Israelis protesting at OECD Tourism Conference

Via Mondoweiss, who thanks Max Blumenthal, and via jkdamours’s Channel on Youtube, an enormously witty and spot-on protest of the Israeli occupation at the OECD Tourism Conference in Jerusalem last week:

As delegates turn up in a bus for a dinner at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, cool Israeli protestors have blindfolded, bound people with plastic handcuffs, and behave more or less exactly as Israel forces do when they are on top of a security situation and trying re-establish calm:

“It’s nothing, really, just some Palestinians we arrested for really bad crimes”…

Phil Weiss writes, in a post on his mondoweiss blog here, which he titled “There is no such thing as tourism in an occupied city“: “Note the repeated stagings of Palestinian arrests and handcuffings and blindfoldings outside the Israel Museum as the attendees arrive. Note the parody of Eden Abergil’s facebook moment. Note the activist who approaches a bus full of OECD tourism people chanting the Israeli mantra: It’s nothing really, it’s just some Palestinians that we arrested for some really bad crimes. It’s nothing that you should be concerned with. Stop with the cameras!’ ”

Bitter Palestinians joke: Netanyahu wants only a state-and-a-half

“Netanyahu only wants one-and-a-half states”.

Continue reading Bitter Palestinians joke: Netanyahu wants only a state-and-a-half

Protest tent detroyed following earlier house eviction in East Jerusalem

On 9 November, the Al-Kurd family was evicted at dawn from a house they had lived in for over 50 years on Nablus Road, clinging to the slopes of Wadi Joze in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

The legal case is complicated — the Israeli Supreme Court (also known as the High Court of Justice) had ordered their eviction last summer, apparently on the basis of their refusal to pay rent to an escrow account or to the Jewish settler organization that claimed the property. The Jewish claim was filed in 1976, but was not known until 1999, when the Al-Kurd family filed a permit to renovate their small home to allow one of their married sons to move back in with his family in order to help care for the ailing head of the family. The Jewish claim is based on a possible sale during the Ottoman era that ended in 1918 — before the British Mandate period that stretched from the end of World War I until the end of World War II.

In the conflict that surrounded the proclamation of the State of Israel in 1948, the Al-Kurd family fled their home in West Jerusalem and became refugees in East Jerusalem, which was occupied by Jordanian forces — a situation which lasted until the Israeli conquest during the June 1967 war.

During its administration, Jordan granted to UNRWA (the UN Agency created to deal with Palestinian refugees) the land on which the house (and 26 others in the same neighborhood) were built in 1956. Ownership of the 27 houses had been living — perhaps also including the land, but this is unclear — reverted to the refugee families who had been living in the houses, in exchange for their foregoing three years of food rations from UNRWA.

Almost immediately after the 9 November eviction of the Al-Kurd couple, according to UNRWA spokesperson Christopher Gunness, a Jewish settler family was moved in.

The disabled head of the family was taken to the home of family members in Beit Hanina, but the able-bodied 52-year-old Mrs. Al-Kurd (Um Kamil) has been staying in a large plastic tent pitched in an flat area in Wadi Joz below her former home.

The land on which the protest tent was erected is fenced, and cleared and levelled — it is private land belonging to a Palestinian named Kamel Obeidat (or A’bidaat, as reported by a press release from Ir-Amim, an Israeli NGO working for an equitable future sharing of Jerusalem between the two peoples living here).

The plastic tent that Um Kamel has been staying in was torn down this afternoon, together with two smaller canvas tents thatvhad been erected beside it, as well — though one of those two smaller tents was back up within the hour.

Four internationals (European members of the International Solidarity Movement – two Danish, one Swede, and one British, all polite and quiet young men in jeans and sweatshirts) plus one Palestinian who were taken away to the Russian Compound police office in West Jerusalem — and told they were being “arrested” — were actually back at the site in Wadi Joz within the hour as well, having apparently neither actually been “arrested”, nor even “deported” to the West Bank as at least one of them had been on the day of the house eviction, 9 November.

Notification had been given to Um Kamil and her supporters this past Sunday that the tent would be removed by 16h00 that same afternoon, but nothing happened until today (Wednesday), when a big deployment of Israeli police and security forces suddenly arrived, accompanied by a big bulldozer or construction-type machine which torn down the temporary installation.

Rabbi Arik Ascherman of the Rabbis For Human Rights NGO was among the visitors to the site this evening. He said that the plastic tent was apparently demolished upon orders of the Jerusalem Municipality — which he said apparently requires permits even for tents, even on private property, though there is no law preventing the protesters from staying on the site…

Palestinians compare reactions

Ali Abunimah has written in the Electronic Intifada that “Compared with the international silence that surrounded Israel’s recent massacres of Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Gaza Strip, condemnation and condolences for the victims of the shooting attack that killed eight students at the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva in Jerusalem have been swift”.

Abunimah lists U.S. President George Bush’s remarks, as well as UNSG BAN Ki-Moon’s, as examples of differential treatment, which he says confirms that the international community sees the Palestinian civilian victims of Israeli military operations in Gaza as “less than complete human beings”.

[Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was one of the first to denounce the attack , followed nearly simulataneously by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. One report in the Israeli media today even says that the Organization of the Islamic Conference has offered a rare denunciation.]

Abunimah argues that, for some, “Israeli deaths are ‘terrorism’, while Palestinian deaths are merely an unfortunate consequence of the fight against ‘terrorism’. But the two are intricately linked, and what happened in Jerusalem is a direct consequence of what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians for decades”.

And, he adds, “Let me be clear that the killing of civilians, Israeli or Palestinian, is wrong, repugnant, and cannot bring this one-hundred-year war caused by the Zionist colonization of Palestine to an end. There will be an Israeli propaganda effort — as always — to present Palestinian violence as being simply motivated by hatred, and divorced from the context of brutal occupation that Palestinians live under. What greater proof could you need than an attack on religious students, devoting their life to the study of the Torah? We cannot expect much analysis in the media of why the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva might have been chosen as a target. Was it mere coincidence that the school, named for Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, and led after his death by his son Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, is the ideological cradle of the militant, Jewish supremacist settler movement Gush Emunim? Unlike other sects in Israel which sought exemption of their students from military service, Gush Emunim encouraged its followers to join the army and become the armed wing of religious nationalist Zionism. Gush Emunim settlers, many of them, like Moshe Levinger, graduates of Mercaz HaRav, founded the most extreme and racist settlements in the Occupied West Bank, including the notorious colonies in and near Hebron whose inhabitants have made life miserable for Palestinians in the city and forced many of them out of their homes. It is the militant settlers of Gush Emunim who still honor Baruch Goldstein who murdered 29 Palestinians in Hebron in February 1994. It is in Hebron that the Gush Emunim settlers spray ‘Arabs to the gas chambers’ on Palestinian houses … For decades Israel has been exercizing with ever-escalating brutality this deliberate strategy to crush through force and starvation a civilian population in rebellion against colonial rule. To Israel’s vexation, the Palestinians are not playing their part. After sixty years of expulsions, massacres, assassinations of their leaders, colonization, torture, and mass imprisonment, the Palestinians have utterly failed to understand that they are a ‘defeated people’. The vast majority of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank endure unprecedented oppression by the Israeli army and settlers without resorting to violence in response, but they maintain an inextinguishable determination to endure until they regain their rights. If the methods the Palestinian resistance has sometimes used are reprehensible, they have also been typical for anti-colonial resistance movements throughout time…” This article can be read in full here.