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South Africa's diplomatic mission in Ramallah is trying to assist the reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah, on the assumption that internal Palestinian unity is necessary to successfully fight the Israeli occupation.
Weimar in Jerusalem
IN BERLIN, an exhibition entitled "Hitler and the Germans" has just opened. It examines the factors that caused the German people to bring Adolf Hitler to power and follow him to the very end.
I am too busy with the problems of Israeli democracy to fly to Berlin. Pity. Because since childhood, precisely this question has been troubling me. How did it happen that a civilized nation, which saw itself as the "people of poets and thinkers", followed this man, much as the children of Hamelin followed the pied piper to their doom.
Bread and the Circus
WAS surprised when, towards the end of 1975, I received an invitation from the Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, to meet him at his residence. He opened the door himself, poured me a glass of whisky, poured one for himself, and without any further ado asked me: "Tell me, Uri, have you decided to destroy all the doves in the Labor Party?"
No to Racism! No to Fascism!
Close to 10 thousand demonstrators of all ages, Jews and Arabs, marched on Saturday (16.10.10) in the streets of Tel-Aviv in protest against the racist laws which are about to be enacted by the Knesset, headed by the law that requires non-Jews who ask for citizenship to swear allegiance to Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state".
A Military Police investigation into an air strike that killed 21 Palestinian civilians during Operation Cast Lead, according to a recent Haaretz report, indicates senior air force officers had approved the attack. The report, published on Friday by Amos Harel and Anshel Pfeffer ("IDF probes top officers on Gaza war strike that killed 21 family members" ), alleges senior officers authorized the bombing despite being warned by more junior officers that civilians were likely located at or nearby the target site.
One officer involved in approving the attack is then-Givati Brigade commander Col. Ilan Malka. To date it has not yet been determined whether he will stand trial as an officer involved in the affair.
A military judge has criticized the military prosecutor's office for relying on the testimony of a mentally challenged young man who referred to events that never took place. In doing so, the witness put a resident of the Palestinian West Bank village of Na'alin behind bars for nine months for a crime he did not commit.
On the plane on my way back from Istanbul, an acquaintance surprised me when he asked, in the midst of our chat, "And do you have a second passport?" The question, he explained, was the result of our shared fear of a deterioration in the political situation whose outcome is difficult to imagine.
In the three years since Hamas took control of Gaza, Israeli officials have employed mathematical formulas to monitor foodstuffs and other basic goods entering the Strip to ensure that the amount of supplies entering was neither less nor more than the amount Israel permitted, according to documents released last week.
The documents - released Thursday in response to a Freedom of Information Act petition by the non-profit group Gisha - were drafted while Amos Gilad served as interim coordinator of government activities in the territories, heading the body that checked the goods.
The three documents detailing rules for food imports into the Gaza Strip were published last week following an 18-month legal battle that at one point saw government representatives flatly denying the documents' existence in court.
The state finally admitted their existence and handed over the documents on October 21 only after the nongovernmental organization Gisha demanded that Amos Gilad, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, sign an affidavit confirming their nonexistence - which would have constituted perjury.
Do you really want to weaken Hamas? Surprise it. Go back and open Gaza's gates - to ordinary human movement, not just to cherries, shavers and a handful of pious Muslims who manage to wend their way past the Egyptian bureaucracy. Open the Erez checkpoint. Then you'll see how Gazans yearn for life.
Some two years ago, attorney Gabi Lasky of Tel Aviv made me miss a good scoop. She simply did not think of calling journalists and the story reached me in a roundabout way when it was already too late for a news item. A military judge had decided to acquit one of the Palestinians defendants that Lasky was representing. The translator in the courtroom was confused. He looked around him, wondering out loud how one translates "innocent" into Arabic.
The Nobleman and the Horse
"HALF AND HALF," the late Prime Minister, Levi Eshkol, is said to have answered, when asked whether he wanted tea or coffee.
This joke was intended to parody his hesitation on the eve of the Six-day War. (Though secret documents published this week show Eshkol in a very different light.)
The American public now resembles the man in the joke. They sent to Washington a large group of Tea Party types, but the coffee drinkers in the White house are still in control.
From Jerusalem to Safed - Racism is on the march!
For the second time within a month, hundreds of intellectuals, writers and artists gathered today (November 7, 2010) to protest against the wave of racism that is flooding the country. This time, too, the protest took place opposite the building where David Ben-Gurion announced the foundation of the State of Israel and read the Declaration of Independence, which promises freedom and equality to all citizens, "irrespective of religion, race and sex".
In the non-party demonstration, the blue shirts of the members of the youth movements were very prominent.
Vox Taxi - Vox Dei
ON SATURDAY evening, two weeks ago, we returned by taxi from the annual memorial rally for Yitzhak Rabin, and as usual got into a conversation with our driver.
Generally, these conversations flow smoothly, with lots of laughs. Rachel loves them, because they bring us face-to-face with people we don't normally meet. The conversations are necessarily short, the people express their views concisely, without choosing their words. They are of many kinds, and in the background we generally hear the radio news, talk shows or music chosen by the driver. And, of course, the soldier-son and the student-daughter are mentioned.
Israeli Police Commander to TV News Director: 'We Know Where You Live, Will Lie in Wait for You'
"Israel's Channel 10 News ran a series on police violence and abuse. It featured incidents between citizens and police officers which escalated into extreme violence. Before it aired the National Deputy Police Commander called the news director Revdor Benziman and threatened him and his staff with violence if it wasn't cancelled. When Benziman declined, the officer bellowed:
'WE TOO CAN ACT AGAINST YOU. WE KNOW WHERE YOUR STUDIOS ARE AND YOUR PERSONAL VEHICLES AND WE CAN LIE IN WAIT FOR YOU!'"
Good thing they were Israeli journalists and not Indigenous Palestinians (if they were this wouldn't be news)
or an Indigenous activist in occupied Tyendinaga...
'YOUR WHOLE WORLD IS GOING TO COME CRASHING DOWN. I'LL DO EVERYTHING I CAN WITHIN YOUR COMMUNITY AND EVERYWHERE TO DESTROY YOU. I'M TELLING YOU. PULL THE PLUG OR YOU WILL SUFFER GRAVE CONSEQUENCES..'
Only here our rednecks have gone after this police commander and aspiring Parliamentarian for not going far enough!
Canada has achieved what Israel can only dream of
"A DISASTER!" the courtiers of the King of Hanover cried, "Seven renowned professors at Göttingen University have published a declaration of protest against you!"
That was 173 years ago. The king had suspended the liberal constitution enacted by his predecessor.
The Givati Brigade soldiers who were tried and convicted of risking the life of a non-combatant Palestinian child are entitled to feel like victims. But why shouldn't they feel patriotic pride? Their conviction essentially handed the post of chief of staff to Yoav Galant and bestowed legal immunity on political figures, in particular Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak
[url=http://972mag.com/israel-raids-the-house-of-grassroots-organizer-adeed-a... arrests 16-year-old son of jailed grassroots organizer[/url]
Continuing its policy of military repression of non-violent resistance in the West Bank, Israel raided the house of grassroots organizer Adeed Abu Rahmah and arrested his 16 year-old son. Adeed has been serving a sentence for the past 18 months for non-violent mobilization against the route of Israel's separation wall in the village of Bil'in. The raid occurred just hours after a military judge decided to keep Abdallah Abu Rahmah, another leader of the grassroots resistance in Bil'in, in Ofer military prison. Abu Rahmah had just finished serving his original jail sentence in full. The repression of non-violent resistance is heating up in the West Bank.
Video and photos at the link.
The Original Sin
A FRIEND of mine in Warsaw told me about a Polish journalist who visited Israel for the first time. On his return he reported with great excitement: "You know what I've discovered? In Israel, too, there are Jews!"
Interview with Uri Avnery, Tel Aviv 2010
Hampshire College • 2010 Eqbal Ahmad Lecture Series • Amira Hass
Bishara: I will probably resign
"Islam is the Solution"
FIRST, AN apology: I am not going to write about the Wikileaks.
I like gossip as much as the next (wo)man. The leaks provide a lot of it, interspersed with some real information.
But there is nothing really new there. The information only confirms what any intelligent person could have worked out already. If there is anything new, it's exactly this confirmation: the world is really managed the way we thought it was. How depressing.
Four hundred years ago, Sir Henry Wotton, a British diplomat, observed that "An ambassador is an honest man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country." Since then, nothing has changed except that the ambassador has been joined by the ambassadress. So it is quite refreshing to listen to what they say in secret messages home, when they don't have to lie.
That said, let's move on to more important things.
THIS WEEK'S ELECTIONS in Egypt, for example.
Nabi Salah, 12.11.2010, use of extended range tear gas canisters
silwan 2010 baha
SAN DIEGO - "What are you doing for Thanksgiving?" That's what I found myself asking in the days leading up to the American holiday, which took place Thursday. Two weeks in California, and you'd think that I had gone native. You'd think that like everyone else, I was inquiring as to whether the people I met were celebrating the holiday with grandmothers or aunts and uncles, or about how sweet the sweet potatoes would be or how the turkey (one of the 46 million slaughtered in honor of Thanksgiving ) would be stuffed.
An Israeli and a Palestinian meet at the separation fence - on the U.S.-Mexico border
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - Two Indians, a Palestinian and an Israeli meet in San Diego. Where else should they go, if not to the separation fence marking the U.S. border with Mexico? This is not one fence, but three (the third is a wall ), which run along 700 miles of the 2,000-mile border between the two countries.
Gideon Levy - Toronto- 1 of 7- The Punishment of Gaza
A General Overhaul
THE JUDGE: "You are accused of murdering your wife and two children. How do you plead: Guilty or not guilty?"
The accused: "Your honor, I do not deal with the past. I think about the future!"
No, not a scene from a comedy. Something very similar really happened. That is how Eli Yishai, the Minister of the Interior, Binyamin Netanyahu and the other nincompoops responded this week to the accusations of gross negligence which resulted in the unprecedented giant firestorm that ravaged large parts of Mount Carmel and caused the deaths of 42 people.
Otherwise Occupied / Labour is concerned
Labour Party representatives who had visited the Ofer military tribunal in the West Bank two weeks ago expressed shock over how the court conducts its hearings. In a parliamentary debate about detained Palestinian minors, they said that given a sample of 100 children, 69 said soldiers beat them and kicked them when they were being arrested. The children were better off pleading guilty regardless of whether they had done something, because if they were detained until the end of proceedings, this could be three times longer than their punishment, the parliamentarians said.
Ship of Fools 2
THE EXPRESSION "Ship of Fools" was used by a Swiss theologian 515 years ago as the title of a book harshly criticizing the Catholic church of his day. Its licentiousness, he foresaw, would lead to disaster. And indeed, shortly afterwards a monk named Martin Luther split the church and set in motion the great Reformation.
I used this phrase in the 70s to define the era between the two wars - the Six-Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973, six years spent by Israel in a state of foolish euphoria. "We never had it so good".
Voices From Inside / Israelis Speak: Part 1 of 2
Soldier assaults B'Tselem worker on latter's land
"The Darkness to Expel!"
IT IS easy to despair before the filthy wave of racism that is engulfing us.
The remedy for this despair: the growing number of young people, sons and daughters of the new Israeli generation, who are joining the fight against racism and occupation.
RHR's General Secretary Rabbi Arik Ascherman
Raised to be Heroes(I believe I posted part of this before, but not the whole thing, here it is)
Even after 170 years
It's impossible to know whether between the time these lines are written (Friday morning ) and the time they're published they will have become old news or receive any attention at all.
On Thursday, December 16, President Barack Obama declared, during the second conference of Tribal Nations held at the White House, that the United States had decided to support the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, thus reversing its original opposition to the declaration adopted by the General Assembly on September 13, 2007.
Israeli rights groups want to force Shin Bet to record interrogations
A group of Israeli and Palestinian Human Rights groups petitioned the High Court of Justice last week to require law enforcement agencies to record interrogations of security prisoners.
Thousands of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem have been disconnected from Bezeq landline and Internet service for six weeks over the past two months. While residents are complaining about foot-dragging, the company says the real problem might be vandalism.
2010 Video Summary - six wishes
The two security cadets at Ben-Gurion International Airport stood by the plane's door. That Friday, December 17, they were waiting not for some Mohammad, but rather for a Cohen. Matan Cohen.
Shin Bet puts Israeli 'anarchists' in crosshairs
'Shin Bet tortures prisoners and denies access to lawyers'
As many as 90 percent of Palestinian prisoners being interrogated by the Shin Bet security service are prevented from consulting with an attorney, even though civilian and military legislation state clearly that such prohibition should be rarely applied, according to a report published by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and the Palestinian Prisoners' Society.
How much public influence does a pro-Palestinian Israeli have?
The Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on Monday sentenced left-wing activist Jonathan Pollak to three months' imprisonment for participating in an illegal gathering in January 2008.
If anyone in the world had called Israel an "abscess," we would have generated a wave of protests, and learned scholars of anti-Semitism would lecture about the vocabulary that the Nazis borrowed from pathology and microbiology (the same holds for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ). But when a deputy prime minister of Israel and a member of the Labor Party used a clinical metaphor to talk about the Gaza Strip this week ("Gaza is an abscess, troublesome pus" ), no one got upset. We are always allowed to do what others are not.
"I HAVE three answers," the Jew told the rabbi when his neighbor sued him for not returning a borrowed jar.
"First, I never borrowed a jar from him. Second, the jar was broken. Third, I returned it to him long ago."
Avigdor Lieberman's Peace Plan shows a similar kind of logic.
Jeff Halper: Understanding the Israel-Palestine Conflict (Part 1)
The Zionist Story. (Full Documentary)
Lubna Masarwa - Palestine Solidarity Conference. Part 1
Ilan Pappe - Palestine Solidarity Conference. Part 1