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Young Palestinian girls detained on suspicion of - eating cherries

Four Palestinian girls, at least one of whom is under the age of criminal culpability, are detained and brought for interrogation — without their parents being present — based on a complaint made by a local settler.

Israeli soldiers and police detained four Palestinian girls between the ages of 11 and 15 on suspicion of — eating cherries from trees belonging to the Jewish settlement of Maon in the south Hebron hills on Tuesday. The four were held at the Kiryat Arba police station.

The girls, who live in Khirbet Tuba in the south Hebron hills and go to school in a-Twane, are escorted to and from school on a daily basis by Israeli soldiers. The escorts are a response to years of harassment by settlers who attack Palestinian children on their way to and home from school.

According to B’Tselem, a settler from Maon told the soldiers who were escorting the Palestinian girls that they ate some cherries from the settlement’s trees. According to the report, the soldiers immediately called the police, who took the girls to the Kiryat Arba police station to be interrogated.

Special coverage: Children under occupation

Atty. Gaby Lasky, who is representing the minors, spoke with police on the phone and she was told that the 11 year old and another girl, who apparently has learning and speech disabilities, were released once their parents were contacted. The two others were being held for questioning.

“I have a murder and manslaughter cases that they haven’t questioned the suspects for over a year, but [these girls] need to be interrogated immediately, and without the presence of their parents,” Lasky said.

If the girls were Jewish, it would be illegal for the police to question them without the presence of their parents.

A request for comment was sent to the police and IDF spokespersons. We will update this article if and when they respond.

Update: According to B’Tselem, the two remaining girls were being released without charge or bail.

Related:
WATCH: IDF detains 5-year-old Palestinian in Hebron
Assessing developments in Israel’s juvenile military courts

Read this post in Hebrew on ‘Local Call’ here.



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Israeli soldiers kill two Palestinians during Nakba Day protest

Two Palestinians, Muhammad Abu Thahr, 22, and Nadim Nuwara, 17, were pronounced dead at a Ramallah hospital on Thursday after being shot by Israeli soldiers during a Nakba Day demonstration. According to human rights organization B’Tselem, one of the youth was not breathing upon arrival at the hospital and died on the operating table.

Palestinians throw stones at an Israeli military jeep during a Nakba Day protest in the village of Al-Walaja. (photo: Activestills.org)

Palestinians throw stones at an Israeli military jeep during a Nakba Day protest in the village of Al-Walaja. (photo: Activestills.org)

The two were shot during a demonstration marking Nakba Day outside Ofer Military Prison in the West Bank city Beitunia. A photojournalist who was at the protest told +972 that the Israeli army used large amounts of both live ammunition and tear gas, and that one of the dead was shot in his neck.

Thousands of Palestinians across Israel/Palestine marked Nakba Day with rallies in Hebron, Nablus, Ramallah and East Jerusalem.

This is a developing story.

For more +972 coverage from Nakba Day:
Who’s afraid of the right of return?
Liberating Israeli Jews from the dark legacy of the Nakba
A rights-based discourse is the best way to fight dispossession




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Ehud Olmert is going to jail for the wrong crimes

During his premiership, Ehud Olmert was responsible for two of the most horrific military operations of the past decade. More than 1,000 Lebanese, a third of them civilians, and 165 Israelis, a quarter of them civilians, were killed in the Second Lebanon War.

In the wake of the war, the IDF developed the Dahiya doctrine, by which the army deliberately targets civilian infrastructure as a means of inflicting suffering on the civilian population in “enemy cities.” Not three yearswent by and Olmert sent the army to implement the new doctrine in Gaza. Operation Cast Lead took the lives of nearly 1,400 Palestinians, more than half of whom were civilians, and nine Israelis, of whom three were civilians (these statistics do not include Palestinians and Israelis killed by friendly fire).

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert enters the courtroom at the Tel Aviv District Court prior to the reading of his sentence in the Holyland trial, May 13 2014 (Photo: Activestills.org)

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert enters the courtroom at the Tel Aviv District Court prior to the reading of his sentence in the Holyland trial, May 13 2014 (Photo: Activestills.org)

The IDF stated that each military operation is taken under serious consideration and implemented with utmost care. And yet, somehow, in the operations that followed, the army was somehow able to show more restraint and decrease the number of deaths, especially among non-combatants.

Ehud Olmert is responsible for both of these terrible events. He has blood on his hands. The blood of over 2,000 people. Today he was sent to jail for six years for accepting bribes in order to build some ugly buildings in Jerusalem. When will he be put on trial for the serious crimes he committed?

This post was first published in Hebrew on Local Call.

Related:
Former Prime Minister Olmert sentenced to six years in prison for bribery


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How I got involved in a 14-year-old girl's murder case

Settlers went to Nibin Jamjum’s home specifically in order to shoot her in the head. All my attempts to bring about the murderer’s arrest have failed. A follow-up to the research of Israeli blogger-journalist “Eishton.”

(Translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman)

Israeli blogger-journalist Eishton brought me back in time to a two-year period in which I was trying to catch a murderer. In his recent well-researched article, he revisits the pogrom carried out by settlers in Hebron in July 2002. Following the murder of four Jews (including a 9-year-old boy), settlers went out on a three-day rampage, which culminated on a day on which they destroyed shops, stabbed and shot a large number of Palestinians in the Old City, assaulted policemen and soldiers and prevented the evacuation of the injured. They also murdered Nibin Jamjum, a 14-year-old girl.

Eishton provides a brilliant analysis of the police and army’s deliberate choice to refrain from protecting the Palestinians, from criticizing the settlers publicly in spite of the criticism which they voiced within their ranks, and from enforcing the law or arresting those suspected of crimes. As evidence, one notes that only a single settler was charged in relation to the entire pogrom, and only because he had assaulted an Israeli policeman.

I came across the story of Nibin Jamjum by accident, only because I was doing time with one of the participants in the Jewish pogrom in a tent in Military Prison Number 4 – in January 2003, six months after the murder. Kobi Hevroni, that was his name. A young man from the nearby settlement of Kiryat Arba who had gone AWOL and spent his free time perpetrating attacks on Palestinians. How do I know? Because he told us about it with pride in the tent. In my prison diary I took notes of his heroic tales, as told to the other prisoners: collecting arms, shooting at Palestinian shepherds, pogroms (which literally translates into the Hebrew word he actually used – “praot”) against the Arabs in Hebron – and all of this was carried out without any intervention by the Israeli army, to which he himself attested.

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Israeli army installs new, remote-controlled weapon atop separation wall

The new camera-equipped weapon installed on the separation wall in Bethlehem. (photo: Activestills.org)

The new camera-equipped weapon installed on the separation wall in Bethlehem. (photo: Activestills.org)

The IDF has installed a new crowd-dispersal weapon on top of the separation wall in Bethlehem.

The new weapon, which is remote-controlled and shoots “skunk” water (putrid-smelling liquid), began operating over the last month. According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, the weapon can also fire tear gas, among other crowd-dispersal means. [Update, 22.4: A separate response issued today by IDF to B'Tselem states that the device cannot fire tear gas but only water].

In the past month, Palestinian residents of Bethlehem began noticing the new weapon perched on top of the separation wall in an area near where most of the protests against the occupation and the barrier take place. According to participants in last week’s Palestine Marathon, the new camera-equipped weapon moved on its axis and followed them as they passed by it during their run.

One rumor that came up in conversations among Palestinians on social media outlets stated that the weapon was the same one that was installed on the walls separating Israel from Gaza. According to a photojournalist working in the occupied territories, soldiers often use live ammunition against protests near the guard tower in that specific portion of the wall. However, a source in the army told +972 that the weapon will be used exclusively for crowd-dispersal means and will be controlled by the Border Police.

Runners take part in the annual Palestine Marathon in Bethlehem under the shadow of a new weapon (top left) perched atop the separation wall. (photo: Activestills)

Runners take part in the annual Palestine Marathon in Bethlehem under the shadow of a new weapon (top left) perched atop the separation wall. (photo: Activestills)

In response to an inquiry by +972, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit stated that the weapon is “part of our means for riot dispersal in Judea and Samaria. The weapon is remote controlled and has the ability to fire water, tear gas grenades, etc.. It is important to state that it does not fire live ammunition. Israeli security forces act in various ways in order to maintain order in the area, while avoiding harming innocents.” The unit...

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Israel's double standard on cross-border loyalties

The arrest of journalist Majd Kayyal is a troubling example of Israel’s fear of ties between its own Arab population and the Palestinian Authority, while claiming the right to have similar ties with Jews around the world.

The main segment in the Shin Bet’s (Israeli Security Agency) official comment on the detention of journalist and activist Majd Kayyal for nearly five days, without the possibility of meeting his lawyers and under a strict gag order, reads as follows:

In his interrogation it became clear that [Kayyal] left for Lebanon in order to attend a convention of the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir, all the while knowing that it is an enemy state that Israeli citizens are forbidden to enter. The subject has even sought the assistance of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, which he contacted for [travel] documentation to Lebanon, in spite of his being an Israeli citizen. The subject entered Lebanon using the Palestinian documentation he was given.

As Dimi Reider mentioned in his post, and as Einat Fishbein claims in her interview with Israeli journalist Itay Engel [Hebrew], the mere passage of Israeli citizens, mainly journalists, into what is legally defined as “enemy states” is not an irregular action, and is most commonly overlooked by authorities. So what is different about Kayyal’s case? It isn’t just that he is Palestinian, but rather the fact that as a citizen of Israel he chose to obtain a second passport – a Palestinian one from the Palestinian Authority – and used it to enter Lebanon. (Entering Lebanon with an Israeli passport is completely impossible.) The story, then, is the wounding of Israel’s national pride, its feeling of hampered sovereignty over its “subjects,” as Kayyal is called in the Shin Bet’s comment.

This knee-jerk reaction is not uncommon in Israel. It is most commonly seen in East Jerusalem, where authorities crack down on anything that smells remotely of PA involvement, including a children’s puppet theater. Recently, we’ve seen it in the extreme political and public sensitivity regarding the unfulfilled promise to release Palestinian prisoners with Israeli citizenship as part of negotiations. Time and time again the issue of sovereignty is brought up as a reason to prevent all ties between Palestinians in Israel and the PA; it is also in part the basis for Netanyahu’s insistence on recognition of Israel as Read More

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WATCH: Hundreds commemorate nine years of popular struggle in Bil'in

Unarmed resistance against the wall and the occupation has been taking place for nine consecutive years. With its ups and downs, successes and losses, villagers and supporters gather for a special commemoration protest.

Marching through Bil'in toward the wall (Haggai Matar)

Marching through Bil’in toward the wall. (Haggai Matar)

Approximately 500 demonstrators gathered in the center of the West Bank village of Bil’in on Friday to mark nine years since village residents began their popular, unarmed resistance against the separation wall. The wall, built on the villagers’ agricultural land, has allowed for continuous settlement expansion on their annexed fields and olive groves. Over the past nine years, hundreds of demonstrations have taken place, two activists have been killed by the army and hundreds have been wounded or arrested. The struggle’s greatest success was its ability to force the state to move the wall further west, allowing villagers to return to some of their land. However, because much of the village remains behind the wall, the resistance continues.

The demonstrators, who were made up of residents from the small village itself; supporters from other villages participating in the popular struggle such as al-Ma’asara and Nabi Saleh; activists from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (a socialist party founded 45 years ago this week) and the Palestinian National Initiative party; and international and Israeli activists, marched to the wall behind a drum line and a car with loudspeakers that chanted anti-occupation slogans.

(Video: David Reeb)

Once they arrived at the wall, several local activists used ropes to climb the the eight-meter-high concrete barrier and planted Palestinian flags on it. Soldiers were quick to throw stun grenades at climbers, which lead the protesters to respond by throwing stones, followed by a round of tear gas at the procession. The demonstration continued for nearly an hour and a half, with the majority of activists keeping their distance from the tear gas, while several youths confronted the soldiers with stones.

The protest ended after a protester and an Israeli photographer were lightly wounded by rubber-coated bullets, and after soldiers crossed the separation wall to arrest another protester and break up the demonstration. Attempts by organizers to release the detainee by bargaining with soldiers only...

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Palestinians demand Shuhada St. reopened after 20 years

In a rare, united political front, Palestinian protesters try to reach Hebron’s segregated Shuhada Street but are confronted by Israeli army and police. Five are arrested and a B’Tselem researcher is hit in the head with a rubber-coated bullet. [This post has been updated]

Demonstrators scattering as stun and tear gas grenades are fired into the crowd (Yotam Ronen / Activestills)

Demonstrators scattering as stun and tear gas grenades are fired into the crowd (Yotam Ronen / Activestills)

About 1,000 Palestinians from all political parties, joined by Israeli and international activists, marched through the streets of Hebron Friday afternoon demanding to reopen the city’s formerly central commercial street. Shuhada Street has been closed to Palestinians movement for the better part of 20 years since the Cave of the Patriarchs/Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre.

The procession started at the central mosque in the Palestinian-controlled part of Hebron’s old city around noon and quickly arrived at the army checkpoint stopping Palestinians from entering Shuhada Street. Within seconds the scene ignited with stun grenades and tear gas canisters thrown by soldiers and police at the protestors and stones flying in the opposite direction. The vast majority of demonstrators retreated immediately but a few stayed and tried to cross over through the army lines. Many were beaten and four five were arrested before this group also turned around. [Update: Youth Against Settlements in Hebron say three of the detainees were later released]. The demonstration went on for another hour with small pockets of protesters trying to regroup and march on to the checkpoint again, each time answered with more “crowd dispersal” weapons and police chasing them back into the city. Eventually the organized actions faded away, leaving groups of youths setting tires on fire and confronting soldiers for a few hours longer.

Small groups of protestors tried to break through army lines (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Small groups of protestors tried to break through army lines (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Several demonstrators were lightly wounded during the protest. The worst injury was received by B’Tselem’s Hebron field researcher, Musa Abu-Hashash, who was shot with a rubber coated bullet that grazed his head. He was hospitalized for several hours. According to B’Tselem spokesperson Sarit Michaeli, Abu-Hashash was walking in an area with no confrontations and was...

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WATCH: Army raids three West Bank villages, arrests activists

Israeli army arrests 11 Palestinians during night raids on West Bank villages participating in the popular struggle against the wall and settlements.

The Israeli army raided three West Bank villages this past week, arresting a total 11 activists in connection with organizing weekly demonstrations against the occupation, local activists said. According to the activists, the villages of Nabi Saleh and Ni’ilin were raided in the dead of night between Monday and Tuesday, while the village Kufr Qaddum was raided during during the early hours of Thursday morning. Among those arrested were a minor and a photographer. Four out of seven Qaddum detainees were released later Thursday morning; the minor from Nabi Saleh is expected to be released later today, while the rest remain in custody.

UPDATE: According to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, one of the detainees from Qaddum was reportedly beaten by soldiers following his interrogation and has been hospitalized with head injuries.

Night raids are one of the tools used by occupation forces to try and suppress the popular struggle. As a video from this week’s raid on Nabi Saleh (above) shows, the soldiers enter houses fully armed, some of them masked. They wake up children, check the IDs of everyone in the house and conduct a search, which usually ends with the confiscation of empty tear gas canisters, used stun grenades and rubber coated bullets fired by the IDF – often collected by the residents and can be found in abundance in the streets of any village participating in the popular struggle.

While the practice of night raids as a tool of law enforcement is questionable to begin with, the almost immediate release of five out of the 11 arrestees strengthens doubts about the so-called “security reasoning” behind these raids, which terrorize entire villages. Earlier this week, the chief West Bank military prosecutor told the Jerusalem Post that the army is considering putting an end to the practice, and instead implementing a policy by which Palestinians will be summoned for questioning.

Popular unarmed demonstrations against the wall and settlements continue in the three aforementioned villages, in addition to Bil’in and Al-Ma’asara, on a weekly basis, yet are almost never reported on in the Israeli media. On Friday, February 28th, Bil’in will commemorate nine years of struggle against...

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Israeli media ignores a week of non-violent protests

The Israeli media gave almost no airtime or print space to two non-violent protests this week, in the Jordan Valley and south Tel Aviv’s Levinsky Park. For Haggai Matar, it’s been a heartbreaking sight.

Demolition at Ein Hijleh (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Demolition at Ein Hijleh (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

So they destroyed Ein Hijleh. This small protest camp in the Jordan Valley, built by hundreds of non-violent Palestinian activists and kept alive for a week of resistance against plans to annex the valley to Israel and deprive a future Palestinian state of its eastern border, was been evicted over night by army and police forces.

For Israelis – it won’t be missed. The whole “Salt of the Earth” campaign to protect the valley, with Ein Hijleh at its core, has been widely ignored by Israeli media as is almost always the case with non-violent Palestinian protests (Bab al-Shams was perhaps the one unique exception, shining in its singularity). Aside from the short online newsflash here and there, no serious coverage of the encampment was offered. No television crew was sent to tell its story and no newspaper sent a single reporter to interview activists about their choice of protest method or to write a colorful feature about life in the renewed village. No serious discussion took place — nor will there be in all likelihood — about the speed in which this “illegal” encampment was evicted in comparison to the hardship Palestinians face in trying to get illegal settlements off their lands. In addition, it seems that only Haaretz is seriously monitoring and criticizing the ongoing ethnic cleansing of the same Jordan Valley, which was sped up this passing year with 390 demolitions in Palestinian villages, more than double the number of last year. That led the Red Cross this week to stop offering evicted communities tents as humanitarian aid, because they too are destroyed or confiscated by the army, as Amira Hass reported.

Setting up Ein Hijleh, one week ago (Oren Ziv/ Activestills)

Setting up Ein Hijleh, one week ago (Oren Ziv/ Activestills)

I’ve been meaning to write about Ein Hijleh every day this past week but felt I just couldn’t. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s...

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Hundreds gather to support politically 'persecuted' teacher

Some 500 high school students and teachers demonstrated at the entrance to the town of Kiryat Tivon Saturday night to show their support for Adam Verete, a local teacher who is facing possible sacking over proclaiming his left-wing political views in class.

"Silencing? Not in our school". Kiryan Tivon demonstration (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

“Silencing? Not in our school.” Kiryat Tivon demonstration (Photo: Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

The usually tranquil town of Kiryat Tivon, just outside of Haifa, was rattled this past week over the local ORT high school’s attempts to fire philosophy teacher Adam Verete following a student’s accusations that he made derogatory remarks against the IDF and the State of Israel. The story was all over the national news with Verete’s students and colleagues leading a campaign of support for him. The Knesset Education Committee debated the case but it has been completely ignored by the Education Ministry. Verete will face a second hearing at the school later this week, which will determine whether or not he keeps his job.

At the Kiryat Tivon protest Saturday night high school teachers, students and their parents were adamant in their support of Verete, chanting “free speech is great – in the classroom and the street” and “We will not let sacking silence our teachers.” They demonstrated at the entrance to town carrying signs and candles, some with tape over their mouths, for a little over two hours. A small group of a dozen or so far-right wingers staged a counter-protest, calling to banish all leftists from the country and at some point throwing a few eggs at the main protest. No one was arrested.

Although Verete is being persecuted for his left-wing views, protestors tried to focus their calls on free speech and the need for critical thinking in schools. When Prof. Gaby Solomon, winner of the Israel Prize for Education, gave a speech saying that the right-wing regime has to be stopped, many called out against him saying that was not at all the case.

Another controversy between demonstrators centered on the extent of their protest’s demands. Some said they just wanted to support Verete and help him keep his job. Others demanded that both the school’s principal and the head of the ORT school network  be fired. A third and more...

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Outside prison, protesters demand conscientious objectors be freed

Demonstrators play music and sing songs to inmates in ‘Military Prison 6′ in a show of support for Omar Sa’ad and other draft refusers. Similar vigils take place in cities across Israel, Palestine and abroad.

Demonstrators chanted in Arabic and Hebrew against the draft, occupation (Haggai Matar)

Demonstrators chanted in Arabic and Hebrew against the draft, occupation (Haggai Matar)

About 100 Palestinian and Jewish protestors gathered on the hilltop overlooking Israel’s ‘Military Prison 6′ Saturday afternoon, calling for the release of Omar Sa’ad and all other conscientious objectors. Sa’ad, a violin player from the village of Maghar who has thus far been given two 20-day prison sentences for refusing the draft, has become a symbol of Druze resistance to conscription. Three other Druze objectors are now in prison and another one is expected to be sentenced later this month.

Omar’s siblings and friends preformed several songs on string instruments at the protest, organized by the Sa’ad family, Yesh Gvul and Druze campaigners against conscription. The tunes were carried through loud speakers to Sa’ad himself, who was watching the protest above the prison walls. Other demonstrators sang songs and chanted slogans in Arabic and in Hebrew against the mandatory draft and against the occupation. Also present was Natan Blanc, who was recently released from prison after serving 10 sentences adding up to just under half a year for his refusal to enlist. Blanc told Sa’ad he hopes he will have to endure much less of prison than he himself did. Corresponding demonstrations in support of objectors took place in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem and London – where Sa’ad’s younger brother attended.

Sa'ad's siblings and friends playing to lift his spirits. In the background: Prison 6 (Haggai Matar)

Sa’ad’s siblings and friends playing to lift his spirits. In the background: Prison 6 (Photo: Haggai Matar)

The Druze (men) are the only Arab group in Israel that is compelled to join the Israeli army. While many adopt a Zionist agenda and make a career for themselves in various parts of the Israeli security establishment, a growing movement of...

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Prison break: African asylum seekers claim their place on the Israeli political map

In Israel’s most vibrant demonstration ever to take place on the refugee issue, and in two bold escapes from an ‘open prison,’ African asylum seekers are starting to present themselves as a political force to be reckoned with.

Asylum seekers marching under a crown of classical music lovers at Tel Aviv's Culture Palace (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Asylum seekers marching under a crown of classical music lovers at Tel Aviv’s Culture Palace (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Saturday night was something like no one in Israel had ever seen before. It was supposed to be a small demonstration – a quiet march of several hundred Israeli activists and African asylum seekers, coming on the heels of two Marches for Freedom that took place earlier in the week (both of which were intercepted and suppressed by immigration authorities). Initially, it didn’t seem like it would be the kind of protest that would get much (if any) media attention. But from the second it began, it was clear to all those present that this time was different. More than 2,000 asylum seekers, all in danger of immediate and permanent imprisonment following the passing of the new Anti-Infiltration Act, after the previous was scrapped by the High Court (the court will soon hear the appeal against the new law), marched in the streets of south and central Tel Aviv. The asylum seekers, who had likely seen pictures or heard stories of their friends’ desert marches, were in high gear and bursting with energy. They started running through the streets, chanting only two slogans time and time again: “No more prison!” and “we want freedom!”

It went on like this for two-and-a-half hours. The several dozen Israeli activists present were stunned. Previous Tel Aviv demonstrations by asylum seekers were relatively calm, and included people holding up signs and giving long speeches – but with none of the energy felt that night. The police, too, was caught unprepared. Neither its attempts to negotiate with demonstrators, its placing of border and riot policemen in the protest’s path, its use of pepper spray, nor the arrests of several protesters were able to stop the protest. Every time the front rows...

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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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