Recognizing Palestine 'helps peace above all'

DW: Sweden has just recognized Palestine’s statehood. This generated a lot of applause from Palestine – but also criticism, and not only from Israel. Who does the recognition of Palestine help?

Antar: This recognition helps peace, above all. Sweden has made an important contribution to the peace process and to rescuing the two-state solution. Everyone knows that without international intervention, the two-state solution could topple, because all the facts created by the Israeli side only hinder it.

Some are also very critical of this recognition because it does not change the status quo and all the problems remain unsolved.

Sweden has encouraged France, Ireland and Spain to take the same step, because we are talking about two unequal parties here. The Israelis are building settlements on Palestinian ground every day. This is going to prevent any connection between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Any reasonable person who looks at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict recognizes that the two-state solution is the best solution. But Israel simply goes on with its settlement policy and thus the two-state solution is reduced to naught.

Does that mean that the more countries that recognize Palestine’s statehood, the more likely the two-state solution is?

The Palestinians need hope in order to continue on the peaceful path. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says that too: that a state can only be founded through peaceful means. But without help from outside, that is simply not doable. Palestinians are being humiliated by Israeli policy, which has been going on for over ten years. In the past our experience has been that the Europeans take the first step, and the Americans often follow.

The recognition of Palestine as a state does not solve the problems between Israelis and Palestinians, however.

That’s true. But recognition would force Israel to a solution. Therefore, we thank the Europeans. They are trying to follow the right course, so that the situation does not come to a third Intifada. The Palestinians are losing more and more hope. Therefore, they expect help from the Europeans.

Help in what form?

Above all, political support, which could contribute to Palestinians continuing to believe in a peaceful course and peaceful co-existence with Israel. Otherwise radicalization will take over here. We want to prevent that. But for that we need hope – and that could come from the countries that Israel supports the most, i.e. the Americans and the Europeans.

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Recognizing Palestine 'helps peace above all'

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Israel to reopen Jerusalem holy site

JERUSALEM (AP) Israel closed all access to Jerusalem’s most sensitive religious site on Thursday, a rare move that ratcheted up already heightened tensions following the attempted assassination of a prominent Jewish religious activist and the killing of his suspected Palestinian assailant by police.

The Palestinians accused Israel of a “declaration of war,” deepening a crisis fueled by failed peace efforts, continued Israeli settlement construction and months of simmering violence in the holy city. While Israel said it would reopen the site on Friday, the increasingly religious nature of the unrest risked igniting further violence.

Palestinian youths throw stones during clashes with Israeli border police after Moatez Higazi was shot in east Jerusalem, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. Israeli police shot and killed Higazi suspected of trying to kill a hard-line Jewish activist in Jerusalem, an incident that quickly sparked clashes between masked stone throwers and Israeli riot police, threatening to further enflame the already high tensions in the city. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean) (Mahmoud Illean/AP)

Both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders blamed each other for the tensions. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has called for banning Jews from the hilltop holy site, of inciting the violence.

“The international community must stop its hypocrisy and act against the inciters,” Netanyahu said.

Abbas, meanwhile, said Jerusalem is a “red line that must not be touched.” The decision to close access to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound was “a declaration of war” that “will lead to further escalation and instability,” his spokesman, Nabil Abu Rdeneh, said. Abbas made no mention of the attempted killing of the Jewish activist.

East Jerusalem, the section of the city captured by Israel in 1967 and claimed by the Palestinians, has experienced unrest since the summer, with Palestinian youths throwing stones and firebombs at motorists and clashing frequently with Israeli police. The violence gained steam last week, when a Palestinian motorist rammed his car into a crowded train station, killing a 3-month-old Israeli-American baby girl.

Palestinian youths clash with Israeli border police after Moatez Higazi was shot in east Jerusalem, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. Israeli police shot and killed Higazi suspected of trying to kill a hard-line Jewish activist in Jerusalem, an incident that quickly sparked clashes between masked stone throwers and Israeli riot police, threatening to further enflame the already high tensions in the city.(AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean) (Mahmoud Illean/AP)

Much of the unrest has centered on the holy site, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The violence reached a new high late Wednesday when a gunman on a motorcycle shot and seriously wounded Yehuda Glick, a U.S.-born activist who often leads groups of Jews on visits to the site.

Glick is a leading voice in efforts to allow Jews to pray on the mosque compound something that Israeli authorities ban because they fear it would prompt violence. Muslim worshippers view Jewish prayer there as a provocation, fearing that Jewish extremists are plotting to take over the area.

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Israel to reopen Jerusalem holy site

Israel closes Jerusalem holy site after shooting, clashes

A Palestinian woman shouts at an Israeli police officer Thursday in the old city of Jerusalem. (Menahem Kahana, AFP/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM Israel closed all access to Jerusalem’s most sensitive religious site Thursday, a rare move that ratcheted up already heightened tensions after the attempted assassination of a prominent Jewish religious activist and the killing of his suspected Palestinian assailant by police.

The Palestinians accused Israel of a “declaration of war,” deepening a crisis fueled by failed peace efforts, continued Israeli settlement construction and months of simmering violence in the holy city.

Israel said it would reopen the site Friday, but the increasingly religious nature of the unrest risked igniting further violence.

Both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders blamed each other for the tensions. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has called for banning Jews from the hilltop holy site, of inciting the violence.

“The international community must stop its hypocrisy and act against the inciters,” Netanyahu said.

Abbas, meanwhile, said Jerusalem is a “red line that must not be touched.” The decision to close access to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound was “a declaration of war” that “will lead to further escalation and instability,” said his spokesman, Nabil Abu Rdeneh.

East Jerusalem, the section of the city captured by Israel in 1967 and claimed by the Palestinians, has experienced unrest since the summer, with Palestinian youths throwing stones and firebombs at motorists and clashing with Israeli police. The violence gained steam last week, when a Palestinian motorist rammed his car into a crowded train station, killing a 3-month-old Israeli-American baby girl.

Much of the unrest has centered on the holy site, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The violence reached a new high late Wednesday when a gunman on a motorcycle shot and seriously wounded Yehuda Glick, a U.S.-born activist who often leads groups of Jews on visits to the site.

Glick is a leading voice in efforts to allow Jews to pray on the mosque compound something that Israeli authorities ban because they fear it would cause violence. Muslim worshippers view Jewish prayer there as a provocation. Glick remained hospitalized Thursday in serious condition.

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Israel closes Jerusalem holy site after shooting, clashes

Israel to reopen Jerusalem holy site

JERUSALEM (AP) Israel closed all access to Jerusalem’s most sensitive religious site on Thursday, a rare move that ratcheted up already heightened tensions following the attempted assassination of a prominent Jewish religious activist and the killing of his suspected Palestinian assailant by police.

The Palestinians accused Israel of a “declaration of war,” deepening a crisis fueled by failed peace efforts, continued Israeli settlement construction and months of simmering violence in the holy city. While Israel said it would reopen the site on Friday, the increasingly religious nature of the unrest risked igniting further violence.

Palestinian youths throw stones during clashes with Israeli border police after Moatez Higazi was shot in east Jerusalem, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. Israeli police shot and killed Higazi suspected of trying to kill a hard-line Jewish activist in Jerusalem, an incident that quickly sparked clashes between masked stone throwers and Israeli riot police, threatening to further enflame the already high tensions in the city. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean) (Mahmoud Illean/AP)

Both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders blamed each other for the tensions. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has called for banning Jews from the hilltop holy site, of inciting the violence.

“The international community must stop its hypocrisy and act against the inciters,” Netanyahu said.

Abbas, meanwhile, said Jerusalem is a “red line that must not be touched.” The decision to close access to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound was “a declaration of war” that “will lead to further escalation and instability,” his spokesman, Nabil Abu Rdeneh, said. Abbas made no mention of the attempted killing of the Jewish activist.

East Jerusalem, the section of the city captured by Israel in 1967 and claimed by the Palestinians, has experienced unrest since the summer, with Palestinian youths throwing stones and firebombs at motorists and clashing frequently with Israeli police. The violence gained steam last week, when a Palestinian motorist rammed his car into a crowded train station, killing a 3-month-old Israeli-American baby girl.

Palestinian youths clash with Israeli border police after Moatez Higazi was shot in east Jerusalem, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. Israeli police shot and killed Higazi suspected of trying to kill a hard-line Jewish activist in Jerusalem, an incident that quickly sparked clashes between masked stone throwers and Israeli riot police, threatening to further enflame the already high tensions in the city.(AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean) (Mahmoud Illean/AP)

Much of the unrest has centered on the holy site, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The violence reached a new high late Wednesday when a gunman on a motorcycle shot and seriously wounded Yehuda Glick, a U.S.-born activist who often leads groups of Jews on visits to the site.

Glick is a leading voice in efforts to allow Jews to pray on the mosque compound something that Israeli authorities ban because they fear it would prompt violence. Muslim worshippers view Jewish prayer there as a provocation, fearing that Jewish extremists are plotting to take over the area.

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Israel to reopen Jerusalem holy site

Israel Closes Temple Mount After Palestinian Shoots Activist

Israel said it will allow limited access to the Muslim shrines on a contested Jerusalem hilltop, after closing it for the first time since 2000 in a move likened by Palestinians to a declaration of war.

Police said in a text message late yesterday that the shrine, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, would be reopened to a limited number of Muslims for Friday prayers today. Only worshipers who are 50 or older will be admitted, the police said.

The earlier announcement of the sites closure came as Israel tightened a security clampdown in Arab areas of Jerusalem, after the Oct. 29 shooting of a prominent Jewish religious activist, Yehuda Glick, who was seriously injured. A Palestinian suspected of carrying out the attack was killed in a gun-battle with police.

Glick, an American immigrant, heads a group demanding rights for Jewish prayer at the hilltop shrine. The compound has seen repeated clashes over the past few months between Palestinians and Israeli security officers.

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeina, said that continued Israeli aggression and dangerous escalation is tantamount to a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and their holy sites.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, in an e-mailed statement, accused Abbas of spreading lies and hate against the right of Jews to their land and freedom of worship, and called the shooting of Glick another grave phase in the ongoing Palestinian incitement.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said that before yesterday, the site hadnt been barred to Muslim worshipers since 2000. A visit by Ariel Sharon that year, before he was elected prime minister, set off a chain of violence that evolved into the second Palestinian uprising against Israel.

Muslims believe their Prophet Mohammad ascended to heaven from the site, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, which includes the silver-capped mosque and gold-capped Dome of the Rock, is Islams third-holiest site. Jews venerate the area as the site of their biblical temples. The Western Wall, Judaisms holiest prayer site, is located at the foot of the complex.

Since Israel captured east Jerusalem and its Old City in 1967, and annexed it in a move not internationally recognized, the compound has been run by a Muslim clerical trust known as the Waqf, under Israeli security control.

Tensions in Jerusalem have been mounting in recent months, spurred by the killing of Jewish and Arab teenagers, the 50-day conflict in Gaza, and most recently the killing by a Palestinian driver of two people waiting at a tram station.

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Israel Closes Temple Mount After Palestinian Shoots Activist

Sweden Officially Recognizes State Of Palestine, Asks Other Nations To Follow Suit

Sweden on Thursday officially recognized the state of Palestine, less than a month after the countrys newly-elected Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announced his intention to do so, according to media reports. The move makes Sweden the first European Union member in Western Europe to do so.

Today the government takes the decision to recognize the state of Palestine, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said, according to areport by Dagens Nyheter, a Swedish daily.

It is an important step that confirms the Palestinians right to self-determinationwe hope that this will show the way for others, she said, adding: “Our recognition of Palestine aims at making the parties to the conflict less unequal.”

With Thursdays decision, Sweden became the ninth European nation to officially recognize the state of Palestine. Seven EU members in eastern Europe and the Mediterranean have already recognized the Palestinian state. Among non-EU members, Iceland is the only other western European nation to have done so.

Following the decision, Israel reportedly summoned the Swedish ambassador to register its displeasure. Earlier in October, the Israeli foreign ministry had criticized Lofvens announcement on recognizing Palestinian statehood, calling it a decision made in a hurrybefore he had time even to study the issue in depth, according to media reports.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, however, welcomed the move and reportedly termed it a brave and historic decision.

All countries of the world that are still hesitant to recognize our right to an independent Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, with eastJerusalemas its capital, should follow Sweden’s lead, a spokesperson for Abbas quoted him as saying, according to a report by Agence France-Presse.

Swedens decision comes just a day after the United Nations criticized the Israeli governments decision to approve the construction of over 1,000 settler homes in parts of East Jerusalem that Palestinians claim as a part of their future state.

The reality is that continued settlement activity in occupied Palestinian territory is doing significant damage to any possibility of a lasting peace between the two sides and is moving the situation ever closer to a one-state reality, Jeffrey Feltman, the U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, reportedly said.

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Sweden Officially Recognizes State Of Palestine, Asks Other Nations To Follow Suit

Israel Interest Rate Cut Bets Grow After Slide Into Deflation

Bets are growing that the Bank of Israel will reduce the benchmark interest rate again today, after consumer prices fell more than anticipated and as global economic growth remains muted.

One-year interest rate swaps, an indicator of investor expectations, declined to a record-low of 0.145 percent on Oct. 15. Seven of 20 economists surveyed by Bloomberg are predicting the central bank will pare its record 0.25 percent, the largest number of forecasters predicting a cut in the past five months.

The combination of a dovish monetary policy committee, domestic deflation, and a sharp decline in inflation expectations in the capital market all support a rate cut in one of the coming months, said Modi Shafrir, chief strategist at United Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd.s finance division, who is predicting a 0.1 percentage point cut today. The Bank of Israel is saying it will do whatever it can to revive inflation expectations.

The monetary policy committee, led by Governor Karnit Flug, has been using a combination of rate cuts and foreign currency purchases to try to stimulate the economy, whose annual growth is slowing to its lowest since 2009. A falloff in global demand for the exports that power the Israeli economy and a strong shekel had already battered growth before it was further hurt by a 50-day military offensive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in July and August.

Israeli consumer prices declined 0.3 percent from a year earlier in September, the first drop in seven years, as global food and energy prices fell. Economic expansion is forecast to slow this year to 2.3 percent from 3.2 percent last year, the central bank said in September, in part due to tourist cancellations.

The central bank said in minutes of last months monetary policy committee meeting that action should be taken to bring inflation back to the governments target band of 1 percent to 3 percent.

While Shafrir said the Bank of Israel isnt likely to employ unconventional measures such as quantitative easing until it exhausts rate cuts, currency brokerage FXCM Israel said the bank would probably augment a rate reduction by announcing or hinting at quantitative easing. This would further support the weakening of the shekel in the coming months, FXCM said.

While the shekel has slid about 10 percent against the dollar since the first of two surprise rate cuts at the end of July, there are still no clear signs of pass through to domestic prices, which would spur inflation, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. wrote in an Oct. 24 report.

More shekel weakness is required in order to eliminate the risks of deflation, Goldman Sachs said, predicting the Israeli currency will trade at 3.90 to the dollar 12 months from now. The shekel weakened by less than 0.1 percent today against the dollar, trading at 3.735 at 10:24 a.m. in Tel Aviv.

Some economists dont think an additional rate cut would make much of a difference, and the majority expect the Bank of Israel to hold borrowing costs.

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Israel Interest Rate Cut Bets Grow After Slide Into Deflation

Allianz Sees Beyond Populism Decried by Israel Chemicals

Israel Chemicals Ltd. (ICL) threatened to freeze as much as $1.6 billion in investments last week and urged the Israeli government to stop a wave of populism inspiring a proposed tax increase on the company.

Investors had a very different reaction to the tax plan.

They bid Israel Chemicals shares up 4.3 percent to $7.04 in New York, making for the biggest weekly rally since March and beating the 3.2 percent gain on the Bloomberg Israel-US Equity index.

While the company, which harvests potash and other minerals from the Dead Sea to make fertilizers, is facing its second levy increase from the Israeli government in two years amid a global slump in crop nutrient prices, some investors had been bracing for a steeper tax. The unveiling of the plan is luring buyers back in, according to Allianz Global Investors and Pictet Asset Management.

ICL has a lot of things going for it, Baxter Hines, a Dallas-based portfolio manager at NFJ Investment Group, a unit of Allianz, said by phone Oct. 23. He helps manage $511 billion in assets for Allianz, including ICL shares. The long-term fundamentals for food and fertilizer pricing is strong. Its just that you have some short-term types of regulatory and cartel issues that are going to have to be worked out.

ICLs 3 percent rally in Tel Aviv in the five days through Oct. 23 curbed the stocks loss this year to 9.6 percent, compared with an 8.8 percent gain in the benchmark TA-25 Index. (TA-25) ICLs U.S.-traded shares fell 1.6 percent to $6.93 at 1:42 p.m. in New York.

The company said yesterday in a statement it sold its aluminum, paper chemicals and water treatment businesses to Japans Kurita Water Industries Ltd. for approximately 250 million euros ($317 million). The deal is part of a strategy to focus on core businesses of agriculture, food and engineered materials, Chief Executive Officer Stefan Borgas said.

ICL, Israels second-largest publicly traded company with a market value of 33.3 billion shekels ($8.8 billion), has a monopoly on potash mining in Israel and easy access to ports that gives it a cost advantage over peers, Hines said. The government panels decision to recommend a progressive windfall tax is the latest challenge that has cheapened up ICL shares this year. The Tel Aviv-based company trades at 10.14 times estimated earnings, below the industry average of 14.95 times.

The natural resource tax committee, in a final report released Oct. 20, recommended a progressive windfall tax peaking at 42 percent on all quarried materials, instead of the single 42 percent levy mentioned in its interim report in May. It retained its proposal of imposing a single royalty of 5 percent. The revised levies would take effect on Jan. 1, 2017. Israels legislature still has to approve the recommendations.

The updated proposals would add about 400 million shekels annually to government coffers, raising the publics shares of profits from mining to a range of 46 to 55 percent, according to the Finance Ministry.

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Allianz Sees Beyond Populism Decried by Israel Chemicals

The readers editor on the Guardians coverage of Israel/Palestine issues

The Guardian has had an interest in the future of Israel and Palestine for more than 100 years, dating back to the editorship of CP Scott (whose bust is above), whose support for Zionism earned him a letter of thanks from Chaim Weizmann, the first president of Israel. Photograph: David Sillitoe for the Guardian

When we received a complaint from the Israeli embassy on 16 October about the Guardians coverage of Israel/Palestine issues, it was the 17th this year and the third in three days. There have also been two allegations of antisemitism in the past fortnight but only one had a direct connection with Israel/Palestine issues. The other did not and it is important to make the distinction between criticism of Israeli policies and antisemitism. There are many pitfalls for the unwary writing about the Israel/Palestine conflict.

The latest complaint from the embassy, submitted by Yiftah Curiel, press attache, was about what he sees as the disproportionate amount of coverage the Guardian gives to Israel/Palestine issues and Gaza in particular something of a theme among the Guardians critics in this area. He cited several examples of the use of images from Palestine in the daily Guardian Eyewitness middle page spread: on 21 October a child in Gaza, on 18 October a photo of a West Bank protest and on 12 October another Gaza photo.

He queried why something described as a world of photography online should concentrate on one part of that world? He also highlighted a double spread on Gaza on 1 October, and the day before another double spread (this time in G2).

He said that the Gaza content, even in terms of square inches of print, far outweighs the space allotted to other no less important events in the Middle East.

I think there are two reasons why theGuardian has a focus of interest on Israel and Palestine: one is historical andthe other pragmatic. As I have written before, the Guardian has had an interest in the future of Israel and Palestine for more than 100 years, dating back to the editorship of CP Scott, whose support for Zionism earned him a letter of thanks from Chaim Weizmann, the first president of Israel, thanking Scott for his help in achieving the Balfour declaration.

The second reason reflects the tough reality that there are more photographs coming out of the destruction wrought in Gaza than there from other parts of the world where conflict is taking the lives of men, women and children. Gaining access to Syria, Islamic State and Ukraine is far more difficult and there are fewer photographs from which to choose, according to picture editors.

While I recognise that it is the role of the press attache to present the views of the embassy to the media and thus represent the Israeli government, I asked Curiel whether such an unprecedented number of complaints was part of a campaign.

He strongly denied this and said that it was simply an evaluation and response to the Guardian: The media discourse on the Israeli/Palestinian issue in recent years has become polarised to an extent that often precludes any possibility for real dialogue. I believe that the media has a clear professional choice to make here: to engage and promote understanding by reflecting the challenges both sides face, or to remain on the (sterile) moral high ground, expressing disdain at the imperfect reality that is the Middle East.

An essay based on a book extract by Shlomo Sand, an Israeli academic, was the cause of one of the other two complaints, this time from the pressure group CiF Watch, which has made 38 complaints to the Guardian this year. Sand argued that he wanted to resign as a Jew. He wrote: I am often even ashamed of Israel, particularly when I witness evidence of its cruel military colonisation, with its weak and defenceless victims who are not part of the chosen people.

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The readers editor on the Guardians coverage of Israel/Palestine issues

Student organization encourages conversation about Palestine

Keene State College senior Hersch Rothmel is spearheading the effort to begin a chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace on campus. Jewish Voice for Peace is a national grassroots organization that seeks to raise awareness about the Israeli occupation of Palestine. It advocates for human rights and amended U.S. policy in the region. The new student group held its first event last Tuesday, Oct. 14. The teach-in, focusing on Israel and Palestine, featured a number of speakers and was an impassioned and informative narrative.

Aisha Mershani has a Ph.D in Peace, Development and Conflict Studies. Her talk focused on the Palestinian Civil Resistance against the Israeli apartheid wall and occupation of the West Bank, where she has worked as a photographer and solidarity activist since 2003.

Her photographs are expository, documenting popular resistance to the wall, daily life, interactions and landscapes in the region.

She started off the teach-in by explaining that American media does not show what is truly going on in Israel/Palestine and that as Americans we are brainwashed on this matter.

The first misconception, she explained, Is that its not a conflict its an occupation. Israel is occupying Palestinian lands.

Focusing on the West Bank, Mershanis presentation centered on what she considers the three most dangerous parts of the integrated system that Israel has been implementing in order to control Palestinian movement and steal land. These parts are the checkpoints, the tunnel roads and the apartheid wall.

Inside the West Bank, a checkpoint is a station where Israeli soldiers check IDs of Palestinians before they are allowed to cross to other areas, Mershani explained.

She explained how the checkpoints arent just how we would think of border checkpoints between nations, but checkpoints between villages.

A single village may become enclosed and isolated. A residents ability to leave is completely in the hands of Israeli soldiers.

Mershani explained, What could be a five minute drive, turns into a four hour drive waiting in lines to be allowed to move from one village to the next even within the West Bank. This is a way for Israel to control and track Palestinian movement.

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Student organization encourages conversation about Palestine

Seanad calls on Government to recognise Palestine

The Seanad has passed a motion calling on the Government to recognise the state of Palestine.

It is unlikely to change policy but the decision is the latest boost for Palestinian authorities campaigning for international recognition, coming after a similar move by the British House of Commons and Sweden’s decision to recognise a Palestinian state.

The motion called on the “Government to formally recognise the state of Palestine and do everything it can to help secure a viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so that citizens of both states can live in peace and security”.

It had cross-party support and passed without a vote.

Tabling the motion, Fianna Fil senator Averil Power said Ireland should “make it clear that statehood is a right of the Palestinian people and not a bargaining chip for the Israelis to play in further sham negotiations.

“In doing so, we will help increase pressure on Israel to pursue a genuine peace process that has a real prospect of delivering peace and justice for both Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

The Government is unlikely tofollow the motion but Ms Power said Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan would visit the Seanad in November to discuss the issue.

“It was great that we didn’t have to have a vote as we had cross-party support, which sends out a strong message,” she said.

Ahead of the vote, the Israeli ambassador to Ireland, Boaz Modai, said he had contacted all senators to urge them to vote against the measure.

“Stunt gestures such as recognising ‘Palestine’ unilaterally are counter-productive because they only give excuses to those on the Palestinian side who hope to achieve their goals without talking directly to Israel,” the embassy said in a statement.

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Seanad calls on Government to recognise Palestine

Ingber 15: The oldest hatred in new and old forms

Anti-Semitism is not something we talk about on college campuses. While we may discuss anti-Semitism abstractly in academic conversations, it is something we believe we are beyond, something reminiscent of backward 20th century totalitarian regimes. But this ancient hatred of Jews persists around the world. From the depths of Saudi madrassas to the halls of the United Nations in Geneva, anti-Semitic tropes continue.

This past May, a gunman of Algerian descent murdered four people at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels. A few years earlier, Mohammed Merah, a French national, murdered many people including an 8-year-old girl at a Jewish school in Toulouse.

But this summer, following the Israeli operation in the Gaza strip, anti-Semitism was not isolated to rogue actors perpetrating violence. While many protests expressed clear messages objecting to the actions of the Israeli government, others contained thousands of protesters many in Germany, alarmingly chanting gas the Jews. And most striking was an incident in Sarcelles, France, a suburb of Paris. Jewish businesses were looted and ransacked by mobs in an incident resembling something from 1930s Germany. Synagogues were attacked and Jewish sites were vandalized in the suburb of what many consider to be the cultural capital of Europe.

While it is important to note that European governments have been exceptionally swift in condemning this anti-Semitism and mobilizing broad political support to stop its spread, the populist nature of these events signifies the extant nature of European anti-Semitism.

But it is no surprise that there has been virtually no discussion on this topic of campus. Perhaps it is academically passe to examine anti-Semitism in most circles. But I think most students at Brown, and in the United States more broadly, do not believe they are exposed to anti-Semitism. I write this column not to suggest that Browns campus is brimming with anti-Semitism not in the slightest. But I would like to highlight certain things that have appeared across institutions of higher education that give cause for concern.

It is first crucial to remember that Jews still constitute a minority with a long history of persecution prior to a recent history of safety and security. It was not long ago that Henry Ford regularly distributed The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and President Franklin Delano Roosevelts State Department routinely rejected requests to accept Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. While the triumph of the Jewish people vis-a-vis thousands of years of historical threats is nothing short of astonishing, we must remember that persecution weighs heavily on the Jewish historical memory.

And so, it is alarming that somebody drew swastikas on the facade of Emory Universitys chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi, the schools oldest historically Jewish fraternity. While some might say that Emory is in Atlanta, and the South has more anti-Semitism than other parts of the country, a similar expression of prejudice occurred recently at Yale. Swastikas were chalked on the sidewalk outside a freshman dorm just a short time after they were found on a whiteboard inside an academic building. Scary.

But never at Brown, right? That could not possibly happen here. But it did. Last year, surrounding the now infamous Ray Kelly affair, a number of posters with Ray Kellys face were adorned with swastikas. Should I have to enter my dorm and look at a swastika on the door? Do we have such a short memory of 20th century events that we forget how traumatizing these symbols are for Jews, many of whom had family live through or perish in the Holocaust?

But it is easy to condemn a swastika. The more nefarious instances of anti-Semitism manifest in language, not images. They appear in language speciously germane to a conversation but actually coded in historical anti-Semitism tropes. And it is in conversations regarding Israel that these tropes come to life.

Let me be nothing short of absolutely clear: It is perfectly acceptable and appropriate to criticize the actions of Israel without venturing into anti-Semitic territory. But when criticism of Israel uses language historically associated with anti-Semitic canards, we have to be careful. Calling Israelis or the Israeli government bloodthirsty for Palestinian children is simply a new variation on historic uses of blood libel the untrue and offensive notion that Jews seek the blood of non-Jewish children for religious ritual.

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Ingber 15: The oldest hatred in new and old forms

Rabbis Stern, Amar elected new chief rabbis of Jerusalem

Rabbis Aryeh Stern and Shlomo Amar were voted Jerusalem’s new chief rabbis of on Tuesday evening, after 11 years in which the posts stood vacant.

The 48 electors who cast their ballots at city hall on Tuesday afternoon chose Amar to serve in the capacity of the capital’s Sephardi chief rabbi, and Stern as Ashkenazi chief rabbi.

The two winners enjoyed the backing of both Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat, who has long wanted to get a Zionist rabbi elected as the citys chief rabbi, and Naftali Bennett, chairman of religious-Zionist party Habayit Hayehudi.

In the Sephardi race, Amar won 28 votes, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu got 18, and Rabbi Haim Amsalem two. Eliyahu, who is currently serving as chief rabbi of Safed, is well known to the Israeli public due to his anti-Arab statements and edicts. He was indicted for incitement to racism in 2007, but the charges were withdrawn after he retracted and apologized for his remarks.

In the race for Ashkenazi chief rabbi, Stern won 27 votes, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lau 20, and one envelope was left empty.

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Rabbis Stern, Amar elected new chief rabbis of Jerusalem

Israel panel proposes 25-42 pct tax hike on mining companies

An Israeli government panel on Monday proposed sharply raising taxes on mining activities, but it softened the blow by recommending a progressive, rather than flat, rate ranging from 25 to 42 percent. The hike drew the ire of the country's largest mining firm, potash and speciality chemicals maker Israel Chemicals (ICL) , which has lobbied heavily against the tax. In a final report, the …

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Israel panel proposes 25-42 pct tax hike on mining companies

Palestine is a state, definitely

(MENAFN – Alghad Newspaper) The Palestinian cause abroad is better than it is at home; while the political forces in the Palestinian arena are grappling to overcome their divisions and differences, the outside world began to look with appreciation to the struggle of the Palestinian people, and their right to end the occupation and build their own independent state.

Britain, who played the role of the midwife in the birth of the Zionist project on the land of Palestine, is seeking, after about 100 years of the infamous Balfour Declaration, to atone for its historical sin against the Palestinian people. The British House of Commons vote in favor of recognizing the state of Palestine, even though symbolic, embodies a historic moment in the march of the Palestinians for freedom and independence.

The world has not forgotten the just cause of Palestine and its people, amid the horrors of the region and the concerns of the war on terrorism. I’d go further to say that the horrors the region is witnessing awakened the conscience of many countries, which have begun to realize the objective correlation between extremism and injustice inflicted on the Palestinian people; it has been proven without a doubt that the absence of justice in Palestine gives birth to violence and extremism in the region.

In Europe in particular, many states began feeling uneasy about Israel being a state above the law; entitled to commit what it pleases of the crimes, claiming that the other terrorists undermine world peace. This logic is no longer palatable in the West; there is a growing feeling that the policies of Israel that goes against peace based on international legitimacy resolutions, is the nub of the problem in the region.

Sweden was the first country to launch the cry of rebellion against the old policy of the West, followed by Britain, and now France is paving the way for a similar move which recognizes the State of Palestine.

European support contract, which encircles the neck of Israel and give it the strength and safety it wanted, is gradually falling apart. Maybe before the second decade of the new millennium most Western countries would have recognized the state of Palestine.

The Palestinian state within a few years will become a reality, and stronger than the American veto at the Security Council. More than 130 countries in the world will deal with Palestine as a state that is under occupation. This is a historic development and a victory for the cause of the Palestinian people, one which neither Israel nor the US can ignore. Then, the Israeli occupation will have no choice but to leave.

It does not matter today that the British Prime Minister David Cameron said that the House of Commons vote will not change his government’s policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is important that the representatives of the British people have voted overwhelmingly to recognize the state of Palestine.

Symbolic vote? This is true. But its real value is in the historical symbolism. The Palestinians today do not have a state and will before the departure of the occupation. But at the moment when the overwhelming majority of the peoples of the world recognize the State of Palestine, the occupation will no longer be of value; the Palestinian state would be a reality.

The Israelis are proud of saying that they did not need more than thirty years after the Balfour Declaration to establish their usurping state. The Palestinian people will be proud to break their record after the “declaration” of the British House of Commons; when the whole world announces their recognition of the State of Palestine soon.

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Palestine is a state, definitely