inadequate and inconsequential. On the contrary, they only succeeded in drawing ever more attention to the unjust and criminal nature of the apartheid system.

Rest assured that the results will be the same in Palestine, with or without the physical presence and great efforts of Omar Barghouti. By turning him into a cause célèbre, Israel has confirmed that the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions campaign is indeed a strategic threat.

(Source / 27.03.2017)

PA forces arrest ex-prisoner in al-Khalil

Mohamed Abu Arqoub

The PA security forces stormed Monday Dura town west of al-Khalil and arrested the ex-prisoner Mohamed Abu Arqoub for being affiliated to Hamas Movement.

According to the PIC reporter, PA masked forces kidnapped Abu Arqoub and took him in a military jeep to an unknown location.

Abu Arqoub was arrested more than once by PA and Israeli forces.

(Source / 27.03.2017)

IOF raids Nablus village for second time in 24 hours

Iraq Burin

The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) stormed at dawn Monday Iraq Burin village, south of Nablus, and were deployed in its eastern neighborhoods.

Eyewitnesses told the PIC reporter that Israeli forces broke into the village amid reports of gunshots firing and set up a number of make-shift checkpoints.

The sources pointed out that the IOF stormed the area twice in less than 24 hours.

(Source / 27.03.2017)

More Syrian Rebels, Families Evacuate Homs under Regime Deal


Buses transport rebel fighters and their families who evacuated the besieged Waer district in the central Syrian city of Homs

Hundreds of rebels and their families left their last bastion in Syria’s Homs city on Monday,as part of an ongoing evacuation expected to be among the largest of its kind under a Russian-backed deal with the regime, state media and a monitor said.

Heavy fighting between rebel groups and regime forces further north in Hama province over the weekend had delayed their departure from the city’s al-Waer district, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The regime has denied that the Homs deal — and other similar voluntary displacements in besieged areas in Syria over the past year — forces resident to leave and effectively surrender their territory.
But some opposition activists have criticized the agreement, saying it aims to displace 12,000 al-Waer residents, including 2,500 fighters. The Observatory has called the evacuees “internally displaced” people.

The evacuation began last week with the Syrian regime shuttling hundreds of people from the district in Homs, which was an early center of the 2011 uprising that spiraled into war. Between 10,000-15,000 rebels and civilians were expected to leave in weekly batches, the Observatory and opposition activists have said.

Although rebels launched their biggest offensive in months last week, they have been on the back foot in Syria since Russia intervened on the side of Bashar al-Assad’s regime in the autumn of 2015.

Over the past year, the regime has accelerated its drive to push rebel-held pockets to surrender under evacuation deals similar to the one in force in Homs.

Homs governor Talal Barazi said he expected nearly 1,600 people to depart on Monday for areas held by Turkey-backed rebels north of Aleppo.

“We will complete this before sunset,” he told Syrian state television, which reported that several hundred people had left so far, including more than 250 rebels.

Russian and Syrian forces were overseeing the process, which would take about six weeks in total, Barazi added.

The Observatory has said that about 40,000 civilians and more than 2,500 fighters live in besieged al-Waer.

Elsewhere in Syria, US-backed opposition forces on Sunday captured a strategically important air base from ISIS militants in the northern province of Raqqa in a major victory since the United States airlifted the forces behind enemy lines last week.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces announced they had captured the Tabqa air base, 45 kilometers (28 miles) west of Raqqa, the Islamic State group’s de facto capital in Syria.

The US, which has provided substantial air and ground support to the SDF, ferried hundreds of SDF forces, as well as US military advisers and US artillery, behind ISIS lines earlier this week.

(Source / 27.03.2017)

Settlers attack Palestinian vehicles in Occupied Jerusalem

Sheikh Jarrah wijk Jeruzalem

A group of Israeli settlers attacked a number of Palestinian vehicles in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Occupied Jerusalem on Monday.

According to a local source, the attacks included damaging the tires of some vehicles and writing racist slogans on others. The Jewish Price-Tag gang was suspected of being behind these attacks.

The Price-Tag gang consists of a group of extremist settlers and it is considered an extension of the Zionist organization Kahane Chai which was outlawed in 1994, but this did not prevent its members from continuing their crimes.

The gang has carried out mass attacks against Palestinian citizens in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

(Source / 27.03.2017)

Whose ‘ethnic cleansing?’: Israel’s appropriation of the Palestinian narrative


A young Israeli settler throws stones in the direction of Israeli forces during the evacuation of the illegal settlement outpost of Amona in February 2017

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently claimed in a video posted on his Facebook page that the Palestinian demand to dismantle illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) constitutes an act of “ethnic cleansing” against Israeli Jewish settlers. The term, which was originally used as a euphemism during the Serbian campaign against Bosnians, soon came to describe extreme violent practices, mass killings, and forced displacement during conflict and war. It has also been used by many scholars as well as in public discourse to refer to Zionist practices against the Palestinian population in the lead-up to and during the Nakba of 1948. These practices include the destruction of more than 500 Palestinian villages and the expulsion of approximately 730,000 Palestinians from their homes.

Netanyahu’s application of the term to Israeli settlers garnered more than a million views on his Facebook page, and drew millions more via the video’s recirculation across social media platforms. It shocked many analysts, created a tense debate in the international media, and brought condemnation from the likes of then-UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who called it “unacceptable and outrageous.” Yet such rhetoric, albeit more incendiary than usual, is but the latest instance of an Israeli strategy of appropriating a narrative of victimhood in order to shore up public support.

This commentary traces the history of the Israeli claim to this narrative from the early Zionist movement campaigns of the beginning of the twentieth century to the present day. It marks the ways in which such a rhetorical strategy has been used to justify the state of Israel’s actions to the detriment of Palestinians. It concludes with recommendations for how Palestinian leaders, intellectuals, journalists, and activists can counter the Israeli strategy of appropriation to further their quest for Palestinian self-determination and human rights.

Narratives of victimhood in context

In any conflict, actors resort to narratives of victimhood to justify aggression, invasion, and even the killing of civilians. Such rhetoric is intended to establish binary lines of good versus evil, victim versus perpetrator. This mobilizes supporters against “the enemy.” As we see with Israel and in other conflicts, narratives of victimhood serve to legitimize violent and often pre-emptive acts against “the enemy,” perpetuating the cycle of violence and victimhood indefinitely.

By contrast, Palestinian narratives of victimhood draw on the injustice enshrined in the Balfour Declaration of 1917 that began to be implemented before and during the British Mandate of 1923 and since the 1947 UN partition plan. These sentiments continue to this day, and are exacerbated by the international community’s, and the Arab world’s, unwillingness to enforce international law and basic human rights. Thus, Palestinians’ narrative of victimhood cannot be discussed outside of this context and continued Israeli political and military actions against Palestinians in the OPT. The situation includes an unequal power dynamic given that Israel is the mightier power and the occupier; a large number of Palestinian fatalities, including children, as a result of Israeli actions and attacks; and Israeli control of space and territories, as well as resources and movement.

Accordingly, while an analysis of how the history of Jewish persecution and victimhood was — and is — used to justify the actions of the state of Israel should never lose sight of the facts and context of that very real persecution, there is at the same time a need to scrutinize the mobilization of this narrative to understand how one group — Israeli Jews — has been granted victimhood, while another — Palestinians — has not, shoring up a power imbalance in which Jewish Israeli rights are favored at the expense of Palestinian rights.

From victimhood to ethnic cleansing

Jewish persecution in Europe is rooted in anti-Semitism and the many ways in which it impacted Jewish communities in different locations and at different times. As for the narrative of persecution, it can be traced to the late nineteenth century, when Theodore Herzl, a father of Zionism, drew on the history of Jewish persecution in Europe to legitimize the nationalistic project of the Israeli state and its settler colonial practices. After WWII, this history of persecution was again invoked to justify the founding of the Israeli state. Indeed, Israel’s Declaration of Independence contends that “the Holocaust…in which millions of Jews in Europe were forced to slaughter again proved beyond doubt the compelling need to solve the problem of Jewish homelessness and dependence by the renewal of the Jewish state in the land of Israel, which would open wide the gates of the homeland to every Jew.”

Since the creation of Israel, historical narratives that value Jewish victimhood over Palestinian lives and rights have been used time and again by Israeli politicians. Prime Minister Golda Meir commented, for instance, that Jews have a “Masada complex,” a “pogrom complex,” and a “Hitler complex,” and former Prime Minister Menachem Begin drew parallels between the Palestinians and the Nazis.

Scholarship suggests that Israeli and Zionist leaders manipulated the memory of Jewish persecution, particularly in relation to the Holocaust, as a diplomatic tool in their treatment of the Palestinians. For instance, the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, in his book “The Idea of Israel,” argues that these leaders constructed a sense of Israelis as victims, a self-image that prevented them from seeing the Palestinian reality. This, he says, has impeded a political solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In recent years, new evidence and studies have begun to question the dominant claims of the Zionist movement. At the same time the global solidarity movement in support of Palestinians has been growing, in part thanks to digital platforms that allow global audiences unmediated access to Palestinian stories and lived reality. This has spurred Israeli leaders, PR managers, spokespeople, and their media to focus on diverse strategies to maintain their hold on Western public opinion.

These include using a discourse — such as Netanyahu’s use of ethnic cleansing — to refer to Jews and Israeli citizens as victims of continued persecution by the Palestinians, with the knowledge that these terms have specific legal meanings and, according to international law, are considered to be crimes against humanity. But it is the term’s associative and emotive meanings, particularly if they are intended to act as reminders of the long history of the persecution of the Jews, that serve to promote Jewish Israeli victimhood at the expense of Palestinian experiences of oppression. The term ethnic cleansing also has yet to be used officially in the West in regard to the Nakba, making it vulnerable to Israeli appropriation.

Around the same time as Netanyahu’s ethnic cleansing statement, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs reposted a related video on its Facebook page that had originally been released in 2013. The video, titled “Welcome to the Home of the Jewish People,” was billed as a short history of the Jews. It follows the travails of a Jewish couple, called Jacob and Rachel, when their home (the “Land of Israel”) is invaded by various groups, including the Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Arabs, Crusaders, the British Empire and — finally — the Palestinians. It thus proposes that Jews have survived a series of brutal invasions, with the only remaining invaders the Palestinians. The video provoked a strong reaction from Palestinian activists and those who work for Palestinian rights due to its clear attempt to rewrite the history of the conflict, framing of Israeli Jews as victims rather than the Palestinians, and deployment of racialized and violent language in its depiction of the Palestinians.

Netanyahu’s ethnic cleansing video is the latest in a series of videos planned and executed by David Keyes, Netanyahu’s foreign media spokesman, who was appointed in March 2016. Keyes has been a key strategist behind an increase in pro-Israel marketing campaigns on social media. Since his appointment, eight videos with Netanyahu addressing a variety of issues have been posted. All have proved popular among his supporters in Israel and the US.

The arguments in Netanyahu’s statement draw on those proposed in a 2009 document for the Israel Project, a pro-Israel advocacy group, prepared by Frank Luntz, an American political consultant identified with the US Republican Party. In this dictionary-cum-messaging-manual, Luntz details various tactics and terminology as well as tips for marketing and legitimizing discourses while also highlighting shared values with the West, such as “democracy,” “freedom,” and “security.”

With such a focus on the West, it is thus perhaps no surprise that Netanyahu communicates in English in the ethnic cleansing and other videos, with versions available with subtitles in Hebrew and Arabic.

Countering Israel’s rhetorical strategy

The history of Jewish persecution is a deeply affecting issue for Israelis and, more widely, for the international community, especially Europeans. However, the Israeli use of such terms as ethnic cleansing — at the hands of the Palestinians — wrongly depicts Israel as a victim and the Palestinians as an aggressor. Such rhetoric can be used in the dangerous practice of seeing any criticism of Israeli actions as anti-Semitic or as antagonistic toward Israel. This helps to stymie efforts on the part of Palestinians and Palestinian solidarity movements to hold Israel to account for its actions, such as extrajudicial killings and the illegal building of settlements in the OPT.

Given the fact that battles over narrative are becoming more prevalent and more visible in the digital age, and given the ways in which particular language may be used to deflect attention from on-the-ground developments, Netanyahu’s pointed use of the discourse of victimhood cannot be ignored. Attention to this development is all the more crucial at the current juncture, with Israel planning to expand settlements in and possibly annex further occupied territory, and with international determination and ability to resolve the conflict more sluggish than ever. Attention is also particularly necessary — and strategic — in a year marking the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, the five decades since the 1967 war, and the three decades since the First Palestinian Intifada.

The Israeli appropriation of the discourse around victimhood demands a more effective engagement by Palestinian spokespersons, political elites, and activists in the public sphere to expose the reality of Israeli actions and elicit international support for Palestine and the Palestinians. This does not mean taking part in a futile battle over who deserves to be called the real victim in the conflict, but to build a coordinated campaign to refute Israeli claims through evidence.

Such a campaign should contest Israeli narratives by using images and the language of international human rights that appeal to Western publics and leaders. It must always be based on evidence, facts, and context to counter attempts to misinform and disguise actions. The campaign should also train the Palestinian political elite and diplomatic staff in the use of political discourse directed to Palestinians, regionally and internationally, ensuring that the discourse does not legitimize Zionist discourse by, for example, inadvertently using anti-Semitic tropes. Those Palestinians leading the campaign and international solidarity groups must use Twitter and other social media outlets to target the mainstream media with the real-life situation on the ground in the OPT, as well as facing the Palestinian citizens of Israel and the Palestinian refugees and exiles, using the language of rights and international law.

Finally, the campaign should engage media professionals to train Palestinians and advocacy groups on how to counter propagandistic narratives and statements, as well as how to use digital media to reach out to global audiences.

Only with such concerted efforts can Israel’s strategy of appropriating the Palestinian narrative be contextualized and thus revealed as rhetoric intended to disguise the violence of Israeli settler colonialism.

(Source / 27.03.2017)

Israel continues closure of main road connecting Bethlehem-area villages

Straatafsluiting Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces continued to impose road closures on a main road in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem for the fifth day in a row on Monday, blockading a route used every day by thousands of commuters from four Palestinian villages.

Five days ago, Israeli forces placed rocks and dirt mounds in the middle of a road near the village of al-Khader. Though the closure does not directly affect the residents of al-Khader, the road serves as a main route between the city of Bethlehem and the villages of Husan, Battir, Nahhalin, and Wadi Fukin.
Israeli forces have yet to clear the road or provide residents with a reason for the closure.
An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports.
Israeli forces imposed a more than two-week closure on the same entrance last month over claims that Palestinian youths from the area threw rocks at Israeli settlers’ cars passing on a road near Husan.
Israel has come under harsh international condemnation for its response to alleged stone throwing by Palestinian youth through erecting checkpoints and roadblocks, which rights groups have said amounted to “collective punishment” and represents a clear violation of international law.
(Source / 27.03.2017)

18-year-old Palestinian remains in critical condition after deadly shooting

3 vrienden

A photo shared on social media purporting to show Jassem Nakhla, Muhammad Hattab, and Muhammad Nakhla

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — One of three 18-year-old Palestinians remained in critical condition on Monday, a medical official told Ma’an, after Israeli forces opened fire on them on Thursday in the central occupied West Bank, in a shooting that left another teenager dead.

Ahmad Bitawi — the director of the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah where Jassem Nakhla, Muhammad Hattab, and Muhammad Nakhla are currently being treated — told Ma’an that the all three of the young Palestinians were still in serious condition.
However, he said that two of them had seen some improvement over the past few days, while the third remained in very critical condition.
While Bitawi declined to identify which of the three were still hanging in the balance, he confirmed that one of the young Palestinians — who Palestinian social media news outlets identified as Jassem — had recently undergone surgery and was doing somewhat better.
Israeli forces shot at the young men, all residents of the al-Jalazun refugee camp in the Ramallah district of the West Bank, in contested circumstances on Thursday, with 17-year-old Muhammad Mahmoud Ibrahim al-Hattab succumbing to his wounds that same evening after being shot in the chest and shoulder.
Immediately following the attack, the Palestinian Ministry of Health described the health condition of the survivors, stating that Jassem Muhammad Nakhla had been shot in the head and foot, while Muhammad Hattab was shot in the abdomen, and Muhammad Moussa Nakhla was shot in the foot and shoulder.
The ministry told Ma’an that they did not have further information on the youths’ cases as of Monday.
Local sources told Ma’an at the time of the deadly shooting that Israeli soldiers in a military tower near the entrance of the camp, which is located adjacent to the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El, fired heavily towards the teens’ vehicle while they were inside.
An Israeli army spokesperson, claimed that the boys were throwing Molotov cocktails at the settlement, and that they were outside of their car when they were shot.
However, video and photographic footage taken by locals at the scene following the shooting showed the vehicle riddled with bullets, windows shattered, and blood staining the seats, casting doubt on the Israeli army’s narrative of the event.
When questioned by Ma’an about how the teens could have re-entered their car and driven away from the scene after being injured with multiple rounds of live fire to the head and chest, the Israeli army spokesperson said she could not comment.
Shortly after the deadly shooting, clashes erupted between locals of al-Jalazun refugee camp and Israeli forces who were deployed at the entrance of Beit El.
Muhammad al-Hattab was the 15th Palestinian to be confirmed killed by Israeli forces this year, and marked the third time that Israeli forces fatally shot a Palestinian minor since the beginning of 2017.
Earlier this month, Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Murad Yousif Abu Ghazi in al-Arrub refugee camp north of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank, with the Israeli army at the time claiming that Abu Ghazi was throwing Molotov cocktails at Israeli settler vehicles.
The Israeli army also claimed that 17-year-old Qusay Hassan al-Umour was throwing Molotov cocktails in January when Israeli forces shot al-Umour in the chest with live fire at least three times and killed him — a claim that was widely contradicted by video evidence and investigations undertaken by rights groups, who branded the incident an unlawful and unjustified killing.
In many cases, Israel’s version of events has been disputed by witnesses, activists, and rights groups who have denounced what they have termed a “shoot-to-kill” policy against Palestinians who did not constitute a threat at the time of their death, or who could have been subdued in a non-lethal manner — amid a backdrop of impunity for Israelis who committed the killings.
(Source / 27.03.2017)

Israeli commander tells soldiers to reduce use of force against Palestinian protesters

Zios soldaten clash Palestijnse jongeren

Israeli soldiers aim towards Palestinian youths during clashes in the West Bank town of Hebron on Oct. 4, 2015

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli army commander unveiled a new directive for Israeli forces Monday, issued in an effort to decrease unwanted “reactions” from Palestinians by reducing Israel’s use of weapons to suppress protests in the occupied West Bank, particularly those organized next to Israel’s illegal separation wall.

The announcement came as Israeli forces have come under repeated criticism for excessive use of force, as well as lethal methods of crowd control that often result in the injury or death of protesters, amid a backdrop of what critics have called a culture of impunity for Israeli soldiers.
In a written statement obtained by Ma’an, Israeli army commander Roi Sheetrit, responsible for the West Bank’s northern districts, touted the army’s success in refraining from shooting any protesters in the village of Nilin — where Palestinians stage weekly protests against the separation wall and Israeli settlement expansion — since the directive was issued in February.
Not mentioned in the statement was the Israeli army’s violent suppression of a weekly march in the village of Kafr Qaddum this month — also under the commander’s purview in the northern West Bank — during which two Palestinians, including a journalist attempting to cover the protest, were shot and injured.
The incident was described by a local activist as an “unprecedented” display of violence in the village, where locals began staging protests every Friday in 2011.
Sheetrit also said that attacks allegedly carried out by Palestinians — shooting attacks in particular — have significantly decreased since the beginning of 2017, claiming the trend was due to “Israeli policies,” and also noted that all Palestinians who have been accused of involvement in shooting attacks have been apprehended.
The Israeli army made a similar claim in April 2016, saying that a decrease in small-scale acts of violence by Palestinians since a wave of unrest began the previous fall was a result of severe security measures imposed by the Israeli army, which have meanwhile been denounced as “collective punishment” measures by rights groups.
However, shortly after the claim was made, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found in a poll that support for stabbing attacks had seen a decline — “due, it seems, to a rising perception in its inefficacy.”
Sheetrit also addressed in his statement that the Israeli army was conducting measures stymying the inflow of undocumented Palestinian workers into Israel “to prevent any possible attacks,” which echoed an assertion made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last March that “a large proportion of (Palestinian) attackers were present in Israel illegally or infiltrated into Israel illegally” — a claim that was also found to be largely unfounded.
The Israeli army commander’s statement also said that over the course of 2016, 445 weapons were seized and 43 manufacturing workshops were shut down in northern West Bank districts.
In the same time period, Sheetrit claimed that 26 vehicles used to transfer undocumented workers from the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya to Israel were seized, while the Israeli army opened 446 investigations into “illegal” entry into Israel — in which 138 people were interrogated and 72 were detained.
The statement also said that the Israeli army has seized eight vehicles since the beginning of 2017 which were allegedly used in “attacks” against Israeli forces in Nilin.
Last November, Sheetrit told The Jerusalem Post that the Israeli army was developing new “moral guidelines” for Israeli forces on how to properly conduct raids and treat Palestinian detainees in the occupied West Bank, with the report quoting a senior Israeli army officer as saying: “These are the things that soldiers don’t learn during their training.”
(Source / 27.03.2017)

US seriously planning to relocate embassy to Jerusalem

International community considers East Jerusalem an occupied Palestinian area

US Vice President Mike Pence reiterated on Sunday the White House is seriously planning to move US embassy from Tel-Aviv to occupied Jerusalem.

“After decades of simply talking about it, the president of the United States is giving serious consideration to moving the American embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem,” Pence told AIPAC

US Vice President Mike Pence reiterated on Sunday the White House is seriously planning to move US embassy from Tel-Aviv to occupied Jerusalem.

“President Donald Trump was seriously considering the matter,” Pence said in a speech to the pro-Israel US lobbying group AIPAC.

During the 2016 US presidential campaign, Trump’s team spoke often about moving the US embassy to the occupied Palestinian city of Jerusalem.

“After decades of simply talking about it, the president of the United States is giving serious consideration to moving the American embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem,” Pence told AIPAC.

Israeli occupation state occupied west part of Jerusalem in 1948 and occupied the east part of the holy city in 1967.

The occupation state considers united Jerusalem as their “eternal” and “indivisible” capital and wants all countries, recognising it, to move their embassies from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.

Many US allies rejects the idea of the united capital of Israel as the PLO and Palestinian Authority want the eastern part of the city as their capital.

If the United States were to relocate its embassy, it would be seen as an explicit recognition of Jerusalem belonging to Israel, potentially pre-determining the outcome of eventual peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian.

(Source / 27.03.2017)