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Jailed Palestinian lawmaker pleads innocence

Khalida Jarrar, who was arrested for representing the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the Palestinian legislature, rejects all charges against her as trial opens in West Bank military court.

Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar, who was arrested in March and has been imprisoned ever since, plead innocent Monday as her highly-publicized trial began in the Ofer military court in the West Bank. The trial was attended by Jarrar’s family members, a number of journalists, as well as a delegation of EU diplomats who expressed their concern over her detention.

Jarrar, who serves in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has been charged with 12 counts relating to her membership in the party, which is defined by Israel as an illegal organization. Nearly all the charges have to do with Jarrar’s participation in demonstrations, interviews, speeches and visits to solidarity tents for Palestinian prisoners. Only one charge relates to incitement to kidnap Israeli soldiers, despite the fact that the witness to this charge admit that he is not sure he heard Jarrar say anything to that extent.

Jarrar’s attorneys, Mahmoud Hassan and Sahar Francis from Addameer, a Palestinian NGO that works to support Palestinian prisoners, rejected all the charges and declared that she would plead innocence on all counts. The military prosecutor, Captain Almaz Ayso, stated that the prosecution would hand over classified material to the court, which the defense will not be able to see or challenge.

Jarrar’s attorneys asked that the computers that were confiscated from Jarrar’s home near Ramallah during an army raid in March — during which she was arrested — be returned to her should no incriminating evidence be found. Ayso said that they would receive in answer in the coming days.

The short hearing ended after Hassan and Francis announced that they would file their pre-trial motions in the next few weeks, which will be followed by the presentation of evidence sometime in July. Jarrar will remain in prison during this time, after the military appeals court upheld a request to keep her in custody until the end of legal proceedings. In April she was placed in administrative detention, which means she was to be indefinitely detained without being sentenced or facing trial, but was later sentenced in the wake of a global campaign to release her.

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Netanyahu threatens new TV station for Palestinian citizens of Israel

The new satellite station, ‘Palestine 48,’ aimed at Arab citizens of Israel, presents an opportunity to use the community as a bridge between Israel and Palestine, a member of its board says.

Israeli Communications Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday declared his intention to shut down a brand new television station, “Palestine 48.” A day later, its employees and management vowed that they would not fold so easily. The station began pilot broadcasts on Thursday morning from Nazareth, and for the time being, its launch schedule is proceeding as scheduled.

Israeli authorities — and the Netanyahu government in particular — have been targeting Arab cultural institutions in recent weeks, cutting off funding for an Arabic-language theater in Haifa and threatening to do the same to a children’s theater in Jaffa operated by an Arab actor.

According to Sanaa Hammoud, a member of Palestine 48’s advisory board, the Netanyahu government is in the midst of a campaign to silence and exclude 20 percent of Israel’s citizens, ultimately de-legitimizing their citizenship itself.

But in addition to the principled issue, Hammoud warned, the government’s campaign endangers the constitutionally protected freedoms of occupation and expression. (While Israel does not have a constitution, it has “basic laws,” which have constitutional standing.)

“If anybody is violating the law,” Hammoud added, “it is not us — it’s Netanyahu.”

A promotional advertisement for Palestine 48:

Palestine 48 is a niche television station aimed at Palestinian citizens of Israel (inside ’48 borders, hence its name), operated by the Palestinian Broadcast Authority. The station describes itself as a family station that covers news, society, culture, art and more, with an emphasis on happenings in Arab society in Israel.

Palestine 48 started broadcasting from Nazareth on Thursday. It has limited programming planned for he month of Ramadan, known for high ratings for television in the Arab world, after which it plans to expand its offerings.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday ordered the director-general of the Communications Ministry to examine all penal and administrative tools at his disposal in order to shut down the station’s broadcasts. Netanyahu, who is also the communications minister, took particular issue with the Palestinian Authority funding.

Palestine 48’s programming is being filmed in Nazareth and in other locations inside Israel, but not in fixed studios — only with mobile broadcast units. The programs are beamed...

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WATCH: Soldiers attack Palestinian journalists in West Bank refugee camp

Soldiers push, throw stun grenades and point their guns at Palestinian journalists reporting on clashes in Jalazone refugee camp.

A video published last weekend showed a group of soldiers from the Kfir Brigade assaulting a Palestinian man in Jalazone refugee camp, throwing him on the ground while kicking and beating him with their guns. Four of the soldiers were sentenced — one of them was reprimanded, one was given 30-day confinement, and two others received 28-day suspended sentences each.

On Tuesday, activists from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) — which brings activists from around the world to participate in acts of nonviolent protests against the occupation — released a longer video that captures more of the incident in Jalazone. The new video shows soldiers repeatedly harassing a group of Palestinian journalists who are standing at a distance from clashes between residents of the camp and soldiers.

The soldiers are seen trying to push the journalists away from the scene of the clashes, swear at them, repeatedly point their guns at them, push them and throw stun grenades at them. At one point, the journalists respond to the soldiers by swearing at them. However, it is clear from the video that they pose no threat to the soldiers.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit responded to the second video, stating that the the commander of the Kfir Brigade, Col. Asher Ben-Lulu, has properly investigated the incident in Jalazone, and found that it was “a violent riot that lasted a number of hours, during which the rioters threw Molotov cocktails, rocks and stones at the soldiers. At one point, a company commander was wounded by a stone thrown at his face, he was evacuated from the scene with a possible cracked eye socket.”

While the IDF Spokesperson’s response detailed the sentences of the four soldiers involved in assaulting the man in the first video, there is no mention of the Palestinian journalists harassed by the soldiers, despite not posing a threat to them.

Over the past few months there has been several incidents of violence by Israeli soldiers toward journalists in the West Bank. Last month, a journalist was struck in the eye by a rubber bullet. The IDF Spokesperson has yet to respond to the incident. Two months ago, soldiers were videotaped throwing stones at and attacking Israeli and Palestinian photojournalists during...

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Why not boycott Iran?

The fact that there are human rights abusers worse than Israel should not obscure the fact that the Palestinian-led BDS movement is asking for one thing: solidarity.

One of the most common claims one hears against the BDS movement is that it is hypocritical. “Why don’t they boycott Iran/Syria/Hamas/ISIS?” is a question that comes up quite often.

The answer? We actually do boycott other countries and groups. Iran and Syria are facing a harsh sanctions regime. Hamas is considered a terrorist organization across Europe and the United States, and the Gaza Strip is under siege by Israel and Egypt. Nearly every country in the West, the Mediterranean and the Arab world are fighting against the Islamic State. There are sanctions and boycotts on North Korea and Sudan, Cuba was under a U.S. embargo for decades, Russia is now being placed under sanctions, the list goes on.

Israel, on the other hand, is considered a Western, democratic country that is a signatory to major trade agreements, enjoys the status of a European country (in trade, academic relationships, Eurovision, etc.), received enormous, unprecedented sums of money and weapons from the United States, is a member of the OECD, etc.

Boycott activists claim that the same country that contravenes international law and holds millions of people under a military regime with no civil rights should not enjoy all the privileges of belonging to the developed world.

If Israel’s starting point was akin to that of Sudan, Syria, Iran or Somalia’s, it would have been impossible to launch a boycott campaign like BDS, simply because the country would have already been boycotted, its goods would not be sold in the West, artists would not come perform here, foreign banks would not invest in its economy, tourists would not come visit, etc.

Interview: The man behind the BDS movement

“But what about the U.S.? It sends its soldiers to occupy countries across the world, kills many more citizens than Israel, and maintains its rule on at least half of the world. So why don’t we boycott the U.S.?”

Why? Because it is the U.S. Because political activism ought to strive to be practical and realistic. Since there is no practical way to boycott the U.S., there is no way to win enough support for this kind of project — whether by citizens or by states who would sanction the U.S. — in...

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High Court: Palestinians have no planning rights

By rejecting a petition by Palestinian residents of Area C, Israel’s High Court of Justice effectively cemented two separate planning regimes on the same plot of land: one for Jews, another for Palestinians.

Israel’s High Court of Justice on Tuesday rejected a petition to grant planning authority to Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank so they can build on their own land. In doing so, Justices Elyakim Rubinstein, Noam Solberg and Neil Hendel solidified the current status quo, in which two separate planning systems exist in the West Bank: one for Jews and another for Palestinians.

While Jewish settlers in the West Bank are represented in local planning committees like every citizen of Israel, the local Palestinian councils were nullified and replaced by military officials who make planning decisions in their stead. Even the regional committees — the highest bodies that oversee planning in Area C — belong to the Israeli army — and while they include settlers, they include no Palestinian representation. This is part and parcel of the legal reality in the West Bank, which places Jews and Palestinians under two different sets of laws.

That system results in a situation in which: less than 1 percent of Area C is zoned for Palestinian use; 94 percent of requests by Palestinians for building permits are rejected; approximately 70 percent of Palestinians in Area C live in unrecognized villages, and thus are not connected to a water supply or have proper sewage infrastructure. This is one of the main reasons why Palestinians who live under full Israeli control suffer from higher rates of poverty and nutrition insecurity than Palestinians under partial Palestinian control in Areas B and A, not to mention hundreds of home demolitions by the Israeli army every year.

These, among other reasons, led the village council of Ad-Dirat- Al-Rfai’ya, Israeli NGO Rabbis for Human Rights and others to petition the High Court in 2011, and demand the re-establishment of the Palestinian planning committees, which existed under Jordanian law until they were revoked by military order in 1971.

In his majority opinion, which had unanimous support, Justice Rubinstein warned that any change in the status quo would have repercussions on larger policy issues, and thus the High Court does not have the authority to change it.

Furthermore, the justices adopted a new planning procedure put together by the state while the High Court deliberated the petition,...

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Alternative peace initiative comes under fire for 'normalization'

Pressure from both Palestinian activists and right-wing Israelis has put the spotlight on a conference that will present a new model for peace and coexistence. That is, if it ever happens in the first place.

A launch event for an alternative Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative, slated to take place next week in the West Bank, is on the receiving harsh criticism from both Palestinian activists and right-wing Israelis.

The initiative, titled “Two States, One Homeland,” was founded by veteran Israeli journalist Meron Rapoport and Palestinian political activist Awni al-Mashni. The initiative began when Rapoport and al-Mashni, who sat in an Israeli prison for 12 years and writes regularly for Palestinian media outlets, started a discussion group that included Palestinians and Israelis from both the occupied territories and Israel who were interested in talking about a new confederation-based model as a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The founders attempted to diversify the group by including settlers, ultra-Orthodox and those who live in the periphery.

The event, which is supposed to take place at a hotel on the outskirts of Beit Jala, has come up against pressure by Palestinian activists on the hotel owners to cancel the event. The activists have announced that should it take place, they will protest the conference at the entrance to the hotel and will nonviolently attempt to prevent participants from entering.

In the wake of the pressure, both Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh and high-ranking PLO member and former PA minister Qadura Fares backed out of the event. Meanwhile, members of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community are pressuring prominent Shas member Adina Bar-Shalom and veteran Haredi journalist Rabbi Moshe Grileck to cancel their appearances.

A document published by the Two States, One Homeland group lays out its new model: dividing the land into two states, while maintaining open borders, freedom of movement for all and recognizing that the country is the homeland of two nations. According to the initiative, a solution to the conflict would allow settlers to remain residents — but not citizens — of the new Palestinian state, while Palestinian refugees could live in Israel, but only as citizens of Palestine.

Jerusalem, on the other hand, will function as the capital of both states via a joint municipality, and the two states will cooperate on issues of security, as well as prevention of violence and terrorism. Militias from both communities will disarm, and the two...

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Expulsion or not, Palestinians can declare victory at FIFA

As the vote on the possible expulsion of Israel from FIFA draws nearer, the Israeli delegation suddenly decides to discuss easing restrictions on Palestinian players, who just yesterday were deemed ‘security threats.’ What gives?

At this point, it is unclear whether FIFA will vote to expel Israel from soccer’s international governing body on Friday, or whether the vote will even happen in the first place.

What is clear is that a nonviolent Palestinian initiative akin to a sports boycott on Israel paid off. While the prime minister and the president of Israel are up in arms over a “strategic threat,” the Israeli delegation to FIFA will be busy finding ways to legitimize Israel in the eyes of the organization, especially in light of Israel’s treatment of Palestinian soccer players — the main reason behind the initiative to expel Israel.

[UPDATE: The Palestinian Football Association withdrew its decision to call on FIFA to expel Israel. Instead, the FIFA Congress passed an amended motion that will establish a committee that will oversee freedom of movement of Palestinian soccer players, Israeli racism and the status of Israeli teams based in the West Bank.]

According to Haaretz’s Barak Ravid and Moshe Boker, the delegation suggested issuing special entry permits that will allow soccer players to move more freely between Gaza, the West Bank and abroad; easing of building restrictions for soccer-related infrastructure in the West Bank; paying for some of the costs of sports accessories that Palestinians import through the Ashdod Port in southern Israel; and establishing a joint committee with FIFA and the Palestinians to solve issues that may arise.

According to the report, the head of Palestinian Football Federation, Jibril Rajoub, insists on an investigation of racism in Israeli soccer, as well kicking out teams based in West Bank settlements from the Israeli Football Association. These are legitimate demands, and there is a good chance they will be accepted by FIFA (it will be very interested to see how Israel will swallow the second one).

It is unclear how this story will end, but the very fact that Israel is willing to allow soccer players from Gaza to enter the West Bank tells the entire story. Why did this happen? Just yesterday, those same players were a terrifying security threat, and today? Or perhaps the Israeli government is all of a sudden willing to put its citizens at risk of...

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When an entire IDF platoon takes over your roof — for a photo

A two-minute video manages to perfectly capture the day-to-day banality of living under a military regime. 

I was able to count 37 soldiers. At least 37. One after another, each with his own weapon and combat vest, they climb up to roof the Abu Haya family’s home — located in the section of Hebron under direct Israeli military control.

Why? It’s unclear. They don’t speak with the members of the family. Or rather, they don’t explain. They simply utter things such as “close the door,” and “turn off the camera,” all while some of the soldiers are clearly enjoying themselves as they film the family from the staircase.

They ignore Muhammad Abu Haya’s (the owner of the house and the person behind the camera) questions, when he tries to understand what dozens of soldiers are doing heading to the roof of his house.

They reach the top, gather together and get ready for a group photo with a lovely view of Hebron in the background. “Put it on Instagram” says one of the soldiers at the end of the clip. It took the soldiers an hour to leave, according to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, which uploaded the video to its YouTube channel.

Of course, far more terrible things happen around the world. Even in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for example, one can talk about the thousands killed in wars over the past few years; or about the kidnapping and subsequent murder of four teenagers; or the violence in the streets of Jerusalem; or Hamas’ execution of Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel during last summer’s war; or even the story of the very same Abu Haya family, when soldiers threatened to arrest a 14-year-old member of the family despite having admitted that he did nothing wrong, all while saying that they would arrest him in the future, regardless of whether or not he commits a crime.

And yet, there is something in the banality, the casual day-to-day aspect of this video that captures an essential component of the story of the occupation, of a military regime that runs the lives of millions of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Something in the lordship, the total blindness of the soldiers who, for no good reason (and without a military order) — without so much as explaining...

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Military court orders feminist Palestinian lawmaker released on bail

The military prosecution is planning to appeal the decision, and may even try to send Jarrar back into administrative detention.

An Israeli military court rejected the military prosecutor’s request Thursday to detain Palestinian Legislative Council member Khalida Jarrar until the end of legal proceedings. Jarrar was arrest in April by Israeli soldiers. She was first held in administrative detention, although she was later released and sentenced.

The court found that there is no reason to hold Jarrar in detention until the end of proceedings, and ruled that she would be freed on NIS 20,000 bail. The military prosecutor, however, has three days to appeal the ruling. According to Addameer, a Palestinian NGO that works to support Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons, representatives from the military prosecution have made clear that they either intend to appeal and/or ask to put her back in administrative detention, which would see her indefinitely detained with no indictment, while her present case is resolved in court.

Jarrar, a feminist activist who works on issues of prisoner rights and belongs to the Palestinian parliament on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was accused by the military prosecution of belonging to a “terrorist organization.” Most of the accusations leveled against her touch on her political activism, which includes participation in demonstrations, visits to solidarity tents with Palestinian prisoners and more.

In a hearing last week Jarrar’s attorney, Mahmoud Hassan, pointed out that some of the incidents mentioned in the indictment took place years ago, and claimed that the army has refrained from arresting her until now, despite having a number of opportunities. This, he claimed, shows that the army does not view her actions as dangerous. The military court adopted Hassan’s line of argument in its ruling Thursday.

Palestinian political activists believe that Jarrar’s arrest stems from the fact that she is one of the more vocal opponents of the Palestinian Authority’s security coordination with Israel, as well as her membership in the PA team that is formulating claims against Israel in the International Criminal Court.

Alongside Jarrar are 16 other members of the Palestinian Legislative Council who are currently being held in Israeli prisons. Nine of them, including Hamas member Aziz Dweik, are in administrative detention, which means they are being held indefinitely have neither stood trial nor been sentenced. Elected officials around...

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Jerusalem Police shoot 10-year-old Palestinian boy in the eye

Over the past several months, Jerusalem Police has been stepping up its use of a new weapon: black-tipped sponge bullets. 

Israeli Police wounded a 10-year-old Palestinian child in the eye Thursday afternoon while dispersing protesters near the Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem, according to Arabic media outlets in East Jerusalem. The boy, who was most likely hit by a black-tipped sponge bullet, was hospitalized in moderate condition in Hadassah University Hospital. It is unclear what will be the fate of his eye.

Jerusalem Police responded to the incident, stating that “Public works projects take place in the Shuafat refugee camp, including the expansion of an entry/exit lane and a large parking lot for students. Several dozen residents assembled and began to throw stones at Border Policemen, who were guarding the projects. The Border Police used riot-dispersal means. Among the rioters, a boy was evacuated by the Red Cross to the checkpoint after likely being hit by a sponge-tipped bullet. From the checkpoint he was transferred by an ambulance to the hospital.”

The connection between shooting a 10-year-old boy and the details of the public works projects is not entirely clear.

Over the past several months, Jerusalem Police has been stepping up its use of a new weapon: black-tipped sponge bullets. These have already led to the death of one teen, have caused four children to lose their sight, and have led Walla! and Activestills photographer, Tali Mayer, to sustain facial fractures. Just two months ago, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) called on the Attorney General to put an end to the black-tipped sponge bullets.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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IDF shoots Palestinian journalist with rubber bullet in latest assault

Nidal Ashtiyeh says he was standing away from protesters when Israeli troops shot a rubber-coated steel bullet at his eye. Two IDF officers were recently convicted for assaulting Israeli and Palestinian journalists.

Israeli soldiers shot a Palestinian photojournalist in the eye with a rubber-coated steel bullet on Saturday.

Nidal Ashtiyeh, a photographer for Chinese news agency Xinhua, arrived at the Nakba Day protest taking place at the Huwwara checkpoint near Nablus late Saturday morning.

“It was a quiet protest — no rocks, and it was just starting,” Ashtiyeh explained.

There were around 200 protesters, and 20 or so journalists were standing some distance from them, he recalled, adding that all of the journalists had cameras and equipment that made them easily identifiable as journalists.

“The soldiers don’t differentiate between protesters and photographers and they just shot at us,” Ashtiyeh continued. “A foreign journalist was lightly wounded and they shot a rubber bullet that hit my gas mask.”

The glass from the gas mask’s visor shattered and penetrated Ashtiyeh’s eye. He was brought to a hospital in Nablus. He was released later on Sunday. Ashtiyeh says that doctors told him they would only be able to give him a prognosis in a couple of days.

The IDF Spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

This was not the first time Nidal Ashtiyeh has been attacked by Israeli soldiers. A few weeks ago he was struck by a tear gas canister fired at him during another protest in the area.

In August 2013, IDF soldiers attacked Ashtiyeh and stole his cameras, and handed them over to Jewish settlers who proceeded to smash them and take the memory cards. Through a lawyer, he recently received compensation for his damaged equipment, Haaretz reported. The soldiers who attacked him have not been charged.

+972 published exclusive video showing two Israeli army officers kicking, tackling and throwing stones at two photojournalists — an Israeli and a Palestinian — at a protest in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. As a result of the footage published here and on our Hebrew site, Local Call, the two officers were convicted in a brigade-level disciplinary procedure; one of them was sentenced to two weeks in prison.

Last December Israeli soldiers shot a Palestinian photojournalist in the leg with live fire in Kufr Qaddum. A month before that Israeli troops in Kufr Qaddum shot...

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ISIS executes three asylum seekers deported by Israel

Video by extremist Sunni group shows execution of three Eritrean asylum seekers coerced into leaving Israel last year.

At least three Eritrean asylum seekers who lived in Israel and were deported to a third country were executed by Islamic State militants in Libya this past week, according to family and friends who recognized them in a video released by the extremist Sunni group. The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants is checking the possibility that additional Eritreans deported by Israel were also executed.

“I recognized my relative, T., from the photos published by ISIS that appeared on Facebook before the video was released,” says Mesi Fashiya, an Israeli-born Eritrean whose parents came to Israel in the 70s. “I thought it was him, but then ISIS announced that it was a group of Ethiopians, so I began to look into it. The people at the Holot detention center also saw the photos — they hoped it was only photos, and that they didn’t really kill them. After they released the video there was no doubt. I couldn’t watch, but my friends in Holot did and couldn’t sleep all night.”

T. a distant relative of Fashiya, came to Israel through Egypt in 2007. He lived with her for a period of time, and the two became close. According to her, T.’s mental state deteriorated after being sent to Holot, and despite her promises to try and do everything to release him, he eventually decided to sign a voluntary departure form and was deported to a third country — Rwanda or Uganda. T.’s brother, who lives in Norway, told Fashiya that T. attempted to reach Europe. He crossed Sudan and reached Libya, where he got on a boat to Europe that was turned back. The last thing they heard was that he was in a Libyan prison.

Read: Our elected officials boast about deporting genocide survivors

The video shows two groups of hostages being executed by Islamic State militants in Libya. One group is beheaded near a beach, while another is killed by gunmen. According to Fashiya, who works at the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, both she and the prisoners at Holot identified two more asylum seekers in the group that was shot. “They are doing twisted things there, beheading them and then placing the heads on the bodies. It is terrible. It is difficult to believe that these things happen,...

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Settler group tries to shut down bi-national Memorial Day event

The Samaria Settler Council, the same group that recently released a video defaming human rights groups with anti-Semitic imagery, petitions the defense minister to stop Palestinians from participating in, and to pass a law banning an alternative Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony.

An Israeli settler group is trying to shut down the 10th annual joint Israeli-Palestinian memorial day ceremony put on by Combatants for Peace and the Parents Circle Families Forum, which is set to take place this Tuesday.

The Samaria Settler Council asked the Israeli defense minister not to grant entry permits to the Palestinian participants in the ceremony, which takes place on Israel’s national Memorial Day. Speakers in the event include bereaved family members from both sides of the conflict.

The Samaria Settler Council is the same group that produced a video earlier this year that used classic anti-Semitic imagery to suggest that Israeli human rights groups serve Nazi paymasters.

In its letter to the defense minister, the settler group referred to the Palestinians slated to participate in the joint memorial service as “the families of murderers.” The group further called on Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to advance legislation that would ban such events.

In an article with no byline on the website of “Ma’ariv,” which was recently acquired by the Jerusalem Post Group, the majority of which appears to have been copy pasted from a press release, the Palestinian participants are described as the families of “terrorists” and “terror operatives.”

A quick glance at the list of speakers at the joint Israeli-Palestinian memorial ceremony is enough to see that the portrait painted by the Samaria Settler Council is far from accurate. Along with bereaved Israeli families, scheduled to speak are: Mazen Faraj form the Daheish Camp, whose father was shot to death by soldiers while returning from work; and Yasmin Ishtayeh of Saalam village, who was born blind, and whose father was murdered by Israeli settlers.

One might expect such distortions from the Samaria Settler Council, but it is amazing how freely Ma’ariv reprinted the libelous accusations against these Palestinians.

By the time of publication the Defense Ministry had not responded to a request for comment on whether it would grant entry permits to those Palestinians who were scheduled to participate in the ceremony.

Two years ago, a similar request led to the denial of some 200 entry permits. Only after a threatened petition to...

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