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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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Netanyahu's paper uses Orlando massacre to demonize Israel's Arab citizens

Sometimes all it takes is a single visual to drive home the point. For Israel’s most read newspaper, visuals have become a way to race-bait and incite against Muslims, specifically against Israel’s Arab population.

On Monday morning, pro-Netanyahu daily Israel Hayom published a photo montage comparing Omar Mateen, the American citizen who murdered 50 people at an Orlando gay club on Sunday, and Neshat Melhem, who murdered three Israelis in a shooting spree in Tel Aviv on New Year’s day. Above the side-by-side mugshots of the two killers, the editors of the paper decided to print the words: “A chilling similarity.”

The background: Israel Hayom is owned by far-right American casino mogul and Republican bankroller Sheldon Adelson. The paper, which is handed out for free, was created by Adelson as a platform for Netanyahu’s politics, all while circumventing Israel’s extremely strict campaign finance laws. He finances the paper reportedly at a considerable loss, selling ad space significantly below market value to put his competitors at a disadvantage. The paper, now the country’s most widely read, has dramatically upended Israel’s media landscape, and is considered just one of the ways Netanyahu, who also serves as the country’s communications minister, is able to maintain control over the public discourse.

The reason: Mateen and Melhem both wear glasses, and their heads are shaved. Oh, and they are both Muslims who have committed acts of terrorism and murdered innocents. And because it is not convenient to mention the more obvious parallel — between Mateen and Yishai Schlissel, who attacked the Jerusalem Pride Parade in June 2015 and murdered a teenage girl with a knife. Their crimes are far more similar; the only significant difference being that Schlissel was not able to use an assault rifle to inflict mass damage in the crowded parade. Mateen, on the other had, had little difficulty purchasing his weapons in Florida.

The context: The photos were used to illustrate an article by Israel Hayom columnist Boaz Bismuth — known for his ties to Sheldon Adelson and support for Donald Trump — who writes about the Orlando attack as proof that Obama cannot contend with Islamic terrorism let alone recognize it. The schadenfreude is hard to miss:

Bismuth refers to Israel only in passing when he writes about last week’s attack by Palestinian gunmen, which left four Israelis dead in a central Tel Aviv restaurant:

According to Bismuth,...

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Tel Aviv mayor says the occupation is a cause of Palestinian terror

Huldai tells Army Radio that Israel may be the ‘only country in the world holding another nation under occupation without civil rights.’

Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai shocked many Israelis Thursday morning when he cited Israel’s occupation as one factor that leads Palestinians to turn to terrorism. Speaking on Army Radio about Wednesday’s deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv and reported celebrations of it in the West Bank and Gaza, Huldai argued that Israelis should focus instead on the fact that Israel is “perhaps the only country in the world holding another nation under occupation without civil rights.”

“On the one hand the occupation has lasted 49 years, and I took part in it,” Huldai told veteran journalist Ilana Dayan, “I recognize the reality and know that leaders with courage must look to take action and not just talk. The fact that we are suffering does not lead to a change in understanding of what must be done… There is no courage to do what needs to be done in order to reach a [peace] agreement.”

“There is no way to hold people in a situation of occupation and think that they will reach the conclusion that everything is okay and they will continue to live like that,” Huldai added.

Huldai is a former Israeli Air Force pilot and a Labor Party stalwart, through and through, and his comments come at a time of crisis for both Labor and the Israeli Left at large. Labor Chairman Isaac Herzog is in dire straits with his party after repeatedly taking hawkish positions vis-a-vis the Palestinians and what can only be described as groveling at the feet of Prime Minister Netanyahu to join his far-right coalition.

Herzog’s sycophantic behavior did little to bolster his support. On the contrary, it only widened an already existing chasm between the right and left flanks of the Labor Party. Enter Huldai, whose comments on the source of Palestinian violence can be viewed as the opening shot in his race for the Labor leadership. Like Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat — who seems to be perpetually mulling a run against Prime Minister Netanyahu to lead Likud — Huldai could be playing the long game.

Huldai’s comments come at a time when the occupation has all but disappeared from the Israeli public consciousness, and Palestinian violence is seen as senseless and random. However, they...

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Feminist Palestinian lawmaker freed from Israeli prison after 14 months

Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar served 14 months for incitement and membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Feminist Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar, who served 14 months in an Israeli prison, was released Friday morning to a crowd of chanting supporters.

Jarrar, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was sentenced on December 6, 2015 at Ofer Military Prison. She is a well-known critic of the Palestinian Authority and specifically its security coordination with Israel. After eight months of imprisonment, some of which was spent in administrative detention, Jarrar signed a plea bargain, in which she admitted to charges of incitement, as well as belonging to the PFLP — a party she represents in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) — which is defined by Israel as a proscribed organization.

Jarrar was accused on 12 counts, the majority of which involved her parliamentary work and activism, including participation in protests, an interview with the media, a visit to a solidarity tent for Palestinian prisoners, and giving speeches. She was accused of one count of incitement to kidnap soldiers, however the witness on this count stated that he was not sure that he heard Jarrar say anything to this effect.

Jarrar was arrested in April of this year at her home and was placed under house arrest for several months, after she refused to follow an internal expulsion order demanding she move to Jericho within 24 hours for a period of 1.5 years. Following her arrest, Jarrar was placed under administrative attention, which led to a worldwide campaign advocating for her release. She was eventually released from administrative detention and put on trial.

Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh came to greet Jarrar as she left prison, saying: “Khalida Jarrar was arrested and jailed, at first with no trial, in an attempt to silence her struggle against the occupation. But in the end, they only emboldened her power and her struggle.”

Jarrar was first elected to the PLC in January 2006, following years of political activism in support of women and prisoners. She is married, has two daughters, and is the first woman to be elected to the PLC on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Between 1993 and 2005, she headed the Palestinian NGO Addameer, a Palestinian NGO that supports...

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Unraveling Netanyahu's Sephardic spin

Netanyahu knows that even in 2016, Mizrahim have the ability to kick him out of power.

Benjamin Netanyahu has seen better weeks. Between being strong-armed by members of his cabinet over the confirmation of Avigdor Liberman as defense minister, and the fact that his wife, Sara, may soon be indicted over her unscrupulous handling of the prime minister’s households, the past few days have been rough. But amid the turbulence, Bibi was able to find a golden calf and, true to form, milk it for all its worth.

On paper the story seems both simple and innocuous: early last week Netanyahu announced that his brother, Ido, had taken a D.N.A. test, according to which the Netanyahu family can actually trace its roots back to Spain. Thus, Netanyahu implied, Israel finally had its own (at least partially) Sephardic prime minister.

Until that moment, Netanyahu was thought to be of Ashkenazi (Eastern European Jewish) background, just like every single other prime minister who preceded him. This point cannot be overstated: whether they have come from the political right or left, Israel’s heads of state have all belonged to the same ethnic group (often referred to as “the white tribe”) — one which is credited with forging Israel’s founding myths, forming the political and military establishments, and dominating the country’s cultural life. In order to understand the significance of Netanyahu’s declaration, however, we need to understand how ethnicity became an essential component in Israel’s culture wars.

In the first years following the state’s formation, MAPAI (the precursor to today’s Labor Party) led by Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, did just about everything it could to ensure that Mizrahim (Jews from Muslim or Arab countries, sometimes referred to as Sephardim, or Sephardic Jews) were materially and culturally marginalized. Contrary to the image of a free, democratic state that Israel peddled to the world, Mizrahim encountered an authoritarian state that sought to keep them ghettoized and politically impotent. North African immigrants were sprayed with DDT upon their arrival, hundreds of Yemenite babies were disappeared and sometimes given up for adoption to Ashkenazi families, Mizrahim were forced into exploitative, menial labor, large numbers were directed upon arrival to far-flung development towns that quickly became slums, and any attempts at revolt (and there were attempts) were brutally put down by the state.

In 1977 Likud leader Menachem Begin...

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Rampaging settlers use fake gun to sow panic among Palestinian commuters

Two Israeli settlers use a fake gun to threaten a bus full of Palestinian workers. The police make a quick arrest, yet the media totally ignores the story.

Two acts of political violence committed by Jewish residents of the West Bank against Palestinians went almost completely unreported by the Israeli Hebrew media last week, even as the police responded with remarkable alacrity.

According to Israeli police, last Wednesday two residents of Efrat, a settlement near Jerusalem, began circling a Palestinian vehicle on their motorcycles on a road near the settlement. One of the settlers then forced the vehicle to the side of the road at gunpoint and pulled the driver out.

A few minutes later the settlers stopped a bus carrying Palestinian workers on the same road. According to the police, the settlers threatened the passengers and removed them one by one at gunpoint. After all the Palestinian passengers were standing on the side of the road, one of the settlers put his gun to the head of one of the workers, allegedly telling him to “pray for your life.” The settlers then fled the scene.

Earlier this week one of the Palestinians filed a complaint with Hebron police, who promptly arrested two suspects from Efrat. The two admitted to the crime during their interrogation and handed over the gun, which turned out to be made out of plastic.

The police’s quick response to the incident is praiseworthy. According to Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din, the majority of complaints filed by Palestinians with the police in the West Bank are closed, many of them because of “perpetrator unknown.” Other times Israeli forces stand idly by as settlers commit violent attacks against Palestinians, usually with the aim of forcing them off their land. Just last night, a former IDF soldier recalled to Channel 2′s Ohad Hemo how during her army service, she witnessed firsthand how soldiers backed settler vigilantism — whether tacitly or explicitly.

Unlike the police, the Hebrew-language media ignored the story entirely. Try imagining a situation in which a group of armed Palestinians overruns a bus full of Israeli settlers and threatens to shoot them in the head. My guess is that the story would find its way to the top headline for the vast majority of Israeli media outlets, would likely refer to the Palestinians as terrorists, and would provide up to the minute...

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23 young Jews arrested in anti-occupation protests across U.S.

Hundreds hold ‘Liberation Seders’ outside (and inside) major Jewish American institutions in five major cities, demanding that the Jewish community take a stand against Israel’s occupation. ‘The history of Jewish oppression is not an excuse to oppress Palestinians, but rather an imperative to fight for freedom for all people,’ one arrestee tells +972.

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA — Twenty-three American Jews were arrested over the past week in a series of anti-occupation demonstrations across the United States.

The protests, which took place in major American cities ahead of the weekend’s Passover holiday, brought out over 500 members of the Jewish anti-occupation collective, IfNotNow. Demonstrators used civil disobedience to push major American Jewish institutions to publicly end their support for Israel’s occupation policies in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Protests took place in Washington DC, Boston, New York City, Chicago, and Berkeley.

The demos followed a similar formula in every city: demonstrators who were willing to be arrested usually tried to enter a major Jewish institution and lead a “Liberation Seder” — a take on the traditional Passover meal, in which the Jews recount the story of their enslavement and struggle for freedom in Egypt. The Liberation Seders, however, fused the traditional ritual with Jewish freedom songs, chants against the oppression of Palestinians, and calls for the collective liberation of all those living in Israel/Palestine.

The first demonstration took place on April 19th, when over 100 activists demonstrated in Washington DC outside the headquarters of Hillel International — the largest Jewish student organization in the world. Later that afternoon Jewish activists in Boston chained themselves to the entrance of the local AIPAC office. The demonstrators then decided to escalate the action, chaining themselves inside the lobby. Six protestors were arrested; they were released later that night and summoned to court the following day. Their next court date is scheduled for May 18.

IfNotNow activists arrested during protest at the ADL:

On Thursday over 100 demonstrators held a Liberation Seder inside the entrance to the the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in New York City. Seventeen people were arrested and charged with criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct, with some of spending over 20 hours in jail.

On Wednesday afternoon approximately 40 activists gathered at the Chicago Jewish Federation to hold their Liberation Seder, while 50 people protested outside the Jewish Federation...

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What critics of Bernie Sanders' Jewish liaison are missing

Simone Zimmerman’s appointment is great news for mainstream American Jews who are desperate for a real conversation on Israel/Palestine.

Over the past few days, it has been difficult to watch the American Jewish establishment’s attacks on my friend, Simone Zimmerman. Just three days ago Simone was appointed the Jewish outreach coordinator for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Within hours of the announcement came a torrent of vicious attacks, both against her as well as the Sanders campaign for having the gall to appoint a critic of Israeli settlements and policies in the occupied territories. (Update: Just hours after publishing this post, the Sanders campaign suspended Simone from her position).

I have known Simone for years, and for years I have watched her unwavering dedication to the American Jewish community, whether through work at her synagogue in Los Angeles, trips to Israel, or leading trainings for young Jews. Her commitment to a people she loves always remained steadfast — even as her views on Israel began to shift away from that establishment, within which she was raised and first came up as a leader.

On the face of it, the criticism leveled against Simone by major media outlets and figures — including former head of the Anti-Defamation League, Abe Foxman, who called on Sanders to fire her — is the result of the severity of her criticism and her choice of words. But let’s be honest: it is neither Simone’s style nor choice of words that is rattling the establishment, rather it is the fact that it is not willing to make room for a leader who has no qualms openly stating that Jewish life is no more precious than Palestinian life.

Here is the lie the American Jewish establishment keeps telling itself: Simone and her ilk (in organizations such as J Street, IfNotNow, and others) are the voice of a minority that must be shut up and shut out of the American Jewish conversation. But sooner or later the old guard will have to contend with the fact that Simone isn’t a radical, and if she is she is not alone. She is the face of the new American Jewish mainstream — one that is no longer afraid of its own gatekeepers.

The old guard cannot handle an American Jewish mainstream that is desperate for a real, open, and sensible conversation about Israel/Palestine. But that’s just...

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Did Bibi's patron newspaper just endorse Trump?

Pro-Netanyahu paper ‘Israel Hayom’ makes clear that Trump is the only candidate who isn’t afraid to go to war against ‘Islamic terror.’

If you happened to glance at Israel Hayom‘s front page on Monday, you may have noticed what look to be a brazen political endorsement. The top headline reads as follows: “Giuliani says: ‘Trump isn’t afraid to say Islamic terror’.”

Monday’s edition of Israel Hayom, the free Israeli daily owned by American casino mogul and Republican bankroller Sheldon Adelson — considered Prime Minister Netanyahu’s patron newspaper — included an interview with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The interview itself is less than illuminating; the real story is the editorial decision to place Giuliani’s invective front and center.

The headline itself surely resonated with most Israel Hayom readers — not to say most Israelis — while the subhead was simply one long attack on presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, who according to Giuliani has “failed at everything she has ever done” and “has one of the worst records in history. The subtext is hard to miss: Trump isn’t afraid to fight against Islamic terrorists, and therefore should be viewed by Israelis as the right person for the job. Hillary, on the other hand, is incapable and a failure.

The paper’s editorial decision begs a number of questions: does Israel Hayom have any qualms about standing behind a bigoted presidential candidate who has made anti-Semitic statements — and has been repeatedly condemned by the Anti-Defamation League — not to mention verbal attack after verbal attack on undocumented immigrants, Muslims, and other minorities? Adelson’s paper is notoriously right wing, but does that mean it will undoubtedly get behind any Republican candidate, regardless of his position on Israel (Trump famously said he would remain “neutral” on issues pertaining to Israel/Palestine, although he did throw his support behind Netanyahu in the 2013 elections)?

Israel Hayom, a free daily paper, was created by Adelson as a platform for Netanyahu while circumventing Israel’s extremely strict campaign finance laws. He bankrolls the paper reportedly at a considerable loss, selling ad space significantly below market value to put his competitors at a disadvantage. The paper, now the country’s most widely read, has dramatically upended Israel’s media landscape, and is considered just one of the ways Netanyahu is able to maintain control over the public discourse.

Israel Hayom’s editor-in-chief is Amos Regev, who was reportedly handpicked...

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Palestinian journalist reaches deal to end 94-day hunger strike

Israeli authorities promise to shorten Muhammad al-Qiq’s administrative detention order, not renew it.

Palestinian hunger striker Muhammad al-Qiq ended a 94-day hunger strike on Friday after his lawyers struck a deal with Israeli authorities.

Al-Qiq, who has been in administrative detention since mid-December, will not be transferred to Al-Makassed hospital in East Jerusalem, as he had initially requested, but will remain in Israel’s Emek Medical Center. However, his administrative detention order will not be renewed, with his lawyers managing to push the date of his release from June 21 to May 21.

Al-Qiq, 33, from the West Bank village of Dura near Hebron, worked as a reporter for the Saudi news channel “Almajd.” He was arrested by the Israeli army from his home on the night of November 21, 2015. He was not allowed to make contact with either his wife or his attorney for many days after his arrest.

The Shin Bet claims al-Qiq is a member of Hamas who was previously jailed several times due to his activities in the organization. His current detention, according to the Shin Bet, came following “founded suspicions of involvement in terror activities with Hamas.” Since his arrest, al-Qiq has not once been formally charged with committing a crime.

WATCH: Muhammad al-Qiq at Haemek hospital in northern Israel

According to reports in the Palestinian media over the weekend, negotiations to end al-Qiq’s hunger strike were accelerated in recent days due to his deteriorating medical condition. As his hunger strike wore on, Al-Qiq began suffering from serious vertigo, had lost most of his sight and hearing, and could barely speak.

Israel’s High Court of Justice “suspended” Al-Qiq’s administrative detention on February 4. The court did not, however, allow his release, refusing to cancel his administrative detention order despite his serious medical condition.

Israel is currently imprisoning without charge or trial hundreds of Palestinians and at least one Jewish Israeli. The authority to issue administrative detention orders is drawn from pre-state colonial laws that are only valid as long as Israel is officially in a state of emergency, which it has been continuously since its establishment in 1948.

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The life and death of the Israeli peace camp

Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog is channeling the same tropes and spin Ehud Barak used to destroy the peace process 15 years ago. Will we have to wait another decade and a half for him to admit what he’s done?

On a balmy evening in October of 2000, Ehud Barak, then the Israeli prime minister and Labor Party chairman, held a press conference in Tel Aviv where he made a rattling announcement that would leave its imprint on the Israeli establishment for years to come. Israel, he said, has no partner for peace.

It had been only several months since the Camp David peace talks came to a stuttering halt, and like every politician worth his salt, Barak realized that his political future depended on convincing the Israeli public he was not at fault for the failure of the talks. So he and his political advisors devised a mantra that would come to define the last decade and a half, and haunting the Israeli peace camp.

The spin worked, and for good reason. One week earlier, Palestinians in the occupied territories had launched the Second Intifada. Israel’s Palestinian citizens were taking to the streets en masse to protest in solidarity with those in the West Bank and Gaza. All of a sudden Barak, who defeated Benjamin Netanyahu in the 1999 elections and received a mandate to reach an “historical agreement” with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, found himself in a bind.

His government had collapsed even before the talks launched, and he knew he would be facing inevitable elections regardless of the talks’ success. While the “no partner” spin may not have been good for the future of peace talks — which resumed in various constellations after Camp David — or even in the general interest of the country, Barak saw it as his political lifejacket.

Israelis, for their part, had good reason to believe Barak. Deep distrust of Arafat coupled with a brewing uprising that would go on to become far deadlier than its predecessor undid much of what the peace camp had achieved over the previous decade during the heyday of the Oslo years.

Yet Barak’s insistence on turning dictum into common sense gave his “no partner” spin near-mythical powers, so much so that it essentially set the tone for successive Israeli governments over the next 15 years. From Ariel Sharon’s one-sided Gaza disengagement —...

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Jewish politicians meet with terrorist families too

Netanyahu wants to kick Arab MKs out of the Knesset for meeting with families of Palestinian terrorists. Will the same standard be upheld for those who meet with Jewish terrorists?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to punish Palestinian members of Knesset for meeting with families of Palestinians who have carried out deadly attacks against Jewish Israelis. But could his initiative backfire and end up punishing members of his own government?

The prime minister announced on Sunday that he would be promoting legislation to bar three MKs who met with families of terrorists from serving in Knesset. His announcement came in response to a report that Arab members of Knesset from the nationalist Balad faction of the Joint List met with the families of Palestinian terrorists. The Balad MKs said the visit was humanitarian, in order to help negotiate the release of the bodies Israel refuses is holding on to. The MKs reportedly took part in a moment of silence for the attackers.

Netanyahu called on the opposition to support his initiative in addition to a complaint he filed against the three with the Knesset’s Ethics Committee.

The prime minister’s proposal, however, could entangle a top minister in the Israeli government. According to American liberal Jewish newspaper The Forward, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked met recently with the mother of an Israeli-American minor suspect in the murder of three Palestinians last year. The arson in the West Bank village of Duma was considered a terrorist attack by the Israeli government and defense establishment. According to his attorney, following his arrest, the minor was subject to torture and solitary confinement by his Shin Bet interrogators.

In that case, allegations of torture markedly overshadowed the meeting between Israel’s justice minister with the mother of a suspected terrorist. In fact, as opposed to the Balad MKs, details of Shaked’s meeting could not be reported in the Israeli media due to a sweeping gag order on the case.

The Duma suspect, however, is only the tip of the iceberg. Israeli leaders have not only met with the families of convicted terrorists, some of them even employ them. Take Nathan Nathanson, who was convicted in 1985 for his involvement in the Jewish Underground and taking part in three car bombings against Palestinian mayors in June 1980. He was sentenced to three years in prison. Today Nathanson is a political advisor to Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

Or take...

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What makes Palestinian security officials turn on Israelis?

The reality in the West Bank has pushed some Palestinians to enforce an occupation against their own people.

On Sunday morning, 34-year-old Amjed Sakari, a member of the Palestinian security services, drove up to an Israeli checkpoint reserved exclusively for Palestinian Authority personnel. When asked to produce his ID, he stepped out of the car and opened fire, wounding three Israeli soldiers. In response, the IDF put Ramallah, the political and financial capital of the West Bank, under near-total lockdown.

The driver and bodyguard of the Palestinian chief prosecutor, Sakari is only the second member of the PA security forces to commit an attack since the latest round of violence erupted last October. The first was Mazan Hasan Ariva, an intelligence officer in the Palestinian Authority, who opened fire on an Israeli civilian and a soldier at Hizma checkpoint near Ramallah in December of last year.

As Amos Harel points out, it is too early to tell whether Sakari and Ariva’s actions are a harbinger of things to come, and yet this current political moment should give us pause.

Since the beginning of the occupation in 1967 and until 1993, Israel has been the sole sovereign power in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Oslo Accords produced a series of political and economic agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the most significant of which was the creation of the Palestinian Authority — an interim self-governing body established to oversee both security and civil matters in parts of the West Bank as well as the Gaza Strip.

While the PA was not allowed a military, it could establish its own security forces, including police and secret service. These forces work in tandem with the Shin Bet and the Israeli army to foil attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers as well as to prevent insurrection against the PA within Areas A and B.

On paper, Oslo laid out a years-long process of granting piecemeal autonomy to the Palestinians in the occupied territories. In reality, successive Israeli governments have used the PA to outsource the security duties of the Israeli army to a nascent, American-trained Palestinian police force. Meanwhile, Israel’s settlement enterprise continued to gnaw away at an already-fraught territorial contiguity in the West Bank. Today there are over half a million Israeli settlers beyond the Green Line, supported by one of the most...

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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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