Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Check out this abstract for the paper "Palestinian women in Israel: embodied citizen strangers" written by Kim Jezabel Zinngrebe and published in Settler Colonial Studies:

Palestinian women’s bodies constitute a central site of the struggle between the Zionist state and Palestinian ‘citizens’ in Israel. 

Note the scare quotes around 'citizens' as if Arabs are not truly citizens of Israel.

At the intersection of critical feminist and settler colonial studies scholarship and drawing on empirical data collected in 2013–2014, it will be argued here that Israel’s continuous drive to control Palestinian women’s bodies plays a pivotal role in the completion of the Zionist project. 

I wish I could read the paper to understand exactly how Israel is trying to control the bodies of its Arab female citizens, but I'm more interested in how the author defines "the completion of the Zionist project." It sure sounds like she defines Zionism as ethnically cleansing all non-Jews from Israel.

In line with classic settler colonial logic, this project has always closely linked native women’s bodies and native land in its discourses and practices. 

I read a fair amount of Zionist literature and I don't recall seeing anything that linked Arab women's bodies with the "native land" - since Zionism defines Israel as the Jewish native land and Jews as the natives of the land!

Therefore, Zionist settler colonialism must be considered a not only racialised but also gendered process. 

If one could find these fictional proofs that Zionists care so much about Arab women and treat them differently than Arab men, sure.

Palestinian women’s stories are complex and contradictory and cast the body as the key medium through which they experience citizenship in Israel as a continuation of settler colonialism by other means. 

So they are citizens. They can vote and create Internet startups. They can drive, become Knesset members and news anchors and reality TV stars. But somehow their citizenship is a continuation of the equally nonexistent settler colonialism.

This paper claims that it is, in fact, via citizenship that the Palestinian women’s forced exclusion from the Israeli body politic is realised, thereby debunking prevailing Zionist myths of citizenship in Israel and the Nakba as a one-off event.

So by giving them full rights of citizenship, Israel is really taking away their rights! How insidious these Jews are!

Please, please, someone send me the full text so we can see how the author debunks obviously verifiable facts about Arab women citizens of Israel.

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From Ian:

Hamas Turns Israeli Border Into ‘24/7’ War Zone in New Bid to Kidnap Israeli Soldiers
Hamas has intensified its violent demonstrations against Israel, turning the border between the Jewish state and the Gaza Strip into a "24/7" war zone as the terrorist group amps up its efforts to kidnap Israeli soldiers, according to Israeli security sources and regional reports.

Hamas ramped up this past week its months-long violent demonstrations along the Gaza border as part of new plans to "kidnap soldiers so that it will have a bargaining chip to use against Israel for speeding up the removal of the blockade," according to an investigation into new ways Hamas is probing Israel's defenses provided by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, or JCPA, a security research institute.

Violence raged throughout the weekend and into late Monday, with some 20,000 Palestinians participating in the demonstration, which have grown increasingly violent as Hamas operatives begin to deploy explosive devices, grenades, incendiary balloons, and other makeshift weapons.

Hamas's goal is create as much confusion and violence on the border as possible to elicit a response from the Israeli Defense Forces that could provide the terror group with an opportunity to kidnap soldiers. The renewed border violence is part of an effort by Hamas to test Israel's will and provoke a violent response.

"Over the past few weeks, Hamas has intensified the violence on the border after the failure of talks with Egyptian intelligence services in Cairo about reconciliation and calm and after the refusal of [Palestinian Authority] chairman Mahmoud Abbas to remove the sanctions that he imposed on the Gaza Strip," according to the JCPA's report.

"The number of participants in the demonstrations has risen to 20,000 people," the group disclosed. "Extensive use has been made of lethal tactics such as throwing explosive charges and grenades at IDF soldiers, and there has been a rise in terror attacks caused by sending incendiary balloons and kites into Israel."

Hamas's chief priority: The kidnap of Israeli soldiers so that they can be used as pawns in the terror group's campaign against Israel.
Defense minister: Israel needs to deal Hamas a heavy blow
"We have reached a red line. Israel needs to deal a heavy blow to Gaza and Hamas," Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said at the culmination of a security assessment near the Gaza border Tuesday.

As clashes between Israel and Palestinian rioters in Gaza steadily escalate, Lieberman indicated that the remark was prompted specifically by events last weekend, when "in the morning we permitted the U.N. to bring four truckloads of fuel into Gaza, and in the evening we sustained an outburst of violence – unlike any violence I can remember in a long time."

Lieberman called on the "entire cabinet" to reach a decision on the matter, saying the escalating violence has dictated "the direction we must take in terms of security."

The Diplomatic-Security Cabinet was expected to convene on Wednesday to discuss Israel's steps in Gaza.

Referring to increasingly violent border protests and a months-long Palestinian campaign involving firebombs launched across the border into Israel on kites and balloons, Lieberman said that "we tried to resolve the problem nicely by cooperating with the international community, with U.N. bodies and with anyone who wanted. We have exhausted the options and now the time has come to make a decision."

"My position has been very clear, and I have only grown more resolute," Lieberman continued. "We need to deal a heavy blow. It's the only way to restore the reality to what it was before and lower the violence level down to zero."

Khashoggi to Post in 2007: Nakba no different than Holocaust
Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist who disappeared in suspicious circumstances in early October, described the relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia as only a "political," not a religious problem in an exclusive interview with The Jerusalem Post years before his disappearance.

"Yes, we have a problem with Israel, but it's a political problem," Khashoggi told the Post at a 2007 Capitol Hill reception condemning antisemitism, when he was part of the diplomatic corp of Prince Turki Al Faisal, then Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States.

"It should be a known fact that the Arabs never had a problem with antisemitism, but we need to state that over and over again," Khashoggi added, justifying the surprising Saudi presence at the event.

Speaking of the Holocaust, Khashoggi called the chapter a horrible episode in history, but also said that there were other terrible events throughout history, such as the burning of Baghdad by the Mongols in the Middle Ages or the Palestinian Nakba.

"I know Jewish people don't like this comparison, but everyone has his own Holocaust," he said.

Every time I hear about a movie being made from one of the stories of Israel, I cringe. On one hand our stories are the best stories. On the other hand, all too often, instead of being told as they were, our stories are twisted to fit an agenda, perverted, even to the point of becoming vehicles for modern day anti-Israel propaganda, perpetuating antisemitic lies, denigrating our legacy and connection to our ancestral homeland (see
From Exodus to Munich: How did we get here?, Operation Thunderbolt).
When I saw the video of Ben Kingsley explaining why he took on the role of Adolph Eichmann, I knew I had to see this movie.

Ben Kingsley, promised Elie Wiesel, the voice of morality and Holocaust Memory that he would, at the next appropriate opportunity, take on a role and dedicate it to him – and that is exactly what he did.

Eichmann is not an easy character to take on. Sir Ben Kingsley, one the greatest actors who has walked the earth, is a total actor who seems to actually become the people he portrays. He turned himself into Gandhi just as completely as he did Itzhak Stern in Schindler’s List. Who would willingly step into the dark refuse of the spirit of Adolph Eichmann?

Kingsley found the task utterly repugnant but he did it willingly, in honor of Wiesel, because he believes in the importance of teaching the message of the Holocaust that remains unlearned – evil does not common in the form of slavering horned monsters but rather in average people who become twisted enough to do monstrous, unspeakable things.

When Nazis are dismissed as monsters we make them not real. We let down our guard, turn a blind eye and allow new monstrosities to encroach. 

This movie is a service to humanity. A warning. But will anyone listen?

Thankfully, as far as I saw, there was no veiled agenda in this movie. Unlike in Spielberg’s Munich where the Mossad operators are morally conflicted, here morality is very clear – a dead Nazi is a good thing and yet the goal is justice, not vengeance. After all, no type of revenge would be enough to balance the horrors of the crime and we are not like those who terrorize, torture and murder our people.

It was important to not allow the masterminds of the Final Solution to end their days in freedom and comfort but it was more important to give the victims, the survivors an opportunity to be heard and to let the world know that the incomprehensible suffering they experienced was real.

Many like to talk about “nuance” in relation to the telling of our stories. This is the first time I have seen realistic nuance in the depiction of Israeli perspective, where it is possible to recognize the innocence of children who did not choose to be born to parents who committed crimes against humanity, against our humanity and at the same time, unflinchingly execute justice on the criminal. It is possible to be enraged at the evil abuse our people have experienced and yet hold back on becoming an abuser ourselves.   

This is the nuance no one wants to see in regard to Israel. Many of those who say they support Israel feel the most comfortable with the weak Jew, the Jewish victim. Those who do not want to admit the evil perpetrated against our people prefer to spin the tall-tale of the powerful Jew who has now become the abuser of others (namely the “poor Palestinians”). This movie, thankfully, did neither.

I finished watching this movie with a kind of empty feeling. How much of the story was accurate? Perhaps I was distracted by some of the strange casting choices, actors who did not look or sound anything like the real people they were depicting. The un-Israeli look of some of the scenes that took place in Israel made it difficult for me to be swept away by the story itself. Would a historical movie about any other people or location go forward with so little attention to the details that make it seem like it really was?

I’m left with a feeling of uncertainty and concern. Perhaps Operation Finale was too subtle for the average viewer. Will anyone who doesn’t feel directly connected, make the effort to understand? Can a viewer who is unfamiliar with this story comprehend its enormity?

Will Ben Kingsley’s portrayal of this average man with a demonic hate inside him be enough to explain the horror that was Eichmann? , a survivor of Auschwitz told me of Eichmann’s visits to the camp and how he would come in a big shiny car and if there was a column of Jews walking in front of his path (for example doing forced labor outside the camp), he’d just drive through them, as if they didn’t exist.

Will the viewer understand what this meant to Israel? Will they understand the bravery of those whose families were stolen from them, who went on to build a nation? Will they understand the significance of a State brining to her people a man whose talents were utilized to run the machine designed to exterminate us? Or the supreme effort it took not to execute Eichmann at first site? Or the horror of a Jew who believed the Holocaust over, seeing the same Jew hate rising up in new ways and places?

My lack of certainty drove me to look for historical documentation to reinforce the fictional depiction. Amazingly I found an old video, in poor quality, of Peter Malkin, who was depicted as the main character in Operation Finale, explaining what it was actually like to capture Eichmann. Watching this reinforced Operation Finale, many of the details in the movie (including ones that seem unrealistic) come from this testimony.

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  • Tuesday, October 16, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

Palestine Times (Hamas-leaning) has a report about Dr. Imad Mohamed El Masry, a Gazan who has lived in Ramallah for ten years.

El Masry, who works for the Palestinian Ministry of Health, has recently become an outspoken critic of Mahmoud Abbas' policies to punish all of Gaza over the past 18 months.

After he held a protest in Ramallah, he received threats to his job and his life last Thursday from the Ministry, according to the report.

And then he was kidnapped on Sunday.

His family found him yesterday, in a semi-conscious state, and his wife posted about it on Facebook.

The story is plausible, although the source is problematic. There have been plenty of reports of Palestinians arrested for political reasons over the years, and there are still Fatah military groups active in the West Bank.

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  • Tuesday, October 16, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

In the 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel, two areas were decided to be leased to Israel for 25 years while officially considered Jordanian territory: Naharayim (Baqoura) near the Kinneret, and part of Tzofar (Al Ghamr.)

The peace treaty refers to Naharayim as an "area which is under Jordan's sovereignty with Israeli private land ownership rights and property interests." Jews had bought that land in the 1920s to build an electricity plant, and the "Island of Peace" is there.

The treaty refers to the lands of Tzofar across the 1949 armistice line as an "area which is under Jordan's sovereignty with Israeli private land use rights." The IDF seized some of the land after Fatah terrorists used it as a base of attacks after 1967, and subsequently the people of Tzofar started to cultivate it.

The agreement says "this Annex will remain in force for 25 years, and shall be renewed automatically for the same periods, unless one year prior notice of termination is given by either Party, in which case, at the request of either Party, consultations shall be entered into."

The one year deadline is coming up on October 25.

There has been mounting pressure in Jordan to not renew this lease, and multiple parties have banded together to pressure the government to end the agreement.

An article written last year in a Jordanian website claims that Pinchas Rutenberg, who purchased the land for Naharayim, was only allowed to use what he needed for the electric plant and was obligated to return the unused lands to Transjordan. Instead, he sold the land to the Jewish Agency.

This article upset the Jordanians who now claim that Jewish private land ownership there is illegal.

It seems unlikely that the king will change the current agreement but the pressure is increasing on him.

This is going to become a major story in the upcoming days.

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Monday, October 15, 2018

From Ian:

‘Our Struggle Is My Struggle’: The Dangers of Grievance Studies
The world of academia has been riveted by the full account of an elaborate hoax that resulted in several high-profile academic journals publishing articles based on ludicrous notions and fake field research, but couched in the language of social justice and identity politics.

The hoax was the brainchild of three academics — editor and writer Helen Pluckrose, mathematician James Lindsay, and philosopher Peter Boghossian — none of whom are likely to receive “A” list university posts now that they have performed this valuable service. Over a period of about a year, the three of them concocted 20 hoax papers relating to themes like identity, sexuality, body shape, and the significance of “intersectional” struggles. By the time they called a halt to the project, seven of these hoaxes had been published in various academic journals, essentially confirming their initial suspicion that, as long as it is in the proper political packaging, there are plenty of journal editors out there receptive to any old garbage.

One paper about “rape culture” in dog parks in Portland, Oregon received a special citation from the journal that published it. Another paper, on how “masculinist and Western bias” in the science of astronomy “can best be corrected by including feminist, queer, and indigenous astrology,” was enthusiastically received by academic reviewers with a request for only minor revisions. Most spectacularly, the feminist social-work journal Affilia published a hoax paper titled “Our Struggle Is My Struggle: Solidarity Feminism as an Intersectional Reply to Neoliberal and Choice Feminism” that was composed of passages lifted from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf with, in the words of the three hoaxers, “fashionable buzzwords switched in.”

Many academics have protested that the hoax project was unethical because its methodology hinged upon dishonest dealings with the editors and peer reviewers of the journals where these papers were published. There is some merit to that argument, but more importantly, we can learn a great deal about human behavior from these types of underhand experiments. When the controversial American social psychologists Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo carried out their respective studies of obedience more than 50 years ago — in Milgram’s case by setting up unknowing subjects to believe that they were inflicting electric shocks on others at the behest of an “authority figure,” in Zimbardo’s by placing student volunteers in “guard” and “inmate” roles in a laboratory “prison” — these were similarly denounced as unethical. But they also demonstrated that willfully engaging in state-sanctioned brutality is something that all human beings are vulnerable to, even when doing so violates the values and standards taught to them all their lives.
Revealed: Group whose leaders have been disciplined for racism and don't agree with the international definition of anti-Semitism gives anti-Semitism training to the Labour party
A group whose leaders have been disciplined for anti-Semitism is providing 'anti-Semitism training' to the Labour party, MailOnline can reveal.

Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL), which doesn't sign up to the internationally-recognised definition of anti-Semitism, has trained up to three constituencies so far, with plans for 70 more.

JVL is promoting its own definition that says it is not anti-Semitic to compare Israel to Nazi Germany.

At a meeting with 50 Labour officials and trade union leaders last month, JVL co-chairwoman Jenny Manson said that her group is running workshops for 'political gain'.

Ms Manson, who has received a warning from Labour for anti-Semitic comments, added: 'We were asked by Corbyn's office whether we have any ideas for a training course ourselves.'

'I don't think there is a real problem with anti-Semitism in the Labour Party… but [Mr Corbyn's office] asked us if we could provide training.

'This is quite a political point. We don't want to say, 'no, we don't think any training is needed'… It is a political gain for us.'

UKMW prompts Guardian to acknowledge there’s no ‘settler-only’ roads in the West Bank
The myth that there are ‘Jews-only’ or ‘settler-only’ roads in the West Bank has been debunked numerous times over the years by CAMERA and its affiliates – prompting corrections at media outlets such as CNN, Associated Press, Washington Post, The Economist, Financial Times and The Telegraph.

As we’ve explained on numerous occasions, the overwhelming majority or West Bank roads are open to all traffic, Israeli and Palestinian. However, there are, for security reasons, a very small percentage of roads in the West Bank restricted to Palestinians. But, all roads are open to Israeli citizens of all religious backgrounds and foreign nationals of all religious backgrounds.

There is not, nor have there ever been, religiously based restrictions on roads in Israel or the West Bank – nor roads only for settlers.

The latest publication to publish a version of this lie is the Guardian, in an Oct. 11th op-ed by Nkosi Zwelivelile (the grandson of Nelson Mandela) attempting to use this ‘fact’ to support the larger lie that Israel is an apartheid state.

Here’s our tweet pointing out the erroneous claim – one of several in the paragraph, but, we concluded, the one most egregiously inconsistent with the accuracy clause of the Editors’ Code.

We followed up our tweet with an email editors, who upheld our complaint and amended the text in the sentence to the still misleading but improved “roads built for settlers which are not accessible to Palestinians”, and, more importantly, included the following addendum at the bottom of the op-ed:

Not By Might
Each year, I am reminded about what an unfair fight we face when battling against BDS and the other manifestations of the propaganda attack on Israel when my temple holds an annual service in celebration of Scouting (Boy and Girl) and alumni of Jewish summer camps.
At a mock campfire after services (complete with s’mores), a folk singer leads the kids in the room through the canon of Jewish camp tunes, including one I remember when one of my boys was involved with the temple singing group: “Not by Might and Not by Power” based on a passage in the Book of Zechariah. (The song was written by Debbie Friedman, a pioneer who helped transform the music of the Reform and Progressive Jewish movements.)
Now I have some friends and allies who dismiss the sentiments in songs such as “Not by Might,” with its chorus of: Not by might and not by power, But by spirit alone shall we all live in peace” as one more example of “kumbaya thinking,” the tendency of many Jews to try to find common ground and avoid conflict at all costs, even when faced with situations when conflict is unavoidable or a foe who is teaching their children to fight until victory over those hoping to prevail by spirit, rather than might.
Like so many situations in the real world, the duality of compromisers vs. militants misses some critical points, starting with the experience of Jewish history. Once again, I am in the debt of Professor Ruth Wisse who summarizes and reflects on the challenging relationship Jews and Power in her masterful short book of the same name.
Jews, after all, were once citizens and rulers of a political entity, the original Jewish state, and (like all small powers in antiquity) had to contend with the continual encroachment of numerous imperial neighbors such as the Babylonians, Assyrians, Greeks and Romans. The lessons of most of these conflicts were mixed, with the fall of the first Hebrew kingdoms to Babylon by a failure of Jewish arms, followed by a restoration of that nation due to the act of generosity by a Persian king (which many thought acted as an agent of God).
The Greek conquerors both captured the land and tried to force Hellenized culture onto the monotheistic Jews, only to repelled (again, by arms) by the Brothers Maccabee. But it was the experience with Rome which provided a unique historical lesson to the Jews, setting up a struggle between compromise and force that informs us millennia later.
For in various revolts against Rome in the First and Second centuries AD, the Jews faced off against the superpower of the day, a foe whose legions had made Rome the undisputed ruler of the world. And despite the hopelessness of their cause, the Jews fought on and rekindled their revolt again and again, each time deciding that the imbalance of power would be rectified by having their own one true God on their side.
The failure of this quasi-religious, but ultimately political conflict was total, with the Jews first defeated, then defeated again and disbursed throughout the empire, their political homeland erased from the map (until the last century). Now some Jews still take heart in the courage and steadfastness of their ancestors in the face of odds that probably ensured defeat before the first battle began. But many more internalized another more significant lesson that might (in the form of armed Jewish revolt) led to near destruction, while spirit (in the form of Judaism recast in the new Diaspora in religious rather than political terms) kept the Jewish nation alive for centuries after Rome was just a memory.
Given this background, who can blame Jews for their peculiar relationship with any sort of power, political, military or especially state? If recent history demonstrates that spirit alone will not save Jews from the ovens or give birth to a state, older history shows that might and power do not provide all the answers either and, indeed, might create the very problems (such as lack of Jewish independence) it tried to solve.
This debate between might and spirit has been going on so long with sides so hardened that little light is shed when proponents of each side argue their positions, which today use the terms (or, more often, accusatory labels) of “Left” and “Right” as the foundation for sterile debate.
Lost in all of this history, however, is an example worth thinking about: that of Rome. While it might seem odd to look at our historic enemy and destroyer for lessons, keep in mind that Rome was not an empire that simply pillaged and enslaved, enjoying war for its own sake and caring little for anything but spoils. Rather, Rome’s success (especially its military successes during the Republican era) came from the careful deliberation it took before entering a conflict (bordering on hesitancy) coupled with a resolution to never back down once conflict began.
Today, Jewish might (while nowhere near as huge as in our enemy’s imaginations) is not inconsiderable. Yet part of that might derives from the hesitancy with which it is applied. As needs to be pointed out again and again, the people who sing “Not by Might and Not by Power” have created for themselves a pretty decent homeland. Precarious certainly, but a state with which those who built it (and those of us who support it from the sidelines) can be justly proud.
At the same time, the people who have been teaching their children for decades to fight on until their enemy is vanquished either live in squalid holes, or in states on the verge of civil war between totalitarians and fanatics, each claiming to be able deliver victory by the sword more quickly and thoroughly.
Food for thought as we all make our own decisions of how to interpret and act on the words of Zechariah.

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  • Monday, October 15, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Electronic Intifada:

PACBI – the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel – takes a different and clear stance. The campaign group wrote to The Electronic Intifada:

“Any international student, regardless of her/his identity, enrolling in a complicit Israeli university, like the Hebrew University, is violating the relevant BDS guidelines. We strongly advise against such enrollment and against any other connection to these complicit institutions.”

“The Hebrew University, like all Israeli universities, contributes to Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid. These institutions play a persistent role in planning, implementing, justifying or whitewashing Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights,” PACBI added.

There’s a couple of important things to note about this statement – its reference to international students as well as identity.

Some might argue that Alqasem’s Palestinian ancestry justifies her attending Hebrew University. But this is not the case.

PACBI’s academic boycott guidelines do permit some Palestinians – those with Israeli citizenship – to attend Israeli universities, but this is not merely because of their ethnic identity as Palestinians.

Rather, it is because they are in a “coercive relationship” with the Israeli state. As taxpayers and citizens – albeit second class because they are not Jewish – Palestinians in Israel have no choice but to attend Israeli schools and universities to fulfill their right to an education while remaining steadfast in their homeland.

This “coercive relationship” analysis can arguably be extended to Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank, especially East Jerusalem, where Palestinian educational choices are severely restricted by Israel.
Do these exceptions apply to Omar Barghouti, the founder of BDS?

Barghouti is not an Israeli citizen although he holds Israeli residency status and lives in Acre. He has a master's degree from Columbia University and appears to have been studying for his PhD in philosophy at Tel Aviv University since 2009. His Palestinian identity is no more relevant than that of Lara Alqasem.

Barghouti routinely travels around the world and gives lectures at universities worldwide. The idea that he is coerced into attending an Israeli university is simply not true - he has the ability and means to attend any university he wants, including in the West Bank but also in the US and Europe where he lectures on supposed Israeli crimes.  Nowadays, he can almost certainly tailor a program where he can attend and check in with his thesis advisor online to any major university worldwide he desires. The fact that he has not yet apparently received his PhD after 9 years of study shows that he is not forced to attend classes in person; he could pursue a similar PhD program literally anywhere worldwide and visit his university when he goes on his regular speaking tours.

So if, according to PACBI and Electronic Intifada, there is no "coercive" relationship loophole for BDS' founder, he has violated and may still be violating his own standards on academic boycott of Israel.

This is what a hypocrite looks like.

All "international" students without my special "loophole"
 must "boycott" Israeli universities 

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From Ian:

Australia PM to announce he is 'open' to moving embassy to Jerusalem
Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison is open to Australia’s recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving its embassy to the capital, the Australian media reported on Monday.

The Australian said Morrison will announce this on Tuesday when he makes a foreign policy statement explaining why Australia will vote “no” in the UN on Tuesday to a vote to recognize the Palestinian Authority as the chair of a important block of nations there called the G77.

Morrison is also expected to move to a much tougher position against Iran, and announce a review whether Australia should follow the US and abandon the Iranian nuclear deal.

Morrison credited former Australian ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma for influencing his thinking on the embassy move.

"The previous discussion was premised on the point that you couldn’t pursue this issue without risking or without prejudicing the final status. Now Dave is arguing the opposite to that and he’s saying that is possible,” The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Morrison as saying.

Morrison said that Sharma was arguing that the move can be done consistent with Australia’s long-running position of support for a two-state solution, and is “actually changing the way in which the issue is conceived."

Sharma, a Liberal Party candidate in a crucial Australian by-election next week, said Monday that Australia should be open to considering moving its embassy.
Romanian PM to consider moving embassy to Jerusalem
Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Melescanu said on Friday that the Ministry has completed the analytical report on the potential relocation of Romania's Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and referred the document the Premier.

The Romanian Government will next send it to the Presidency and the Speakers of the two Chambers of Parliament, Melescanu said.

"The assessment of the Embassy's move to Jerusalem was sent to the Prime Minister and after the relevant observations are made - we'll see if there are any - the Government will send it to the Presidency and to the heads of the two Chambers. How long it will take to make the decision does not depend on me, as far as we are concerned, we have finished our job, the Ministry has practically completed the analysis," Melescanu said.

He said there are no bottlenecks, that "this is a process in which everyone is involved," but the issue is indeed very complicated. "As far as we are concerned, we have listed in our report both the elements of interest and the things that can have a negative effect, but the decision does not lie with us. The purpose of this analysis was to present to the political decision makers all the pros and cons for everybody to know and for Romania to have a current, coordinated position," the Foreign Minister said.
Deepening Diplomatic Partnership With Africa, Israel to Open Rwanda Embassy
Israel will open an embassy in the central African state of Rwanda in 2019, Israel Hayom learned on Sunday. The new embassy will be located in the capital, Kigali.

Although the two countries have maintained diplomatic relations for years, contacts have been held via the Israeli Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Foreign Ministry officials support the move, which is now pending final approval from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also the acting foreign minister.

Rwanda maintains an embassy in Israel, located in Tel Aviv.

Diplomatic relations between the countries are close and include, among other exchanges, security cooperation and Israeli weapons exports to Rwanda. Additionally, Israel has sought to send a portion of the illegal African migrants in the country to Rwanda, although efforts have thus far failed due to internal pressure on the Rwandan government to oppose the measure.

The issue of opening an embassy in Rwanda was first raised in 2016, when Netanyahu visited the country and promised that Israel would open a mission there. The prime minister has repeated that promise several times, but now, with the closing of the Israeli Embassy in Paraguay, a quota for a new embassy was made available.
Israel ties warming with Central Asian countries
Much has been written about the growing ties between Israel and Arab states, such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but there is also great potential for stronger relations between Israel and Central Asian countries.

The friendly relations between Israel and Central Asian countries go back to their foundation during WWII when the then-Soviet republics hosted an estimated two million refugees from the Nazi German invasion of the USSR – most of them Soviet Jewish refugees during WWII (it is estimated that there were some five million Jews in the Soviet Union in 1941).

The quietly improving cooperation between Israel and some Arab Sunni states is due to realpolitik – or national interest – with the Sunnis afraid of the interference of revolutionary Shia Islamic Iran in their affairs. Relations between Israel and Turkey have become increasingly strained due to the Islamist policies of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

Relations with Central Asian countries also involve mutual interests; however, they are not beholden to radical religious and cultural factors, as in the Arab world.

Israel’s 1950s strategy, known as the “periphery doctrine,” was meant to seek allies beyond the hostile Arab world, such as with Iran and Turkey, but now the situation has reversed itself.

From Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal, published in August:

Yes, Palestinian women killed while trying to stab Jews are referred to as martyrs, without scare quotes, in an academic journal.

The abstract:

During the 2015 Palestinian ‘al-Quds’ uprising, more than 80 Palestinians were killed and their corpses were held by Israel in freezers. Fifteen of these corpses belonged to women and girls. This article draws on ethnographic data and traces the rites of passage of three Palestinian women’s corpses, examining the intersectionality between colonial, social-patriarchal, and resistance performances during their (in)secure life and death. Based on interviews with the women’s families, it examines the necropolitical and biopolitical powers inscribed over women’s frozen dead bodies. Necropolitics in this case is not only the decision about who deserves to live and who deserves death but also the decision about the structure of the dead body’s time-space, about its social-political and biological death. It is about allowing or disallowing burial, grief, and bereavement. Muting, erasing, and managing the death rites of the Palestinian women martyrs, calls for stepping beyond existing Western theory on the linearity, ‘liminality’, ‘anomaly’, and ‘abjection’ of death.
Of course the Israeli authorities were trying to ensure that funerals of these "martyrs" would not become a launching pad for more terror. But such details are probably not mentioned in this paper, because the readership is more interested in "linearity, ‘liminality’, ‘anomaly’, and ‘abjection’ of death."

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  • Monday, October 15, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

The stories that Yacoub Rabi are saying about how his wife was killed do not add up, and they contradict each other.

From Reuters:
A doctor at the Palestinian hospital where Aisha al-Rawbi was brought said the 47-year-old was dead on arrival and that she had suffered a head injury. Her relatives said an autopsy was to be carried out.
The woman’s husband, Aykube al-Rawbi, 52, said he was driving by a settlement late on Friday after dark along a main road near the Palestinian city of Nablus and that he could not see who pelted the car.
“The stones came from the side where the settlement is. I could hear the people speak Hebrew, but I didn’t see them,” said al-Rawbi.
For a large stone to shatter a windshield, the car must be going at a fair speed, at least 50 kph. Can one really hear conversations and recognize the language at that speed? If the windows were open the wind would drown out any voices, if they were closed the voices would be too muffled.

More damning is that Rabi contradicts himself. He originally said, as reported above, that he could not see who threw the stones. But he told Haaretz something different:

Yakoub Rabi said that he was sure the attackers were Jews from a nearby settlement, the Hebrew daily Haaretz reported Sunday.
There were six or seven of them, you could clearly see that they were youngsters,” he said. 
From not being able to see them to knowing that there were six or seven youngsters is a pretty major contradiction.

We don't even know if the area that he claims the stones were thrown is accurate. He kept driving to the hospital so it seems entirely possible that the incident was actually Palestinian youths throwing stones, mistaking Rabi's car for Israeli, but Rabi wants his wife to be a martyr so he made up the place it occurred to be a place that Arab youth are unlikely to be.

It should be mentioned that Kfar Tapuach, the Jewish village adjacent to the Tapuach Junction where Rabi claims this occurred, does have a reputation for hotheaded youth. But it seems unlikely that they would be throwing stones on a Friday night when religious families are generally eating Sabbath dinner together.

There is now a media blackout on the investigation.

It goes without saying that whoever did this crime should be convicted of murder and punished to the full extent of the law.

(h/t Irene)

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  • Monday, October 15, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
A statement from the EU Spokesperson on the "latest developments in Middle East" (which is EU-speak for Israel and the territories):

In Gaza on Friday again thousands of Palestinians have demonstrated, sometimes violently, near the fence. At least six were killed and hundreds injured from Israeli live fire, some while attempting to cross into Israel. We once again call on all to act with utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life.

We expect Israel respects the principle of necessity and proportionality in its use of force. And we expect that Hamas and other extremist groups in Gaza do not exploit the demonstrations for other ends and ensure they remain strictly non-violent.
They are actually admitting that the riots are less than peaceful! Wow!

But the overarching cluelessness of the EU will always remain:

The cycle of violence leads only to more violence and deprives entire generations from the legitimate aspiration to live in peace and free to build their own future. Only a political solution can put an end to the violence. In this context, the European Union strongly appreciates and fully supports the efforts of the United Nation’s Special Coordinator who has been working closely together with all parties and with the international community to get a political process going again in Gaza.
Why do they think that a "political solution" would end the violence? Hamas and Islamic Jihad and every other party in Gaza has sworn to destroy Israel. They teach their children that the goal is in reach. They celebrate "martyrs." How could, and why would, any "political solution" change that? 

Once one realizes that this will never change, then the question is no longer one of striving for peace, but of minimizing the effects of the war that will never end.

Guess what? The EU is not going to answer that question any better than Israel already does, and continues to do.

(h/t Irene)

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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