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Western democracies, it's on you to end the carnage in Syria

Only once Western democracies have committed their resources to ending the atrocities in Syria can they turn inward to rid their societies of the hate and bigotry that plagues them.

By Ilan Manor

Words matter. Words help us understand the world we inhabit and shape our response to events far and near. Some refer to the events unfolding in Syria with the words “civil war.” These words, carefully selected by policymakers and politicians aim to prevent us from crying out against the atrocities in Aleppo and Homs.

Civil wars are internal matters. So why should the UK or the U.S. or France intervene in an internal matter? Civil wars are also, by nature, violent and bloody. They see brother pitted against brother, father pitted against son and national leaders pitted against their own people. So what are we to expect but more bloodshed and more anguish? Lastly, civil wars can culminate in the re-birth of nations, as was the case in England and America. So why should we act to end civil wars when they are but transitional moments in a greater plot?

Carnage. Slaughter. These are words that more amply describe that which is occurring in Syria. A madman is throwing barrels of fire from the sky. A fanatical movement in enslaving women and beheading young men and an army devoid of reason is starving its own population by bombing aid conveys making their way to besieged cities.

And the enlightened world watches in apathy and boredom. Its leaders stand on the world stage and proclaim their commitment to end the carnage and slaughter. Yet only from the sky and only from high altitudes.

The problem with high altitudes is that from such heights all men seem like ants and all misery remains hidden.

By allowing this onslaught to continue for more than four years, Western democracies such as the UK, France and the U.S. have reached the final stop in what has been decade long journey — a journey that has seen these nations abandon their moral compass. Life, liberty, and equality are now but slogans carved in stone atop national assemblies or written on the back of bank notes.

It should not be surprising that these are the very countries that have witnessed the emergence of isolationism, populism, xenophobia and Trumpism, for nations that abandon their morals abroad will soon find these moral contested at home. The road to Brexit...

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Trump courts Adelson, flip-flops on Israel-Palestine

The candidate who claimed he was immune to influence from large donors has done a complete 180 on Israel-Palestine since securing the support of pro-Israel mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.

By Eli Clifton

Donald Trump has been accused of misogyny, racism, and Islamophobia as well as shifting his positions on key issues such as the Iraq War and abortion. But despite his slide to the right, he has stuck doggedly to many positions since announcing his candidacy. He still claims Mexico will pay for a wall on the U.S. border. He even continues to remind voters that he called Rosie O’Donnell “a fat pig,” even when simultaneously pushing back against Hillary Clinton’s accusation that he’s sexist and misogynistic.

But on a key issue, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Trump has made a 180-degree shift in his position. And, for a candidate who proudly boasts about self-funding and not being in the pocket of billionaires and special interests, his shift has coincided with a $25 million infusion of Super PAC funds from casino billionaire, and pro-Israel mega donor, Sheldon Adelson.

Over the course of the election cycle, Adelson and Trump haven’t always seen eye-to-eye. In fact, they got off to a rocky start.

In October of last year, Trump used Adelson’s name to accuse his primary opponent, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), of being a puppet of big donors. Trump tweeted:

In December, he spoke before the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), a group backed by GOP megadonors Paul Singer and Adelson, and embraced a series of crude and historically troubling characterizations of Jews. Trump quipped that the audience was full of people who enjoy renegotiating deals and then seemed to turn on the group, saying that while he’s “the best thing that could ever happen to Israel” the RJC won’t support him because he didn’t “want your money.”

In February, Trump also split with Adelson, who is a firm ally of right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, by saying that he would be “neutral” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Parting ways with the rest of the GOP primary field, Trump said, “I think it serves no purposes generally to say there’s a good guy and...

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I love Miri Regev

I have never met Miri Regev, but it feels like I have known her my entire life. I grew up, like her, in a place where we were constantly reminded that some people are worth less than others.

By Alon Mizrahi

I don’t know Culture Minister Miri Regev. I have never met her. But I have been surrounded by women and girls like her my entire life. And I think I know exactly what she thinks and how she feels.

Like myself, millions of others don’t know Miri Regev in the slightest, and yet just the mere mention of her name brings up strong feelings, for better or for worse. And this is because Miri Regev fits perfectly into the Israeli category that is not political by nature: if this is a script — and it is a script, lest you have any doubts — Miri Regev is the Moroccan girl from the periphery to whom rich, condescending, Ashkenazim do not take kindly. The girl who, as she stands before the show-offs of Tel Aviv, is told: go back to where you come from.

And among Ashkenazim and in Tel Aviv this girl and her gang will always walk around with a tense nervousness camouflaged as overconfidence or outright grumbling: but in their hearts they feel that they are not good enough, and they are only waiting for someone, anyone, to confirm those feelings — to show them the door. They will curse him, they may even threaten him with violence — because in their hearts they will feel cursed themselves. Or worse: that there is something “right” in the hostility toward them. That they truly are dirty and unworthy.

People identify with Miri Regev because there are many women and men in Israel who grew up with that exact feeling. Miri is their powerful symbol, the same way singer Ninet was a symbol for Israeli girls from the periphery in the beginning of the 2000s. Girls born to families without much money or education, who grew up in housing projects. Those girls and their families viewed Ninet’s success as their own.

Much bad blood has spread through Israeli culture and politics since the beginning of that decade. Forces of hatred and division from all sides of the spectrum gained power. The Mizrahi story, which previously was championed by the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow — which the establishment always viewed as the radical left — was adopted with glee by...

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The camera that made Elor Azaria 'man of the year'

If B’Tselem volunteer Imad Abu Shamsiyeh hadn’t been in Hebron with his camera ready that March morning, we would have long forgotten about just another ‘neutralized terrorist,’ and none of us would have ever heard the name Elor Azaria.

By Yael Marom

If an Israeli soldier shoots a Palestinian in the head in Hebron, and there’s no camera to film the act, does he still become “man of the year?”

The Israeli media this week ran its usual year-end features ahead of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. Two Israeli media outlets, Channel 10 and Sheldon Adelson-owned Makor Rishon, selected as one of their people of the year Elor Azaria, the Israeli soldier who shot and killed a disarmed and disabled Palestinian attacker in Hebron.

In a Channel 10 television item, Azaria was presented as a pawn caught in between politicians and the security establishment. The item featured emotional interview with his father from a few months after the deadly shooting.

The cover of the holiday edition of Makor Rishon‘s weekly magazine featured Azaria’s image, with a sub-headline noting that he “sparked the stormiest argument in Israeli society this year.”

But actually, the person responsible for turning the “Azaria incident” into the story of the year is the man who filmed it: B’Tselem volunteer Imad Abu Shamsiyeh. Without Abu Shamsiyeh’s camera having been pointed in the right direction at the right time, the story would have ended exactly as it was reported by Channel 10 and so many other news outlets that March morning: “Soldier lightly wounded in Hebron stabbing, the terrorists were killed.”

Azaria was not the first — nor will he be the last — Israeli soldier during the violence of this past year to shoot a Palestinian attacker who no longer posed a threat. But he was the only one to find himself caught on film so blatantly, and not by CCTV cameras controlled by the Israeli army or police, who only release those videos that serve their interests.

In Makor Rishon, the people-of-the-year cover story argued that: “due to Azaria’s aim, the IDF and Israeli society as a whole were reconcile good and evil, standing with our troops vs purity of arms, morality and Judaism.”

But the aim that actually changed the course of events, which made the shooting exceptional and put it into the national spotlight, was the viewfinder on Abu Shamsiyeh’s camera that just happened to be in the right place at the right time that day. Without...

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Denying Palestinian laborers access to justice

A new Israeli labor regulation continues a trend of increasingly suspending rule of law for Palestinians in the West Bank, in this case leading to further segregation in access the courts.

By Sawsan Zaher

In the Israeli economy, dirty, difficult, and dangerous jobs often are left to some 170,000 foreign workers, among them 55,000 Palestinian workers from the West Bank. Numerous NGO reports and media exposes have documented the abuses faced by these workers. Yet the most vulnerable and exploited segment of Israel’s labor force now faces yet another barrier to justice: in August, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked issued a new regulation requiring most foreign workers to deposit a financial guarantee as a condition to proceed with lawsuits against their employers in the country’s labor courts. As a result, whatever rights these workers should enjoy by law will likely be too expensive to actually enforce.

Shaked and her Jewish Home party have made plain the political agenda behind the rule: to thwart an imagined “lawsuit intifada” of legal claims by Palestinians working in the Jordan Valley settlements against their Israeli employers. Adalah, the Workers’ Hotline, and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel jointly filed a petition to Israel’s Supreme Court challenging this regulation, which blatantly discriminates on the basis of national origin. Under this regulation, Israeli and foreign workers would be subjected to different standards for pursuing their rights, even when performing the same tasks for the same employers side-by-side.

Moreover, Shaked adopted the regulation in a breathtakingly arbitrary fashion, without any public consultation or debate. It comes as little surprise then that the regulation also violates the separation of powers. Israeli law permits the government to set some procedural rules for the country’s labor courts but the Jordan Valley regulation so dramatically tilts the scales of justice in favor of employers that it changes the substantive rights involved. Moreover, the regulation disregards numerous court precedents stressing that the requirement of a financial guarantee should only be used in exceptional circumstances when judges determine that plaintiffs would refuse to pay legal fees if they lose or are engaging in frivolous lawsuits. This regulation usurps the legislature’s role and unreasonably eliminates judicial discretion only in order to obstruct access to court for foreign workers, especially Palestinians.

The new labor regulation is part of a disturbing trend in recent years to increasingly suspend the rule of law with regard to Palestinians in the West Bank, leading to increased segregation in access the courts for the enforcement of their rights.


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A Palestinian perspective on the legacy of Shimon Peres

The distrust with which Palestinians treat the Israeli peace camp frequently appears as something of a surprise, and even affront, to international observers. But the difference between Israeli left and right is all too frequently one of degree, rather than kind.

By Nadia Naser-Najjab

Even those with only a passing familiarity with Israel or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will undoubtedly have some awareness of Shimon Peres. Peres was an elder of Israeli politics, whose own history has been inextricably interwoven with that of Israel. Older readers will (perhaps wistfully, perhaps not) recall something of Peres’s style of politics, which was almost the diametric opposite of the incumbent Israeli prime minister. Where Benjamin Netanyahu offers division, Peres offered reconciliation; where Netanyahu offers abrasiveness, Peres offered compromise; where Netanyahu offers war, Peres offered “peace.”

In this final respect, Peres could perhaps be said to be far more than a politician. After all, the cause of peace bestows a much more elevated status upon its adherents. Peres’s ostensible promotion to the cause of peace suggested that he had transcended beyond the grubby everyday immediacies which preoccupied lesser political contemporaries. The peace project, which has become inextricably interwoven with Peres’s own political career, provided him with a clear sense of purpose and a not inconsiderable level of international acclaim.

This acclaim largely reflected the fact that Peres couched his words and actions within an acceptable framework of reference which did not stray beyond the boundaries of political permissibility. Peres appealed as much to an international audience as to his domestic constituency. A considerable part of this appeal derived from the perception that Peres was a committed and determined practitioner of peace.

In common with other self-adulating “doves,” he became fluent in the vernacular of peace – his political persona became inextricably tied up with imperatives of “compromise,” “reconciliation,” and “co-existence.” Whereas these words would elicit responses of horror or terror from the likes of Netanyahu and Avigdor Liberman, Peres instead endeavored – with no little skill – to align them with Israeli state interests.

The “success” which Peres and his fellow doves enjoyed in this regard goes some way towards explaining the Palestinian reluctance to engage with projects or initiatives predicated upon “compromise” or “co-existence.” The belief that the conditions and consequences of the occupation can be overcome through a range of semantic devices and illusionary hopes has since been exposed as the cruel fiction that...

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Did AIPAC make a profit off its fight against the Iran deal?

AIPAC may have lost the battle against Obama’s Iranian nuclear agreement, but the conservative lobbying group appears to have come out on top nonetheless — to the tune of $30 million.

By Eli Clifton

Last year, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) led the charge against the Obama administration’s efforts to reach a diplomatic resolution to concerns about Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. Indeed, in many ways, AIPAC became the face of the opposition to Obama’s signature second-term foreign policy initiative. AIPAC committed to spending $20-40 million in television commercials opposing the deal and threw its considerable lobbying weight against the agreement. In a dangerous gambit, it broke with longstanding tradition and participated in what looked increasingly like partisan opposition to the White House’s diplomacy.

As a result, AIPAC suffered a debilitating loss, severely undermining its ability to influence Democratic members of Congress. But AIPAC may have won in another, less publicized, manner: fundraising. Last year, the country’s biggest pro-Israel group set a record for fundraising. AIPAC’s charitable arm, the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), which typically attracts the biggest donations and offers donors a tax deduction, raised over $80 million, nearly $27 million more than the previous tax year, according to financial disclosures reviewed by LobeLog.

The AIEF’s 2015 tax year ended on September 30, 2015, 20 days after the anti-deal campaign effectively failed when Senate Democrats filibustered a resolution opposing the nuclear agreement. Even though the group spent the year fundraising for the campaign to oppose the White House’s nuclear diplomacy, the AIEF spent only $705,718 more in 2015 than in the past year. The AIEF ended that tax year with a budget surplus of $31.5 million, $26.5 million more than the previous year’s surplus. The group padded their savings in the bank by an additional $30 million.

In other words, from all outward appearances, AIPAC’s fundraising arm effectively pocketed the boost in fundraising revenue enjoyed during the heated battle over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

That doesn’t mean that additional funds weren’t raised and deployed in the public relations battle that took place in 2015. The AIPAC spin-off group Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran (CFNI), led by Joe Lieberman, raised “nearly $30 million,” according to the Jewish Telegraph Agency’s Ron Kampeas. In a review of FCC filings at the end of September 2015, LobeLog identified at...

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Why Africa won't embrace Netanyahu

No matter how many technological advancements or solutions to terrorism he offers, Netanyahu won’t be able to convince African states to love Israel before the occupation comes to an end.

By Ilan Baruch

Spokespersons for the Israeli government have recently decided to define Israel’s diplomatic ties with Africa as a strategic goal. During his visit to the continent in July, the Prime Minister’s Office told the media that it hopes the African Union, based in Addis Ababa, will renew Israel’s status as observer. Ethiopia’s prime minister even went so far as to say that “Israel is working hard in many countries in Africa. There is no reason to deny it the status of observer.”

That status was revoked in 2002, when the Organisation of African Unity became the African Union. The president of the union in those days, Muammar Qaddafi, pressured the organization to remove Israel, in solidarity with the Palestinian people at the height of the Second Intifada.

Only four African states — Liberia, Ethiopia, Egypt, and South Africa — were part of the United Nations when it adopted the Partition Plan for Palestine for the establishment of two independent states, Jewish and Arab, in November 1947 (at the time the UN was made up of 56 states alone). Today there are 194 states in the United Nations, including 56 African countries, of which 15 have no diplomatic ties with Israel. Following the announcement of the renewal of ties between Israel and Guinea, Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dore Gold said that ” The number of countries on the African continent that still haven’t re-established ties with Israel is steadily decreasing, and we’re hopeful that soon this number will not exist anymore.”

On the sidelines of last week’s UN General Assembly, Netanyahu held a closed meeting with 15 heads of state and top officials from various African states. According to a readout released by the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu told the group that “Israel could be an amazing partner for their countries. He said that technology changes everything, including in communications, medicine, agriculture and education,” noting that Israel wants to share its technology with African countries.

For years Israel has been frustrated with the gap between its friendly, bilateral relations with African countries and their tendency to vote in favor of anti-Israel resolutions at the UN. Netanyahu opened up his speech at the General Assembly...

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WATCH: 'They want to get rid of the idea of nonviolent resistance'

The Israeli army really wants to see Palestinian nonviolent activist Issa Amro in prison. We ask Issa why he’s facing 18 charges now, and what ‘winning’ would mean for him.

Video by A. Daniel Roth, Aaron Rotenberg

Nonviolent Palestinian organizer Issa Amro has been practicing and teaching nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience in the occupied city of Hebron since 2003, in part through the local activist group he helped establish and operates, Youth Against Settlements. Recently, the Israeli army announced that it plans to prosecute him for 18 separate charges going all the way back to 2010.

Almost all of the charges are related to his political activity and nonviolent action. Under Israeli military law, there is no legal avenue for Palestinians to protest or demonstrate politically. Amro’s activism, much of which is the basis for his current charges, has been reported by +972 here, here, here and here.

+972 sat down to speak with Amro earlier this month. In the three-part video interview below, Amro talks about the charges against him and why he thinks Israel wants to suppress his and others’ nonviolent resistance to the occupation, particularly in Hebron. “Winning,”he explains, would be if the entire Palestinian people adopted nonviolence and civil disobedience as their method of ending the occupation. Amro also discusses the Cinema Hebron project he is working on with Jewish partners from activist groups All That’s Left and the Center for Jewish Nonviolence.

Amro was scheduled to have his first court date for the long list of charges on Sunday, but the hearing was delayed at the last minute. Considered a human rights defender by many in the international community, his latest persecution by Israeli military authorities has spurred several activist campaigns and garnered international media attention. Earlier this year, Amnesty International said it believed Amro and another activist from Hebron had been arrested “solely for their peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.”

Issa Amro on the charges against him, and why he believes they are politically motivated:

Issa Amro on what “winning” means in his political struggle:

Issa Amro on the ‘Cinema Hebron’ project and how his and the lives of other Palestinian residents of Hebron are affected by Israeli settlers living in the middle of their city:

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Israel’s showdown with the UN over immunity for Gazan engineer

By Marian Houk and John Brown*

It didn’t take more than a few hours before the United Nations found out Israeli intelligence agents had arrested one of its Palestinian engineers as he was returning to the Gaza Strip through the Erez military checkpoint.

The very next morning, on July 4, a senior UNDP official in Jerusalem fired off a “Note Verbale” to Israel’s minister of foreign affairs, Benjamin Netanyahu, that expressed anxiety. “At around 1730 hours while at Erez, Mr. [Waheed] al-Bursh was taken by two security officers, and since then we know nothing about him.”

The UN official, Roberto Valent, asked that Israel provide the grounds for and circumstances of Bursh’s arrest, what charges he might face, and when he might be brought to court. In addition, he asked for access to Bursh “in his place of detention as soon as possible,” and for “assistance in arranging legal representation and the presence of UNDP at any court hearings.”

These requests are part of long-standing procedure codified in a UN 1981 Administrative Instruction and approved in a 1982 UN General Assembly resolution, during the Cold War, when the UN had special concerns for its staff members who were, usually for political reasons, sometimes made to disappear during their “home leave” and secretly jailed, in certain countries.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry was slow to reply (government regulations require written answers in 20 working days). Only when the Shin Bet was ready did the Foreign Ministry launch a high-profile campaign, on August 8. The next day Bursh had his first court hearing, which was held behind closed doors and without the presence of a UN official. In their announcement, Israeli authorities said they “arrested” Bursh on July 16, which means he was held almost two weeks longer — in isolation under interrogation — than Israel has so far publicly acknowledged.

As part of the public campaign it launched surrounding the UN engineer’s arrest, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted a Shin Bet statement saying that “Borsh confessed that he did indeed carry out activities that aided Hamas.” The statement also said that “During the Waheed Borsh investigation, it was discovered that he had been instructed by a senior member of the Hamas terrorist organization to redirect his work for UNDP to serve Hamas’ military interests.” In addition, this statement says that “according to Borsh, other Palestinians who work for aid organizations are also working for Hamas,”...

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Three Palestinian prisoners reach deal to end hunger strikes

Israel is holding the three men in prison without charge or trial. One of them was in immediate danger of death as a result of nearly 70 days on hunger strike.

By Noam Rotem

Three Palestinian men being held by Israel in administrative detention announced the end of their hunger strikes on Wednesday. The announcements followed negotiations with Israeli authorities, as a result of which their administrative detention orders will not be renewed or extended. One of the three, Malik al-Qadi, is expected to be released from custody on Thursday, and the brothers Mahmoud and Muhammad Balboul will be released on December 8.

Israel uses administrative detention orders to imprison Palestinians without charge or trial. Because they are often not even told of what they are accused, it is impossible to defend themselves or successfully challenge the detention order. As of July 31, the latest period for which data was available, Israel was holding 643 Palestinians from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip in administrative detention, not including Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Al-Qadi and the Balboul brothers started their hunger strikes more than two months ago. Malik al-Qadi, a communications student at Al-Quds University, stopped eating 68 days ago to protest his administrative detention order. Since then, he went on an “Irish hunger strike,” in which he drank water without any minerals, salts or supplements.

The Balboul brothers, who have been on hunger strike for close to 80 days, also began with an “Irish hunger strike,” but after some 50 days began taking vitamins and minerals in an attempt to prevent irreversible damage to their bodies.

A group of Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations sent a letter to European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Monday asking her to intervene in helping to release al-Qadi, saying that “he might have only a few days to live.” The organizations also asked for her help in releasing the Balboul brothers.

“Victory parades” are planned in various locations throughout the West Bank to mark the administrative detainees’ “victories,” although at least two will remain in Israeli detention through the duration of their detention orders.

Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul were arrested in a raid by Israeli soldiers on their home in June, and were put in administrative detention after Shin Bet agents were able to “break” their 14-year-old sister, who also spent three months in jail. Their father was killed by...

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Finding Sisyphus in the South Hebron Hills

‘I have the distinct feeling that the next time we come back, none of what we are building will be here.’

By Sarah Stern

I run my hands over small jagged stones, turning over rubble and finding bits of fuzz, broken marble, plastics cups…remains of day-to-day life. I realize there’s something a bit Sisyphean to what we’re doing. I scoop up a pile of rocks and dump it into a bucket, pouring these into the inside of a makeshift wall alongside other Ashkenazi Jews, bright red, oppressed here only by the sun.

We are working with Palestinians from a rural community in the South Hebron Hills. Their structures are technically illegal, so the Israeli army recently demolished them. This happens often. But today, there’s almost 50 of us visitors, and we’re rebuilding. We all eye the yellow gate just meters away that opens to a fully intact illegal Israeli settlement — on the grid, despite our remote location. The doors remain closed on this Shabbat day while we work.

As I’m sifting, I find a stack of right-wing Likud party campaign postcards, most likely from the nearby settlement, but who knows. I once met a serious right-wing supporter who lives in the town of Umm al-Hiran, another Palestinian village slated for demolition, except inside Israel proper. Today we are in Umm el-Kheir, being watched in the West Bank by the face of this politician, wedged on these postcards beneath our work.

Here is where I’m reminded of the Greek Sisyphus, a deviant man whose divine punishment is to forever push a boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down again. Like Sisyphus, there’s no respite for the residents of Umm el-Kheir. When they rebuild their homes with metal siding donated by the EU, they know the Israeli government will destroy them. The point of this policy is to make the life of the damned unbearably frustrating.

And then what?

With the campaign postcard in my back-pocket as memorabilia, I watch as Jews and foreigners led by Palestinian hosts, hoist the larger rocks. They stand in line passing the boulders from one hand to the next. This way, no one has to carry the weight alone.

Over where I’m working, a friend whispers to me, “I have the distinct feeling that the next time we come back, none...

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What Israeli leftists can learn from the radical right

Right-wing activists keep suing Israeli police — and winning — for false arrests and other abuses of power. Maybe it’s time the state start paying for its abuses against left-wing activists and Palestinians.

By Yael Marom

Israeli police and prison officials were ordered to pay NIS 30,000 ($8,000) to radical right-wing activist Benzi Gopstein and two of his cohorts from anti-miscegenation hate group Lehava this week. The court-ordered compensation was for an illegal search conducted after they were arrested on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in October 2013. The three filed a civil suit against the state for false arrest, and reached an out-of-court settlement with the state.

This was not the first time radical right-wing activists have hit the State of Israel where it hurts the most — the wallet. Actually, they have turned it into a pretty effective modus operandi. If you have ever wondered why Israeli police let right-wing activists like Baruch Marzel, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Benzi Gopstein and others, get away with so much — here lies at least part of the explanation.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, a radical right-wing activist and seasoned lawyer, manages to sue the State of Israel at almost every opportunity. In 2011, for example, he won NIS 18,000 (just under $5,000) compensation kicked him during the evacuation of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip. Three years earlier, in 2008, another court ordered the state to pay him and two other radical right-wing activists NIS 4,500 ($1,200) each for an unjustified detention and interrogation after they celebrated the death of PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat in 2004.

In January 2013, Ben-Gvir, Marzel, Noam Federman and three other radical right-wing activists won a NIS 62,500 settlement over a false arrest in 2008. Police officers arrested and held the six overnight while they were on their way to the East Jerusalem village of Jabel Mukaber to allegedly try and disperse a gathering at a mourner’s tent for the murderous attack at the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva in 2008.

Even Likud MK Yehuda Glick successfully sued the state in 2015 for not allowing him to access the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif over the course of several years. The court ordered the state to pay him half a million shekels ($130,000) and another NIS 150,000 ($40,000) in legal costs. Two months earlier, Glick was awarded NIS 7,500 ($2,000) in a civil suit for false arrest. The cash settlements and awards...

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