Analysis News

Four years, one dead Palestinian and a closed investigation

What does an Israeli military investigation of the killing of a Palestinian look like? An utter waste of time.

By Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz

An Israeli soldier fires tear gas toward Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists during a demonstration in Hebron, March 1, 2013. (Photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

File photo of an Israeli soldier firing tear gas toward Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists during a demonstration in Hebron, March 1, 2013. (Photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

On Friday, January 16, 2009, stormy demonstrations took place throughout the West Bank, as Operation Cast Lead was in full force in Gaza. The Israeli media did not report the many civilian casualties caused by IDF fire in the Gaza Strip. The Arab media, however, reported on it extensively.

Yesh Din wrote about a failed investigation by the Military Police Criminal Investigations Division (MPCID) about a shooting that day in Bil’in here. That same day at a demonstration in Hebron, someone in an Israeli uniform – probably an IDF sharpshooter – fired one bullet at Musab Badwan Ashak Dan’a, 17, and killed him. We’ll never know who the shooter was. Whether the shooting was justified will remain unanswered; and the reason for that, as usual, is the the MPCID’s scandalously incompetent investigation.

In order to view the depth of the MPCID’s negligence, let’s look at the events in chronological order, as seen from the files of our attorney, Attorney Emily Schaeffer Omer-Man, with the brisk aid of Attorney Assnat Bartor.

March 3, 2009 – Yesh Din calls MPCID-Jerusalem in order to present them with a statement about the case; we are told to submit the statement (the equivalent of a police complaint) to MPCID-Be’er Sheva, which we do on the same day.

May 18, 2009 – The father of the deceased, Nasser Badwan Dan’a, gives a statement to Hebron DCO. He complains that the authorities needed a long time to reach him. He describes his son’s death as murder, and provided the investigator with the following items:

a) A medical report from the Ahali Hospital in Hebron describing the cause of death (one bullet to the head).

b) A death certificate.

c) Eight still photos of the deceased during the demonstration after he was shot, as well as in the hospital.

d)...

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How one soccer match tells the entire Palestinian story

On Friday morning, the Palestine national soccer team will face off against Jordan, a team with a majority of Palestinian players, in the Asian Cup. Whether they choose to or not, the 22 players on the field will tell the story of refugees, occupation, checkpoints and the connection between home and diaspora. Oh, and they’ll also play soccer. 

By Yonatan Mendel

Palestinian soccer star Ashraf Nuaman. (photo: Nasya Bahfen CC BY-ND 2.0)

Palestinian soccer star Ashraf Nuaman. (photo: Nasya Bahfen CC BY-ND 2.0)

May 30, 2014 will go down as one of the biggest days in the history of Palestinian soccer. It happened far away from home, in Malé, the capital of Maldives. Palestine made it to the final round of the AFC Challenge Cup – a tournament whose goal is to promote soccer among “developing” countries, especially ones who are beginning to invest in sports, and which includes Laos, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India. The winner of the cup automatically participates in the Asian Cup, the most important tournament in the continent, which takes place every four years. Palestine did especially well, beating Bangladesh, Burma, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal and Afghanistan on its way to the final.

Palestine faced the Philippines in the final. The first half ended without scoring; but in the 58th minute the Palestinians got a free kick, and two players were seen standing next to the ball. Ashraf Nuaman, a Bethlehem native who plays in the Saudi league, and Nablus’ Murad Ismail Said, who plays for the Hilal Al-Quds Club in Jerusalem. When we return from commercials, it feels like the Qatari commentator knows something we don’t. He repeats Ashraf’s name time after time after time. Finally, Ashraf lets fly a kick to the top left corner, leaving no chance for the goalie. Thirty minutes later, with the final blow, Nuaman and his friends celebrate the team’s most important victory to date.

WATCH: Ashraf Nuaman scores the game-winning goal against the Philippines

The connection between sports, national identity, politics, society and struggle has been studied countless times. But without going too deep into the subject, there is no doubt that the Palestinian team is one of the most prominent examples of the ability of a national soccer team to make significant gains that precede even the establishment of Palestine’s...

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Should a joint Arab list trump Jewish-Arab unity? Not so fast

The temptation of the Arab parties to unite in order to form a stronger political bloc is great. Everyone wants to give Liberman the election surprise of a lifetime. But what is the cost?

By Sinai Peter

May Day demonstration, May 1, 2013, Tel Aviv. (Photo by Shiraz Grinbaum/Activestills.org)

May Day demonstration, May 1, 2013, Tel Aviv. (Photo by Shiraz Grinbaum/Activestills.org)

Israel’s upcoming elections came out of nowhere. Despite the early warnings and the raising of the electoral threshold many months ago, no significant steps have been taken toward ensuring the parliamentary future of some parts of the Left and the Arab parties.

As a result, attempts to form a joint Arab list with Ra’am, Ta’al, Balad and Hadash only recently began, and any possibility of forming an alliance between Meretz and Hadash has been lost. This is how the Israeli Communist Party and Hadash woke up to the nightmare of an intense internal argument that threatens to rip apart the Arab factions as they approach the moment of decision.

This article is intended for Hadash supporters, as well as other activists in the Israeli radical left. New polls that once gave Hadash as an option now show only a “united list of Arab parties.” There is an understandable temptation to give Liberman and his ilk — who raised the election threshhold in hopes to limit Arab representation int he Knesset — the election surprise of a lifetime in the form of a united Arab party consisting of 15 seats. But I am here to talk about the price that entails.

+972 poll: Joint Arab list would raise voter participation

Firstly, neither I nor my political allies hold the key for the creation of a coalition that would represent the Arab public. If anything we have the key to the one and only asset that has been created over many difficult years of fighting the occupation, racism and discrimination: Jewish-Arab socialism. And this key is manifested most consistently by Hadash.

Hadash is the one party that challenges the tribal traditions from both sides of the separation line. Although it does not carry much electoral weight, the party is very stable — and until recently was slated to receive five seats in the upcoming elections — sometimes against all odds. Because it is attentive to the...

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Why Michael Oren's diplomatic plan doesn't hold water

The esteemed historian, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and CNN commentator is now back in Israel running for public office, and he has a plan. The problem is it doesn’t align with the facts.

By Shemuel Meir

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to then Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, Tel Aviv, April 9, 2013. (State Dept photo)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to then Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, Tel Aviv, April 9, 2013. (State Dept photo)

It turns out that “spin” isn’t exclusively in the Israel’s prime minister’s domain. Michael Oren, Israel’s former ambassador to Washington and current diplomatic poster boy for Moshe Kahlon’s “Kulanu” party, recently laid out the nascent party’s policies vis-a-vis the core issues of the Palestinian conflict, and how to put an end to the crisis between Israel and the U.S.

According to Oren the solution is quite simple: resuscitate the 2004 Bush-Sharon letter. For Oren this is a two-for-one deal: rehabilitating the strategic relationship with the United States, while also returning to the negotiating table with the Palestinians. Under closer examination, however, the ambassador’s positions sound more like “voices for peace” than the real thing.

So what exactly does Oren’s magical solution look like? According to him, “the Bush-Sharon letter established, once and for all, that Israel will not return to the ’67 borders.” Reading Oren alone, one might think that the Bush-Sharon letter gave the official go-ahead to annex the settlement blocs, “which would remain within Israeli borders in any final-status agreement.”

Oren makes it seem like the Americans gave a green light to annex the “necessary” settlement blocs (without further detail), most likely including the Jordan Valley. Doing so would leave the Palestinians with isolated enclaves (“municipal cantons”) within the West Bank. In order to strengthen his argument, Oren states that the letter was approved by both houses of Congress, and that as opposed to other presidential promises, the letter “has legal standing in the United States.”

But do all these diplomatic gems actually exist in George W. Bush’s April 14, 2004 letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon? We checked, and couldn’t find similarities to the presidential promises Oren claims to have found. Here are the actual details of the letter.

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StandWithUs to take cash, messaging from Israeli gov't

The American ‘hasbara’ organization will disseminate government messages in a contract with the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office.

By Itamar Bazz / ‘The 7th Eye

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, will fund a hasbara organization to disseminate propaganda on behalf of the Israeli government. The allocation of public funds, over NIS 1 million (over $250,000) in 2015, is intended to fund a joint project by the National Information Directorate and the Israeli branch of StandWithUs, an American hasbara organization.

Hasbara is a Hebrew term that refers to public diplomacy efforts on behalf of Israel.

The committee in the Prime Minister’s Office that issues tenders for government contracts met at the end of November to approve an allocation of NIS 860,000 a year to a joint project with StandWithUs, while the organization’s funders will contribute a matching amount. The cooperation between the two parties, which was approved by the committee, may be extended for another two years at the end of 2015. The PMO told the Seventh Eye media watchdog website that the initiative is meant to strengthen “Israeli hasbara on social media platforms.”

According to the agreement, StandWithUs will run “interactive media war rooms” manned by students who will be trained to disseminate Israeli hasbara on social media platforms. The project will be based a model that was tried during Operation Protective Edge and previous military operations, in which “hasbara war rooms” were established in academic institutions across Israel in order to disseminate IDF and government messages.

A graphic distributed online by StandWithUs during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.

A graphic distributed online by StandWithUs during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.

At the end of the operation, the volunteers were rewarded with a recorded thank you message from the prime minister, who is in charge of the National Information Directorate. The goal of the new initiative is to allow such activity to take place on a regular basis.

According to the governmental plan, the students who will be enlisted to take part in the program will be trained by Yair Edi Freiman, the head of interactive media and hasbara organizations in the National Information Directorate, alongside workers from StandWithUs. In addition to Israeli students, the project will also enlist students from the U.S. and Britain, who will be flown to Israel in order to take part...

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Israel's truthiness on Palestinian academic freedom

In denying that Israel limits academic freedom in Palestine, the Israeli embassy in Washington seems to forget about the Palestinian students and academics whose movement it restricts.

By Sari Bashi

The Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C. recently decried as baseless “the accusation that Israel arbitrarily limits the entry of foreign nationals who seek to lecture, teach and attend conferences at Palestinian universities.”

The embassy appears to be responding to protests and calls by American academics to boycott Israeli academic institutions, in response to restrictions on students and scholars accessing Palestinian universities. And yet in explaining Israeli travel policy, the embassy’s statement misleads, seemingly willfully.

There are numerous restrictions on access to Palestinian universities. Some are general restrictions on accessing Gaza and the West Bank that apply to everyone, including students and professors. Other restrictions specifically target Palestinian students, whom Israel has described as belonging to a “high risk profile” and Palestinian universities, which Israel describes as “greenhouses for growing terrorists.” While Israel has legitimate security concerns, in all cases the restrictions go way beyond what is necessary for security. Instead, they further political, demographic goals of consolidating power over the West Bank and separating it from the Gaza Strip.

The embassy compares restrictions on foreign nationals entering the West Bank to “common border control practice in countries worldwide.” True and not true.

Yes, it is common practice for countries to exercise discretion in determining which foreign nationals will enter its borders. But no, it is not common practice for countries to restrict the entry of foreign nationals into another territory, such as the West Bank and Gaza, which are not part of Israel.

Nearly half of Palestinian refugees live in the diaspora, including in Arab countries that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel. These “foreign nationals” – who are actually Palestinian – cannot ordinarily get Israeli permission to enter the West Bank or Gaza and therefore cannot access Palestinian universities.

Similarly, Arab lecturers and students are unlikely to obtain access to the West Bank and Gaza, because Israeli rules on entry to the Palestinian territory bar most people holding travel documents from Arab or Muslim countries and even some American or European citizens of Arab descent or those who have spoken out against Israel.

Entry to Gaza requires not just an Israeli visa but also special permission from the military, which is limited...

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On being murdered because some people can’t take a joke

If anything, satire in our society runs the risk of being too safe, of making its targets appear less dangerous than they really are. In cutting them down to size, satire sometimes humanizes as much as it disparages.

By Don Futterman

People holding Charlie Hebdo cover with Mohammed cartoon during a unity rally (Marche Republicaine), in which 50000 people paid tribute following the three-day killing spree in Paris, January 11, 2015. (Photo by Shutterstock.com/Hadrian)

People holding Charlie Hebdo cover with Mohammed cartoon during a unity rally (Marche Republicaine), in which 50000 people paid tribute following the three-day killing spree in Paris, January 11, 2015. (Photo by Shutterstock.com/Hadrian)

This week 17 French citizens were murdered because some people literally can’t take a joke. Artists were martyred for mocking Islam and Islamic extremists, police lost their lives because they were charged with protecting those artists’ right to free speech, and Jews were slain because they were Jews.

A joke, for or an instant, inverts the way we look at the world and defies our expectation. Satire is by definition subversive, making us aware of the inherent contradictions in any social system or in our own conflicted personalities. Humor is the individual’s ultimate weapon to resist social conformity, which is why tyrants and rigid ideologues always find it so threatening. It cannot be controlled.

All these people lost their lives because their murderers do not believe that human beings are capable of of holding two possibly contradictory ideas in their mind at once – which is the essence of all humor.

Read also: Paris victim Yoav Hattab died a Tunisian patriot

These killers are the vile vanguard of fanatics not spiritually sophisticated enough to understand that the sacred and the profane are inextricably intertwined, or that anything that is genuinely holy is resilient enough to survive derision, even of the most profane kind. They are not able to understand the West, where a person may laugh at his own belief system, recognize its inconsistencies and still embrace it.

The Kouachi brothers and their accomplices were simpleminded butchers who wanted the rest of us to become simpleminded lackeys. They could not tolerate the complexity of life, of the real world, of people who do not submit as they did to an unforgiving and inhuman credo.

Satire is...

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It's always 9:15 in the West Bank military court

As Palestinians wait for their day in military court, time stretches and blends like a cruel psychological experiment. People walk in circles to stay warm. The broken clock on the wall shows 9:15. The only ones who know what time it is are the soldiers.

By Alma Biblash

The Ofer military prison in the snow, December 15, 2013. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The Ofer military prison in the snow, December 15, 2013. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Sunday, Ofer Military Court, the West Bank: Around 30 Palestinian men and women wait an average of five hours for their hearings, or of their incarcerated loved ones. They are waiting inside a corral called the “family waiting area” — a metal cage, inside which there is a caravan with chairs and a small snack bar that’s not always open. The heating doesn’t really work, the air conditioners are encased in giant blocks of ice, remnants of snow litter the ground and everyone is wrapped in layers of clothing that stubbornly refuse to protect them from the cold. People walk in circles in order to warm themselves, maybe to stretch a little in the small space. Inside the snack bar there is a small toaster oven for heating up bourekas, which is emitting a little heat. A woman approaches it and the man behind the counter barks at her to either buy something or move away.

Now and then when we look toward the prison yard we can see a shackled prisoner being escorted by guards, at least one looks like a minor, all of them look exhausted, one of them is wearing flip-flops.

Read also: Hope ends here: The children’s court at Ofer Military Prison

Mobile phones are taken away at the entrance and nobody has a watch. Time stretches and blends like a cruel psychological experiment. The broken clock on the wall shows 9:15. The only ones who know what time it is are the soldiers and the staff. When you ask them, the answers range from, “do I look like an information center?” to, “it’s always 9:15 here at Ofer,” while pointing with a smile toward the broken clock. Anytime somebody comes in from the outside, everyone asks them what time it is: he left civilization only a few minutes ago, surely he’ll know. Also when somebody walks out...

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Provide asylum seekers with heaters, rights groups demand in court

Following media reports and the intervention of two members of Knesset, the Israel Prison Service provided African asylum seekers with heating pads, which one asylum seeker says are inadequate. As temperatures drop below zero, Tel Aviv residents protest conditions at the Holot detention facility.

By Yael Marom

Asylum seekers exit their rooms at Holot Sunday morning, January 11, 2015.

Asylum seekers exit their rooms at Holot Sunday morning, January 11, 2015.

Two Israeli refugee rights organizations petitioned the High Court of Justice on Sunday, demanding that the State provide bedroom heaters for asylum seekers imprisoned in the “Holot” detention facility.

“Despite the freezing cold the Israel Prison Service, which operates ‘Holot,’ is not providing or installing electric heaters, air conditioners or radiators in the [aslylum seekers’] rooms — and is not even letting [them] bring in and use their own electric heaters into their rooms,” the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) wrote in the petition.

The High Court ordered the State to respond to the petition by Monday afternoon.

Attorney Oded Feller of ACRI argued in the petition that the law requires that “the detention facility provide its detainees with adequate living conditions,” and that the lack of heaters in the current winter weather violates the law and is forbidden.

Feller requested an urgent hearing and an injunction saying that until adequate heating is provided, that asylum seekers not be required to be present at the facility at night. Additionally, he asked that they asylum seekers be permitted to use their own heaters.

This past weekend the temperature at Holot dropped to minus-two degrees Celsius (28 Fahrenheit). Asylum seekers housed there said that prison authorities refused to allow them to bring heaters into their rooms, claiming that they pose a fire hazard.

An asylum seeker lies under blanket inside a room at Holot, December 10, 2015. (Photo by an anonymous asylum seeker, courtesy of Mothers Against Holot)

An asylum seeker lies under blanket inside a room at Holot, December 10, 2015. (Photo by an anonymous asylum seeker, courtesy of Mothers Against Holot)

Following news reports about the heating situation and the intervention of two members of Knesset, MK Dov Khenin (Hadash) and Michael Rozin (Meretz), the Prison Service provided...

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License to Kill, part 1: Shot to death while in custody

The first part in a series of articles examining case files of Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers — the ensuing investigations, by other Israeli soldiers, indicate a lack of interest in discovering the truth or achieving justice. In part one, a Palestinian man is arrested for not carrying an ID card. A few hours later, while handcuffed inside a military base, he is shot to death. The investigation files reveal serious and troubling contradictions. The shooter’s commander admits numerous failures, and yet, nobody will stand trial.

By John Brown* and Noam Rotem (translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman)

[Editor's note: In the original Hebrew version of this article, we presented relevant documents from the military investigation files. Because they are in Hebrew, we have not published them here. To read the original with the case materials, click here.]

When you first hear the story of Yasser a-Tmeizi, the first thought that comes to mind is that this has to be fiction, that there must be something else behind the dry facts of this report, one in hundreds we read about Israeli soldiers shooting a Palestinian. Even if you delve into the details of the case — the details the Israeli media publishes, at least — the feeling does not change. Surely it is impossible that a handcuffed man is shot to death inside a military base, by a soldier, and nobody is indicted.

Only when we received the records from the investigation conducted by the Israeli Military Police in this matter, including detailed testimonies of all the soldiers involved, did we realize to what extent things are rotten in the kingdom of Judea.

The records of this case, which was also handled by B’Tselem and Yesh Din and reviewed by the Turkel Commission, reveal what lies beneath laconic media reports of “an attempted [terrorist] attack” that ended in the death of a detainee. The files arouse suspicion of collusion between those giving testimony, reconstructions being conducted with a go-through-the-motions approach, of police ignoring critical details and testimonies, as well as what seems to be a common interest among those in charge of the investigation and those being investigated: that it not result in any indictments. In other words, an investigation that is not conducted with the purpose of getting to the bottom of things, but rather to feign some sort of action vis-a-vis the outside world.

This report is...

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Palestinian 'lawfare': Toward brinksmanship or progress?

Palestine’s accession to the International Criminal Court is an official declaration of lawfare, a new battleground in the conflict with Israel; settlements will be the thorniest legal issue in the courtroom (if it ever gets there).

By Lolita Brayman

File photo of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)

File photo of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ signing of the Rome Statute is a game changer for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Following the disappointment of the UN Security Council’s (UNSC) vote on a resolution to end Israeli occupation – a two year plan to establish a sovereign Palestinian state and end the conflict – the Palestinians turned to other international bodies for diplomatic relief. Acceding to the International Criminal Court (ICC) may be more of a strategic, political move than a legal one, but the risky decision now shifts the decades-long conflict justly into a court room. Lawfare is a new battleground of negotiating dynamics in a changing, volatile Middle East region.

After formally delivering ICC accession papers to the United Nations, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the UN Riyad H. Mansour said that Palestinians were seeking justice through “peaceful and civilized legal options,” specifically for the victims of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza and policies regarding settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The legal battle that may ensue is a welcome transformation for some, who believe that the U.S. negotiations-only policy has reached a dead-end; for others it is a grave tragedy. With formal accession to the ICC, the court acquired broad jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide on Palestinian territory. The Palestinians also submitted an Article 12(3) declaration requesting retroactive jurisdiction starting on June 13, 2014, covering operations Brothers Keeper in the West Bank and Protective Edge in Gaza.

In three months, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will have the authority to request a full investigation into the situation in Palestine. But as a matter of ICC policy, she will more likely announce a preliminary examination. This process is likely to go on for months, maybe years, and does not guarantee a formal investigation. But either way, it will make headlines.

Settlements: Law or politics

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How Bibi is turning the defense budget into a settler slush fund

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya’alon will transfer NIS 70 million from the defense budget to compensate the Ulpana Hill lawbreakers. How will the common soldier interpret the command’s will?

By Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz at the Defense Ministry. (photo: Haim Zach / GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz at the Defense Ministry. (photo: Haim Zach / GPO)

Israel’s Channel 10 exposed earlier this week another layer in the unending saga of Ulpana Hill: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon agreed to transfer NIS 70 million from the security budget as part of the Ulpana Hill compensation deal. Meaning: the tax money that was to be spent on defending the citizens of Israel will, in fact, be transferred to settlers as compensation for implementing the High Court of Justice’s ruling.

Here we need a brief summary of the Ulpana Hill affair. Since the beginning of 1996, the Palestinian landowners of what eventually became Ulpana Hill were denied access to their land (you can read an interview with one of them here.) The residents believed the reason was related to military needs, but in fact the Company for Developing Beit El’s Yeshiva Complex began building five houses there in 2003. At one point the company quickly populated the then-empty houses. Yesh Din appealed to the High Court on behalf of the landowners in 2008 (the land, after all, is private Palestinian land), and after a long struggle the government removed the settlers, sealed the houses, promising to move them to a new location and gave up after spending millions on the project (Hebrew).

The government then promised Rabbi Zalman Melamed, the head of the Beit El Yeshiva, a massive compensation package. According to reports in the media (Hebrew), the package included funding for the enlargement of Beit El, including some 300 private apartments and several public buildings. We should note that at the moment, we have an appeal against the state pending before the High Court, demanding that then-CEO of Company for Developing Beit El’s Yeshiva Complex, Yoel Tzur, be indicted, along with the company itself. In his police interrogation, Tzur said that...

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War on Gaza: A promise Israeli politicians can keep

As they head into elections, Netanyahu, Livni, Herzog, Lapid and Yishai can agree on one thing: even after nine military operations in 14 years, the only solution to the conflict with Gaza is another war with Hamas.

By Yonatan Mendel

Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo: Activestills.org)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo: Activestills.org)

Election season is upon us, which means that the country’s best copywriters and campaigners are likely gathering with elected officials in meeting rooms in order to come up with a concise and clear message for the citizens of Israel – one that will inspire them to vote for those very same elected officials, and the brighter future they promise. Politicians and their PR experts know there are several formulas that work extremely well in these situations. Scare tactics are always good, since after all, this is a “tough neighborhood” and the difficult reality that surrounds us always work in the politicians’ favor. No less important is maintaining the same message that the public expects to hear, without inserting original statistics that will force the public to reprocess the statistics it has become accustomed to hearing.

In other words, if over the past 14 years and nine military operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip (Operation Rainbow, Operation Days of Penitence, Operation First Rain, Operation Lighting Strike, Operation Summer Rains, Operation Hot Winter, Operation Cast Lead, Operation Pillar of Defense, Operation Protective Edge) – operations that proved, one after another, that despite thousands killed and indescribable damage, there is no military solution to rocket fire – Israel’s leaders are now promising us a new dawn, and are preparing the ground for the next unnecessary war.

On the right is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who understands the unique qualities of fear. He recently reminded us by using the magical word: “Hamas.” A week ago, in a closed meeting with members of his Likud party, Netanyahu said that Labor’s Isaac “Buji” Herzog and Tzipi Livni are not able to manage the country, using his iron fist against Hamas as an example.

“If they are elected, who will take care of Hamas and the Islamic State?” asked Netanyahu to the chuckling crowd. “Who will take care of them? Buji? Tzipi?” The use of the dorky-sounding Buji-Livni combination, when juxtaposed with those “scary” Arabic words, has quickly turned into the rabbit Netanyahu pulls...

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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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