Alerts and Reports 

The US released Pollard – Israel should release Mordechai Vanunu!

Gush Shalom, the Israeli Peace Bloc, calls upon the Government of Israel to emulate the United States, which removed the limitation placed upon Jonathan Pollard, and remove the limitations which it itself placed on Mordecahi Vanunu.

Jonathan Pollard and Mordecahi Vanunu were both arrested in 1986, in the US and Israel respectively. Both were charged with espionage, though on very different grounds.

Pollard had passed on to an Israeli agent classified information to which he had access due to his work in the US Naval Intelligence. Vanunu had provided to the London Sunday Times information about the production of nuclear arms at the Dimona Nclear Pile, which he gained while working there as a technician.

Both were duly convicted of Espionage. In the case of Vanunu the question arose whether passing classified information to a newspaper counts as “espionage”. The judges ruled that it does, since “publishing in the newspaper is tantamount to giving it to all enemy agents at once”. The US Government and large parts of the American public opinion denounced Pollard as “a traitor”. The same – even more vociferously – was how the Israeli Government and much of public opinion treated Vanunu.

Nevertheless, both of them gained groups of devoted supporters and adherents – on very divergent grounds. Peace activists and opponents of nuclear arms worldwide – and some also in Israel - warmly took up the case of Mordecahi Vanunu, hailing him as a heroic whistleblower. Vanunu was several times put up as candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, and he did win the Right Livelihood Award (“The Alternative Nobel Prize”) and various other awards and honors.

Jonathan Pollard gained support in an entirely different quarter, mainly from right wing Nationalist Israelis, who regarded him as a Jewish Zionist hero and even as an Israeli Patriot. Under intensive lobbying from this direction, the government of Israel granted Israeli citizenship to Pollard, still held in the American prison.

When Vanunu emerged from sixteen years behind bars, the government promptly imposed severe restrictions on him – the order for these restrictions signed by the Interior Minister, citing Emergency Powers left over from the time of British colonial rule. Vanunu had to report to the police any time he changed address, and was forbidden to leave Israel, to come near to any Embassy and also forbidden to speak to foreigners. In one case, he was detained and charged with having broken the restrictions in having had “a long conversation with a foreigner”. The “foreigner” in question turned out to be Vanunu’s Norwegian girlfriend.

Some years later, Pollard ended his own long prison term in the US – and the American authorities, too, hastened to impose severe restrictions. Pollard was forbidden to leave the United States and go to Israel, which was what he wanted. If fact, he was restricted to the city of New York and forbidden to go outside its boundaries.

This week, the restrictions on Pollard were finally lifted. He is now free, whenever he wants, to board a plane to Israel where he can be sure of welcome. But the Government of Israel, which lobbied the Americans and achieved this gesture for Pollard from the outgoing President Trump, itself has the power to end Vanunu’s restrictions, too. All that is needed is one signature of the Interior Minister on one paper.

This step should be taken with no further delay. Mordechai Vanunu has spent more than half his lifetime paying for an act which broke Israeli law but which he felt was morally justified – a view shared by many others.

Vanunu had asserted many times that he had already disclosed all classified information he ever had to the Sunday Times, and it had already become known to the whole world thirty-five years ago. Even if he does have any more information in his possession, it is very obsolete information, decades out of date.

There is no reason, except for pure vindictiveness, for forcing Vanunu to go on living in Israel, a country from which he feels alienated. He needs and deserves to be set free, to be allowed to fly off to Norway – a country which already years ago agreed to host him and where he can expect to be welcomed and live the rest of his life among friends.

Contact: Adam Keller, Gush Shalom Spokesperson, +972-(0)54-2340749


Tel Aviv crowd cheers US elections result.

Aviv Gefen at Rabin memorial: I want to thank our brothers and sisters in America for giving us hope!

The news of the Biden victory arrived just before the annual Tel Aviv rally to commemorate the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin, exactly 25 years ago. As every year, the rally concluded with Aviv Gefen singing "Let's march into the dream / Let's conquer peace / And not territories".

But this year, after his song, Gefen remained on the podium and made a short impromptu speech: "On this very special day I want to thank our brothers and sisters in America. I want to thank them for showing us that you can defend democracy and overcome the forces of disruption. To thank them for giving us hope! Forward to Victory! " And there was an enormous cheer.

All of us in Gush Shalom, the Israeli Peace Bloc, congratulate Joe Biden and Kamela Harris for their hard-fought victory. This is a great day for the whole world. We congratulate American democracy which managed to shake off and oust a President who trampled on the most basic of democratic norms and still persists in futile efforts to cling to his fading power. As Israelis, we welcome the removal of a false friend who caused enormous damage to the State of Israel by pushing our country ever deeper into the mire of occupation and oppression, who distanced Israel from peace with its Palestinian neighbors - the vitally needed peace which is essential for our future and without which agreements with distant countries are completely worthless. We hope that President Biden, though having many other urgent tasks awaiting him, will return the Palestinian issue to the forefront of US policy in the Middle East and that he will act in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution stating that West Bank settlements are illegal. Biden himself, as the Vice President in the Obama Administration, was among that resolution's' prime movers.

Tel Aviv, November 7, 2020


Stand with Conscientious objector Hallel Rabin!

Conscientious objector Hallel Rabin was sent to the military prison because of her refusal to join an army of occupation which oppresses the Palestinians.

She has asked - and fully deserves - for public support for her struggle.

The army's method of dealing with refusers and conscientious objectors (male or female alike) is incremental sentences of a month at a time, After each term the objector is again ordered to enlist, refuses again and is sent again to prison.

Hallel Rabin is now undergoing the third such one-month term, and many more can follow,

Using this method enables the army to avoid a court martial which would be held in public and where the defendant can be represented by a lawyer and call witnesses.

Instead, the cumulative one-month terms are issued at "instant trials" held in camera at an officer's bureau and lasting about five minutes.

'Mesarvot' and 'Yesh Gvul' invite the public to attend a protest vigil in support of Hallel and decrying her incarceration,

Today, Saturday October 31st, 2020 at 12:30

On the mountainside facing Military Prison 6, from where protesters are visible - and audible - to prisoners (and to their guards).

For those coming from the Tel-Aviv/Gush-Dan or Jerusalem areas, transportation is available; register at: https://forms.gle/Li7qte4yFVxUTL8EA

A short interview with Hallel about her background and the process she has gone through in reaching her decision to refuse military service: https://tv.social.org.il/en/hallel-rabin-i-refuse

Contact: Yishai Menuchin +972-(0)54-3355373 +972-(0) 54-4860050


Ariel U. study rejected because author refused to remove 'written in Israel'

An activist group asked the journal to change the address to say "Ariel University, illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory."

The international open-access science journal Molecules has canceled the publication of a study by Dr. Mindy Levine from Ariel University after she refused to erase the word “Israel” in the address of the university, according to Israeli activists.

The study was originally meant to be featured in the journal’s January 2021 edition. Levine marked the address in the study as “The Department of Chemical Sciences, Ariel University, Ramat HaGolan 65, Ariel, Israel.” Read More Related Articles

A group of chemists from around the world complained to Molecules that Ariel is located in occupied territory and not in Israel. The group is led by Prof. George Smith, winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and Prof. Malcolm Levitt, a fellow of the Royal Society. The group asked the journal to change the address to say “Ariel University, illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory,” according to the “Palestinian No Academic Business as Usual with Ariel University” initiative.

After the complaint was issued, the editors of Molecules asked Levine to remove the word Israel from the address at the head of the study, but Levine refused and the journal canceled the publication of the study. Levine is an olah (immigrant) from the US who was at the University of Rhode Island, Columbia, MIT and other universities before arriving at Ariel in 2019, according to a profile on Ariel University’s website.

The group led by Smith and Levitt has worked for years to prevent cooperation with Ariel University, claiming that the university is illegal and built in an illegal settlement.

“All we asked in the original petition was for Professor Levine to correct the address of her university to comply with international law: Ariel is an Israeli Jewish settlement in Occupied Palestinian Territory, not a town in Israel,” said Smith in response to the cancellation, according to the initiative.

“Sadly, she has refused, effectively choosing pro-occupation propaganda over her own academic freedom and the larger interest of the global science community in unfettered publication of scientific ideas and results. The editors of Molecules are to be commended for taking the only responsible course of action in the circumstances.”

Later, speaking not on behalf of the organization but of his own accord, Smith told The Jerusalem Post that he has nothing against the professor. “The fact that she was invited by Molecules to guest-edit an entire issue devoted to her field suggests that she is a well-respected scholar,” he said. “I probably would have been happy to have her as a colleague at my own university, regardless of our political differences. I wish her career well.”

But he added that “Hiding the occupation from readers by giving Ariel’s location as Israel rather than occupied Palestinian territory is typical of this propaganda campaign.”

“All that was asked of Dr. Mindy Levine was that she be more exact with facts. Ariel is not part of the State of Israel. That is not a political statement, it is a simple fact,” Gush Shalom movement spokesman Adam Keller said in a statement. “Ariel is not part of the State of Israel, not according to international law and also not according to the laws of the State of Israel itself.”

Keller stated that the full legal process, including a decision by the government and the passing of an annexation law by the Knesset, would need to be carried out for Ariel to be considered part of Israel. “A process such as this has never been carried out concerning Ariel,” stressed Keller, pointing to the planned annexation announced earlier this year that would have affected Ariel, but was never carried out.

“Therefore, the factual situation is clear – Ariel is not a part of the State of Israel and also does not stand to become a part of the State of Israel in the foreseeable future,” Keller said.

“Molecules has put politics over science,” said Prof. Eugene Kontorovich, Director of International Law at the Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum, in response to the event. “It requires all authors to provide a mailing address; whatever one thinks of the politics, ‘Ariel, Israel’ is indeed the correct mailing address, as one can discover by sending a letter. The purpose of a contact address – to allow communication with the author – has been turned into a geopolitical judgment by chemists unqualified to make it.”

“Papers from authors in other contested areas have been published without any insistence on any ‘legally correct’ description,” he continued. “Now Molecules must revise its policies for several territories, or stick with a Jewish-only double standard.”

“Scientists are obligated to be precise with facts – this is a basic and self-evident duty for all chemists as in any other science,” Keller said. “The publication of the address ‘Ariel, Israel’ at the head of an article would constitute a blatant and obvious factual distortion to any eye, and would call into question the factual credibility of all the research that followed it.

“It is a pity that a talented and active researcher, who gained a reputation in the American universities where she lectured and engaged in research, chose to move to a university in occupied territory and thus cast a heavy shadow on the continuation of her scientific work.”

https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/study-from-ariel-rejected-after-author-writes-address-as-in-israel-644424


Justice to Iyad al-Hallak

To mark 3 months to the day when Iyad al-Hallak was killed in the Old City of Jerusalem, we will be demonstrating in front of The Department of Internal Police Investigation.

We will demand justice for Iyad, his mother Rana, his father Kheiri, all his family and supporters. We will demand that all the photographic evidence and the findings of the investigation be released to Iyad's family and to the wider public.

We will meet on Wednesday, September 2, at 6:00 PM, in front of The Department of Internal Police Investigation, Hartom St 8, Jerusalem.

Join us!


This week in the Occupied Territories

August 2-9, 2020 – in the Occupied Territories

  • A new settler outpost has been erected in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley;
  • Incursions and expansions of existing outposts inside ‘nature reserves’ and military firing zones in the northern and southern Palestinian Jordan Valley;
  • Home demolitions and the uprooting of dozens of palm trees in Jiftlik village by the occupation forces;
  • Settlers stole and vandalized equipment, water systems and solar electricity systems and uprooted trees in Sarura, in the South Hebron Hills; * Daily expulsion and harassment of Palestinian communities by the settler-colonists of the new outpost at Umm Zaitouna;
  • Palestinians managed to prevent the confiscation of vehicles by Israeli police and army near Tawane and at the entrance to Umm Al Kheir, and even works to prepare a road leading to the settlement of Negohot on their lands; * In Hares (Salfit district) and in Turmus Aia (Ramallah district) activists joined local protest demonstrations against the settler incursions and the uprooting of 200 olive trees
  • An activist was arrested in Hares and was released, and in Turmus Aia the army dispersed the demonstrators with tear gas and stun grenades;
  • Nine arrested in protest action at the JNF (KKL) building in Jerusalem against evicting the Somarin family from its home in Silwan;
  • The occupation administration continues to demolish homes in Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.
  • Protest prayer of Hares inhabitants vis a vis the army checkpoint that denies them access to the 200-tree olive tree grove which ‘anonymous persons’ had uprooted

South Hebron Hills

The violent riots by settlers in the South Hebron Hills have escalated since the erection of the new outpost at Umm Zaitouna.

This week, they expelled Palestinian shepherds from their grazing grounds on Tuesday morning, and again in the afternoon, on Thursday morning, and on Saturday afternoon.

On Wednesday, an armed settler came from the outpost into the encampment of the Taghla community and demanded that a search be conducted there. The Palestinian inhabitants called the police, and until a military force arrived, the settler had left.

On Saturday morning, activists accompanied the shepherds, and there the outpost settlers summoned the army to do the job for them. The army officers and DCO representatives present would not show maps and documents that prevent the Palestinian shepherds from grazing there, and instead showed a ‘closed military zone’ order which they, naturally, imposed on the shepherds only, not on the settlers.

The new outpost evidently has begun to erect vast sheep pens, and apparently the settlers intend to bring a large herd to the site.

On Saturday afternoon, settlers broke into Sarura, near Tawane, while the inhabitants accompanied shepherds in the Harouba area. According to the report we received, the settlers destroyed the solar power system and stole parts of it, vandalized water pipes, uprooted trees, and vandalized equipment stored in the caves and outside them.

On Thursday the occupation forces demolished a dwelling at Wadi Jheish near Susya, and cut water pipes near Tawane. On Saturday activists visited Wadi Jheish, documented the destruction, and coordinated work to remove the rubble next Saturday.

On Tuesday, August 4, opposite the entrance to Tawane, army and police forces attempted to confiscate a vehicle (mashtub). The soldiers and policemen exerted harsh violence against the passengers, one of the soldiers threatened them with a weapon, and a policeman – with a taser. The forces also threw out equipment and products which the vehicle’s passengers were carrying.

An elderly woman sitting inside the vehicle refused to disembark, and many inhabitants arrived to protest this action. Finally the forces gave up, and did not confiscate the vehicle.

On Friday, August 8, a police van chased a vehicle driving towards Umm Al Kheir. The vehicle managed to escape, and the frustrated policemen decided, instead, to confiscate two vehicles parked in Umm Al Kheir that were not connected to the event.

In response, inhabitants came out, blocked the police van, the army and the tow-truck, and made them release the two vehicles and leave.

Around the settlement of Negohot, too, a protest by Palestinians succeeded on Wednesday in stopping the work of settlers’ heavy equipment trying to prepare a new track on the Palestinians’ land.

About vandalism by settlers since the beginning of the present year, see the new report published by OCHA:

https://www.ochaopt.org/he/content/unprotected-settler-attacks-against-palestinians-rise-amidst-outbreak-covid-19

To join Ta'ayush in The South Hebron Hills this Saturday call 055-2770168

Please make an effort to register no later than Thursday evening, so we can organize the transportation and the activity properly. Unfortunately, we will not be able to guarantee registration afterwards.

Please bring an ID/passport, a hat, water and food for the day.

It is advised to take into consideration cultural differences in the choice of clothing.


The Palestinian Jordan Valley

In the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley, on Wednesday activists documented the beginning of an erection of a new settler outpost south of the older one called Giv’at Sal’it. Invasions and fencing work were also documented, ascribed to a settler from the Maskiyot area, deep inside a nature reserve and a firing zone.

In the Jiftlik, occupation forces demolished three structures this week, and uprooted dozens of palm trees.

In Auja, in the southern Palestinian Jordan Valley, activists accompanied Palestinian shepherds several times this week, and usually grazing went unhampered.

At Rashash, on the West Bank hill range, activists documented continued work at the settler outpost erected in Wadi Rashash, inside a nature reserve and firing zone. In addition to structures, tree planting is also taking place there now.

To join activity in the Palestinian Jordan Valley, please contact Arik: 050-5607034


Ramallah and Salfit districts

At Turmus Aia (Ramallah district), activists joined a protest action of inhabitants on Friday, against the invasion of settler-colonists into their lands, and the army’s refraining form preventing it. The army chose not to enable such protest and prevented the protestors from exiting the village in the direction of their own fields. Confrontations ensued in which the army used teargas and stun grenades.

In Hares too (Salfit district), in past weeks activists have been joining the inhabitants’ weekly protest, ever since “anonymous” persons uprooted a grove of 200 fully-grown olive trees during the recent Eid al Adha holiday.

Although the vandalized grove is adjacent to the settlement of Revava, the occupation authorities claim they "have no idea who committed the act". Ever since, for the past two and a half months the villagers have been holding a protest prayer every Friday noon.

Lately the army begun to block the exit of protesters from the village, in order to prevent their accessing the ruined grove. Therefore the protest takes place in front of the army blockage. Usually it takes place without incident.

Last Friday the protesters managed to exit the village towards the grove, but then came army troops and forced them back into the village. An Israeli activist was arrested, and released a few hours later.

For joining the weekly protests in Hares, please contact Aviv: avivsky@gmail.com


Jerusalem

In Jerusalem, on Sunday August 2, a protest action took place inside the KKL-JNF building, against the JNF intention to dispossess the Somarin family of its home in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem and pass it on to the settler association Elad.

The protesters blocked the stairs inside the building and tied themselves to the railing. Police summoned to the site removed the protesters without exerting violence, and arresting 9 activists who were released later on that day, under conditions limiting their presence around the JNF building.

Even during the massive protests around the Israeli Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem, the occupation forces found time to demolish in East Jerusalem. This week three buildings were demolished in Issawiya, two in Silwan, one in Beit Hanina and one in Jabal Mukabar.

The weekly protest in Sheikh Jarrah continues to take place every Friday, adhering to the Coronavirus procedures. The residents of Sheikh Jarrah are protesting their violent evictions from their homes, the taking over of the neighborhood by the settlers, and the Judaization of East Jerusalem.

They call upon each and every person who supports their struggle to join them

We will meet at the Sheikh Jarrah Garden, Nablus Road and Dahlmann St. at at 4 p.m


Tisha b’Av and the Politics of the Temple Mount

This week holds a confluence of two important holy days for residents of Jerusalem and Jews and Muslims around the world. Tisha b’Av, the day of Jewish mourning for both the destruction of the Temple 2,000 years ago and a series of other tragedies that befell the Jewish people on the same date, is acknowledged through a 25-hour fast that begins Wednesday evening.

Eid al-Adha, a festival honoring Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his beloved son, Ishmael, for G-d also begins at the end of the week and lasts until Monday evening. On a normal year, this would lead to tens of thousands of Muslims arriving to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif prayers during the holiday.

In a better world, the convergence of these two holy days would be an opportunity to celebrate the religious wealth with which Jerusalem and this land are blessed. But in our world, things are – unfortunately – different.

Since 1967, Israel has respected Muslim holidays and has not allowed visitors – neither Jews nor tourists – to go up to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif during these days. But last year, when Tisha B'av fell exactly on the first day of Eid al-Adha, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided that was reason enough to violate the decades-long arrangement and allow Jews to enter the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif on the Muslim holiday.

Netanyahu is playing a duplicitous game: on one hand, he claims that he and his government are committed to upholding the status quo on the Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif (whereby the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif functions as a place of worship for Muslims alone and Jordan's custodianship of the holy place is respected by Israel) while on the other hand he is constantly chipping away the tenuous links holding the status quo together. To put it simply, if Jews arrive at the holy place as visitors and not for religious practice, then a Jewish holy day cannot serve as an excuse to allow them to enter the site on Eid al-Adha.

Fortunately, due to the movement of the Jewish and Muslim calendars – both of which are lunar but with differing lengths of months – this year the conflict was avoided; however, it is nevertheless important to understand how state authorities work together with Temple Movements to erode the status quo of the Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif.

The Temple Movement activists claim that actualizing the Jewish affiliation with the Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif will not come at the expense of Muslims nor of Muslim ties to the holy site, and that Muslim opposition to Jewish presence on the Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif is a result of fanaticism and incitement; yet to be convinced by this naïve claim one would have to be blinded by ignorance. After all, in every location under Israeli control, from Silwan to Hebron to the Jordan Valley, the introduction of Israelis gives rise to the repression and dispossession of Palestinians in the area.

When addressing the general public, Temple activists say that, “we simply want to pray in the holiest site of the Jewish people,” – a statement with which, in other circumstances, it would be easy to sympathize. But those who listen and read what is presented within the groups themselves soon realize that the true intentions of this movement are much less amicable. Here are a few examples – all drawn from the last few days: “We will continue our struggle until the presence of the Waqf [Islamic religious trust] is removed from the Temple Mount”, wrote Students for the Temple Mount in the launching a new crowdfunding campaign. They explain that they are working “to return the Temple Mount to the People of Israel.” The Temple Organizations Coalition published a declaration in preparation for Tisha B’Av with the statement, “our goal is for this mourning to end. Our mourning can only end by us redeeming the site. May we merit the building of the Third Temple.”

This week, Jewish groups stood by the Dome of the Rock and, like almost every week, lamented the “idol placed in the Temple” (Mishna Taanit 4:6) and the need to “abolish [heathen] shrines ” (Kings II, 18:4). In other words, as explained by one of the videos published this week, the goal is to “ascend the Temple Mount and conquer it. We will not stop until the Temple is rebuilt!” And these are statements made just within the last week.

Among every group, there is always an extremist faction that calls for a violent abolition of the opposition, except here we are talking about the rhetoric of the core of the Temple Movements, who are not at all considered extremist by the Israeli authorities. The organizers of the Temple Movements hold coordination meetings with the police and have the ear of the Knesset and government.

This is how Likud MK Minister and Netanyahu confidante, Ze’ev Elkin became a speaker at a Tisha B’Av event two years ago, saying “[In order to] ‘renew our days like those of old’… we have to throng to the Temple Mount exactly as was done in the days of old. With the help of G-d, we will reach the renewal of our days like those of old and we will be able to take this rally over the same stones on which Jews climbed 2,000 years ago to ascend to the Temple Mount. This, too, will happen if we are determined.”

And thus, a year ago, we reached the situation where Netanyahu granted for Jews on Tisha b’Av a special status, in violation of his alleged commitment to respect the status quo on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif. Netanyahu ordered that the Temple activists be allowed to enter the holy site, even though the date coincided with Eid al-Adha and multitudes of Muslims had gathered at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif for the holiday.

Thousands of Muslims stood quietly in front of the entrance to the Temple Mount, blocking it with their bodies – resistance to the contentious decision, but clearly non-violent resistance. In this case, the ones who chose to use violence were the police and special anti-riot forces sent to quell the “disturbance”.

This must be understood: the realization of the intentions of the Temple Movement will, in fact, come at the expense of Muslims as Israeli forces utilize violent tactics against Palestinians, just as we saw on Tisha b’Av last year.

This year, the calendars are in our favor and the two holy days miss one another by a day. But the roots of the problem continue to exist and grow ever deeper from year to year.

It doesn't have to be like this.

We have to recognize and respect the longstanding arrangements of the holy sites; only then can we hold and fulfill the vision of celebrating the religious diversity with which Jerusalem and this land are blessed. A meaningful Tisha b’Av and an Eid Mubarak,

Aviv Tatarsky - Ir Amim Field Researcher

The article was originally published in Hebrew in Sikha Mekomit.


Racist football fans threaten to attack tonight's anti-Netanyahu rally.

Protest organizers: we will be there, in greater numbers than ever Police to deploy undercover, special forces as far-right mobilizes opposition to anti-government rally planned for Thursday

The Israel Police “won’t allow any violence against protesters, civilians or officers,” acting commissioner Motti Cohen said on Thursday, ahead of planned anti-government demonstrations in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Similar rallies have been met with increasingly harsh police response, as well as attacks on protesters by far-right activists.

“We will continue to allow demonstrations across the country, regardless of their messages or the identity of protesters,” Cohen said, vowing to stamp out “rioting.”

According to him, “The police are not a political body…We will ensure every citizen’s freedom of speech and freedom of protest, within the bounds of the law. The majority is protesting lawfully, and we, as police officers, must ensure they can exercise their rights.”

The police are expected to bolster their presence as groups from the far-right, primarily the La Familia fan club of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, have called on members to come out and show anti-government protesters that "the rules of the game have changed."

La Familia - the group's name chosen deliberately due to its association with the Mafia - , has already taken part in two counter-demonstrations in Jerusalem and its members were accused of assaulting protesters. Now the group instructed its members in a Facebook post to gather at Jerusalem's First Station complex on Thursday night, not far from the protest hub near the official residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The statement continued, "Pay attention leftist wimps: The rules of the game have changed from here on in."

Accounts obtained by Haaretz show that La Familia members were invited by Netanyahu's Likud to protests the party had organized. In a video obtained by Haaretz, one of the pro-Netanyahu protesters can be heard calling them "A group of heroes" and saying that the "left is done for." He can also be heard calling on viewers to "share how La Familia came here and this will be the end of them.”

During the protest, a young member of La Familia was called to the microphone, and called left-wing demonstrators “the worst of the trash," and added "they aren’t Jews, they aren’t Jews, this is a religious war, simply a religious war and you’re a bunch of sons of bitches.”

The Israel Police are preparing to bolster their presence at the protest Thursday night in light of La Familia's call. Due to the concern that the group will try to attack demonstrators and the violent assault of protesters at a demonstration in Tel Aviv on Tuesday night, police will likely send more officers to the First Station complex and the Prime Minister's Residence, including undercover and special forces in both locations.

They have also founded the "Protest Watch" group, which has a number of goals: guarding the protesters on their way home, finding the provocateurs and preventing vandalism. “If a single stone is thrown, the protest has been destroyed, and a single poster of Netanyahu in an SS uniform also destroys it,” Dvir Kariv, a Protest Watch member, said. Kariv worked for 33 years in the Shin Bet, nearly 20 of them as part of the unit that investigates Jewish extremists. Kariv was also the first to question Yigal Amir after he assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

"If we spot a provocation and a provocateur who won’t stop their actions despite our requests we surround them with Israeli flags and call the police," Kariv said. He relates that one woman at a Jerusalem protest had a bottle thrown at her head. The incident was never reported because she wasn't hurt, he said, but "it creates a phenomenon where people are afraid." The group's goal, then, is to diffuse this fear by giving protesters an escort and calling the police if tension rises.

In another project, started by political activist and television presenter Emilie Moatti, left-wing activists raised money to hire a security firm to protect protesters. Some of the money will be used to buy body cameras for volunteers. “I woke up this morning to many messages about friends who took punches at the protest in Tel Aviv," Moatti said. "In the beginning I tweeted that maybe we should organize some security for these people. Afterwards, I thought we needed to do it instead of writing about it.” Within three hours of sharing the donation link, she raised 30,000 shekels.

The organizers are advising protesters to attend in large groups and to keep emergency telephone numbers handy. “Contrary to the person accused of criminal wrongdoing (Netanyahu) we care about each other,” Roee Peleg, one of the organizers, said. “I hear about people deterred from attending, but they're not afraid. People want to exercise their democratic right, but they didn't come to get stabbed or pepper sprayed. Every blow suffered by a protester is the fault of the Israel Police and the criminal defendant as well.”

Police sources have criticized how the Israel Police handled the anti-police brutality protest in Tel Aviv Tuesday night, which took place outside of Public Security Minister Amir Ohana's house. The sources criticized the inadequate planning for the event, and how protesters were able to disturb public order. Tel Aviv police have, on the other hand, expressed satisfaction that they did not prevent the protesters from demonstrating.

The Israel Police are investigating an incident in which protesters were attacked by fans of the Maccabi Tel Aviv soccer team while police were in the immediate vicinity. A police source said that they cannot be present at all times at a protest spread out across the city, and that police immediately responded when they got the call.

Dvir Kariv said that it's only a matter of time until there is another political murder, and not necessarily that of a politician. "We are weeks away from the political murder of a protester. Based on conversations I’ve head on a purely professional basis, beyond my views, the situation is very ripe for murder," he said.

"The responses from politicians today only reinforce and speed up the process. Police intelligence has a very difficult time thwarting someone who comes to a protest with a grenade," Kariv said, adding: "It’s not Yigal Amir, who wasn’t a lone attacker, and we didn’t succeed there either.”

Josh Breiner, Nir Hasson, Bar Peleg - Ha'aretz


Analysis: Netanyahu Has Launched the Decisive Part of His Plan: To Set the Country on Fire The prime minister offers limp condemnation for injured protesters over social media and seems to be fueling extremist right-wing violence

In recent years, Benjamin Netanyahu has been the main instigator of violence in Israel, and by virtue of his position and standing, also the most dangerous one. His apprenticeship came in the fall of 1995, during the period of the Oslo Accords. In recent days, as his political, legal and family distress has increased, he has been implementing the decisive phase of his plan: setting the country on fire.

Fueled by winks and nods, on Tuesday night squads of extremist right-wing thugs armed with clubs and bottles took to the streets of Tel Aviv and attacked peaceable, law-abiding demonstrators. Netanyahu – the fastest draw on Twitter when it comes to himself or his son – waited, deliberately, for 14 hours before posting a self-righteous, hypocritical message that dealt mostly with himself and threats directed against him and his family.

Israel's Locked-down, Let-down Youth Rattles Netanyahu's Cage. LISTEN He called upon the police to investigate and “get to the truth,” meaning who attacked whom – Shay Sekler, the gentle-looking young man who didn’t exactly resemble Rambo, or those black-shirted hooligans incited by the Prime Minister’s Residence who slashed his head with the glass shard of a bottle. There was also a limp condemnation in the post. When the first demonstrator is murdered, Netanyahu will roll his eyes. I issued a condemnation, he will say, and retrieve some sentence from his Twitter feed that was hiding in his post.

We’ve almost forgotten how all this started. When he was indicted, I wrote that to keep his trial from going forward, including the testimony of state witnesses that is expected to spell his political end, he wouldn’t hesitate “to burn down the clubhouse.” Literally.

Netanyahu is not the first prime minister who has been threatened. Ehud Olmert sustained serious threats over his negotiations with the Palestinians, as did Ehud Barak, as did Ariel Sharon over the disengagement from Gaza, including religious rulings against him.

And, of course, Yitzhak Rabin. The threats to him were of the most serious kinds – declaring that religious law permitted him to be killed, the scene at Zion Square in Jerusalem, coffins. And lax personal protection that doesn’t come anywhere close to Netanyahu’s countless layers of security. Yet none of the other prime ministers whined or complained from morning to night.

Netanyahu Will Have Protesters' Blood on His Hands Broken Bottles, Fists and Pepper Spray: Protesters Against Netanyahu Gov't Recount Assault Protesters Attacked at Demonstration Against Police Brutality Outside Minister's Tel Aviv Home People will be stabbed and sustain blows on the streets from Netanyahu’s admirers, their heads nearly showered by water cannons pointed directly at them by a hateful policeman, and the robbed Cossack in the fortress on Balfour Street will lament his bad luck.

On the eve of Tisha B’Av, Netanyahu isn’t dreaming about creating a reconciliation cabinet, which is provided for in the agreement he signed with Benny Gantz at the end of April. His attention is directed to the next elections. And he would prefer a bloody campaign over any kind of reconciliation. He would prefer another round of elections in November, maybe at the height of a third wave of the coronavirus, and for emergency rooms to be collapsing from COVID-19 patients.


Help the Sumarin Family Go to Israel`s Supreme Court

This Wednesday, July 15th, let`s raise the whole $40,000 USD the family needs to bring their case to Israel`s Supreme Court.

We can do this. On Wed, July 15th, our legal aid fund for the Sumarin`s will be competing against 400 other projects to win a $10K Bonus.

Please, set your alarm for 9am EDT, Wednesday, July 15th. Ask them to click this link on Wednesday to donate to Help the Sumarin Family Go to Israel`s Supreme Court.

Here`s the link to share: https://globalgiving.org/projects/jerusalem-legal-aid

to donate in the Global Giving Bonus Day competition. Please ask them to give generously to boost the project called Help the Sumarin Family Go to Israel`s Supreme Court.

For the Sumarin Family, there`s no turning back. $40K will just cover their lawyer and court fees. If the Supreme Court denies their request, the family must pay $23,000 in fines per the lower court that ruled in favor of the Jewish National Fund - and $40,000 in eviction fees for forcible removal from their home. If they win, the returned court fees & fines will seed a revolving grant-making fund for other Jerusalem cases to be managed by Torat Tzedek, which is an NGO registered in Israel.

At the start of Wednesday`s competition, donations from $100 to $1000 will be matched up to 50% by GlobalGiving. The project with most donations by 8:59PM EDT will win a $10,000 bonus - so let`s win.

When Israel`s Supreme Court hears this case, it will put the Absentee Property Law on trial for all to see. It they win, the Sumarin family will stay in their home and they will open a door for justice and democracy in Israel.

Thank you for your help,

Sincerely

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A Family to be Evicted from their Home

This past Tuesday, June 30, the Jerusalem District Court ruled against an appeal by the Sumarin family in their nearly three-decade-long legal struggle not to be evicted from their home in Silwan. Ordered to leave their home by August 17 in favor of a settler organization, the story of the Sumarin Family and their home - a home in which four generations had been continuously living since the 1950's - is just one example of the reality created by annexation in East Jerusalem:

The Sumarin family’s home was built by Musa Sumarin during the time of Jordanian rule over East Jerusalem and he lived there until his death in 1984. Musa’s nephew continues to live in the same house, where he established and raised his family that lives there today.

In the late 1980’s, an affidavit was filed with the Custodian of Absentee Property, an authority within the Ministry of Finance, attesting that Musa Sumarin was an “absentee” landowner. Under the 1950 Absentees’ Property Law, land belonging to individuals deemed to be living in an enemy country can be seized by the State. Without checking the validity of the affidavit, the Custodian declared Musa Sumarin to be an “absentee” landowner and his property was transferred to the Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF).

KKL-JNF, the state-declared owner of the property, subsequently filed an eviction claim against Musa’s nephew, beginning the nearly 30-year legal debate we continued to see on Tuesday. The fact that the nephew was the one who lived with Musa and received permission from him to continue living there even after his death changed nothing.

Last September, the Magistrate Court ruled that the Sumarin family should be evicted from the home they never left and on Tuesday, their appeal to the District Court was lost. According to the court ruling, the family must leave by August 17, 2020 and pay KKL-JNF a sum of 20,000 NIS (5,700 USD).

Over the years, Israeli Attorney Generals have warned against the use of the Absentee’s Property Law in East Jerusalem. The State has used the 1950 Absentees' Property Law throughout East Jerusalem to hand Palestinian property over to settler organizations with the aim of consolidating Jewish control of the Old City and the surrounding Palestinian neighborhoods. This specifically happens in Silwan – home to the Sumarin family – where dozens of families have been evicted or are under threat of eviction from these settler organizations. KKL-JNF allies with these organizations and the court has continuously upheld the legality of expelling Palestinians from their homes in this manner.

The story of the Sumarin family reflects the story of many other families in East Jerusalem who have either been evicted or are in danger of being evicted from their homes since the annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967 and the subsequent enacting of the 1950 Absentees' Property Law. In the event of annexation of additional territories in the West Bank, the 1950 Absentees Property Law would apply to a vast number of Palestinians whose land falls under Israeli rule and would be added to the many measures already being used to expel Palestinians from their homes and to expropriate their land.

We will continue the fight against annexation and against the dispossession of Palestinian property in East Jerusalem.

Ir Amim Staff rachel@ir-amim.org.il

Want to learn more? Click here to watch the recording of our latest virtual discussion, From "United" Jerusalem to Greater Jerusalem: Annexation 1967-2020, featuring acclaimed professor of policy, Menachem Klein, and East Jerusalemite civil society & social justice activist Nivine Sandouka. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=714744749348191

Your generous donation is tax-deductible in the US & Canada Donate Today https://secure.nif.org/onlineactions/EaYvd9fiWUa6Vp9n3eAIDg2


Jerusalem District Court - don't expel the Sumarin Family from their home

A nearly 30-year battle comes to a significant turning point today, Tuesday, in a Jerusalem District Court hearing regarding the Jewish National Find (JNF-KKL) demand to evict the Sumarin Family from their home in Silwan, East Jerusalem.

At 8.30 am we will come to stand outside the District Court on Salah A Din St., East Jerusalem,

The demand for eviction of the Sumarin family is based on a discriminatory interpretation of the Absentee Property Law, which states that those who resided in what is legally defined as an enemy coultry stand to lose their property. This is despite the fact that the family has lived continuously in the house since it was built, by the family, in the 1950s.

We are coming to support the family and demand a fair decision! We will meet at 8:30 outside the District Court on Salah Din Street, Jerusalem - to show the family, judges, the public and the JNF that this injustice is totally unacceptable. To make it clear that the court can - and should - put an end to it.

The power to change the fate of the Somarin family is in the hands of the court - but also in the hands of the JNF. For more Information, and to join us in writing a letter to the JNF- KKL - https://drove.com/.28uC


‘It’s a war crime’: Thousands rally in Tel Aviv against annexation

Meretz MK, Joint List leader says move would create ‘apartheid’; Sanders sends video message; police forcefully detain photojournalist covering event, arrest four demonstrators.

Thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv Saturday evening to protest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge to begin annexing parts of the West Bank next month.Police initially sought to block the rally but backtracked Friday after meeting with organizers, who urged participants to wear masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines.Dozens of officers were securing the demonstration after police said attendance would be capped at 2,000, though the Haaretz daily put turnout at 6,000 people in what appeared to be the largest protest in the country since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The demonstration was organized by the left-wing Meretz party and the Communist Hadash faction of the majority-Arab Joint List, along with several other left-wing rights groups.MK Nitzan Horowitz, the head of Meretz, told the crowd that annexation would be a “war crime” and would cost Israel millions as the economy is already reeling due to the pandemic.“We cannot replace an occupation of dozens of years with an apartheid that will last forever,” shouted a hoarse Horowitz. “Yes to two states for two peoples, no to violence and bloodshed,” he continued. “No to annexation, yes to peace.” Horowitz said “annexation is a war crime, a crime against peace, a c