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  • A lifetime achievement award for normalizing settlements

    David Be'eri won the state's highest award for doing what decades ago would have seemed impossible: inspiring the Israeli people to identify with the settler enterprise. By Yonathan Mizrachi Following last week’s announcement that David Be’eri, the founder of the settler organization Elad, had won the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement, some who closely monitor Israel’s settlement enterprise wondered why a person whose activity is limited to a single neighborhood in East Jerusalem was selected? Why not, say, Ze’ev Hever (Zambish), the figure most closely identified with the settler movement, whose work encompasses the entire West Bank? [tmwinpost] Be’eri, whose mission…

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  • Israel's extremist settlers are aiming for the mainstream

    The fact that this year's Jerusalem Day did not include violence and racist chants against Palestinians signals a change of strategy in winning the hearts and minds of average Israelis. The main lesson I learned from Jerusalem Days past was to wear comfortable walking shoes. Or preferably running shoes, since I previously learned that there is no way to know what causes police on horseback to charge into and disperse Palestinian crowds out of the enclosures put up around Damascus Gate, into which they were corralled in the first place. [tmwinpost] Without a doubt Jerusalem Day is the most tense…

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  • Before Zionism: The shared life of Jews and Palestinians

    Before the advent of Zionism and Arab nationalism, Jews and Palestinians lived in peace in the holy land. Menachem Klein's new book maps out an oft-forgotten history of Israel/Palestine, and offers some guidance on how we may go back to that time. By Noam Rotem Menachem Klein's book, Lives in Common: Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Hebron, is a depressing one. Originally released in English, the book — which is being published in Hebrew  — paints a picture of a shared life between Palestinians and Jews at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th…

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  • WATCH: Ever wonder what a 'settler takeover' looks like?

    Dozens of Israeli settlers with crowbars descend on two homes in the old city of Hebron. Israeli authorities remove them a day later. The phrase "settler takeover" is used fairly often by the international media to discuss a common occurrence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. But rarely do the cameras actually capture just how this kind of thing is done. That's why the sight of dozens of Israeli settlers with crowbars descending on two homes in the old city of Hebron is as surprising as it is disturbing. The settlers, who took over the buildings on Thursday, claimed…

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  • East Jerusalem streets given Hebrew names amid tensions

    The city council pours oil on the fire by approving Hebrew street names in Palestinian neighborhoods as tensions run high. The move is part and parcel of efforts to 'Judaize' the eastern half of the city, which Palestine claims as its future capital. With all eyes on Jerusalem as tensions in the city continue to rise, the city council approved 30 Hebrew street names for roads in East Jerusalem's Palestinian neighborhoods Sunday evening. The decision, which was reported by Israeli news site Walla!, was criticized by Palestinian members of Knesset Ayman Odeh and Ahmad Tibi and goes against the recommendation…

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  • Why a pro-settler group wants to talk about ISIS

    An Israeli group working in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan is presenting ISIS destruction of antiquities as a cautionary tale for its own struggle with Palestinians. By Yonathan Mizrachi A group that manages the City of David's archaeological site in the heart of the village of Silwan in East Jerusalem, the "Elad Foundation in the City of David," is holding its annual archeology conference, entitled "ISIS: Is it possible to stop the destruction?" It will deal in part with the destruction of antiquities in Iraq and Syria. That the so-called ISIS group is destroying ancient ruins is indisputable. The organization documents…

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  • A rare win for E. Jerusalem family facing settler takeover

    Israel's Supreme Court 'recommends' that settler organization Elad and the JNF withdraw their petition to take control of the property. By Moriel Rothman-Zecher In the context of the absurd reality of Israel’s occupation, last Thursday brought a glimmer of good news. Attorneys for the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and settler group Elad withdrew their petition seeking to expel the Ruweidi family from their East Jerusalem home. Elad's lawyer, Eitan Peleg, withdrew the following a recommendation made by the Israeli Supreme Court, casting doubt on Elad’s and the JNF’s claims to the property. Peace Now settlement watch director Hagit Ofran told…

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  • JNF, settler group seek to evict Palestinian family in Silwan

    The Jewish National Fund, known to Jews worldwide as an organization that plants trees in Israel, is once again trying to evict a Palestinian family from their home in East Jerusalem. By Moriel Rothman-Zecher Over the past few decades, the Jewish National Fund (JNF-KKL), an organization known to many in the diaspora for its work planting trees in Israel (I gave a portion of my Bar Mitzvah money to the JNF), has been working in coordination with Elad, an extremist settler organization whose explicit goals include the “Judaization" of East Jerusalem. Since 1991, the cooperation between these two organizations has…

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  • Parks and Occupation: Archaeology is the new security

    The Biblical blueprint is being dragged up around our feet, seeking to use what is under the ground as evidence of divine right and the political and territorial sovereignty it supposedly affords us. The past makes for prime real estate when you're developing a national mythology. It's also a fine way to exert control over an area, both under — and overground. Just ask the residents of Silwan, East Jerusalem, whose homes have variously been placed under demolition orders, dug under, or had access restricted in the name of archaeological exploration. The use of archaeology as a political tool is…

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  • Three Palestinian activists exiled from Jerusalem for five months

    Without explanation, three Jerusalemite Palestinians are given five-month bans from the city of their birth and residence. One is banned from the West Bank as well. Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org In early December, three Jerusalem-born Palestinians received orders from Israeli authorities banning them from the city for a period of five months. Majd Darwish, Saleh Dirbas and Daoud Al-Ghoul first received phone calls saying that they were banned from entering the Old City. When they reported to the police station as requested they were given military orders banning them from all of Jerusalem until April 30, 2015.…

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  • A Palestinian admirer of 'Night,' disenchanted by its author Elie Wiesel

    Elie Wiesel, who knows too well the hideousness of racist ideologies, should do better than to blindly succumb to them himself. In this conflict, he is not a messenger for mankind, but a messenger for one ethnic group’s victory over others. Night is one of the most memorable books I have ever read. I was 16 years old when my Jewish-Israeli high school teacher assigned it to my class, and I still remember to this day where I was as I went through its pages. It was a short but powerful story of the horrors of the Holocaust, and my…

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  • Nine more Jewish families take over Silwan homes in dead of night

    If settling Jews beyond the Green Line in Palestinian East Jerusalem is legitimate, why are organizations sneaking in settlers in the middle of the night? Nine Jewish Israeli families took over two empty buildings in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem overnight Sunday. According to the NGO Ir Amim, the families took control over 10 housing units in two buildings in the heart of Silwan. They moved in under the auspices of Ateret Cohanim, a settler organization based in the Muslim quarter of the Old City that works to create a Jewish demographic majority in East Jerusalem. This latest takeover comes…

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  • In Silwan, the settlers are winning - big time

    Seven years of struggle and Silwan’s residents can’t claim even one tangible and clear victory. Not one home has been returned to its original residents, not one settler has left and the police and Israeli authorities continue to target Palestinian residents. By Yonathan Mizrachi The East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan got its first-ever community center, Madaa, in October 2007. At the same time, a diverse group of activists, primarily Jerusalemites, began a number of types of actions and struggles for the future of the village of Silwan and, it must be said, for the future of the entire region. Among…

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