Detained ‘Palestinian Mandela’ is innocent, says family – Eyewitness News

Detained Palestinian Mandela is innocent, says family

The family of Palestinian political activist Marwan Barghouthi are in SA to promote a movie which gives insight into his life.

The wife of incarcerated Palestine leader Marwan Barghouthi, Fadwa. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The family of Palestinian political leader Marwan Barghouti, who is known as the Palestinian Mandela, says they will not give up trying to secure his release.

They are in the country to promote a movie, which gives insight into the life of the imprisoned leader, who the family believes has been wrongly incarcerated by the Israeli government.

Since 2002 his wife who is a lawyer and prominent advocate for the rights of Palestinian prisoners has been trying to negotiate his release with the Israeli government – along with more than 6500 others prisoners.

The wife of incarcerated Palestine leader Fadwa Barghouti maintains her husband is innocent of all crimes hes accused of.

I looked at the judgement against Marwan theres no proof whatsoever that he did give any order to kill or to maim any Israeli.

Fadwa hopes that with the help of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation the movie documenting the life of the Palestine will expose the truth behind the detention adding pressure on Israel to release him.

The film was screened in several countries and hopefully it will be screened on the main TV stations.

WATCH: Movie profiles ‘wrongful incarceration’ of Palestinian activist

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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Detained ‘Palestinian Mandela’ is innocent, says family – Eyewitness News

Trump tells Abbas ‘time has come’ for peace deal with Israel – Washington Times

President Trump told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud AbbasFridaythat its time for a comprehensive agreement to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The president emphasized his personal belief that peace is possible and that the time has come to make a deal, the White House said in a readout of the phone conversation between the two leaders. The president noted that such a deal would not only give Israelis and Palestinians the peace and security they deserve, but that it would reverberate positively throughout the region and the world.

Mr. Trump invited Mr. Abbas to a meeting at the White House soon.

The president underscored that such a peace agreement must be negotiated directly between the two parties, and that the United States will work closely with Palestinian and Israeli leadership to make progress toward that goal, the White House said.

The president noted that the United States cannot impose a solution on the Israelis and Palestinians, nor can one side impose an agreement on the other, the statement said.

Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah saidAbbas stressed the commitment to peace as a strategic choice to establish a Palestinian State alongside the state of Israel, according to the official Palestinian WAFA news agency.

alestinians are concerned at the more favorable approach shown by Washington toward Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since Mr. Trump came to power. Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Trump have spoken on the phone at least twice since the inauguration, and Mr. Netanyahu visited Washington last month.

Palestinian officials indicated Abbas would emphasize his concern about Israeli settlement-building on occupied land and the need for a two-state solution to the conflict. This article is based on wire-service reports.

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Trump tells Abbas ‘time has come’ for peace deal with Israel – Washington Times

Palestine Today 03 09 2017 – International Middle East Media Center

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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center,, for Thursday, March, 09, 2017.

Israeli troops uproot palm trees meanwhile settlers destroy olive trees owned by Palestinian farmers. These stories, and more, coming up, stay tuned.

Israeli forceshave uprooted some 350 palm trees and bulldozed lands in Jerichocity, Jordan Valley. Thursday, local sources reported.

The land was razed and the trees were uprooted, even though it is located in area B and not C,as Israel claims. The land is private property offarmer Mohammed Awajneh, who said that his land was among other agricultural lands razed by Israeli bulldozers without prior notice. The trees were planted two years ago.

In another attack, Israeli settlers uprooted on Thursday morning Palestinian olive trees and sprayed chemical poison on other trees owned by Palestinian farmers from the southern West Bank village of Yatta. According to local sources the armed settlers came from the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Maon,

The Palestine Information Center (PIC), numbers show that around 150,000 Palestinian citizens live in 542 residential communities located partially or completely within Area C, while 325,000 Israeli settlers live in the same area in 135 settlements and about 100 outposts, in violation of the international law.

70% of the lands of Area C are located within the boundaries of the local councils of the Israeli settlements; therefore, Palestinians are prohibited from using or developing them.

In other news, The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers abducted, since Wednesday evening until morning hours Thursday, thirty-two Palestinians, including children, between the ages of 11 and 15, in different parts of the occupied West Bank.

Among those abducted was Samira Halayqa, a Palestinian law maker. She was taken after soldiers searched and ransacked her home in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Other abductions and home searches were reported in Ramallah, Jerusalem, Jenin, Nablus and Tulkarem cities and nearby villages.

And thats all for today from the IMEMC News; this was the Thursday, March, 08, 2017, news round-up from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. From more news and updates, please visit our website at todays report has been brought to you by George Rishmawi and me Ghassan Bannoura.

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Palestine Today 03 09 2017 – International Middle East Media Center

South African university plagued with antisemitism during ‘Apartheid Week’ – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Students hold a Hezbollah flag during a demonstration at Wits University during ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’. (photo credit:SAUJS)

WITS UNIVERSITY was marred by several antisemitic and violent incidents this week during the annual Israel Apartheid Week (IAW).

Some of the alarming incidents included BDS and anti-Israel supporters emulating Hitler in a the Nazi goose-step, flying flags of terrorist organizations and advocating for the death of Jews and Israeli-Arabs.

On Thursday, a video emerged of a Muslim student using his finger to gesture a mustache while performing a Nazi salute and a goose step around the campus as he was egged on and congratulated by his friends in front Jewish and pro-Israel students.

Later in the day a second video surfaced of a BDS activist at Wits advocating that people want to kill Jews because Jews dont behave when they are visitors in other peoples countries.

A flag belonging to internationally recognized terror organization Hezbollah was also prominently displayed during a tense stand-off between BDS and pro-Israel students on Wednesday with some witnesses stating that a Hamas flag was also showcased by the pro-Palestinian lobby at Wits.

Earlier in the week several brawls broke out and property belonging to the SA Jewish Union of Students (SAUJS) was thrown around, physically pulled from their hands while posters were torn and threats made by anti-Israel supporters and BDS members.

An event hosted by SAUJS was also disrupted by pro-Palestinian supporters who cut the wires to the sound system and stormed the stage. Police and security were called in to prevent further violence from taking place.

A visiting Israeli-Arab delegate from education organization StandWithUs was also told by pro-Palestinian students that he would be the first to be killed when they (Palestinians) take over (Israel) while Jewish students were also threatened that their throats would be cut.

At one point they even danced around the Wits Palestinian Solidarity Committee (PSC), singing Am Yisrael Chai, as the PSC members chanted Free Free Palestine.

SAUJS National Chairman Gabi Zollman said that they had seen a lot of antisemitism, physical violence, pushing, shoving and tension between students.

We cant understand why IAW is still allowed to happen on university campuses across the world because it gives rise to antisemitism, he said.

Zollman added that he was proud of how students from all walks of life, races and religions stood together in support of Israel during the hostilities.

We had an incredible campaign which was really positive despite the situation. There was so much engagement and discussion with all our activities being geared towards education and dialogue, he explained.

SAUJS also launched an online worldwide campaign calling on Wits University to condemn the endorsement of terrorism on campus following the Hezbollah flag incident.

We started this yesterday and people sign it, it sends an email straight to the Dean of Students. So far over 1000 emails have already been sent, Zollman said.

National Director of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) Wendy Kahn (corr) condemned this behaviour and said it was not surprising that IAW had degenerated into more hatred against South African Jews.

Despite the insistent claims by BDS supporters in SA media that IAW is not antisemitic, their true motive was unveiled. The Wits PSC staged an aggressive and hate-filled campaign to stop SAUJS students from providing a different perspective on the Israeli Palestinian conflict. PSC students cut the wire of the sound system and stormed the stage to silence visiting Arab Israeli student Yahya Mahamed resulting police being called in to prevent further PSC violence, Kahn said.

She said this behavior does not belong in a democratic South Africa, especially on a University Campus.

Once again we reiterate that whatever one feels about the Israeli Palestinian situation, its never acceptable to import the conflict onto South African University campuses, causing hate and polarisation between fellow students, she said

Kahn concluded by quoting Former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe who warned BDS activists about antisemitism in their campaign saying: Antisemitic actions couched in the language of human rights, and disguised by its discourse cannot be countenanced. Such actions not only undermine the humanity of a people, and entrench a painful history, but also serve to undermine our commitment to principled and moral action. It is crucial that the struggle for human rights and an end to oppression be absolutely severed from such religious intolerance and bigotry.

The Wits Palestinian Solidarity Committee together with Amnesty International Wits and the Wits Muslim Students Association have strongly condemned incidents of antisemitism that took place during IAW adding that disciplinary processes against the student who had emulated Hitler were being initiated.

We are also investigating other reported antisemitic incidents, they said.

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South African university plagued with antisemitism during ‘Apartheid Week’ – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Israel’s baseball team: a cute farce, but still a great story – The Guardian (blog)

Israeli catcher Ryan Lavarnway (left) has kicked around the edges of the majors for many years. His teams wins at the World Baseball Classic still count as upsets. Photograph: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

A few years ago, at the Beijing Olympics, I covered a womens beach volleyball match between Georgia and Russia. It was a preliminary-round match that should have drawn little notice, except that just days before Russia had invaded Georgia, and for the handful of Georgians in the stands this volleyball match meant the world to them.

They screamed and shouted and stomped for every point. When the two-player Georgian team won, they pumped their fists in the air and danced in the stands. Later, they followed their victorious volleyball players around the surrounding plaza waving Georgian flags, chanting: Georgia! Georgia! Georgia!

Only the volleyball players werent really Georgian. They knew little about Georgia. In fact, they had barely been to Georgia. They were from Brazil. They spoke Portuguese and a tiny bit of English. There was nothing Georgian about them. They were there because the Georgian prime ministers wife wanted a beach volleyball team, and they wouldnt have made the Olympics any other way.

None of this mattered to the Georgians in the stands that day. They were desperate for any revenge against Russia, even if it came in the form of two Brazilian women wearing bikinis and diving through a sandpit in China.

Ive been thinking about the Georgian beach volleyball team during Israels march through the first round of the World Baseball Classic. Much like the Brazilian women playing beach volleyball for Georgia, the men playing baseball for Israel are not Israeli. Only two of the 36 players on Israels roster are actually from Israel. Most of them are fringe major-leaguers or career minor-leaguers, born and raised in the US. Their only true connection to Israel is that they fit into the loose definition of what qualifies for an Israeli player at the WBC: primarily that they are Jewish, or have a Jewish parent or grandparent.

The comparison between the Georgian beach volleyball players and the Israel baseball team is, of course, not perfect. Russias invasion of Georgia that year was a real act of war that agonized Georgias athletes in Beijing. Many wanted to go home to their families, only to be told that doing so would disqualify them from future Olympics. The WBC is a contrived attempt by Major League Baseball to inflate international interest in the game. It is played during spring training and has little connection to world events.

But much like the Georgians embraced their Brazilian volleyball team, baseball fans are enthralled with the story of an Israeli baseball team that isnt Israeli. And thats fine. Sometimes a good story is just that, a good story regardless of reality.

Israel went into the WBC as the longest of longshots. They are not a country with much of a baseball tradition. The most recent World Baseball Softball Confederation rankings had them at 41 just behind the baseball powers of Ukraine and Poland. Coming into the WBC their odds of winning the tournament were 200-1. Theyve often been a punchline in international baseball: even Israel has a baseball team? Now after beating South Korea, Taiwan and Holland this week, the team that couldnt is making the oddsmakers quiver.

And yet the Israel team at the WBC bears little resemblance to the worlds 41st-ranked team. Few of the Americans on this ragtag collection of professionals would be eligible to play for Israel in a tournament other than this. The Israeli team in the WBC is not the 41st best in the world. They are much, much better than that. They probably are not deep enough to survive the whole three-week tournament and make good on those 200-1 odds, but in small pool of single games played halfway around the world they are more than talented enough to upset the larger powers of South Korea and Taiwan.

They have zero connection to Israel. [It is] kind of a cute farce, an Israeli journalist friend messaged me on Facebook after Israel pounded Taiwan on Tuesday.

The whole WBC is a cute farce, and has been since it started in 2006. Its hard to take too seriously a world tournament played through spring training when most professional hitters are working on their timing, and when pitchers are trying to build their innings and reclaim the feel on their pitches. While some countries like Mexico and Japan have embraced the tournament the 2013 WBC drew better TV ratings in Japan than the previous years Olympics this is not a true world championship tournament. Many of the best players refuse to play, citing the risk of injury. Its really a series of competitive exhibitions hyped into being a baseball world cup.

But the WBC doesnt need Clayton Kershaw to be fun to watch. Much like the Olympics, where millions of viewers hold their breath watching a diver they had never heard of, superstars arent necessary to create a nationalistic fervor. A uniform, a flag and a team with a good backstory is usually enough to lock people to the television.

The Israeli team might not be very Israeli, nor the great underdog everyone believes them to be, but they are a still a great story. Its hard to hate a team whose mascot is Mensch on a Bench. While their top players, Sam Fuld and Ike Davis, have been established major-leaguers, they would not lead many big league lineups. Their catcher Ryan Lavarnway went to Yale and has kicked around the edges of the majors for many years. Their game 2 starter, Chris Baker, is a 27-year-old career minor-leaguer.

Israels wins still count as upsets even if they arent huge upsets.

So, yes, the Israeli baseball team might be a farce with their players having about as much connection to Israel as two Brazilian beach volleyball players had to Georgia in 2008, but for a few days in March they have made baseball a joy. Sometimes the truth doesnt need to ruin a good story.

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Israel’s baseball team: a cute farce, but still a great story – The Guardian (blog)

Iran: Israel hires assassins to kill nuclear scientists in the region – AMN Al-Masdar News (registration)

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:32 P.M.) Reza Najafi, who represents Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said on Thursday whilst addressing a quarterly IAEA Board of Governors meeting that Israel hires assassins to kill nuclear scientists throughout the Middle East.

While nuclear scientists across the entire Middle East have been assassinated by Israeli-hired terrorists, the regimes nuclear experts are allowed access to some countries nuclear facilities, he said.

Four Iranian nuclear scientists were assassinated by the Israeli regime between 2010 and 2012, PressTV has revealed.


Najafi strongly condemned the Western states for their disregard for the standing international laws of nuclear non-proliferation, which prohibit all types of nuclear cooperation with Israel and the transfer of nuclear materials and equipment to the entity, the report continued.

ALSO READ Kurdish parties unite to fight against “Iranian regime”


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Iran: Israel hires assassins to kill nuclear scientists in the region – AMN Al-Masdar News (registration)

Gere delights Israeli fans at premier of Israel-US movie – Channel NewsAsia

JERUSALEM: Hollywood actor Richard Gere delighted fans after walking the red carpet in Jerusalem for the Israeli premiere of his new film “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall Of A New York Fixer”.

The “Pretty Woman” star plays Norman Oppenheimer, a veteran “fixer” in New York’s Jewish community who runs into trouble when he tries to win over a visiting Israeli politician, played by Israeli actor Lior Ashkenazi.

In the film, screened at Jerusalem’s Cinematheque on Wednesday, Gere’s character’s life changes when he buys an expensive pair of shoes for an Israeli dignitary who eventually becomes prime minister.

Critics have said the storyline is reminiscent of the connection between former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and a New York-based businessman alleged to have given him cash envelopes. Olmert is currently serving jail time for corruption.

Israeli-American writer-director Joseph Cedar said he felt compelled to explore the life of a “fixer” – someone who thrives on connecting with people and getting in with the right crowd – from his own personal life experience.

“It took him (Gere) some time to feel comfortable with a different body language, a story line that I don’t think he’s ever had to bring to the screen, and gradually he felt more and more comfortable until he really became this character,” Cedar told reporters at a news conference on Thursday.

Gere said he was not getting involved in the politics of the region and the challenge for him was portraying an unusual personality.

“I am not interested in politics, I am interested in human beings. The people that I am meeting are also people who are primarily involved with relationships and bridging the problems between human beings… I am coming froma country that is in deep anxiety and chaos right now,” the American actor and humanitarian activist said.

(Reporting by Lee Marzel, writing by Rinat Harash, editing by Ori Lewis and Pritha Sarkar)

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Gere delights Israeli fans at premier of Israel-US movie – Channel NewsAsia

Palestine: Palestine leader meets UK foreign secretary in Ramallah – The Muslim News

RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA): Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday met with U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson at Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

According to Palestines official WAFA news agency, Abbas briefed Johnson on recent developments in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian president, the news agency reported, also reiterated the illegality of [Israeli] settlement-building in the occupied West Bank.

Israel must stop its incursions, arrests and assassinations against the Palestinian people if it wants to give the political process a chance, the news agency quoted Abbas as telling the visiting British official.

Johnson, for his part, reportedly reaffirmed his countrys support for a two-state solution to the perennial Israel-Palestine conflict, stressing the illegality of Israeli settlement construction on occupied Arab land.

Earlier Wednesday, Johnson met with Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki, to whom he reportedly said: The Palestinians and Israelis should sit together to find a solution to the conflict.

Britain will not impose itself on them, but would support them if they decided to sit down together, the foreign secretary said at a subsequent joint press conference.

The Israeli people need to feel they can live in security without fear of terrorism and violence, he asserted.

But, he went on, its vital too that obstacles such as the accelerating pace of settlement building, the accelerating pace of [home] demolitions are also the barriers in the path of a two-state solution.

He added: We have to work to remove those barriers.

Johnson arrived in the region on Tuesday for an official visit to Israel and Palestine.

Later this evening, he is slated to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom he is expected to discuss the Palestine file and other regional issues.

In November 2015 as Mayor of London made controversial statements agains the Palestinians leading to youth groups cancelling meeting with Boris Johnson.

Johnson criticised calls for a boycott of Israeli goods, describing the BDS campaign as completely crazy and promoted by a few lefty academics in corduroy jackets pursuing a cause.

Sharek Youth Forum cancelled meeting with Boris as he fails to acknowledge our very existence as Palestinians.

Following Johnsons inaccurate, misinformed and disrespectful statement regarding the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement on 9 November, stating that he cannot think of anything more foolish, it is our conclusion, supported by the Palestinian youth that we represent, he consciously denies the reality of the occupation that continues to oppress them and all Palestinians.

As Palestinians and supporters of BDS, we cannot in good conscience host Johnson, as a person who denounces the international BDS movement and prioritises the feelings of wearers of corduroy jackets over an entire nation under occupation.

In Johnsons own words, the only democracy in the region a pluralist, open society is one that oppresses citizens, confiscates land, demolishes homes, detains children and violates international humanitarian and human rights law on a daily basis.

Palestine Womens Business Forum also had called of the meeting with the mayor.

Additional report from The Muslim News

[Photo: British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (L) speaks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) during their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Ramallah, West Bank on March 8, 2017. Photographer: Muhabiri Issam Rimawi/AA]

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Palestine: Palestine leader meets UK foreign secretary in Ramallah – The Muslim News

In Israel, a Street Sign Named After Yasser Arafat Stirs Emotions – Newsweek

As deadly attacks, land appropriation and clashes push a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians further from reach, a row over street signs has further stoked tensions between Arabs and Jews in Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday announced Sunday he had asked Interior Minister Aryeh Deri to remove a street sign in the central Israeli Arab village of Jatt. The name on the white and pink road marker? Yasser Arafat, the late leader of the Palestinians.

Netanyahu told his weekly cabinet meeting that streets in Israel could not be named after murderers of Israelis and Jews. He went further, saying he would table new legislation if need be, so that this does not happen here.

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Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat attends Friday prayers on May 17, 2002 at his headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he had ordered the removal of a street sign named after the former Palestinian leader in an Israeli Arab village. Chris Hondros/Getty

In a country dogged by the politics of the region, road signs carry their own baggage. In the West Bank, which Israels military occupies and the Palestinians have earmarked for any future state, the Arabic underneath Hebrew signposts directing drivers to Jewish settlements has previously been scrawled out, with words such as revenge daubed in Hebrew taking its place.

The Arafat sign, written in both Hebrew and Arabic and erected in 2008, struck a nerve with Jewish citizens, who protested to Deri for it to be removed after Israeli soldiers discovered the road on the Waze app, according to the Times of Israel. Deri subsequently wrote a letter to the local council of Jatt, telling them the ministry had not approved the name change years before and ordering it to remove the sign immediately.

Palestinians widely memorialize their former leader, who died in a French hospital in 2004. Arafat was and remains a symbol of what they call their national struggle for a sovereign state and the end of Israeli military occupation in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. His mausoleum lies within the Mukataa compound, his West Bank headquarters, in the city of Ramallah, and the Yasser Arafat Museum opened there in November.

Guards stand watch at the tomb of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the West Bank city of Ramallah on January 4, 2014. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty

The late Palestinian president, recognizable for his khaki uniform and traditional keffiyeh head dress, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, sharing the honor with Israeli negotiating partners Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres for their roles in the Oslo peace accords. The desire to name road signs after the leader in Palestinian Arab communities therefore comes as little surprise.

Yasser Arafat is not our enemy. He is the symbolic leader of the Palestinian people. We cannot accept the concept of Netanyahu, Ahmad Tibi, an Israeli Arab politician and one of the most popular domestic figures among the countrys Arab community, tells Newsweek . Maybe he will not be on this sign, but he is in the heart of Palestinians.

Ayman Odeh, the leader of the Arab Joint List, Israels third biggest party, countered Netanyahus justification for the order, arguing there are many street signs in Israel named after far-right politicians who discriminated against Arabs, and some named after assailants in attacks against Arabs.

Read more: Behead Arab-Israelis opposed to state, says foreign minister

Many Israeli Arabs and rights groups argue their communities encounter discrimination and racism in a country founded on the principles of Zionism, the ideological foundation of a Jewish state. They complain that the political elite does not represent them, but rather attempts to erode their culture, of which Arafat is a fixture.

The Israeli government-endorsed bill to limit loudspeaker noise from places of worship is a recent example of this, Israeli Arabs argue. They claim the bill, which still needs to pass three more readings before becoming law, is targeted at mosques and their traditional call to prayer, which is announced five times a day.

Mohammed Taher Wattab, the mayor of Jatt, which has a population of 11,000, questioned Netanyahus involvement in the row about Arafats street name row.

Yasser Arafat signed a peace deal with Israel and it is a shame that the prime minister finds the need to waste his time on the name of a street in a small town like ours, he said, in comments made to Israel Radio on Monday.

From our perspective [Arafat] is the official leader of the Palestinian people, with Israel recognizing him as a partner for [peace] negotiations, he said, adding that this meant there is no legal, social or moral prohibition in naming a street after him.

Palestinians, like Israeli Arabs, are unsurprised by the Israeli governments move. Speaking to Newsweek on condition of anonymity, a relative of Marwan Barghouti, the jailed Palestinian figure who was a top leader under Arafat, responded simply to the furore over the use of Arafats name: What else would you expect of Netanyahu?

But in the eyes of Israelis, Arafat is a murderer who wrecked peace hopes at Camp David in 2000, ordered a suicide bombing campaign against Israelis in the Second Intifada, or uprising, between 2000 and 2005, and contributed to the denial of Jewish history and belonging in the region. They hoped his death would bring a restart to relations with the Palestinians, but militant groups said his death only bolstered their determination to continue attacks against Israelis. Israelis say the Arab community knows the sensitivity of invoking Arafats name and, as a result, it will only hurt their communities in the long term.

Until this very day, Arafat was involved in terroristic activities, including two Intifadas, says Avraham Diskin, a political scientist at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. I am all for a Palestinian state, always will be, but he had the power to make peace with Israel. The fact that we dont have peace, it is Arafat.

So do you believe that this is appropriate for Israelis to name streets after him? I dont think so.

He continues: We want, I want, and I believe the majority of Israelis want, to live with Israeli Arab citizens as equals. So when they make such gestures, it is counterproductive. It hurts Israeli Arabs. Its a huge mistake.

Israels government has railed against Palestinian incitement to violence and the veneration of leaders who justified violent acts against Israelis, or are accused of ordering such acts themselves.

Netanyahus administration has condemned the Palestinians for naming squares and other public places after figures viewed as extremists, such as Dalal Mughrabi, the 19-year-old woman who led a squad that traveled from Lebanon by sea to the Israeli coast, hijacking a bus and driving another in an attack that left 38 Israeli civilians dead. Palestinians who attack Israelis are commonly revered as martyrs, an environment that Israel says will only lead to further attacks against Israelis.

Palestinians walk next to a wall bearing a graffiti image of Al-Aqsa mosque during a wedding procession in the main street of the Israeli Arab village of Jatt, July 7, 2007. Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty

We expect the Palestinian Authority not to call squares after terrorists, and here we find, inside the country, in an Israeli city a street named after Arafat. How is it possible? Liran Baruch, a disabled Israeli soldier who lobbied the right-wing Israeli NGO Tirtzu to take the case to Deryeh, told The Jerusalem Post.

As Netanyahus government takes the political battle to the Arab streets of Israel, the removal of road signs may only put a band-aid on the Arab desire to celebrate their heroes from neighboring lands.

Maybe Netanyahu should know that in the same village there is a street called Palestine and a street called Mahmoud Darwish, says Tibi, referring to the revered Palestinian poet.

I am aware that they will find the will to commemorate the memory of Yasser Arafat, he says, switching to the residents of Jatt. If not in a street, maybe in a mosque, or another place.

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In Israel, a Street Sign Named After Yasser Arafat Stirs Emotions – Newsweek

World Council of Churches ‘gravely concerned’ over Israel’s travel ban – Episcopal News Service

[World Council of Churches] The World Council of Churches March 9 expressed grave concern about a new law passed March 8 by the Knesset which reportedly forbids granting entry visas to foreign nationals who call for economic, cultural or academic boycotts of either Israel or the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. The Entry to Israel Act (Denial of Visa to Non-Residents Who Knowingly Call for a Boycott on Israel) apparently makes no distinction between boycotting Israel proper and boycotting products of the settlements, which are widely considered illegal under international law.

If reports of its content and intent are correct, this law is a shockingly regressive law, said WCC General Secretary Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit. It would be a clear violation of freedom of expression, that is critical for those who want to visit Israel, for those who have to live under the occupation, and for those who want access to the Palestinian territories. It is also a significant violation of freedom of religion. It is precisely because of our Christian principles and teachings that we in the World Council of Churches find the purchase and consumption of goods produced in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories immoral, and it is for the same reason many churches and Christians around the world choose to divest from companies that profit from the illegal occupation.

Tveit observed that, if strictly applied according to its reported terms, this new legislation would have the effect of barring representatives of many churches around the world from entering Israel, from accompanying sister churches and fellow Christians in the region, and from visiting the holy places for Christians. This potentially impacts the religious freedom of many Christians around the world, and harms Christians in Israel and Palestine. It could mean that I cannot, as general secretary of the WCC, visit our member churches in Israel and Palestine anymore, nor go to the holy sites.

The WCC whose 348 member churches represent more than 560 million Christians globally has encouraged its member churches to consider in their own contexts appropriate non-violent means of opposing the occupation and of working for a just peace in Israel and Palestine according to their own moral principles and teachings. The WCC has a specific and longstanding policy inviting member churches to boycott Israeli settlement products and to reconsider their investments from the same perspective, and many of them have made statements and taken actions accordingly.

The WCC affirms and supports Israels right to exist, categorically rejects violence as a means of resolving the conflict, and has described anti-Semitism as a sin against God, Tveit stressed. But we, together with the United Nations and the vast majority of the international community, consider Israels 50 year-long occupation of the occupied Palestinian territories as illegal. And on this basis the WCC has encouraged boycotting goods from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, divestment from companies that benefit from the occupation, investment in Palestinian enterprises that can stimulate the local economy, but not a general boycott of or sanctions against Israel.

The WCC seeks an equal measure of justice and dignity for all people, with a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike, Tveit continued, but this legislation represents a form of isolationism that cannot be in Israels best interests as a member of the international community, let alone of the people of the region. It is a critical shift in the way Israel relates to the rest of the world, and also in their role as guardians of holy places for three religions. I hope and pray it will not prove to be the governments actual policy and practice.

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World Council of Churches ‘gravely concerned’ over Israel’s travel ban – Episcopal News Service

US ‘Women’s Strike’ platform calls for ‘decolonization of Palestine’ – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

(JTA) Theplatform for a strike to support feminism and womens rights drew criticism from some over its call for the decolonization of Palestine.

The statement on Palestine is included in a section onAntiracist and Anti-imperialist Feminism in theplatformfor the U.S. affiliate of the International Womens Strike. The grassroots feminist movement organized events around the world on Wednesday.

It groups solidarity with Palestine with other causes, including Black Lives Matter, the struggle against police brutality and mass incarceration, and immigrant rights.

We want to dismantle all walls, from prison walls to border walls, from Mexico to Palestine, the platform reads.

Critics of the platform included Emily Shire, the politics editor of the womens news site Bustle. Shewrote in a New York Times op-ed published Tuesday that as a Zionist she was troubled by the plank on Palestine.

I find it troubling that embracing such a view is considered an essential part of an event that is supposed to unite feminists, she wrote. I am happy to debate Middle East politics or listen to critiques of Israeli policies. But why should criticism of Israel be key to feminism in 2017?

Shire also criticized the strike for the involvement ofRasmea Odeh,a Palestinian woman convicted and sentenced by an Israeli military court in 1970 tolife in prisonfor two bombing attacks, including one in 1969 that killed two Israelis.

Odeh was among the eight authors of an op-ed article in The Guardian announcing the movement. Sheconfessed to planting the bomb, though in recent years has claimed that the confession was given under torture, which is disputed by Israeli officials.

While the fairness of Ms. Odehs conviction is debated, the fact that she was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which was categorized as a terrorist organization by the State Department, is not, Shire wrote.

The niece of one of the victimsof the 1969 attackalso criticized the strike overOdehs involvement.

But, explain how my family is supposed to reconcile the reality that the woman who stripped my uncle of his life is now deemed a hero by many of my fellow Americans. What justification is there for Rasmea Odeh, a woman who killed two people (with the intention of killing more!) to lead a peaceful fight for human rights? Terry Joffe Benaryehwrote in anop-edpublished last week on Huffington Post.

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US ‘Women’s Strike’ platform calls for ‘decolonization of Palestine’ – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Bassel Al-A’raj: Battling Intellect and Palestinian Encyclopedia – Al-Manar TV

Sara Taha Moughnieh

Bassel Al-Araj, a 31-year-old Palestinian from Bethlehem, a pharmacist, intellect, and struggler was enrolled Monday in the list of heroes executed by Israeli occupation forces on the path of liberating Palestine.

After months of searching, the Israeli occupation failed to capture Araj alive. The latter engaged in an individual battle that lasted for two hours against the Israeli force that attacked his shelter, to later seize his body and keep it in captivity.

Soon after Araj was announced dead, hashtag the battling intellect emerged on social media and activists began informing about this hero who theyve concealed his name for months due to their fear over his life.

Only two days ago the name Bassel Al-Araj was not popular. Today Arajs blood restored a retaliatory spirit that united supporters of military resistance and intellectual resistance.

I have never imagined that this educated and thin young man, who I have met in Beirut two years ago, would take the military option. We, writers and journalists, prefer saying that we are fighting the enemy intellectually and culturally, but Bassel Al-Araj was the most noble amongst us; he combined intellectual and military resistance journalist Qassem Qassem wrote for Al-Akhbar newspaper.

Here lies the significance of this young man who fought the Israeli enemy in all possible ways and had the concern of preserving the Palestinian history in its smallest details.

He was highly educated and conscious, and was a reference in the Palestinian culture to many journalists and activists inside and outside the occupied territories. If he was asked about a certain Palestinian costume he would explain the history of this costume as well as the region and the family it belonged to he was more like an encyclopedia, a friend of Araj told Al-Manar website.

Khodor Salameh, Lebanese activist, another friend of Araj, indicated that Bassel was a knowledge fortune in every field. He arranged between religion and society. He was capable of establishing a local social science rather than an imported one. He had a story to tell about every village, street or stone in Palestine. He knew the names of all the battles and martyrs.

Araj used to arrange educational tours for Palestinian youth and tourists inside Palestine. He took them to the regions in which Palestinians battled against the British and Israelis. He also worked on documenting Palestinian revolts and history, from before the Nakba (catastrophe).

Speaking to Al-Manar website, Salameh explained that Bassel saw the road to Palestine was a straight one without any neutrality or curves. He was dedicated to document the Palestinian cause, writing its history, and transferring it from one generation to another He was a devouring reader and a battler unlike many people, he was a very good listener, and he concluded every conversation with the name of a book, reference, or an article.

He had a clear project that was based on resistance, as he was very influenced by the Lebanese experience in the field of resistance, Salameh added.

In 2015 Araj attended the Conference of Supporting the Resistance in Beirut. As soon as he returned to Palestine he disappeared for a week along with a couple of young men.

The Palestinian Authority stated that this group was arranging for a military operation against Israelis. In parallel, the Israelis claimed that this group was recruited by Hezbollah in Lebanon. Only one week later, the Palestinian Authority captured Araj and his friends who denied preparing for any operation claiming that they were on a camping trip.

The Palestinian authority imprisoned Araj and his friends in Bitonia prison. In concurrence, Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas appeared on Israeli Channel 10 saying that he had stopped a big operation that was going to target the Israelis.

Araj and his friends were tortured in prison. The Palestinian battler who had diabetes was denied medication which influenced his health. They launched a hunger strike that lasted for one month, then the Palestinian Authority released them 6 months after detention.

As soon as they were released, and based on the Israeli-Palestinian Authority Security Coordination Policy, which includes exchange of information between the two sides, the PA sent the report of investigation with Araj and his friends to the Israelis.

Reportedly, the PA arranges with the Zionist authorities so that the latter would capture the prisoners that the PA releases. Hence, the Palestinian Authority would deny any accusation of capturing resistance fighters.

The Israeli-PA Security Coordination Policy was identified in the Taba agreement of 1995, which stated that the Palestinian Authority was responsible for preventing terrorists and terrorism and taking the right measures against them. This takes places through a joint Palestinian-Israeli committee which confiscates the resistance weapons, specifically Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

The Palestinian Authority halted the security coordination after the eruption of Al-Aqsa Intifada (uprising) in 2000. It was restored when Mahmoud Abbas reached power. On that occasion, Zionist Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said: We see great opportunities in the election of Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. We hope he will be able to lead his people and create a democratic law respecting society that will build its institutions, fight terrorism and dismantle the infrastructure of terrorist organizations.

Bassels stance from the Palestinian Authority was basic in his revolutionary rhetoric, as he clearly believed that this organization had a limited job to perform, and if it werent for the benefit of the occupation, the world wouldnt have permitted its establishment in the first place, Salameh pointed out.

Due to this great loss, a revolutionary atmosphere dominated social media, as the subject of Arajs martyrdom went viral in the past three days in at least four countries (Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt and Jordan).

According to Salameh This is a transitional point. Today, we are supposed to build on Bassels experience rather than grieve over his departure. We must transform Bassel into an ongoing battling intellectual path that refutes any form of coordination, normalization or peace.

I am confident that the departure of Bassel will have a backlash on the murderers: The Authority which is executing any form of resistance, and the Israeli that produced tens of thousands of heroes and redirected the compass of thousands of other intellects by assassinating Bassel Al-Araj.

Source: Al-Manar Website

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Bassel Al-A’raj: Battling Intellect and Palestinian Encyclopedia – Al-Manar TV

Polish Jews commemorate anti-Semitic campaign of 1968 – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

WARSAW (JTA) Polish Jews held a ceremony commemorating the anti-Semitic campaign of March 1968, when Polish authorities forced several thousand Jews who survived the Holocaust to leave the country.

Golda Tencer, director of the Jewish Theatre in Warsaw, and the Shalom Foundation, organized the ceremony on Wednesday.

Our parents, after the experiences of war, a dozen years later, experienced a second exodus, Tencer said. For me, this station was a symbol of all stations, from where Jews were leaving. They threw us away, but no one could break up our friendship.

Michal Sobelman, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Warsaw whose family left Poland in 1969, said that year was a symbol of the end of the thousand-year history of Polish Jewry.

Although its been 50 years, the Polish government did not do one thing. The citizenship, brutally taken away from Jews living in their country here, has never been given back. It seems to me that the time has come to do this, said Sobelman.

The Shalom Foundation has for several years organized events on the anniversary of the expulsion in 1968. Nine years ago, Polish president Lech Kaczynski took part in anevent and promised to restore citizenship to the expelled Polish Jews.

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Polish Jews commemorate anti-Semitic campaign of 1968 – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

US working with Israel on settlements issue, State Department says – Jerusalem Post Israel News

A Palestinian woman argues with an Israeli border policeman during a protest against Jewish settlements in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. (photo credit:REUTERS)

WASHINGTON The Trump administration would like to see Israel hold back on settlement activity and is in discussions with the Israeli government as to what exactly that would look like, a State Department official said on Tuesday.

Mark Toner, an acting spokesman who worked on behalf of the prior administration from the same podium, opened the State Department briefing room for the first time since US President Donald Trump took office in January. He took multiple questions on Middle East peace, but provided little clarity beyond what the president has himself expressed on his evolving vision for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

We are working closely with the White House on evaluating where we stand, Toner said, declining to specify what role Jared Kushner, the presidents son-in-law and top adviser, would play in any future peace effort.

Toner said that continued settlement activity in the West Bank might affect the overall climate of potential peace talks, reiterating what Trump administration officials said last month ahead of a visit to Washington from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

During that trip, Netanyahu acknowledged that settlements were an issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if not a primary obstacle to peace and said that his government would work with the Trump administration in order to formulate a mechanism to handle any future settlement activity.

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US working with Israel on settlements issue, State Department says – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Israel’s Biggest Crime against Palestine Is Occupation Itself – Center for Research on Globalization

Edu Montesanti speaks to Daoud Kuttab about the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Daoud Kuttab is an award-winning Palestinian journalist. In this conversation, journalist and author Edu Montesanti speaks to Kuttab about the future of U.S.-Israel relations under U.S. President Donald Trump, mainstream international media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and challenges to a peace agreement.

Edu Montesanti:Howdoyou see the meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuon Feb.15, especially the following observations by the U.S. president: Im looking at two-state and one-state formulations, Mr. Trump said during a White House news conference with Mr. Netanyahu. I like the one that both parties like. Im very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one?

Protesters shout Free Palestine during a march in midtown Manhattan, New York, July 9, 2014. | Photo: Reuters

Daoud Kuttab:I think that meeting and that statement reflect the usual American-Israeli attempts to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict simply by pushing both sides to work things out, a solution that favors the powerful. It fits the saying might is right not right is might. The idea of a US president agreeing to a one-state solution less than 20 years after President Clinton insisted on the PLO to amend their charter to remove the idea of a one-state solution shows how the Americans are not serious about genuine peace.

Why cannot Israel and the Palestinians decide alone the question? WhydoPalestinians need a third party to get an agreement?

It would work if there was agreement on the reference point but when you have the powerful side, Israel controling the areas this means that an agreement will be dictated by the powerful. As the saying goes posession is two-thirds of the law. Also the third party here, the U.S., is part of the problem since they fund Israel to the tune of US$3-4 billion a year plus give Israel protection in the U.N. If the U.S. was not so involved in defending the Israelis it might be a different issue.

The passage of theUnited NationsSecurity CouncilResolution2334 voted on Dec. 23 last year condemning the Israeli settlements as a flagrant violation of international law and a major impediment to the achievement of a two-state solution changes nothing on the ground between Israel and the Palestinians.U.N. member states agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council, according to the U.N. Charter. Human rights and the international community also condemnsthe Israeli settlements and military attacks against Palestinians.

As you observed in (my article) U.S. and Israel join forces to bury Palestinian statehood, ever since the 1967 occupation, the United Nations Security Council has repeatedly expressed the illegality of the occupation, asin the preamble of Resolution 242 emphasising inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.Why nothing changes year by year, massacre after massacre?

Because of this one-sided U.S. policy that refuses to support international law and refuses to allow Israel to be sanctioned the same way Russia was sanctioned for its occupation of Crimea.

You know the Western media distorts the facts involving this massacre against Palestinians, Daoud. Please number the crimes or at least some of them commited by Israel.

The biggest crime is the occupation itself, then comes the illegal settlement and then the restriction on movement and the collective punishment in form of house demolitions.

Howdoyou evaluate the Western media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian confict?

Western coverage is mixed. While the major issues are covered, the public rarely sees the human side of Palestinians while exagerating the human suffering of Isrealis.

ProfessorAvi Shlaimobserveddays ago:Sadly, the Palestinians are handicapped by weak leadership and by the internal rivalry between Fatah and Hamas. Your view on the internal politics among Palestinians, please, Daoud.

I agree about the problem of leadership but this is not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that the world, especially the western world, treats this conflict differently. The Iraqis were routed out of Kuwait by force when they occupied it, Russia is sanctioned for its occupation and here the problem is not the Isrealis but Palestinian incitement or weak leadership. This is not the main problem, the main problem is the occupation.

What could we expect from Arab leadersfrom now on?

Not much.

What is the solution to the conflict, Daoud?

The solution is for the world to treat Israel like any other agressor and not give themspecial treatment.

What are the principal obstacles to a fair agreement and solutions?

Absence of an agreed to reference point. The solution has to be either sharing the land (two state solution) or sharing the power (genuine one state solution with equal rights to all and not the Israeli version of apartheid annexation).

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Israel’s Biggest Crime against Palestine Is Occupation Itself – Center for Research on Globalization

‘Finding the needle in the haystack’: Israeli soldiers scour social media to stop violence –

The young Israeli soldiers sitting in front of a bank of computers are logged into Facebook. But they’re not checking their friends’ status updates.

They’re trying to prevent attacks against fellow Israelis.

Inside the command centre called the “war room” of an army base in the occupied West Bank, members of an Israel Defense Forces intelligence unit sort through thousands of posts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, looking for digital warning signs.

“Words like, ‘knife, bomb,’ stuff like that,” said Capt. Y, the commander of the IDF intelligence unit at an Israeli base near Beit El, just outside of Ramallah. (Israel’s military prohibits revealing the full names of soldiers working in intelligence. We also weren’t able to photograph him from the front.)

“We look for these words in the posts and that helps us determine who is more probable to commit something.”

Israel has become a world leader in monitoring social media to try to predict and prevent attacks. Experts say other nations, particularly those in Europe, would benefit by emulating Israel in this respectas the threat from so-called “lone wolf” attackers continues.

Since a recentwave of violence began in October2015, nearly 40 Israelishave died in attacks carried out by Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. Meanwhile, more than 200 Palestinians most of them attackers, according to Israel have been killed.

The last major attack occurred in January, when police said a Palestinian man rammed his vehicle into a group of Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem, killing four and injuring more than a dozen others.

This Facebook post from October 2015 shows a knife with the caption, in both Arabic and Hebrew, ‘We are coming to slaughter you. Allah bless the men of resistance.’ These are the kinds of social media pages the IDF is monitoring for potential attackers. (Courtesy MEMRI)

Many of the perpetrators have been young, between 15 to 25 an age group that uses social mediaheavily. Most have acted alone, without the backing of an organized groupsuch as Hamas.

Many found inspirationor even instructionsonline, where some users offer advice, including onhow to cause the maximum physical damage to a person with a knife.

Israeli officials have accused Palestinians of incitement online and have tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to persuade sites such as Facebook to take down offensive posts.

Sothe battle to stop the violence has largely moved online, with a growing group of Israeli security officials working with several agencies, includingthe military, police and the Israeli intelligence agencyShin Bet.

“It’s finding the needle in the haystack, it’s finding out which information is important and which isn’t,” said Capt. Y.

While the captainsaid his unit has prevented attacks from occurring, he could not give any numbers.

“That’s the difficult part of intelligence, you never know when you succeed or save lives, but we would like to think we do everyday. We see terrorists attacks being prevented.”

The young Israeli soldiers scoursocial media sites for trigger wordsand for users who may have posted photos praising people who have carried out attacks.

Given the large numbers of accounts to watch, the unitemploys highly advancedalgorithmsthat are constantly updated to target their searches.

If, for example, three or fourattackers come from the same town, the army will keep a closer eye on posts from that village.

The IDF would not divulgespecifics about how their monitoring program works, worried it could tip off prospective plotters. The intelligence corps operates largely in the shadows. My visit tothe BeitEl “war room” was thefirst fromaforeign journalist.

The unit is not just watchingPalestinians.Israeli media outlets have reportedthe security forces monitor the social media accounts of Israeli citizens, keeping an eye out for those writing about protests and boycotts of the country.

There has been little public outcry among Israelis, however, as the monitoring appears to have beenfocused on a small group of activists.

Nimrod Kozlovski, a leading Israeli cybersecurity expert, says the Israel Defense Forces have ‘unique excellence’ in monitoring social media to find potential attackers. (Courtesy Nimrod Koslovski)

The IDF realized more than two decadesago that computers would become an increasingly important weapon in their arsenal.

The members of these units are as revered as fighter jet pilots, said one of Israel’s leading cybersecurity experts, Nimrod Kozlovski.

“Israel just got better and better in how we deploy technologies that enableus to replace physical presence and human intelligence with better technological capabilities,” said Kozlovski, a professor atTel Aviv University and former member of the IDF’s tech warfare team.

Some countries have sought out Israel’s expertise in the area, although the IDFwould not provide a list of nations seeking what Kozlovski calls Israel’s “unique excellence” in this field.

“I think that some of the terror activities we see now in Europe have very similar patterns to what we saw in Israel,” Kozlovski said.

“I think we were able to smartly handle this challenge, primarily with technology and I think that Europe is not well prepared yet to cope with this challenge.”

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‘Finding the needle in the haystack’: Israeli soldiers scour social media to stop violence –

Chief rabbi urges Netanyahu to speak out against US anti-Semitism – The Times of Israel

Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef implored Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak up Monday about a recent wave of anti-Semitism and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries in the United States.

Yosef called on Netanyahu and Israeli diplomats not to be silent about the phenomenon of Jewish cemetery desecration.

We have to raise a very clear voice to work as much as possible to stop these anti-Semitic acts, he said.

Your voice is the voice our brothers in the Diaspora expect to hear. They are looking to you; you must do everything in your power to prevent these acts of hatred, he added.

Yosef spoke at a ceremony marking a deadly 1992 bombing at the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires.

The past two months have seen three incidents of vandalism in Jewish cemeteries and a rash of over 100 bomb threats called in to Jewish community centers and other Jewish institutions.

Jewish tombstones lay vandalized at Mount Carmel Cemetery February 27, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Mark Makela/Getty Images/AFP)

Netanyahu is usually vocal against global anti-Semitism but has issued a fairly muted response to recent acts targeting US Jewish institutions. Critics in Israel say Netanyahu may be looking to protect his ally, US President Donald Trump, who is accused of stirring up xenophobia.

During a visit to the White House last month, the prime minister defended Trump against charges of turning a blind eye to anti-Semitism, saying there is no greater supporter of the Jewish people and the Jewish state than Donald Trump.

US President Donald Trump, right, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, February 15, 2017. (AFP/ SAUL LOEB)

After Trump issued his first explicit condemnation of anti-Semitism, which he described as horrible, painful and a sad reminder, Netanyahu said, It is very important that President Trump took a strong stand against anti-Semitism.

Speaking at an event for the Jewish community in late February at the Great Synagogue in Sydney, during a state visit, Netanyahu described anti-Semitism as a growing trend that needs to be combated.

We have a battle against those who seek to demonize our people and against the resurgent anti-Semitism we see in many parts of the world, he said, adding that it is something that we need to fight together.

The prime minister said that in addition to Trump taking a strong stand against anti-Semitism it is important that we all continue to do so in the years ahead, adding that it is important in Europe, it is important in America.

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Chief rabbi urges Netanyahu to speak out against US anti-Semitism – The Times of Israel

Palestine resolution at Socialist International meeting gets unanimous vote – WAFA – Palestine News Agency

Palestine resolution at Socialist International meeting gets unanimous vote

CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA, March 6, 2017 (WAFA) In an almost unanimous vote – with the Israeli Labor Party giving the only dissenting vote representatives of 86 socialist and labor parties from around the world meeting in Cartagena, Colombia for the 25th Congress of the Socialist International (SI) fully endorsed Palestinian right for statehood while denouncing Israeli practices in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Nabil Shaath, Fatah partys Commissioner for International Relations and Palestine’s representative at the SI meeting, said SI reaffirmed its support for the right of the Palestinian people for self determination and the establishment of their independent state.

He called on member states which have not yet recognized the state of Palestine on the 1967 borders to do so as a way to support peace and the two-state solution.

SI condemned in its final communiqu Israeli settlement activities while calling for a ban on all settlement products.

While SI supported the two-state solution as a way to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, it also condemned all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of all the territory occupied by Israel since 1967, including inter alia, the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements, a violation of international law, including the illegal Annexation Wall as well as the Israeli policy of home demolitions of Palestinians, as well as all policies of forcible displacement of civilians, according to the communiqu. We demand a total cessation of such activities.

Si also called for the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 2334 of December 23 that reaffirmed the illegality of Israeli settlements by taking concrete measures against Israel’s colonial-settlement enterprise in Occupied Palestine, such as banning settlement products, including services, supporting Palestinian communities under threat and supporting the efforts to issue a public list of companies that profit from the Israeli colonial-settlement project in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

This is the first time SI calls for a ban on settlement products and supports the issuance of a list of companies profiting from the Israeli settlements.

SI also condemned discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel and highlighted the persecution conducted by the Israeli government against Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations.

The meeting concluded its statement on Palestine by calling upon all governments that haven’t recognized the State of Palestine on the 1967 border, and particularly those led by members of SI, to do so as an investment in peace between Israelis and Palestinians, saving the two-state solution and the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

It also called upon all its members to present, help and adopt in their national parliaments, resolutions calling to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine that began in June 1967.


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Palestine resolution at Socialist International meeting gets unanimous vote – WAFA – Palestine News Agency

Trump, Netanyahu discuss Iran, anti-Semitism – CNN

The conversation comes in the midst of a series of threats of violence and vandalism against Jewish community centers and schools in the US. The White House official said Netanyahu thanked Trump for “his strong stand against anti-Semitism in his joint address.”

After failing to quickly and publicly decry the anti-Semitic attacks in a series of public appearances, Trump opened his joint address to Congress by mentioning the threats and vandalism against Jewish cemeteries.

“We may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms,” Trump said.

Netanyahu’s office said Monday that the two leaders “spoke at length about the dangers posed by the nuclear deal with Iran and by Iran’s malevolent behavior in the region” and pledged to work together to counter Iran.

Netanyahu, the statement said, also thanked Trump for hosting him in February and “expressed appreciation for President Trump’s strong statement against ant-Semitism during the President’s speech before Congress last week.”

Trump and Netanyahu have kept close ties since the former reality television star was elected and the Israeli Prime Minister visited the United States in February.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman is set to travel to Washington this week for meetings with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis.

Netanyahu leaves for Moscow on Thursday to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Trump, Netanyahu discuss Iran, anti-Semitism – CNN

US warns Israel that annexing West Bank would trigger ‘crisis’ – New York Post

JERUSALEM Israels defense minister said Monday the US has notified Israel that imposing Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank would lead to an immediate crisis with the Trump administration.

We received a direct message not an indirect message and not a hint from the United States. Imposing Israeli sovereignty on Judea and Samaria would mean an immediate crisis with the new administration, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said at the start of parliaments foreign affairs and defense committee meeting. Judea and Samaria is the biblical term for the West Bank, land Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war and continues to occupy.

The defense minister was responding to a media interview with lawmaker Miki Zohar, of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus right-wing Likud party, in which he rejected the idea of a Palestinian state and advocated for a one-state solution in which Palestinians would have Israeli citizenship.

The two-state solution is dead, Zohar told i24NEWS, an Israeli TV channel. What is left is a one-state solution with the Arabs here as, not as full citizenship, because full citizenship can let them to vote to the Knesset. They will get all of the rights like every citizen except voting for the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.

They will be able to vote and be elected in their city under administrative autonomy and under Israeli sovereignty and with complete security control, Zohar added.

Lieberman said he received phone calls from the entire world about whether Zohars proposal reflected the Israeli governments position. He said imposing Israeli sovereignty on the West Bank would mean Israel would be faced with the financial burden of providing Palestinians with health care and other benefits. He called on the governing coalition to clarify very clearly, there is no intention to impose Israeli sovereignty.

In a striking departure from longtime American policy, President Donald Trump has not explicitly embraced a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which Israel would end its occupation of the West Bank and an independent Palestinian state would be established alongside Israel. Trump said last month he would support whatever solution is acceptable to both sides.

That has raised questions about what kind of agreement could be reached, and has led to calls by hard-line members of Netanyahus cabinet to give up on the idea of a Palestinian state and formally annex part or all of the West Bank to Israel. A single binational state could require Israel to grant citizenship to millions of Palestinians under its control, threatening its status as a Jewish-majority democracy.

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US warns Israel that annexing West Bank would trigger ‘crisis’ – New York Post