14 October 2014

Prominent Israeli settler rabbi calls for "cleansing" of Palestinians

Dov Lior - Chief Settler Rabbi and Neo-Nazi Rabbi Submitted 

Israelis burn a Palestinian flag and shout racist slogans, during an anti-Palestinian protest at the Gush Etzion junction in the occupied West Bank, 16 June. (Oren Ziv / APA images)
A well-known Israeli settler rabbi recently called for Israel to “cleanse” the territories it occupies of all Palestinians, according to the news website The Times of Israel.

During a visit to Israeli settlers on 30 September in the occupied West Bank, Rabbi Dov Lior said that Israel “must strive to cleanse the entire country” of Palestinians, ostensibly referring to present-day Israel, the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip.

Lior, who is the chief rabbi for Israeli settlers in the West Bank city of Hebron and in the Kiryat Arba settlement, was speaking at an event at Givat Oz Vgaon, an “outpost” colony recently established in the Etzion bloc of settlements in the central West Bank.

From the time it occupied the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) in 1967, Israel has recognized 125 Jewish-only settlements that today harbor a population of an estimated 550,000 Israeli Jews, according to the human rights group B’Tselem.

Givat Oz Vgaon is one of more than one hundred smaller colonies known as “outposts” that also dot the map of the territory. Though outposts are considered illegal even under Israeli law, they are often provided with state resources, including funding, and are protected by the Israeli military.
“There was no peace and there will never be peace, not because we do not want [peace], but because there is no one to make peace with,” Lior said, as reported by The Times of Israel.

Using even more racist and orientalist language, he added: “This is their character, they are for war, and the traits of a nation do not change.”

He also said the Israeli government ought to force Palestinians to “return” to Saudi Arabia, employing old Israeli tropes that claim Palestinians are not indigenous to historic Palestine.

History of racism

Palestinians “know how to lead a democratic government just like I know how to deal with camels,” he further commented in his speech.
These latest outbursts are part of Lior’s long history of racist and anti-Palestinian incitement.
During Israel’s 51-day massacre of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip this summer, Lior called for the complete destruction of the besieged coastal enclave, home to an estimated 1.8 million Palestinians living under suffocating Israeli restrictions.

Israel is “allowed to punish the enemy population with measures it finds suitable, such as blocking supplies or electricity, as well as shelling the entire area according to the army minister’s judgment, and not to needlessly endanger soldiers but rather to take crushing deterring steps to exterminate the enemy,” Lior said, as reported by The Jerusalem Post at the time.

“In the case of Gaza, it would be permitted for the defense minister to even order the destruction of all of Gaza,” he continued.

Guinea pigs

Though Israeli politicians subsequently called for an investigation into Lior’s incitement, there is thus far no indication that any action has been taken. And despite having been arrested by Israeli authorities in the past, the prominent settler rabbi was not charged with any crimes and has been allowed to continue unabated.

In October 2013, Ma’an News Agency reported that Lior was one of the leaders of a campaign to ban Jewish women from working night shifts in hospitals alongside Arab coworkers.

Citing a television report by Israel’s Channel 10, Ma’an reported that one of the groups involved in the campaign was Lehava, a Zionist group dedicated to preventing romantic relationships between Israeli Jews and Palestinians.

According to Gershom Gorenberg’s book The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount, Lior “once wrote that Israel should use captured Arab terrorists as guinea pigs for medical experiments.”

Lior was also reportedly the personal rabbi of Baruch Goldstein, an American-Israeli settler who massacred 29 Palestinians and injured more than one hundred when he opened fire on worshippers in a Hebron mosque in 1994.

Lior has said of Goldstein that he is “holier than all the martyrs of the Holocaust,” Ma’an also noted.

“Gentile sperm”

Back in 2011, Lior told a women’s health conference that it is forbidden for Jewish women to accept semen donated by non-Jews in order to artificially inseminate pregnancy. Doing so, he claimed, leads to children being born with the “negative genetic traits that characterize non-Jews,The Jerusalem Post reported at the time.

“Gentile sperm leads to barbaric offspring,” he said.

While calling for Israel to completely annex the occupied West Bank in September 2011, Lior referred to Arabs as “evil camel riders.”

The rabbi is a leading member of the Tekumah political faction, a group that merged with the Habeyit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party in late 2012.

Habeyit Hayehudi is home to politicians including Naftali Bennett, Israel’s current economy minister who also regularly calls for Israel to annex the occupied West Bank. “I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there’s no problem with that,” Bennett said in a July 2013 interview.

Ayelet Shaked, another prominent Habeyit Hayehudi lawmaker, gained notoriety in July after she endorsed a genocidal call for Israel kill Palestinian mothers because they give birth to “little snakes.”

Lior is just one of the many anti-Palestinian figures who hold prominent public roles in Israeli communities and political institutions. And this is by no means an exhaustive account of his anti-Palestinian incitement. 


What if it was Your Child? Israeli Soldiers’ Child Abuse

This video speaks for itself and demonstrates how ritual sadism and brutality has become an integral part of the Occupation army’s operations.

British MPs and the Vote for a Palestinian State

Latest News:  Motion Passed by 274-12

Tough talk: Ed Balls said that rules on free movement within Europe needed to be made more robust
Ed Balls  - Labour Shadow Chancellor

One of the key opponents of today's motion in favour of a Palestinian State is Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls.  I'm sure it is a coincidence but who is named as a donor on his site but the Labour Friends of Israel

The amount of donation (total for flights, accommodation and transport) is estimated to be about £1,000.  The destination of visit was Israel and the Palestinian Territories
Miliband Supported Motion Unlike Ed  Balls
The House divided: Ayes 274, Noes 12.
Division No. 54][9.58 pm]



Question accordingly agreed to.
That this House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel, as a contribution to securing a negotiated two state solution.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. The House has voted emphatically tonight to support the recognition of the Palestinian state. That is good news, which will be well received by many people, and we should bear witness to those thousands who marched and demonstrated and those thousands who e-mailed us.

If I may, I will briefly explain why I and my hon. Friend the Member for Batley and Spen (Mike Wood) were tellers for a position that we do not actually hold. It was to ensure that democracy could take place and that Members could record their vote, because those who were opposed to the motion declined to put up tellers. We have thus ensured democracy here tonight. The constituents whom we all represent will be able to see what influence they were able to have on their Members of Parliament, ensuring that this historic vote took place.

Mr Speaker: Residents of Islington North and the nation at large are now fully apprised of the motivation of the hon. Gentleman and of his colleague. I thank him.

Political wrangling with no diplomatic impact

At Britain’s general election in seven months, the political future of dozens of Labour MPs could be in the hands of Muslim voters.

In Opposing the Labour Party's Parliamentary Group's agreeing to support a Palestinian state (leaving to one side the question of whether such a solution is viable) we see the ghost of New Labour and Blair rearing their head.

Their arguments about not prejudging ‘peace negotiations’ are thoroughly dishonest since Israel has consistently blocked any progress in the talks in favour of building further settlement blocs.
Israel’s Deputy Defence Minister Danny Danon stated that ‘Israel’s ruling party and the governing coalition are staunchly opposed to a two-state solution and would block the creation of a Palestinian state if such a proposal ever came to a vote… " contradicting statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior cabinet members who say Jerusalem is committed to the principle of two states for two peoples.’

Except that for Netanyahu, such a State would be a state in name only.  Completely demilitarised, with Israeli forces stationed within it, the settlements continuing to remain and resources such as Water continuing to come under Israeli control.

The British parliament is expected Monday to vote for a motion recognizing an independent Palestinian state. The move is only symbolic; it does not oblige the British government in any way.
Still, it is causing turmoil in the main opposition party, Labour, where a group of senior members, including front-bench shadow ministers, are claiming that the motion contradicts long-standing British foreign policy, including that of Labour governments. They say it is largely motivated by local political considerations.

Two years ago, Britain abstained from a UN vote recognizing Palestine as a nonmember observer state; the official position remains that such recognition should be the fruit of a peace agreement with Israel.

The motion was submitted by a group of pro-Palestinian MPs, led by the head of Labour Friends of Palestine, Grahame Morris, who earlier this year had to apologize for comparing Israel to the Nazis. It was approved by the shadow foreign secretary, Douglas Alexander. Labour chief Ed Miliband is backing Alexander, but senior party members who support Israel have complained that they were not consulted and have asked to be allowed to stay away from the vote.

Miliband has been under increasing fire in recent weeks as the party stagnates in the polls and because few Britons, even Labour supporters, see him as a suitable prime minister. He has been struggling to stave off a split in the party over the Palestine issue.

In an unprecedented move, Miliband has crafted a strategy under which shadow cabinet members would stay away from the vote rather than defy the party line, a step that could force them to resign. Many Labor MPs are indeed expected to keep their distance.

The whips of the parties in the governing coalition — the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats — do not expect their members to attend the vote, and the chief Conservative whip, Michael Gove, one of Israel’s most vocal supporters in British politics, has advised his party’s MPs to stay away and minimize the symbolic effect of the motion’s passing.

Despite Gove’s efforts, the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s low profile on the issue and the low attendance expected, the vote is still drawing a great deal of attention. This is partly due to lobbying by Labour Friends of Israel, which is trying to amend the motion to say that recognition of Palestine should only come after “the conclusion of successful peace negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.”

The motion’s supporters who say the amendment empties their resolution of meaning countered with an amendment of their own: Recognition would be “a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.”

Meanwhile, British and European Jewish organizations have further complicated things by launching their own initiatives, calling on MPs to either oppose the motion or support the amendment. This lobbying was not coordinated with the Israeli Foreign Ministry, which preferred to play down the vote rather than fight it.

A passed motion would have very little impact on Britain’s foreign policy, if at all, but it would have a whole lot to do with local politics. At Britain’s general election in seven months, the political future of dozens of Labour MPs who hold slim margins in their constituencies could be in the hands of Muslim voters. They fear that not voting to recognize Palestine could keep these voters at home or shift them to other parties.

Muslim voters, however, do not have similar weight in constituencies that are crucial to the Conservatives, and Prime Minister David Cameron has agreed with his election strategist, Lynton Crosby, that if the party courts the Muslim vote, it stands to lose many traditional right-wing voters who are already leaning toward the anti-immigration U.K. Independence Party, UKIP.

During the Gaza conflict this summer, Cameron withstood pressure from his Liberal-Democrat coalition partners who called on him to condemn Israel’s actions. He was eventually forced to accept a statement by the Liberal-Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable that during an escalation in Gaza, the government would consider suspending export licenses for British arms to Israel.
That statement, too, had little meaning (and Israel purchases very few arms from Britain anyway), but it was another sign of how the Israel-Palestine conflict is a sensitive issue in local British politics. On Monday, when parliament votes in favor of recognizing Palestine, we’ll witness another political statement with local significance but no real diplomatic impact.
LATEST:  Vote on Palestinian state
363 Israeli public figures have signed a letter to the Members of the British Parliament, calling upon them to vote in favor of British recognition of a Palestinian State, to be created side-by-side with Israel.  

By Anshel Pfeffer Oct. 12, 2014

[the reality of the Israeli position is that of  Israel's Defence Minister Ya'alon]
Moshe Ya'alon

Defense minister: This government will block any two-state deal

6th June 2006

There is a zero chance of Israel agreeing to a separate Palestinian state.  Its whole settlement policy has been aimed at blocking such a solution.  An independent state contradicts the expansionist nature of Israeli settler colonialism.  Even before the ‘peace negotiations’ began, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon attacked US Secretary of State John Kerry:

‘On 14 January, Israel's defense minister Moshe Ya'alon rejected the negotiations and insulted John Kerry, saying he was acting based upon "messianic feeling", and that "The only thing that can 'save' us is that John Kerry will get a Nobel Peace Prize and leave us alone.’
Palestinian  Refugees in 1948 - expelled by the Palmach shock troops which the Zionist left led

The Guilty and Hypocrisy of the Zionist 'Left'

Mapam Founder

Tikva Honig-Parnass is one of the most dedicated supporters of the Palestinians and opponents of Zionism.  In 1948 she fought for the Zionists in their War of so-called Independence.  But she is wrong about the Zionist 'left's' support for the Gaza assault signifying its erasure from Israel's political map. This is to substitute wishful thinking for historical analysis.

Maki - Jewish Communist Part Election Poster 1948
Historically the Zionist ‘left’ has been equally culpable, if not more so, than the ‘right’ when it came to the oppression of the Palestinians.   The Naqba was perpetrated by the Zionist left, not least of which was the ‘Marxist’ Mapam  party.  It was the Zionist ‘left’ which instituted military  rule over the Israeli Palestinians until 1966.  The whole system of Israeli   Apartheid was the creation of the Zionist ‘left’.  There is nothing the Zionist ‘Right’ of Likud has done which Labour Zionism hasn’t done before it.
Mapam Election Day Rally - Haifa 1986
The Zionist 'left' It supported the Lebanon  War and all the attacks on Gaza, the deportations, confiscations and similar measures.  See Begin and Sharon have done Nothing that Labour Hasn't Done Before Them 


Rima Najjar with Tikva Honig-Parnass
"Israel’s Left no longer exists as a distinct political and cultural entity."
"What distinguishes this new stage of commitment to the colonial state of Israel by Left intellectuals is their departure from what remains of their weak commitment to universalistic values. They are now fully integral to the chauvinist, racist state of Israel which is the tool for the embodiment and expansion of Zionist colonial project."
Mapam Election Day Rally
by Tikva Honig-Parnass, Oct 1 2014

- The Ongoing War on Gaza
- 2008-2009 Cast Lead Massacre in Gaza
- David Grossman Praises the Army’s Restraint
- Professor Zeev Sternhell Defends the Army for Following Orders
- A New Combat Doctrine which Violates International Law
- July 2014: Operation Protective Edge
- David Grossman Does not See, Does not Hear, Does not Speak
- Zeev Sternhell’s Lack of Empathy and Moral Judgment


The aim of this article is to pinpoint the explicit and implicit support of the Zionist Left intellectuals usually identified with Labor or Meretz for the brutal attacks on Gaza since 2006. This support is a new stage in the Left intellectuals’ loyalty to the state and its oppressive policies against the Palestinian people. The viciousness of mass murder and horrid devastation of Gaza, chiefly in the recent Operation Protective Edge, have reached unprecedented levels. Their support by the “most enlightened” public figures in Israeli society amounts to total disregard for basic human rights and international lawsand erases any meaningful difference between them and the Right.

The silence of the Zionist Left majority in response to the massacres in Gaza—including the discourse of evasion and emotional detachment by the very few who did react—indicates a complete absence of basic humanitarian values and concepts of justice. The meaning of state security, stretched to include repression of Palestinian resistance by any bloody means, unites the Zionist Left with the Right in a joint war against the Palestinian people. The Left which has been recognized as the offspring of the mythological Zionist labor movement has been wiped off the political map.

One would perhaps expect opposition to such an operation from, for example, Meretz MP Haim Oron, the past general secretary of Mapam and a member of Kibbutz Lahav, affiliated to the Hashomer Hatzair stream of the Kibbutz movement. However, on Friday, 24 July, 2014, when 150 children had already been killed in Gaza, Oron declared that his party, Meretz, would not participate in the big demonstration against the operation planned for Saturday night. The daily Maariv noted:

Thousands of Jews and Arabs are expected to participate in the demonstration. They would waive the Palestinian Authority flag (sic) and raise placards condemning the military operation [in Gaza], calling for the removal of the siege of the Strip, and ending the occupation of the West Bank.

The demonstration was organized by a coalition of what’s called “Left factions” including Palestinian-Arab (Balad and Raam Taal), Palestinian-Jewish (Hadash, the front headed by the Communist Party), and Daam, the Workers Party. Jewish protest movements like Bat Shalom and Anarchists Against the Wall, as well as NGO’s like The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICHAD) and the Alternative Information Center (AIC), declared their participation in the demonstration. All in all these are very small groups which could not mobilize many participants for the few demonstrations there were against the war on Gaza. Oron explained the Meretz position, which opposed the risking of Israeli lives by landing troops inside Gaza, but not the operation itself:

Our position is essentially different from the common denominator of those groups which organized the demonstration: Meretz supports the operation in Gaza. These groups don’t accept the basic right of the State of Israel to self defense, whereas we support it. A massive majority of the Party’s board voted for the justification of the operation while voting for a resolution to oppose the landing act.[i]

One would assume that facing the mass murder and displacement which had already taken place by this time (24 July), those self-proclaimed fighters for universal human values would take to the streets and join whoever opposed the massacre in Gaza.

But they didn’t. Moreover, Oron and his party members knew well from past onslaughts on Gaza what horrific massacre and devastation were about to occur. However they did not join this demonstration or others organized by independent groups (or the Communist Party) which were violently confronted by right wing gangs with the help of the police.

The Zionist Left/Liberal intellectuals and academics did not adopt an explicit condemnation of the Israeli “combat” in Gaza, or even make public any alarm at the genocide committed there. I refer here to those intellectuals and academics who since the establishment of the State (and prior to it) have supplied the moral and “scientific” legitimacy for Israel’s colonialist policies which continue the ethnic cleansing begun in 1948.

Many of those Left/Liberal intellectuals and academics participated in articulating the guiding ideology of the State of Israel under the rule of the Zionist Labor movement in the first decades of the state. Others among them have accepted their predecessors’ teaching and elaborated on its premises.
They support the principal idea of Israel’s established political culture: “security of the state” is sanctified as a sacred

An excellent, well contextualized analysis of the further entrenchment of Jim Crow/Apartheid Israel.

By +972 Blog

Published September 18, 2014

The Israeli Supreme Court Wednesday dismissed various petitions against the Admissions Committees Law, which allows admissions committees in hundreds of communities in Israel to reject housing applicants based on their “social suitability.”
By Amjad Iraqi

March 8, 2000 marked a unique moment in Israeli history. In a major decision, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that the town of Katzir, which was established on state land by the Jewish Agency, could not deny the right of the Arab Ka’adan family to live in the town simply on the basis that they were not Jewish. This was the first time that Palestinian citizens of Israel successfully challenged the legality of “Jewish-only” communities in the state, generating cautious optimism that it could set an important precedent for Palestinian rights in land and housing.

Fifteen years later, on September 17, 2014, these hopes came to an abrupt end. In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court dismissed various petitions filed by human rights groups against the Admissions Committees Law, enacted by the Knesset in 2011. The law allows admissions committees in 434 communities in the Negev and the Galilee (about 43 percent of all towns in Israel) to reject housing applicants based on their “social suitability” and the communities’ “social and cultural fabric.” In effect, these committees are now legally permitted to refuse residency based on any “undesired” identity, including Palestinian, Sephardic, African, gay, religious, secular and others.

The Admissions Committees Law is the Israeli right wing’s response to the Supreme Court ruling in the Ka’adan case. Realizing that marginalized groups were increasingly challenging the state’s discriminatory practices, the Knesset under the 2009-12 Netanyahu government sought to turn Israel’s historical policies against these groups into law. Many Knesset members openly declared that the purpose of these laws was to subdue the “threats” posed by Palestinian citizens to the Jewish character of the state. The authors of the Admissions Committees Law even stated that, though deliberately written in neutral language, its main aim was to prevent Arab citizens from living with Jews.

This objective of segregation is not a new phenomenon in Israel, and has in fact been a central, ongoing practice since the state’s establishment in 1948. Legislation ranging from the Absentees Property Law (1950) to the Negev Individual Settlements Law (2011), along with the policies of the Jewish National Fund, Israel Land Authority and the government itself, operate with the explicit goal of securing maximum and privileged control of land for Israel’s Jewish citizens – a process known as “Judaization.” This runs jointly with the state’s goal of minimizing and concentrating non-Jewish communities in Israel, resulting in the mass confiscation of Palestinian land and the containment of Palestinian towns through discriminatory planning, home demolitions and unequal resource allocation.

However, what makes the admissions committees case significant is that the Supreme Court – the supposed bastion of Israeli democracy – has upheld this clearly discriminatory law, claiming that it could not determine yet if the law violated constitutional rights. Numerous petitions condemned the law from multiple angles, including nationality, race, religion and sexual orientation, but the court swept them aside. More importantly, the court directly undermined its own landmark ruling in the Ka’adan case, overriding one of the few legal decisions that set a precedent for minority rights in Israel and the struggle against state-sanctioned discrimination.

The latest ruling instead illustrates the deteriorating status of Palestinian citizens of Israel at the hands of an increasingly right-wing government and high court. Rather than introducing laws that guarantee equal rights for all of Israel’s citizens, the Knesset has worked to deepen racial inequality and consolidate its discriminatory vision for the state. Meanwhile, the judiciary has allowed the government to carry out this program, choosing not to set precedents on critical cases affecting Palestinian rights. With more discriminatory laws being introduced – including the Prawer Plan Bill, the Contributors to the State Bill, and the Jewish Nation-State Bill – Palestinian citizens and others are left fearing that, despite their best efforts to overturn it, race will continue to be the prime determinant of their rights.

It is therefore up to the public, non-governmental actors and the international community to take a principled stance against this unjust law. Racial separation, especially when engineered by a state, must elicit the same condemnation as other cases have before. 

Under the segregation laws of the Jim Crow South, gentrification and ghettoization were deliberately used against black Americans in order to keep white neighborhoods economically superior and racially homogenous, the effects of which remain damaging to this day. A more infamous comparison is apartheid South Africa’s Group Areas Act, which legalized the state’s policy of designating land for separate races. Like some of the Israeli law’s proponents today, South Africa’s leaders attempted to sugar-coat their intentions by describing racial separation as a policy of “good neighborliness.” However, such claims cannot conceal the fact that the Israeli Supreme Court’s approval of the Admissions Committees Law has granted legal cover for the principle of segregation and, at worst, has permitted a housing system that disturbingly resembles apartheid.

Amjad Iraqi is a projects and advocacy coordinator at Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.
Israeli Supreme Court upholds "Admissions Committees Law" thatallows Israeli Jewish communities to exclude Palestinian Arab citizens

The Israeli town of Rakefet. In 2006, the town's admissions committee rejected the application of a Palestinian couple due to "social unsuitability"; after a six-year legal battle, the couple was allowed to live there after the Supreme Court ruled that the rejection was discriminatory. (Photo adapted from Hanay/Wikimedia Commons)

Israeli Supreme Court: "We cannot determine at this stage whether the law violates constitutional rights"

Adalah: "The Supreme Court’s decision entrenches racial segregation; 434 small communities in Israel, or 43% of all residential areas, will be allowed to close their doors to Palestinian Arab citizens of the state."

(Haifa, Israel) Today, 17 September 2014, in a 5 to 4 decision, an expanded panel of the Israeli Supreme Court decided to dismiss a petition brought by Adalah three years ago against the "Admissions Committees Law". The law allows for hundreds of Israeli Jewish communities in the Naqab (Negev) in the south and in the Galilee in the north to reject applicants for housing based on the criteria of "social suitability" and the "social and cultural fabric" of the town.

The law allows the possibility of rejecting applicants who are Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, as well as other marginalized groups, solely on the basis of their race, ethnicity, religion, or other identity. The court's decision effectively legalizes the principle of segregation in housing between Arab and Jewish citizens, and permits the practice of racism against Arab citizens in about 434 communities, or 43% of all towns in Israel. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) also filed a petition against this law.

In response, Adalah stated that the Court’s decision, "gives the green light for 434 communities to exist based on the principle of segregated housing. This law is one of the most racist pieces of legislation enacted in recent years, the primary objective of which is to marginalize Arab citizens and prevent them from accessing housing on 'state land' in many communities. The court's decision upholds one of the most dangerous laws in Israel."

Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara, who filed the petition, added that: "The court's decision seriously undermines its landmark decision in 1999 in the Ka'adan case. That case allowed an Arab family to move to the town of Katzir despite their rejection by the town's admissions committee. This latest court decision illustrates the continued deterioration of the constitutional rights and legal protection of Palestinian citizens of Israel." Attorney Bishara further stated that the new decision, "allows the principle of separation in residency based on national identity, and as such, 434 communities will be allowed to close their doors to Arab citizens."

The Admissions Committees Law, enacted by the Knesset in 2011, gives "admissions committees" – bodies that select applicants for housing units and plots of land – almost full discretion to accept or reject individuals from living in these towns. The committees include a representative from the Jewish Agency or the World Zionist Organization, quasi-governmental entities. The Committees, in practice, filter out Arab Palestinian applicants and others from marginalized groups. While one of the provisions of the law states a duty to respect the right to equality and prevent discrimination, the law allows these committees to reject applicants deemed "unsuitable to the social life of the community…or the social and cultural fabric of the town," thereby legitimizing the exclusion of entire groups. The law also authorizes admissions committees to adopt criteria determined by individual community towns themselves based on their "special characteristics", including those community towns that have defined themselves as having a "Zionist vision."

In the last hearing on the case before the Supreme Court on 4 December 2012, Attorney Bishara argued that, "the law marginalizes certain groups, creating a legal, constitutional, and legitimate basis for discrimination. The law allows for division of state land based on vague cultural and social standards – and not even the state can explain which criteria admissions committees could use to accept or reject candidates. The law will open the door to arbitrary decisions based on prejudices and personal grudges."

Attorney Bishara added after that hearing that, “The law is functioning the same way it did previously as a policy, deterring many segments of the population, especially Palestinian Arab citizens of the state, from applying for housing in these towns for fear of rejection. The law has serious implications now and has had for many years, so it is not possible to say that it is not ripe for judicial ruling.”

For more information, contact Adalah Media Director Salah Mohsen at: salah@adalah.org or 052-595-0922.

For more information on the law:

Expanded Panel of 9 Supreme Court Justices Hears Case against “Admissions Committee Law” - 11 December 2012 

Israeli Attorney General Supports Discriminatory Admission Committees Law - 29 January 2012 

Israeli Supreme Court Hears Adalah's Petition Demanding Cancellation of "Admission Committees" - 3 February 2011 

Adalah: There are now 695 communities in Israel where Arab citizens of the state are forbidden to live - 4 November 2010 

Case Citation: HCJ 2504/11, Adalah, et al v. The Knesset, et al. (decision delivered 17 September 2014).

Continued Attacks on Disability Benefits

24 September 2014 newsletter

It’s hard to know which of the numbers in this nBewsletter is the most appalling.
The fact that 31% of disability living allowance (DLA) claimants get absolutely nothing when they transfer to personal independence payment (PIP).

Or that just 45% of new PIP claims are successful, if you don’t include people with terminal illnesses.

There’s the staggering 92% drop in employment and support allowance (ESA) appeals since the DWP brought in mandatory reconsiderations.

Then there’s the revelation that the PIP waiting list is still getting longer, in spite of promises by ministers to fix it. There are now 323,000 people waiting for a medical, meaning an average wait of at least 35 weeks.
Or is it that just 19% of claimants who made a new ESA claim between October and December 2013 have so far had a decision, again largely because of long delays in getting a medical?

The only mildly entertaining number in amongst all the latest statistics is that, after all this time and money, there are still fewer people receiving universal credit than have season tickets for Watford Town FC. IDs may claim that universal credit is going exactly to plan, but he must be the only person left who still believes it.

Finally, we reveal that the DWP is still refusing to say when it will publish one set of statistics that campaigners have been pursuing for a long time – the ESA death statistics. But we haven’t let them off the hook that easily.
Good luck,
Steve Donnison

ESA assessment crisis worsens

More and more claimants who should be in the support group of ESA are being forced to remain in the assessment phase for a year or more, because of the growing crisis in the service provided by Atos.

Fewer than one in five claimants who made a new ESA claim between October and December 2013 have had a decision made on their claim, the latest DWP quarterly statistics reveal. Just 19% have had a decision, compared to 22% in the preceding quarter, suggesting that the situation in regard to Atos assessments is continuing to deteriorate.
Over 90% fall in ESA appeals

The DWP’s attempts to make it as difficult as possible to appeal a benefits decision appear to be succeeding, according to the latest tribunal statistics. There has been a drop of 92% in ESA appeals and 93% in Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) appeals in April to June 2014 compared to the same period last year.

ESA death statistics – DWP say they will publish details, but won’t say when

The DWP is continuing to use delaying tactics to block publication of ESA death statistics, whilst claiming that they intend to release them at an undisclosed future date, we can reveal. This is the same claim that the DWP have been making for well over a year and the refusal to publish the figures is now the subject of a further challenge by Benefits and Work.

PIP waiting times continue to grow
The waiting list for PIP assessments is continuing to grow, according to statistics released by the DWP, in spite of claims by ministers that the problem would be fixed by the Autumn.

Up to the end of July this year 529,000 claims for PIP had been lodged and 206,000 had been cleared, suggesting that there was still a backlog of 323,000 claims. At current clearance rates this means an average wait of around 35 weeks.

More than half of new PIP claims fail, almost one third of DLA to PIP transfers fail

The latest statistics released by the DWP show that only 45% of PIP claims succeed where the claimant is not terminally ill. For disability living allowance (DLA) to PIP transfers, the success rate stands at 69%.

The new figures provided by the DWP show that awards for terminally ill claimants, whose death can reasonably be expected within six months, stand at around 96%.

Benefits and Work.
Steve Donnison | PO Box 4352 | Warminster, Wilts BA12 2AF, United Kingdom

In Israel, Lancet editor regrets publishing open letter on Gaza

LATEST:  Lancet Editor retracts retraction!

Lancet editor regrets rift from letter charging massacre in Gaza, doesn't retract

In Israel, Lancet editor regrets publishing open letter on Gaza

Dr. Richard Horton, editor of the British medical journal, made a statement Thursday during Grand Rounds at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa saying that he will publish a retraction.

By JTA | Oct. 2, 2014

JTA - The editor of the British medical journal The Lancet, which ran an open letter accusing Israel of a “massacre” in Gaza, said on a visit to Israel that he will publish a retraction.

Dr. Richard Horton made a statement Thursday during Grand Rounds at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, which he also visited earlier in the week.

Horton reportedly said during his statement that he “deeply, deeply regrets” publishing the letter to the people of Gaza in The Lancet during this summer’s conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas. Several dozen physicians from the West signed the letter, which also accused Israel of “cruel” and “vicious war crimes.” Physicians, researchers and Israeli officials decried the letter.
NGO Monitor last week unearthed evidence tying two of the letters’ authors to support for white supremacist David Duke.

During his statement at Rambam on Thursday, Horton reportedly condemned the contributors to The Lancet who promote explicitly anti-Semitic materials, expressed a new understanding of Israeli realities including the complexities of the Arab-Israel conflict, and pledged a new relationship with Israel.

He also invited Israelis to “tell the Israeli health story” in The Lancet, in parallel to the Palestinians’.
Following Horton’s remarks, NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institute which monitors non-governmental organizations, said in a statement that it is “urgent that the July 2014 “An Open Letter for the People of Gaza” be removed from The Lancet’s website and a formal retraction and apology be published prominently, both on the website and the next hard copy issue.”

NGO Monitor also called on The Lancet to “undertake positive initiatives to accurately inform the medical community of Israel’s contributions to medicine, as well as the close cooperation that takes place between different sectors of the population.”
(Thaer Ganaim / Maan Images)

Tzipi Livni: Israel shares same “values” as “moderate” Saudi Arabia

Submitted by Ali Abunimah on Wed, 10/01/2014 - 16:21 Tzipi Livni, seen with PA leader Mahmoud Abbas in 2007, still considers the PA to be Israel’s ally today. (Monika Flueckiger/Flickr)

Livni and Abbas

War Crimes fugitive and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni says that her country shares the same values with such “moderate” Arab regimes as Saudi Arabia, other autocratic Gulf states and the Egyptian dictatorship that massacred more than one thousand protestors in cold blood just over a year ago.
She also called Palestinian Authority de facto leader Mahmoud Abbas’ speech to the UN Generally Assembly – in which he accused Israel of “genocide” in Gaza – “horrific.”

Nonetheless she insisted that Abbas’ PA regime remained an Israeli ally.

Livni made her comments in an interview with Robert Siegel, host of NPR’s All Things Considered, in which she discussed Israel’s role in the US-assembled coalition of Arab autocracies to fight the “Islamic State” group that has taken over large swaths of Iraq and Syria.
Livni & another Saudi Dictator
Good guys, bad guys
Siegel summarized Israel’s position in these terms: “Here’s Israel’s situation in the region it seems. You’re worried about the very movements and the very countries that worry the Egyptians, the Saudis, the Jordanians, the United Arab Emirates, the Turks, to a great extent – without a Palestinian agreement, though, they can’t deal with you as a public ally and partner in the region. Are regional concerns strong enough to lead the Israelis to say we’ve got to – we have to get a deal with the Palestinians to be above-board players in the Middle East?”

Livni endorsed Siegel’s assessment, adding: “The world is divided between the good guys and the bad guys,” Livni said. “And we, Israel – of course, the United States – the legitimate Palestinian government, Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf States, we are part of the camp of so-called moderates or diplomatics against these terrorists.”

Livni said she looked forward to the day Israel could be a “public part of this coalition against the evil that we are facing in the region.” [the most important part of her speech and one which has been overlooked - TG]

Presumably the “evil” Livni was referring to includes the horrifying recent beheadings of Western journalists by the “Islamic State” group.

But it apparently does not include the “surge” in beheadings by Israel’s “moderate” Saudi regime allies for such alleged offenses as drug smuggling and “sorcery.”
Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud in Bahrain - his regime specialises in beheadings.  However Livni is right person to lead negotiations. REUTERS
According to Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia executed at least 19 people since 4 August this year by public beheading.

This is the same Saudi regime whose media fuels sectarianism and which along with other Arab Gulf Israeli allies has channeled or allowed huge flows of funding to the jihadist groups that Israel claims to oppose.

Nor does the “evil” Livni cites apparently include Israel’s own record of beheading Palestinian children, albeit using missiles and bombs rather than blades, in the context of its summertime massacre in Gaza which killed more than 2,100 people.

And it definitely doesn’t include the Egyptian military dictatorship’s massacre of at least 817 unarmed demonstrators in Cairo’s Rabia al-Adawiya square on 14 August 2013.

That premeditated atrocity, among other mass killings around the same time, was “one of the world’s largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history,” according to Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.

Shared values

That Israel shares “values” with such US-backed regimes should not surprise anyone. Israel, the US and their Arab client regimes have always been allied against the people of the region, against the Palestinians and against self-determination.

One area where the Saudi regime and Israel share a clear common cause is stoking regional sectarianism between members of the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam.

By pitting potential adversaries of Israel against each other, Israel is engaging in the classic colonial tactic of “divide and rule.”

This is why in his speech to the UN this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nominally condemned “Islamic State” – also known as ISIS or ISIL – but cautioned against “defeating ISIS” only to leave Iran strengthened.

Israel’s goal appears to be perpetual regional sectarian war, not anything recognizable as peace.
We should at least be grateful to Livni for clearing up the delusions some may still harbor that Israel is anything other than a fierce foe of democracy and a staunch ally of the most brutal and unsavory regimes.

Palestinians torn over contact with Israelis

Amira Hass of Ha'aretz Told to Leave Bir Zeit University Campus

My own view is that this is an own goal.  It is understandable, given the Palestinians experience of Israelis they come into contact with, but it  is self-defeating.   Any boycott, especially the Cultural Boycott, must be intelligently applied.  It’s not intended to boycott Israelis per se but Zionist institutions and Israelis who are overtly racist.  It is not a boycott of one’s friends, of whom Amira Hass is certainly one.

The same Israel issues came up with the Boycott of South Africa and were resolved in favour of the latter position.  Otherwise a Boycott becomes a fixed and rigid application of a principle without any thought of what was intending to achieve.  You don’t boycott your friends but the enemy.  It means an intelligent application of the Boycott. 

For the same reasons one doesn’t boycott academics simply because they are Israelis, given that most anti-Zionist Israelis are the most fervent campaigners around the Palestinian cause.  It is also a gift to the Zionists who can easily point out that what is being proposed is a form of discrimination on the grounds of national origins and in effect racial discrimination. 

In just the same way as it would be madness to boycott Israeli anti-Zionists and supporters of the Palestinians, who are isolated from most Israelis as it is.  It can only make it more difficult for Israelis to break from Zionism.

I'm pleased to say that Bir Zeit University has woken up to the damage that has been done to the Palestinian cause by allowing th 2014 it issued the following statement:

 it to be painted with the charge of racism.  On September 30
Bir Zeit University in Ramallah - Palestine's national university
In response to the controversy over the incident involving journalist Amira Hass, Birzeit University wishes to clarify its principled position of welcoming supporters of the Palestinian struggle and opponents of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, regardless of nationality, religion, ethnicity, or creed. Hence, Hass, who has consistently condemned the Israeli occupation, evinced support for Palestinian rights, and helped expose the discriminatory policies of occupation and its flagrant violations of these rights, is always welcome on our campus and at university events.
Gaza 2014 - This is all most Palestinian students know of Israeli Jews
The university regrets the lamentable incident involving the apparent exclusion of Hass from a Center for Development Studies Conference, and will work with students and faculty to create better understanding of, and ensure adherence to, university policies, which oppose discrimination based on identity.

Bir Zeit University
The university community takes pride in observing the academic boycott of Israel. However, this boycott applies to institutions, not individuals, let alone individuals who have distinguished themselves by being on the side of justice and humanity, as has journalist Hass.
Tony Greenstein

12 October 2014
University’s exclusion of journalist Amira Hass raises questionsabout boycott policy
Middle East Eye – 12 October 2014

A Palestinian university’s decision to bar from its campus an Israeli journalist and outspoken critic of the occupation has exposed a growing rift among Palestinian activists about the merits of contact with Jewish Israelis.
Amira Hass of Ha'aretz
Staff at Bir Zeit University, near Ramallah in the West Bank, ordered Amira Hass, a reporter for the Israeli daily Haaretz newspaper, to leave a public conference late last month. She was told it was for her own “safety” in case students protested against her presence.
Ahmad Tibi MK Condemns the Exclusion of Amira Hass
Hass, who has lived among Palestinians in the occupied territories for many years, is a rare critical voice against the occupation in the Israeli media. Her articles translated in Haaretz’s English edition are widely read outside Israel.
Bir Zeit’s decision has provoked a heated debate among Palestinian intellectuals, students and activists about how far refusal to cooperate with Israelis should extend.
Amira Hass - A Campaigning Journalist
Observers say hostility towards Israeli Jews of all political stripes has become more pronounced among some Palestinian youth over the past few years. The trend is especially strong in Ramallah, where many Bir Zeit students live.

However, a petition circulated on social media against Hass’ exclusion quickly attracted signatures from hundreds of Palestinian scholars, who noted that she was a “courageous human rights defender”. In a column in Al-Ayyam newspaper, Ghassan Zaqtan, a prominent poet, called Hass’ treatment “shameful”.

Meanwhile, Israeli political activists have been left wondering whether, if the next generation of Palestinians rejects all joint endeavours, they have a place either in the struggle against the occupation or in a solution to the conflict.

South Africa or Algeria?

“The question is whether Palestinians want a South African model of an inclusive solution that offers a shared future for Palestinians and Israelis, or an Algerian model of exclusion,” said Jeff Halper, the head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, an Israeli group that campaigns against the demolition of Palestinian homes in the occupied territories.

Referring to the expulsion of French colonists from Algeria in the early 1960s, he said: “Increasingly, it sounds like the Palestinian view is that this is another Algeria. If Israelis are simply colonial settlers, then we have no right to remain here.”

In a report for her newspaper, Hass wrote that other notable Israeli dissidents, such as Ilan Pappe, an historian who characterises the dispossession of Palestinians in 1948 as ethnic cleansing, had in the past been forced to hold talks off campus.

She said university staff had told her they were enforcing a regulation from the mid-1990s intended to create a “safe space” for students.

For decades, the Israeli army has targeted Bir Zeit, the most prestigious place of learning in the West Bank and a hotbed of political activism, harassing and arresting students and staff.

According to the Israeli media, more than 1,000 Palestinian students have been arrested by Israel since 2000, with most of them from Bir Zeit. That number includes three former heads of the student council. In 2009 alone, 83 students from the university were arrested or jailed.

Matthew Kalman, a reporter specialising in education issues, wrote in Haaretz: “Just about every Palestinian university in the West Bank has stories of nighttime IDF [Israel Defense Forces] raids, campus teargas attacks and random arrests and intimidation.”

Arrests and torture

Omar Barghouti, a prominent activist in the boycott movement in Ramallah, said he opposed exclusion of individuals but understood why there was increasing opposition to cooperation with Israelis from some young activists.

“Most students’ only experience of ‘meeting’ Israelis is being arrested by soldiers and tortured by the Shin Bet [Israel’s intelligence service]. Without a doubt, it colours their view.”

The row about Hass prompted the university to hastily issue a statement in which it seemed to reverse policy. Staff and students would be told that the university opposed all “discrimination based on identity”. The statement added that Israelis “on the side of justice and humanity”, such as Hass, would always be welcomed on campus.

But many students appeared unhappy with the administration’s more conciliatory tone.
Shortly after the statement was issued, Bir Zeit’s student council demanded it be withdrawn. “We say that any Israeli Zionist is not welcome in Bir Zeit University,” Mustafa Mustafa, the student council’s leader, told the Associated Press news agency. “If Amira really supports the Palestinian struggle against the occupation, she needs to leave the country.”

The controversy was pounced on by commentators in Israel and abroad. In Commentary, a conservative US magazine, Evelyn Gordon asked: “How is peace possible when Birzeit [sic] is educating these future Palestinian leaders to believe all Israeli Jews should be shunned simply because they are Israeli Jews?”

No peace camp

Ghassan Khatib, a senior official at the university, told Middle East Eye that things had changed significantly since his time studying at Bir Zeit in the 1970s.

“At that time we would make huge efforts to find Israelis to meet or debate us. There were Israeli Jews who came to show solidarity when we were attacked by the occupation forces, including during the first intifada [in the late 1980s].”

The situation for today’s generation is very different, he said. “The [Israeli] peace camp has collapsed, and there is no visible debate in Israeli society about ending the occupation or even criticism of what happened in Gaza this summer. In that climate, young people cannot see a reason for any interaction and dialogue with Israelis.”

The debate about dealings with Israelis should be understood in the context of a wider policy across the Arab world opposing what is termed “normalisation”. According to this view, there should be no normal relations with Israel until the occupation ends.

Bir Zeit’s policy was formulated in the mid-1990s, at the time when the Palestinian leadership returned to the occupied territories from exile in Tunisia under the terms of the Oslo accords.
But while the Arab world has rarely needed to test the intricacies of its anti-normalisation approach, given its lack of public contacts with Israel, Palestinians in the occupied territories have found the policy more complicated to implement.

With the Palestinian economy almost completely dependent on Israel, casual labourers need permits to work in Israel or the settlements, business leaders require Israel’s assistance with exports and imports, and the Palestinian Authority has to cooperate closely with Israel on many matters, including security.

At the same time, Khatib observed, Israel’s policy of separation – culminating in the building of a wall across the West Bank and the “disengagement” from Gaza a decade ago – severely limited the possibility of contacts between Israelis and Palestinians. That was especially true, he said, in the Palestinian cities, which were designated by Israeli military regulations as off-limits to Israelis.

Barred from Ramallah

Sam Bahour, a businessman and political activist in Ramallah, said: “What makes no sense to me is that young people are vehemently protesting against any contact with Israeli Jews, even those who are on their side, and yet publicly they barely say a word against Palestinian security cooperation with Israel.”

He contrasted their position with that held in Palestinian rural areas close to the Green Line, which formally demarcates the boundary between Israel and the occupied territories. “There every week Israeli activists are coming to help Palestinian villagers struggle against the Israeli army’s confiscation of their lands.

“The irony is that farmers are fostering cooperation while Palestinian intellectuals and academics are opposed.”

Bahour cited his own bitter experiences two years ago when he tried to bring to Ramallah an Israeli group, Zochrot, that supports the right of return to Israel of Palestinian refugees expelled in the 1948 war, as well as their descendants. The right of return is possibly the biggest taboo in Israeli society.
The meeting, which was to have discussed strategies for effecting a return of the refugees, had to be cancelled after young Palestinian activists mounted a Facebook campaign threatening to disrupt the meeting.

In one post, an opponent called the meeting an “act of immoral normalisation”. Another protested at the Palestinians’ continuing dispossession by Israel: “When they drop their ‘Israeli citizenship’, I can look [at] them as partners, but since they [are] still living in my grandfather’s house in Akka, Yaffa, Safad, they [are] occupiers.”

“Such reactions show no understanding of the need to create political alliances and to break down barriers if we want to make progress on finding a solution to the conflict,” said Bahour.

“Israelis are no longer seen as an address. The view in the PA is that we can leapfrog over Israel to talk to Washington, while the activists behave as though we can leapfrog over Israelis to get help from solidarity groups in Europe.”

Big picture forgotten

Bahour blamed the lack of effective political leadership for encouraging sloganeering rather than organised and coherent action from Palestinian activists.

“The PA is talking about getting statehood at the UN but there is no debate about how we envision relations with Israelis post-occupation.”

Halper concurred. “It’s like Palestinians have given up on the occupation ever ending. No one talks about where Israelis fit in, no one is sure of the policy. That’s why Amira Hass gets caught up in this incident at Bir Zeit.”

Sami Kilani, a professor at An-Najah university in Nablus who signed the petition in support of Hass, said that, in expelling her, Bir Zeit had “forgotten the bigger picture”.

“It’s a self-defeating approach,” he told Middle East Eye. “An-Najah invites Israelis to come to meetings and conferences so that we can hear and learn from each other. But given Israel’s military restrictions, they usually either can’t or won’t come.”

Bahour and Kilani are among those hoping that Hass’ exclusion will force a more critical re-appraisal of popular notions of anti-normalisation.

Bahour said Bir Zeit’s policy was inconsistent with the more precise guidelines introduced since 2005 by the Palestinian movement calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, modelled on a similar campaign against apartheid South Africa.

Precarious situation

Barghouti, one of the founders of the BDS movement, said the guidelines for boycott did not apply to individuals, only to institutions and projects that failed to follow the principle of what he called “co-resistance”.

BDS’ three official goals are: an end to the occupation, a right of return for Palestinian refugees, and equal rights for Palestinian citizens in Israel.

Barghouti added that the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) had never requested that Palestinian universities endorse BDS, aware of their precarious situation under occupation.

Some commentators, however, have suggested that the action against Hass was in accordance with BDS.

They have observed that Hass was expelled from the meeting after she had registered herself as a representative of the Haaretz newspaper, an institution that would be covered by the call for boycott.
Hass noted in her report that she had been on the campus many times before without incident. But she also pointed out that she had been personally barred from attending an Arabic course at the university in 1998.