Wednesday 25th of May 2022

the supply department...

sponsors israel

Note: the list is in no way complete but comes from a reputable source... and of course does not include all the armaments supplied by the US, and other sundries...

business as usual .....

Yes Gus,

It really is 'business as usual', as the world looks the other way as usual .....

As European companies plan & construct a new railway line between Jerusalem & Tel Aviv for Israel, that illegally crossing into the occupied Palestinian territory in at least two areas, Israeli & international corporations are directly involved in the occupation: in the construction of Israeli colonies & infrastructure in the occupied territories, in the settlements' economy, in building walls & checkpoints, in the supply of specific equipment used in the control & repression of the civilian population under occupation.

For further details on those complicit in this great crime ..... 

Who Profits from the Occupation?

A sectarian formula...

No sooner had Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, left Beirut last week, than Jeffrey Feltman, the US secretary of state for Near East affairs, arrived in the Lebanese capital.

Washington wasted no time in seeking to counter what it views as Iran's growing influence across the Arab world and Ahmadinejad's message of resistance to Israel.

But it is precisely that message that has so far foiled the US' relentless efforts to form a regional security pact to isolate and confront Tehran. Washington has failed - and will continue to fail - to convince Arabs that Iran, not Israel, is the real enemy.

A sectarian formula

This does not mean that Iran's agenda in the region has been entirely palatable to Arab states. It has been complicit in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, where its position remains opportunistic and deeply sectarian.

But Washington has no issue with that aspect of Iranian foreign policy. It was, after all, the US invasion that fed sectarian divisions within Iraq. And Washington has been happy to champion Shia political parties within the country in order to suppress its rich pan-Arab identity - all while being opposed to the Lebanese Shia group, Hezbollah.

That Washington does not have a favourite sect is not evidence of its commitment to secularism. It supports different sectarian formulas in Iraq and Lebanon to guarantee that neither country poses a threat to Israel.

In Lebanon, sectarianism has been employed to prevent national unity. And when that has not been sufficient Israeli wars have been used to quell resistance - whether by a Palestinian coalition with Lebanese leftists and pan-Arabists in 1982 or by Hezbollah in 2006.

But these wars backfired: The 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon created Hezbollah, while the Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon in 2000 and the 2006 war anointed the movement as the only Arab force to defeat Israel in a major battle.

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2010/10/20101025795996281.html

A sectarian formula (or dividing to rule)... see toon at top.

continued settlement construction...

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has joined a chorus of international leaders, in rebuking Israel for plans to build new illegal settlements in the West Bank.

"This announcement was counterproductive to our efforts to resume negotiations between the parties," Clinton told reporters during a press conference on Wednesday at the state department in Washington DC.

On Monday, Israel said it would move ahead with the construction of 1,300 apartments in East Jerusalem - territory it regards as part of Israel but which Palestinians claim for the capital of their future state. Another 800 housing units are planned for the Ariel settlement in the north West Bank.

But Clinton, who was joined via video link by Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad, also said the US and Palestinians "still believe that a positive outcome is both possible and necessary".

Clinton also announced that the US would provide the Palestinian government with $150 million to pay down debt and continue providing its people with basic services. The Palestinian Authority, which is not recognized as the rightful government by its rivals Hamas in the Gaza Strip, depends on foreign assistance to administer the territories.

Plea for UN meeting

Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, has called for an impromptu meeting of the United Nations Security Council to put a halt to the Israeli government's continued settlement construction.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010/11/20101110151411751598.html

 

one by one .....

The major Dutch pension fund Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn (PFZW), which has investments totaling 97 billion euros, has informed The Electronic Intifada that it has divested from almost all the Israeli companies in its portfolio.

PGGM, the manager of the major Dutch pension fund PFZW, has adopted a new guideline for socially responsible investment in companies which operate in conflict zones.

In addition, PFZM has also entered into discussions with Motorola, Veolia and Alstom to raise its concerns about human rights issues. All three companies have actively supported and profited from Israel's occupation of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip.

Major Dutch pension fund divests from occupation

next .....

cantor sings a jewish tune...

Soon-to-be House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is desperately trying to explain away the promise he made to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last Wednesday.

Cantor huddled with Netanyahu just prior to the Prime Minister's meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 

Clinton was expected to reaffirm the American commitment to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and opposition to Israeli settlement expansion. 

Cantor wanted Netanyahu to know that he had his back.

Cantor's office itself put out a statement bragging about his pledge to Netanyahu: "Eric stressed that the new Republican majority will serve as a check on the Administration and what has been, up until this point, one party rule in Washington," the readout said.

"He made clear that the Republican majority understands the special relationship between Israel and the United States, and that the security of each nation is reliant upon the other."

For now, forget Cantor's ridiculous assertion that the security of Israel and the United States are "reliant upon the other." 

No, the United States provides Israel with the security assistance to survive - it is not the other way around.

But lay that aside. It is Cantor's statement of loyalty to Netanyahu that is the shocker. Specifically, it is his promise that he would ensure that Republicans in the US House of Representatives "will serve as a check" on US Middle East policy.

Almost immediately, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency's bureau chief in Washington, Ron Kampeas, declared that Cantor's statement was "extraordinary". 

He wrote that he could not "remember an opposition leader telling a foreign leader, in a personal meeting, that he would side, as a policy, with that leader against the President."

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2010/11/20101116121343388841.html

in a world of accessories .....

Volvo prides itself on being a byword for sturdiness, safety and reliability. After a careful examination of the vehicle-maker's investment in Israel, perhaps it should also become synonymous with enabling torture.

The Swedish company has a direct shareholding of 26.5 percent in the Israeli company Merkavim, manufacturer of the Mars Prisoner Bus. This bus has been specifically designed for use by the Israeli Prison Authority to transport Palestinians apprehended in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip to facilities within Israel's internationally-recognized borders. The remainder of Merkavim is owned by Mayer's Cars and Trucks, which doubles up as the exclusive representative of Volvo in Israel.

In 2003 Volvo's board of directors rubber-stamped a "code of conduct" for the company. It says that the company supports "internationally proclaimed human rights and ensures that it is not complicit in human rights abuses."

Despite that code, Volvo has faced numerous accusations that its products are being used as tools of Israeli oppression. In April this year Israeli forces were photographed operating Volvo bulldozers in the Palestinian village of al-Walaja. The forces were carrying out work related to the massive wall that Israel has continued to build on occupied land in the West Bank, despite a 2004 opinion issued by the International Court of Justice declaring the project illegal. The use of Volvo bulldozers in the destruction of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and in the wider West Bank has similarly been documented, with the work of Adri Nieuwhof, a contributor to The Electronic Intifada, proving valuable in highlighting how Volvo profits from the occupation.

Along with its prisoner bus, Merkavim also produces the Mars Defender Bus. The Israeli public transport company Egged runs a fleet of the latter vehicles in the services it provides to Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Like the prisoner bus, the Mars Defender contains a Volvo-made chassis.

Volvo Equipment Enabling Torture, Facilitating Occupation

guilty .....

On 22 November a jury of international experts announced their verdict that compelling evidence shows corporate complicity in Israeli violations of international law. The verdict followed two full days of presentations in London at the second international session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine from 20 to 21 November.

The session examined the role of corporations in Israel's violations of international law. It called experts and witnesses to present cases to the international panel of jurors. Although companies were invited to defend their actions, only Veolia Environnement, PFZW pension fund and security company G4S responded to the tribunal in writing.

The jurors included former French ambassador Stephane Hessel; Irish Nobel Laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire; South African professor John Dugard; South African politician Ronald Kasrils; English lawyer Michael Mansfield; Spanish emeritus judge Jose Antonio Martin Pallin; former US congresswoman Cynthia McKinney; and UK barrister Lord Anthony Gifford.

According to the jurors, the corporations' violations related to their supply of weapons and the construction and maintenance of illegal Israeli settlements and the Israel's wall in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The jury called for the mobilization of civil society to end the involvement of companies in Israeli human rights violations (Public Statement of the Russell Tribunal [PDF]).

Corporations Found Guilty At Russell Tribunal Second Session

checking out .....

In a significant victory for the global Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, French companies Veolia and Alstom have dropped out of the Jerusalem light rail project due to sustained pressure from Palestine solidarity groups. The companies were contracted by the Israeli government to construct and manage the tramway linking Jerusalem to several illegal Israeli settlement colonies in the occupied West Bank.

The Associated Press reported on 28 November that Yoni Yitzhak, the spokesperson for Veolia Israel, "denied the company had succumbed to political pressures," saying that "[a]ll decisions by Veolia Israel are based on financial, not political, considerations ("French firm drops out of Israeli light rail project," 28 November 2010).

However, a spokesperson for Dan bus lines, an Israeli company that hoped to secure the contract after Veolia dropped out, said that Veolia had told Dan executives that the company had decided to end its involvement in the Jerusalem light rail project specifically because of the mounting BDS campaigns and political pressure, according to the Associated Press report.

Speaking at the recent London session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, The Electronic Intifada contributor Adri Nieuwhof testified against Veolia for its involvement in profiting from the illegal settlement industry. Nieuwhof is a human rights advocate whose writing focuses on corporate complicity in violations of international law, including Veolia's role in the project. The jury subsequently included Veolia in a list of seven corporations it identified with "corporate complicity in Israeli violations of international law."

Boycott roundup: French companies to drop out of Jerusalem rail project

abandoning efforts to persuade Israel...

The United States is abandoning efforts to persuade Israel to renew a freeze on settlement-building as part of efforts to revive Middle East peace talks.

Washington had been negotiating with Israel to try to meet Palestinian conditions for restarting direct talks.

The Palestinians suspended talks in September after a 10-month freeze on Israeli building in the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem, expired.

The US says it will continue to explore ways to bring the two sides together.

A senior US official told the BBC that attempts to get Israel to renew a partial freeze on settlement construction in occupied territory had failed.

But he said this did not meant the end of Washington's efforts to revive the peace talks, which resumed in September after a break of almost two years but were suspended almost immediately when Israel decided not to extend the ban on settlement building in the West Bank.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11943599

Gus: now, do the zionist still get their bonus weaponry, even if the freeze on settlements is off?...

not all jews are zionists...

The 'Real Jew' Debate
By ROGER COHEN


LONDON — Ira Stup was raised in Philadelphia attending Jewish day school and camps. He found his home in the Jewish community and was “intoxicated with Jewish democracy” as framed in the ideals of Israel’s foundation. Now he has returned deeply troubled from a one-year fellowship based in Tel Aviv.

The worst single incident occurred on Ben Yehuda Street in central Jerusalem. Stup, 24, a Columbia graduate, was returning from a rally with a couple of friends carrying a banner that said, “Zionists are not settlers.” A group of religious Jews wearing yarmulkes approached, spat on them and started punching.

“About 20 people saw the whole thing and just watched. They were screaming, ‘You are not real Jews.’ Most of them were American. It was one of the most disappointing moments of my life — you can disagree as much as you want with a banner but to allow violence and not react is outrageous. For me it was a turning point. Nobody previously had said I was not a real Jew.”

The view that American Jews supportive of Israel but critical of its policies are not “real Jews” is, however, widespread. Israel-right-or-wrong continues to be the core approach of major U.S. Jewish organizations, from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

To oppose the continued expansion of settlements in the West Bank (“Zionists are not settlers”), or question growing anti-Arab bigotry as personified by Israel’s rightist foreign minister and illustrated by the “loyalty oath” debate, or ask whether the “de-legitimization” of Israel might not have something to do with its own actions is to incur these organizations’ steady ire.

Debate remains stifled, despite Peter Beinart’s important piece this year in the New York Review of Books describing growing alienation among young American Jews asked to “check their liberalism at Zionism’s door.” Oh, sure, you can find all sorts of opinions about Israel all over the place; America remains an open society. But Aipac has systematically shunned a debate with J Street, the upstart Jewish organization that supports Israel, opposes the settlements and attempts to reclaim the progressive ideals of Zionism by saying that the systematic oppression of the Palestinians undermines Israel.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/10/opinion/10iht-edcohen.html?ref=homepage&src=me&pagewanted=print

see toon at top...

the narratives...

Jews who embrace narratives other than those sanctioned by the pro-Israel community often inflame others.

 

Jordan Elgrably

...

My challenge to Jewish readers of this and my other columns is to see if you can embrace the other. Try Kant's "enlarged mentality" - the ability to exercise empathy, to "stand up in the mind of others". What is it like to be a Palestinian today, living under Israeli occupation? What is it like to be an Arab citizen of Israel? Do Arabs enjoy equal rights under the law? How can we have a Jewish state that is also a democracy - isn't that an oxymoron?

Why doesn't Israel have a constitution that equally protects the rights of all its citizens? Why do we insist on besieging Gaza, prohibiting Gazans from having a functioning airport, seaport and international highways, so that it can grow its economy (all of this was in place before Hamas won elections in 2006)? Why does Israel continue to build settlements in the West Bank, when it tells the world that it wants peace, and has invested so much publicity and time in negotiations, starting with Oslo?

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/03/2011326111542254656.html

see toon at top...

sorry, I did not mean to walk on your shinny shoes...

Head of U.N. Panel Regrets Saying Israel Intentionally Killed Gazans


By ETHAN BRONNER and ISABEL KERSHNER


JERUSALEM — The leader of a United Nations panel that investigated Israel’s invasion of Gaza two years ago has retracted the central and most explosive assertion of its report — that Israel intentionally killed Palestinian civilians there.

Richard Goldstone, an esteemed South African jurist who led the panel of experts that spent months examining the Gaza war, wrote in an opinion article in The Washington Post that Israeli investigations into the conflict “indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.”

“If I had known then what I know now,” he wrote, “the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”

His article, which was posted on The Post’s Web site on Friday night, follows a report submitted two weeks ago by a committee of independent experts led by Mary McGowan Davis, a former New York judge, that said that Hamas had not conducted any internal investigations of its own but that Israel had devoted considerable resources in looking into more than 400 accusations of misconduct.

Mr. Goldstone’s article fell like a bomb in Israel, where many people considered the 2009 publication of the Goldstone report as one of the most harmful events in recent years. It was viewed as offering spurious justification for damaging accusations, which Israelis considered to be part of a campaign to delegitimize the state and label it as a war criminal.

“We face three major strategic challenges,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last year, “the Iranian nuclear program, rockets aimed at our citizens and Goldstone.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/03/world/middleeast/03goldstone.html?hp=&pagewanted=print

Gus: and please do not forget "SETTLEMENTS" in your major strategic challenges... These are at the core of ALL your problems, Benyamin or Benjamin or whatever... Remember:  "SET-TLE-MENTS" is at the centre of all your problems.

And please, we know, your soldiers "do not aim" specifically at civilians — not at all time, sure. But they often shoot in a spray (including white phosphorus shells) that, at all time, will kill civilians...

see toon at top...

the blue star, the pop "star" and the council stars...

Pop heartthrob Justin Bieber is set to perform in Israel after a three-day visit tarnished by frustration at the paparazzi and being, in his words, "pulled into politics".

On Monday, Bieber told Twitter fans he was "looking forward to this week".

By Tuesday he was telling photographers they "should be ashamed" and he would suspend tweeting after an apparent row with the prime minister's office.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13079833

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MARRICKVILLE Council's proposed boycott of Israel has prompted a warning from the Premier and is creating turmoil among Greens councillors.

The Greens councillors are divided over how to pursue the policy after a council business report found completely dissociating from Israel would cost ratepayers up to $3.7 million.

The mayor, Fiona Byrne, who has gone to ground since her unsuccessful tilt at the seat of Marrickville in the state election, reassured ratepayers yesterday that the council would not pursue a full boycott of Israel after a report found it could implicate products including Hewlett Packard computers, Veolia waste services and Holden cars.

A spokesman for Barry O'Farrell said the Premier had sent a letter to Cr Byrne cautioning that he could sack the council if it did not drop its pursuit of the boycott. In the letter Mr O'Farrell threatened to use his powers under the Local Government Act if the council did not rescind its resolution within 28 days.

Greens, a Labor councillor and an independent voted to give in-principle support to the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel in December, a move that gained national prominence.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/premier-moves-to-stop-israel-boycott-20110414-1dg23.html

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The Zionist Supply Department and its UberObedient Bedienstete army is working like a well-oiled machine... See toon at top...

 

surprise, surprise .....

The US Senate asked the United Nations to rescind a report on the Gaza War after its lead author expressed doubt over his conclusion that Israel targeted civilians during the 2008-2009 offensive.

The Senate resolution calls on UN Human Rights Council members "to reflect the author's repudiation of the Goldstone report's central findings, rescind the report and reconsider further Council actions with respect to the report's findings."

The text was adopted by unanimous consent.

It also urges UN chief Ban Ki-moon to help "reform" the Human Rights Council "so that it no longer unfairly, disproportionately, and falsely criticizes Israel on a regular basis."

Ban should "do all in his power to redress the damage to Israel's reputation" caused by the report, the resolution said.

South African judge Richard Goldstone led the fact-finding team, established at the request of the United Nations. Its report was published in September 2009.

The report had accused both Israel and the Hamas rulers of Gaza of potential war crimes, setting the tone for widespread international condemnation of the Israeli assault on Hamas-ruled Gaza in which 1,400 Palestinians lost their lives. Thirteen Israelis were killed during the offensive.

Goldstone announced in recent weeks that new information about Israel's military actions led him to believe he had erred in concluding that Israel targeted civilians during the 22-day conflict.

The US House of Representatives had condemned the report in a November 2009 vote.

Earlier Thursday, three of the authors of the report rejected calls to retract it.

US Senate asks UN to rescind Gaza War report

if you be judge .....

Thank God Judge Goldstone recanted his judgment on Israel and its IDF forces in the slaughter inflicted on Gaza during its Christmas invasion in 2008-2009; both are now innocent of wrongful intent to kill Palestinian civilians since the Israeli military courts investigated Goldstone's allegations and determined he was wrong. Now the good Judge has found, with the military court, that the Israeli government, that refused to cooperate with the United Nations investigation, did not intentionally send its forces to kill and destroy but only to kill and destroy Gaza ; that the civilians were killed is simply a sad consequence of war.

How astute, how learned, how compassionate; how absurd, how facetious, how despicable.

Yet, good may come of this decision. Now Israel is free to declare its innocence before the International Court of Justice since it is Israel's investigation that can be presented as its case, with the good Judge as co-defendant. After all, isn't this exactly what the Israeli government has wanted from the start, a way to demonstrate to the world that its Army is the most moral on the planet, its government the most democratic, acting only to defend its people, its weaponry the most sophisticated state of the art precision ordinance available, and its actions always proportionate to the crimes it seeks to address?

Knowing now what they did not know before Judge Goldstone recanted his report, the government of Israel has nothing to fear from the ICJ but the justice it so rightfully deserves. Certainly it makes no sense for Israel or the UN to do nothing now that the report has been brought into question. The world has castigated Israel because of the report, now it's Israel 's turn to seek revenge and put before the world how righteous and how legal its actions have been. How fortunate this turn of events.

And how opportune a moment since our United States Congress has once again jumped to the fore as defender of the beleaguered state of Israel by writing a letter to the UNHRC that it should expunge the report from history since it is biased against the Jewish state and this would help make amends. ("Congressional initiatives targeting Goldstone report" April 11, 2011 JTA)But why expunge it? Israel , after all, knows it did no wrong; it has done its own investigation and declared its innocence.

What an opportunity to show the world that it has been maligned, that it has obeyed all international laws relative to individual rights, that as an occupying force under Geneva Conventions and the Charter of the UN it has observed all requisite responsibilities toward the people of Gaza, and finally that it had rights to invade that the international community must recognize since it was only defending itself.

Let us present this case as objectively as we can by using the words in the Israeli Gaza Operation Investigations: the means used to investigate, the difficulties that impeded the investigation, their presentation of the investigation concerning white phosphorus, and the conclusions drawn by the Military Advocate General, oh, and the convictions leveled on those found guilty. We'll follow that presentation with some eye witness accounts of the Gaza operation, the affect of white phosphorus and its legality, and the impact of DIME explosives on humans and the environment. A few photos of Israeli use of white phosphorus will accompany this article if possible.

Consider the facts as articulated by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs as it labeled Cast Lead as Hamas war against Israel [My apologies; I'm interjecting a subjective comment on Israel 's calling Operation Cast Lead "Hamas' war against Israel ." In the 8 years preceding Cast Lead, Hamas or other resistance groups in Gaza, fired 6000 home made rockets at Israel, roughly 750 a year, or 62.5 per month or 2 per day. Twenty three people were killed. In that same period Israel killed more than 1000 Palestinian children and in Cast Lead killed an additional 352. A total of 1084 Israelis were killed between 2000 and 2008, but 6430 Palestinians were killed. Yet it was Hamas' war against Israel . One final observation: Israel's launch of one of its American supplied missiles that cost $300,000, a fraction of the 8.2 million per day we supply to Israel's military, a precision state of the art weapon that hit a home where the IDF ordered people to go, in less than one minute killed 21 members of the Samouni family, nine of them children.] (figures from ifamericansknew.org and see this author's article "Consider the Realities of Gaza ," Counterpunch, Jan. 5, 2009 ). Back to our sources and let the reader be judge.

Now Israel Is Free To Declare Its Innocence Before The International Court Of Justice

brown-nosing netanyahu's...

Any doubt about how the United States makes its policies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be dispelled by the Obama administration's near-instant reaction to the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation announcement: it is determined to be fully in sync with prime minister Netanyahu.

Without even hearing the details of the agreement, the White House, as reported in the New York Times, "all but dismissed" it:  

The White House, which has been debating how best to revive peace talks ahead of an address to Congress next month by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, all but dismissed the proposed reconciliation by reiterating the longstanding American designation of Hamas as a terrorist organisation that has never expressed a willingness to recognise Israel, let alone negotiate with it.

"As we have said before, the United States supports Palestinian reconciliation on terms which promote the cause of peace," Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said in the administration's only public response. "Hamas, however, is a terrorist organisation which targets civilians."

He added that any Palestinian government had to accept certain principles announced by international negotiators known as the Quartet: the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia. They include renouncing violence, abiding by past agreements with the Israelis and recognising Israel's right to exist. Hamas has never agreed to those conditions.

Then Congress spoke. Gary Ackerman, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, and a pro-Netanyahu stalwart, weighed in on the agreement:

"It calls into question everything we have done," Representative Gary L. Ackerman, Democrat of New York, said in a telephone interview. He later issued a statement saying the United States would be compelled by "both law and decency" to cut off all aid.
 
"I don't think there is any will on the part of the administration or the Congress to provide funds to a government that is dominated by a dedicated terrorist organisation," he said.

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/04/201142815404146355.html

 

 

see toon at top...

music to the ears...

Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim is due to lead an orchestra of European musicians in a "peace concert" in Gaza.

It is the first-ever performance in the Palestinian territory by an international classical ensemble.

Israel forbids its civilian citizens from travelling to Gaza, so Barenboim is entering via Egypt, along with 25 musicians.

For years, Daniel Barenboim has used music to try to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

He famously set up an orchestra made up of young Arab and Israeli musicians, known as the East-West Divan orchestra. In 2005, it performed in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

But today's concert in Gaza City is one of his most ambitious moves, says the BBC's Jon Donnison in Ramallah.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13264688

in 1948, expelled by advancing Jewish soldiers...

"Here is my house," he says, sitting on the remains of a stone wall in whose crevices wild flowers and saplings cling. "Now only the corners remain. Here is the taboun [outdoor oven] where my mother used to bake bread. The smell!"

With distant eyes, he describes an idyllic childhood in a place he calls paradise, where families helped one another and children played freely amid almond and fig trees and on the rocks around the village's natural spring.

The place is Lifta, an Arab village on the north-western fringes of Jerusalem, for centuries a prosperous, bustling community built around agriculture, traditional embroidery, trade and mutual support. But since 1948, shortly before the state of Israel according to the Palestinian narrative of that momentous year, was expelled by advancing Jewish soldiers; the people abandoned their homes, say the Israeli history books. was declared, it has been deserted. The population,

Lifta was one of hundreds of Arab villages taken over by the embryonic Jewish state. But it is the only one not to have been subsequently covered in the concrete and tarmac of Israeli towns and roads, or planted over with trees and shrubs to create forests, parks and picnic areas, or transformed into Israeli artists' colonies. Some argue that Israel set out to erase any vestige of Palestinian roots in the new country.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/29/ruined-palestinian-village-lifta-development

 

see toon at top...

peace yada yada...

...

The Palestinians insist they will only resume talks if the Israelis halt settlement construction, and agree to negotiate within clear parameters set out by the international community, prescribing to both sides the broad terms of an acceptable settlement. President Obama made an attempt at doing that in the policy speech (which drew a sharp rebuttal from Netanyahu in May), making clear that a two-state solution would have to be based on the 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, and would also have to address Israel's security needs. He also recommended that the two sides focus their initial negotiations on issues of borders and security.

But the Europeans made clear that the parameters of the talks would also have to include finding terms for sharing Jerusalem as the capital of both states, and a mutually agreed solution to the status of the Palestinian refugees who lost their homes and land in the process Israel's creation in 1948 -- both topics precluded from Netanyahu's negotiating terms.

Until now, the Obama Administration, whose positions -- in no small part as a result of the considerable influence of Israel's supporters in U.S. domestic politics -- tend to be more indulgent of the Israelis, have swatted away European efforts as annoying interference.


Read more: http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/07/10/memo-to-mideast-quartet-the-israeli-palestinian-peace-train-derailed-ages-ago/#ixzz1RmppQXSd

more business as usual...

Britain, France, the US and the European Union have condemned Israel's decision to speed up housing construction for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli move came after the UN granted Palestinians full membership of its cultural organisation UNESCO.

A day after the vote, the Israeli cabinet brought in a series of punitive measures, deciding to accelerate the construction of thousands of homes in a major settlement in the West Bank.

It has also resolved to withhold tax revenues from the Palestinian Authority.

European states have urged Israel to reverse its decision, with the EU saying settlements are illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace.

The French foreign ministry says such moves are contrary to Israel's legal obligations and international undertakings, while British foreign secretary William Hague says the Israeli announcement is illegal and provocative.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-03/world-leaders-condemn-israel-settlement-construction/3616208

 

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Israel, worse than Gaddafi... Never taken to task, apart from a few words and some finger pointing...

the benjamin supply department

Israel TV Station’s Troubles Reflect a Larger Political Battleground
By

JERUSALEM — An Israeli television station reported last spring on numerous trips Benjamin Netanyahu had taken as an elected official to Paris, London and New York before becoming prime minister in 2009. Accompanied by his wife, he flew first class and stayed in baronial hotel suites. Mrs. Netanyahu had her hair styled and her wardrobe dry-cleaned. The bills, displayed on screen, were paid for by wealthy friends.

Traveling in luxury at the expense of others may violate public service rules and the law. It also doesn’t look good. But instead of accolades for its journalism, Channel 10 is now fighting for its life, and Mr. Netanyahu’s hostility toward it is being cast as part of a broader cultural and political war in Israel between the left and the right involving efforts to control the judiciary, the reporting of news and public discourse.

It is a battle that most immediately pits the rightist governing coalition against the liberal elite as the government refuses to postpone the station’s debt, which could force it to close.

“The fight over Channel 10 is partly a matter of revenge — Netanyahu wants to make them pay for what they did to him,” argued Nachman Shai, a member of Parliament from the opposition party Kadima and a former news executive who helped set up Channel 10 a decade ago. “But it is also part of a three-front struggle — over the courts, civil society and the media. The right wants to control every institution. Freedom of expression is at risk.”

Those around Mr. Netanyahu, who filed a million-dollar libel suit against the station, say Channel 10 is a failed business whose payments have been forgiven numerous times and is hiding behind political complaints and inflated concerns about free speech to make the public absorb its debts.

On its face, the request by Channel 10 is modest. It owes $11 million, most of it to an official regulatory body, the rest in taxes. Ayelet Metzger, deputy director general of the regulatory body, said both her agency and the Finance Ministry had agreed to postpone the debt for a year.

But a parliamentary committee this month voted against doing so. Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition obliged its members to vote no. This means that Channel 10 will, in theory, shut its doors at the end of January, when its 10-year franchise ends.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/27/world/middleeast/struggle-of-israels-channel-10-tied-to-political-wars.html?_r=1&hpw=&pagewanted=print

 

 

"legal" settlements versus "illegal" outposts...

Israeli legislators have voted against a bill to retroactively legalise settler homes built on private Palestinian land, in a move which has sharply divided Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's ruling coalition.

The bill was an attempt to circumvent a Supreme Court ruling ordering the removal of five buildings from a settlement outpost known as the Ulpana neighbourhood by July 1.

The planned demolition, which would affect 142 people, has sparked fury among settlers and their supporters in parliament, with right-wing parliamentarians set to bring the two bills for debate and a vote in a Knesset session later on Wednesday.

The legislation would essentially have legalised the outpost in the eyes of the Israelis and offered compensation to the Palestinian landowners.

Israel differentiates between "legal" settlements and "illegal" outposts, but the international community views all settlements on occupied territory as a violation of international law.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/06/20126685312849270.html

"illegal" outposts versus "legal" settlements...

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the construction of 300 new homes at the Jewish settlement of Beit El in the West Bank.

The announcement came hours after Israel's parliament rejected a bill to legalise settlement outposts.

Mr Netanyahu, who opposed the bill, said he would honour a Supreme Court order to demolish homes on private Palestinian land at the Ulpana outpost.

The issue has been a source of tension between settlers and the government.

All settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

The settler outposts are also illegal under Israeli law and the government agreed to remove them under the 2003 Road Map peace plan.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18344116

Reading the article above this one I was wondering about Netanyahu getting "soft" in his old age but then this news came along swiftly... It's a case of going back a bit more in order to jump higher, isn't it?

appeasing anger...

Foreign Secretary William Hague today condemned Israel's plans to build hundreds of new homes in the West Bank, branding the proposal  provocative and urging the administration of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to change its approach.

Officials announced on Wednesday that the homes would be built in a number of Jewish settlements, amid a row over government plans to demolish an illegally built settler enclave elsewhere in the Palestinian territory.

The move was widely seen as an attempt by Mr Netanyahu to appease anger over the dismantling of the Ulpana enclave. He persuaded Israel's parliament, the Knesset, to vote down proposals to legalise settler outposts such as Ulpana built illegally on privately held Palestinian land.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/william-hague-condemns-israeli-homes-plan-7830940.html

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It's your turn, Bob...

the CIA school of Diaspora governance...

 

Cairo, Egypt - The Palestinians are in crisis. Their leaders are weak and self-interested. Opportunists work to fill the void. 

Many Palestinians haven't heard of the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP). I only learned about it a few years ago - when someone asked me if I'd seen the web pamphlet condemning the one-state solution. I hadn't. Several minutes spent browsing ATFP's website made it pretty clear why.

ATFP was built in the best tradition of the Ahmad Chalabi school of Diaspora governance. It is a Washington organisation designed to promote a particular line on Palestine.The group is tasked with feeding the State Department palatable fictions - like, "two states for two peoples". In return, organisation heads are invited to dinners with important people.

Ziad Asali, ATFP's president, recently attended a celebration of Israel's "independence" where he posed for friendly photos with Israel's ambassador to the United States. While Asali never had credibility among Palestinians, his recent night out secured his status as an object of derision.

 

Palestinians typically "celebrate" the creation of  Israel with somber commemorative ceremonies. For most of us the foundation of a Jewish-majority state most strongly evokes the Nakba, the lamentable ethnic cleansing of Palestine. And because Palestinians are still subjected to apartheid and occupation, the anniversary of our Catastrophe has a greater-than-historical significance. The Nakba is as much about today as it is about what was done 1948.

Asali's complete disconnect from history, the current reality in Palestine, and his insensible behavioural norms underscore his alienation from Palestinian-Americans. But that should not come as a surprise. Despite his claims, he never represented the community.

Today, thousands of Palestinian political prisoners are in Israeli jails. Roughly fifteen hundred of them recently protested their illegal detention through hunger strikes. The heart of the Palestinian-American community is in Israeli prisons, not Israeli embassy-sponsored parties. Smart analysts at the State Department should take note, even if ATFP failed to.

At this moment it is easy to regard ATFP with contempt. But Asali is not the only party responsible for his embarrassing behaviour. Orengate or Asaligate or whatever is an indication of a broader failure among the Palestinians. Today, there is no credible leadership - not in Palestine and not in the Diaspora.

All Palestinians share in that failure. But Palestinian-Americans own more of it than anyone else.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/06/201265162719561988.html

 

 

forgotten and swallowed...

The cause of the Palestinians has never been more "marginalised" than it is today, according to a warning by their internationally respected Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Citing the international focus on the Arab spring, the eurozone crisis and the US electoral cycle, Mr Fayyad yesterday said that Palestinian leaders were facing a “path of growing untenability” while the world largely focused its attention elsewhere.

In an interview with The Independent, the Palestinian Prime Minister was strongly critical of the West’s failure to tackle Israel more “seriously” over its violations of international law and its obligations under the nine year old Road Map.

He declared that this “marginalisation” was now the “biggest obstacle” to progress towards a Palestinian state. “Our cause has never been this marginalized,” he said. “Ever. This is our greatest challenge.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/salam-fayyad-we-have-never-been-more-marginalised-7976731.html

 

-----------------------

Israel’s Settlers Are Here to Stay

 

WHATEVER word you use to describe Israel’s 1967 acquisition of Judea and Samaria — commonly referred to as the West Bank in these pages — will not change the historical facts. Arabs called for Israel’s annihilation in 1967, and Israel legitimately seized the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria in self-defense. Israel’s moral claim to these territories, and the right of Israelis to call them home today, is therefore unassailable. Giving up this land in the name of a hallowed two-state solution would mean rewarding those who’ve historically sought to destroy Israel, a manifestly immoral outcome.

Of course, just because a policy is morally justified doesn’t mean it’s wise. However, our four-decade-long settlement endeavor is both. The insertion of an independent Palestinian state between Israel and Jordan would be a recipe for disaster.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/26/opinion/israels-settlers-are-here-to-stay.html?_r=1&hp

 

 

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Holy crap... See toon at top...

 

swiss cheese...

Palestinians have lived under Israeli occupation for more than 60 years. Their homes and land have been stolen and their status reduced to that of refugees in their own country.

But instead of uniting against a common enemy, Palestinians are divided, between the Islamists in Hamas who rule Gaza, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) that governs the West Bank.

Many accuse the PA of being Israeli stooges and their mismanagement of everything from unemployment, sky-rocketing prices, water rights, taxation and border issues have made them deeply unpopular. Postponing elections simply prolongs the crisis.

The paradox is that Ramallah, the unofficial capital of the occupied territories, is booming, with aid money pouring in to assuage the world's guilty consciences.

Many worry that this is breeding an aid-dependent culture and further weakening Palestinian resistance.

And what hope is there of any permanent solution? Will the Palestinians continue to live in limbo, in one state, two states, or even three states?

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/thecafe/2012/08/2012817115155794165.html

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When one reads that ghastly book — full of aggression and revenge — the bible, one can see that the lands on which Israel has plonked its arse and grabbed as occupied territories were in different hands at different times, even after "god gave them the god-given right to be there"... If you may recall I raised the concept of "three states" quite a while ago on this site, in a way to stop the shenanigans between the Israelis and the Palestinians who have been divided by the Israelis to rule...

 

see toon at top...

building ball will...

Israel has announced plans to press ahead with construction of 1,213 homes on annexed West Bank land, defying international opposition to its settlement policies.

The Israel Land Administration on Monday published notices inviting bids from contractors to build on plots in Ramot and Pisgat Zeev, urban settlements that Israel has declared part of Jerusalem.

The plans call for the building of 607 new homes in Pisgat Zeev and 606 in Ramot. Tens of thousands of Israelis already live in the two areas.

The Israeli anti-settlement group Peace Now said on Tuesday  that an additional tender for the construction of 72 homes in the West Bank settlement of Ariel was reissued on Monday after a previous notice failed to attract winning bidders.

Palestinians want to create a state in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital but they say Israeli settlement building will cripple the viability of any future country.

http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?newsId=297272

 

Israeli tank shells have killed at least five Palestinians and wounded 30 in the Gaza Strip after an apparent attack on an Israeli army patrol in the border area, Palestinian medics and local witnesses said.

The casualty toll in Saturday's violence was one of the highest in a single incident in Gaza in recent months. At least five of the injured, some of them children, are in critical condition, medical sources said.

There were reports early Sunday morning that Palestinian militants had fired rockets into Israel in retaliation, with at least six landing in towns near the Gaza Strip. Israeli media reported four people lightly injured.

Residents said a crowded mourning tent in the Shijaia neighbourhood near Gaza City was full of people paying respects to a bereaved family man when a shell struck.

Ambulances, private vehicles and motorbikes rushed the wounded to hospital, eyewitnesses said. Among those killed was an 18-year-old man.

"The occupation's targeting of civilians was a grave escalation that must not pass in silence," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said.

"Resistance must be reinforced in order to block the aggression."

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/11/2012111015281390679.html

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Some cynical newspapers in Europe have actually suggested that Netanyahu had planned to go ahead with more settlements and would have got praise for this from Ronmey when he would have been President Elect... But the script went askew... So Israel created a diversion in Gaza and the new housing went under the radar in the main media....

war games...

The Israeli army has ordered hundreds of Palestinian villagers to leave their homes temporarily, so it can conduct military exercises.

Dozens of families living in Khirbet Tana, in the Jordan Valley, are in areas that Israel has labelled "closed military zones," and have been forced of their lands temporarily.

Palestinians fear that the temporary eviction could become permanent as Israel continues expanding illegal settlement building in the occupied West Bank.

Al Jazeera's Nadim Baba reports from Kirbet Tana.

http://www.aljazeera.com/video/middleeast/2012/11/2012111482155100606.html

a small step for mankind...

The UN General Assembly has overwhelmingly voted to grant the Palestinian Authority "non-member state" status at the UN.

The vote this morning was carried by 138 votes to nine, with 41 countries, including Australia, abstaining.

The resolution lifts the Palestinian Authority's UN observer status from "entity" to "non-member state" - like the Vatican.

Palestinians see the move as an important step in the peace process while the Israelis, supported by the United States, say it will only inflame tensions.

A major concern for the Americans is that the Palestinians could use their new status to join the International Criminal Court and pursue possible war crimes charges against Israel.

The US was swift to condemn the vote this morning, with secretary of state Hillary Clinton calling it "unfortunate and counterproductive".

But news of the vote sparked celebrations in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where the Palestinian Authority has its headquarters.

Earlier Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas urged UN members to "issue a birth certificate" for a state of Palestine as he opened the debate in the General Assembly.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-30/palestininians-seek-un-statehood/4400126?WT.svl=news0

a big step backward for humankind...

 

Following Palestinian UN bid, Israel okays construction of 3,000 new West Bank units


By Associated Press, Updated: Saturday, December 1, 6:44 AM

JERUSALEM — Israel on Friday approved the construction of 3,000 homes in Jewish settlements on Israeli-occupied lands, a government official said, drawing swift condemnation from the Palestinians a day after their successful U.N. recognition bid.

The Palestinians reiterated their refusal to resume negotiations with Israel while building continues. With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apparently poised for re-election to another four-year term and insisting that any negotiations begin without preconditions, prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian partition deal appear to be going into deep freeze.

The United Nations voted overwhelmingly to accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem as a non-member observer state on Thursday, setting off jubilant celebrations among Palestinians.

Israel fiercely objected to the U.N. upgrade, saying Palestinian statehood could only come from direct negotiations and unilateral moves would harm that prospect. The Palestinians said the U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state in the territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war was an attempt to salvage a possible peace deal.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to negotiate with Israel while settlement construction continues, saying Israel’s settlement expansion on war-won land was making a partition deal increasingly difficult.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat condemned Israel’s announcement, saying it was “defying the whole international community and insisting on destroying the two-state solution.” He said the Palestinian leadership is studying its options.

Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh also insisted earlier Friday the Palestinian position hadn’t changed, saying settlement building “is not just illegal, it’s against the resolution.”

More than 500,000 Israelis have moved to the West Bank and east Jerusalem since 1967. Israel unilaterally withdrew its soldiers and settlers from Gaza in 2005, but continues to partially control access. The Islamic militant group Hamas seized control of the territory from Abbas’ control in 2007 and recently gained popularity after holding its own following an eight-day Israeli military offensive aimed at stopping rocket fire.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/israeli-government-okays-settlement-construction-of-3000-new-west-bank-units-official-says/2012/11/30/d4f319fc-3b0c-11e2-9258-ac7c78d5c680_print.html

 

as time goes by...

 

Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani rejected on Sunday statements attacking Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Shaikh, considering that this is an “offense to all Muslims.”

"An attack on the Mufti of Saudi Arabia is an attack on all Muslim due to the noble religious status he represents in the Arab and Islamic world,” Qabbani said in a released statement, adding that al-Shaikh is a “renowned Islamic and international reference in religious matters.”

He noted: “Fools are attacking our top clerics and people are silent despite insults against their scholars.”

"It is not acceptable for any man to offend another because he disagrees with him. So how can we accept offense against the Saudi Mufti?”

"It is a foolish thing to allow disagreements to lead to insults and the demolition of ethics," the Mufti stressed.

Tawheed Movement leader Wiam Wahab called Abdul Aziz on Sunday morning a “handicap,” asking him as well as Sunni cleric Youssef al-Qaradawi to “clean their mouths before talking about Hizbullah's resistance.”

Saudi Arabia's top cleric on Thursday urged governments and fellow clerics across the Muslim world to punish Hizbullah for its intervention in the Syrian civil war against the mainly Sunni rebels fighting to oust President Bashar Assad.

"We urge all politicians and clerics to take substantial measures against this detestable sectarian group (Hizbullah) and all those backing it," Shaikh said in a speech carried by the official SPA news agency.

Meanwhile, Qaradawi, who has millions of supporters around the Arab world, particularly in the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood, said he had been at fault for previously backing Hizbullah and urged Sunni volunteers to join the Syrian rebels.

Hizbullah fighters spearheaded a devastating 17-day assault on the Syrian town of Qusayr near the Lebanese border which culminated on Wednesday with its recapture from the rebels.

Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah had previously justified the group's involvement in Syria by saying they were defending Lebanese-inhabited border villages inside Syria and Shiite holy sites.

But during a May 25 speech marking the 13th anniversary of Israel's military withdrawal from Lebanon, Nasrallah said the Takfiris are the “most prevailing group in the Syrian opposition,” warning against a defeat against them in the ongoing war in Syria.

He said: “If Syria falls in the hands of the Takfiris and the United States, the resistance will become under a siege and Israel will enter Lebanon. If Syria falls, the Palestinian cause will be lost.”

http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/86263-qabbani-says-attack-on-saudi-mufti-offensive-to-all-muslims

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W.Bank Settlement Construction Starts at 7-Year High

by Naharnet Newsdesk 09 June 2013, 18:27

Building starts on settler homes in the Israeli-occupied West Bank hit a seven-year high in the first quarter of 2013, Israeli watchdog Peace Now said on Sunday.

"Between January 2013 and March 2013, construction of 865 new housing units began," the NGO said in a statement quoting recently released government statistics.

"This is three times as many construction starts compared to the same quarter last year (January-March 2012)," it added. "If compared to the final quarter of last year (October-December 2012), this is an astonishing 355 percent increase."

The Peace Now report comes as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who last week warned time was running out for a possible peace deal, is expected to return to Israel and the Palestinian territories within days.

It will be Kerry's fifth visit since taking office in February, as he seeks to revive direct Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations after a nearly three-year hiatus.

Palestinians say they will resume talks only if Israel stops building on land it wants for a future state and if it agrees to negotiate on the basis of the borders which existed before the 1967 Middle East war when the Jewish state seized the West Bank and Gaza.

Israel demands talks "without preconditions" and refuses publicly to freeze settlement building.

"Any government committed to peace would not allow, nor continue, to build settlements that inevitably harm the chances for peace," Peace Now said.

"These findings provide further evidence of a continuing government policy to prioritize settlement expansion."

http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/86286-w-bank-settlement-construction-starts-at-7-year-high

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Gus: of course, one should know that Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani is a Lebanese Sunni aligned with Saudi Arabia while Hizbullah is aligned with the Shia who support the regime in Syria and the Palestinian cause... though most Palestinians are Sunnis... I suspect that due to the failure of the Sunnis to protect the Palestinians, Sunnis Palestinians are converting to Shia Islam, especially in the Gaza strip, though Sunnis are on the rise in Iran.

Meanwhile Israel is building...

And should need more "heart-warming stories" please visit: http://deathpenaltynews.blogspot.com.au/

 

 

five Israeli banks on a black list...

 

The pension board of the United Methodist Church — one of the largest Protestant denominations in the United States, with more than seven million members — has placed five Israeli banks on a list of companies that it will not invest in for human rights reasons, the board said in a statement on Tuesday.

It appeared to be the first time that a pension fund of a large American church had taken such a step regarding the Israeli banks, which help finance settlement construction in what most of the world considers illegally occupied Palestinian territories.

Palestinian advocates, both in and outside the church, described the step as an important advance in the Boycott, Divest and Sanction campaign, or B.D.S., an international effort to pressure Israel economically over the Palestinian issue. Others within the church, however, called those claims misleading, noting that the church remains invested in other Israeli companies and that members had overwhelmingly opposed divestment resolutions.

There was no immediate comment from Israeli officials.

Nonetheless, the inclusion of Israeli banks on what is essentially a blacklist compiled by the pension board of a large American church, appears bound to upset the Israeli government, which devotes considerable effort to combating resolutions by academic institutions, businesses and church organizations to divest from Israeli companies over the issue of Israeli settlements and the occupation of Palestinian lands held since the 1967 war.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has described the divestment movement as a campaign to destroy Israel.

The Israeli banks on the United Methodist Church’s list — Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, First International Bank of Israel, Israel Discount Bank and Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot — were among 39 companies from several countries that have been excluded from the pension board’s portfolio for not meeting its Human Rights Investment Policy guideline.

M. Colette Nies, a spokeswoman for the pension board, based in Glenview, Ill., said that the guideline, approved by the board in 2014 and carried out last year, applied to 14 different regions around the world, including the Middle East.

The list also includes an Israeli construction concern, Shikun & Binui, which Palestinian advocates say is heavily involved in settlement building.

Ms. Nies said in the statement that the pension fund remained invested in “approximately 18 Israeli companies that meet our investment criteria.”

The pension board’s assets in 2014 was valued at $20.9 billion, according to its annual report.

read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/13/world/middleeast/us-church-puts-5-banks-from-israel-

 

See toon and story at top..