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German bank fights BDS while financing dispossession

Germany’s Bank for Social Economy shut down an account belonging to a Jewish peace group, accusing it of anti-Semitism. Meanwhile, it continues to handle an account belonging to the Jewish National Fund — which actively supports dispossession of Bedouin.

By John Brown*

In the beginning of December, +972’s Haggai Matar revealed that Germany’s Bank für Sozialwirtschaft (Bank for Social Economy) had closed an account belonging to Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East, a German-based peace group. According to the bank, the organization was part of a campaign that undermined Israel’s existence.

The bank’s claims, however, are inaccurate. In response to the bank’s decision to shut down their its account, Jewish Voice for Just Peace emphasized that the organization does not oppose Israel’s existence, and that its support for BDS is part of a “nonviolent campaign for human rights, and that we support actions directed at companies that directly profit from the occupation, and that even our platform includes support for two states.”

These inaccuracies become even more glaring when taking into account the hypocrisy of German bankers who, on the one hand, condemn racism, while handling the account of the Jewish National Fund in Germany.

The JNF’s activities are too long to list here, so here is just a small taste: the organization is currently providing temporary infrastructure to a small group of religious Israeli Jews who are slated to move to the future town of Hiran. Hiran will be built on the ruins of the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev, which is currently fighting impending demolition.

The JNF is also responsible for helping plant a forest in the Negev in partnership with fundamentalist Christian organization, God TV, on land belonging to the Bedouin village Al-Araqib, which has been demolished 108 times. God TV’s goal is to plant one million trees in Israel in order to hasten the Second Coming. The JNF is also involved in establishing and funding settlements in the West Bank.

So why is a German bank willing to allow the funding Jewish-only settlements built in occupied territory, especially after the UN Security Council established that do so is illegal?

It is unclear whether the banks offering services to the Jewish National Fund understand the significance of the organization’s activities. In any case, Bank für Sozialwirtschaft should take a hard look at the facts before it accuses a...

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Trump's wall would be a moral and practical failure — just like Israel's

Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border was a cornerstone of his presidential campaign. But Israel’s separation wall is a lesson in why such a project is dangerous, ineffective — and morally wrong.

By Abby C. Wheatley and Oren Kroll-Zeldin

Throughout his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump made constant reference to the 50-foot tall concrete wall he plans to build on the entire length of the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump’s plan is divisive, further polarizing an already fractured American public. And yet there seems to be little public awareness that nearly 700 miles of fencing already exists, or that thousands of migrants have died attempting to cross the border, a well-documented consequence of border security.

The current border fence creates deadly conditions for people in transit while further dividing border communities that have long coexisted. But Trump’s public presence and demagogic rhetoric distracts from these realities, and ignores well-documented historical evidence that no border can be fully secured with a wall.

Trump’s wall is poorly conceived and doomed to fail not only because it would be nearly impossible (and inordinately expensive) to build, but also because a wall does not prevent migration or address the social, political, and economic conditions that drive it. Moreover, building a wall would actually fortify underground economies and fuel illicit cross-border traffic. Legally restricting the mobility of people does not stop cross-border movement; it pushes it underground, exacerbating conditions of insecurity and violence in these regions.

A comparison of the separation wall in Israel-Palestine and the U.S.-Mexico border provides ample evidence of this reality. The U.S.-Mexico border fence has not stopped undocumented migration just as Israel’s separation wall has not prevented Palestinians from entering Israel. In both cases, however, the construction of a barrier has amplified tensions and violence. As the U.S. government considers building an enhanced and more restrictive border wall, we should work to avoid the pitfalls of the separation wall.

As anthropologists and activist-researchers, we have witnessed the impacts of “securing” the border through our ethnographic research on the U.S.-Mexico and Israel-Palestine borderlands. Our experiences have led us to conclude that an impermeable border—one that is difficult to cross through legal or regulated means—is a dangerous and violent border. A permeable border can save lives, improve cross-border relations, and reduce violence in volatile border regions.

U.S.­–Mexico border wall

The guiding principle of U.S. border security transformed in 1994 as policy aimed...

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The dangerous new myth of 'Palestinian defeat'

The idea that Israel must ‘defeat’ the Palestinians by demoralizing them until they accept whatever solution is forced upon them is gaining traction on the Right.

By Nathan Hersh and Abe Silberstein

The idea that instead of negotiating with the Palestinians Israel must first “defeat” and thoroughly demoralize them until they recognize its permanent presence in the region, has emerged from center-right policy circles in recent months. This broad idea takes many shapes, the most of extreme of which is articulated in Daniel Pipes’ front page essay in Commentary Magazine, and will presumably have some appeal to the incoming Trump administration. But if President-elect Trump is serious about sealing “the ultimate deal,” a Palestinian-Israeli peace accord, he will reject this line of thinking. Even in its most moderate dressing, it makes little sense. 

In an article for Haaretz, Einat Wilf, a former centrist Israeli politician and fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, offered a conflict resolution strategy along these lines that, paradoxically, amounts to conflict perpetuation. In Wilf’s words, Israel’s strategy should be to compel the Palestinians to “surrender and acknowledge that they aren’t going to get the whole of Palestine.” 

On this matter, we come as the bearers of good news: Not only did the P.L.O recognize Israel in 1993, it has also not tried to “get the whole of Palestine” in any of the negotiations that have taken place since. Indeed, in their much-condemned “unilateral moves,” the P.L.O. leadership has sought no more than the territorial compromise that underpins the two-state solution — a return to pre-1967 borders, with the possibility of mutual land swaps. The recently-passed United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which was voted through 14-0 with the U.S. abstaining, also condemned terrorism against Israel, and is based on the two-state solution as well. 

Still, there is cause for concern. The recent postponement of municipal elections in the Palestinian territories, for example, should worry all supporters of the two-state solution who want to see strong Palestinian institutions. But the “defeat them” paradigm is wholly inappropriate for anyone seeking a resolution to the conflict.

For one thing, how will Israel “defeat” the Palestinians? It’s clear enough what advocates believe defeat would entail: Palestinian recognition of Israel, a milestone reached over 20 years ago, and the forgoing of...

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Paris is a long way from Gaza

The Paris Peace Conference will focus on Israeli settlements in the West Bank. That is because with greater and greater restrictions on movement, and by unraveling the ties that bind Palestinian society, Israel has effectively removed Gaza from the conversation. That is a terrible mistake.

By Tania Hary

This Sunday, senior diplomats and foreign ministers from 70 countries are expected to convene in Paris along with Palestinian officials to talk peace. According to reports, they’re expected to call on the parties to refrain from taking “unilateral steps that prejudge the outcome of final-status negotiations,” code for Israel to please refrain from building more settlements.

There aren’t any Israeli settlements left in Gaza, but for upwards of ten years now Israel has been taking one major unilateral step that pushes a sustainable solution to the conflict further and further away: the Strip’s painful isolation from the West Bank, and the world.

Ties connecting Palestinian society — academia, families, cultural institutions, civil society organizations, businesses and markets — are largely influenced by Israel’s policy on movement between Gaza and the West Bank. At least since the year 2000, and even more stringently since 2007, travel between the two areas of the Palestinian territory has ground to a minimum, a “humanitarian minimum” as Israel calls it. Humanitarian is nice, but it’s not the stuff of state-building.

Gaza’s isolation from the rest of the world, and particularly the West Bank, has resulted in dramatic increases in unemployment, poverty, dependence on aid, and of course instability.

What’s striking is that it has gone mostly unnoticed and is rarely discussed other than in the short periods during and immediately after each of the three major military operations that have occurred there in the past eight years. Even more noteworthy is that senior Israeli security officials often cite the situation in Gaza as running counter to Israel’s security interests.

But while most of the world, and those that will gather in Paris surely, continue focusing on the most glaring and physical incarnation of occupation — the settlements in the West Bank — the fragmentation of the Palestinian territory can’t be ignored. Neither too should the presence of Hamas nor of any action taken by any party to deliberately harm civilians. But the seemingly invisible and indiscernible reality of two million Palestinians...

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It didn't have to be this way in East Jerusalem's Silwan

The neighborhood of Batan al-Hawa is today the site of major friction and tensions between Palestinian residents, Jewish settlers and the massive security presence that accompanies them. But things weren’t always like this, and they don’t have to be.

By Hussam Abed

Try and imagine this: Jews move into a Palestinian village and are welcomed with open arms. They become part of the local economy, share in joyous occasions and sad ones, and together with their neighbors form a unique, rich human tapestry. The tensions are the same you’d find in any society: they are not shaped along the rigid lines of ethnic, national or religious identity.

Now return to the reality I see daily as a B’Tselem field researcher in the neighborhood of Batan al-Hawa, where the largest expulsion effort from East Jerusalem in our time is underway. The settlers encroaching on this neighborhood, which Israel annexed in 1967, come not as neighbors but as occupiers. The foothold they have taken in Batan al-Hawa in recent years is based on a legal battle in which they claim ownership of Palestinian homes that were in Jewish hands before 1948.

This is violent dispossession rooted in discriminatory legislation: Palestinian families are being thrown out of their homes, which are then taken over for the purpose of “Judaizing” the neighborhood. A right of return of sorts — one of the many privileges that the State of Israel bestows on Jews only. Several Palestinian families in Batan al-Hawa have already been evicted in this way, and eviction claims are pending against 81 more. The claims were filed by settler organization Ateret Cohanim, a key player in this dispossession process, which has the support and cooperation of government ministries and of the Jerusalem Municipality.

The families who have lost their homes and those who face a similar threat are not the only ones to suffer: when settlers insert themselves as occupiers into the heart of a Palestinian community, the entire neighborhood is subjected to human rights violations. In Batan al-Hawa, as in Hebron, the settlers have brought with them police, Border Police, and many private security guards. These state and private forces employ violence against the Palestinian residents, using live fire and crowd control measures in this densely-populated neighborhood and regularly threatening and provoking residents.

This ever-present tension and violence has deeply affected community life, and simple things once taken for granted...

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Israeli army jails two conscientious objectors for fourth time

By the time their latest sentence comes to an end, Tamar Ze’evi, 19, and Tamar Alon, 18, will have spent a total of 74 days in jail for refusing to serve in the Israeli army.

By Yael Marom

The Israeli army on Monday sent two conscientious objectors to jail for the fourth time, just five days after they had finished serving their third stint in prison. Presenting themselves at the Tel Hashomer military induction base, Tamar Ze’evi, 19, and Tamar Alon, 18, declared their refusal to join the army and take part in the occupation, for which they were sentenced to 30 days’ detention. The army also decided to separate the two women, sending them to different prisons. By the end of this latest period in jail, they will have spent a total of 74 days behind bars for refusing to serve in the army.

Standing at the entrance to the induction center, the women said: “The choice to refuse army service is one of the stepping stones to turning life in this homeland into one of peace, freedom and fellowship. In our refusal to take part in a system of oppression, we are in solidarity with everyone who is being denied the freedom of choice.”

Alon’s mother, Moria Shlomot, on Tuesday posted to Facebook: “Scared of an alliance of two brave women? Yesterday evening the two Tamars were again sentenced, receiving a 30-day jail term for their refusal to take part in the occupation.

“When they arrived at Prison Six they were told that this time round they were being separated, and that Tamar Alon, my beloved daughter, was being sent back to be arrested at the induction base before being transferred to Prison Four,” the post continued.

“At night, during the telephone conversations they were allowed to make to their parents, the two said that despite the difficulties their spirits were holding strong!”

Corinne Ze’evi, Tamar Ze’evi’s mother, said on Tuesday that “Tamar’s actions again give me the hope and desire to act, before despair.”      

Alon and Ze’evi both requested that they perform civilian national service instead of military service. In her original declaration of her refusal to serve, Ze’evi, a resident of Jerusalem, wrote: “Out of love for this land and the human beings who live in...

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Report: 7,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails

Journalists, scientists, human rights activists and even a clown are among the Palestinians currently sitting in Israeli jails.

By Yael Marom

The vast majority of Israelis are not interested in Palestinian prisoner statistics. After all, for them, Palestinians are not human beings but “terrorists,” and as such it’s perhaps preferable that as many as possible sit behind bars. But for the thousands of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails at any given moment, they are subject to a system of occupation and oppression that pursues, threatens and jails as a matter of daily routine. Journalists, scientists, human rights activists and even a clown are among the prisoners.

Since the occupation began in 1967, Israel’s military legal system has jailed anywhere between half a million and 800,000 Palestinians, according to estimates. This is an almost inconceivable number. The saying goes that there are practically no Palestinian homes without someone in jail. The conviction rate of Palestinians who have been arrested and tried in this system stands at around 99 percent. This means that if you are a Palestinian who has been arrested, it is worthwhile agreeing to a plea bargain, because you have almost no chance of being found innocent.

Millions of people living in the occupied territories lack human rights and are subjected to daily violence, monitoring and financial control, restrictions on movement and building, and more. Furthermore, every Palestinian knows that the threat of prison is permanently dangling over him, and that Israel can arrest and detain him without trial for an unlimited period, citing “confidential materials.” These wholesale arrests are a central part of the mechanism that allows for Israel’s continued hold over the occupied territories.

Israel arrested 6,440 Palestinians in 2016, among them 1,332 children, including girls, and 164 women, according to a recent report published by the Palestinian Prisoners Club, Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer and the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights. Palestinians in East Jerusalem, many of whom are Israeli residents, were particularly targeted: 2,029 were arrested in 2016, 37 percent of whom were minors.

The number of Palestinians in Israeli prisons at the end of 2016 numbered around 7,000, according to the report, of whom 42 were women. Some 300 of them are children, including 11 girls, the report states.

Among the arrestees are also those in administrative detention, an Israeli...

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The real impact of UN Resolution 2334 has yet to come

The heart of the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements is territorial, picking up where 242 left off almost 50 years ago. It will also likely serve as the framework for this month’s Paris Peace Conference.

By Shemuel Meir

UN Security Council resolution 2334 caught Prime Minister Netanyahu off guard. Out of the clear blue sky. From a territorial perspective, which is the heart of 2334, the Security Council resolution represents an escalation in the way the international community relates to Israel’s borders and its settlements in the West Bank.

The Israeli prime minister read the resolution carefully. Netanyahu’s fiery response — as if the United States was part of some conspiracy and abandoning Israel — is the other side of the strength and surprise of the resolution.

From its first line, the Security Council resolution ties itself to one of the most important resolutions relating to the Middle East: Security Council Resolution 242 of November 1967. Resolution 2334 opens by citing and reaffirming the most important pillar of 242: the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war — a rejection of unilateral annexation. From here on out, the international community’s authoritative interpretation that Israel’s legitimate borders are the pre-1967 lines will be based not only on Resolution 242, but also on 2334. The Security Council drew a line in the sand, or rather, a border: the border between the State of Israel and the State of Palestine.

In order to prevent any misunderstanding or a repeat of Israel’s attempts to play down this interpretation, as it did with 242, paragraph 3 of Resolution 2334 spells out that Israel’s borders should be understood within the context of the June 4, 1967 lines. The world will not recognize any unilateral changes to the ’67 lines. The resolution also makes clear that the settlements have no legal validity (paragraph 1), and that they are a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution (paragraph 4).

Resolution 2334 further adopts the European Union’s approach and builds on the “Mogherini Doctrine” of labeling settlement products and applies it to diplomacy, economics, finance, and science fields. Paragraph 5 explicitly calls on states to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.

It is true that Resolution 2334 includes East Jerusalem as part of the occupied territories, but the international community has always treated Jerusalem and...

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Prominent Iranian-Americans to Trump: Keep the nuclear deal

Thirty-seven leading Iranian Americans pen open letter to President-elect Trump, urging him to keep the Iran deal. Abandoning it, they write, will ‘once again put the United States and Iran on the path of war.’

By Jim Lobe

In a particularly eloquent and straightforward defense of the Iranian nuclear deal, 37 prominent Iranian Americans have appealed to Donald Trump to maintain U.S. compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between the P5+1 and Iran. The letter comes on the heels of an appeal to Trump by prominent U.S. scientists urging him to support the deal and a recent poll demonstrating that two-thirds of the U.S. public don’t want the Trump administration to withdraw from the deal.

Washington’s withdrawal from the deal, according to the signers of the open letter, would not only enhance the chances or war with Tehran. It would also strengthen hardliners in Iran who “can easily shut down democracy and human rights activism when they can unite the nation behind the threat of foreign aggression.” It would also “prove that the hardliners were correct to claim that the United States could never be trusted to up hold its end of any deal.”

Signers include, among others, historians Ervand Abrahamian and Roy Mottahadeh; actress Shohreh Aghdashloo; best-selling authors Reza Aslan and Firoozeh Dumas; Iran (and LobeLog contributor) political analyst Farideh Farhi; comedian Maz Jobrani; artists Shirin Neshat and Rahmanian; as well as a number of well-known musicians, singers, and prominent filmmakers, academics, and business leaders.

Letter to President-elect Trump

Dear President-elect Trump,

As Iranian-American artists, scientists, business leaders, human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists, we all drew a sigh of relief when the P5+1 Iran nuclear deal was reached. To us, it meant ensuring that a disastrous war between the United States and Iran was avoided.

As prominent scientists and arms control experts in the United States and around the world have observed, this was a good deal because it dramatically reduced the chances of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

While the easing of sanctions that resulted from this deal has yet to have a tangible impact on the lives of ordinary people in Iran, it has without a doubt given millions hope that the country’s economy has backed away from the edge of the cliff.

This is precisely why we are worried about any effort to undo this agreement. As you have...

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The guide for leftists who want to stop preaching to the choir

For years the Israeli Left has excluded the vast majority of the country from its ranks. Here are eight steps on how to broaden the tent. 

By Noam Shuster-Eliassi

Over the past several years, various writers and NGOs have finally come to the conclusion that the Israeli peace camp is on its death bed, and that along the way it has forgotten, well, everyone.

Today many concede that over the years there formed an “alliance of the elites” between Israeli activists from Tel Aviv who leisurely met with activists from Ramallah. The members of this alliance headed delegations and took part in dialogues — without religious leaders, without Mizrahim, without members of the national-religious movement, without Ethiopian activists, without Russian speakers, without Palestinian citizens of Israel, among other groups. And this is only on our side.

Of course I am generalizing, and we can all think of the exceptions, even those who perhaps were signatories to the Geneva Initiative. But the question is a different one: were they full partners — in both representative and numbers — to formulating accords such as the Geneva Initiative? No. And therein lies the problem.

The voices of those who “do not count” — according to the representatives of the peace camp, the vast majority of whom hail from Tel Aviv — are simply not taken into consideration. Who gets to decide what a “peace activist” looks like? Who gets to wave the banner of dialogue? Who says that the solutions concocted between Ramallah and Tel Aviv all these years are the best ones for Israelis and Palestinians? The time has come to unpack these issues, and we have a lot of work to do.

Alongside the Right’s persecution of the Israeli Left, it has become trendy to say that we need to “broaden the tent.” Countless words have been written about the Left’s blindness as it continued preaching to the choir. Not only is it not enough to highlight the Left’s failures — we need to propose alternatives and ways of implementing them.

I grew up in Neve Shalom-Wahat al-Salam, an Arab-Jewish village established to promote peace and coexistence, but my experience was different from many of the residents there, since for most of my life I never felt part of the peace camp. Sometimes it was because I spoke fluent Arabic; most left-wing activists may want to learn Arabic, but never actually do anything about...

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Kerry's parameters force Israel to take a hard look in the mirror

John Kerry’s speech this week clearly and rationally explained why the status quo will not enable Israel to maintain its Jewish and democratic character. Are Israelis paying attention?

By Elie Podeh and Nimrod Goren

Throughout 2016, analysts were wondering what – if at all – will be President Obama’s final move regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The options discussed included a presidential speech (like the Cairo speech in 2009), updating the Clinton parameters of 2000, and the advancement of a resolution at the UN Security Council. Eventually, all answers were somewhat right: UN Security Council Resolution 2334 was not initiated by the U.S., but it was definitely encouraged by the American administration. Obama himself did not deliver a speech, but his Secretary of State, John Kerry, did, conveying the frustration and disappointment of the administration from both sides, and especially from Israel’s settlement policy.

The Kerry speech introduced parameters for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They did not differ much from the Clinton Parameters, and were more ambiguous and concise. Still, it was a much-needed move in light of the regional changes that took place since 2000, and of issues which gained traction since (such as Israel’s request that Palestinians recognize it as a ‘Jewish state’). The updated parameters provide Israelis – public and politicians alike – more clarity regarding the two-state solution and the steps needed in order to get there. They also generate new momentum by enabling the discussion on an end-game agreement to be based on a recent document, which is part of a set of international moves to advance conflict resolution, and not on a plan devised sixteen years ago.

The Trump effect

A key difference between the Kerry parameters and those of Clinton is the reference made by Kerry to the Arab Peace Initiative (which was not yet published in 2000) and to regional ramifications of Israeli-Palestinian peace. Kerry highlighted the unique opportunity that Israel is currently facing – an opportunity to establish normal ties with Arab countries, and to even launch a joint security framework. Kerry stressed that the fulfillment of this opportunity is clearly linked to progress towards Israeli-Palestinian peace, contrasting recent claims by Netanyahu that normalization between Israel and Arab countries can precede Israeli-Palestinian peace. In his speech, Kerry tried to convince Israelis that peace will bring them concrete regional benefits. He focused on relations with the Arab world and on...

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Undoing the myth of Israel's flagship settlements

The settler movement likes to pretend its flagship settlement bloc, Gush Etzion, was built entirely on land purchased by Jews decades before Israel’s founding. History says otherwise.

By Dror Etkes

During the years 1943-1948, four Jewish localities were established in the area located approximately six miles southwest of the heart of Bethlehem. On the eve of the 1948 War, there were several hundred residents, including children, living in these communities (Kfar Etzion – 1943, Masuot Yitzhak –1945, Ein Tzurim – 1946, Revadim – 1947). Prior to the establishment of these four localities, there had been three attempts to establish Jewish localities in the area, none of which succeeded. These attempts are described on the Gush Etzion Regional Council’s website:

The Jewish localities present in this area until 1948 were established on lands bought by Jews beginning in the second half of the 1920s from Palestinian farmers, mainly from the villages of Beit Ummar, Nahhalin, Al Jab’a, and Surif. A map I received from the Civil Administration reveals that the size of the area purchased by Jews prior to 1948 in the area south and southwest of Bethlehem is approximately 10,500 dunams (an Ottoman unit of land; four dunams are approximately equal to one acre).[1]

Over time, with the occupation of the West Bank by the Jordanian army, these four localities were conquered and destroyed. In September 1967, a few months after the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the settlement of Kfar Etzion was founded, the first settlement to be established in the West Bank.

The Gush Etzion Regional Council was established by military order in 1980, and its spokespeople invest considerable efforts in the attempt to convey to the Israeli public and to the world the impression that this settlement movement is a continuation that draws from a “unique consensual legitimacy” in that the settlements in its boundaries were established on lands purchased by Jews. Mythology is one thing — facts, another.

Suffice it to say in the present context that the official area of the Gush Etzion Regional Council is now seven times larger than the area purchased by Jews in this area prior to 1948. The regional council includes today approximately 20 settlements and a number of outposts, the overwhelming majority of which were established on lands that were never purchased by Jews. The mechanism that has enabled the establishment of these settlements is the takeover of lands that Israel uses...

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+972's Person of the Year: The women standing up to sexual harassment

By Dahlia Scheindlin

Ofek Buchris is a barrel-chested 48 year old with a heavy brow and war wounds. Until recently he was also a venerated general in the IDF. “A.” was a young female soldier under his command in the legendary Golani combat brigade. She accused him of sexual assault, rape, and sodomy between 2010 and 2012. She sent him a letter saying he had ruined her life and began psychological treatment. Meanwhile he was slated for a major promotion (other Golani commanders have gone on to become IDF chief of staff). In late February 2016, A. made a formal complaint. Buchris denied everything.

The drama that unfolded tortuously throughout 2016 became a microcosm of the reasons why this magazine chose the women who are fighting back against sexual harassment as its story of the year. Buchris represents a revered machismo and relentless appetite regardless of the human cost. A. confronted the vaunted social institution that shapes Israeli society more than any other. Her actions challenged the values of a bygone era that no longer serve society, while changing media platforms voiced scorn for the past and support for future norms. A. and all the others were the bridge.

In March, a military court suspended Buchris; he responded only that A. was a spurned soldier in love. A second accuser, “L.” submitted a related complaint. In July, the court indicted Buchris as he, once again, rejected all their claims.

His strategy didn’t work.  After 10 months of full-fledged denial, Buchris published a dry letter in December in which he “took responsibility” for his actions, paving the way to a plea bargain. Charges were reduced; he was convicted and punished with a suspended sentence and demotion of his rank.

Social media users lashed out. A sarcastic campaign quickly went viral, in which people recalled trivial offenses in the army that landed them punishments they labeled with the hashtag “More than Buchris.”

What about A? When her complaint went public she experienced the familiar barrage of public scorn; she was faced with the possibility of being grilled about the scars on her attacker’s naked body to prove her accusations, as well as exposing her psychological treatment files.

Only she can know if coming out was worth it, and probably not any time soon. But one thing is certain: A. wasn’t alone. She stood on the shoulders of earlier lady...

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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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