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Israeli government lashes out, as evangelicals’ pro-Israel consensus thing of the past

MEMO | March 10, 2014

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has issued an unprecedented attack on a Christian conference taking place in Bethlehem this week, accusing organisers of “using religion for the purpose of incitement”.

Christ at the Checkpoint (CATC), hosted by Bethlehem Bible College, is the third such gathering following successful conferences in 2010 and 2012. Delegates predominantly hail from Protestant communities in Europe and North America, and in particular from evangelical churches and organisations.

As such, the Israeli government and its lobby groups see CATC as threatening the pro-Israel support long characteristic of much of the evangelical community. As an Israel MFA official told Christian Zionist publication Israel Today, the conference “is particularly problematic, because it is designed for the evangelical Christian leadership – an extremely important audience to us.”

The Israeli government statement released to Israel Today reads as follows:

The attempt to use religious motifs in order to mobilize political propaganda and agitate the feelings of the faithful through the manipulation of religion and politics is an unacceptable and shameful act. Using religion for the purpose of incitement in the service of political interests stains the person who does it with a stain of indelible infamy.

In addition, the Israeli government claimed to have “already actively targeted specific participants in the conference, as well as leaders of the groups who will attend the event, in a coordinated effort to expose them to our side of the story”.

Prior to the MFA statement, groups known for attacking human rights defenders and supporters of Palestinian rights such as NGO Monitor and Christians United for Israel had already lambasted the conference.

There was no sign that the attacks would have a detrimental effect on the conference programme, with speakers and delegates beginning a full schedule of events, many of which will be streamed online.

March 10, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

John Humphrys’ ignorance about Iran is par for the course in all Western media

By Peter Oborne | The Telegraph | September 26, 2013

… Mr Humphrys told listeners that “there will be high-level meetings to find ways of Iran giving up its nuclear weapons programme in exchange for sanctions being dropped”. Unfortunately for Humphrys, Iran does not have a nuclear weapons programme… Read full article

CASMII – September 27, 2013

In BBC Today’s programme today John Humphreys referred to Iran’s “nuclear weapons programme”, something that BBC does now and again.

Interviewing the Israeli government’s spokesman, Mark Gregory, he did not challenge him on his numerous lies and accusations, including describing Iran’s programme as “an aggressive nuclear weapons programme”, a phrase that Humphrey repeated! Neither did he challenge Gregory on the lie that the current Iranian government has threatened Israel with “obliteration” in the past couple of weeks.

It is crucial that people individually write to the BBC and John Humphreys and not allow such venomous propaganda to go unchallenged.

You can listen to the interview here. It starts at around 1.33.49

September 27, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Comments Off on John Humphrys’ ignorance about Iran is par for the course in all Western media

Report Censures Israel For Demolishing Palestinian and EU Property’

By Bernhard Schell | In Depth News | May 28, 2013

Brussels – Hundreds of Palestinian homes and structures have been bulldozed and approvals for illegal settlements have increased despite the 27-nation European Union (EU) asking Israel to stop settlement expansion, forced displacement, and demolition of Palestinian property in an unprecedented statement one year ago, says a new report.

EU foreign ministers adopted on May 14, 2012 some of the most extensive and far-reaching recommendations on the issue of the Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT). In particular, the EU ministers approved specific recommendations for developing Area C which constitutes 60 percent of the West Bank and falls under full Israeli military and civil control. An estimated 150,000 Palestinians live there among 325,000 Israelis living in settlements that are illegal under international law.

EU foreign ministers called for improvement of Israel’s policies that are currently damaging to the development of Palestinian livelihoods and for the future viability of a Palestinian state. It also called on the Government of Israel to end impunity on settler violence, as well as allow the EU to pursue development projects in Palestinian communities without risks of Israeli demolitions. In addition, for the first time, the EU declared: “Ending the conflict was a European interest.”

DemolishedPalestinianHome_smallIn a report released on May 27, 2013, the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA), a coordinating body representing over 80 international aid and development agencies working in the occupied Palestinian territory, have urged the EU to “match their strong words with action in order to effectively challenge Israeli government policies”.

These policies, says the report – Failing to Make the Grade: How the EU can pass its own test and work to improve the lives of Palestinians in Area C – are creating “unbearable conditions” in Area C, which is home to some of the most vulnerable Palestinian communities who are isolated from services provided by the Palestinian Authority in other parts of the West Bank. Palestinians living in that area rely heavily on humanitarian and development assistance.

According to AIDA, “chances for a just and durable solution that allows Palestinians and Israelis to live with peace and security were slipping away as the situation on the ground continues to deteriorate”.

The report points out that more than 600 houses have been built in the past year in the illegal Israeli settlements while 535 Palestinian-owned homes and structures have been destroyed, leaving 784 people homeless or displaced.

Around 30 European-funded structures have been demolished during this same time and dozens more, including basic tents, water cisterns and animal pens are under threat of demolition.

“Europe has made clear its objections to Israel’s continued settlement expansion and demolition of Palestinian and European property. Yet, its response has mostly come in words only, with action remaining on an ad hoc and uncoordinated basis,” says the report. “If this continues, living conditions for Palestinians are set to worsen, and vital European tax-payers’ investments will be wasted,” it adds.

“Just a year ago, EU governments injected fresh hope that they would collectively use their political weight to improve the living conditions of Palestinians and halt Israeli violations of international law, but looking back, we can say they are at serious risk of failing both Palestinians and Europeans,” said Charles Silva, Country Director for Action Against Hunger (ACF) and AIDA Chair.

‘Honor Pledges’

The report explains what they can and must do to put their words into action that results in positive changes on the ground. It emphasizes the need for Europe to “honor its pledges to increase much-needed development aid for Area C and to push the government of Israel to remove restrictions that leave Palestinians vulnerable to demolition and prevent them from building proper homes, schools, roads, water infrastructure and electrical grids”.

The report illustrates how some European countries have been working to protect communities in Area C from demolition by investing in village plans. “While the Israeli authorities are in the process of considering applications, none of the 32 European-funded village plans to date have been fully approved. This is in sharp contrast to the endering of at least 1,967 new settlement housing units in the year since the EU statement, a four-fold increase from 2011,” says the report.

It points out that Israeli government demolition of Palestinian structures typically takes place because they lack building permits, which are hard to obtain, with 94 percent of Palestinian applications for building permits denied in recent years.

“Last year EU governments said for the first time it was also in their own interest to bring an end to the conflict in Israel and Palestine – if they are serious, they can and must work together to address harmful policies of the Israeli government and support the most vulnerable Palestinians in the West Bank,” said Nishant Pandey Oxfam Country Director.

Tony Laurance, CEO from Medical Aid for Palestinians added: “Israel is morally and legally responsible for the wellbeing of Palestinian men, women and children in the occupied Palestinian territory. EU countries have an obligation to address violations of International Law and collectively to put pressure on Israel to end policies impeding Palestinian development.”

May 29, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Comments Off on Report Censures Israel For Demolishing Palestinian and EU Property’

Israel admits: Just 0.7% of West Bank allocated to Palestinians

By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC & Agencies | March 28, 2013

In documents released on Thursday to the High Court of Justice, the Israeli government has admitted what Palestinians have been saying for decades: that the Israeli government has taken over 99.3% of the West Bank, allocating most of the land to illegal Israeli ‘Jewish only’ settlements.

The Israeli designation of 1.3 million acres of Palestinian land in the West Bank as ‘Israeli state land’ flies in the face of past Israeli claims that they are willing to negotiate in good faith with the Palestinians on the status of land in the West Bank.

The documents were released as part of a lawsuit filed by Israeli human rights group Yesh Din that challenged the construction of the illegal settlement of Hayovel on stolen Palestinian land. The Israeli government argues that the settlement and the road leading to it are on ‘uncultivated land’, and have declared that such lands are subject to takeover by the Israeli government.

After 1979, the Israeli government began wide scale takeovers of Palestinian land using a law that passed in the Israeli Knesset authorizing the Israeli government to take over any Palestinian land that had not been cultivated in ten years.

A study by Israeli researcher Dror Etkes found that the Israeli government has used land surveys that are meant to determine which land is cultivated and which is not as a political tool to take over nearly all of the land in the West Bank.

His report stated that his findings “prove the claims that Palestinian landowners have been consistently presenting over the past few decades: Under the aegis of the broad declaration of lands as state lands, which includes almost a million dunams, Israel has taken over extensive cultivated areas, which were stolen from their owners through administrative decisions over which public and legal oversight is minimal, because they were supposedly not cultivated.”

In the recent case of the outpost of Derech Ha’avot, the largest Israeli outpost colony in the West Bank, the Israeli High Court ruled that the takeover of private Palestinian land by the Israeli settlers was acceptable, leading the lawyers for Yesh Din (the Israeli human rights group representing the Palestinian landowners) to declare;

“Not only is the state reconciling itself to the breaking of the law, but it is also ultimately granting the usurped land to the lawbreakers. It is particularly outrageous that all the state authorities joined forces to accept the breaking of the law and are now attempting to provide an umbrella of state support, rather than combating organized ideological crime that violates human rights on a daily and hourly basis.”

March 29, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Israel to launch media campaign to boost settlers’ image

MEMO | October 17, 2012

The Israeli government is to launch a wide-ranging campaign to boost the global image of Jewish settlers and bolster its illegal settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territories. The move was announced by the Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, Yulu Edelstein.

The campaign will include direct and indirect media activities which target social networks across the world. The main aim is to create some degree of legitimacy to Israeli settlement activity in areas considered by Tel Aviv to be “disputed”, and counter anti-settlement activities which oppose settlers’ attacks on Palestinian lands carried out with open and tacit support from the Israeli government.

Edelstein claimed that the proactive campaign will cost around $250,000. He wants to “expose opinion-makers to the complex Israeli reality, thus improving Israel’s global image.”

In response, Israel’s Peace Now movement said that the government is wasting public funds.

“The government has turned into the Settler Council’s public relations firm, and is financing these endeavours with money from the pockets of Israeli taxpayers,” said Peace Now director Yariv Oppenheimer. “Even when the time comes to cut budgets in other fields, there is always money to be spent on the settlers’ image.”

October 17, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Israel to launch media campaign to boost settlers’ image