You would think that sentencing a group of Israelis for setting fire to a Palestinian cafe is a positive development. But a closer look shows that the culture of minimizing the seriousness of price tag attacks is alive and strong. Were people's lives and livelihoods not at stake, it would have been an almost sublime piece of parody. During the trial of four teenage Israeli settlers who set fire to a Palestinian-owned cafe in the West Bank town of Dura, which concluded on Monday, the defendants' attorneys - as reported by Ynet - brought forth the claim that because the arson was…Read More... | 8 Comments
Two incidents in the West Bank leave upwards of 60 olive trees severely damaged, according to human rights organizations. Dozens of Palestinian-owned mature olive trees were felled in a suspected settler attack Saturday night in the West Bank, according to two Israeli human rights organizations. Villagers discovered the vandalized trees on lands belonging to the village of Yasuf, in the central West Bank in between the Israeli settlements of Rehelim and Kfar Tapuach. Rabbis for Human Rights called on Israeli authorities to make every effort to quickly find those responsible and bring them to justice. Over the weekend, Palestinians in…Read More... | 9 Comments
Court sentences two West Bank settlers for setting fire to Palestinian-owned vehicles, but not before the investigatory process violated their civil rights. Two extremist settlers were sentenced to 30 months in prison on Sunday, in what is the first such conviction for a “price tag” attack against Palestinian civilians. Yehuda Landsberg and Yehuda Savir, both residents of the illegal Havat Gilad settlement outpost in the northern West Bank, were convicted of setting fire to Palestinian-owned vehicles with racist motives last year, reported Shabtai Bendet of Walla! News. The sentence was the result of a plea bargain. Israeli authorities have been notoriously…Read More... | 33 Comments
The arson attack against the bilingual school in Jerusalem was committed within a broader political framework: it is an extension of institutionalized violence and ought to be traced back to incitement by right-wing Israeli politicians preaching for blind patriotism and hatred of the 'other.' By Fady Khoury After every act of violence perpetrated by Palestinians against Jews, Israeli politicians waste no time framing it as an act of terror that can be traced back to the incitement of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority, some local Palestinian leadership or Palestinians’ “intrinsically violent” culture. The violence is always part of something broader…Read More... | 7 Comments
The mixed Jewish-Arab school has been the target of racist attacks in the past, but for the parents, students and teachers of the 'Hand in Hand' school, this feels different. 'This time, the fire was ignited inside our home.' The timing couldn’t have been more “perfect”: while I was still at a demonstration against the “Jewish Nation-State Law” outside the Prime Minister’s Office, I got a message saying that the bilingual school was set on fire. Here we were demonstrating against political arson, and not too far away someone is already doing it with gasoline and matches. This time, the…Read More... | 18 Comments
The largest Arab-Jewish educational institution in Israel has been targeted several times in the past. Jerusalem's bilingual Arab-Jewish school was set on fire Saturday night, and hate speech was sprayed on its walls with the messages: "Kahane was right" and "There is no coexistence with cancer." One classroom was totally consumed while another was partially burned, as well as a stack of books. Read also: 'We will overcome': Arson and mourning at J'lem bilingual school Most schools in Israel serve Jews or Arabs separately, in addition to separation between secular and religious students. Mixed schools are the exception and there are…Read More... | 32 Comments
'This is a direct continuation of Israeli policy at Al Aqsa [Mosque],' one resident of Al Mughayir says. New data shows that since establishment of a special police unit to tackle settler attacks, the number of failed investigations has actually increased. Text by Oren Ziv and Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man Photos by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org A mosque in the West Bank village of Al Mughayir was set on fire and severely damaged in a suspected hate crime early Wednesday morning. The first floor of the mosque was completely engulfed but the flames also reached the second floor. A large number of Qurans were burned…Read More... | 5 Comments
The olive harvest is historically a period when settler violence against Palestinians and their trees increase. The name of a local settlement from which two youths were arrested last week is spray painted onto the mosque's wall. A West Bank mosque was set on fire and vandalized early Tuesday morning in what on the surface appeared to be a hate crime attack by Jewish settlers. A local Palestinian official, Hamza Dereya, said that Israeli settlers entered the village of Aqraba before dawn, according to official Palestinian news agency WAFA. The vandals set fire to the village’s mosque and spray painted…Read More... | 7 Comments
In an attempt to downplay the severity of nationalist crimes by Israeli citizens, the media refers to the offenses as 'graffiti.' Here are the facts – and it’s not just graffiti. By Yossi Gurvitz for Yesh Din In recent weeks the “Hilltop Youth,” Israeli citizens in general, and their lobby in the Knesset and the media have been experiencing a sense of crisis. The events surrounding Yitzhar and the comments by a resident of the settlement justifying attacks on soldiers have put them on the defensive. In their responses in online comments and in sympathetic articles, they have presented the argument that “Price…Read More... | 2 Comments
This year's Memorial Day and Independence Day come at a time of increasing incidents of terror against the Palestinian population in both Israel and the West Bank. And yet, Palestinians are the ones being put under total closure. The Israeli military imposed a closure on Palestinians in the West Bank as of 6 p.m. local time Sunday that will continue throughout Memorial Day and end following Independence Day Tuesday night at 23:59 p.m. This means that in addition to their routine lack of freedom of movement, Palestinians will be under curfew and only emergency humanitarian cases will be considered for…Read More...
The Israeli defense minister has raised the idea of using administrative detention against violent settlers. But there are more interests at play than meets the eye. As I wrote here last week, "price tag" – attacks by fringe settler groups perpetrated against (mostly) Palestinian property and civilians – finally hit the national news in Israel. The reason was the object of (one) of the latest attacks: a small IDF post near Yitzhar that settlers stormed, and the tires of the regional commander's jeep, which were slashed when he visited the same settlement. The honor of the general’s tires worked where the…Read More... | 2 Comments
New feature: A selection of Larry Derfner’s sociopolitical outbursts on Facebook for the week ending Saturday, April 12. THE GREAT COLBERT As he moves into the mainstream of the mainstream (taking over the David Letterman show), a reminder of Stephen Colbert’s unforgettable roast of George W. Bush (and the press) at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner (FB status, April 12): This is to the Bush years what Edward R. Murrow's famous TV takedown was to the McCarthy era. In 2006 it was finally sinking in on America that Bush and his wars were a disaster, and that the press had…Read More...
Clashes between settlers and Israeli forces left several border policemen hospitalized Tuesday morning. While the mainstream media was quick to condemn the settlers' behavior, it missed the bigger story. We have been asking here for some time why the so-called "price tag" attacks don’t get the media attention they deserve. For those unfamiliar with the term, price tag attacks refer to attacks by radical settler groups – “hilltop youth” and others, mostly from the settlement outposts – on Palestinians and their property, including: beatings, arson, graffiti on mosques, and most frequently – the destruction of olive trees. The name “price…Read More... | 7 Comments
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