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Welcome to the Jewish American dissonance

American Jews view a Muslim ban as a threat to the ideals they cherish, yet they also believe that too many Muslims in Israel is a direct threat to the Jewish people.

In early December, just a month after the election of Donald Trump, American alt-right leader Richard Spencer sat down for an interview with Al Jazeera. Speaking to Kristen Saloomey, Spencer, who brought his white supremacist views along as he was catapulted into spotlight over the past year, railed against the “great erasure” of the “white world,” diversity, and the underrepresentation of American whites in corporate America, among other things.

Spencer has made a career out of adroitly tapping into the teeming rage of a white America after eight years of President Obama. He has successfully suffused public discourse with anti-Muslim, anti-black, anti-immigrant, and anti-Semitic sentiments that at least felt like they were in check under Obama. For years Spencer has been promoting a view of the world undergirded by the belief in both white, European supremacy and its negative: that people of color are not only inferior, they are dependent on the greatness of the master race for any success they may have found. And all this under the cloak of a genteel smile, an affable personality, and a hipster haircut.

The most interesting part of Spencer’s interview, however, focuses on his ideas regarding immigration. While he unsurprisingly opposes illegal immigration and supports Trump’s plan to build a wall on the Mexican border, Spencer is actually far more interested in how “legal immigration” shapes the demographic makeup of the United States.


“The real issue is the demographic change that occurs through legal immigration,” Spencer tells Saloomey. “These people come, they’re here to stay — at least for a long time — they’re coming by the millions, they’re voting, they’re certainly integrated into the welfare system. That is the big problem. We just have to say: this is not your country.”

For liberals, Spencer’s obsession with demography is an affront to the very ideas that underlie their country. After all, they say, the United States was founded on the backs of immigrants. For the alt-right, this means a last-ditch effort at preserving white domination.

Spencer’s view of the world poses a challenge for mainstream American Jewry. The vast majority of American Jews, who lean left and vote Democrat, likely view him as their enemy, and for good reason. On Friday, Spencer retweeted...

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Israeli radio host fired after expressing sympathy for slain Bedouin driver

Is there room in the Israeli public conversation for a Jewish radio program host to express a sense of identification with a Bedouin citizen of Israel?

Israel’s Army Radio fired a program host on Wednesday afternoon after she expressed empathy for a Bedouin man who was shot and killed during what police said was an attempted terrorist attack on them just hours earlier.

Khen Elmaleh was dismissed by Army Radio Commander Yaron Deckel after publishing a Facebook status sympathetic to a Bedouin driver whose car struck and killed 34-year-old police officer Erez Levy. “I would also run over a police officer if I were being removed from my home in order to make room for a town built for those more powerful than me,” she wrote.

Elmaleh was referring to the police shooting of Yaqub Musa Abu Qi’an, a resident of the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm el-Hiran in the Negev. The incident occurred in the early hours of Wednesday morning as police forces were amassing to preside over the destruction of the village, which the government plans to replace with a town for Jewish citizens of Israel. Police claimed they opened fire on Abu Qi’an after he deliberately drove his vehicle toward a cluster of security forces at the scene.

But local residents and activists at the scene have vociferously denied the police narrative. According to eyewitnesses, Qi’an lost control of his vehicle after police opened fire. A video released by Channel 10 news later in the day appears to back the residents’ version. [Click here for more background on Umm al-Hiran]

Odeh wounded

After he fired Elmaleh, Army Radio Commander Yaron Deckel tweeted that those who support running over police have no place in the radio station. Elmaleh eventually deleted the status of her own accord.

Elmaleh, a prominent Tel Aviv-based DJ who hosts a weekly music program featuring popular Mizrahi and Arabic music, published her status alongside a famous photo of Shimon Yehoshua, a Mizrahi resident of the south Tel Aviv neighborhood Kfar Shalem, which was taken immediately after he was shot and killed by police at a protest against government evictions in 1982. Yehoshua’s home, like that of Abu Qi’an, was at imminent risk of demolition.

Elmaleh’s post was a sincere attempt at putting oneself...

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Court to decide fate of Palestinian villages in 'Firing Zone 918'

Hundreds of Palestinians in the south Hebron hills are living under the fear of imminent displacement because the Israeli army says it wants to conduct live-fire drills on their village lands.

Israel’s High Court of Justice on Wednesday will hear the case of eight Palestinian villages fighting looming demolition and displacement by the Israeli army in an area the military has designated a live-fire zone.

The area in question, Firing Zone 918, has become a flashpoint in ongoing Israeli attempts to push smaller, rural Palestinian communities off their land across the West Bank in the past several decades.

The story begins in the late 1970s, when the Israeli army declared “Firing Zone 918” on an area of approximately 30 square miles in the south Hebron Hills — home to 12 Palestinian villages — ostensibly for military training.

In October of 1999 the army expelled approximately 700 Palestinian residents of the villages, who had lived there in natural and man-made caves – some on a permanent basis, others only seasonally – long before Israel ever occupied the West Bank. The expulsion orders were handed out on the grounds of “illegal residence in a live-fire zone.” In 2000, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) secured an interim injunction in the Supreme Court, managing to halt the displacement, thus allowing the residents to return to their homes.

In 2002, villagers and the army entered court-ordered mediation, in which the army sought to relocate the Palestinian residents to a smaller area nearby. The Palestinian residents refused, however, and in 2005 the process ended without any result.

The situation has remained more or less stagnant ever since. The villagers continue to live in the area under constant threat of expulsion, while the IDF has been forbidden to train with live fire there or damage the residents’ fields, livestock or produce.

In 2012, after years without progress, the state decided to revive the case, while publishing the defense minister’s new position on the issue: the boundaries of the firing zone would be slightly reduced, leaving out four villages previously slated for demolition and displacement. Even under the new plan, however approximately 1,000 men, women, and children would be kicked out of their homes.

More than two years ago the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the army to re-enter mediation with the Palestinian residents of the firing zone. After the mediation broke down, however, authorities...

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Elor Azaria and the army of the periphery

From the army’s perspective, Azaria’s guilty verdict ostensibly answers the critique that it is unable to deal with soldier violence against Palestinians — or that it doesn’t want to. But there is one reason and one reason only that the lowly soldier was indicted to begin with.

An Israeli military court handed down a guilty verdict Wednesday in the manslaughter trial of Elor Azaria, an IDF soldier who shot and killed an incapacitated Palestinian assailant in March of last year. The high-profile trial polarized the country, pitting Israel’s political class against current and former army generals. Much of the IDF’s top echelons decried Azaria for firing a bullet into Abdel Fattah al-Sharif’s head — 15 minutes after the latter was shot and wounded in an attempt to stab soldiers in the occupied city of Hebron.

Much will be said and written about the implications of the verdict. For now, here are some initial observations and takeaways:

1. Azaria was arrested and brought to trial for one reason and one reason only: B’Tselem volunteer Emad Abu-Shamsiyah caught the shooting on camera. The video sparked controversy in Israel and across the world, momentarily shifting the public’s attention to the costs of the Israeli occupation — certainly for Palestinians but also for Israeli society.

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Abu-Shamsiya lamented that Azaria had been turned into a national hero by many segments of Israeli society. “I know that without the footage,” he said, “no one would have been arrested and life would have gone on as usual. After the shooting no one standing around there was bothered by what they had seen.”

2. Azaria’s conviction is a rare exception to the rule. In the vast majority of cases, the army tends to grant impunity to soldiers who kill or harm Palestinians.

In 2015 alone, Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din found that the IDF opened a total of 186 criminal investigations into suspected offenses committed by soldiers against Palestinians. Of these investigations, 120 files were closed, seven led to disciplinary action, and only four (3.1 percent of all files in which procedures were concluded) led to indictments. Twenty-seven of those files (15 percent) were opened following the death of Palestinians at the hands of Israeli soldiers.

There are countless cases of impunity. I recommend reading through John Brown and Noam Rotem’s excellent series, License to Kill, to gain a more complete picture of...

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Photography as protest in Palestine/Israel

“Activestills: Photography as Protest in Palestine/Israel,” edited by Vered Maimon and Shiraz Grinbaum, Pluto Press (2016)

The first time I truly began to grasp the potency of photojournalism was on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard in June 2011. It was barely a few days after a group of young Israelis decided to pitch tents on the city’s most recognizable thoroughfare, launching what would soon come to be known as the social protest movement.

By the end of that first week, Rothschild began to look like a cross-section of Jewish Israeli civil society, with activist groups from every strain imaginable setting up shop along the boulevard’s outer edges. Zionist youth groups tabled alongside environmentalists who handed out flyers, radical right-wing settlers pitched their tents next to guitar-toting hippies.

I strolled along the boulevard on a balmy summer night when I saw my friend Assaf setting up a booth for Anarchists Against the Wall — the Israeli collective most commonly associated with the nonviolent protests that had cropped up throughout the occupied territories in the mid-2000s. Assaf had just pinned up a clothesline’s worth of glossy A3 photos between two ficus trees, the content of which stood in almost complete contrast to the party-like atmosphere that surrounded us. There were shots of Palestinians and Israelis marching through clouds of tear gas together. Each and every photo included a small, white, block-lettered watermark on the bottom left-hand corner that read: “Activestills.org.”

Suddenly a group of twenty-somethings in matching blue shirts approached us. They were members of Im Tirzu, a far-right student group whose raison d’être was to publicly tarnish left-wing leaders and organizations. Before I knew it, a confrontation had ensued. No one was hurt, but the photos were the first casualty — ripped from the clothesline and strewn across the damp grass. That wasn’t mere symbolism; it was a thuggish attempt to censor images that depicted real struggles by real people. To make sure those particular struggles would have no place in the Rothschild festival.

That may have been my first encounter with the power of Activestills, a loose collective of photographers based mostly in Israel and Palestine, but its story started six years earlier with a group of third-year photography students who had been spending their days at protests in Bil’in — the West Bank village that would soon become the flagship of Palestinian nonviolence for years to come....

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Netanyahu: Attacking Israeli journalists on Facebook is 'fun'

Netanyahu tells foreign journalists that using social media to attack local reporters is ‘the most entertaining.’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke honestly, perhaps for the first time, about what has been driving his recent attacks on Israeli journalists during a conference for members of the foreign press in Jerusalem Tuesday evening.

During the Q&A session, one reporter asked Netanyahu about whether confrontations with local journalists are the “best strategy” to engage with media outlets critical of him.

“I don’t know, it’s the most entertaining,” Netanyahu retorted. “It’s fun, I enjoy it.”

Netanyahu, who also serves as Israel’s communications minister, has in recent years designated the media as his arch nemesis. He attacks journalists by name, and often issues long, belabored responses to investigative reports published on his alleged misdoings. Last month, for example, Netanyahu published an unprecedentedly scathing rebuke to veteran investigative journalist Ilana Dayan, after her show “Uvda” aired a segment criticizing the inner workings of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Following the report, Dayan stood before the cameras and read the entirety of Netanyahu’s response (which took over six minutes to read), in which the prime minister accused one of Israel’s most respected journalists of, among other things, being a “left-wing extremist” who does not have “an iota of professional integrity” and is “one of the ring-leaders of the orchestrated attacks on…Netanyahu, which seek to bring down the right-wing government.”

Raviv Drucker, another prominent investigative journalist, has also been the target of Netanyahu’s ire, especially on social media. Drucker has recently published stories on the role of the prime minister’s personal lawyer and relative in a highly controversial deal to buy German submarines, as well as the shady relationship between the prime minister’s son and Australian businessman James Packer.

While Netanyahu views the media as his enemy, his consolidation of power allows him to mold the media landscape to his heart’s desire. His repeated threats to shut down Channel 10, his habit of calling journalists and television executives to complain about coverage of his wife, Sara, his connections with owners of some of Israel’s biggest outlets, and the fact that the country’s most-read newspaper is essentially a daily dedicated to promoting Bibi’s worldview have all had a chilling effect on journalism in Israel. Or as Netanyahu would call it: fun.

Watch Netanyahu’s full response below:

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Israel's culture minister likens wildfires to anti-Jewish pogroms

Miri Regev says current wildfires tearing through are simply a continuation of the massacres committed against Jews in the 20th century.

Miri Regev is the latest leader to join the chorus of Israeli government ministers inciting against the country’s Palestinian citizens over the past week, fueling allegations that Palestinians have been behind the hundreds of wildfires tearing through the country.

Never one to be outdone by her friends on the right, Minister of Culture and Sport Regev published a Facebook status on Sunday morning comparing the fires, which continue to rage across both Israel and the West Bank, to massacres and pogroms against Jews in the 20th century. Labeling the fires “Praot Tash’az” (the Hebrew equivalent of saying “The 2016 Riots,” the word “tash’az” denotes 5777, the current Hebrew year), Regev admonished the “political correctness” of those who believe waiting for the full results of police investigations is, well, the right thing to do. My translation:

The Israeli government will convene in Haifa City Hall in the next few hours to discuss the arsons of the past few days. Political correctness is trying to force us to bury our heads in the sand, while everything around us burns.

The first step is to call the child by its name — this bad child’s name is “Praot Tash’az” and it is an incarnation of the arsons in Fez, Kishinev, Hebron, Hartuv, and Be’er Tuvia.

This time, praise be to God, the Jewish people have a state and a government, and they are not planning on burying their heads in the sand. I will make sure that decisions are made that will lead to stopping the enemy within and beyond.

As Local Call’s Yael Marom noted earlier this week, Israeli politicians and leading media outlets alike jumped at the opportunity to pin the fires on Arabs. Netanyahu made sure to frame the alleged arson as terrorism, and the accused arsonists as terrorists. “Every fire caused by arson, or by incitement to arson, is terrorism,” Netanyahu said. “Anyone who tries to burn parts of the State of Israel will be punished severely.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett continued the trend, stating: “Only he who the country doesn’t belong to him is capable of burning it.” Several days later, standing with the residents of the West Bank settlement Halamish — where 15 homes were burned down, allegedly as a result of arson — Bennett called the arsonists...

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Time's up? State announces imminent demolition of Bedouin village

Authorities will begin demolishing the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran on Tuesday morning — in order to replace it with a Jewish town.

The Israel Land Authority (ILA) announced on Monday that the demolition of Umm al-Hiran, an unrecognized Bedouin village in southern Israel, would begin the next day, following a 13-year legal struggle. The state plans to build a Jewish town atop the remains of the Bedouin village.

Following the announcement, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel filed a last-minute request with the Be’er Sheva Magistrate’s Court to freeze the demolition process, which was rejected. According to Adalah, the ILA announced that it has hired a private contractor to carry out the demolition at the cost of NIS 119,000 (approximately $30,760).

Umm al-Hiran’s residents are reporting that police forces have already arrived at the village in preparation for Tuesday’s demolitions, and are calling on activists from across the country to make their way to the village in order to gear up for the demolition. Joint List head Ayman Odeh announced on Monday evening that he would be spending the night in the village, also calling on Israelis to join him to prevent “devastation and destruction.”

[Update, Tuesday 11:15 a.m.: Police temporary postpone the demolition, after activists and members of Knesset spent the night in the village]

The announcement comes more than a year and a half after Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled by a 2-1 majority to authorize the state’s plan to demolish Umm al-Hiran, displacing hundreds of residents for the sole purpose of establishing a new Jewish town named “Hiran” over its ruins.

The future residents of Hiran, who are tied to the West Bank settlement of Susya, are currently living in caravans in an encampment in the adjacent Yatir forest. Because the Israeli government refuses to recognize Umm al-Hiran, it has denied its residents water and electricity for decades; meanwhile the future residents of Jewish Hiran have already been provided those services by the state and the Jewish National Fund (JNF).

The residents of Umm al-Hiran were first expelled from their original land in Khirbet Zubaleh under a military government order in 1956. While the High Court has recognized that the residents, who belong to the Abu al-Qian tribe, were not illegal trespassers — as initially claimed by the state — it ruled that because they are now on “state land,”...

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Israel's biggest paper ignores anti-Semitism of senior Trump advisor

News of white supremacist Stephen Bannon’s appointment to a top job in the next White House has been roiling much of the Jewish press and anti-hate groups, including the ADL. Israel’s most-read newspaper, ‘Israel Hayom,’ decided its readers don’t need to know.

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis will have no idea that a bonafide anti-Semite is going to be the next U.S. president’s left-hand man. President-elect Donald Trump announced on Sunday he will be appointing Stephen K. Bannon, a white nationalist anti-Semite and one of the faces of the pro-Trump alt-right movement, as the new White House chief strategist. But you wouldn’t know any of that if you leafed through Israel Hayom, Israel’s most widely-read newspaper on Monday.

The Sheldon Adelson-funded, pro-Netanyahu, free daily newspaper published an article Monday [Hebrew] that mentioned Bannon’s appointment, yet omitted any and all mention of his sordid views on Jews, women, Latinos, and the LGBTQ community.

In the article, Israel Hayom‘s U.S. correspondent Yoni Hirsch dedicated exactly two sentences to Bannon’s appointment, writing that Trump chose Reince Priebus over him for chief of staff, and that as head of Trump’s presidential campaign, Bannon decided to aggressively take on Hillary. The rest of the article focuses on Priebus, who is considered a more moderate, establishment Republican, along with Trump’s stated plan to expel millions of immigrants, and speculation over the president-elect’s future advisors.

That’s it. Not one mention of the conspiracy theories peddled by Bannon, according to which Hillary Clinton’s aid Huma Abedin is a spy for Saudi Arabia or that Planned Parenthood has Nazi ties. Not a word on the fact that he reportedly did not want his twin daughters attending the Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles because many Jewish students were enrolled there, and Bannon believes that Jews are raised to be “whiny brats.” Nothing about the fact that he was charged with choking his ex-wife Mary Louise Piccard, or that he called feminist activists a “bunch of dykes.” The list goes on and on, yet Hirsch and his editors at Israel Hayom found no reason to mention any of it.

The paper’s outright refusal to pay the bare minimum lip-service to homegrown American anti-Semitism continued in a second article published Monday, also by Hirsch. Under the headline, “It’s time for Obama and Clinton to calm the protesters,” Hirsch reported on the wave of anti-Trump protests that have been sweeping...

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For Israelis, Palestinian refugees are a constant, lurking threat

A new government public relations clip shows Israeli Jews as the perpetual victims of history. But once upon a time Israeli leaders were able to consider the pain of others, too.

The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs managed to out-do itself on Thursday when it released its latest hasbara (state-sponsored PR) video of Jews as eternal victims of persecution in their homeland.

The clip tells the story of Rachel and Jacob, two contemporary Israeli Jews who live in a large, comfortable home, which is meant to be a metaphor for the Land of Israel. Slowly, the couple’s home is invaded and occupied by the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Hellenists, the Romans, the Muslims, the Crusaders, Mamelukes, the Turks (just wait for the extremely Orientalist portrayal), and finally the British.

Each invasion pushes Rachel and Jacob into a smaller space in their home. The message is hard to miss: for 3,000 years the Jews have been subject to invasions and occupations in their homeland that have left them powerless and oppressed. Only the State of Israel has, finally, granted them a home they must fight to defend and protect at all costs.

Notably absent from the list of invaders are the Palestinians. But watch until the very end, when Rachel and Jacob’s Jewish home(land) is finally safe and secure: That’s when we see a suspicious-looking Palestinian couple knock on the front door and peer into the home. The symbolism is hard to miss: The angry Palestinians appeared in Israel, as if out of nowhere, to take over a land that never belonged to them.

The fact that the video portrays Palestinian refugees as potential usurpers is unsurprising, to say the least. At best, they are entirely absent from the Israeli public discourse — at worst they are widely viewed as a threat to the very existence of the Jewish state, not to mention a direct threat to Jewish presence in Israel-Palestine.

That’s because the very notion of Palestinian refugees has become nearly invisible to the average Israeli — a relatively new phenomenon that is the result of a stubborn attempt to craft a final-status solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that makes cosmetic changes to the landscape without actually addressing the root cause of Palestinian indignation.

But it wasn’t always this way. In the early days of the state, Israel’s mainstream political parties argued tirelessly...

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U.S. embassy sends settlement wine to anti-settlement groups

The diplomatic faux pas is indicative of just how impossible it is to distinguish between Israel and its illegal settlements these days.

Human rights organizations in Israel were in for a surprise on Monday when they opened Rosh Hashanah gift baskets sent by the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. Among the various goodies delivered in honor of the upcoming Jewish New Year — such as chocolates and honey — was a bottle of wine produced in the occupied West Bank.

A broad range of organizations including Peace Now, B’Tselem, and Yesh Din which focus on Palestinian rights and settlement expansion in the occupied territories, were among those to receive the gift basket.

The wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon named “Dolev,” is produced by the Zion Winery located in the West Bank settlement Mishor Adumim. The winery’s website provides a terse historical description, omitting any mention of the fact that it operates out of occupied territory:

The Israeli wine industry is made up of six large wineries — Carmel, Barkan, Golan Heights, Teperberg 1870, Binyamina and Tishbi — and dozens of medium and small wineries, totaling over 150 wineries, and about 12,000 acres of vineyards, according to settlement watchdog Who Profits.

While the wine industry is known for providing information about the origin of grapes that are used in the production of wine, there are several methods to conceal information concerning grapes from settlement vineyards in occupied territory. Investigating the connections of the Israeli wine industry to settler vineyards, Who Profits found that while grapes from the Golan Heights are used quite openly, the wineries that use grapes from West Bank vineyards most often use a myriad of methods to conceal their origins.

Settlement goods, including wines, have been the target of boycotts both inside and outside Israel over the past several years. Vinters in the West Bank have reported an increasingly difficult time selling their products as a result of the growing movement to boycott Israeli products, which was bolstered late last year after the European Union passed a set of guidelines to accurately label the origins of Israeli goods produced beyond the Green Line. EU member states are now able to determine which punishments to enforce on anyone who does not abide by the regulations (the regulations require states to levy sanctions against those who violate them).

The embassy’s decision to include settlement wine in holiday gift baskets is even more curious when considering the U.S.’s position vis-a-vis settlement goods. Every single U.S administration...

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Israeli demolitions leave 53 Palestinians homeless

Israeli authorities have demolished more Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank thus far in 2016 than in any other calendar year in the last decade.

Israeli authorities destroyed 33 structures, 20 of them homes, across the West Bank since the beginning of August. The demolitions have left 53 people, including 25 minors, homeless, according to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

The demolitions began on August 4th in the Al-Mu’arrajat community in the Jordan Valley, where four homes were destroyed and 14 people were left homeless. On August 8 authorities bulldozed two homes in the village Fasayil in the Jordan Valley, leaving 12 people without shelter. On August 9 authorities demolished five homes, leaving 27 people homeless, in the Um al-Kheir community, located in the South Hebron Hills.

Israeli authorities have demolished more Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank thus far in 2016 than in any other calendar year in the last decade. As my colleague Natasha Roth previously pointed out, Israel justifies administrative demolitions by arguing that the structures in question have been built without a permit.

WATCH: Israeli authorities demolish home in Um al-Kheir

All homes and structures demolished by Israel were located in Area C of the West Bank, which is under both Israeli civil and military control. The Palestinians as well as the international community consider the area to be part of a future Palestinian state. Israel, on the other hand, wants Area C, where the settlements are located, to remain in its hands.

However, it is nearly impossible for Palestinians in Area C to obtain building permits: between 2010 and 2014 the army’s Civil Administration granted just 1.5 percent of requests. The IDF recently admitted that when it comes to demolitions in the West Bank, “enforcement against Palestinians is hundreds of percentage points higher [than against Jews].”

The demolitions come on the backdrop of increasing pressure and condemnation against Israel for its home demolition policies. Just last month, European Union ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen slammed Israel for destroying Palestinian homes in Area C. Last week U.S. officials warned the Obama administration would respond harshly should Israel demolish the West Bank village of Susya —  which has been under threat of imminent demolition for several years — and that it was “troubled” by Israel’s “provocative” razing of three EU-funded shelters in the West Bank.

Since 2006, B’Tselem reports, Israel...

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WATCH: Border cop confiscates Palestinian girl's bicycle in Hebron

Video shows Border Police officer taking away eight-year-old Anwar Burqan’s bicycle and throwing it into the nearby bushes.

An Israeli Border Police officer was caught confiscating a bicycle from an eight-year-old Palestinian girl in the West Bank city of Hebron last week.

In a video shot by B’Tselem volunteer Raed Abu Ramileh and published Tuesday afternoon, the officer appears to seize Anwar Burqan’s bike as she rides along a chain-link fence on al-Ibrahimi Street, before throwing it into the bushes.

In September 2012, Israeli security forces put up a the fence along al-Ibrahimi Street, adjacent to the Cave of the Patriarchs, leaving the main road on one side of the fence, and a narrow, unpaved and rough pedestrian path on the other. In recent years, B’Tselem has documented security forces prohibiting Palestinians from entering the paved side of the fence, though there is no official ban on Palestinian presence there.

According to B’Tselem, Burqan lives in the nearby apartment in the neighborhood of a-Salaimeh with her parents and six of her siblings.  Her father, Amer Burqan, is confined to a wheelchair. Anwar told B’Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja’bri that they have no yard at home and that because of the crowded conditions she and her siblings play out in the street and ride their bicycles on the paved part of the divided street.

Anwar said that on Monday, July 25, 2016, his daughter was playing on al-Ibrahimi Street with her sister and two brothers. She was riding a bicycle belonging to one of her brothers when an Israeli Border Police officer ran over and confiscated it. He shouted at her to go home and she burst into tears.

In response to the footage, the Border Police Spokesperson released the following statement:

Hebron is the Palestinian city where Israel’s regime of exclusion and separation is at its most bare-faced and brutal. The city is divided into two sections, H1, which is governed by the Palestinian Authority, and H2 — roughly 20 percent of the city — which is under Israeli military rule. There Palestinians live under a regime of closures and checkpoints, where roughly 850 Israeli settlers are free to do as they please (which often includes violence against Palestinian civilians) under the guise of military occupation.

Over the past decades Hebron has turned into one of the most heavily guarded areas under Israeli control. At least 650 IDF soldiers are stationed...

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