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Israel's culture minister likens wildfires to anti-Jewish pogroms

Miri Regev says current wildfires tearing through are simply a continuation of the massacres committed against Jews in the 20th century.

Miri Regev is the latest leader to join the chorus of Israeli government ministers inciting against the country’s Palestinian citizens over the past week, fueling allegations that Palestinians have been behind the hundreds of wildfires tearing through the country.

Never one to be outdone by her friends on the right, Minister of Culture and Sport Regev published a Facebook status on Sunday morning comparing the fires, which continue to rage across both Israel and the West Bank, to massacres and pogroms against Jews in the 20th century. Labeling the fires “Praot Tash’az” (the Hebrew equivalent of saying “The 2016 Riots,” the word “tash’az” denotes 5777, the current Hebrew year), Regev admonished the “political correctness” of those who believe waiting for the full results of police investigations is, well, the right thing to do. My translation:

The Israeli government will convene in Haifa City Hall in the next few hours to discuss the arsons of the past few days. Political correctness is trying to force us to bury our heads in the sand, while everything around us burns.

The first step is to call the child by its name — this bad child’s name is “Praot Tash’az” and it is an incarnation of the arsons in Fez, Kishinev, Hebron, Hartuv, and Be’er Tuvia.

This time, praise be to God, the Jewish people have a state and a government, and they are not planning on burying their heads in the sand. I will make sure that decisions are made that will lead to stopping the enemy within and beyond.

As Local Call’s Yael Marom noted earlier this week, Israeli politicians and leading media outlets alike jumped at the opportunity to pin the fires on Arabs. Netanyahu made sure to frame the alleged arson as terrorism, and the accused arsonists as terrorists. “Every fire caused by arson, or by incitement to arson, is terrorism,” Netanyahu said. “Anyone who tries to burn parts of the State of Israel will be punished severely.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett continued the trend, stating: “Only he who the country doesn’t belong to him is capable of burning it.” Several days later, standing with the residents of the West Bank settlement Halamish — where 15 homes were burned down, allegedly as a result of arson — Bennett called the arsonists...

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Time's up? State announces imminent demolition of Bedouin village

Authorities will begin demolishing the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran on Tuesday morning — in order to replace it with a Jewish town.

The Israel Land Authority (ILA) announced on Monday that the demolition of Umm al-Hiran, an unrecognized Bedouin village in southern Israel, would begin the next day, following a 13-year legal struggle. The state plans to build a Jewish town atop the remains of the Bedouin village.

Following the announcement, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel filed a last-minute request with the Be’er Sheva Magistrate’s Court to freeze the demolition process, which was rejected. According to Adalah, the ILA announced that it has hired a private contractor to carry out the demolition at the cost of NIS 119,000 (approximately $30,760).

Umm al-Hiran’s residents are reporting that police forces have already arrived at the village in preparation for Tuesday’s demolitions, and are calling on activists from across the country to make their way to the village in order to gear up for the demolition. Joint List head Ayman Odeh announced on Monday evening that he would be spending the night in the village, also calling on Israelis to join him to prevent “devastation and destruction.”

[Update, Tuesday 11:15 a.m.: Police temporary postpone the demolition, after activists and members of Knesset spent the night in the village]

The announcement comes more than a year and a half after Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled by a 2-1 majority to authorize the state’s plan to demolish Umm al-Hiran, displacing hundreds of residents for the sole purpose of establishing a new Jewish town named “Hiran” over its ruins.

The future residents of Hiran, who are tied to the West Bank settlement of Susya, are currently living in caravans in an encampment in the adjacent Yatir forest. Because the Israeli government refuses to recognize Umm al-Hiran, it has denied its residents water and electricity for decades; meanwhile the future residents of Jewish Hiran have already been provided those services by the state and the Jewish National Fund (JNF).

The residents of Umm al-Hiran were first expelled from their original land in Khirbet Zubaleh under a military government order in 1956. While the High Court has recognized that the residents, who belong to the Abu al-Qian tribe, were not illegal trespassers — as initially claimed by the state — it ruled that because they are now on “state land,”...

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Israel's biggest paper ignores anti-Semitism of senior Trump advisor

News of white supremacist Stephen Bannon’s appointment to a top job in the next White House has been roiling much of the Jewish press and anti-hate groups, including the ADL. Israel’s most-read newspaper, ‘Israel Hayom,’ decided its readers don’t need to know.

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis will have no idea that a bonafide anti-Semite is going to be the next U.S. president’s left-hand man. President-elect Donald Trump announced on Sunday he will be appointing Stephen K. Bannon, a white nationalist anti-Semite and one of the faces of the pro-Trump alt-right movement, as the new White House chief strategist. But you wouldn’t know any of that if you leafed through Israel Hayom, Israel’s most widely-read newspaper on Monday.

The Sheldon Adelson-funded, pro-Netanyahu, free daily newspaper published an article Monday [Hebrew] that mentioned Bannon’s appointment, yet omitted any and all mention of his sordid views on Jews, women, Latinos, and the LGBTQ community.

In the article, Israel Hayom‘s U.S. correspondent Yoni Hirsch dedicated exactly two sentences to Bannon’s appointment, writing that Trump chose Reince Priebus over him for chief of staff, and that as head of Trump’s presidential campaign, Bannon decided to aggressively take on Hillary. The rest of the article focuses on Priebus, who is considered a more moderate, establishment Republican, along with Trump’s stated plan to expel millions of immigrants, and speculation over the president-elect’s future advisors.

That’s it. Not one mention of the conspiracy theories peddled by Bannon, according to which Hillary Clinton’s aid Huma Abedin is a spy for Saudi Arabia or that Planned Parenthood has Nazi ties. Not a word on the fact that he reportedly did not want his twin daughters attending the Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles because many Jewish students were enrolled there, and Bannon believes that Jews are raised to be “whiny brats.” Nothing about the fact that he was charged with choking his ex-wife Mary Louise Piccard, or that he called feminist activists a “bunch of dykes.” The list goes on and on, yet Hirsch and his editors at Israel Hayom found no reason to mention any of it.

The paper’s outright refusal to pay the bare minimum lip-service to homegrown American anti-Semitism continued in a second article published Monday, also by Hirsch. Under the headline, “It’s time for Obama and Clinton to calm the protesters,” Hirsch reported on the wave of anti-Trump protests that have been sweeping...

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For Israelis, Palestinian refugees are a constant, lurking threat

A new government public relations clip shows Israeli Jews as the perpetual victims of history. But once upon a time Israeli leaders were able to consider the pain of others, too.

The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs managed to out-do itself on Thursday when it released its latest hasbara (state-sponsored PR) video of Jews as eternal victims of persecution in their homeland.

The clip tells the story of Rachel and Jacob, two contemporary Israeli Jews who live in a large, comfortable home, which is meant to be a metaphor for the Land of Israel. Slowly, the couple’s home is invaded and occupied by the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Hellenists, the Romans, the Muslims, the Crusaders, Mamelukes, the Turks (just wait for the extremely Orientalist portrayal), and finally the British.

Each invasion pushes Rachel and Jacob into a smaller space in their home. The message is hard to miss: for 3,000 years the Jews have been subject to invasions and occupations in their homeland that have left them powerless and oppressed. Only the State of Israel has, finally, granted them a home they must fight to defend and protect at all costs.

Notably absent from the list of invaders are the Palestinians. But watch until the very end, when Rachel and Jacob’s Jewish home(land) is finally safe and secure: That’s when we see a suspicious-looking Palestinian couple knock on the front door and peer into the home. The symbolism is hard to miss: The angry Palestinians appeared in Israel, as if out of nowhere, to take over a land that never belonged to them.

The fact that the video portrays Palestinian refugees as potential usurpers is unsurprising, to say the least. At best, they are entirely absent from the Israeli public discourse — at worst they are widely viewed as a threat to the very existence of the Jewish state, not to mention a direct threat to Jewish presence in Israel-Palestine.

That’s because the very notion of Palestinian refugees has become nearly invisible to the average Israeli — a relatively new phenomenon that is the result of a stubborn attempt to craft a final-status solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that makes cosmetic changes to the landscape without actually addressing the root cause of Palestinian indignation.

But it wasn’t always this way. In the early days of the state, Israel’s mainstream political parties argued tirelessly...

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U.S. embassy sends settlement wine to anti-settlement groups

The diplomatic faux pas is indicative of just how impossible it is to distinguish between Israel and its illegal settlements these days.

Human rights organizations in Israel were in for a surprise on Monday when they opened Rosh Hashanah gift baskets sent by the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. Among the various goodies delivered in honor of the upcoming Jewish New Year — such as chocolates and honey — was a bottle of wine produced in the occupied West Bank.

A broad range of organizations including Peace Now, B’Tselem, and Yesh Din which focus on Palestinian rights and settlement expansion in the occupied territories, were among those to receive the gift basket.

The wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon named “Dolev,” is produced by the Zion Winery located in the West Bank settlement Mishor Adumim. The winery’s website provides a terse historical description, omitting any mention of the fact that it operates out of occupied territory:

The Israeli wine industry is made up of six large wineries — Carmel, Barkan, Golan Heights, Teperberg 1870, Binyamina and Tishbi — and dozens of medium and small wineries, totaling over 150 wineries, and about 12,000 acres of vineyards, according to settlement watchdog Who Profits.

While the wine industry is known for providing information about the origin of grapes that are used in the production of wine, there are several methods to conceal information concerning grapes from settlement vineyards in occupied territory. Investigating the connections of the Israeli wine industry to settler vineyards, Who Profits found that while grapes from the Golan Heights are used quite openly, the wineries that use grapes from West Bank vineyards most often use a myriad of methods to conceal their origins.

Settlement goods, including wines, have been the target of boycotts both inside and outside Israel over the past several years. Vinters in the West Bank have reported an increasingly difficult time selling their products as a result of the growing movement to boycott Israeli products, which was bolstered late last year after the European Union passed a set of guidelines to accurately label the origins of Israeli goods produced beyond the Green Line. EU member states are now able to determine which punishments to enforce on anyone who does not abide by the regulations (the regulations require states to levy sanctions against those who violate them).

The embassy’s decision to include settlement wine in holiday gift baskets is even more curious when considering the U.S.’s position vis-a-vis settlement goods. Every single U.S administration...

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Israeli demolitions leave 53 Palestinians homeless

Israeli authorities have demolished more Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank thus far in 2016 than in any other calendar year in the last decade.

Israeli authorities destroyed 33 structures, 20 of them homes, across the West Bank since the beginning of August. The demolitions have left 53 people, including 25 minors, homeless, according to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

The demolitions began on August 4th in the Al-Mu’arrajat community in the Jordan Valley, where four homes were destroyed and 14 people were left homeless. On August 8 authorities bulldozed two homes in the village Fasayil in the Jordan Valley, leaving 12 people without shelter. On August 9 authorities demolished five homes, leaving 27 people homeless, in the Um al-Kheir community, located in the South Hebron Hills.

Israeli authorities have demolished more Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank thus far in 2016 than in any other calendar year in the last decade. As my colleague Natasha Roth previously pointed out, Israel justifies administrative demolitions by arguing that the structures in question have been built without a permit.

WATCH: Israeli authorities demolish home in Um al-Kheir

All homes and structures demolished by Israel were located in Area C of the West Bank, which is under both Israeli civil and military control. The Palestinians as well as the international community consider the area to be part of a future Palestinian state. Israel, on the other hand, wants Area C, where the settlements are located, to remain in its hands.

However, it is nearly impossible for Palestinians in Area C to obtain building permits: between 2010 and 2014 the army’s Civil Administration granted just 1.5 percent of requests. The IDF recently admitted that when it comes to demolitions in the West Bank, “enforcement against Palestinians is hundreds of percentage points higher [than against Jews].”

The demolitions come on the backdrop of increasing pressure and condemnation against Israel for its home demolition policies. Just last month, European Union ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen slammed Israel for destroying Palestinian homes in Area C. Last week U.S. officials warned the Obama administration would respond harshly should Israel demolish the West Bank village of Susya —  which has been under threat of imminent demolition for several years — and that it was “troubled” by Israel’s “provocative” razing of three EU-funded shelters in the West Bank.

Since 2006, B’Tselem reports, Israel...

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WATCH: Border cop confiscates Palestinian girl's bicycle in Hebron

Video shows Border Police officer taking away eight-year-old Anwar Burqan’s bicycle and throwing it into the nearby bushes.

An Israeli Border Police officer was caught confiscating a bicycle from an eight-year-old Palestinian girl in the West Bank city of Hebron last week.

In a video shot by B’Tselem volunteer Raed Abu Ramileh and published Tuesday afternoon, the officer appears to seize Anwar Burqan’s bike as she rides along a chain-link fence on al-Ibrahimi Street, before throwing it into the bushes.

In September 2012, Israeli security forces put up a the fence along al-Ibrahimi Street, adjacent to the Cave of the Patriarchs, leaving the main road on one side of the fence, and a narrow, unpaved and rough pedestrian path on the other. In recent years, B’Tselem has documented security forces prohibiting Palestinians from entering the paved side of the fence, though there is no official ban on Palestinian presence there.

According to B’Tselem, Burqan lives in the nearby apartment in the neighborhood of a-Salaimeh with her parents and six of her siblings.  Her father, Amer Burqan, is confined to a wheelchair. Anwar told B’Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja’bri that they have no yard at home and that because of the crowded conditions she and her siblings play out in the street and ride their bicycles on the paved part of the divided street.

Anwar said that on Monday, July 25, 2016, his daughter was playing on al-Ibrahimi Street with her sister and two brothers. She was riding a bicycle belonging to one of her brothers when an Israeli Border Police officer ran over and confiscated it. He shouted at her to go home and she burst into tears.

In response to the footage, the Border Police Spokesperson released the following statement:

Hebron is the Palestinian city where Israel’s regime of exclusion and separation is at its most bare-faced and brutal. The city is divided into two sections, H1, which is governed by the Palestinian Authority, and H2 — roughly 20 percent of the city — which is under Israeli military rule. There Palestinians live under a regime of closures and checkpoints, where roughly 850 Israeli settlers are free to do as they please (which often includes violence against Palestinian civilians) under the guise of military occupation.

Over the past decades Hebron has turned into one of the most heavily guarded areas under Israeli control. At least 650 IDF soldiers are stationed...

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Israeli conscientious objector released from military prison after 160 days

Tair Kaminer is released from Prison 6, where she served multiple sentences for refusing to serve in the Israeli army.

Photos by Oren Ziv / Activestills.org

Israel’s longest-serving conscientious objector Tair Kaminer was officially released from prison Monday night, after serving approximately 160 days for her refusal to join the Israeli army. She is the longest-serving female conscientious objector in Israeli history.

Late last week a military committee found that Kaminer, 19, was not fit for military service due to her “poor and severe behavior” — namely the fact that she refused to serve in the army due to her opposition to its policies in the occupied territories.

The decision to release Kaminer comes a week after she stood before the IDF’s conscientious objectors committee, where she laid out her case for exemption. The committee has historically decided to not exempt female conscientious objectors such as Kaminer, who declare their refusal to enlist in the army due to their explicit opposition to the occupation (as opposed to pacifism, for example).

Kaminer spoke to +972 outside Prison 6 upon her release: “The fact that I knew that I was part of a larger struggle against the the oppression of the Palestinian people — the fact that I was part of a larger group of people who are working for peace — that kept me going while in prison. It’s a great feeling to put that experience behind me.”

Omri Brenes, another female conscientious objector, is also serving time in military prison for refusing to enlist due to her opposition to the occupation. She is currently waiting for a response from the conscientious objectors committee on her case. Meanwhile, Kai Hen, a conscientious objector who spent 30 days in prison, was released from prison earlier this week.

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Why won't Israel allow GoPros and model airplanes into Gaza?

The Israeli military decides to shut down all postal services in the Gaza Strip in response to the attempted ‘smuggling’ of mail-order GoPro cameras, WiFi antennas, and slingshots.

GoPro cameras, routers, model airplanes, Wi-Fi antennas. If you’re planning on bringing these items into the Gaza Strip any time soon, you may want to reconsider. On three separate occasions in recent weeks, authorities seized goods transported into the Gaza Strip through various Israeli crossings, which they alleged were going to be used by Hamas for military purposes.

Last month, Israeli Defense Ministry inspectors at Kerem Shalom Crossing intercepted dozens of wetsuits, which according to the Defense Ministry, were “destined for terrorist elements in the Gaza Strip, including Hamas’s naval commando unit.”

Two days later authorities at Erez Crossing intercepted a slew of goods including “security cameras, 14 small UAVs, UAV components and model airplanes, binoculars, laser pointers for weapons, communications equipment and electronic boards, tasers, weapons components, diving watches equipped with flashlights, flippers, miniature cameras, GoPro cameras, DVR cameras, banned electronic components, satellite communications equipment, surveillance cameras, telephone switchboards, Wi-Fi antenna, packages of motion sensors, routers and slingshots.”

That same day Ministry of Defense Crossing Authority officials stopped an Israeli pull-trailer transporting a dismantled 4×4 pickup, which the Defense Ministry alleges was “deconstructed in a way to facilitate reassembly, even including packages of screws.”

Toy-sized drones, model airplanes, wetsuits, surveillance cameras, routers, GoPro cameras — the list of dubious goods that are not allowed into the Gaza Strip keeps getting stranger.

Surely one can understand Israel’s vigilance when it comes to dual-use (civilian products that could be repurposed for military use) items entering the Strip. Yet Israel has been known to restrict everything from A4 paper to cardamom to chocolate to potato chips from reaching the besieged enclave.

This is the same Israel military regime that at one point made precise calculations of Gaza’s daily caloric intake to avoid malnutrition (when Israel limited commercial shipments of food into Gaza in 2006, senior government adviser Dov Weisglass explained that “the idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet but not to make them die of hunger.”)

In response to the “smuggling attempts” of mail-order GoPros and slingshots, the Israel military decided to shut down postal service for the entire Gaza Strip. But Gaza’s not occupied anymore.

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Alice Walker, Dave Eggers call for release of jailed Palestinian poet

Over 150 literary luminaries sign letter expressing solidarity with Dareen Tatour, who was imprisoned for a series of poems she published on Facebook.

Over 150 renowned writers, poets, and literary figures, including Alice Walker, Dave Eggers, Natasha Trethewey, and Susan Abulhawa have signed on to an open letter calling for the release of jailed Palestinian poet, Dareen Tatour.

Tatour, a 33-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel from the village Al-Reineh near Nazareth, was arrested by Israeli authorities in October of 2015 for a series of poems she posted on her own personal Facebook page and YouTube during the height of latest wave of violence between Palestinians and Israelis. She was charged with incitement to violence and identifying with a terrorist organization.

The main clause of her indictment was based on a poem that she had allegedly posted on YouTube under the title: “Qawem ya sha’abi, qawemhum” (Resist my people, resist them). Another main clause in the indictment relates to a news item, cited in a post on Tatour’s Facebook page, according to which “The Islamic Jihad movement calls for continuing the Intifada all over the [West] Bank…” The same post calls for a “comprehensive intifada.” (Read more about Tatour’s arrest here).

The letter marks the launch of an international solidarity campaign organized by Jewish Voice for Peace and Adalah-NY to demand Tatour’s release, as well as to draw attention to the widespread arrests and detentions of Palestinians for political expression on social media, as well as Israel’s targeting of Palestinian writers and artists.

The letter states:

We believe in the rights of artists and writers to freely express their artistic vision, and share work freely. The Israeli government’s actions reveal a desire to silence Tatour, part of a larger pattern of Israeli repression against all Palestinians.  Expressing resistance to oppression and Occupation through poetry is by nature non-violent and should not be criminalized by any government.

We, the undersigned – writers, artists, and people of conscience from around the world – believe that poetry is not a crime. We are calling for poet and activist Dareen Tatour to be released immediately from house arrest and for all charges to be dropped.

Tatour spent the first three months of her detention in three separate prisons before being transferred to house arrest. An Israeli court insisted that she be kept at a distance of...

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IDF releases longest-serving female conscientious objector

Tair Kaminer released from military service after spending 150 days in prison for her refusal to serve due to the IDF’s policies in the occupied territories.

Israel’s longest-serving conscientious objector Tair Kaminer was granted exemption from military service on Thursday after spending nearly 150 days in an IDF prison.

On Thursday morning a military committee found that Kaminer, 19, was not fit for military service due to her “poor and severe behavior” — namely the fact that she refused to serve in the army due to her opposition to its policies in the occupied territories.

The decision to release Kaminer comes a week after she stood before the IDF’s conscientious objectors committee, where she laid out her case for exemption. The committee has historically decided to not exempt female conscientious objectors such as Kaminer, who declare their refusal to enlist in the army due to their explicit opposition to the occupation (as opposed to pacifism, for example).

Before her imprisonment, Kaminer performed a year of national service with the Israeli Scouts (“Tzofim”) in the southern development town of Sderot. There she volunteered with children who suffer from trauma following multiple wars in Gaza and continual rocket fire on the city. “The children I worked with grew up in the heart of the conflict and have had extremely difficult experiences from a young age, experiences that caused them to feel hatred, which can be understood, especially when it comes from young children,” Kaminer wrote in a statement published this past January.

“Like them, many children who grow up in Gaza or in the West Bank, in an even more difficult environment, learn to hate the other side,” the statement read. “They, too, cannot be blamed. When I look at all of these children, and the next generation on both sides and the reality in which they grow up, I see only more trauma and pain. And I say enough! That is why I refuse: so that I do not take an active part in the occupation of the Palestinian territories and the injustices that the Palestinian people face under occupation, so that I do not take part in this circle of hate in Gaza and Sderot.”

Omri Brenes, another female conscientious objector, is also serving time in military prison for refusing to enlist due to her opposition to the occupation. She is currently waiting for a response from the conscientious objectors committee on her case. Meanwhile, Kai...

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What does justice look like for victims of Jewish terrorism?

A reminder that the victims of Jewish and Palestinian violence never encounter the same system of justice. 

On Thursday Israel’s High Court of Justice rejected a petition to stop the demolition of a home to a Palestinian man accused of aiding three Palestinians in a shooting attack that killed Border Police officer Hadar Cohen in February.

The appeal was filed by the father of Bilal Ahmed Abu Zeid, the Palestinian who is accused of providing weapons and transportation to the three men in the attack. In his appeal, Abu Zeid’s father claims that the demolition of homes is an illegal act according to international law, and argued that the demolition cannot be approved until his son is proven guilty. According to the father, the demolition would leave his youngest children without a home.

Not only is Abu Zeid accused of aiding the three attackers — that is, he didn’t take part in any of the violence — he hasn’t even been convicted of a crime in a court of law. This, however, is enough for the authorities to issue an order to have his home destroyed.

The decision to green light Abu Zeid’s home came on the same day that a Palestinian family, victims of Jewish terrorism, petitioned the High Court in support of a home demolition. The parents of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the 16-year-old boy who was burned to death by three Israeli Jews two years ago, submitted their petition on Thursday, demanding that the court order Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to demolish the killers’ homes.

The Defense Ministry had previously told the parents  there was no need to destroy their homes due to what Supreme Court Justice Noam Sohlberg called an unimaginable difference in the “quality of the attacks, in their quantity, and in particular with regard to the environment – the firm and decisive wall-to-wall condemnation on the Jewish side, which is not the case on the opposite side.” It would behoove us to remember Justice Sohlberg’s remarks the next time the High Court is praised as the bastion of Israeli liberalism tempering its extremist leaders and legislators.

Abu Khdeir’s brutal murder was certainly not the first (nor the last) act of Jewish terror against Palestinian civilians. But even in the worst, most serious and deadliest cases — Eden Natan-Zada who murdered four Arab citizens in a shooting rampage, the members of the...

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Israel puts Palestinian prisoner advocate in administrative detention

Hasan Safadi placed under administrative detention for six months, after being accused of affiliation with an illegal organization and visiting an enemy state.

Israeli authorities placed a Palestinian prisoners’ rights activist under administrative detention for six months beginning last Friday, 40 days after he was first detained and taken in for interrogation.

Hasan Safadi, who works as media coordinator for Addameer, an NGO that supports Palestinian prisoners in both Israeli and Palestinian prisons, was set to be released from detention on June 10 by order of Jerusalem’s Magistrate’s Court, after paying NIS 2,500 in bail and obtaining third-party guarantees. Later the same day, however, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman signed an administrative detention order against Safadi, effectively overriding the court’s decision.

Administrative detention is a procedure that Israel uses to imprison detainees based on secret evidence, without charging them or allowing them to defend themselves at trial. Administrative detention orders may be renewed indefinitely.

Safadi was first arrested on May 1, 2016 as he was crossing Allenby Bridge from Jordan into the West Bank on his way home from an Arab Youth Conference in Tunisia. From there he was transferred to the Russian Compound interrogation center in Jerusalem.

During his trial, the military prosecution allegedly claimed that Safadi was affiliated with an illegal organization and has visited an enemy state (Lebanon) more than one time. It further claimed that he has conducted illegal activities without specifying exactly what those activities are, and argued that he is affiliated with other Palestinian detainees without identifying the names of said detainees.

According to Addameer, Safadi was subjected to sleep deprivation, long interrogation sessions, and was put in stress positions with his hands tied throughout the interrogations. He was also denied access to an attorney for a period of 10 days, as well as family visitations.

On Monday Israeli military authorities also renewed the administrative detention of Palestinian circus trainer and clown Mohammad Abu Sakha for an additional six months, from June 13 to December 12. Abu Sakha is known for working with special needs children in the West Bank, and runs the Palestinian Circus School. He was first arrested on December 14, 2015 while he was crossing Zaatara military checkpoint near Nablus on his way to work in the village of Birzeit, near Ramallah.

According to Abu Sakha’s lawyer, he was barely investigated by the police for general charges, all of which he denied....

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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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