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Israel sentences rights activist to 8 years in prison

Firas al-Omari
Palestine Information Center – July 9, 2018

NAZARETH – The Israeli Central Court in Beersheba sentenced on Sunday the rights activist Firas al-Omari, 46, to eight years imprisonment.

Al-Omari, from northern Israel’s Arab town of Sandala, is an activist in the Islamic Movement (the northern branch) and head of Yusuf Al-Siddiq Foundation for prisoners’ affairs.

He was arrested in March 2017 for being allegedly affiliated to a banned organization.

The Israeli security authorities have embarked on arresting activists from the northern branch of the Islamic Movement following the right-wing government’s decision to classify it as a banned group in November 2015.

The northern branch of the Islamic Movement and its members are known for peacefully defending Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque against Israel’s violations.

July 9, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel advances new law to allow residential construction in settler-run national park

MEMO | July 5, 2018

The Israeli parliament yesterday advanced a new law that would allow residential construction in the settler-run “City of David” national park in Silwan, occupied East Jerusalem.

According to Haaretz, the bill – which was backed by the Knesset’s Interior and Environment Committee in an 8-6 vote – will “enable housing to be erected in areas zoned for national parks within municipal boundaries”. The law must now be passed by the Knesset plenum in three votes.

The legislation is backed by the City of David Foundation, also known as Elad, a right-wing settler group that operates a so-called tourist site and archaeological dig in the heart of Silwan, a Palestinian neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem.

“If enacted,” Haaretz reports, “the law would enable homes to be built in the City of David national park.” Indeed, the paper adds, the Elad-run site “seems to be the only park in all of Israel that meets these [the draft bill’s] criteria for residential construction.”

According to the report, “the minutes of the committee’s previous meeting in January made it clear that Elad and its leader, David Beeri, are behind the bill, which is designed to promote construction at the site.”

Two Israeli groups opposed to settlements, Ir Amim and Emek Shaveh, “say the purpose of the bill is to reinstate a grandiose construction plan Elad had prepared, which had been shelved in the 1990s due to strong opposition,” Haaretz stated.

“Then Elad sought to build 200 housing units in the national park, and a plan to that effect was prepared, but shelved.”

“This isn’t the first time a monkey is being made of the law and common sense to advance the agenda of the Elad settlers,” said Aviv Tatarsky, a researcher with Ir Amim.

July 5, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

History and Biblical Scholarship: Al-Quds Is Not Jerusalem

By Dr. Elias Akleh | Global Research | July 3, 2018

The Zionist Israeli state calls on the Old Testament/Torah as a historical document to prove its legality to “re-claim” Palestine; their god’s promised land. To assert this legality and the myth of the promised land Zionist Organization, since its establishment, had recruited the science of archaeology, employing western Christian biblical archaeologists, to provide the required “historic” proof of the right of the Jews; alleged modern Israelites, to Palestine. This became very critical after Julius Wellhausen; the biblical scholar and Professor Ordinarius of Theology and head of the German School of Biblical Criticism, published his 1883 book “Geschichte Israels”, later titled as Prolegomena zur Geschichte Israels claiming that the Old Testament/Torah stories were invented during the Babylonian exile to serve certain theological and political purposes.

American biblical scholars and archaeologists, such as William Fox Albright, were recruited to refute Wellhausen’s claims. Albright was endorsed by covertly Zionist financed Biblical Colloquium; a scholarly society devoted to the analysis and discussions of biblical matters, and the preparations, publication, and distribution of biblical literature to brainwash readers and students with a specific theological ideology. Albright, as well as other biblical archaeologists like him, was also honored (bribed) by the American Friends of the Israel Exploration Society. His writings; such as “Why the Near East Needs the Jews”, are flagrant racist Zionist propaganda ignoring the vast archaeological history of the indigenous Palestinians while emphasizing the fake unproven Israelites’ narrative in Palestine.

The western Christian biblical archaeologists and scholars were mostly Judeo-Christians believing that the Torah/Old Testament was a real historical precursor for the New Testament. Influenced by this biased theological training they needed to confirm the Torah’s narrative as a real history in order to authenticate their own distorted Christian belief.  Their lack of understanding of the ancient Middle Eastern dialects, cultures, geography and social habits, had distorted their interpretations of the archaeological findings by attributing them to the Israelites and to Solomon and David eras based on their own interpretation of the Torah rather than on the true scientific archaeological research and investigation.

Through their distorted writings and teachings these false biblical scholars had perpetrated a historical genocide against the Palestinian history by ignoring the hundreds of thousands of years of history of Palestine before the reported Abraham’s immigration to the land. They considered Palestine as a mere empty background theater for the Israelites that gained importance only when Israelites occupied it.

Although many archaeologists and historians have their own innate personal private doubts about the biblical stories, due to lack of any true archaeological evidence, they did not dare to publish or to openly state their doubts for fear of Zionist reprisal. Thomas L. Thompson; a biblical scholar, theologian and university professor, who dared in his books such as “The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives” in 1974, “Early History of Israelite; People from the Written and Archaeological Sources” in 1992 and particularly “The Bible in History: How Writers Create a Past” in 1999, to cast doubts about the Torah’s narrative as a reliable historical evidence, and to suggest that the bible should be considered only as a literature rather than a historical book, was severely criticized by contemporary archaeologists dubbing him a biblical minimalist, and was kicked out of his teaching position from the  Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Since the establishment of the colonial Zionist state of Israel, especially between 1950 and 1960, archaeology became an Israeli national obsession seeking proof for their alleged roots in Palestine to justify and to assert their military occupation of the land. After 70 years of continuous archaeological excavations under and around the Haram al-Sharif and al-Aqsa Mosque (the alleged Israelite Temple Mount) looking for the alleged Solomon’s Temple, not a shred of evidence was found to substantiate the temple myth. Many Israeli archaeologists spent many years digging one site after another to be eventually disappointed due to lack of any evidence for any Jewish roots in Palestine. All the archaeological excavations revealed only the history of indigenous Palestinians and other invaders of the country such as ancient Egyptians, Persians, Greeks and Romans.

Jewish Israeli archaeologist Ze’ev Herzog, a professor in the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University, had joined Yigael Yadin; an Israeli politician, military official and archaeologist, in conducting many excavations throughout Palestine. Finding no evidence of the alleged Jewish roots in Palestine he eventually agreed with Wellhausen’s findings and argued that the Exodus from Egypt probably never happened, the Ten Commandments were not given on Mount Sinai, and Joshua never conquered Palestine. He casted serious doubts on David’s and Solomon’s monarchies, stating that if they existed they were probably no more than tribal chieftains. He stated:

“The many Egyptian documents known to us do not make any reference to the sojourn of the Children of Israel in Egypt or the events of the Exodus … generations of scholars tried to locate Mount Sinai and the stations of the tribes of Israel in the desert. Despite all this diligent research, not one site was identified that could correspond to the biblical picture.”

A more devastating blow to the Zionist/Judaic myth was dealt by the revelations of the Jewish Israeli historian Professor Shlomo Sand in his lectures and book “The Invention of the Jewish People”. Professor Sand argues that the so-called Jewish people had never been one nation with one race, rather they came from different groups of people from different countries and different races (white European Jews, black African Jews, brown Middle Eastern Jews, and so forth) who adopted Judaism as their faith. He affirms that the contemporary “Jewish people” have no connection at all to ancient Israelites, and their history is just an invented myth. In an interview with the Israeli Ha’aretz he stated:

“The Romans did not exile peoples (Israelites) and they could not have done so even if they had wanted to. They did not have trains and trucks to deport entire populations. That kind of logistics did not exist until the 20th century. From this, in effect, the whole book was born: in the realization that Judaic society was not dispersed and was not exiled … There are no scientific evidence or record about the exile of Jews two thousand years ago.”

He also stressed his views that the present Israeli state is just a product of Zionist colonization and concluded that:

Jews have no origin in Palestine whatsoever and therefore their act of so-called ‘return’ to their ‘Promised land’ must be realized as invasion executed by a tribal-ideological clan.”

Another Jewish Israeli archaeologist; Israel Finkelstein; the director of the Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University, states in his book “The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of its Sacred Texts” that many biblical stories had never happened but were written by what he calls “a creative copywriter” to advance a political agenda. He disputed the biblical description of Israel as a great empire with Jerusalem as its capital, where King Solomon had built a splendid temple, and stated that Jerusalem was just a small village with a small tribe and a small temple. He states:

“There is no archaeological evidence for it. There is something unexampled in history.  I don’t think there is any other place in the world where there was a city with such a wretched material infrastructure but which succeeded in creating such a sweeping movement in its favor as Jerusalem, which even in its time of greatness was a joke in comparison to the cities of Assyria, Babylon or Egypt.  It was a typical mountain village. There is no magnificent finding, no gates of Nebuchadnezzar, no Assyrian reliefs, no Egyptian temples – nothing. Even the (Solomon) temple couldn’t compete with the temples of Egypt and their splendor … Contrary to what is usually thought, the Israelites did not go to pray in Jerusalem.  They had a temple in Samaria (today’s Sabastia) and at Beit El (Bethel).

The science of archaeology clearly shows that Jews have no roots in Palestine. Palestine was never ancient Israel, and Palestinian al-Quds was never Jewish Jerusalem. Many books of the Torah specifically and clearly mention this fact.

Many Arab historians, such as Dr. Kamal Salibi, Dr. Ahmad Daoud and Dr. Fadel Rabi’i, have written historical research books disputing the biblical narratives. This article will quote Dr. Fadel Rabi’i; an Iraqi Arab linguist, anthropologist and mythologist, since some of his books focused specifically on Palestine and al-Quds particularly; “Al-Quds is not Jerusalem, A Contribution to Correcting Palestine’s History” and “Imaginative Palestine: Land of Torah in Ancient Yemen” (two volumes) in Arabic. The geographical and historical accuracy of these two books were authenticated and confirmed by two present-day prominent Yemeni historians; Dr. Hussein Abdullah Al-Umari and Dr. Yousef Abdullah. As his main references Rabi’i relied heavily on the Torah in Hebrew language published by The Society for Distributing Hebrew Scripture, pre-Islamic Arabian poetry, “Geography of the Arabian Peninsula” by Jewish Yemeni Arab Hamadani; Hasan Ibn Ahmad Ibn Ya’coub al-Hamadani; an eighth century well-known geographer and traveler, and on the Greco-Roman geographer Ptolemy’s “The Geography”.

To understand Rabi’i’s studies one needs to have a thorough knowledge of the Middle Eastern geography especially of the Arabian Peninsula, understand the importance of the pre-Islamic poetry, and a thorough understanding of the ancient Semitic languages and most importantly the local dialects, without which translation into western languages would cause grave mistakes.

Arabian tribes in the Peninsula were identified by different attributive names. They were identified with the name of their chief; banu Israel or bani Israel as the children of tribal chief called Israel. Another identification was through their religious faiths; Jews or Yehud for worshipper of Yahweh, others are identified as Phallustins of Philistins (plural in Hebrew and totally different than the present-day Palestinians) for worshipper of the Phallus; the male sexual organ. Another identification was through the area of their residence; e.g. beit Yebose meaning the house of Jebusites, beit Lechem meaning the house of Lechem, or Hasidim who live in Hasid valley, and Hasmonim/Hashmonim who live in Hasad/Hashad area, or Mesrim/Mesraim who live in Mesrin in Yemen.

Relying on his references Rabi’i asserts that banu Israel and the Jews/Yehud were two separate Yemeni tribes, who fought among themselves, thus the Torah’s war story between kingdom of Israel (banu Israel) and kingdom of Judah (Jews/Yehud); (2 Samuel: 2). The Islamic Qur’an as well differentiated between banu Israel as a tribe and the Jews, who worshiped Yahweh. Arab poetry of pre-Islamic, of Umayyad and of Abbasid eras also mentioned banu Israel and Jews as separate Yemeni tribes.

Authentic Judaism/Yahudia is actually an ancient Arabic religion sprang in southern west Arabian Peninsula. Jews were Arabs, who worshiped Yahweh. In pre-Islamic and Islamic eras no one would consider being an Arab and at the same time a Jew was paradoxical. The same applies on Philistin Arabs; worshippers of the Phallus. Jewish Arabs and Philistin Arabs are no different than Christian Arabs.

Rabi’i’s main theme is that present-day Palestine has never been ancient Israel and that the city of al-Quds has never been Jerusalem, and that biblical stories took place in the south western area of the Arabian Peninsula, mainly in Yemen. He uses geographical locations described in many biblical books and compare them with locations mentioned in the references he relied on to prove his theory.

The first three chapters of the book of Nehemiah tells the story of the Persian king Artaxerxes releasing Nehemiah and other Jews from exile to go back to Jerusalem (ur-salm) to build its wall and the temple. Nehemiah 2:12 – 3:30 give detailed description and names of the damaged walls, gates and towers of Jerusalem/ur-Salm. The book mentions 10 gates; Valley Gate, Refuse Gate, Fountain Gate, Sheep Gate, Fish Gate, Old Gate, Water Gate, Horse Gate, East Gate and Miphkad Gate. Al-Quds city has only eight gates with totally different names. Other locations mentioned in Nehemiah, such as Serpent well, Broad wall, Pool of Shelah, King Garden, tower of Hundred, tower of Hananel, tower of the Ovens and governor residence beyond the river, are places and a river that do not exist in al-Quds. Apparently, Nehemiah was describing a different city (Yemini ur-Salm) than al-Quds.

Rabi’i also quotes other Torah books, particularly Joshua, that describes a totally different geography of another Jerusalem and another land. Joshua 12 lists the names of the kingdoms, whose kings were defeated by Joshua; Ai, Jarmuth, Lachish, Eglon, Gezer, Makkedah, Aphek and others. Present day Palestine never knew these kingdoms, many of whom were known in ancient Yemen. Joshua 14 – 21 divides the land among the tribes. The names of these divided territories were never known to and never existed Palestine.

Rabi’i also examined the names of Jewish tribes released from Persian exile. Ezra 8 has one list and Nehemiah 7 has another. The names in these lists are also detailed in Hamadani’s book as Yemeni Arab tribes. Palestine never knew these tribes. All geographical locations and names of Jewish tribes mentioned in the Torah’s books never applied to Palestine, but to ancient Yemen as described in details by Hamadani.

Examining the ancient Egyptian, Persian and Roman records Rabi’i could not find any mention of a “Palestine” until 330 A.D. mentioned in the ancient Roman Land Administration Records after Rome occupied the Levant area. Al-Quds was a small outpost on a hill called Elya/Eulia; a Roman name. Palestine then was populated mostly by Monophysite Christian Ghassanid and Nabatean Arabs. When emperor Constantine converted into Christianity he decided to enlist the local Christian population in his wars against the Sassanid Persian empire. He renamed the area Phalastine/Palestine and Elya/Eulia Jerusalem citing the names from the Torah. He also ordered the Torah to be translated from Hebrew to Greek. The translations were carried out mainly by Yemeni Jewish Rabbis, had many linguistic mistakes and political manipulations adopting the newly-named Palestine and Jerusalem as ancient Israel/Yehuda and ur-Salm.

Rabi’i argues that since the Torah was written around 500 B.C. and the name Palestine was first invented in 330 A.D. then Torah’s Philistin could never be present-day Palestine and Jerusalem/ur-Salm could never be al-Quds. Through lies and manipulations history is written by politicians, theologists, and victorious military leaders.

Judaism/Yahudia is a religion adopted by groups of different nationalities. We have Jewish Americans, Jewish Britons, Jewish French, Jewish Africans, Jewish Chinese, Jewish Khazars and so on. They have no national origin with Jewish/Yehud Yemeni Arabs.

Zionism, a colonialist ideology, has hijacked Judaism, as well as Christianity in the form of Judeo-Christianity, to lure Jews and Christians into the construction of the Great Israel project on the ruins of the Arab World starting with the occupation of the mischievously called Holy Land. The whole Arab World, with Palestine as its front, will never escape this colonial project and resurrect their true identity unless their history and religions; Christianity as well as Islam, are freed from the politically and religiously manipulated and erroneous Torah narrative.

***

Read also: Israeli Founder Contests Founding Myths

Dr. Elias Akleh is an Arab writer from a Palestinian descent born in the town of Beit-Jala. His family was first evicted from Haifa after the “Nakba” of 1948, then from Beit-Jala after the “Nakseh” of 1967. He lives now in US and publishes articles on the web.

Copyright © Dr. Elias Akleh, Global Research, 2018

July 3, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Hamas: Our people will bury US plans under their feet

Hazem Qasem
Palestine Information Center – June 23, 2018

GAZA – The Hamas Movement has said that the massive presence of citizens in the March of Return rallies on Friday, June 22, has reflected that the popular struggle in Gaza will continue until all goals are achieved.

In a press release, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem said the ongoing popular uprising on the Gaza border aims to entrench the Palestinian people’s right to return to every part of their land, including Jerusalem, and their right to live in dignity and with no blockade.

“Such ongoing rallies prove that the [Israeli] occupation’s attempts to terrorize our people into not participating in them have failed,” Qasem affirmed, pointing to the exposure of protesters to aerial attacks during the past week.

“These marches have sent a message to the US administration, which is trying to impose plans or projects aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause, that our revolutionary people on the border will bury such schemes under their feet and will not allow any party to detract from their rights,” he underlined.

June 23, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History: Interview with Jamal Juma’

By Ida Audeh | CounterPunch | June 22, 2018

For weeks now, Palestinians everywhere have been galvanized by events taking place in the Gaza Strip, the site of weekly (since March 30) mass protests demanding the end of the siege and blockade of Gaza (in place now since 2007) and the right to return to the homes from which they or their elders had been kicked out. Dubbed the Great March of Return, Gazans have assembled as close as they can to the Israeli-designated buffer zone separating Gaza from Israel. Israeli soldiers at a distance, crouched behind earth barriers that they created in the days preceding the march, and at absolutely no danger of attack from the unarmed protestors, pick off demonstrators at their leisure. By June 14, at least 129 Palestinians had been killed and 13,000 injured; the dead included medics like the 21-year-old Razan al-Najjar and journalists including Yaser Murtaja—typically seen as off-limits in conflict zones but transformed by Israel into prime targets.

On June 4, Ida Audeh spoke to Jamal Juma’, coordinator of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, about the popular resistance in Gaza, the Trump administration’s policy toward the question of Palestine, and Palestinian options to chart a new course. Salah Khawaja, an activist who works with the campaign, joined the conversation.

Ida Audeh: I interviewed you in August 2011 to learn more about the separation wall and its effect on communities in its path.[2] Describe Israel’s current system of control over the occupied territories, of which the wall is a part.

Jamal Juma’: It is clear that the wall was designed to isolate and lay siege to Palestinians. The project to place Palestinians under siege by means of the wall has been completed. It closed off all the dynamic areas that Israel considered necessary to isolate various areas. Eighty percent of the Wall is within the West Bank. The second part of the siege is reinforcement of the settlements. Each settlement has what Israel calls a buffer zone – a security apparatus consisting of barbed wire and roads that Palestinians are not allowed to use. This, together with the alternative (bypass) roads (which we call the apartheid roads), allows them to control the territory. Today there are two road networks: one is for Israeli settlers, about 1,400 km long, and its purpose is to connect all settlements to one another and to Israel in a kind of network. And this is complete. This network is the dominant one in the West bank, and it includes the major roads. The other, the alternative roads, are for Palestinians to use; these roads will intersect through 48 planned tunnels and bridges, some of which have been created already. The two road systems are separate. This is the basis of the racist discriminatory system we talk about: isolating Palestinians and confining them in limited spaces, control of their resources through settlements, the road network, and military installations, and the wall, which take up about 62% of the area of the West Bank.

With the extension of the settlements, we no longer just talk about Palestinians being ghettoized in the north, south and central region. There is more fragmentation of Palestinian residential areas. New settlement outposts are not being discussed in terms of whether they should be removed or not.  They are being transformed into settlements. When you see 150 outposts, you are really talking about 150 new settlements. This project is being intensified, and especially since Trump took office.

IA: So you noticed a clear acceleration after Trump?

JJ: It’s much more than an acceleration. This is a watershed moment in Palestinian history.  We consider that since Trump took office, US policy fully adopted the Zionist project and embarked on a process of liquidating the Palestinian cause, of eliminating it. It is clear program. This began with Jerusalem and the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Zionist entity, transfer of the embassy, targeting the refugees by cutting financing of UNRWA, and other forms of pressure on areas that host large numbers of refugees including getting them settled permanently in the host countries.

Israeli colonization, the geographic engineering of the political map, is another component in the liquidation of the Palestinian cause. Israeli proposals for colonization are massive. They are concentrating on the Jordan Valley – creating new settlements, expanding existing settlements, creating the supportive infrastructure, with huge incentives for Israelis who work in agriculture (including cash payments of $20,000 for anyone willing to move there). Now the settlements are on the tops of the mountain chain that overlook the Jordan Valley, which enable them to encircle lower lying towns. When you talk about Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim, and so on, it will be as though the entire West Bank is a suburb of Tel Aviv. This will make it impossible for there to be any separation in the future, for there to be any independent Palestinian entity; instead, an apartheid system of cantons will be imposed on Palestinians.  This is the reality on the ground.

Back to the new US policy: In addition to a shift in standing US positions on Jerusalem and the refugee issue, there is the use of Arab countries that are ready for normalization with Israel and eager to be aligned with the American project – first and foremost, Saudi Arabia, and also Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt, which are pressuring the Palestinians to accept the US project to liquidate the Palestinian cause. This has complicated things and taken it out of the sphere of international law and the UN; everyone had previously worked within that framework. We have been demanding the implementation of resolutions. But the US dealt a blow to international law.

IA: The US now proposes the “deal of the century,” which Gulf states are eagerly endorsing. Can you describe the contours of that deal?

JJ: The proposal is to create a Palestinian state in Gaza with extensions into the Sinai Desert, to be administered by the Palestinian Authority. The West Bank and Jerusalem are not part of these calculations, although Israel might be willing to give up some areas around Jerusalem that are densely populated with Palestinians. (This part of the proposal has been floated by extremist Israeli groups even before the Trump proposal.) They might be willing to remove from Greater Jerusalem areas with high Palestinian density, like Jabal Mukkaber, Isawiya, Silwan, and Sur Bahir; there has been some discussion about removing Beit Hanina and Shufat. The Israelis would retain control of the Jewish settlements and the Old City, which together make up about 87% of the area of East Jerusalem—not exactly a small territory.

IA: What is the Palestinian response to these plans?

JJ:  On the formal political level, the PA is in a crisis. It placed its faith in the US, but now US determination to liquidate the Palestinian cause is very clear.  The only real option remaining to the PA is to cast its lot with the Palestinian people and on free people around the world, international solidarity and movements that support us. The Palestinian people have to make a decision, and so does the PA.

On the popular level, we see serious activity in search of an alternative to the status quo, the largest and the most important of which is taking place now in Gaza with the Great March of Return. These actions are important for a number of reasons. They changed the stereotypes about Gaza as a launchpad for rockets, a place of terrorism that has been hijacked by Hamas. In fact, the marches in Gaza since March 30 represent a widespread popular movement, massive popular resistance. Just like the first intifada emerged from Jabaliya in the Gaza Strip, today we have the beginnings of a mass civil disobedience movement. Gaza has a population that is resisting, and Hamas does not control this resistance. The discourse we generally hear, that Hamas is leading people to their death, should be recognized as racist and dehumanizing. People are not robots. Gazans of all ages, family situations, and economic and educational levels are taking part in these marches to raise their cause to the world.  These people are saying that the siege of Gaza cannot continue. We are human beings, we have rights, and one of those rights is to live like human beings. Gaza is no longer inhabitable. Gaza has been turned into a prison and a hell. Even the UN acknowledges that. The numbers around Gaza are just astounding.[3]

The Great March has returned focus on the refugee issue and put it squarely on the table despite all the efforts to ignore and erase it. More than 70% of Gaza residents are refugees, and they are demanding the right to return to their original hometowns.

For that reason, the marches in Gaza are very important in defining the trajectory of the Palestinian question and restoring the role of popular resistance to the forefront. They lay the popular foundation for the coming phase. They might also have prevented another massive disaster. I think Israel was preparing to implement the Trump administration’s proposals; the scenario that the Israelis were planning for was to pull Gaza into a military confrontation, which would justify more intense bombing than it has done in the past. The borders with Egypt would open, and people would flee into Egypt. But the march with its mass participation thwarted that plan.

IA: I find it hard to understand how Ramallah can be so tranquil considering the carnage in Gaza.

JJ:  It might seem that what is happening in the West Bank is not at all comparable to what is happening in Gaza. And that is true, it isn’t as massive. But actions are taking place in the West Bank, and they are also important. On a weekly basis people are gathering to protest at the checkpoints. Since 2011 there have been continuous outbursts (in Arabic, habbat); for example, in Jerusalem in the Bab al-Shams encampment and in the aftermath of the Abu Khdeir and Dawabshe killings (January 2013, July 2014, and July 2015, respectively).[4] These outbursts were significant and exemplary, the way Gaza is today. They reminded us of what the Palestinian people are capable of doing. I expect that these outbursts here and there will lead to widespread civil disobedience. Young people in Jerusalem and the West Bank have been going out to checkpoints in the hundreds, on a daily basis, and these conditions put one in the mindset of the first intifada.

We should take note of what Palestinians in Israel are doing as well. There are youth movements that are taking action in ways that are very impressive and a source of pride.  They defy the occupation and they involve large numbers of people, in Haifa and elsewhere.

IA: Let’s look at the relationship of Palestinians to formal political bodies. Recently the Palestinian National Council held its first meeting in 22 years. One might have thought that over the course of more than two decades, several issues and events warranted a meeting – regional events, the assassination of Yasir Arafat, and the status of the Oslo accords come to mind. But the convening of the PNC doesn’t seem to have generated much popular interest.

JJ: People did not pay much attention to it, but in fact they should be talking about it because it poses a threat. Meeting for the first time in 22 years, it did not even discuss what it has done since the last meeting! What it did do is effectively cancel itself, which means it is changing the structure of the PLO. There is an attempt to replace the Central Committee with a body consisting of the private sector, the political currents in the PA today, and elements of the security apparatus. No representation of Palestinians from the 1948 areas, or the diaspora, or even the Palestinian street. This is a threat to the Palestinian project.

The PLO as it has been transformed by Mahmoud Abbas threatens the national cause. It has been hijacked; our task is to restore it as a representative and unifying entity that works to support the Palestinian cause. The reform should be led by Palestinian groups and movements.

People have no confidence in the leadership; they don’t think it is capable of leading in the coming phase.  In fact, the outbursts I referred to earlier had the potential of triggering a third intifada.  People were waiting for a leadership to emerge, as happened during the first intifada; three months into the intifada, a unified leadership emerged and took charge. But this time, the PA wasn’t interested in assuming that role; three months into these protests, the PA sent its people to disrupt actions and prevent young people from gathering at checkpoints. The national factions were unable to form a unified leadership for obvious reasons.

IA: What is the alternative?

JJ: People have to create a national movement that can lead the change. What will lead the movement for change will not be a single individual. It will be a widespread national movement that has a real relationship with people on the ground, a movement that will direct the street. This is the only way change will take place. People have been waiting for a long time, but who are we waiting for? There is not going to be a great charismatic leader. We don’t talk about a heroic leader, we talk about a heroic people and a leadership of institutions.

We want a Palestinian state that represents all Palestinians. Within that broad outline, we say that right now, we have to protect the Palestinian project – the right to self-determination, and we all struggle for that right. We don’t have to get into a discussion about the final outcome. The time for the two state solution is clearly over—and in fact, that proposal provided the basis for trying to destroy our cause. The other option is clear. But like I said, we don’t want that discussion to detract from our focus now or to place us in conflict with the position of the PLO.

How do we support the Palestinian project? We have to confront what is happening in Jerusalem, the settlements. There has to be a practical program, not just slogans on paper. Palestinians in the diaspora should support these activities, get involved in the boycott movement, because we are part of that boycott movement. We are trying to keep the political work and the boycott movement separate to protect the boycott movement, because there is a Palestinian effort underway to weaken the BDS movement; through normalization, by invoking the PLO position. We consider the boycott movement an essential component of our activism.

This is what people are discussing today, here and with our people in the 1948 areas, and in the diaspora. There has to be a movement that preserves the unity of the Palestinian people and protects the national cause from liquidation. That’s what we are working on now. I expect that in the next few weeks there will be a meeting to put in writing some of the agreed upon principles underlying all of these actions. Many meetings have taken place, and they are being expanded.

SK: We are looking at all ways to get all Palestinians to participate under a banner of a common cause that unites us all. In the 1948 areas, the issue is colonization and civil rights, but Palestinians within Israel don’t find themselves too far apart from those in the West Bank and Gaza. In the West Bank, the issues are Judaization, settlements, attacks against the holy sites. Those in Gaza are concerned about 12-year siege and blockade, hunger, and murder. Those in the diaspora want the right of return. All of these are national issues that unite us, but each location faces specific threats.

The next phase will be difficult, as we figure out how to present a vision that unites all people, especially the youth, which have been marginalized, to be effective participants.  Since 2012, we have been in contact with the youth. About 76% of the population is 35 years old or younger. And yet no one is making a practical effort to involve them in political planning and decision making. As a campaign, we made a deliberate decision about this. Programs grow old, and so do people. So we need an extension, and the youth movement is part of that. Our hope is to create a mass youth activist base so that our energy will be renewed. We see in the diaspora and in the 1948 areas that the majority of activists are young – the marches in Haifa, confronting the Judaization of the Galilee, activism around the depopulated villages of 1948, the attempt to seize homes in Akka — young people are confronting these issues. We must raise the slogan of confronting colonialism, which is the main cause of what we face.  We Palestinians  have to work together, not against one another, and not expect solutions from others.

What they are doing is preparatory to a major outbreak; there will be a launch of boats to break the blockade, and not just from Gaza, and a rush toward all entry points to Palestine, without exception. Either we live with dignity, or we declare an intifada on those who deny us a life with dignity.

Everyone is targeted. In the West Bank, there are mass arrests, home demolitions, checkpoints, and people on the run. The idea of civil disobedience is not a slogan. We can rebel against all forms of Israeli control within the framework of a national program. Since the international community has not acted, what prevents Palestinians from adjacent countries from moving on mass to the border, as occurred in 2012 (and some were able to make it to Jaffa). Those in the diaspora might have ongoing marches in front of Israeli embassies and its supporters. They can paralyze Israel’s work in all countries. These are not the usual slogans or approaches to political work.  There is no need to hold on to agreements and positions that Israel long ago abandoned.

In 1948 we looked to what the international community might give us; it gave to Israel but nothing to us. There were conditions placed on it for recognition: its treatment of the Palestinian minority, accepting the Palestinian right of return, and the creation of a Palestinian state. None of them was fulfilled. After 1967, Palestinians agreed to accept 22% of historical Palestine, but even that was unacceptable for Israel. Palestinians can’t continue to think in terms of what Israel might be willing to give us.

We have a right to exist and to determine our own destiny. This is the issue that concerns us.

Notes.

[1] “Gaza protests: All the latest updates,” Al Jazeera, June 14, 2018, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/04/gaza-protest-latest-updates-180406092506561.html. See also Kate, “Israel has shot 29 medics at Gaza border, killing two,” Mondoweiss,http://mondoweiss.net/2018/06/israel-medics-killing/amp/

[2] Ida Audeh, “Interview with Jamal Juma’: PA ‘killing popular resistance.’” Electronic Intifada, August 8, 2011,https://electronicintifada.net/content/jamal-juma-pa-killing-popular-resistance/10249

[3] “Living conditions in Gaza ‘more and more wretched’ over past decade, UN finds,” UN News, 11 July 2017, https://news.un.org/en/story/2017/07/561302-living-conditions-gaza-more-and-more-wretched-over-past-decade-un-finds. Status Audio Journal Hosts, “Under siege: Daily life in Gaza with Rawan Yaghi,” Jadaliyya, May 16, 2018, http://www.jadaliyya.com/Details/37563/Under-Siege-Daily-Life-in-Gaza-with-Rawan-Yaghi. Gaza in Context Team, “Understanding Gaza in context,” Jadaliyya, May 16, 2018, http://www.jadaliyya.com/Details/37562/Understanding-Gaza

[4] The 2013 encampment known as Bab al-Shams was an attempt by Palestinians to thwart Israeli plans to establish a settlement on land in the E1 zone, between East Jerusalem and the Jewish-only settlement Ma’ale Adumim; the Israeli plan was designed to permanently sever the West Bank from East Jerusalem. Another encampment, Bab al-Karama, was set up in Beit Iksa and stormed by Israeli soldiers two days later. In July 2014, Israeli settlers in Jerusalem abducted 16-year-old Mohammad Abu Khdeir from Shufat and set him on fire; the ensuing demonstrations resulted in 160 Palestinians injured. Israel’s assault on Gaza began five days later. One year later, settlers set fire to a residence in Duma. The soul survivor of the attack was a 4-year-old child; the child’s parents and infant brother were killed. In 2015, a tent encampment, “Gate of Jerusalem,” was set up in Abu Dis to protest the Israeli government’s plans to displace Bedouin communities there. Beginning in September 2015 and lasting until the end of the year, protests spread from the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem throughout the West Bank; 108 Palestinians were killed and 12,260 were injured.  Palestinians in Israel demonstrated in solidarity.

Ida Audeh is a Palestinian from the West Bank who lives in Colorado. She is the editor of Birzeit University: The Story of a National Institution, published by Birzeit University in 2010. She can be reached at idaaudeh A T yahoo D O T com.

June 22, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine denounces Indonesian clerics’ participation in interfaith conference

Palestine Information Center – June 13, 2018

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, has strongly denounced the participation of some Indonesian religious figures in the Zio-American interfaith conference in Occupied Jerusalem.

In press remarks, Sheikh Hussein described the conference as part of Israel’s systematic misleading campaigns that are intended to embellish it and make it appear as a country that advocates for peace and rapprochement between religions.

He condemned the Indonesian delegation’s visit as “a crime against the Palestinian cause and against the Muslim nation,” and said it ignored the international boycott campaigns against the occupation and its racist practices, especially after the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

The Mufti also slammed the visit as “shameful and unacceptable” and “contradicting the official and popular Indonesian position that support the Palestinian people and their just cause.”

June 13, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli Authorities Demolish Graves at Historic Palestinian Cemetery

Sputnik – June 11, 2018

Israeli authorities were caught on video excavating portions of the historic Bab al-Rahma cemetery next to Al-Aqsa mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. The cemetery is believed to contain the final resting places of two companions of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

Video from June 5 shows about a dozen men, presumably members of Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority, at a work site in the Bab al-Rahma cemetery, through which Israel is planning to build a national park trail.

​The cemetery sits adjacent to Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. It is believed to hold the graves of Ubada ibn as-Samit and Shadad ibn Aus, two of the Prophet Muhammad’s companions. The cemetery has remained in use for more than 1,000 years.

Israel plans to seize about 40 percent of the cemetery for the national park under murky legal pretexts, Sputnik News recently reported. The plan has supposedly been in place since 2015, but Palestinian lawyers and conservation activists claim Israel is jumping the gun, as court cases over the fate of the cemetery remain pending.

Israeli authorities have recently resumed work on the park and have been seen digging up and marking graves, removing trees and fencing off areas to halt future burials. During the first weekend of June, several Palestinians were injured and arrested while protesting the desecration of the cemetery.

Outside of Jerusalem proper, in the West Bank, authorities are also clearing the way for a new settlement over the village of al-Khana Ahmar, a village mostly inhabited by Bedouin refugees who were expelled from southern Israel in 1952. In 2009, an Italian aid organization constructed a school there, but Israel ordered it to be demolished one month after it opened. After that, residents in neighboring Israeli settlements petitioned the courts to demolish the community, which has been slated for destruction since February 2010. In 2015, authorities confiscated solar panels that provided the only source of electricity to the village.

​Israel plans to relocate them yet again, this time north to a village called An-Nuway’imah, allowing Jewish settlers to claim the strategically significant spot. Building an Israeli settlement there would allow the government to connect the urban Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim to Jerusalem and to control the gateway between northern and southern parts of the West Bank.

Abu Khamiss, a spokesman for the current Khan al-Ahmar villagers, told France 24 in 2014 that “the place where Israel wants us to ‘relocate’ would be like a prison for us. We’d be surrounded by Israeli settlements, a checkpoint and military training camps.”

The demolition is expected to begin any day now. Already, Israeli authorities have been accused of poisoning locals’ dogs under cover of night, robbing the villagers of the “faithful shepherds.”

Palestinian schoolchildren queue outside a tent where they attend lessons after Israeli troops confiscated caravans used as school classrooms, due to the lack of an Israeli-issued construction permit, in the West Bank village of Jubbet Al Dhib, near Bethlehem August 24, 2017

© REUTERS / Mussa Qawasma

For Palestinian children living in the West Bank, getting to school is an incredibly difficult task because of their scarcity and the difficulty of traveling due to the abundance of Israeli checkpoints that control movement around the territory and can take hours to pass through. Israel is slated to destroy the Palestinian school in al-Khana Ahmar as well, a move the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East said in 2011 “would effectively deny the children of the community their education and jeopardize their future.”

According to a January report from the the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, at least 61 schools in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have pending demolition orders or stop work orders against them from the Israeli government.

See Also:

Israel’s Demolishing of West Bank Schools May Amount to Int’l Crime – Watchdog

June 12, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UN Officials Call on Israel to Halt Khan Al-Ahmar Demolition

IMEMC | June 1, 2018

United Nations officials, on Friday, called on Israel to abandon plans to demolish the Palestinian community of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem.

Humanitarian Coordinator, Jamie McGoldrick, and United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Director of Operations in the West Bank, Scott Anderson, joined others in the international community in calling on the government of Israel to cease its plans to carry out the mass demolition and transfer of the Palestinian Bedouin community of Khan al Ahmar – Abu al Helu, located on the outskirts of East Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank.

“Like many Palestinians in Area C, the residents of Khan al Ahmar – Abu al Helu have fought for years to live with dignity, to protect their children, their homes, and their community,” said McGoldrick. “They have struggled in the face of tremendous daily pressure and are asking for the continued support of the international community to prevent the demolition of their homes.”

Following the Israeli Supreme Court’s May 24 rejection of the community’s petition to prevent the demolitions, marking an end to years-long legal efforts and leaving virtually no legal options to protect the community, nearly all of Khan al Ahmar – Abu al Helu’s structures are now at immediate risk of demolition by the Israeli authorities, including the school, initially built with donor support. The school serves some 170 students from the community and four surrounding ones. The proposed transfer seeks to move the rural livestock-dependent community to an urban site unsuitable for Bedouin livelihood, culture and traditions and is likely to increase their level of humanitarian need.

“After nine years of legal battle, this refugee community now faces the demolition of their homes, the loss of traditional livelihoods and the imminent risk of forcible transfer should the demolitions be conducted and the community be compelled to relocate, which would be a grave breach of the Geneva Convention,” said Anderson. “Many already displaced from the [Naqab] as a result of the 1948 conflict; they now face being displaced for a second time. As we have seen in similar circumstances in the past, the transfer of rural Bedouin to the urban setting of Jabal West, proposed by the Israeli state, will likely prove socially and economically devastating,” he concluded, according to WAFA.

Khan al Ahmar – Abu al Helu is one of 18 communities located in or next to an area slated in part for the E1 settlement plan, aimed at creating a continuous built-up area between the Maale Adumim settlement and East Jerusalem. This week, the Israeli authorities approved a planning scheme providing for the construction of 92 new housing units and an educational institution in the Kfar Adumim settlement, immediately adjacent to Khan al Ahmar; this settlement has also petitioned the High Court for the implementation of the outstanding demolition orders against the community.

“Israel’s obligations as an occupying power to protect the residents of Khan al Ahmar are clear,” said McGoldrick. “Should the Israeli authorities choose to implement the outstanding demolition orders in the community and force the people to leave, they would not only generate significant humanitarian hardship but also commit one of the grave breaches of international humanitarian law,” he concluded.

03/06/18 Khan al-Ahmar Village Scheduled for Demolition

June 1, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , , | 2 Comments

US Stealth Aircraft Manufacturer to Open Preschools in Jerusalem – Reports

Sputnik – 25.05.2018

One of the biggest defense manufacturers in the United States is reportedly moving to invest in kindergarten education in Jerusalem.

Lockheed Martin is about to open several science-oriented preschools in the city of Jerusalem with the backing of the Israeli Ministry of Education, Haaretz reports.

According to the newspaper, the company that produces a wide array of ordnance and military aircraft, including the F-35 stealth fighter, is opening these preschools as part of a larger project called MadaKids.

Also, Lockheed Martin intends to fund robotics courses for first and second graders for children who graduate from these preschools.

The company’s representatives added that Lockheed Martin will only pay for the preschools’ science curriculum.

“We’re supporting them financially, but we don’t have teachers in the preschools and we’re not intervening in the programming or curriculum,” said Joshua Shani, CEO of Lockheed Martin Israel.

While Shani did admit that Lockheed Martin’s involvement in this preschool program “isn’t logical”, he argued that “the moment a commercial company wants to contribute to the community, it becomes worthwhile.”

“We could have set up a research institute on military aviation worldwide, but we went in the direction of education because that’s what fires us up,” he declared.

The Ministry of Education noted that it does not object to commercial enterprises setting up preschools as long as commercial content doesn’t get introduced into curriculum.

The commander of the Israeli Air Force Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin earlier declared that Israel became the first country in the world to carry out an attack using the US-manufactured F-35 stealth fighter.

He claimed that Israel is “flying the F-35 all over the Middle East and have already attacked twice on two different fronts.”

May 25, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sheldon Adelson, the Godfather

If Americans Knew | May 21, 2018

Wendy Mesley discusses Sheldon Adelson’s role in getting the U.S. embassy moved to Jerusalem, as well as his massive influence on Donald Trump and American politics in general.

May 21, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel revokes residency of 4 Jerusalemite officials

Palestine Information Center – April 30, 2018

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – Palestinian human rights sources said that Israel decided on Sunday to strip four Jerusalemite officials of their permanent residency under the pretext of not being loyal to Israel.

Lawyer Fadi al-Qawasmi said that Israel’s Interior Minister Aryeh Deri decided to revoke the residency of MPs Mohammed Abu Tir, Ahmad Attoun, and Mohammed Toutah as well as former Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Khaled Abu Arafa.

Al-Qawasmi said in press statements that the decision came after the Knesset approved a new bill earlier in March that allows the Interior Minister to strip any Jerusalemite of his residency rights if he is involved in “terrorism” or “anti-Israel acts”.

According to al-Qawasmi, the Israeli Supreme Court in mid-September 2017 overturned a decision to revoke the residency of the Jerusalemite MPs. However, it decided to give the Israeli government a time limit to enact a law that gives the Interior Ministry the authority to strip any Jerusalemite of his residency.

The Palestinian lawyer described the bill as “unfair” and “illegal”, saying that it was applied retroactively. He affirmed that he will return to Israeli courts to oppose the decision.

The Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the Druze in the Syrian Golan Heights are considered residents not citizens by the Israeli authorities. Revoking their residency, according to the new bill, means expelling them permanently from these territories.

In 2006 the Israeli authorities confiscated the ID cards of the four Jerusalemite MPs after arresting them following their participation in a protest in Occupied Jerusalem. They spent several months in Israeli jails before they were deported to the West Bank.

April 30, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Paraguay to move its embassy in Israel to Occupied Jerusalem

Palestine Information Center – April 29, 2018

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – Israel Hayom newspaper on Sunday said that the Paraguayan president Horacio Cartes has pledged to transfer his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Cartes said that he would like the move to take place before he leaves office in June.

Cartes said during a ceremony held in the Paraguayan capital of Asunción to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Israel that his decision stems from both political and personal commitment.

Paraguay is the fourth country to decide to move its embassy to Occupied Jerusalem joining the Czech Republic, Guatemala and Honduras who followed the lead of the US.

Both the US and Guatemala have decided to transfer their embassies to Jerusalem in mid-May, while Honduras and the Czech Republic have not set a date yet.

On 6th December 2017 the US president Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced his intention to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city stirring worldwide condemnation.

April 29, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment