The Jerusalem Post – Official Site

The Jerusalem Post – Jpost.com Israel News

The Jerusalem Post Is the leading english news source of American jewry. Jpost.com is its online version.It delivers Israel News, Arab and Israeli conflict updates, and news about the Jewish life both in Israel and in the diaspora.

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The Jerusalem Post – Official Site

Israel believes Syria kept 'significant' chemical munitions

By Dan Williams JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel believes Syria has retained caches of combat-ready chemical weapons after giving up raw materials used to produce such munitions under pressure from foreign powers, a senior Israeli official said on Thursday. Summarizing Israeli intelligence estimates that were previously not disclosed to avoid undermining the Syrians' surrender of their declared …

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Israel believes Syria kept 'significant' chemical munitions

Sovereign Palestine a must for Mideast peace

Backing the two-state solution that envisages an independent state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel, French Sen. Nathalie Goulet said a sovereign Palestinian state will bring peace in the Middle East. Speaking to Arab News in an exclusive interview after the conference on Arabian Gulf and regional challenges, which concluded here on Wednesday, Goulet asserted: I think its time that Palestine has its own flag, national anthem, currency and territories with safe borders as a sovereign country. She added that this is absolutely essential in order to restore peace in the region. Palestinians should be allowed sovereignty to make way for peace in the region, she said. The French parliamentarian also advocated for Jerusalem as the joint capital for Palestine and Israel with separate areas under their control. Commenting on the Israeli threat to peace in the region, she said: Israel is a bigger threat than Iran and what is worrying is Americas unconditional support for Israel. Lambasting the Israeli argument of self-defense for the attacks on Gaza, she said: Disproportionate forces and the use of weapons on innocent civilians are not acceptable and Israels self-defense theory is certainly not acceptable because the effect and causes are all mixed up; rockets used as a consequence of the occupation is not correct. When asked, if the heavy Israeli military offensive on Gaza amid worldwide condemnation and calls to stop the bloody onslaught which claimed the lives of nearly 2,000 people constitutes a war crime, the French senator said: I think there is an international inquiry on the subject. Some 500 children were killed and this is a serious problem, not only from outside Israel but within Israel as well. There are people lodging protests against this atrocity and there are some court cases. In reply to a question on the regional challenges for the Arabian Gulf and the role of Saudi Arabia, Goulet pointed out that cooperation among Arab countries is important: The Arab world is not united. There is chaos, bloodshed, humiliation and violence in several Arab world countries. I think it will need another generation to create this unity; it will take time to end all the violence and make way for security and stability in the region. She pointed that a sound society cannot be achieved without assessing failures and making efforts to resolve problems. Answering a question about how far the UN Security Council is committed to playing its role for peace in the Middle East, she said: As long as the United States continues to use its veto, the UNSC will not play its role. On combating terrorism in the region, Goulet applauded the Gulf countries for joining the international coalition against terrorism. It is important that everyone fights together against Daesh and other challenges, she said, referring to Islamic State by its Arabic acronym.

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Sovereign Palestine a must for Mideast peace

Child prisoners remembered in World Week for Peace in Palestine & Israel

This Sunday, 21 September, marks the beginning of the World Week for Peace inPalestine & Israel and Pax Christi members and other Christians networkswill mark the week with vigils, services and meetings on the plight ofprisoners, and in particular child prisoners, in Palestine and Israel.

Each year 500-700 Palestinian children from the West Bank are prosecutedin Israeli military courts after being arrested, interrogated anddetailed by the Israeli army or police.

In marking the week in the UK, the situation of young Israelis too willbe remembered, those who choose to be conscientious objectors and refuseto serve in the Israeli Defence Force.

In his message for the week, Rev Dr Olav FykseTveit, General Secretaryof the World Council of Churches ( of which the Week is a project) said: “It is often easier to look the other way when prisoners are mentioned.As Christians we must remember that Jesus identified himself withprisoners (Matt 25.36), that he proclaimed release to the prisoners (Lk4.18), and that the earliest followers of Jesus often found themselvesin prison (Acts 12.7). The plight of prisoners is a central concern forthe global Body of Christ.

Again, my sisters and brothers, I appeal to you to promote participation in this years WWPPI.I pray that you will be strengthened in your solidarity and thatpractical steps will soon be taken for the establishment of a just peacein Palestine and Israel.”

Pat Gaffney of Pax Christi said: “It is encouraging to see that so manypeople are making the time to organise events and so highlight thisimportant issue within their church community. In addition to thevarious events we have circulated 15,000 prayer cards for the week.

Some of the events taking place:

– Prayers every evening, St Thomas the Apostle RC Church, Nunhead.

– Saturday 20 September 6pm: Special Mass at Holy Apostles, Pimlico at 6pm for Peace Sunday, to mark the UN International Day of Peace.

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Child prisoners remembered in World Week for Peace in Palestine & Israel

Israel's Worst-Kept Secret

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon present seized rockets that were allegedly supplied by Iran and destined for Gaza. (Amir Cohen/Reuters)

Israel has a substantial arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Former CIA Director Robert Gates said so during his 2006 Senate confirmation hearings for secretary of defense, when he notedwhile serving as a university presidentthat Iran is surrounded by powers with nuclear weapons, including the Israelis to the west. Former President Jimmy Carter said so in 2008 and again this year, in interviews and speeches in which he pegged the number of Israels nuclear warheads at 150 to around 300.

But due to a quirk of federal secrecy rules, such remarks generally cannot be made even now by those who work for the U.S. government and hold active security clearances. In fact, U.S. officials, even those on Capitol Hill, are routinely admonished not to mention the existence of an Israeli nuclear arsenal and occasionally punished when they do so.

The policy of never publicly confirming what a scholar once called one of the worlds worst-kept secrets dates from a political deal between the United States and Israel in the late 1960s. Its consequence has been to help Israel maintain a distinctive military posture in the Middle East while avoiding the scrutinyand occasional disapprobationapplied to the worlds eight acknowledged nuclear powers.

But the U.S. policy of shielding the Israeli program has recently provoked new controversy, partly because of allegations that it played a role in the censure of a well-known national-laboratory arms researcher in July, after he published an article in which he acknowledged that Israel has nuclear arms. Some scholars and experts are also complaining that the governments lack of candor is complicating its high-profile campaign to block the development of nuclear arms in Iran, as well as U.S.-led planning for a potential treaty prohibiting nuclear arms anywhere in the region.

The Point of No Return

The U.S. silence is largely unwavering, however. We would never say flatly that Israel has nuclear weapons, explained a former senior State Department official who dealt with nuclear issues during the Bush administration. We would have to couch it in other language, we would have to say we assume or we presume that Israel has nuclear weapons, or its reported that they have them, the former official said, requesting that his name not be used due to the political sensitivity surrounding the topic.

President Barack Obama made clear that this four-decade-old U.S. policy would persist at his first White House press conference in 2009, when journalist Helen Thomas asked if he knew of any nations in the Middle East with nuclear arms. With respect to nuclear weapons, you know, I dont want to speculate, Obama said, as though Israels established status as a nuclear-weapons state was only a matter of rumor and conjecture.

So wary is Paul Pillar, a former U.S. national-intelligence officer for the Middle East, of making any direct, public reference to Israels nuclear arsenal that when he wrote an article this month in The National Interest, entitled Israels Widely Suspected Unmentionables, he referred to warheads as kumquats throughout his manuscript.

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Israel's Worst-Kept Secret

If the UK recognises Palestine, so will others

Bilateral recognition of Palestine is in the UKs gift. The UK recognises states, not governments, so this would not be tied to any Palestinian political party. In 2011, Britain noted at the UN that the Palestinian Authority has developed successfully the capacity to run a democratic and peaceful state, founded on the rule of law and living in peace and security with Israel Palestine largely fulfils the legal and technical criteria for UN membership, including statehood, in as far as the Occupation allows.

Recognising Palestine is a political step, which 134 out of 193 UN member states have taken. Britain waits for a moment of our choosing and when it can best help bring about peace. That moment is now. For this veto-bearing permanent member of the Security Council, a further abstention is abdicating responsibility. If we choose to act decisively, we change the dynamic in the EU and at the UN.

Undoubtedly, such a decision will serve as a reaffirmation of current UK policy. We already believe that the Palestinian people have the inalienable right to self-determination; and that the Israeli people have the unquestionable right to live in peace and security, with all Arab/Muslim states recognising the State of Israel, as in Saudi Arabias 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. Also, that the two states will determine borders based on 1967 lines, with agreed land swaps of equal size and value; that Gaza will be demilitarised, like the rest of Palestine, and linked with the West Bank; and that Jerusalem will be the shared capital of both states, which will agree a just and fair solution to the refugee question.

Moreover, UK policy is that US/Nato troops will guarantee the security of both states after the full, phased withdrawal of Israeli forces from Palestine; and that the negotiations will be on a no victor, no vanquished basis to preserve parity of esteem of both parties. America would do well to enshrine this policy in a unanimous UN Security Council Resolution. But with the US mid-term elections looming, will Washington reaffirm the international consensus? If not, its back to us.

What do we ask of the Palestinians? Adherence to President Abbass policy of non-violence and full security co-operation with Israel, across the territory of Palestine, plus early, free and fair elections. Of Israel, we ask respect for the Geneva Conventions she has signed, human rights and international humanitarian law.

Recognition will renew Palestinian belief that the path of non-violence, not the Hamas path, leads somewhere: to a state coming into being through diplomacy and democratic expression, not destruction. Israelis will see that we regard both peoples as equal in dignity and in rights. Recognition will help safeguard Israel from the folly of a one-state outcome, by validating the second state. Peace negotiations will be on a more equal basis.

It is important to note that recognition is not sufficient to end the Occupation. Negotiations based on equity will end it, along with respect for the international law that the United Kingdom helped to create, and which we are bound to uphold.

Sir Vincent Fean served as British Consul-General in Jerusalem from 2010 to 2014

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'This Is My Land': Toronto Review

Toronto International Film Festival

A first documentary feature that bites off more than it can chew

Toronto Film Festival (TIFF Docs)

Tamara Erde

The is-the-Pope-Catholic conclusion of the documentary This Is My Land, from Israeli-born, Paris-based director Tamara Erde, seems to be that education can be something of a double-edged sword, capable of opening minds as much as brainwashing future leaders. As the rookie filmmaker follows teachers and their classes at six different schools in Israel and Palestine over the course of a year, students are taught extensively about their own national identity and historical struggles while unsurprisingly little (if any) attention is given to those on the other side, with only a mixed Arab-Israeli school suggesting a possible way forward. Despite a somewhat muddled assembly and a mountain of material that seems pretty self-evident for anyone who has ever read a newspaper since Arthur James Balfour signed his declaration in 1917, this feature should nonetheless appeal to documentary and liberal Jewish festivals and broadcasters.

The film goes back and forth between visits to different classrooms in Israel and Palestine, often simply documenting what is being taught, though there are also short interview segments with both teachers and students. More time with especially the latter would have been welcome, because with the exception of an articulate 17-year-old whose grandmother survived the Holocaust the few allowed to say a few words here all feel like faceless students who, one supposes, simply repeat what their teachers or parents say since they’ve only got a few seconds so there’s no sense of their own personalities or independent capacities (or lack thereof) of thought.

In the class of Oren Harzmannin Haifa, Israeli, kids are asked about their vision of the country in 20 or 30 years, and most of the responses seem to suggest that they live in fear of Arabs “taking even more of their land.” Progressive Palestinian teacher Zaid Khadash tries to teach his pupils about the limits of freedom (“freedom ends where the freedom of others starts”), the difference between Israelis and Jews, and, somewhat bizarrely, what it must be like for an Arab in an Israeli prison, complete with each pupil having their mouth taped shut.

Johnny Mansour teaches at a school in an Arab-Israeli village in Galilee, and hes written a textbook that was never approved by Israels Ministry of Education because it dared to name Palestine, while Menahem Ben Shachar who teaches at a Talmud Torah School in Itamar, an Israeli settlement on the West Bank says he “doesnt feel censored” because he only teaches the Torah. When his students are asked what the solution to the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict might be, most agree that its up to the Israeli army and government (one assumes they mean by use of military force).

Noor Jaber teaches at a boys school at the Balata Refugee Camp in the Palestinian city of Nablus, very close to Itamar, and admits to avoiding things in class she feels uncomfortable about, so her pupils answers to questions such as “What can you do if your rights are taken away?” are along the lines of “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” not exactly practical advice. From spending just a little time at these schools, its clear that the lessons and attitude of the teachers and children in the region have been, at best, warped to accommodate the propaganda and threats of violence that they are confronted with on an everyday basis, though Erdes treatment of the material is too superficial to suggest in any detailed manner how years of struggles on both sides have infiltrated both teachers personalities and the contents of the lessons (both Israeli and Palestinian authorities seem to monitor quite closely what is taught).

Erde and editors Audrey Maurion and Barbara Bascou have organized their material into a small segment at each school before moving on to the next and then returning to each school later in the film, so theres little sense of a school year passing or how childrens views might have changed under the influence of their teacher. Generally, theres a sense that the subject Erde has wanted to tackle is much too vast, with quite a few of the things she captures in very short scenes including a visit of Israeli students to a concentration camp in Europe or the reactions to Israeli Memorial Day by Israeli and Palestinian students very much worthy of their own non-fiction features.

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'This Is My Land': Toronto Review

Israel intelligence hits back over refuseniks' letter

Scores of veterans of elite Israeli intelligence unit 8200 rallied to its defence Sunday after 43 comrades said they would no longer take part in its "injustices" against millions of Palestinians. The open letter, which was sent to Israel's political and military leadership last week, was one of the most high-profile expressions of conscientious objection in years. The signatories — reservists …

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Palestine minister denied entry to Gaza

Palestinian students are seen through a damaged classroom at a government school in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City on September 14, 2014 on the first day of the new school year.

The Israel regime has barred Palestinian Education Minister Khawla al-Shakhshir from entering the blockaded Gaza Strip.

The Tel Aviv regime authorities did not allow al-Shakhshir to enter the besieged area on Sunday.

The Palestinian education minister was expected to take part in the official inauguration of the new school year in the blockaded enclave.

Israel imposes strict limitations on the travel of Palestinians between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Reports say that al-Shakhshir had previously submitted an application for entering the besieged area.

The academic year reportedly started in the West Bank late in August. However, schools opened their doors in the blockaded territory after a three-week delay due to the recent Israeli aggression on Gaza.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said on Saturday that thousands of school children in the Gaza Strip are unable to start the new academic year in the besieged territory as a result of the Israeli military offensive.

The relief and human development agencys spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said that around 9,600 students cannot attend school because Palestinian families, whose homes were destroyed during Israels latest war on the Gaza Strip, have come to seek refuge at three Gaza schools and refuse to leave those schools.

Israel started pounding the Gaza Strip in early July, inflicting heavy losses on the Palestinian land. Almost 2,140 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including women, children and elderly people, were killed in the Israeli onslaught. Around 11,000 others were injured.

The latest Israeli war ended on August 26 with an Egyptian-brokered truce, which took effect after Cairo negotiations.

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Palestine minister denied entry to Gaza

Angela Merkel Pledges Zero Tolerance for Anti-Semitism

File Photo: German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Reuters)

About 5,000 attended the event, held under the banner “Stand Up: Jew Hatred – Never Again!”, which coincided with the first ever annual meeting of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) in the German capital.

“I will not accept it, and none of us here will accept it.”

In July, at the height of the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, Germany’s Jewish community condemned an “explosion of evil and violent hatred of Jews” at pro-Palestinian rallies where some demonstrators chanted that Jews should be “gassed”, “burnt” and “slaughtered”.

More seriously, four people were shot dead in May at the Jewish museum in Brussels, Belgium. The museum only reopened on Sunday.

The spate of ugly incidents that deeply unsettled Germany’s resurgent 200,000-strong Jewish community also saw a petrol bomb hurled at the facade of a synagogue in the western city of Wuppertal.

The attacks came 75 years after the outbreak of World War II, during which Nazi Germany murdered six million Jews, a crime that remains a source of enduring shame in the country.

Merkel said the fact that today Jews are living again in Germany “is almost a miracle”.

“Jewish life belong here and is part of our identity…. There must be no room for discrimination and marginalisation,” she said.

Merkel – who has won Israel’s highest civilian honour for her efforts against anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial – said that “Germany is aware of its eternal responsibility for the break of civilisation called the Shoa”.

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Angela Merkel Pledges Zero Tolerance for Anti-Semitism

Palestine supporters call for justice on campus

There is a difference between feeling targeted on campus and being targeted in a militarily occupied territory under attack. This summer, Israel launched a series of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, killing more than 2,100 people, including more than 500 children. Tens of thousands of Palestinians were left homeless because of damage caused by the airstrikes.

Despite petitions and efforts by members of the Loyola student body and student organizations urging the university to divest, Loyola remains invested in corporations profiting from human rights violations in Palestine.

The lives lost this summer are not just statistics. They are human beings with names. They were painted by the Israeli government and many mainstream media outlets as collateral damage, but we must not forget their humanity.

However, the Palestinian people do not need our sympathy they need our support and action. It is not our responsibility, as university students, to play the role as the negotiators. As people of conscience, it is our responsibility to answer the call by Palestinian civil society to boycott, divest from and sanction the Israeli government, until it complies with international law. It is our duty to hold our university accountable for its complicity in the war crimes taking place, in honor of the lives lost.

Last year, we at Students for Justice for Palestine (SJP) launched #LoyolaDivest, a campaign that asked the university to divest from the corporations that are complicit in human rights violations in Israel. These corporations also play a role in the development and maintenance of the prison-industrial complex in Israel.

We petitioned for weeks in the Damen Student Center, and gathered more than 1,000 signatures from undergraduate students on a letter stating that they wanted Loyola to divest from corporations complicit in human rights violations in Israel/Palestine. A resolution calling for divestment passed twice through the USGA senate body, before being vetoed by then USGA president Pedro Guerrero.

Before the resolution was vetoed, pro-Israel students at Loyola expressed their concerns, stating they felt targeted on campus. Thus, the senators who introduced the resolution were villainized and painted as aggressors. But while the pro-Israel students felt unsafe and targeted on campus, senators who supported divestment were also subject to constant anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic threats.

Due to Guerreros succumbing to lobbyist pressure and vetoing the resolution last semester, Loyola remains complicit with the harmful corporations.

Raytheon, one of the companies Loyola is directly invested in, produces guided missiles and supplies the Israeli air force with guided air-to-surface missiles for F-16s, cluster bombs and bunker busters. United Technologies, another company Loyola invests in, provides assistance in the manufacturing of engines of the F-15s, F-16s and Blackhawk helicopters that were used in the latest transgressions on the Gazan civilian population.

Many of the students who support divestment are Palestinian refugees themselves, some of whom have lost family members in Gaza this summer. One SJP member lost six family members in Gaza in just a single night.

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Palestine supporters call for justice on campus

Palestine prisoner dies of blow to head

The result of an autopsy on the body of a Palestinian prisoner, who lost his life in an Israeli jail, shows he died from a blow to the head.

On Thursday, Issa Qaraqe, the head of the Palestinian committee for prisoners, denied that Raed Abdel Salam al-Jaabari had hanged himself in a bathroom in Israels Eshel prison in the southern city of Beersheva.

Israeli authorities had earlier claimed that Jaabari hanged himself at the prison and died on the way to hospital.

Israeli prisons spokeswoman Sivan Weizman said a medical team had tried to revive him. However, he was pronounced dead upon arrival at Soroka hospital in the city.

Jaabari’s family, however, rejected the claim by Israelis and demanded an investigation into his death.

Palestinian sources also say that Jaabari was arrested in July for offences that were not immediately clear.

Palestinian media reports said that thousands of Palestinian inmates held in Israeli prisons went on an open-ended hunger strike on Wednesday in protest at the death of Jaabari.

Reports say over 7,000 Palestinians are being held in Israeli jails. Approximately 2,000 of the Palestinian prisoners have been arrested over the past three months.

Also on Tuesday, another Palestinian man died of wounds sustained during Israels 50-day war on the besieged Gaza Strip. He had been seriously injured in Rafah.

Nearly 2,140 Palestinians lost their lives and some 11,000 were injured in the brutal Israeli war on Gaza.

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Palestine prisoner dies of blow to head

Israel likely to have committed Gaza war crimes: HRW

Israel is likely to have committed war crimes in Gaza, Human Rights Watch said Thursday, a day after the army announced five criminal investigations into incidents involving its forces. The 50-day Gaza war between Israel and Hamas-led militants ended on August 26 after killing more than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 73 people on the Israeli side, 67 of them soldiers. The New …

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Israel likely to have committed Gaza war crimes: HRW

Breakdown of conflict between Israel and Palestine

The Israeli-Palestine conflict, although contentious on the news in the past few months,has been an on-and-off debate since the beginning of the century.

A chart from jewishvirtuallibrary.org estimates a total of 24,969 Jewish and Israeli deaths to 91,105 Arab and Palestinian deaths from 1900-2014 due to their on-going conflict.

The issues between the two states began as early as 1948 when both Israeli and Palestine wanted to define territories they both felt they were entitled to.

After World War II, and the Holocaust in which the genocide of six million Jews were performed; Great Britain, who colonized Palestine decided to give the Jewish survivors a homeland in which they now call Israel.

The West Bank is a Palestinian territory, placed inside of Israel. The war is an on-going dispute about where the boundaries start and end.

This war is commonly referred to as a Holy War because of the distinct differences in religious practice among Jewish and Arab followers.

What has been going on is more of an ethnic conflict and boundary dispute. The ongoing tragedies are a result of both governments wanting to control the others land.

The 1967 Arab-Israeli War, commonly referred to as the six-day war, was a civil war in 1967 in which Israel was strategic in their military tactics and won valuable pieces of land in the Middle East. Of those lands seized, were Palestinian territories The West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Early fall in 1967 the United Nations came up with U.N Resolution 242 which would give sovereignty back to the states before the war.

Israel still occupies the territories it was suppose to release and Middle Eastern states, mainly Egypt, do not formally recognize Israeli sovereignty reported by PBS.

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Breakdown of conflict between Israel and Palestine