Forward, Nathan Jeffay: “Scant Response to Video of a Violent Israeli Prison Night Search”
Israel Channel 2 aired footage in early April that the government had tried to keep secret of a post-midnight raid by Prison Service guards on sleeping Palestinian inmates at Ketziot Prison. The raid sparked a violent clash in which one prisoner died.
Tel Aviv — In the video, there was screaming, cursing and shooting that left one prisoner dead. But when, in early April, Israelis were given a fly-on-the-wall view of one of the most violent nights in the history of their prison service, other media outlets met it with a collective shrug. Continue reading
Ha’aretz – The Israeli police’s official Facebook page faces criticism after allowing a stream of offensive and racist comments to be published on its page. The police say they regularly delete inappropriate comments, and have deleted over 1,500 responses during the past three weeks.
Here are some of the comments Haaretz found on the Facebook page: “We’re leading the Arabushes around by the nose;” “With God’s help let this be the first one killed today and not the last;” “They have to be sprayed like cockroaches;” “Every stinking SOB Muslim who dies is a holiday for me.”
These comments and many others were published by registered surfers, who are identified by their name and picture – and were not deleted by the police. A spokesperson for the police says that if they missed the offensive quotes, this was due to human error.
The official Israel Police page is considered a lively Facebook page, with more than 43,000 friends. The police use it for reporting various topics, from traffic jams to security incidents.
However, in many reports concerning security issues, the discussion on the page degenerates into curses, manifestations of racism, incitement to violence and more.
The violent rhetoric of the Israeli surfer may not come as a shock, but what does surprise is the police response: The force is in charge of enforcing the law and protecting the public, but many of the comments continue to adorn the page for a long time. Continue reading
Ma’an – A political adviser to the late president Yasser Arafat issued a statement Tuesday, alleging that US Mideast peace envoy George Mitchell resigned because of the “extreme bias” of his deputy Dennis Ross.
Bassam Abu Shareef said Ross obstructed all US initiatives aiming to achieve progress in the peace process, and blamed the deputy’s bias for Mitchell’s resignation Saturday.
Abu Shareef said senior American officials informed him that Mitchell viewed the appointment of Ross a step to obstruct the peace process. He added that Mitchell believed Ross was working against US interests.
The official paraphrased comments he said were made by Mitchell during a meeting, where he asked: “How can Dennis Ross assist in the peace process when he refuses to meet with the Palestinians, when he despises their leadership and hates their president?”
Abu Shareef also said Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “rejects peace,” and would have no part of a Palestinian state with Hamas in its leadership.
“This means they are opening war on Palestinians and their nation,” he added.
JTA: “Republican Jews express concern about Paul candidacy”– The Republican Jewish Coalition blasted U.S. Rep. Ron Paul before he announced his third bid for the presidency.
“As Americans who are committed to a strong and vigorous foreign policy, we are deeply concerned about the prospective presidential campaign of Congressman Ron Paul,” the RJC’s executive director, Matt Brooks, said in a May 12 statement about the Texas lawmaker. “While Rep. Paul plans to run as a Republican, his views and past record place him far outside of the Republican mainstream.”
Paul launched his campaign for the Republican nomination on Friday. Like his son, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Paul has advocated cutting $3 billion in annual defense assistance to Israel, as well as to deny funding to its Arab neighbors.
In 2008, Paul mounted an insurgent campaign for the Republican presidential nomination and built a passionate base of support with his libertarian views and denunciations of American foreign policy. He was not a serious contender, however, in the primaries.
Paul had run as the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate in 1988.
“His candidacy, as we’ve seen in his past presidential campaigns, will appeal to a very narrow constituency in the U.S. electorate,” Brooks said. [In reality, Paul draws from across the political spectrum.] “Throughout his public service, Paul has espoused a dangerous isolationist vision for the U.S. and our role in the world. He has been a virulent and harsh critic of Israel during his tenure in Congress.”
CounterPunch, Ramzy Baroud – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to the Hamas-Fatah deal in Cairo was both swift and predictable. “The Palestinian Authority must choose either peace with Israel or peace with Hamas. There is no possibility for peace with both,” he said, in a televised speech shortly after the Palestinian political rivals reached a reconciliation agreement under Egyptian sponsorship on April 27.
Despite numerous past attempts to undercut Mahmoud Abbas, stall peace talks, and derail Israel’s commitment to previous agreements, Netanyahu and his rightwing government are now arguing that Palestinians are solely responsible for the demise of the illusory ‘peace process’. Israeli bulldozers will continue to carve up the hapless West Bank to make room for more illegal settlements, but this time their excuse may not be ‘natural expansion’. The justification might instead be Israel has no partner. US and other media will merrily repeat the dreadful logic, and Palestinians will, as usual, be chastised.
But frankly, at this juncture of Middle East history, Israel is almost negligible. It no longer has a transformative influence in the region. When the Arab people began revolting, a new dimension to the Arab-Israeli conflict emerged. As the chants in Cairo’s Tahrir Square began to adopt a pan-Arab and pro-Palestinian language, it became obvious that Egypt would soon venture outside the political confines of Washington’s patronizing labels, which divide the Arabs into moderates (good) and radicals (bad). Continue reading
Al Jazeera, Joseph Massad – The Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, now entering their twentieth year had been hailed from the start as historic, having inaugurated a “peace process” that would resolve what is commonly referred to as the “Palestinian-Israeli conflict”.
For the Palestinians and the international community, represented by the United Nations and the myriad resolutions its Security Council and General Assembly issued since 1948, what was to be negotiated were the colonisation of land, the occupation of territory and population, and the laws that stipulate ethnic and religious discrimination in Israel, which, among other things, bar Palestinian refugees from returning to their land and confiscate their property. In their struggle against these Israeli practises, Palestinian leaders, whether in Israel, the Occupied Territories, or the diaspora, have always invoked these rights based on international law and UN resolutions, which Israel has consistently refused to implement or abide by since 1948. Thus for the Palestinians, armed by the UN and international law, the negotiations were precisely aimed to end colonisation, occupation, and discrimination.
On the other hand, one of the strongest and persistent arguments that the Zionist movement and Israel have deployed since 1948 in defence of the establishment of Israel and its subsequent policies is the invocation of the rights of Israel, which are not based on international law or UN resolutions. This is a crucial distinction to be made between the Palestinian and Israeli claims to possession of “rights.” While the Palestinians invoke rights that are internationally recognised, Israel invokes rights that are solely recognised at the national level by the Israeli state itself. For Zionism, this was a novel mode of argumentation as, in deploying it, Israel invokes not only juridical principles but also moral ones. Continue reading
Ha’aretz, Amira Hass – Back in February, Egyptian diplomats predicted that Egypt would help bring about an internal Palestinian rapprochement, but what good is reconciliation if Palestinians from Gaza still won’t be able to travel to the West Bank? Continue reading