Put an end to police brutality in Issawiya - Protest at the Russian Compound!
For almost half a year, the residents of Issawiya have endured daily violence at the hands of the Israeli Police. Large forces of Israel Border Police (Magav) and Special Patrol Unit Police (Yassam) patrol the neighborhood day and night, in an organized, systematic campaign to turn Issawiya into a war zone.
In the streets, schools, and stores, the residents, including large numbers of children, are exposed to intense violence, sound grenades, teargas, roadblocks, and hundreds of arbitrary arrests, the vast majority of which end without indictment. Even in their homes, residents are not safe from violent nightly raids.
Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon, who has witnessed our demonstrations for the past three weeks, continues to enable and support police activity in Issawiya with his words. Today, while Leon is busy engaging in PR overseas, we will bring our demands to those directly responsible for the violence in Issawiya--the Jerusalem District of the Israeli Police and its sheriff, Doron Yedid.
Today, Saturday night, in front of the police station in the Russian Compound, we will demand an immediate end to the violent abuse and collective punishment perpetrated by the Israeli Police, and we will demand accountability from Sheriff Doron Yedid.
Together, as large movements and individual activists from across the country, we will sound out a loud, unwavering voice in solidarity with the people of Issawiya, demanding an end to the police brutality and repression in East Jerusalem that must no longer be allowed to continue.
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Elected but Restricted - Palestinian Members in the Israeli Knesset
Palestinian members of the Knesset (MKs) are facing increasing threats to their freedom of expression. These threats are of concern in and of themselves but also reflect the wider situation in Israel in which the space for voices critical of the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians has shrunk and discrimination against Palestinian citizens has been entrenched.
During the past five years, Israeli legislative and executive authorities have subjected those criticizing Israeli government policies towards Palestinians to increasing restrictions and obligations, sought to undermine the support and funding they receive from abroad and denied entry to non-nationals supporting or working for an organization that they perceive as promoting a boycott of Israel or Israeli entities.
In 2018 Israel passed the “nation state law” (formally known as Basic Law: Israel - The Nation State of the Jewish People), which defined Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people and constitutionally entrenched inequality and discrimination against non-Jews.
In carrying out its research, Amnesty International reviewed existing and proposed legislation, ethical regulations issued by the Knesset, relevant Israeli government statements and reports by human rights groups and interviewed Palestinian MKs and representatives of relevant non-governmental organizations between February and August 2019.
It sent memorandums to the Speaker of the Knesset and the Likud Coalition Chairman to seek comments on concerns, but has received no response to date.
Legislative changes – one of them enacted, the others proposed – are threatening the right to freedom of expression of elected MKs and are likely to have a particular impact on Palestinian MKs.
An amendment that was passed in 2016 to one of Israel’s Basic Laws allowed the Knesset to expel elected MKs through a majority vote of their fellow parliamentarians.
Amnesty International considers that the amendment unduly limits parliamentarians’ right to freedom of expression and that its genesis indicates that it is aimed primarily at Palestinian MKs.
One Palestinian MK described the law as “a sword dangled over our heads by members of the Knesset who oppose us politically”. Other legislative changes proposed over the last few years have risked undermining minority groups’ rights to freedom of expression and political participation.
Knesset regulations purportedly in place to enforce ethical practices among MKs have been used to restrict the right to freedom of expression, impacting Palestinian MKs in a discriminatory manner.
In 2018, the Knesset’s Rules of Ethics were amended to allow MKs to be refused permission to travel abroad if the trip is funded by “a body calling for a boycott of the State of Israel”. Amnesty International considers that advocating for boycotts is a form of free expression that must be protected.
The same year, two Palestinian MKs were banned from travelling abroad with funding from specific NGOs that were on a “blacklist” created by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs.
In 2016, Knesset Ethics Committee suspended three Palestinian MKs ruling that they had supported violence by observing a minute of silence during a meeting they had held with Palestinian families whose children had been killed by Israeli forces after attacking or allegedly attacking Israelis. The InterParliamentary Union (IPU) found that the suspensions were “unjustified” and violated the MKs rights to freedom of opinion and expression.
Since 2011, the Knesset has disqualified four bills related to Palestinians’ rights or political aspirations.
In 2018, during the legislative process leading to the adoption of the “nation state law”, it prevented a bill proposed by Palestinian MKs offering an alternative definition of Israel as “a country for all its citizens” from reaching a parliamentary discussion, arguing that it would negate Israel’s definition as a Jewish state.
In Amnesty International’s assessment, the decision discriminated against Palestinian MKs, seemingly on the basis of their national or ethnic origin. At the same time, Palestinian MKs have faced inflammatory statements apparently intended to delegitimize them and their work by senior Israeli government officials and other MKs. Some have been labelled “traitors” by government ministers.
In line with both the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to both of which Israel is a state party, states must ensure that restrictions on the right to freedom of expression are not determined in a discriminatory manner.
Amnesty International urges the Israeli government to ensure respect for the right to freedom of expression of elected officials without discrimination, refrain from using language that delegitimizes Palestinian MKs and provide constitutional protection to the principle of non-discrimination.
It calls on the Knesset to repeal legislation passed in 2016 allowing it to expel MKs through a majority vote, end the discriminatory use of parliamentary ethical regulations against Palestinian MKs, refrain from disqualifying proposed legislation based on discriminatory grounds such as political opinion and repeal or substantially amend legislation that facilitates discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel, including the “nation state law”.
Full report by Amensty International https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/MDE1508822019ENGLISH.PDF
Israelis & Palestinians Negotiate Solutions to the Gaza Crisis
Today (Thur.) , 5 PM, 20 Israelis & Palestinians – the founding members of the ‘Congress of the People’ – will negotiate solutions to the Gaza crisis in Landwer coffee shop, Rabin Square, Tel-Aviv. The agreements will be published and sent to the leaders.
The negotiations will take place today, 5 PM, in Landwer coffee shop, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv.
The Congress of the People includes 120 Israelis and Palestinians from all walks of life holding different political views. They meet once a month in a different location to negotiate alternative solutions to the conflict.
The agreements, drafted by the assembly, will be presented at the first convention of the Israeli-Palestinian Congress of the People - a seminal conference attended by a wide audience of Israelis and Palestinians. During the conference, the agreements will be discussed and voting will take place in ballot boxes.
For more information: /www.facebook.com/MindsOfPeace/
Emergency demonstration: Stop the war now!
Netanyahu is dragging us into another dangerous war that will bring tragedy onto both peoples only to stay prime minister. The war will only bring death, suffering, and pain on both sides. We demand the only real solution to the situation: an end to the siege on Gaza, an end to the occupation, and striving for a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
A war to keep Netanyahu on his throne
Hundreds of thousands of us woke up this morning to the air raid alarms, but yet we are expected to shut up. Outside, missiles fly, and we`re told it`s not the time for politics, because there`s a war. But this war is political. And those who pay the price are us - the ordinary people. Women, children and men on both sides of the border and everywhere.
The results of this war may be a Government of National Unity or yet another general elections, but one thing is certain: it will not achieve peace and security for the people of Souhthen Israel nor solve the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. It`s time to cry out Enough! Netanyahu and his transitional government have no mandate to drag us into war. We say no to a war whose main aim is to keep him on the throne. WWe say no to killing, suffering and fear!
It is hard not to see the political interests behind the timing of the assassination of the Islamic Jihad senior, which led to the current missile attack. And, in fact, the political gain was quich to come: President Rivlin and most party leaders are now backing the government, and the media is quick to reprimand the few who dare to voice their criticim.
By the time everyone wakes up, it might be too late. This is the moment, citizens, to make our voice heard, loud and clear.
When a war is waged for political aims, those who are forgotten are those who suffer all year long, already for many years - the residents of the South who live in ongoing fear and the residents of Gaza, who suffer a humanitarian crisis which is only getting worse. This round of fighting, like its predecessors, will not help them either - the situation in the south can only be resolved by an agreement and the lifting of the blockade imposed on Gaza. Every voice against this unnecessary war is a voice for the people on both sides of the Gaza border and for a better future for all of us.
Tell the European Union: Action and not just words!
On November 29 the Day of International Solidarity with the Palestinian People will take place worldwide.We, members of the Poalot group, intend to present the EU representative in Al Kuds- East Jerusalem the following letter on this day to request that the EU states recognize unilaterally and actively support the foundation of an Independent Palestinian State.
If you are interested in adding your signature to the attached letter and to the meeting, please send your name to Yuval by mail at the following address: email@example.comWarm Greetings, POALOT
Honored Elected Members of the European Unionת We,Palestinian and Israeli women and men residing on both sides of the Green Line,turn to you to implement the European Union’s endorsement of founding a Palestinian state with the borders of the 1949 ceasefire (until June 1967),including East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in its territory.
We request you to recognize the urgent presence of a sovereign Palestinian state at the United Nations’ institutions as well, and to support its founding regardless of Israel’s position on this issue.
We believe that the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, its siege of the Gaza Strip, and the annexation of East Jerusalem/Al Quds by the State of Israel are not legitimate.
The Palestinians have a right to found their own sovereign state in these territories, and the Palestinian refugees of 1948 as well as their descendants have a right to return to their own lands within the sovereign State of Israel.
These rights are officially accorded by UN Resolutions 194 and 242. The European Union has been maintaining elaborate ties with the State of Israel inits illegal borders, and thus your own government, too, bears a certain responsibility for the occupation, annexation, siege, and ethnic cleansing specified above.
Israel’s rulers view this occupation as legitimate and believe it should be continued. This is an ideological position, not a tactical one based on security anxieties. There is thus no basis for the claim prevalent in the world, according to which “peace will be obtained strictly through negotiations without any pre-conditions”.
Peace will be obtained if and only if a Palestinian state is to be founded in the 1967 borders and with Israel’s recognition of the Palestinians’ right of return to the lands and property from which they were expelled in 1948.
We hold the present Israeli government responsible for understanding that its ties with other countries will be impacted, even severed, if Israel does not fulfill its obligation. On such a basis there is room for a detailed negotiation in order to consolidate security arrangements and future relations between the states of Israel and Palestine.
Such a move is even more important in view of the coordinated actions of US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to perpetuate Israel’s occupation under the guise of “the deal of the century” whose sole purpose is to legitimize the occupation, as has already been done by Trump’s illegal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the Israeli occupation of the Golan.
It is the basic right of all humans to be free and live in peace and equality in their own states. This includes the Palestinian people, of course, who have been living for so many years as refugees and under a brutal military occupation.
We call upon you to follow the example of various countries that have already unilaterally recognized a sovereign, independent Palestinian state, and do so urgently.
Settlers use crowbars to beat up rabbi, 80, who was aiding Palestinian olive harvest
Octogenarian Israeli activist and four foreigners injured in northern West Bank when assailants arrived with crowbars, went on to burn hundreds of trees, Yesh Din says
By Jacob Magid - Times of Israel
An 80-year-old Israeli activist said he “feared for his life” on Wednesday when a group of masked settler youth armed with crowbars charged at him and a group of largely foreign volunteers assisting Palestinian farmers with the annual olive harvest in the northern West Bank.
Rabbi Moshe Yehudai made the comments to Army Radio hours after he and fellow volunteers endured a brutal assault documented by rights groups at the scene.
Of the five volunteers who were injured, four were visiting from the US, UK and other European countries, said a field worker for the Yesh Din NGO. Yehudai, an Israeli activist from Rabbis for Human Rights, was the fifth person targeted, suffering blows to the arm and head. He was evacuated to the Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba with a broken arm.
Rabbis for Human Rights recruits Israeli and foreign volunteers to accompany Palestinians, who say they face regular intimidation and violence while tending to crops located near settlements throughout the West Bank.
On Wednesday morning, roughly ten volunteers were assisting Palestinian farmers from the villages of Burin and Haware when a group of over 30 masked settlers descended from Yitzhar, a settlement identified by the Israeli security establishment as a hotbed for extremism, according to a Yesh Din field worker.
The Yesh Din field worker who spoke to The Times of Israel said that he arrived at the scene shortly after the assault began. After an IDF jeep was seen from a distance making its way to the field, the settler youth ignited a brushfire and retreated toward Yitzhar. At which point, the army vehicle turned around, the NGO staffer said.
Firefighter planes were dispatched to the scene to put out the fire which burned down hundreds of olive trees, some decades old, according to Yesh Din.
An IDF spokeswoman said she was looking into the incident, but was unable to provide any additional information.
A Yesh Din volunteer with wounds sustained during an altercation with The foreign volunteers filed a report at a nearby police station in the settlement of Ariel, but a spokeswoman for law enforcement could not provide any details on whether an investigation had been opened.
A statement from Yitzhar settlement later Wednesday blamed the incident on “provocations caused by extreme-left activists,” who together with Palestinian approached the settlement, which the statement said created “a security hazard.”
Speaking from the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance that tended to his injuries near the scene of the assault, Yehudai recalled assisting the Palestinian farmers with the other volunteers when the settlers charged at them.
“Suddenly, the settlers came with their faces [covered]. They started running at us, they surrounded me, threw rocks at me, hit me with crowbars, giving me a head injury,” he said.
“I told them I’m 80-years-old. Leave me alone,” he added, lamenting that the assailants refused to do so.
The incident came as the annual olive harvest was just beginning. More than 100,000 Palestinian families rely to some extent on the income they generate from their olives and some 18 percent of Palestinian agricultural production comes from olives, according to statistics from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The harvest is a frequent site of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli settlers that the Israel Defense Forces says it seeks to prevent.
Palestinian media and rights groups have reported multiple cases of Israelis interfering with the annual harvest, attacking Palestinians, stealing olives and uprooting trees.
In many places, farmers say they face intimidation and violence from nearby extremist settlers and call in help from both foreign and Israeli supporters, including Jewish rabbis, to protect them and their crops.
Some of the incidents are seen as attempts at revenge following Palestinian attacks on Israelis, even if the farmers targeted were not involved.
In other cases, rights groups say, there is little motivation other than just to destroy Palestinian property.
Israeli settlers charge that their crops have also been damaged by Palestinians, including one incident in May 2018 when around 1,000 grapevines were destroyed.
Also Wednesday morning, residents of the central West Bank village of Deir Ammar woke up to find 10 vehicles vandalized and walls spray-painted with Hebrew slogans in the latest apparent hate crime targeting Palestinians over the Green Line.
Phrases daubed on cars and walls included: “When our brothers are being murdered, it is our obligation to not forget” and “The nation of Israel lives,” according to a Yesh Din field worker who arrived at the scene and provided photos of the damages.
Police said they were aware of the incident and were looking into the matter.
Last week, law enforcement opened an investigation after Palestinians in the northern West Bank village of Qira woke up to find 13 vehicles vandalized and Hebrew-language hate messages graffitied on walls throughout the town.
Among the phrases spray-painted in the town north of the Ariel settlement were “There is no room for enemies in Israel” and “When Jews are hurt, it is our obligation not to forget.”
Footage from security cameras in Qira caught several masked individuals walking through the village and slashing tires of a tractor and other vehicles in their path.
Abdullah Kamil, the Governor of the Salfit District in which Qira resides, told Haaretz that the Israeli government “bears responsibility for the crime and the repeated attacks by settlers.”
Despite the dozens of hate crimes targeting Palestinians and their property over the past year, few perpetrators are ever arrested or charged, according to rights groups.
The incidents, often referred to as price tag attacks, are usually limited to arson and graffiti, but have sometimes included physical assaults and even murder.
In December, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released a report that showed a 69% increase in settler attacks on Palestinians in 2018 compared to 2017.
Settlers attack olive harvesters, Israeli volunteers in West Bank village https://972mag.com/settlers-attack-olive-harvest-west-bank/143950/
Masked settlers uproot olive trees, set groves ablaze, and beat several Israeli volunteers with stones and metal rods in the West Bank village of Burin.
Masked men from the settlement of Yitzhar wielding metal rods and stones attacked volunteers from Rabbis for Human Rights, a human rights organization based in Israel, while they were picking olives alongside Palestinian farmers in the West Bank village of Burin on Wednesday. According to a spokesperson for the organization, settlers set fire to the olive groves, causing a blaze that spread rapidly and burned for hours.
Rabbi Moshe Yehudai, a member of Rabbis for Human Rights’ board, was taken to Meir Medical Center after suffering severe wounds. He recounted the incident while lying on a gurney in an ambulance, as medics bandaged his head. One of the masked youths had hit him on the head with an iron rod, while another instructed him to leave. “I told them to leave me alone, that I am 80 years old and cannot run,” he said.
Avi Dabush, the executive director of Rabbis for Human Rights, said the incident highlighted the lawlessness in the West Bank, stressing that the volunteers would not be deterred from helping the Palestinian farmers as they harvest their olives. “For the last 17 years we have helped with the harvest, and we will continue to stand up against violent bullies,” he said, adding that this was the only way toward a peaceful joint future between Jews and Arabs living on the land.
AFP reported that Israel sent fire extinguishing planes to extinguish the fire set by the settlers. Researchers for Israeli human rights group Yesh Din estimate that the blaze consumed hundreds of acres of farmland in Burin and Huwara, both villages in the Nablus area.
The Rabbis for Human Rights spokesperson said that a group of settlers had threatened the farmers earlier in the week, threatening to beat them and vandalize their crops. The army has failed to protect the farmers from settler attacks, he noted. Israel’s occupation policies often prevent Palestinians from accessing their own lands, while violent settlers are allowed to roam freely.
Earlier on Wednesday morning, residents of the village of Deir Ammar woke up to discover that unknown vandals, most likely settlers from nearby outposts, had slashed tires and spray-painted Hebrew slogans and Stars of David on their homes and on their cars.
No involvement of medical teams in torture!
Samer Arbid is currently treated at Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital. He was arrested on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 and taken for ISA interrogation at the Russian Compound detention facility in Jerusalem.
The ISA received approval from a legal official to use “special measures” to interrogate Arbid. On Friday, September 27, 2019, Arbid was taken to hospital in life-threatening condition. According to information current on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, Arbid was intubated and in a coma.
The possibility of violence against him during the arrest itself cannot be ruled out, and inquiries should be made as to whether he was medically examined prior to reaching the detention facility. According to Israel Prison Service (IPS) procedures, any person arriving at a detention facility must be examined by a physician within 48 hours of arrival, and according to need thereafter. Given that according to the accounts of Arbid’s lawyers and relatives, he was in good health prior to his arrest, it can be inferred that the violence used against him during his arrest and/or interrogation was the cause of the downturn in his condition, to the point of his life being at risk.
After Arbid was taken to hospital, his lawyers and family contacted the hospital several times to receive an update on his condition. These attempts included his wife arriving in person at the ICU on Wednesday October 1, 2019 and personal communications with the staff. All of these requests were denied.
PHRI also contacted the hospital twice (on September 29 and October 1, 2019), copying the Ministry of Health, the Israel Medical Association, and the Civil Administration Health Coordinator with a demand that Arbid’s family be notified of his condition, that any signs of violence be documented according to the provisions of the Declaration of Tokyo and the Istanbul Protocol, and that the Committee for Physician Reports on Interrogatee Abuse, which was established within the Ministry of Health in 2011, be informed.
The response we received from the director of Hadassah Mount Scopus on October 2, 2019, stated that “information regarding hospital patients is privileged, in keeping with our obligation to maintain medical confidentiality. Inquiries concerning detainees should be addressed to the security agencies”. Reporters who have had contact with the hospital told PHRI the hospital informed them the case has been reported to the Ministry of Health.
Following the hospital’s response, PHRI contacted the legal department of the Israel Medical Association by telephone, asking they take action to have the hospital provide Arbid’s wife with an update. The Israel Medical Association responded that Ethics Committee Chair, Dr. Tami Karni, was currently abroad, and that per inquiries with the Israel Medical Association legal department, they were unable to do anything at the moment.
During a hearing of a motion filed by Arbid’s lawyers to have him released given his medical state, Military Judge Major Merav Hershkwitz Yitzhaki stated: “The suspect’s medical state is gradually improving and his interrogation may resume in the coming days”. Arbid’s lawyers received an update on his medical condition according to a decision issued by the military judge. ICRC representatives visited Arbid at the hospital on October 2, 2019 and gave his wife an update about his condition.
Following this statement, members of the boards of directors of PHRI and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, as well as members of PHRI’s ethics committee, contacted the hospital, the Israel Medical Association, the Ministry of Health and the IPS, demanding that the medical staff at Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital safeguard Samer Arbid’s life and health and adhere to medical ethics. The letter stressed that the medical staff must actively prevent his return to an interrogation in which the use of special measures amounting to torture has reportedly been approved, and that the hospital must prevent any use of its premises for interrogation purposes.
In its last communication, PHRI repeated the main provisions of the Declaration of Tokyo and the Istanbul Protocol, which have been adopted by the Israel Medical Association and relate to the conduct of medical crews with respect to suspected torture. PHRI took out an ad displaying the provisions of the Declaration of Tokyo in Haaretz daily newspaper this morning.
We will continue our advocacy work with the relevant institutions and the medical community both in Israel and abroad to ensure all those involved adhere to medical ethics.
We repeat our request that you join us and take whatever action you can in order to remind your colleagues of the need to adhere to ethical rules and keep patients safe from torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
Following Samer Arbid’s hospitalization in critical condition after his arrest and interrogation by the Israel Security Agency (ISA), PHRI recalls, again, that medical professionals are absolutely prohibited from taking part in torture in any way and have an obligation to take measures to protect patients who may have been or later could be subjected to torture. Given the silence of medical institutions regarding Arbid’s case so far, we ask members of PHRI’s medical teams to take action and contact the relevant medical institutions and staff and urge them to follow the ethical guidelines as enunciated in the Declaration of Tokyo and the Istanbul Protocol.
Sincerely, Anat Litvin Director of the Prisoners and Detainees Department Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI)
We Are Ending Netanyahu’s Grip on Israel
The following article published in the New York Times by Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint List of predominantly Arab parties, is important enough to be reproduced here in full.
The Gush Shalom Team
JERUSALEM — The Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel have chosen to reject Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his politics of fear and hate, and the inequality and division he advanced for the past decade.
Last summer, Mr. Netanyahu declared that Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up a fifth of the population, were to be second-class citizens, officially. “Israel is not a state of all its citizens,” Mr. Netanyahu wrote on Instagram (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/10/benjamin-netanyahu-says- israel-is-not-a-state-of-all-its-citizens) after passing the Nation-State law (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/19/world/middleeast/israel-law-jews- arabic.html?module=inline). “According to the basic nationality law we passed, Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people — and only it.”
The Israeli government has done everything in its power to reject those of us who are Arab Palestinian citizens, but our influence has only grown. We will be the cornerstone of democracy. Arab Palestinian citizens cannot change the course of Israel alone, but change is impossible without us.
I have argued earlier (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/08/opinion/israel- election.html?module=inline) that if the center-left parties of Israel believe that Arab Palestinian citizens have a place in this country, they must accept that we have a place in its politics.
Today, those parties no longer have a choice. At least 60 percent of the Arab Palestinian citizens (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/18/world/middleeast/israel-arabs-political- parties-election.html?module=inline) have voted in the recent elections, and the Joint List, our coalition representing Arab and Arab-Jewish parties, has won 13 seats and become the third-largest list in the Knesset. We will decide who will be the next prime minister of Israel.
On behalf of the Joint List, I am recommending that Israel’s president choose Benny Gantz, the leader of the centrist Blue and White party, to be the next prime minister. This will be the most significant step toward helping create the majority needed to prevent another term for Mr. Netanyahu - and it should be the end of his political career.
My colleagues and I have made this decision not as an endorsement of Mr. Gantz and his policy proposals for the country. We are aware that Mr. Gantz has refused to commit to our legitimate political demands for a shared future, and because of that we will not join his government.
Our demands for a shared, more equal future are clear: We seek resources to address violent crime plaguing Arab cities and towns, housing and planning laws that afford people in Arab municipalities the same rights as their Jewish neighbors and greater access for people in Arab municipalities to hospitals. We demand raising pensions for all in Israel so that our elders can live with dignity, and creating and funding a plan to prevent violence against women.
We seek the legal incorporation of unrecognized — mostly Palestinian Arab — villages and towns that don’t have access to electricity or water. And we insist on resuming direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians to reach a peace treaty that ends the occupation and establishes an independent Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 borders. We call for repealing the nation-state law that declared me, my family and one-fifth of the population to be second-class citizens. It is because over the decades candidates for prime minister have refused to support an agenda for equality that no Arab or Arab-Jewish party has recommended a prime minister since 1992.
Yet this time, we are making a different choice. We have decided to demonstrate that Arab Palestinian citizens can no longer be rejected or ignored. Our decision to recommend Mr. Gantz as the next prime minister without joining his expected national unity coalition government is a clear message that the only future for this country is a shared future, and there is no shared future without the full and equal participation of Arab Palestinian citizens.
The morning after the exclusionary “nation-state” law was passed, I drove my children to school and thought about raising them in a country that has repeatedly rejected Arab Palestinian children. Israeli governments have made this rejection clear time and again, from the years of military rule imposed on Arabs in Israel from the founding of the state until 1966, to the longstanding attempts to suppress Palestinian culture** **and the continuing decision to occupy the lands and lives of our sisters and brothers in the West Bank and Gaza.
Every time I take my youngest daughter, Sham, to her school, I see a passage written on the wall from the Book of Psalms: “The stone that the builders rejected became a cornerstone.”
By choosing to recommend Mr. Gantz, we have proven that cooperation between people, Arab and Jewish, is the only principled political strategy that will lead to a better future for us all. Countless people in Israel and around the world will be grateful to see an end to Mr. Netanyahu’s long reign of corruption, lies and fear.
We will continue our work toward a better, equal future, and our struggle for civil rights, rooted in our national identity as Palestinians. There is room enough for all of us in our shared homeland, room enough for the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish and the stories of our grandparents, room enough for all of us to raise our families in equality and peace.
A declaration of war on the two-state solution
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared war on the two-state solution. His plan, which he promised to implement if he is reelected, would annex between 30-40% of the West Bank, including all of the Jewish settlements, in the blocks and isolated around Palestinians communities, and the entire Jordan Valley. There is not a single Palestinian alive who would agree to a mini-fragmented Palestinian state under those conditions. Netanyahu declared that he will negotiate with President Trump to gain his agreement for these territorial conquests. He never mentioned, even in passing the need to negotiate with the Palestinians.
For Netanyahu, the Palestinians don’t exist, the Palestinians don’t have rights, and their aspirations for independence and statehood can simply be ignored. He only needs Trump’s support. Trump claimed to remove Jerusalem from the agenda. Trump also claimed to remove the refugee issue from the agenda. Now he can claim to remove the issue of Palestinian statehood from agenda as well. Netanyahu has declared that if he wins the elections on April 17 and he implements his declaration, he will be construct the wall of Israel’s eastern border. The wall that he is building is the one that he is pushing the Palestinians against, and they will resist.
Palestinian resistance is likely to include a new round of violence. That is not a threat, it is an assessment. Furthermore, we should expect Egypt and Jordan to recall their ambassadors and to launch a process that will likely lead to freezing the peace treaties with Israel’s two Arab neighbors, or even withdrawing from the entirely. This is simply a step too far for the Arab world to accept.
The Palestinian Authority is likely to collapse either through Palestinian public opposition to continuing to exist or through a voluntary act of “returning the keys to the occupier.” It is doubtful that even without this move the two-state solution retains a majority support among the Palestinians. Among the young generation of Palestinians there is no doubt that a majority no longer support the two-state solution. The call for democracy and a one-state solution will sweep over the Palestinian public like a tsunami. The international community, after protesting the Israeli move for annexation, will within a short number of years fall in line behind the Palestinians and support democracy, one person one vote, and the de-Zionification of the State of Israel.
For those Israelis who see the dangers of Netanyahu’s declaration of war on the two-state solution, this must be the call to us all of us to vote en masse on September 17. For those Israelis who continue to believe that partition is probably the only road to peace with the Palestinian people, and to the Palestinian citizens of Israel who must understand that they hold the keys to defeating Netanyahu, full participation in the election that must dump Netanyahu is the only avenue for saving us and the State of Israel.
Netanyahu must be defeated for the sake of Israel, and for the sake of the Palestinian people as well. The permanent removal of the two-state solution as a viable option for ending the Israeli Palestinian conflict leaves us with a one-state non-democratic, non-Jewish reality under which the Palestinians have no option other than to demand democracy in a non-ethnic, non-nation state of Israelis and Palestinians.
I USED to tell Palestinians who supported the so-called one-state solution that the best road to one state was through a peaceful two-state solution in which the two peoples live in peace, and eventually borders and national identities might come down. But I was wrong. Now it turns out that the fastest route to a one-state option is by erasing the possibility of a two-state solution. Palestinians would have to be insane to continue the charade of Oslo and two states after Netanyahu will annex vast parts of what they believe should be their state.
When Netanyahu made his famous Bar-Ilan speech in 2009, in which he supported the two-state solution, his father responded, “I know my son. He didn’t mean it.” Now it is more than clear that Netanyahu lied to the public in Israel and to the world, and that his father told the truth. When Yitzhak Shamir was prime minister, and was asked if he wouldn’t negotiate with the PLO because they were a terrorist organization, he responded that he wouldn’t negotiate with the PLO because there is nothing to negotiate with them about except a Palestinian state, and we would never do that.
Shamir was correct then and refused to play what has become known as the Oslo game. Netanyahu played the game, but now he has turned the board upside-down. In past years, I brought messages from Mahmoud Abbas to Netanyahu three times to open direct secret negotiations on ending the occupation, creating the two-state solution and making peace. Netanyahu turned down those proposals all of the three times and continued to blame Abbas saying that he was not a partner.
Yes, Mr. Netanyahu, Abbas and every other Palestinian leader is not a partner to continue the occupation. The Palestinians will never be partners to Israeli annexation. No Arab will ever be a partner to Israeli apartheid, a state in which Jews are superior, have full political rights and in which the majority of Palestinians are denied citizenship, political rights and equality.
Mr. Netanyahu, your annexation plan is shooting the first shot of a third intifada. You have declared war on the chances of living in peace for the foreseeable future. With you at the helm, the Palestinians never had a partner in Israel. They have been saying that for years, and you have now proven that without a shadow of doubt. You can try to negotiate a peace deal, a “Deal of the Century” with your buddy Donald Trump. Let’s see how far that takes you in the Middle East.
Mr. Netanyahu, you have now cast your final role in history – in the history of the State of Israel and the history of the Jewish people. You have done what some of our enemies have tried to do for decades: You have put an end to the Zionist enterprise. No, Mr. Netanyahu, Israel that annexes huge parts of the West Bank is no longer the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people. It cannot be the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people because the human make-up of the totality of the population between the river and the sea is at least 50% Palestinian, and they certainly do not enjoy Israel’s democracy. They also reject your annexation of their land and the end of the possibility of their independent state next to Israel.
Those of us in Israel who have supported and struggled to bring about a two-state solution are now forced to accept the new reality that you will create, and we will have to join the ranks of the Palestinian people who will fight for democracy and equality in a non-nation-non-ethnic-secular state.
By Ayman Odeh
Mr. Odeh leads the Joint List, the third-largest bloc in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, and is chairman of the Hadash Party.
Sept. 22, 2019
Declaration of War on the Two-State Solution
By Gershon Baskin Originally published in the Jerusalem Post September 12, 2019
The writer is a political and social entrepreneur who has dedicated his life to the State of Israel and to peace between Israel and her neighbors. His latest book, In Pursuit of Peace in Israel and Palestine, was published by Vanderbilt University Press and is now available in Israel and Palestine.
“I hope my decision to refuse military service and go to prison will contribute, in however small a way"
A conscientious objector was released from prison and another was imprisoned for the first time on Wednesday, August 21
After twenty five days of imprisonment the IDF’s Conscience Committee granted conscientious objector Maya Brand-Feigenbaum a release from military service
"I believe that refusing to serve in the military is the best and most effective way for me to promote anti-war principles and contribute to ending the occupation", she said
Concurrently, Yasmin Ricci-Yahav, age 18 from Mevasseret Zion, declared for the first time her refusal to enlist, at the IDF recruitment office, and was sent to an initial ten days' detention in Military Prison 6, likely to be extended again and again if she persists in her refusal.
“I hope my decision will contribute, in however small a way, to a gradual change of consciousness. And that this change will lead in turn to a search for a solution based on justice and equality for Israelis and Palestinians,” she wrote in her refusal declaration
Maya Brand-Feigenbaum, age 18 from Kiryat Tivon, first declared her refusal to enlist on July 14 and was sent to prison, where she spent 25 days - after which she appeared before the Conscience Committee which decided to discharge her from the army.
Upon leaving prison she said: “The decision to refuse military service is one I will never regret because I was true to myself, and yet all along I continued to ask myself questions and examine my stand. I experienced moments of great fear because the hatred people spread is poisonous. This is something I was exposed to in prison and which saddened me: hatred toward entire groups and disrespect that is borne out of fear. I faced comments like ‘all Arabs should die, and if you are on their side you should die too.’ I wish the girls who spoke in this way understood that in fact we are all on the same side.”
In her refusal declaration, published before she refused to enlist, Brand-Feigenbaum wrote:
“Decades of dominating another people is compromising the security of the State of Israel. As a woman who loves this country, whose landscape and people are a part of me, I cannot take part in the preservation of this situation. I am aware that our reality requires having a military that will act to protect us against real threats. However, at the same time, we also need people who will act to promote a war-free reality. Anti-war activity serves the best interests of the state of Israel and the world, and will result in long-term security. Taking action to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and ending the Occupation is in the best interest of all residents of this land – Jews, Muslims and Christians alike".
Concurrently, Yasmin Ricci-Yahav, age 18 from Mevasseret Zion, arrived at the army’s recruitment office, declared her refusal to enlist and was sent to the standard initial ten days of detention. In her refusal declaration she wrote:
“I do not question Israel’s right to have and use an army in order to defend itself. I do not wish to detract from the respect and admiration owed to those who came before me and did everything in their power to protect a state that offered a home to millions who needed a safe haven. But the Israeli army nowadays does not function only as a defence force, but as a main tool in the systematic oppression of the Palestinian people.”
“We have all experienced,” Ricci-Yahav continued, “a childhood marred by war and hatred, and we have all grown up in a world where we have been taught to fear and to distance ourselves from the other side. But I believe there is another way to face the complex reality in which we live. This requires a conversation about alternatives, mutual respect and a desire for change. In addition, I believe that it is the young generation in Israel that is responsible for advancing change. I hope that my refusal will contribute to the struggle to bring about not only a more secure future for Israel, but also a future that inspires pride and is characterised by tolerance and compassion.”
Maya & Yasmin is accompanied by Mesarvot – A political refusing network that writes letters and initiates refusing groups from the last few years to joint action. The network supports conscientious objectors that choose to not enlist in the occupation army, while knowingly acknowledging the gender aspects that the compulsory enlistment brings to Israeli society. The network works in cooperation and assistant from Yesh Gvul Movement.
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End Police Violence! Protest in Issawiya and in Sheikh Jarrakh - today Fri, 23.8
As a result of widespread police violence and harrassment in Issawiya and increasing violence towards peaceful demonstrators in Sheikh Jarrakh, we will go out to the streets to protest in Issawiya and in Sheikh Jarrakh TODAY (FRIDAY).
We will meet at 12:30PM in the entrance to Issawiya near the gas station in the French Hill. In Issawiya we will stand together with the residents in solidarity for a public Friday prayer and protest.
From Issawiya we will then continue together to protest in Sheikh Jarrakh. The protest in Sheikh Jarrakh will begin at 3PM.
Our presence is critical - join us in declaring to the police: We see your violence and we will not allow it to continue! We stand with the residents of Issawiya and of Sheikh Jarrakh in their struggle, until the end of the Occupation!
For more details please check the EVENT - join us and share with you friends!