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Civilians deliberately targeted in Gaza attacks, reports find

Two separate investigations by B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch determine that the Israeli army and Palestinian armed groups unlawfully targeted civilian populations during the most recent Gaza escalation.

Israel killed 13 Palestinian civilians who weren’t involved in hostilities or affiliated with militant groups in its latest military campaign in Gaza, according to a new report by B’Tselem released Wednesday. Two of the casualties were children and three were women, one of whom was heavily pregnant. “These deaths are the foreseeable outcome of Israel’s unlawful, immoral policy of bombing homes in Gaza,” determined B’Tselem.

Based on B’Tselem’s investigation, from May 3 to May 6, Israel launched airstrikes and fired shells at more than 350 targets in Gaza, wounding 153 people. The rights group also found that none of the strikes “were preceded by any suitable warnings that might have given the inhabitants the opportunity to seek shelter or save their belongings.”

During this time, the militant groups associated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired some 700 rockets to Israel, killing three and wounding 123. A rocket fired by Islamic Jihad operatives struck a home in Gaza and killed a pregnant woman and her one-year-old niece, and an anti-tank missile fired by these groups killed another Israeli civilian. “This targeting of the civilian population in Israel is unlawful and immoral,” according to the report.

As in previous attacks, Israel again targeted residential and office buildings, the report found. According to the United Nations, a total of 33 housing units were destroyed and 19 more were severely damaged, leaving 52 families — 327 Palestinians, including 65 are children — without shelter. Hundreds more housing units sustained partial damage.

B’Tselem emphasized that firing at residential structures in densely populated areas like the Gaza Strip “inevitably involves serious risk of harm to civilians. The danger is not hypothetical: in recent years Israel has already killed thousands of civilians, including hundreds of children, in airstrikes on their homes.” In Operation Protective Edge in 2014 alone, Israel killed at least 1,055 Palestinians — including 405 children and 229 women — who did not take part in the hostilities.

The report also highlighted how these strikes are not a result of rogue combatants transgressing military orders, but in fact “part of a policy formulated by government officials and the senior military command.” The attacks “had the support of the MAG Corps, which issued legal opinions backing the...

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New evidence backs Arab MK's claims that police shot him

An investigation by a London-based research center shows MK Ayman Odeh was shot with a sponge-tipped bullet during clashes in Umm al-Hiran in 2017. Police repeatedly claimed he was hit by a stone thrown by one of the protesters.

New evidence suggests Israeli police shot Palestinian Member of Knesset Ayman Odeh in the head with a sponge-tipped bullet during a home demolition in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in 2017, according to a final investigation report published earlier this week by the London-based Forensic Architecture research center.

According to a digital analysis based on footage provided by the police, Israeli journalists, and left-wing activists, Odeh was hit just moments after police shot Umm al-Hiran resident Yacoub Abu al-Qi’an on January 18, 2017. According to the Forensic Architecture investigation, Abu al-Qi’an lost control of his vehicle after police shot him and subsequently careened into Israeli police officer Erez Levy, killing him.

The police immediately labeled the incident an ISIS-inspired “terror attack,” while simultaneously claiming that Odeh had been hit in the head by a stone thrown by one of the Bedouin youth at the police officers.

A video leaked to Israeli Channel 10 News over a year and a half ago allegedly included evidence showing that Odeh was in fact hit by a stone. Yet an analysis of footage filmed by Israeli police, Activestills photographer Keren Manor, and a police drone suggests that the video that was leaked to Channel 10 had been cut and did not include the moment in which the MK was shot. In the full version, one of the police officers can be heard telling another officer to “give them the sponge.”

WATCH: Forensic Architecture’s investigation

The latest report supports the version of the events as described by MK Odeh and additional activists who were also shot by sponge-tipped bullets, while suggesting that the Police Internal Investigations Department withheld crucial information from the attorneys representing the Abu al-Qi’an family. For example, in the materials handed over to the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, which is representing Odeh and Abu Al-Qi’an’s family, a page is missing from the transcript of one of the officers’ testimony.

Days after the incident, Local Call and +972 Magazine published a preliminary investigation by Forensic Architecture that included footage filmed during the shooting that showed Abu al-Qi’an was shot before his car hit...

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Despite int'l sanctions, Myanmar officials attend Tel Aviv weapons expo

Israel continues to supply arms and training to the regime in Myanmar, despite its genocide against the Rohingya people.

Representatives of Myanmar’s military attended Israel’s largest, government-supported security and weapons conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. The officials arrived at the Tel Aviv Expo Center for the International Defense, HLS & Cyber Expo, known as ISDEF, in full military gear. There they browsed through defense equipment and technologies produced by Israeli and international companies, alongside delegates of dozens more countries.

Top Myanmar army officials traveled to Israel in September 2015 for a “shopping spree” with Israeli weapons manufacturers. They also met with President Reuven Rivlin, the IDF chief of staff, as well as the head of the Defense Ministry’s International Defense Cooperation Directorate.

Israel supposedly stopped selling advanced weaponry to Myanmar in 2017 following petitions filed by human rights activists and attorney Eitay Mack to Israel’s High Court of Justice. Based on court hearings and statements made by Myanmar army officers, some of the arms that Israel has supplied include rifles, gunboats, and military training. The court has kept its ruling secret, however, and Israel does not allow any official publication of its arms trade with Myanmar.

According to the report produced by the UN’s Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, the military has committed massive violations against the Rohingya people, a Muslim minority group in the country, including gang rapes, forced disappearances, and the burning of hundreds of villages. Hundreds of thousands more displaced Rohingya civilians live in refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh. The report specifically names six senior commanders as most responsible for the human rights abuses, including the Tatmadaw Commander in Chief, Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing, who previously met with the Israeli army’s Chief of Staff on a visit to Israel.

According to the United Nations, the ongoing human rights atrocities committed by Myanmar’s military against the Rohingya people amount to crimes against humanity and genocide. The European Union extended an embargo on arm sales to Myanmar in April and UN officials have urged the international community to cut off all support for the country’s military. Israel has a history of selling weapons to dictatorships, among them the juntas in Argentina and Bolivia, Rwanda in the years leading up to the genocide, among others.

Also at the expo were representatives from South Sudan, including diplomat William Ador. Since 2013 the country has been torn by a civil war that...

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Palestinian MK released from prison after two-year sentence

Ghattas served a two-year sentence for smuggling cellphones to Palestinian political prisoners. ‘The conditions that Palestinian prisoners face are a central tool the occupation uses to reinforce itself.’

Former Balad MK Basel Ghattas was released from prison Monday morning after serving two years for smuggling cellphones to Palestinian political prisoners in Israel. Although his family was told that Ghattas would be released from Megiddo Prison at 10 a.m., an Israeli Prison Service vehicle dropped him off in Afula in the early morning hours, most likely to prevent a public reception.

Family and friends greeted Ghattas on his arrival to his home village of Rameh in the north. “The conditions that Palestinian prisoners face are part of Israel’s oppressive regime, a central tool the occupation uses to reinforce itself,” said Ghattas at the reception. “Their inability to communicate with family is the real prison,” he added. “There are prisoners from the West Bank whose family can’t visit them months at a time, even years. This is no less than a crime.”

In April, Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons launched a mass hunger strike to protest their deteriorating conditions. The strike ended days after it was announced, after the IPS agreed to install phones in prisoners’ cellblocks.

“The last round of negotiations has resulted in accomplishments, and the question is, why was it impossible to come to these conclusions earlier? Only out of a desire to harass prisoners. After all, they [IPS] know very well that there are hundreds of cellphones in prison,” said Ghattas.

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Ghattas’ conviction came as part of a plea bargain that led to his resignation from the Knesset, after he confessed to part of the charges against him involving the smuggling of cellphones to political prisoners in Ketziot Prison. Palestinian prisoner Walid Daka, who was documented accepting the phones from Ghattas, was also charged in the case. Ghattas was sentenced to two years time served, 18 months on probation, a NIS 120,000 fine as well as a moral turpitude charge. He was brought to Gilboa Prison in July 2017.

During his imprisonment, the IPS decided to transfer Ghattas to at least four different prisons with no prior notice. He was originally slated to serve at a prison in the north, given that his family lives in the Galilee. Unlike ordinary prisoners, visitation rights for...

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Israel to pay photographers attacked by IDF soldiers in Nabi Saleh

Two photographers, one Israeli and one Palestinian, were attacked and had stones thrown at them by Israeli officers and soldiers in 2015. Despite sending on the officers to jail, the state had said the journalists ‘led a riot,’ a claim it retracted as part of the settlement.

Israel has agreed to pay compensation to two photojournalists who were attacked by two Israeli soldiers, including a commissioned officer, in the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh four years ago. The state had initially claimed that the pair had led violent riots that day, despite clear video evidence to the contrary, first published by +972 Magazine, and despite the fact that the army convicted and punished the two officers involved back in 2015.

As part of the settlement, the state has retracted its claims that the two were involved in any riot.

That day, on April 24, 2015, two photojournalists, Israeli Haim Schwarczenberg and Palestinian photographer for AFP, Abbas Momani, were covering the weekly anti-occupation protests in the village at the time.

In a video of the event, first published on +972 Magazine, a soldier can be seen throwing a stone at the two photographers as they attempt to comply with soldiers’ orders to leave the area.

As he walked away, an officer ran after him and pushed Schwarczenberg to the ground. When he got up and moved further away from them, the officer threw another stone at Schwarczenberg and the AFP photographer.

Schwarczenberg told +972 Magazine and Local Call at the time that he was standing on a hill photographing Palestinian stone throwers when Momani told him to get close to the ground because soldiers were shooting live bullets at the stone throwers.

“One of the soldiers suddenly appeared from behind us and shouted, ‘get out of here before I shoot you’,” Schwarczenberg said at the time. “Abbas and I got up to go but then the soldier shouted, ‘lay down!’, and pointed his weapon in our direction [at the stone thrower behind us].” The stone thrower escaped.

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“At that point [the soldier] began pushing me and Abbas, another soldier joined him and threw a stone at us that didn’t hit me,” he continued. “Right after that he threw me and my cameras to the ground.”

The day of the incident, an Israeli...

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Meretz facing internal pressure to become Jewish-Arab party

As the Zionist left struggles to stay relevant, some members of Meretz are proposing a new way forward.

Top members of the Zionist left-wing Meretz party are trying to transform their party into one based on full Jewish-Arab partnership, just a month after it passed the election threshold thanks in large part to increased support from the Arab vote.

The demand, put forth by an internal Meretz group known as the Forum for Jewish-Arab Cooperation, calls on the party leadership to either formally join with Hadash-Ta’al — a union of the Arab-Jewish Hadash party and Ahmad Tibi’s Ta’al party — or transition into a fully-fledged Jewish-Arab party with an Arab party chairperson alongside a Jewish one.

Meretz received more than 30,000 votes from the Arab sector in the last elections, after MK Issawi Frej and Ali Salalha were voted into the party’s top five in the primaries. Many credit the Arab vote for pushing Meretz past the election threshold. Now some party members want to make the union official.

At a meeting of the Forum for Jewish-Arab Cooperation held at the end of April, members passed a motion demanding the party immediately establish a joint Jewish-Arab parliamentary faction between Meretz and Hadash-Ta’al, which would also be open to all left-wing parties. The meeting included 40 Meretz members, including Frej, former MK Mossi Raz, prominent human rights attorney Gaby Lasky, and longtime party activist Nir Cohen.

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The motion, published in Arabic and Hebrew, also calls for internal changes inside the party should the unification motion with Hadash-Ta’al fail to pass. “The Forum will present an amendment to the constitution at the party conference to define Meretz as a Jewish-Arab party,” according to the motion’s wording. “This definition will include two chairpersons, one Arab and one Jewish, in every official party institution, including the party leadership, as well as an obligation that any official publication on behalf of Meretz be published in both Hebrew and Arabic.”

“We are opening the ranks to holding conversations and examining possibilities,” said Frej, who won the fourth spot on the Meretz parliamentary list in its last primaries. “I cannot dictate how far we will get, but the basis [of the party] should be Jewish-Arab so that we include everyone who views this partnership as the basis for a shared future of hope.”

“Meretz is in a difficult position politically, and its...

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Court overturns Palestinian's incitement conviction over poem

Dareen Tatour sat in prison and was put under house arrest for a poem she published on Facebook. Now an Israeli court has decide to partially overturn her conviction.

An Israeli court partially overturned the conviction of Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour on Thursday, ruling that a poem she wrote, which landed her in prison last year, does not constitute incitement to violence.

The Nazareth District Court accepted an appeal by Tatour, who spent four months in prison and nearly three years under house arrest for a poem she wrote during the so-called “Knife Intifada” in 2015. The court accepted that the poem, “Resist My People, Resist Them,” which she published on her personal Facebook page, did not constitute incitement, despite the discomfort it might cause the public. Meanwhile the court let stand her conviction over two other social media posts, which included support for Islamic Jihad, a proscribed group.

The court also recognized Tatour as a poet, as she published the poem under her Facebook page titled “Dareen Tatour the Poet,” which she used until it was shut down following her arrest. Tatour did not appeal her sentence, which she has already served.

“This verdict is important because it tells the authorities not to interfere in creativity, not interfere with art,” Tatour’s attorney, Gaby Lasky, said after the hearing. “We are free, thinking people and your job is to allow creativity and expression, not make us censor ourselves and constantly fear persecution.”

“There is no doubt that Dareen’s case, along with others, is proof that we are entering a dark era for freedom of expression,” Lasky added.

Tatour was arrested in October 2015, after which she spent three months in jail before being placed under house arrest for nearly two-and-a-half years. Her house arrest, which began in January 2016, included various restrictions. At first she was held at her brother’s home who lives in Kiryat Ono, a suburb of Tel Aviv. Only after a legal struggle was she permitted to return to her parents’ home in Reineh. Her family was forced to disconnect the internet at home and Tatour was forbidden from using a computer. For months she was forced to wear an ankle monitor.

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She was convicted in May 2018 of incitement to terrorism and violence and sentenced to five months in prison. She was released on September 20, 2018.

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Hundreds in Tel Aviv mark year since Gaza border killings

Israelis and Palestinians commemorate a year since Israeli troops killed over 60 Palestinian demonstrators in a single day during the Great March of Return. Some protesters call to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Tel Aviv.

Hundreds of Israeli and Palestinians marched in Tel Aviv on Tuesday to mark a year since Israeli troops shot dead over 60 Palestinians and wounded thousands more on the Israel-Gaza border as part of the Great Return March.

The Great Return March, which began in March 2018, included mass protests on the Gaza-Israel fence. On May 15, 2o18, Israeli snipers opened fire on Palestinian demonstrators marking Nakba Day, killing 64.

Tuesday’s demonstration, which included a number of MKs from the left-wing Hadash party, set out from Habima Square and ended in central Tel Aviv’s Meir Park, and included a pre-recorded message from Ahmed Abu Artema, one of the central organizers of the Great Return March in Gaza. “I am addressing you from Gaza where 2.2 million Palestinians live in one of the most densely populated areas in the world,” Abu Artema said.

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“When the residents of Gaza decided to participate in the March of Return, they wanted to express their desire to live in dignity, and they wanted to say no to a slow death… that they deserve to live a normal life like everyone else. We were not armed, our only weapon was our belief in our rights, and we never posed any threat to Israeli soldiers.”

“For 70 years, the Palestinians have been fighting for freedom, a life of dignity and human rights,” Abu Artema said. “We cannot imagine that occupation and discrimination will continue forever, we are fighting to liberate our people, the Palestinian people, from occupation and suffering, and at the same time we are fighting to free Israelis from fear and from walls. This is our common struggle. Let us stand on the right side of history.”

The majority of the protesters refrained from mentioning the Eurovision Song Contest, currently being hosted in Tel Aviv, although a small group of independent activists did march with signs calling on artists to boycott the competition.

Left-wing and BDS activists have called on artists and broadcasters to withdraw their participation the in contest, calling Israel’s hosting of the contest a form of “culture washing” of Israeli human rights violations in the occupied territories.

Shahaf Weisbein, one of the Israeli activists behind the actions to protest Eurovision, said that the fact that the competition...

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What happens when you call a right-winger a 'fascist' in Israel

A known right-wing activist tried to sue left-wing academic Anat Matar for calling him an ‘arch-fascist’ on Facebook. It blew up in his face.

A prominent right-wing activist published a statement last week acknowledging that he shouldn’t file lawsuits to resolve political arguments, as part of an agreement to settle a lawsuit he filed. Left-wing activist Anat Matar, whom he sued for calling him an “arch-fascist” in a 2017 Facebook post, agreed to publish a statement expanding on all the reasons why she labeled him a fascist in the first place.

(Full Disclosure: Anat Matar is the mother of Haggai Matar, the executive-director of “972 — Advancement of Citizen Journalism,” the NGO that serves as the publisher of both +972 Magazine and Local Call.)

Shai Glick is the founder of an organization called BTSALMO (a riff on Israeli human rights organization B’tselem). Through BTSALMO, he has demanded that Israeli government ministers and heads of local authorities pressure venues to pull funding from or not host events by left-wing groups critical of the occupation.

The expanded text Matar agreed to publish as part of the settlement, explaining her decision to describe Glick as an “arch-fascist,” was taken from her reply to his lawsuit filed with the court. In it, Matar addresses the central role of “informants” in fascist regimes or regimes with fascist qualities, while explaining why a person who acts to silence others can be termed a fascist.

Following the hearing last Tuesday, Glick posted a status on Facebook: “On July 16, 2018 I filed a lawsuit against Dr. Anat Mater for calling me an arch-fascist. After a hearing and statements read in court, I understood that I should not file such lawsuits and that such arguments should be arbitrated in the public sphere.”

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“This man is a fascist, it’s just that simple,” said Michael Sfard, Matar’s attorney. “There are those who will say he is not — that is a legitimate opinion. He is an arch-fascist. This is the opinion of a person who specializes in the field. Mr. Shai Shamai Glick is a fascist on several levels: he is a fascist in the public political sense, and he is a fascist in his discourse.”

In her original post, published September 2017, Matar addressed attempts to get the state to pull its funding from the Arab-Hebrew...

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Left-wingers are busing Arabs to the polls in droves — for real this time

Playing on Netanyahu’s warning about Arab citizens of Israel voting in the last elections, a grassroots campaign raises tens of thousands of shekels to bring Bedouin from unrecognized villages to the polls — not quite in droves, but mini-bus by mini-bus.

On Election Day in 2015, Benjamin Netanyahu sent a video to his supporters warning that “Arabs are heading to the polls in droves, and left-wing organizations are bringing them in buses.” This Tuesday, his then-baseless exhortation will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

More than 1,400 Israelis have donated tens of thousands of shekels to a crowdfunded initiative to bus to the polls Bedouin citizens of Israel who live in unrecognized villages in the Negev desert (Naqab, in Arabic).

Get-out-the-vote efforts are par for the course for nearly every party in nearly every democratic country these days. In the United States, both major parties field volunteers to drive voters to the polls. Even Netanyahu’s warning about droves of Arab voters was a scare tactic meant to push his voters off the couch and to the ballot box. Turnout is almost always a deciding factor in elections, and motivation to vote is a driving force in turnout.

The campaign to bus Bedouin voters, however, was designed to solve a different problem. So-called unrecognized Bedouin villages, where tens of thousands of Israeli citizens live, do not have the most basic infrastructure most developed nations afford their citizens. They do not have running water, electricity, sewage, paved roads, public transportation — and no polling places.

Anyone living in an unrecognized Bedouin village who wants to vote must travel significant distances in order to do so in most cases. And without a car, it’s extremely difficult if not impossible to pull off.

The initiative, which is being fully funded by a crowdfunding campaign run by “Zazim,” an Israeli grassroots organizing group akin to MoveOn, and the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages of Negev, is expected to bring between 6,000 and 10,000 Bedouin voters to the polls on Tuesday.

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According to Zazim’s website, as of Sunday morning the campaign had raised enough money to hire at least 40 mini-buses and all-terrain vans that can ferry as many as 15 voters at a time between their villages and polling places.

“A high percentage of people in unrecognized villages don’t show up to...

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Germany puts BDS activists on trial for disrupting Israeli MK

Two Israelis and a Palestinian activist are standing trial for interrupting a talk by Israeli member of Knesset Aliza Lavie at a Berlin university in 2017. 

Three BDS activists, two Israelis and a Palestinian, are on trial in Germany after being charged with assault and trespassing during a lecture by an Israeli member of Knesset in June 2017. The activists, Stavit Sinai and Ronnie Barkan from Israel, and Majd Abusalama from Gaza, interrupted MK Aliza Lavie of the centrist Yesh Atid party as she spoke at Humboldt University in Berlin. The activists accused Lavie of having “the blood of Gaza” on her hands, and accused her of representing an “apartheid regime.”

Sinai, Barkan, and Abusalama succeeded in halting the lecture for several minutes, until both members of the audience and university security guards forcefully removed them from the room. Lavie’s lecture was titled “Life in Israel: Terror, Prejudice, and the Chance of Peace,” and delivered alongside Holocaust survivor Deborah Weinstein. The event was organized by the German-Israel Society branch in Berlin as part of a delegation of Yesh Atid’s youth chapter to promote Israeli hasbara on campuses across Germany. At the time of the presentation, Lavie was the chairperson of the Lobby for the Struggle Against the Delegitimization of the State of Israel.

Shortly after the talk began, the activists stood up and shouted, “While you take pride in LGBTQ rights in Tel Aviv, Israel is forcing Palestinians out of the closet,” and demanded Lavie speak about the “crimes you committed in Gaza.” Following the event, which was covered by both the Israeli and German press, the German-Israel Society filed a criminal complaint with the German authorities, who launched an investigation and charged the activists with assault and trespassing. Their trial opened on March 4 in Berlin, where over 100 supporters from various left-wing organizations, including Jewish ones, were in attendance.

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Charges of anti-Semitism were quick to follow. After the talk, Lavie published a statement in which she claimed her lecture quickly “turned into a violent and anti-Semitic demonstration of hatred by BDS activists, including Israelis who did not let me speak.” German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel published an article on the incident under the headline “Anti-Semitism in Berlin,” while Israeli pro-settler news site Arutz 7 emphasized that this was the same university where Jewish books were burned in 1933. Even German intelligence mentioned the incident in a report published last year, in which it established that the BDS movement is part...

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Israel trying to deport stateless Palestinian journalist from Jerusalem

Mustafa al-Haruf has spent the last 20 years living in East Jerusalem, where he has a wife, daughter, and works as a photographer. Now Israel wants to deport him to Jordan, where he has no family or legal status.

Mustafa al-Haruf, a stateless Palestinian journalist who lives and works in Jerusalem, has been in an Israeli detention facility for the past month, fighting a deportation order to Jordan, a country he has no ties to. Al-Haruf, born in Algeria to a Palestinian father, has lived in East Jerusalem since he was 12, and is married to a Jerusalemite Palestinian woman, with whom he has a small child.

His story is a complicated one. It also encapsulates the problematic situation for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, who are residents of the city, but not citizens of the State of Israel. Their residency can be taken away from them at any given moment — even if they were born or raised in Jerusalem.

Al-Haruf, 32, is the son of an Algerian mother and a Palestinian father from East Jerusalem. His family moved to East Jerusalem shortly after his twelfth birthday. Like many other Palestinians, it took years for his father to formalize his status, since he had been living abroad for so long. After finally receiving status, al-Haruf’s father attempted to formalize that of his children. Mustafa’s request was rejected since he was 18 and four months, and therefore too old according the Israeli authorities.

According to al-Haruf’s attorney, Adi Lustigman, who is representing him on behalf of Israeli human rights organization Hamoked, the family went to the Interior Ministry office on Jerusalem’s Nablus Road, which is known for its endless lines. “There were no procedures for a parent who wanted to register his or her children. Therefore, by no fault of their own, it took the family a long time to request residency for the children,” says Lustigman.

“In all my 18 years of work, I have not seen a single case in which Israel arrested someone who came to Jerusalem as a child for being undocumented. Mustafa has no other place where he can legally be,” says Lustigman.

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After being rejected by the Nablus Road office, Al-Haruf turned to the Interior Ministry’s humanitarian committee, which also refused to accept his request. Eventually, he was granted a B1 visa, most often given to foreign workers...

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German bank to determine whether Jewish peace group is anti-Semitic

Bank für Sozialwirtschaft says it will conduct a ‘scientific review’ of Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East after the group was accused anti-Semitism by a leading Jewish organization over its support for the BDS movement.

A German bank is trying to determine whether a German-Jewish group that supports Palestinian rights is anti-Semitic.

In December of last year, Bank für Sozialwirtschaft (Bank for Social Economy) said it would conduct a “scientific review” of German-Jewish group Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East after the latter was accused of anti-Semitism by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, one of the most well-known Jewish human rights organizations, placed the group at number seven in its annual “Top 10 Most anti-Semitic Incidents List” over its support for the BDS movement.

The list, published late last year, includes the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and the appearance of swastikas across university campuses in the U.S. It also lists Bank für Sozialwirtschaft for providing services to Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East, which operates in Germany. The bank decided to appoint an expert on anti-Semitism to determine whether the Jewish organization is in fact anti-Semitic.

The pressure on both Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East and Bank für Sozialwirtschaft, began in 2016, after the Jerusalem Post published an article on several Jewish German groups that had demanded the bank shut down the organization’s account over the latter’s support for BDS. The bank gave in and the account was shut down — the first time a German bank had shut down a Jewish organization’s account since the fall of the Nazi regime — only to be re-opened in 2017.

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The pressure from pro-Israel groups, however, did not cease.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list includes not only anti-Semitic incidents, but also organizations, figures, and political decisions — including Airbnb’s decision to pull listings in West Bank settlements, UNRWA’s activities in the Gaza Strip, and UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. According to the list, Bank für Sozialwirtschaft earned the number seven spot because it “insists on doing business with the radical ‘Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East,’ which strongly endorses boycotting the Jewish state.”

Jewish Voice for a Just Peace...

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