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On this Holocaust Remembrance Day I choose to remember two things:
1 – That except for a lucky few, all my mother’s family in Eastern Europe was wiped out by the Nazis. I will never forget.
2 – That I live in the most powerful country in the Middle East and am no longer a victim. We are no longer victims.

On the eve of Holocaust Remembrance today, 250 people marched in Tel Aviv today [Heb] to remind Israelis how the state has forgotten survivors. The marchers held signs that said “Social justice starts with the holocaust survivors” and “holocaust survivors deserve a life of dignity and respect, too.” A recent study showed that 20% of survivors gave up on food because of financial difficulties and 12% had to give up on medicine.

Israeli news site Ynet reports [Heb]: A new Israeli study shows that one third of cases where newborns were infected with herpes are a result of the ritual where a Rabbi sucks blood from the baby’s bleeding penis after it is cut. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported recently that “At least 11 boys contracted herpes from the practice between 2004 and 2011, according to New York City health officials. Two died from the disease and two others suffered brain damage, the officials said.” The Israeli study, which is to be published shortly, shows that out of 22 babies who contracted herpes over the past eight years, 32% of them were due to the sucking of blood from the bleeding penis of the baby.

All these headlines in Israeli media about Palestinians “clashing” with Israeli forces and Israel “bracing” for West Bank riots are quite astonishing considering how many Palestinian funerals there have been in recent weeks. 
This headline, for example –  “West Bank violence continues for fifth straight day” – could certainly be complemented by the headline: “Violent Israeli occupation continues for 46th straight year.”

 

The videos that come out of the South Hebron Hills are usually horrifying, yet at times simply ridiculous. The following, apparently from the Umm al Amad area, is of the latter kind. Here we can see how an IDF unit spent one afternoon: shepherding sheep.

Israeli journalist and novelist Amnon Dankner died last night at the age of 67. Dankner was the editor-in-chief of Maariv during most of my six plus years in the paper. Our first real conversation took place after I was transferred to a new position, and my new editor took me to meet the editor-in-chief. “So what are you interested in?” Dankner asked. “Sport, Movies, Politics,” I mumbled. “Like everyone else,” he said. I’ve never met an evil, cynical and unethical journalist like him, and I think Dankner had a huge share of the collapse of Ma’ariv, but he was a true nonconformist, and those get more and more rare.

Tel Aviv is commonly referred to by its residents as “the bubble.” Since the second Intifada, the conflict that engulfs the rest of the region simply doesn’t enter its city limits or bother its residents – for the most part. It appears that some activists are attempting to change that, by painting onto its walls the names, faces and stories of Palestinians who have been killed. I found the stencil (below) on a wall in southern Tel Aviv’s long-gentrified neighborhood of Florentine today. (Read more about Lubna Hanash, a 22-year-old Palestinian student who was shot to death by Israeli soldiers here.)

Stencil in Tel Aviv showing name, face, story of Lubna Hanash, April 5, 2013 (Photo: Michael Omer-Man)

Following three demonstrations organized by the villagers in Sebastia, the most recent of which took place just last week, as reported on +972, army authorities have shut down the pipes spilling sewage to the village’s agricultural lands from the nearby settlement of Shavei Shomron. Army officials contacted activists in the village Wednesday, and they have confirmed that the sewage is no longer running in their fields. The question remains: if it that simple, why did they need three demonstrations with violent confrontations to get there?

A teenager identified as Naji al-Balbisi, 18, died after being shot by Israeli forces during clashes near Tulkarem late Wednesday, a Ma’an reporter said. … The teenager was the second to die after Israeli soldiers shot and killed a youth late Wednesday near a checkpoint in the Tulkarem area of the occupied West Bank, security officials said. Soldiers in the area opened fire at Amer Nassar, 17, killing him instantly in what Israel described as a response to a Palestinian firebombing targeting a military post.

Family members  in the West Bank town of Anabta mourn two Palestinian teenagers killed by Israeli army fire, April 4, 2013. (photo: Activestills.org)

In a university course on Israeli constitutional law I took a few years back, former government minister and legal scholar Prof. Amnon Rubenstein defended the rule of law in Israel, saying that the state has never defied the Supreme Court. Well, that’s true and it’s not true.

Israel, specifically the security establishment, does not openly defy the highest courts of the land – it just ignores its decisions and orders.

Today the story was the Shin Bet’s use of outlawed methods of torture against Palestinian suspects. Last month, it was the IDF failing to remove illegally built fences within the timeframe it promised the High Court. In 2008, it was the IDF carrying out targeted assassinations in contradiction to previous High Court rulings. The list goes on, and on – and on.

Israeli border policemen attacked foreign journalists with tear gas and stun grenades during Land Day demonstrations at Qalandia checkpoint. Israeli watchdog magazine The Seventh Eye brings this video showing the policemen asking the journalists to leave the area where they were gathering, all wearing PRESS bullet proof vests, and the journalists’ refusing to do so without seeing a closed military zone warrant as required by law. Shortly after this the policemen start throwing stun grenades and tear gas at the journalists. Border police spokesperson did not reply to The Seventh Eye’s questions on the event.

Palestinians gathered in front of Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on Tuesday to protest the death of Maissara Abu Hamdiyeh, who was serving a life sentence in an Israeli prison. He suffered from cancer in the esophagus, and Palestinians claim he died as a result of Israel’s medical negligence.

 

Palestinians medics help a man injured during clashes with the Israeli army following the death of Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh, a long-term Palestinian prisoner who died of cancer in jail. Al-Aroub, April 2, 2013.