Analysis News

Israel's other war: Silencing Palestinian citizens

Despite all my years of coexistence camps with Jewish Israelis, I’m starting to lose sight of peace. How can there be peace when Israel does nothing to stop the violent attacks against its Palestinian citizens?

By Shadan Jabareen

I had just finished my second year at Tel Aviv University and wanted to remain in the city for the summer to work, so I applied for a job at a bookshop in Ben Gurion Airport in late June; they needed employees. The operations coordinator was impressed with my fluency in Arabic, Hebrew and English, so we scheduled an interview. After explaining the requirements of the job, she told me: “First, we have to do a security check. You’re an Arab Muslim, so your check will probably take longer than usual.” This came as no surprise to me; after all, I have 21 years of experience living in Israel. A week later the Israeli offensive on Gaza erupted and I received an email from the coordinator telling me, “Sorry we have too many employees. We are not going to hire you for the moment; we will contact you in two weeks when there is a position available.” I never heard from her again.

I am a U.S.-born Palestinian Muslim living in Israel, my great-grandparents lived in the Palestinian village of Al-Lajjun that was depopulated in May 1948 by the Israeli army. They fled the village and settled in Umm El-Fahm, a town that became a symbol of political resistance for Palestinians living in Israel. I grew up in a Jewish town with my family before moving to Umm El-Fahem. I was two years old when my parents applied to live in the Jewish town of Katzir; they thought we would have more opportunities there and a calmer environment away from the noise of Umm El-Fahm’s ghettos. Their application was rejected; the committee had decided that no Arabs would live in their town.

Policemen detain a young, right-wing protester during Tuesday night's clashes in Jerusalem. (photo: Activestills)

Policemen detain a young, right-wing protester during clashes in Jerusalem that erupted following the discovery of the bodies of three teenaged settlers near Halhul, West Jerusalem, July 1, 2014. The riots broke out during the funerals of Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, who were kidnapped and killed in the West Bank....

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Israel kills three top Hamas commanders in Gaza

At least 34 Palestinians were killed Thursday when the Israeli air force bombed Gaza for a second day after a temporary ceasefire broke down and negotiators failed to reach a ceasefire agreement.

While the fate of Hamas military chief Mohammed Deif remains unknown after Israel attempted to assassinate him, and consequently killed his wife and two young children, the Israeli military confirmed that it had killed three top Hamas commanders, Raed Attar, Mohammed Abu Shamaleh and Mohammed Barhoum, in Rafah. Attar and Abu Shamaleh are thought to both have been involved in the 2006 Gilad Shalit kidnapping. Israel’s Shin Bet also believes that the Rafah division, which Attar headed, was responsible for abducting Lt. Hadar Goldin, who was killed during Israel’s ground offensive in Gaza.

Meanwhile, heavy rocket fire from Gaza into Israel’s south continued throughout the day, with a mortar attack causing damage to a protected structure, and an earlier attack moderately to seriously injuring a 33-year-old Israeli man, both in the Eshkol region. The Iron Dome also intercepted a rocket over the Modi’in area Thursday evening.

Meanwhile, the Israeli cabinet approved the call-up of an additional 10,000 reserve soldiers. (photo: Activestills)

Meanwhile, the Israeli cabinet approved the call-up of an additional 10,000 reserve soldiers. (photo: Activestills)

Four Palestinians in Gaza City were killed in an Israeli airstrike that targeted a cemetery in the Sheikh al-Radwan district. Ma’an reported that the victims were burying relatives who had been killed overnight by Israeli airstrikes. Since the resumption of fighting the Palestinian death toll has climbed to 2,049, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

On the diplomatic front more details have come to light on the joint German-French-British effort to broker a UN Security Council resolution to end the fighting between Hamas and Israel. Key points in a document circulated among diplomats and obtained by Haaretz include Palestinian Authority control of Gaza, a ban of unauthorized weapons sales, reconstruction of Gaza under international supervision and restarting peace talks based on the 1967 borders.

In internal Hamas politics, Ma’an reported that the group had executed three alleged collaborators with Israel and arrested seven others, a Hamas-affiliated website said Thursday.

The Israeli cabinet approved the call-up of an additional 10,000 reserve soldiers.

Related:
Palestinian teen: I was used as a human shield in Gaza
Not even a ‘bump on the wing’...

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Palestinians continue to create life from death

Gaza’s injuries have provoked every Palestinian and created in us the desire for all Palestinians to live in unity in our lands occupied since 1948. 

By Badia Dweik

I was unable to recognize him from the photos I saw on social media sites. Neither could I recognize him from the hospital photos that showed him dead. I went to his funeral after Friday prayers, where thousands had gathered. Suddenly I saw a poster and on it the martyr’s name, Nader Mohamed Idriss. I was surprised, since I had seen him only a few days before in the exact place where he was killed.

Nader had been fatherless since the age of 12. He was an activist whom I got to know one year after the 1987 First Intifada, and he continued to be committed to the struggle until his last days. Nader was poor and peaceful during his life; he was employed in the shoe industry, which became unprofitable after Chinese goods began flooding the Palestinian markets.

Funeral procession of Nader Mohamed Idriss (photo: Imad Abu Shamseh)

Funeral procession of Nader Mohamed Idriss (photo: Imad Abu Shamseh)

Nader helped to transport and package donated goods for the people of Gaza from Hebron. His last photos were taken as he was volunteering. Some of the people who accompanied him said he had brought a bag of flour that he intended to use to bake goods for Gazans, since he lacked the money for a donation.

Nader was assassinated in cold blood by an Israeli army sniper who shot him in the heart; some activists in the Human Rights Defenders’ group filmed Israeli snipers using silencers on their weapons. Nader is gone and he has left his wife and seven children to face the dangers of life alone. He left us, saying: “Yes I’ve gone, but Palestine has not.”

Creating life from death

The concept of the afterlife appears in the creative work of Palestinian artist and activist Bushra Shanan. She has turned photos of death and destruction into living photos. Bushra, a founding member of Human Rights Defenders, felt psychologically affected by the extent of devastation and crimes committed in Gaza. She therefore decided to reflect this through graphic paintings like the one in which children killed in Israeli attacks are flying to heaven. In another she has painted Gaza...

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COMIC: Wiesel, weaponized

By Eli Valley

Nobel Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Eli Wiesel published a new ad campaign in major newspapers across the U.S., in which he claims that the war between Gaza and Israel is a battle between “those who celebrate life and those who champion death,” and refers to “child sacrifice” and “worshippers of death cults.”

Eli.Valley.Wiesel.Weaponized

Eli Valley is a writer and artist whose work has been published in The Nation, The Daily Beast, The Forward, Gawker, Saveur, Haaretz and elsewhere. He is currently finishing his first novel. Eli’s website is www.EVComics.com and he tweets at @elivalley.

Previous work by Eli Valley on +972 Magazine:
Gaza exit interview
Consensus in the conference
Dershowitz preps for Goldstone II
Google Glass for the Gaza gaze







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A letter to the Israeli government from a retired terrorist

Ruth Reznik was only 14 when she joined a Zionist militia and took up arms against the British in Palestine. Now, she says, is the time to understand why Gazans are taking up arms against Israel.

By Ruth Reznik (translated by Sinewave)

I was drafted to the Irgun, a pre-state, right-wing Zionist militia, in the summer break after eighth grade, after I voiced my intention to enlist with either the Irgun or with the Lehi. As it happened, the representatives of the Irgun were the first to meet me. I wasn’t even 14 at the time, but the strong desire to join the underground resistance grew ever since the hanging of Eliahu Hakim and Eliahu Beit-Zuri, two Lehi men who were executed by the British in Cairo for the murder of the Baron Moyne (responsible for the 1941 Struma disaster, which claimed the lives of over 900 Jewish refugees in 1941). Hakim and Beit-Zuri were sent to the gallows on March 22, 1945.

At the time, my resolve to join the resistance against the British grew as more and more members of the resistance were handed death sentences, and as the gates to the country were closing in the face of waves of Jewish refugees from Europe. I decided it was time to become part of the fight against the British occupier.

Irgun fighters training in 1947. (photo: Archive of Jabotinsky Institute in Israel/CC BY 2.5)

Irgun fighters training in 1947. (photo: Archive of Jabotinsky Institute in Israel/CC BY 2.5)

Even though I was only a teenager, the danger did not deter me. I sat through nights full of resistance theory; entire evenings were spent getting familiar with how to use light firearms like Stens and Brens. We also learned how to identify gun calibers in the dark as well as different kinds of grenades and explosives. During vacations, we underwent live fire training and ground exercises. The lessons took place in a kindergarten located in Tel Aviv’s Florentine neighborhood, and in 1947, Arab gunmen were already sniping at nearby Hertzl street from Jaffa’s Hassan Bek Mosque. I took part in the funerals of fallen Irgun members who died in the conquering of the Menashiya neighbourhood in Jaffa. And in May 1948, the State of Israel declared its independence and the Irgun was disbanded. At age 15-and-a-half I was already...

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Gaza dispatch: Why the people support Hamas

More than seven years of Israeli siege, a punishment for voting Hamas into power, have led Palestinians to rally around the party. After all, every time they look to Mahmoud Abbas for salvation, they are sorely disappointed.

By Abeer Ayyoub

GAZA CITY – With Operation Protective Edge becoming longer and more violent, questions over the attitude of the 1.8 million residents of Gaza toward Hamas are coming to the fore. Although both the international and Israeli media are concerned about Gazans, they are noticeably more critical of Hamas than they are of Israel. That concern is understood, but needs to be made clearer.

What ought to be clear for everyone following the events from a distance is that Palestinians have enough awareness to differentiate between Hamas as a government and Hamas as a resistance faction. It is true that Gazans have multiple attitudes toward the Hamas government. However, resistance is something Palestinians agree on almost unanimously. More importantly, people know that resistance is not only coming from Hamas.

A Hamas supporter in Gaza City, March 23, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

A Hamas supporter in Gaza City, March 23, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

One of the main accusations leveled at Hamas, especially from Israeli journalists and analysts, is that it uses building materials for constructing tunnels, rather than letting people use them for housing or supporting our civilian infrastructure. It is true that Gaza is an impoverished enclave that requires huge efforts and funds to develop. However, that does not lessen the importance of security. Like any other country in the world, Gaza has the right to self defense. It is well-known that Israel spends a lot of money on enhancing its military infrastructure, while neglecting poor neighborhoods and slums across the country. America, which has the most powerful military in the world, has more than 600,000 homeless people.

Another accusation, and one no less important, is that Hamas uses its citizens as human shields. But can Hamas really do so when the Israeli army intentionally targets civilian compounds? If the fact that civilians are near a military location doesn’t stop Israel from firing rockets towards them, what is the point of Hamas “hiding behind civilians?” Besides, Gaza is a very densely populated area, meaning that any military action will always take place close to civilians.

Hamas...

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The West Bank may be on the verge of exploding

Armed men roam the streets, enlisting people to the Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade, Fatah officials call for the end to security coordination with Israel and Mahmoud Abbas is seen as the enemy of the people. Is the explosion closer than we think?

By Gershon Baskin

I have just returned from a work visit to Ramallah. I am very concerned and disturbed by what I heard from friends and colleagues there. The calm appearance of the city hides the sizzling bubbling under the surface. The West Bank is on the verge of explosion.

As an illustration of what I’ve heard from people I spoke with, on the way home I listened to some Palestinian popular radio stations. All of the songs were full of praise for Hamas and al-Qassam Brigades – “let’s hit Tel Aviv with our rockets” and much worse . It was horrible to hear the drums of war and battle calls on the radio.

Mourners carry the body of killed Palestinian Mohammed al-Araj, 17, during his funeral at the Qalandiya refugee camp near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on July 25, 2014. Al-Araj was shot with live ammunition in the head the night before during clashes with Israeli army following a mass demonstration against the attack on Gaza. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Mourners carry the body of killed Palestinian Mohammed al-Araj, 17, during his funeral at the Qalandiya refugee camp near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on July 25, 2014. Al-Araj was shot with live ammunition in the head the night before during clashes with Israeli army following a mass demonstration against the attack on Gaza. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

I was told that scenes that haven’t appeared for years since the intifada are now all over Ramallah, Bethlehem and throughout the West Bank – street gangs of masked men with weapons calling for young people to join the Al Aqsa Brigades and other battalions – “revenge for the death of our brothers and sisters in Gaza, we are all Gaza, we are all-Qassam Brigades.”

There is no more talk of peace and two states. The discussions on the street and in the cafes are all about the end of the ceasefire and the renewal of war in Gaza. They say the Jews’ war is not against Hamas, it is against all Palestinians, and the...

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Palestinian unity is no substitute for a viable political system

Where do the U.S. and Israel want Hamas: as part of a transparent political system, or in underground tunnels?

By Sam Bahour

Palestinian “unity,” reconciling tensions between Hamas and Fatah, is being revered as the foundation that can extract Gaza from the misery wrought upon it by yet another brutal Israeli military onslaught. The devastation from what Israel called “Operation Protective Edge” is overwhelming: nearly 2,000 Palestinians dead, over 10,000 wounded and paralyzed, and a third of the 1.8 million people in Gaza homeless. Added to this human tragedy is the rabid destruction of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure. Palestinian political “unity” requires an operating political system, which is something that Israel dismantled long ago with official Palestinian acquiescence. Anyone seriously wanting to see Palestinians survive this latest Israeli attack should support the reemergence of a fully operating Palestinian political system, rather than just the replacement of a pair of failed political monopolies with a reconciled but leaderless political duopoly.

File photo of Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Photo: PPO/Thaer Ghanaim - Handout)

File photo of Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Photo: PPO/Thaer Ghanaim – Handout)

If this newly founded Palestinian “unity” was cemented in a strategic political agreement and emerged from a unified political system that was representative in nature, one may have hope. But it was not. It is a unity of Fatah and Hamas, two non-representative political entities, one more militant today than the other, but both equally squeezed into a political corner that not only challenges their strategies to end the nearly five decades of Israeli military occupation, but also casts doubt on their political legitimacy.

On June 3, 2014—more than a week before three Israeli teenagers from the Gush Etzion settlement in the West Bank were reported kidnapped and murdered—I made the following comments on the Middle East Eye website and on my Facebook wall regarding the unity agreement reached in Cairo on April 23, 2014:

Palestinians have finally created what has been coined as a “unity government” after nearly eight years of paralysing division between the two largest political parties, Fatah and Hamas. This step is extremely overdue, but should be welcomed nevertheless for what it is: a baby step in the right direction, finally...

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'Ending the siege is not a Hamas demand - it is a Palestinian one'

How is this Gaza war different from all the others? Former New York Times correspondent to Gaza, Taghreed El-Khodary, speaks about her time covering the siege of the Strip, and why the international media is slowly coming around to the Palestinian story.

By Moriel Rothman-Zecher

“I don’t mind being interviewed. Let’s plan the timing,” wrote Taghreed El-Khodary, formerly the Gaza correspondent for the New York Times and currently an editor at fanack.com, ’’I just need to make sure my sister and her family managed to escape their building in Rimal area in Gaza City.”

I had reached out to Taghreed via email, hoping to get her perspective not only on the current horrifying attack on the Gaza Strip, but her thoughts on how today’s situation compared to the 2008-2009 Israeli assault. The media outlets I had been following (Hebrew, Arabic and English alike) were drawing comparisons only in terms of data: how many had been killed now versus in Cast Lead, the number of injured, how many homes destroyed. I was hoping Taghreed could offer me a broader context than that which I was reading.

Taghreed El Khodary

Taghreed El Khodary.

The first thing I asked Taghreed when she signed onto Skype from a café in Amsterdam, where she has lived since resigning her post at the New York Times in Gaza in 2009, was how her sister was doing.

You know, it’s so hard to talk about, to tell you the truth, because I am far away. I was Skyping with them until yesterday, but now, because of the Internet – because Israel bombed the electricity – it will be hard for many people to charge their computers or phones. Today is the first day that my Facebook has not been filled with prayers and calls for help from Gaza: people can’t use their computers anymore. I fear that it will be hard to access people now, including my family. I am shocked. Yesterday, my sister and her entire family, including her parents-in-law, who suffer from cancer, moved to my mother’s place. Why did my sister move? Because they sent twelve bombs at her house! My sister and her family live in their own house, they don’t have any strangers in their building. Why did they bomb their house? They have nothing to do...

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South African Jewry erupts over Palestinian keffiyeh

After South African Jewish schoolboy Josh Broomberg donned a Palestinian keffiyeh in solidarity with Gazans at the opening of the World Debating Championships, the local Jewish community exploded in a torrent of vitriol against anyone who dared to deviate from the strict communal line of full support for Israel’s military operation in Gaza.

By Yoni Bass

When Josh Broomberg left for the World Debating Championships in Thailand last month, he left as one of the crowning products of South Africa’s Jewish community, which stands at a humble 60,000 people. He was the deputy head boy of King David Victory Park Jewish day school and he was off to represent his country. Perhaps it was his connection to Jewish history, which highlights the Jewish commitment to justice, or maybe it was being brought up as a child in post-apartheid South Africa, with its progressive constitution, that led Broomberg to publicly don a Palestinian keffiyeh for the opening ceremony of the debating championships in an act of solidarity with innocent Palestinians killed in Gaza in Israel’s Operation Protective Edge. Whatever it was, and despite his expressed public commitment to Zionism and Judaism, an anonymous petition was soon initiated to strip him of his title of deputy head student and his school honors. As the Jewish community raged, its leadership remained quiet.

A screenshot of a Facebook post in which Josh Broomberg is seen wearing a keffiyeh at the opening of the World Debating Championships in Thailand, August 6, 2014 (Facebook)

A screenshot of a Facebook post in which Josh Broomberg is seen wearing a keffiyeh at the opening of the World Debating Championships in Thailand, August 6, 2014 (Facebook)

This incident didn’t materialize out of nowhere; it was the current violence in Gaza that spurred it. Gaza has dominated the news in South Africa for the past month. Most South Africans, like many poor and working class people around the world, identify with the oppression and violence faced by Palestinians; they tend to view Israel through the prism of their experiences living under apartheid. Condemnation of Israeli military action in Gaza has been forthcoming from South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), and the largest trade union federation, Cosatu, with several pointed public statements issued. Simultaneously, the Palestinian solidarity movement has had a significant impact in getting...

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10,000 protest in Tel Aviv for a just peace, end to occupation

Under a coalition of Israeli left-wing political parties and organizations, thousands gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square in the largest anti-war demonstration since the outbreak of violence in Gaza.

(Moriel Rothman-Zecher and Haggai Matar contributed to this report)

Some 10,000 Israelis flooded Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square under the slogan “Changing direction: toward peace, away from war” in the largest anti-Gaza war demonstration in Israel since the outbreak of hostilities more than one month ago.

Thousands gather at a pro-peace rally in Tel Aviv, calling for a just peace and an end to violence in Gaza, Tel Aviv, August 16, 2014. (photo: Activestills)

Thousands gather at a pro-peace rally in Tel Aviv, calling for a just peace and an end to violence in Gaza, Tel Aviv, August 16, 2014. (photo: Activestills)

The protest was scheduled to take place last week, but was postponed after the police and Home Front Command revoked its permit, ostensibly to stop large gatherings during a time when missiles were being fired at Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities. Roughly 500 non-aligned activists flooded Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square anyway, in defiance of the ban.

The major left-wing parties, including Meretz and Hadash, as well as Peace Now and other left-wing organizations, joined tonight’s demonstration, calling for a wide range of demands, from continuing negotiations between Israel and Hamas to an end to the occupation and Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Many who have demonstrated throughout the past weeks of hostilities expressed disappointment at Meretz and Peace Now for their refusal to support anti-war demonstrations until now.

Meretz MK Zehava Gal’on addressed the protest, affirming that her party was against the Israeli military operation in Gaza all along. She lashed out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for not immediately recognizing the Palestinian unity deal and instead choosing war.

To large applause, Hadash MK Mohammad Barakeh stated in Hebrew and Arabic, “We are building a partnership against the occupation, for a free Palestine.” He continued, “We are here for a two-state solution, for life and a future for people in Gaza and the South.”

Famed Israeli author David Grossman addressed the large crowd, saying, “We won’t be able to breathe deeply in Israel as long as people in Gaza feel choked,” adding, “We will always be neighbors with people in Gaza. We must live together.”

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Who will care about Israel's south when the rockets stop flying?

Ever since the beginning of the war, jobs have evaporated in Be’er Sheva. Those who could afford to have left the city. And the worst part? The moment the rockets stop, the journalists and commentators will pack up their things and leave. Then what?

By Daniel Beller

I can’t stand seeing cynical politicians, those with easy access to a microphone or camera, speaking about the “strong home front” in Israel’s south. People have been living from siren to siren for more than a month, and earlier this week someone on the radio called for an end to the Home Front Command warnings, arguing that they ruin the smooth sequence between programs. In Be’er Sheva, people know that the minute the television crews leave the city, no one will care whether rockets are being fired at us. As long as they don’t fall in Tel Aviv, everything is cool.

Since the beginning of the fighting, the city has had difficulty returning to its normal self. There is no work. Be’er Sheva is based on a service and trade economy. Instead of establishing a major source of employment, the local leaders decided to set up service centers, jobs that outside of Israel are outsourced to the Third World, as well as malls and shopping centers.

Israeli children make arts and crafts in a bomb shelter in southern Israel, July 14, 2014.

Israeli children make arts and crafts in a bomb shelter in southern Israel, July 14, 2014.

When there is no money, the Be’er Sheva food chain collapses. Okay, not completely: there are those who have a permanent income, regardless of what happens outside. Others make do with what they can. The population continues to rise. The workers are transparent, cynically exploited, lack rights and must meet all their obligations all the time. The handyman, the private tutor, the graphic designer working from home, the teaching assistant, the gardener, the cleaner. Because of the situation, many of them now lack work.

Apart from some exceptions, cultural life in Be’er Sheva has all but come to a halt. That means that artists, mentors, actors, stage workers and tens of professionals are sitting at home. The city pinned its hopes on the summer as its festival season. Low-wage workers can barely take a week of military operations. This time, Israel...

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When 'not in my name' is all you have in the face of a massacre

A name is more human, more familiar and more expansive than any label can ever be. It is something that everyone in the world has in common. It is therefore in that name that I refuse to step in line behind a massacre masquerading as an existential and moral crusade.

By Natasha Roth

“Dyke, go live in Gaza.”

This directive was sent to me yesterday afternoon through Facebook, from a complete stranger. A little while later another message arrived, with an attached picture of the body of a murdered child, still lying on the floor of his bedroom – the crime scene – with blood all around. A mezuzah is fixed to the doorframe in the foreground of the photo. The picture was accompanied by the sender’s suggestion that I am in favor of the killing of Jews.

I assume the two messages were sent by the same person, as although they had different names, their profile pictures (of two men standing side by side, grinning) were exactly the same. I cannot say with absolute certainty what provoked these messages, as I immediately reported and blocked the sender(s). I am confident it is not connected to the articles I write, as I go by a different name on Facebook (for precisely the reason of trying to limit where and how much hate mail can come my way). Based on past experience, and the timing of the messages, I am fairly positive they arrived in response to my posting in public forums (regarding open positions at the company I work for) while having a profile picture that states ‘Not in My Name’ in English, Hebrew and Arabic. Given Israel’s recent assault on Gaza, it is fairly obvious to what this slogan relates.

A relative carries one of the children killed earlier in an attack in a playground in al-Shati refugee camp, Gaza City, July 28, 2014. Reports indicate that 10 people, mostly children, were killed and 40 injured during the attack which took place on the first day Eid (photo: Activestills)

A relative carries one of the children killed earlier in an attack in a playground in al-Shati refugee camp, Gaza City, July 28, 2014. Reports indicate that 10 people, mostly children, were killed and 40 injured during the attack which took place on the first day Eid (photo: Activestills)

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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