Alerts and Reports 

Settler violence escalating behind the Coronavirus smokescreen

This week – March 22-28, 2020 – in the Occupied Territories: Steep escalation throughout: Jewish settler-colonists from outposts and colonies in the South Hebron Hills, Palestinian Jordan Valley and the West Bank hill ranges have been attacking Palestinian shepherds, farmers and whole communities, fully backed up by the Israeli army, taking advantage of the closure in Israel and the resulting absence of Israeli activists on the ground; a retarded youth from Tuba who was picking Akoub herbs was arrested, restrained and taken to a distant Israeli army camp, and released from there no phone nor any contact with his family; settler-colonists from Havat Maon are coming day after day to attack and throw stones at the Palestinian village of Tawane, and among other means have released a dog that bit and wounded a Palestinian in the belly,while his friends were wounded by beating and teargas fired by violent Israeli soldiers – who attacked them instead of chasing away their assailants; incursions from the outposts on the hill range into Palestinians’ fields and attacks against shepherds this week have caused several communities to dismantle their tents and leave; in the northern and southern Palestinian Jordan Valley the occupation forces are on a rampage of demolitions in the midst of this Corona virus crisis, destroying dwellings and a mosque, and sequestering materials that were meant to construct two clinics.

South Hebron Hills:The settler-colonists take advantage of the state of emergency and absence of Israeli activists on the ground to escalate their harassment of Palestinian inhabitants and make them leave their lands, with the Israeli army helping exacerbate these actions all the way.On Sunday, March 22, the Israeli army chased away shepherds in Haruba near Tawane, and on Tuesday settler-colonists chased away shepherds near the settler-colony of Sham’a. In both areas, expelling the shepherds had no legal basis whatsoever to prevent them from grazing there.

On Monday,March 23, the security official at settler-colony Maon summoned the army in order to harass a retarded youth from Tuba who was picking wild Akoub herbs.The soldiers arrested the boy, restrained him and confiscated the herb and his scissors. He was taken to the army base near Yatir checkpoint. The boy has no cell phone and when finally released, had to walk from the Yatir checkpoint all the way to Kawawis, and only then was there contact with his family.

The same security official at Maon summoned the army on Thursday, too, this time to chase away shepherds grazing their flock on their privately owned lands in the Hali valley, near Tawane. The soldiers who arrived on the spot detained the shepherds for nearly an hour.

Assaults by settler-colonists against residents of Tawane and its surroundings have escalated greatly during the weekend. On Friday around noon, a group of settler-colonists attacked shepherds in Humra valley with stones, and one of them set his dog at them. One of the Palestinians was bitten in his hand and belly and needed medical care.Another settler- colonist held a handgun, pointed it and threatened to fire. At the same time, another group of settler-colonists came to the outskirts of the village and threw stones at the house on the village edge. Soldiers summoned to help arrived and immediately declared a closed military zone, and violently distanced the local Palestinians.

On Saturday, around 2:30 p.m., a girl accompanied by two young men left Tawane in the direction of Tuba. Settler-colonists came down from the Havat Maon outpost to block their way and threw stones at them. The three tried to run back to the village, but more settler-colonists with their dogs joined the attack and chased the youngsters all the way to the house on the edge of Tawane, and began throwing stones at the village.

Soldiers reached the spot,and instead of dealing with the settler-colonists turned to chase Palestinians,fired teargas at them and beat them violently. A Palestinian was harmed by inhaling teargas, another was wounded in his hand when a settler-colonist tried to grab his cell phone. A third Palestinian was wounded, beaten in the head by a soldier with his rifle butt while arresting him. The army arrested him and two more Palestinian villagers. Two of the arrestees were released later that evening, the third is still in custody. No settler-colonist was detained or arrested.

All afternoon, until 7 p.m. the settler-colonists continued their attacks in the Humra valley and outskirts of Tawane. Thanks to the closure, Jewish settler-colonists with their donkeys invaded fields owned and tended by Palestinians at Umm Al Arais, and caused extensive damages.Since closure was imposed on the territories, Israeli soldiers have been preventing passage at Yatir Checkpoint of the Abu Kabita family members, who are caged beyond the Separation Fence inside the Seam-line Zone, and need to travel to Palestinian towns for supplies and medical care.

On Thursday evening, March 26, one of the family children needed urgent medical care, but was detained at the checkpoint and only much later transferred for treatment.

The Palestinian Jordan Valley and West Bank hill ranges Near the settler- colony Rimonim on the West Bank hill ranges settler-colonists continue their daily incursions out of their new outpost into Palestinian-owned and tended fields. This week they threatened the inhabitants of one of the local communities and caused them and other shepherd communities in the area to dismantle their tents and leave.

At Rashash settler-colonists of the outpost continue their illegal road- paving inside a firing zone. In one instance this week, activists documented the activity and return of the heavy equipment to the outpost – located inside an army base – and passed this filmed evidence to army officers and the Civil Administration.

Inhabitants of shepherd communities in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley – Khalat Makhoul, Humsa, Al Hadidiya, Ras Al Ahmar and others – are suffering serious nutrition and economic shortages due to the closures that prevent them from traveling to Palestinian towns.

In this region, too,settler-colonists are taking advantage of the absence of Israeli activists in order to expel shepherds from growing areas, vigorously helped by the Israeli army.

On Wednesday, March 26, settler-colonists from Maskiyot settler-colony, aided by Israeli soldiers, attacked shepherds from En Al Hilwa. The soldiers arrested two shepherds, releasing them several hours later. Settler- colonists attacked the son of one of the arrested shepherds, who was hurt and taken to hospital in Toubas.

At the same time, in the midst of the present state of emergency, occupation forces went on a confiscation and structure destruction rampage on Thursday, March 27. At Khirbet Ibzik in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley, metal rods, plastic sheets and other materials meant for constructing clinics were all confiscated, and four dwelling structures were demolished - put up as emergency aid for families whose homes had been demolished as well as mosque. The same day, the army demolished three dwellings at En A-Duyuk in the southern Palestinian Jordan Valley.

East Jerusalem

The Jerusalem district police continues its incursions in the neighborhood of Issawiya nearly every day in the late afternoon, puts up checkposts, exerts violence and intentionally creates crowding. The weekly protest in Sheikh Jarrah was also held last Friday, adhering to emergency procedures. *Please note: Due to daylight saving time, starting this Friday, April 3, the weekly protest in Sheikh Jarrah will begin at 4 p.m.

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From: Michal Hai, Ta`ayush Email from

8 arrested at protest against suspension of Knesset activities

Convoy of cars drives on main Tel Aviv-Jerusalem artery, earning some participants fines for breaking directives against mass gatherings; Edelstein backs down in face of criticism, says key votes to take place next week

At least eight people were arrested Thursday at a demonstration outside the Knesset in Jerusalem over the decision by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) to suspend parliamentary procedures earlier this week.

olice say the demonstrators violated a Health Ministry directive against mass gatherings.

The protesters arrived at the Knesset in a convoy of cars on the main Route 1 highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, which led to some of the organizers receiving fines for violating the ban on mass gatherings.

Those who joined the protest "against attempts to destroy Israeli democracy," said in response that driving in separate cars did not breach the directives. Police also said that the convoy caused unnecessary delays for other motorists.

Edelstein, who came under intense criticism for his decision to suspend a vote on filling Knesset committees key to fighting the coronavirus, said Thursday that that the vote would go ahead on Monday.

The speaker was also rapped by Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon, who called for the vote to take place as soon as possible.

The Knesset is subject to the same restrictions on more than 10 people as the rest of the country, and last week's swearing-in ceremony was conducted piecemeal, with the 120 Knesset members entering the plenum in groups of three to be sworn in.

Edelstein has been accused of political machinations in favor of his party leader Benjamin Netanyahu, in order to thwart the efforts of his rival Prime Minister-elect Benny Gantz to form a government and bring in replacements for major Knesset positions, including his own speaker's chair.

Every car in the convoy carried an Israeli flag and a black flag. "We have launched an event today that will continue in the coming weeks until Israeli democracy returns," the organizers said.

"The closure of the courts, the entrenchment of the Knesset speaker in his post, paralysis of the Knesset committees and the start of spying on civilians without supervision are no longer warning signs," they said. "This is an attempt to destroy Israeli democracy. Attempts to eradicate democracy will not succeed, the State of Israel belongs to its citizens, not to a dictator in the making."

Israel has suspended court appearances and introduced digital tracking used in terrorism cases as part of efforts to contain the spread of the virus. Netanyahu, who was due to go on trial this week for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, will now face the court in May.

How the supposedly inept Benny Gantz found a strategic path (almost) to the top

He’s not prime minister yet, but the ex-army chief has defied his critics and proven his political mettle against the formidable Benjamin Netanyahu

After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a unity government on Thursday amid an unprecedented shutdown of the Israeli economy to stem the coronavirus outbreak, Gantz’s response seemed flatfooted and myopic.

He responded to Netanyahu on Thursday night saying he welcomed a unity coalition, but demanded one condition for his Blue and White party to join it: that Netanyahu forge a “broad national government including representatives of all parts of the house [the Knesset]” — that is, including the Arab-majority Joint List party.

It was a surprising move. The Arab factions united in the Joint List are a diverse collection of liberals, Islamists, progressives and ultra-nationalists. Most are openly anti-Zionist and some have expressed proud and open support for ruthless terrorists responsible for some of the most infamous atrocities ever inflicted on Israelis.

It was also surprising in the narrower sense of political tactics. Netanyahu’s campaign had focused for months on the claim that Gantz could not govern without the Joint List’s support; now Gantz himself seemed to acknowledge that dependence.

The left celebrated the move on Thursday as a blow for equality, a first-of-its-kind injection of the Arab minority’s representatives into the heart of mainstream Jewish politics. But Gantz is not the idealist, starry-eyed progressive that the right has been claiming over the past year. He was the IDF chief of staff who oversaw the military’s incursion into Gaza in the 2014 war with Hamas, and in 2006 during the Second Lebanon War, when he led the Grounds Forces Command, urged a broader ground campaign in Lebanon. In the years before the two became political rivals, Netanyahu repeatedly praised both his “calm” and his “determination.”

So why, in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, would Gantz condition joining an emergency unity government on the inclusion of the Arab factions — a political self-immolation and, from Gantz’s own perspective, an ethical compromise of the highest order?

One simple answer: He appears to have calculated that for the first time in their history, Israel’s Arab political factions, fresh from an unprecedented 15-seat win at the ballot box, had finally come to play ball in the hard-nosed game of Israeli coalition politics. No more mere complaints from the sidelines, posturing over symbols, or campaigns consumed by shows of defiance of the Jewish majority. Joint List chairman MK Ayman Odeh yearns to make himself and his community a force to be reckoned with in the halls of the Knesset — and the deadlock among the Jews has given him the opportunity to do just that.

One signal of a political faction’s seriousness can be found in its willingness to soberly prioritize its many goals and to sacrifice less-important ones for those that matter more. That may sound obvious, but a party like Balad, one of the four factions that make up the Joint List, had proved over the years that it could not look past its obeisance to radical Palestinian nationalism. Its members have joined the 2010 Turkish flotilla to Gaza, praised a murderer of Israeli children, and even spied for the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.

That same Balad was the only Arab party that couldn’t bring itself to back Gantz, reviled architect of the 2014 war, after the September election.

Mtanes Shihadeh of the Joint List, leader of the Balad party, attends an election campaign event in Tel Aviv, August 20, 2019. (Gili Yaari/Flash90) On Sunday, that changed. Gantz thrust the Arab parties center-stage, and they showed — to themselves, their constituents and the intently watching Jewish Israeli political world — that they could come through. With Balad’s votes, Gantz now had 61 recommendations to the president, the thinnest of majorities that now gives him the first shot at forming a government.

So far so good. Gantz’s costly gamble paid off for the moment.

But has Gantz’s position really changed? He remains vulnerable on all sides. If he becomes prime minister, he remains dependent on those Arab votes, including from political factions that despise everything he stands for, to appoint ministers and approve budgets. And he is desperately exposed to Likud’s next campaign warning about that very dependence.

It is in contemplating that predicament that one finds in Gantz a political foresightedness usually attributed only to his rival Netanyahu.

There is an irony in Gantz’s situation that is not lost on him — indeed, that he seems to have carefully planned. In linking his fate to despised Balad, and in Balad linking its own to the despised ex-general in return, both have achieved an unexpected freedom from the other.

Joint List chief Odeh, of the formerly communist Hadash faction, could conceivably support Gantz’s government for the duration of a term — and hold him politically dependent the entire time.

Balad, on the other hand, is a far less reliable partner as far as Gantz is concerned, if only because the party’s internal politics could at any moment rebel against the monstrous compromise represented by Sunday’s vote.

Gantz can’t rely on Balad, and it won’t easily stomach the political cost of propping him up indefinitely, especially if a crisis with the Palestinians in Gaza or the West Bank suddenly finds its way onto the agenda.

No, a Balad-backed Gantz is a Gantz who by definition must quickly find new partners.

Why do it then? Why ride the Arab parties to the President’s House, only to find yourself in a Balad-backed coalition that’s untenable from the start? And why would the Arab parties, including some wily old political operators like Ahmad Tibi, play along?

The answer to this is the simplest part of the whole calculation: On Thursday, Netanyahu invited Gantz to be his junior partner, and left him in the position of either agreeing or finding himself publicly refusing to help rescue the nation from a global emergency.

By Sunday, Gantz had assured his appointment as prime minister-designate, and could make Netanyahu a not dissimilar offer in reverse — what with the national coronavirus emergency and all. With Gantz having secured the president’s mandate, it would now be Netanyahu digging in his heels to avoid being no. 2 while the virus spreads and Israeli families contemplate their emptying bank accounts and diminishing food supplies.

The Joint List, meanwhile, has proved not only that it can bring ever-growing numbers of voters to the ballot box, but that it knows how to use that leverage with discipline and cunning; that it is not merely loud in declaiming its politics, but actually formidable in implementing them. We can reasonably expect to hear growing calls in Likud in the coming months for a new outreach by the Israeli right to the long marginalized Arab minority.

Gantz will repay the Joint List if the broader gambit succeeds and he becomes prime minister, perhaps with an influential Knesset committee of the sort that might have the power to pass budgets on to their communities — the sort of arrangement Likud has had with the Haredi parties for years. After all, Gantz will still need the Arabs’ support in a future unity government — not to pass budgets or appoint ministers, which he will do with his Likud partners, but as a bulwark against any Likud attempts to destabilize him.

The Arab parties threaten to become Gantz’s crutch, Likud warned. But if he can pit the two forces against each other – a position the Arab parties are likely to relish after Likud’s repeated resort to anti-Arab campaigns – each may ironically deliver Gantz his political independence from the other.

Likud has spent the past year insisting that the former army chief is unintelligent, even mentally ill. And, to be sure, Gantz may still fail in the delicate maneuver he is attempting. He faces one of the craftiest politicians Israel has ever known in the person of Netanyahu.

But nearly a year and a half since he founded his Israel Resilience Party, Gantz has proven himself a highly capable manager. Not a great orator like Netanyahu, nor even a particularly good campaigner — as Blue and White’s consistently reactive election campaigns and a long string of damaging leaks have shown. Yet one does not rise to the top of the Israeli military hierarchy entirely devoid of skills in leadership and strategy.

Blue and White is an unlikely alliance of extraordinarily ambitious personalities; of right and left; of at least three fellow leaders who each dreams, if not plots, to replace the other. Gantz has managed to harness them all – Yair Lapid’s ground operation, Gabi Ashkenazi’s popularity and Moshe Ya’alon’s policy credibility – and held them together for three consecutive elections, through scandal and disagreement and even, on occasion, open feuding; through the recent crisis of relying on Balad and the persistent crisis of Likud’s unceasing efforts to poach away MKs. In short, through circumstances that might have bested older and more established political parties.

And Blue and White as a whole, as a unified edifice and a threat to Netanyahu’s long reign, has held firm. It is hard to imagine another Israeli politician who might have accomplished a similar feat with such scattered parts.

Netanyahu may yet win this round and remain in the prime minister’s chair. But he’s unlikely to underestimate Gantz again.

Haviv Rettig Gur The Times of Israel 16 March 2020

Together saving the future of us all

Half of Israel's citizens

Have decided

That a nationalist and racist demagogue

Facing three serious criminal charges

Is the right person

To lead this country.

But – the other half

Do not want Netanyahu

This half should be

Organized and mobilized

For struggle

Struggle in the street

Struggle in the Knesset

Struggle in the court,

Jewish and Arab citizens

United in the struggle

To save the future

Of us all.

Emergency demonstration at home of Jerusalem Chief of Police

Today Thur, Feb. 20 20:00at no. 1 Shlomo Toussia Cohen St, Ramat Beit Hakeren, Jerusalem.

Last Saturday, 9-year-old Malek Issa, was shot by the Israeli police. The horrifying event occurred when Malek, after getting off his school bus, went to buy a snack from the grocery just next door. The rubber-coated bullet that hit his eye caused serious injury to his skull and, of course, his eye. Unfortunately, it is most likely that he will be permanently blind in the eye that was hit. His family and concerned activists are still at his side in the hospital, praying for his recovery.

The criminal shooting of a 9-year-old boy is just one of the many violent incidents carried out by Israeli police officers against the residents of Issawiya. On a daily basis, the Israeli police throw stun grenades, use gas, enforce roadblocks, and carry out arbitrary arrests in a residential neighborhood of more than 20,000 people. This continuous bullying and violence against residents leads to injuries and to a daily reality of dread and fear.

Today Thursday Feb.20 we will demonstrate in front of the home of Jerusalem chief of police Doron Yedid. We will demand he take action against the officer who shot 9-year-old Malek, and call for an end of the brutal violence against the residents. We will stand together in solidarity with the residents of Issawiya against oppression and against violence. We refuse to remain silent in the face of criminal shootings of children.

The hands that build walls can also tear them down. Freedom for one - freedom for all.

The Trump Plan versus a Realistic Plan

Paper by the Geneva Initiative

For years, we at the Geneva Initiative have been tirelessly pushing for a two-state solution – a solution that many have unjustifiably eulogized and have claimed to be bereft of life. Peace and the two-state solution are finally back on the public agenda, headlines are bursting with analysis about what a real solution looks like, many are picking holes in the substance of the American (/Israeli) plan and new waves of engagement have been generated on an issue that seemed temporarily shelved.

However, a return to the debate is simply not enough.

Looking through one prism, and taking the Trump Plan purely at face value, one might initially interpret it to be something of a positive development. Consistent references to viable Palestinian statehood, territorial compromises, legitimizing the aspirations of both peoples, and more, lead one to believe that the plan may have been crafted with reciprocity. Delving deeper, it becomes clear that the plan lacks the very basic tenets of a peace agreement which is contingent on the two conflicting parties' interests, coming to the negotiation to launch a fair process, facilitated by an impartial mediator.

It is precisely for this reason that we must use this opportunity to emphasize the importance of the Geneva Accord: a credible, negotiated model for a peace agreement founded upon mutual trust, dialogue and compromise between both parties. To this day, it continues to be the best model and a true exemplar of negotiation, illustrating that an agreement can be reached between Israelis and Palestinians serving the real interests of both parties.

The limits of the Trump Plan

This is an annexation plan, not a peace plan. At every level, the plan ignores the internationally acknowledged declarations (including binding UN Security Council resolutions) and the longstanding Palestinian positions on all of the aforementioned issues and therefore, at its very core, is a non-starter. Even before negotiations begin, whilst the timeline still remains ambiguous, Israel is granted the power to undertake unilateral steps. Meanwhile, the Palestinians are bound by five practically insurmountable and unachievable pre-conditions that need to be overcome before “statehood” can be granted.

Conditions include the realization of democratic institutions and the establishment of the rule of law with an independent judiciary, freedom of press, free and fair elections and credit-worthy “western-style” financial institutions; a territory and population that has been fully demilitarized; and an education system that has “ended all programs, including school curricula and textbooks, that serve to incite or promote hatred or antagonism towards its neighbors.”

Moreover, the precise verdict on whether the above criteria have been met is to be determined by Israel and the United States. It is hard to ignore the subjectivity of this decision, which grants Israel the veto power to decide on every single issue – from the interpretation of the term "demilitarized" to the decision about which text might "promote antagonism." The latter, incidentally, raises important ethical questions about the notion of historical recounting, national-identity and culture, which should of course be decided upon by the state itself, and not be vetoed by the country the conflict was fought against.

With this in mind and the unfeasible stipulations set, it is hard not to interpret the document as a 181-paged pretext from which to cement Israeli control over settlements and unilaterally extend Israeli law, i.e. sovereignty, to areas of the West Bank. Most significantly, the move could pave the way to the formation of a binational state and, in turn, threaten the Zionist vision of a democratic state for Jewish people with equal rights for all.

The Palestinian state, that is intended to emerge from the deal, does not resemble a state at all and does not even come close to a “state-minus”; it can be described as a limited autonomy at best. At every level – from the outside and from within – the Palestinian entity is constrained by Israel. Externally, the State of Israel “maintains overriding security responsibility” over Palestinian territory, which includes international crossings, the movement of people and the regulation of goods along its borders.

Amongst other components, Israel also continues to supervise Palestinian airspace and the electromagnetic spectrum. Internally, Israel “maintain[s] the right to dismantle and destroy any facility in the State of Palestine that is used for the production of prohibited weapons or for other hostile purposes.” Such open-ended terminology leaves space for a limitless interpretation of what constitutes “other hostile purposes” which could go as far as encompassing certain media outlets, educational institutions or perhaps cultural sites deemed to be malignant. The Palestinian “state” rests on three pillars: dependency on, subservience to, and domination by Israel.

And, on each of the core issues termed to be ‘final status matters’, the proposal does not even begin to scratch the surface of the zone of possible agreement.

On territory:

Under the Trump Plan, the future Palestinian state would constitute about 84% of the pre-1967 area (this is 18% of the whole of Israel-Palestine). Bear in mind, that all serious proposals from the past, including the Geneva Accord, have designated more than 90% of the area to the Palestinian state. Even the current route of the separation barrier set unilaterally by Israel leaves 92% of the area on the Palestinian side.

Land swaps:

Exchanges proposed by the Trump Plan amount to 30% vs. 14% in Israel’s favor and are imbalanced in terms of quantity and quality. Of the land annexed to Israel, this includes 54 Palestinian villages with an estimated 140,000 residents, in addition to 220,000 East Jerusalemites as well as a narrow line of land inside the Gaza Strip. At the same time, 15 settlements housing 15,000 settlers will remain as enclaves in Palestine.

Population transfer: The Trump Plan's proposal for the inclusion of “The Triangle” in this land-swap raises ethical concerns about ethnic-focused transfer of a population (which could constitute approximately 300,000 citizens of Israel) and the perception of Arab citizens of Israel as a fifth column in Israel, reigniting negative undertones related to the nation-state law that was recently passed and likely inflaming tensions.

Geneva Initiative on land swaps: In return for the annexation of land beyond the 1967 border, Israel will hand over alternative land to the Palestinians, based on a 1:1 ratio. The area of land annexed and exchanged will amount to 2.2% and will be of equal quality and quantity. The vast majority of Israelis living beyond the ‘67 line will stay on the land annexed to Israel (with zero Palestinian presence), and the land transferred to Palestine will be an unpopulated one.

On borders:

The Trump Plan abandons the 1967 lines as a basis for the borders between Israel and the prospective Palestinian state. Instead, the Palestinian entity is non-contiguous and is comprised of a set of six islands severed by pervasive fingers of Israeli annexation that protrude deep into the West Bank from all angles. Connected by a network of roads, bridges and tunnels, the fragmented Palestinian archipelago will be born with an inherent economic social disadvantage, disconnected populations and a lack of external access. The geographic composition serves neither states’ best interests. The Palestinian state encircled by Israeli territory has no outlet or breathing space, restricted at every point. Meanwhile, the 1,370 km serpentine border (4 times longer than the border comprising the ‘67 lines) twisting around the Palestinian state will far from serve Israel’s security interests, leaving it exposed at every point.

Geneva Initiative on borders: The demarcation of the border is based on demographic, security and historical parameters important for both sides, ensuring the contiguity of the Palestinian state and minimizing the number of Israeli settlers who will have to return to Israel. The border will constitute the permanent, secure and recognized international boundary between the two states based on the 1967 line (see map below). danmaps

On Security:

According to the Trump Plan, Israel becomes the ultimate arbitrator of Palestine’s security performance and, through a set of benchmarks, is responsible for measuring its progression towards statehood. Israel’s security needs take precedence, with Palestinian sovereignty paying the price. As per the plan, Israel retains explicit and exclusive responsibility for everything west of the Jordan River. With the territories practically enmeshed, and an Israeli state encircling the Palestinian one, security concerns are likely to be exacerbated, not eased.

Geneva Initiative on security: Palestine and Israel shall each recognize and respect the other’s right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from the threat or acts of war, terrorism and violence. The Palestinian state will be non-militarized; the Palestinian Security Force will maintain border control and a multi-national force will be established to provide security guarantees to Palestine while special long-term temporary arrangements will address Israel's needs.

On Jerusalem:

In the Trump Plan there is no Palestinian sovereignty over any part of Al-Quds, and a total absence of Palestinian status on the Temple Mount. This, rather than maintaining the status quo, actually overturns it. The area offered to the Palestinians as a capital constitutes non-contiguous Palestinian villages annexed by Israel to Jerusalem, separated by the security barrier, that fall beyond East Jerusalem.

Even if the plan permits the Palestinians to call this area “Al-Quds,” it does not of course change the fact that it is geographically unrelated to the Palestinian definition of Al Quds. There is little sensitivity or recognition of the Palestinians’ connection to the city of Jerusalem.

Geneva Initiative on Jerusalem: The parties shall have their mutually recognized capitals in the areas of Jerusalem under their respective sovereignty; Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem will be under Israeli sovereignty, and Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem will be under Palestinian sovereignty; parties will commit to safeguarding the character, holiness, and freedom of worship in the city. Special arrangements for the Old City will allow free access, with entry and exit staffed by the authorities of the state under whose sovereignty the point falls.

On Refugees:

The Trump Plan serves to reaffirm Israel’s narrative and position regarding refugees and fails to provide adequate or fair solutions on acknowledgment, choice of residence or matters of compensation. It equates the suffering of Jewish refugees from Arab countries to that of the Palestinians who fled from their homes in 1947-8 and 1967 and also assigns blame to other Arab countries for not absorbing Palestinians in the past. Not only does the plan fail to provide even a symbolic entry of some refugees into Israel, the entry of refugees into the prospective Palestinian "state" is limited and subject to an Israeli veto.

Geneva Initiative on refugees: Refugees will be entitled to compensation for their refugee status and for loss of property and will have the right to return to the State of Palestine. The refugees could also choose to remain in their present host countries, or ask to relocate to third countries, among them Israel (which will be decided in accordance with a previously agreed upon number submitted to the International Commission, and in line with the average number accepted by third party countries).

To read the full Geneva Accord click here

They burn trees - we plant new hope!

Planting Hope: Tu B'Shevat Tree Planting with Rabbis for Human Rights.

Tu B'Shevat, the Jewish "New Year of the Trees," invites us to return to the fields and to plant trees for tomorrow. The trees we plant with our Palestinian friends will help them to work their land and earn a living with dignity as they face the harsh and ongoing reality of occupation and dispossession.

This Tu B'Shevat we invite you to join us for our central olive tree planting event, which will take place tomorrow Friday, February 14th, in Yasuf!

Jerusalem - Liberty Bell Garden parking lot - 8:00 a.m. Rosh HaAyin Train Station parking lot - 8:30 a.m. Tel Aviv - Lewinski Garden - 8:00 a.m. Activity from 9:30 a.m. till 1 p.m. Back in Rosh Ain: 2 p.m. Back in Jerusalem: 2:30 p.m.

Hat, work clothes, gloves, water, and ID card must be provided.

For more details:

Mira Zilberman – Office Administrator: 02-6482757 054-3080823 Yehuda Schwartz – Field Coordinator: 052-3879461 -

Tel Aviv rally condemns Trump plan as ‘Apartheid’ and ‘Population Transfer’

Left-wing politicians addressed in Tel Aviv a Saturday night rally against the “Deal of the Century,” which they said is a plan for “transfer” and “apartheid.”

“This isn’t a peace plan – it’s not even a plan,” Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg said. It’s a recipe for annexation, transfer, violence and apartheid, she told the activists who attended the rally.

True peace can only be achieved between the Israeli and Palestinian leadership and not between two leaders, one who is facing impeachment and the other who is facing criminal charges, Zandberg said.

Peace Now organized the event, which included a march and a rally. The Israeli Left opposes US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, in part because it calls for redrawing the map of sovereign Israel in such a way that the Arab-Israeli communities in the Triangle area would be excluded from the State of Israel and included in a Palestinian state. They are also against the plan because it allows for unilateral annexation and puts forward what they believe is a nonviable vision of a Palestinian state.

Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman recalled watching the unveiling of the plan, which took place at the White House with Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“When I saw Trump and Netanyahu present their plan in a room filled with the rich, filled with men, filled with settlers and almost no women and no Palestinians, a deep worry rose in my heart,” she said. “I was concerned about the realization of their brutal plan.”

“But when I see all of us here, I believe that together we can stop this plan. They have money, they have power, they have armies and all the instruments of control. But justice is on our side,” Touma-Sliman said. “We have hope for a better future,” she added. On Friday, the UK, one of the 15 UN Security Council member states, spoke out against any Israeli attempts to unilaterally annex portions of the West Bank. “Any such unilateral moves would be damaging to renewed efforts to restart peace negotiations and contrary to international law,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said. “Any changes to the status quo cannot be taken forward without an agreement negotiated by the parties themselves.”

Emergency demonstration: Yes to real peace, no to the Trump-Netanyahu annexation deal! Tel Aviv, Sat. Feb 1

This is the time for action, the time to stand up and be counted. Tomorrow night, February 1, we will meet at 19:00 at the Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv. From there we will embark on an emergency march through the streets of Tel Aviv , to demand the one thing that will ensure a life of security for us, our families, our children: negotiations to end the occupation and a peace between two free and sovereign states, Israel and Palestine.

The Trump-Netanyahu Plan is dangerous for all of us, Israelis and Palestinians - to the future of both peoples. A peace agreement is something which both sides share and agree on, which will bring justice and resolution to the conflict. The Trump-Netanyahu Plan is nothing of the kind. It is a one-sided annexation deal that is forced upon us from afar. It gives the Government of Israel licence to acts of infamy - annexations on the West Bank, fulfilling the dictates of the most extreme settlers, and depriving Israeli citizenship from hundreds of thousands of Arab citizens who live in the Wadi Ara and Triangle regions.

This is a moment of trial, a red alert. Trump and Netanyahu have placed all of us on the path to a future of endless violence, bloodshed and grief. In the future that they are trying to force upon us, Palestinians and Israelis will continue to suffer and no one will live in security. They called it a "a peace plan" but it is a scam - it is the same harsh occupation we have known for decades, reinforced by annexation. Our actions over the next few days will determine whether they will succeed in their scheme. We will not sit aside - and we need each and every one of you with us!

See you tomorrow night on the Dizengoff Square - this is the time to stand up and be counted!

Not peace, but Apartheid: A brief response to the “Trump Plan”

What has changed today? The reality on the ground is already one of full Israeli control over the entire area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and everyone living in it. It is a reality of one, inherently undemocratic, state. And so, the main change today is that Israel and the Trump administration are taking a step further in laying bare their intention to perpetuate this reality. This clarity significantly reduces the gap between the situation as it is, and the euphemistic terms used to describe it.

What hasn’t changed today? Tomorrow, there will still be 14 million people living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, five million of them Palestinian subjects who have no political rights. And all of us here, in one way or another, will remain under the rule of the same government in Jerusalem, a government that works relentlessly to advance the supremacy of one people at the expense of the other, while continually trampling its rights underfoot.

And the future? What the Palestinians are being offered right now is not rights or a state, but a permanent state of Apartheid. No amount of marketing can erase this disgrace or blur the facts. But, the painful facts of today give rise to hope for the future, the only future that can genuinely offer peace. A future not based on supremacy for some and oppression for others, but on full equality, liberty, dignity, and rights for all.

That day will come.

Hagai El-Ad B’Tselem Executive Director

Our mailing address is B'Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories P.O. Box 53132, Jerusalem 9153002

Demo in support of the Issawiya Five, Jonathan Pollak and all occupation prisoners

Free Anwar ‘Abid, Adam Mahmoud, Saleh Abu ‘Asab, Fayez Muheisen, Nadim a-SafadiJonathan Pollak, and all the Occupation’s prisoners

This Wednesday, 15.1.2010, a hearing will be held regarding Jonathan Pollak. We will come at 10am to the Jerusalem magistrates court to demonstrate our full solidarity with those resisting the occupation, against cooperation with Apartheid, and against Israeli colonialism.

Five Palestinian youths, residents of Issawiya, are also currently in detention after violating in protest the administrative house arrest imposed on them and refusing to accept the release conditions they were offered. Jonathan Pollak has been in detention for over a week for refusing to accept the release conditions he was offered. In the shrinking space for resistance to the occupation, the refusal to recognize the authority of the courts is an important political action, deserving broad support. This action rejects the legitimacy of Israel’s control, and seeks to subvert the separation mechanisms of a regime that presents itself as democratic, yet in practice is a democracy for Jewish Israelis only, and a military dictatorship for Palestinians.

Remembering Hava Keller, a pioneer in the anti-occupation struggle

Hava Keller, who died at the age of 90 this week, was one of the few Israelis whos spoke publicly about her role in the Nakba, and was at the heart of several groundbreaking anti-occupation and feminist movements.

By Oren Ziv, +972 Magazine

Hava Keller, a veteran anti-occupation activist, passed away in Tel Aviv on Tuesday at the age of 90. Keller was one of the founders of the feminist anti-occupation group Women in Black, as well as Gush Shalom and Women for Political Prisoners. She was also an activist with Ta’ayush and other left-wing groups.

Over the past three decades, Keller had been a consistent presence at left-wing protests, always standing curbside with a sign and driven, according to friends’ recollections following her death, by an unshakeable belief in human rights.

Keller was born in 1929 in Łódź, Poland. Her family fled the country in December 1939, assisted by German friends in the city, and made their way to Lithuania. In January 1941, a few months before the Nazis occupied the country, Keller’s family left for Tel Aviv along with other Jews who had received a permit to go to Palestine.

Keller joined the Haganah Zionist paramilitary group when she was in ninth grade and was arrested by the British on numerous occasions for hanging political posters. She took part in the 1948 conquest of Acre; in 2006, she provided testimony about the occupation to the Israeli NGO Zochrot, which works to document the Nakba:

People fled in cars. My job was to sit in an observation tower and count the number of vehicles leaving Acre. There were almost no residents there when I entered Acre. We walked around the city. One apartment gave me a shock. We arrived… and the door was open. On the table were pitas and coffee, as if they had been in the middle of breakfast. There was a pair of baby’s shoes on the floor. [I thought to myself] that his feet must be cold, that we had to find the child. I started shouting and crying.

Keller cited it as one of the moments in which she understood that something was not right.

Toward the end of the 1948 War that followed Israel’s establishment, Keller took part in a Haganah operation that expelled Palestinians from Bir es-Seba, would would become Be’er Sheva after the war. In 1949, she was among the Israeli guards overseeing Palestinian laborers who were dismantling the railroad to Rosh Hanikra, near the Lebanese border, on the grounds that train transport to Lebanon was no longer needed. When one of the workers tried to escape, Keller and the other guards shot him to death.

Her son, Adam Keller, remarked this week that his mother “rarely mentioned horrifying incidents. Once, for example, she recalled shooting someone who ran toward her.”

‘That was the day my Zionism died’

Following the 1948 war, Keller got married and had two children. She and her husband, Ya’akov, were among the founders of Kibbutz Saar, near the Palestinian village of al-Sumayriyyah whose residents had been expelled in 1948. For months, Keller asked fellow kibbutz residents when the Palestinians would return, and was always told “soon.” One day, she saw that the village’s houses had been torn to the ground, with just an aqueduct left intact. Kibbutz Lochamei Hagettaot (Fighters of the Ghetto) now stands on the ruins of the village.

“That was the day my Zionism died,” Keller told a Zochrot tour group 10 years ago. “I understood that Israel had no intention of living in peace with the Palestinians, and that they wanted to expel them from the country.”

Keller’s political activism began in the 1950s, when she became involved with Mapam, a socialist-Zionist party. She took part in solidarity demonstrations with striking laborers who were fighting for better conditions, especially the 1952 Sailors' Strike - one of the most prominent labor disputes in Israeli history.

“The word ‘feminism’ didn’t exist in Israel at the time, but she resented that women in the kibbutz were ordered to work in the kitchen or doing laundry,” her son, Adam, recalled.

The Kellers moved to Tel Aviv in 1953. Hava was part of the first history course taught at Tel Aviv University, and taught history and civics to ninth-graders for several years. One parent, according to her family, complained to the school where she taught that she was “turning my son into a leftist.” The principal rejected the complaint.

In the early 1980s, Keller’s political activism intensified with her opposition to Israel’s invasion of Lebanon and occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. She also became active on behalf of Palestinian prisoners.

When the First Intifada broke out in 1988, Keller became involved with “Hala Hakibush” (“Down with the Occupation”) and, along with other women, founded “Women for Political Prisoners.” For years, Keller took part in weekly protests outside Hasharon Prison in central Israel, which coincided with prisoners’ family visits. Keller also brought warm clothes, blankets, and other items for the women in the prison.

Following the Oslo Accords in the mid-1990s, Keller participated in the struggle for the release of female Palestinian prisoners, who were supposed to be freed as part of the agreement. Israel initially refused to release inmates who had received life sentences, but relinquished as a result of the campaign.

“Her dedication to the cause of Palestinian prisoners was, in part, connected to her sense of guilt over her past,” explained Adam, her son.