Israeli propaganda and the alliance with Islamic extremists

Palestinian youths take part during a rally, protesting against Israel's violations on Al-Aqsa Mosque in Gaza City on 27 July 2017 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Palestinian youths take part during a rally, protesting against Israel’s violations on Al-Aqsa Mosque in Gaza City on 27 July 2017

By Asa Winstanley

Probably the most common Israeli propaganda tactic is the smear: an attempt to discredit enemies by making spurious associations and linkages, as well as outright fabrication of allegations of impropriety.

In Victor Ostrovsky’s By Way of Deception, an old book by a disgruntled Mossad agent, he recounts that the Mossad often tried to do this to Palestinian leaders, with mixed results. It usually aimed to outright murder them. But when it was unable to, or it was thought politically inopportune to do so, it instead tried character assassination.

Ostrovsky says that because the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was well supported by the Palestinian population, and was known by everyone to not be personally corrupt, living a frugal lifestyle, they could not successfully smear him by claiming he was a corrupt dictator in the mould of other Arab leader such as Saddam Hussein. Instead they spread lurid rumours about his sex life, some of which still live on in the world of the most crude Israeli propaganda.

The most common form of Israeli smear of course is the claim of “anti-Semitism” by Israel’s enemies. It is a dirty tactic, but is one practically as old as Zionism itself. Anyone who speaks out in defence of the Palestinian struggle for justice and who has any kind of public profile will sooner or later be accused of anti-Semitism by Israel and its propagandists.

This explains the manufactured scandal in the Labour Party last year, which briefly threatened Jeremy Corbyn’s position as leader. This systematic and long-standing Israeli strategy is wrong on the most fundamental level of facts and justice for those so falsely accused, but it is also wrong because of the harm it does to the Jewish community.

False and politically motivated smears of  “anti-Semitism” in defence of Israel distract from and damage the struggle against genuine cases of anti-Semitism, which overwhelmingly come from the political right. In fact, many of Israel’s best friends around the world in positions of political influence are increasingly associated with “alt-right” anti-Semites. Richard Spencer calls himself a “White Zionist.” Former top Trump adviser Steve Bannon is set to speak at November’s annual gala for the Zionist Organization of America. Even the far-right in Britain seems to be in love with Israel, operating as it does as an anti-Muslim bulwark (while conveniently removing Jews from Britain – a project anti-Semites and Zionists both support).

But another smear strategy Israel has long indulged in, increasingly since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the US, is the attempt to claim its critics are motivated by violent Islamic extremism. In the last few years, this has taken the form of Israel attempting to lump “Islamist” parties and movements all in together, as if groups with widely differing aims and methods were a monolithic bloc.

“Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the UN General Assembly in 2014. But the reality could not be more different.

The truth is that Hamas is at war with the Daesh group, and has successfully held it at bay for years now. The two groups have very different visions, motivations and methods. Daesh considers Hamas an apostate movement which participates in democratic elections, and because it is an essentially nationalist Palestinian movement. Daesh, on the other hand wants to see a supra-national state which would stretch from Morocco in the west to Iraq in the east and wipe out existing national borders.

With Daesh’s horrendous attacks against civilians, and its brutal methods of dealing with even the most timid of critics, it is no wonder it wishes to attack Hamas. The most recent reminder of this reality came in August.

A Palestinian border post in the southern Gaza Strip was attacked by an Daesh suicide bomber, resulting in the death of Nidal al-Jaafari, a Hamas security man. Daesh and other extremist groups have been fighting Egyptian forces in the Sinai Peninsula for years.

Although this is the first time Hamas forces have been targeted by a suicide bombing, it marks the latest in a longer history of Hamas struggle against Daesh and other such extremist groups.

Israeli propaganda assaults on Hamas for its supposed closeness to Daesh are particularly ironic considering Israel’s openly expressed support for al-Qaeda and Daesh in Syria.

Last year director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies Efraim Inbar claimed thatDaesh was “a useful tool in undermining” Iran. Furthermore the former Israeli defence minister Moshe Yaalon said at a conference that if he had to pick a side out of Iran and Daesh in Syria: “I choose the Islamic State”. He argued that “our greatest enemy is the Iranian regime”.

Which possibly explains why, unlike Hamas, Israel is content to leave Daesh well alone.

(Source / 02.09.2017)

Israeli police detains 2 Palestinians during East Jerusalem raids

A Palestinian teen is being arrested by an Israeli soldier on 17 June 2017

Israeli police confiscated weapons and ammunition during search and detention raids carried out in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday, when at least two Palestinians were also detained by Israeli forces.

According to an Israeli police statement, a loaded gun was found inside a sock on a rooftop of a Palestinian’s home that was raided in East Jerusalem. Two rifles and ammunition were also found in a bedroom of another home.

Image from the Israeli raid. Photo: Maan

 

The statement did not specify in what neighbourhoods the raids had taken place.

The statement added that two Palestinians were detained by Israeli police during the raids, and were transferred for interrogations with Israeli authorities.

Israeli raids in Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps are a daily occurrence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with a biweekly average of 85 search and detention raids carried thus far in 2017, according to UN documentation.

Image from the Israeli raid. Photo: Maan

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 6,128 Palestinians were detained by Israel as of July, 320 of whom were children. The group has estimated that some 40 percent of Palestinian men will be detained by Israel at some point in their lives.

(Source / 02.09.2017)

Turkish FM: Why are Muslim nations silent on Rohingya?

Growing public anger over ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims

Turkey’s foreign minister on Saturday decried other Muslim countries’ silence on the plight of the Rohingya Muslims.

“There are a great many Muslim countries. Where are they? Why are they silent?” Mevlut Cavusoglu asked at an event marking the Muslim Eid-al Adha holiday in the Mediterranean province of Antalya.

He said to date Turkey had delivered more than $70 million in humanitarian aid to the Rohingya Muslims, and that no country in the world was showing more concern for the Rohingya than Turkey.

But, he added: “It’s not enough to deliver aid. In two weeks we need to hold a meeting in New York with the UN’s secretary-general, leaders of Muslim countries, international organizations, head of the UN Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, Kofi Annan, and other leaders to solve this issue.”

Violence erupted in Myanmar’s Rakhine state on 25 August when the country’s security forces launched an operation against the Rohingya Muslim community. It triggered a fresh influx of refugees towards neighboring Bangladesh, though the country sealed off its border to refugees.

Media reports said Myanmar security forces used disproportionate force, displacing thousands of Rohingya villagers and destroying their homes with mortars and machine guns.

The region has seen simmering tension between its Buddhist and Muslim populations since communal violence broke out in 2012.

A security crackdown launched last October in Maungdaw, where Rohingya make up the majority, led to a UN report on human rights violations by security forces that indicated crimes against humanity.

The UN documented mass gang-rape, killings — including infants and young children — brutal beatings, and disappearances. Rohingya representatives have said approximately 400 people have been slain during the crackdown.

(Source / 02.09.2017)

Hebron governor deplores Israeli army order expanding settlers’ municipal powers

Settlers under police protection in Hebron

Israeli settlers tour Hebron’s Old City under Israeli army protection as Palestinian movement is severely affected. June 25, 2016

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Governor of the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron Kamel Hamid condemned a recent Israeli army decision to expand municipal powers in Hebron to Israeli settlers that live illegally in the city, reportedly describing the move as “the most dangerous since 1967.”

Hamid told Palestinian Authority-owned radio station Voice of Palestine that the decision would serve to further strengthen Israeli control in Hebron while undermining the PA, in a city where Palestinians already contend with the highest concentration of military checkpoints in the West Bank and are surrounded by hundreds of notoriously aggressive settlers living under the protection of the Israeli army.
“The order jeopardizes any political settlement in the area, which stands in contradiction with the peace process and the establishment of a Palestinian state,” Hamid said, according to a translation of the interview by the PA’s Wafa news agency.
Hamid warned that decision will lead to “a state of confusion and chaos and will threaten order and stability in the area,” according to the report, which added that the governor called for “urgent political, diplomatic and legal action.”
Mistreatment of Palestinians in the Hebron area has been common since the city was divided in the 1990s after a US-born settler, Baruch Goldstein, massacred 29 Palestinians inside the Ibrahimi Mosque.
The majority of the city was placed under the jurisdiction of the PA, while the Old City and surrounding areas were placed under Israeli military control in a sector known as H2. While H2 is under Israeli military control, civil issues, such as infrastructure, construction, traffic arrangements, in the settlers section has remained controlled by the PA.
According to Peace Now, an Israeli NGO focusing on settlement expansion, the Israeli army announced Thursday that the military order was signed to establish a municipal services administration for the Hebron’s Israeli settlers, following administrative work by the Israeli Military Advocate General, Civil Administration, Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of the Interior.
“By granting an official status to the Hebron settlers, the Israeli government is formalizing the apartheid system in the city. This step, which happened immediately following the announcement on the evacuation of the settlers who took over a house in Hebron, is another illustration of the policy of compensating the most extreme settlers for their illegal actions,” the human rights organization wrote.
According to Peace Now, the Israeli order “does not create a new local authority or a new community within a regional authority, but rather a settler body with a certain degree of administrative power,” which would not include any Palestinian representation.
More than 30,000 Palestinians reside in Hebron’s Old City, side by side with some 800 Israeli settlers.
Peace Now noted they were attempting to obtain a copy of the military order to further understand its implications, but said that a possible consequence of the decision would be the “formalization” of the “apartheid” system in Hebron.
“Although the settlers already treat specific areas in the city as their own, this split in local governance formalizes the apartheid system in Hebron, with the approval of Minister of Defense Lieberman.”
Meanwhile, if the order proves to grant authority over infrastructure in the area to the new administration, that would “constitute a violation of the Hebron Protocol from 1997, according to which the responsibility and authority over infrastructure are in the hands of the Palestinians,” Peace Now said.
The group added that, “We can assume that the establishment of the ‘municipal services administration’ will lead to the handling of budgets directly by the settlers, rather than by the Civil Administration, something which is also likely to result in less transparency in fund allocation.”
(Source / 02.09.2017)

PA continues ‘arbitrary’ detention of Palestinian man despite release orders

Prison-Jail

The Palestinian Authority has continued to detain a Palestinian man from the Hebron-area town of Dura in the southern occupied West Bank despite four court orders calling for his release, according to a statement released on Wednesday from legal NGO al-Haq, in which the group condemned the PA for the detention.

Shadi Nammourah has been “arbitrarily” detained by the PA’s General Intelligence Service (GIS) in its Jericho detention center, according to al-Haq, which cited release orders by courts in Dura and Jericho issued on 30 May, 13 June, 20 June, and 3 August.

GIS responded to each release order by continuing to detain Nammourah, allegedly based on new charges, al-Haq said.

The Palestinian human rights organisation said they have sent a letter to the head of GIS calling on him to implement the courts’ orders, underscoring that,

the ongoing arbitrary detention of Nammourah is in violation of the Palestinian Basic Law

al-Haq added that it was also a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The group further filed a complaint with the PA public prosecutor and sent a notice to the Palestinian Anti-Corruption Commission in response to Nammourah’s case.

Al-Haq is deeply concerned over the implications that the GIS’s failure to implement judicial decisions will have on society at-large, as well as on the efficacy of the judicial authority. The GIS’s continued arbitrary detention of Nammourah comes within a broader deterioration of the human rights and rule of law situation under the Palestinian Authority.

The PA has arbitrarily detained Palestinians in defiance of release orders before, to the outrage of the public and Palestinian factions who have long accused the PA of carrying out politically-motivated arrests against Hamas members and others — including journalists and activists — who express opposition to PA policies.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ administration has also cracked down on dissent by blocking some 30 news sites allegedly affiliated to Hamas or discharged Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan, and by passing a new Cyber Crimes Law through presidential decree, which broadly criminalizes freedom of expression on the internet.

(Source / 02.09.2017)

Israeli forces shoot 14-year-old inside his home with rubber bullet

Israeli soldiers

File photo of Israeli soldiers

Israeli forces injured a 14-year-old Palestinian with a rubber-coated steel bullet on Friday while suppressing a weekly march in the village of Kafr Qaddum in the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya.

Coordinator for the village’s popular committee Murad Shteiwi said that Yousif Amer, 14, was injured with a rubber bullet in his stomach while inside his uncle’s house. Palestinians often report that Israeli forces directly aim at Palestinian homes during clashes, causing rubber bullets and tear gas canisters to break through windows into homes.

Amer was taken to the Rafadiya Hospital in Nablus to receive treatment, according to Shteiwi.
Shteiwi said that locals had participated in the march on the first day of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, in order to stress their commitment to the village’s popular resistance.

Like most weeks, clashes erupted in the town between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces. Israeli forces also raided and searched the town for specific locals and checked Palestinian ID cards.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports on the clashes.

Residents of Kafr Qaddum began staging weekly protests in 2011 against Israeli land confiscations, as well as the closure of the village’s southern road by Israeli forces.

The road, which has been closed for 14 years, is the main route to the nearby city of Nablus, the nearest economic center.

The Israeli army blocked off the road after expanding the illegal Israeli settlement of Kedumim in 2003, forcing village residents to take a bypass road in order to travel to Nablus, which has extended the travel time to Nablus from 15 minutes to 40 minutes, according to Israeli rights group B’Tselem.

Hundreds of Palestinians have been detained during the demonstrations since their start in 2011, and at least one protester was killed, while dozens have been injured by live fire, including 12 children, Shteiwi told Ma’an during a similar protest last year.

(Source / 02.09.2017)

Letter from Gaza: ‘Alive due to lack of death’

Gaza-born Jehad Abusalim describes the devastating effects of Israel’s blockade on the daily lives of Palestinians.

‘When the electricity goes out, the silence is deafening’

In Gaza, entire families sit in the darkness of their living rooms, with candles generating the only light. Dozens of families have lost loved ones in house fires.

Propane is scarce, and small generators are unsafe and hard to come by. They are usually smuggled through tunnels and poorly made. One of my college professors lost three children (a 14-year-old and eight-year-old twins) after their generator exploded.

Gaza residents face so much hardship and pain, just to secure one of life’s basic necessities.

When the electricity goes out, the silence is deafening. Everything grinds to a halt: refrigerators, televisions, hospital equipment, water pumps and fans. Modern life stops. The quiet allows us to imagine what the world was like before we were immersed in the noise of car horns and the hum and buzz of modern machines. Later, the quiet is replaced by a storm of sound as generators whir and screech back to life.

INTERACTIVE: 24 Hours in Gaza

I will never forget the afternoon when I asked my father how long he thought the blockade would last.

“A  few months, my son. A few months. It won’t take long,” he answered.

A few weeks ago, more than a decade since the Israeli blockade of Gaza was implemented, I spoke with my father again and reminded him of what he said that day. I could practically feel his sorrow and grief through the phone.

“I don’t know how many 10 years there are in one’s life,” he answered, crushed by the naivete of his statement all those years ago.

How is it acceptable that in 2017, Gaza’s residents, including my own family, have to spend so much of their time worrying about water, light and food? What justifies a policy that causes toddlers like my younger brother to soak in sweat during the night and place their cheeks on the cool tile floor to escape the heat of Gaza’s nights?

No peace can come from forcing thousands of people to wait until dawn for their weekly share of water, while on the other side of the border, Israelis take dips in swimming pools and enjoy unlimited access to fresh water.

Nowadays, if you ask Palestinians in Gaza how they are doing, they might answer: “Alive, due to lack of death.” This commonly used expression captures the dreadfulness of everyday life in Gaza.

It pains me to say this, but Gaza will inevitably fall apart. Every second in Gaza under Israel’s blockade – where water and medical care are luxuries – is tainted by tragedy. Every time a family cannot afford to put food on the table, every time a house fire claims yet another victim, every time a cancer patient cannot acquire life-saving treatment or another desperate person ends their life, the horror of the blockade comes into full view.

READ MORE: The orphans of Gaza

So long as Israel maintains control over Palestinian lives but denies them their basic rights and freedoms, it cannot call itself a democracy.

The United Nations has declared Gaza unlivable“, and the blockade creates a slow, collective death. What will it take to convince the international community that the people of Gaza, like all people on this Earth, deserve to live in dignity?

More and more people are joining the effort to advocate for Palestinian freedom, including by participating in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. It is time we end the blockade on Gaza and set the Palestinian people free.

(Source / 02.09.2017)

Israel shoots elderly Palestinian who ‘looked like’ she wanted to stab soldier

Israeli security forces inspect the scene after 3 vehicles belonging to Palestinians set on fire by Israeli settlers, at Umm Safa village in Ramallah, West Bank on 9 August, 2017 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli security forces inspect the scene after 3 vehicles belonging to Palestinians set on fire by Israeli settlers, at Umm Safa village in Ramallah, West Bank on 9 August, 2017

Israel detains elderly Palestinian woman for allegedly intending to carry out attack
Israeli forces detained a 60-year-old Palestinian woman near the village of Nilin in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah on Saturday amid unclear circumstances, as Israeli forces suspected that she was intending to carry out a stabbing attack.

According to witness testimonies, Israeli soldiers had opened live ammunition on the woman, injuring her, after suspecting her of intending to carry out a stabbing attack when she walked close to where the soldiers were stationed at an Israeli checkpoint.

However, others said that the soldiers had only opened live ammunition in the air, and the woman passed out on the ground before she was detained.

The woman has yet to be identified. No one reported seeing a knife on the woman.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that the incident was not under the army’s jurisdiction. An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available to comment.

Palestinians are often killed or detained for alleged attacks. However, these cases have often been challenged, as Palestinians and rights groups have noted that Israeli forces tend to accuse Palestinians of attempted attacks even when the evidence is dubious.

According to Ma’an documentation, 54 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis since the beginning of the year, 14 of whom have been killed since July 14 during attacks, alleged attacks, or in clashes following protests against Israeli security measures at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Since the beginning of 2017, 13 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians, nine of whom were uniformed Israeli officers.

Palestinians have often cited the daily frustrations and routine Israeli military violence imposed by Israel’s nearly half century occupation of the Palestinian territory as main drivers for actual political attacks on Israelis.

(Source / 02.09.2017)

Israeli forces detain 2 brothers from al-Jalazun refugee camp, raid family home

2 brothers from al-Jalazun

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian youth on Saturday from al-Jalazun refugee camp in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, a day after his brother was also detained by Israeli forces.

The youth was identified by locals as Ammar Riyad Salam al-Tirawi, 19. His brother, Amer, 25, was detained during a dawn raid on Friday.
In both cases, locals told Ma’an the two Palestinians were assaulted during the detentions, and that soldiers had raided the family’s home, assaulted them, searched for weapons, and destroyed furniture during the raids on Friday and Saturday. However, no weapons were found in the house.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports on the detentions. She added that she would look into reports on other detentions carried out in the West Bank.
Israeli raids in Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps are a daily occurrence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with a biweekly average of 85 search and detention raids carried thus far in 2017, according to UN documentation.
According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 6,128 Palestinians were detained by Israel as of July, 320 of whom were children. The group has estimated that some 40 percent of Palestinian men will be detained by Israel at some point in their lives.

(Source / 02.09.2017)

Peace Now: “Official Status Granted to Hebron Settlers by the Civil Administration”

02 SEP
3:15 AM

Published By peace Now on August 31st: The Israeli Army’s Spokesperson Unit announced that the Head of the Central Command, Major General Roni Numa, signed a military order establishing a municipal services administration for the Jewish settlers in Hebron.

The order was signed following administrative work by the Military Advocate General, the Civil Administration, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Interior.

“By granting an official status to the Hebron settlers, the Israeli government is formalizing the apartheid system in the city. This step, which happened immediately following the announcement on the evacuation of the settlers who took over a house in Hebron, is another illustration of the policy of compensating the most extreme settlers for their illegal actions.”

Details:

It appears that the order does not create a new local authority or a new community within a regional authority, but rather a settler body with a certain degree of administrative power. Needless to say, this body will not include any Palestinian representation.

We are currently trying to obtain the military order and the legal opinion leading to it, in order to be able to further understand the implications of this development.

Possible implications:

1) Although the settlers already treat specific areas in the city as their own, this split in local governance formalizes the apartheid system in Hebron, with the approval of Minister of Defense Lieberman.

2) It is still unclear whether the new “municipal services administration” will have authority on infrastructure in the area, but if so, this would constitute a violation of the Hebron Protocol from 1997, according to which the responsibility and authority over infrastructure are in the hands of the Palestinians.

3) We can assume that the establishment of the “municipal services administration” will lead to the handling of budgets directly by the settlers, rather than by the Civil Administration, something which is also likely to result in less transparency in fund allocation.

(Source / 02.09.2017)