Israeli ‘solution’ for Gaza includes massive military offensive and move to Sinai

A view of Rafah Crossing Point is seen as Interior Ministry members standing in front of the entrance, on January 07, 2019 in Gaza City, Gaza. The Hamas-run Interior Ministry on Monday assumed responsibility of managing the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. The move came one day after the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) suddenly withdrew its personnel from the terminal. ( Ali Jadallah - Anadolu Agency )

A view of Rafah Crossing Point is seen as Interior Ministry members standing in front of the entrance, on January 07, 2019 in Gaza City, Gaza

Two Israeli officials have proposed a “solution” for the Gaza Strip which includes another massive military offensive against the enclave and moving the Palestinians to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Arabi21.com reported on Sunday. The end of the government led by Mahmoud Abbas is also suggested in a report published by the Jerusalem Institute for Public and State Affairs.

The purpose of the proposal is to make the humanitarian crisis in Gaza even worse, prompting a military confrontation. Its authors are Shimon Shapira, a former military secretary to Israel’s Prime Minister, and Shlomi Fogel, an official who has proposed numerous initiatives related to the Arab world. The phase which would follow the offensive would be based on economic and commercial development for Sinai backed by Egypt.

According to Shapira and Fogel, Gaza is still a crisis issue for Israel and the international community. They refer to a report issued by the International Bank in 2018 which said that Gaza’s economy is failing.

READ: Netanyahu threatens Gaza with new military aggression 

Saving Gaza will not be easy, the report claims, because Hamas, which controls Gaza, is seen by the US, EU and Israel as a “terrorist group”, while its ideological parent, the Muslim Brotherhood, is also regarded as a “terrorist” movement by a number of Arab states. Furthermore, the Gaza Strip and its residents have faced three massive Israeli military offensives against the largely civilian population since Hamas won the last Palestinian elections in 2006 and took full control of the coastal territory a year later.

The report describes the failure to deal with Gaza as a “ticking bomb”, not only for Israel, but also for the other countries in the region, including Egypt. It suggests an international aid package for Egypt coming mainly from the US and Gulf States to develop the infrastructure in Sinai. This, it is proposed, will help Egyptian workers by giving them work and improving their life, and will, it is believed, deter them from joining Daesh or attacking the Egyptian army. Workers from Gaza will also benefit.

As well as developing the port at El-Arish, Shapira and Fogel suggest the building of an airport for goods and passenger transport, as well as a new power plant run on Egyptian natural gas, a desalination plant and a railway from Gaza to the North Sinai coastal city.

(Source / 01.07.2019) 

US Jewish organisations launch campaign against Israel occupation

Bernie Sanders joins Jewish activists in opposing the occupation on 1 July 2019

A Jewish American organisation opposed to the Israeli occupation has been using the American presidential campaigns to spread its call for ending the occupation and achieving a peace that ensures freedom and dignity for Israelis and Palestinians alike, the Anadolu Agency reported.

IfNotNow was established in 2014, during “Operation Protective Edge”, by “young Jews angered by the overwhelming hawkish response of American Jewish institutions,” according to the organisation’s website.

It recently launched a new branch to promote its message in the context of the US presidential election, Jerusalem Post reported.

READ: How Israeli ‘rules of engagement’ allow soldiers to shoot children in the back

“IfNotNow, which is led by young American Jews, has spent the past four years organising in the American Jewish community and opened this 501(c)4 in order to expose the occupation as a moral crisis within the American Jewish community, end the weaponisation of antisemitism in the political debate over Israel, and create political space for leaders who will stand up for the freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians,” the Israeli newspaper quoted the American organisation as saying in a statement.

On Saturday, a number of IfNotNow’s representatives met with Bernie Sanders, who is running for the Democratic Party’s nomination for the 2020 presidential election. In a tweet that has a picture featuring Sanders and IfNotNow members holding a banner that reads “Jews Against the Occupation,” the organisation reported, “Our members in NH [New Hampshire] just asked @BernieSanders if he’s also an anti-occupation Jew and looks like the answer is YES!”

“Our focus is going to be trying to push the candidates past giving lip-service to a two-state solution,” IfNotNow co-founder Emily Mayer told US news company Politico, “without recognising the underlying dynamics and explicit moves by the Israel government that are creating a one-state reality where Palestinians are denied basic rights.”

(Source / 01.07.2019) 

US Ambassador to Israel Participates in Israeli Underground Settlement Expansion

01 JUL3:58 AM

The US Ambassador to Israel, and longtime Israeli settlement financier, David Friedman, participated on Sunday in an underground excavation under the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, in East Jerusalem, actively participating in the illegal settlement action by bashing with a hammer a section of ancient underground wall located beneath Palestinian homes.

In addition to Ambassador David Friedman, the US “Peace Envoy” Jason Greenblatt also participated in the controversial and illegal excavation, along with Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who recently narrowly avoided prison time by negotiating a plea agreement in which she pleaded guilty to corruption charge.

The presence of US officials at the incident marks the first time that the US, or any country, has decided to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Old City of Jerusalem. The Old City was declared an international space open to all during the declaration recognizing the state of Israel in 1948. But since 1967, Israeli forces have occupied the mainly Palestinian city and have used many measures, legal and illegal, to push out the Palestinian residents of the city.

This archaeological dig is to excavate a tunnel that Israeli state archaeologists claim was used by Jewish pilgrims thousands of years ago.

According to a statement by the Israeli non-profit Emek Shaveh, the group believes that this incident with the U.S. officials is “a further step in American support for the pro-settlement policy in Jerusalem, and particularly the touristic-settlement projects….It is inexcusable to ignore the Palestinian residents of Silwan, carrying out extensive excavations of an underground city and to use such excavations as part of an effort to tell a historical story that is exclusively Jewish in a 4,000 year-old city with a rich and diverse cultural and religious past”.

In an editorial in the leading Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, the paper’s editors write, “The participation of American diplomats at an event sponsored by a right-wing group in East Jerusalem constitutes de facto recognition of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem’s historic basin. If anyone had any doubts about that, Friedman made clear in an interview with the Jerusalem Post that, ‘The City of David is an essential component of the national heritage of the State of Israel.” Giving it up, even in the context of a peace agreement, he said, “would be akin to America returning the Statue of Liberty.’”

The problem with this argument, according to the editors of Ha’aretz, is that, “This recognition doesn’t just put the American administration on the extreme right of the Israeli political map – thus undercutting the claim that American can be an unbiased broker between Israel and the Palestinians – but it also ignores the complicated reality in Silwan, East Jerusalem and the entire region. The tunnel, which was excavated using controversial methods from a scientific standpoint, harnesses archaeology to politics while ignoring the nuances of Jerusalem’s ancient past….Anyone having even a passing familiarity with the Palestinian people knows that there’s no chance of arriving at any kind of agreement that will end the occupation so long as Israel continues to control East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Thus, by mere words and an event dripping with sweetness and smiles, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has sentenced Israelis to a life of constant conflict, or to an apartheid state in which there are two types of residents, those with rights and those without them.”

Over 300,000 Palestinians live in the city of Jerusalem, at least 20,000 of whom live in Silwan. These Palestinians have no citizenship rights and are not granted freedom of movement by the Israeli authorities. They are frequently displaced from their ancestral homes by Israeli settlers, particularly in Silwan neighborhood, which has been targeted by Israeli right-wing settlers for colonization.

Embedded video

Barak Ravid @BarakRavid  

WATCH: U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman takes a 10 pounds hammer and breaks open a tunnel which runs under the Palestinian village of Silwan to the old city of Jerusalem. This happens at a settlers organisation event with Sara Netanyahu and Sheldon Adelson at his side6956:03 PM – Jun 30, 2019 1,009 people are talking about this (Source / 01.07.2019)  

‘ISRAEL’ ARRESTS 7 PALESTINIANS IN THE WEST BANK

Occupied West Bank (QNN)- Israeli occupation forces on the early morning of Monday arrested seven Palestinians during night raids throughout the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli army announced that it arrested “wanted” Palestinians accused of resisting the occupation and settlement.

In Ramallah, 2 Palestinians were arrested during a raid into the Jalazoun refugee camp, and broke into houses at Der Abu Mashaal in western Ramallah and vandalized properties owned by Palestinians.

In Jenin, Israeli occupation forces broke into the village of Meithaloun, causing violent confrontations which continued for hours. Several suffocation cases are reported and a tractor was confiscated by the Israelis.

(Source / 01.07.2019) 

How Israeli media helped turn innocent Palestinian into child rapist

Mahmoud Katusa, who was falsely accused of raping a 7-year-old Jewish girl, fell victim to a press and a public atmosphere that views Palestinians as guilty until proven innocent.



By Uzi Benziman


In order to understand the false allegations against Mahmoud Katusa, a Palestinian man from the West Bank who was wrongfully accused of raping a 7-year-old Jewish girl, one should listen to what Dr Suzy Ben Baruch, the former head of the Israel Police Juvenile Department, told Army Radio last week.


Speaking on an evening show, Ben Baruch firmly stated that Katusa’s was “the perfect case.” The victim’s “early acquaintance with the rapist,” and that he was speedily identified were “sound evidence for filing an indictment. And that’s what we have in this case.”

Co-host Yaakov Berdugo tried to understand Ben Baruch’s diagnosis, repeatedly asking her about how she came to this particular conclusion. Ben Baruch responded resolutely: “If the prosecution had doubts about its ability to prove the accusation, it would not have filed an indictment.”

Army Radio was not the only outlet to host Ben Baruch and make room for her insights. That same night she was also interviewed by several other outlets, and in the following days, her opinion could be found everywhere in the media. The impression she left was incontrovertible: Katusa is the rapist, and the Military Advocate General and the police have solid evidence to prosecute him.

On Tuesday morning, shortly after the police and the MAG withdrew the indictment against Katusa, Ben Baruch’s conclusions now speak for themselves. The irony is clear as day, and perhaps it is symbolic that someone previously tasked with investigating cases of sexual abuse of minors failed so disgracefully.

Deep racism

The behaviour of the police and the MAG in this case not only reflects an inexcusable professional clumsiness; it mainly shows the kind of racist mindset that is poisoning Israeli society — including, woefully, the branch entrusted with enforcing the law.

The state authority whose role it is to protect the public from injustice, to implement the very principles of justice rather than divert or distort it, is infected by a disease that all state institutions must be safeguarded against.

The rape attributed to Katusa took place in an ultra-Orthodox settlement in the West Bank that has limited contact with state authorities, including the police. It is a place where the rabbi has far greater authority than the local police commander.

As expected, the news of the rape initially remained within the family, after which it spread to her school, and only later reached Israeli authorities. The police station located inside the settlement is influenced by the public mood, comporting itself to the expectations of its residents. That same goes for the school and its administration. They are part of the community and its lifestyle.

Prejudice

These circumstances, which exist in other communities across the country, meant there was a higher likelihood of failing to properly take care of the girl’s complaint. The settlement is also influenced by the hostile relations between the settlers and their Palestinian neighbours, as well as incitement, terrorism and “price tag” attacks.

The prejudices, anxieties and growing hatred that inform relations between Jews and Palestinians can be seen in the daily contact between the two — all the more so in cases of extreme violence.

All of this was evident in the way the rape case unfolded, yet these circumstances were not sufficiently considered at the right time by either the investigative authorities or the media, which influences said authorities.

The first lawyer who made the media rounds following the indictment was attorney Haim Bleicher of Honenu, a legal aid organisation with Kahanist leanings.

Honenu has previously offered its services to right-wing terrorists such as Ami Popper, the killers of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, and Yigal Amir, who assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Bleicher represented the 7-year-old girl and her family.

On her radio show, journalist Ayala Hasson asked Bleicher whether he thinks the rape was a deliberate attack on Jewish Israelis, to which the attorney responded:

“When I heard about the incident I thought it was just another case of paedophilia. The moment I understood that the incident included additional adults who looked on and humiliated the girl, I understood that this case has no precedent. We’re not talking about everyone looking on as the act is carried out on an adult woman, but rather pure hatred.

“If they do not suffer from paedophilia, then the only reason they could be going along with the rapist is because she is Jewish and thus they can do anything they want to her. I do not know of a single human being who could look on in the face of such an incident without stopping it.”

Hasson asked Bleicher whether he or the girl’s family expects additional suspects to be arrested. “We expect all those who participated to be arrested, since in our view they are a ticking bomb,” Bleicher responded. “People who can stand there and go along with this kind of thing cannot be trusted… from the nature of the incident it is quite clear that this is not the only case. Their conduct was systematic and professional.”

False allegation

The interview with Hasson should give us pause. The defendant’s attorney was not invited to the interview (in fact, at the time Bleicher spoke on the radio, the defendant was not yet assigned an attorney, nor was his name known) while the family’s lawyer was.

Why does the family need an attorney? It is unclear. Yet Hasson jumped on the opportunity and gave platform to the kind of wholesale racism that seeks to paint all Palestinians as child predators waiting to pounce on young Jewish girls.

Hasson’s interview coloured the way most of Israel’s other media outlets covered the story, which portrayed Katusa as a cruel rapist. Only Channel 13 and the Israeli Public Broadcasting Company began raising questions about the validity of the police’s evidence and the professionalism of the investigators and prosecutors.

There is no need to go into great detail about the kind of racism we saw exuding from Israeli politicians — beginning with Prime Minister Netanyahu himself — as well as right-wing social media and the print media.

Put simply, it was a terrifying spectacle that saw countless Israelis get swept up in a prejudice that views Palestinians as devils lying in wait for any and every Israeli. Now that the indictment has been rescinded, these racists must consider the hatred that flows in their blood and dictates their thinking and their actions.

The dominant tone among the Jewish public in Israel toward Palestinians, and especially the attitude of its leaders (and, unfortunately, of its civil servants) is not unlike that of the white establishment toward African Americans in the United States. Over there, they cannot rid themselves of this curse, even years after they recognised its existence and pledged to uproot it. Here, they deny it even exists in the first place.

A week ago, “The Seventh Eye” recommended the media consider the possibility that the police version of the incident may not reflect reality. Today it should take a hard look in the mirror and not forget the obvious question: who is the actual rapist?

(Source / 01.07.2019) 

Israel killed 84 Palestinians since start of 2019

Two pregnant women in Gaza were among the martyrs

Israeli occupation forces killed 84 Palestinians during the first half of 2019, including eight women and 19 children, Assembly for Martyrs Families said on Sunday.

According to the Assembly, 59 martyrs were killed in Gaza and 25 were killed in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

Those targeted included two unborn children; Abdullah abu-Arar and Ayman al-Madhoun, who were killed in Gaza on 4 and 5 May.

Occupation forces are also withholding the bodies of 12 Palestinians, raising to 266 the number of bodies which Israel has refused to return to their families for burial since start of the Israeli occupation.

(Source / 01.07.2019)