#majorbsalert “Writers” detail Israeli occupation of West Bank in new book

Writers detail Israeli occupation of West Bank in new book

by The Associated Press

JERUSALEM — A group of “renowned” authors has published a collection of essays about Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, hoping their grim firsthand perspectives will draw attention to what they say is an unsustainable situation that is harmful to Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Through the eyes of novelists and nonfiction writers, “Kingdom of Olives and Ash” highlights the day-to-day struggles of Palestinians living under Israeli control and the collective trauma inflicted upon both peoples.

The 26 authors involved in the project include Pulitzer Prize-winners Michael Chabon and Geraldine Brooks, celebrated Irish writer Colm Toibin and Peruvian Nobel Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa. Chabon and his wife, American-Israeli author Ayelet Waldman, also edited the volume.

The writers visited the West Bank and the Gaza Strip last year to bear witness “in vivid and clear language” to the reality for Palestinians after 50 years of Israeli occupation. Gaza, from where Israel withdrew its settlers and troops in 2005, is now controlled by Hamas militants.

The essays describe the segregated city of Hebron, the vibrant nightlife in Gaza City, the hardships of businessmen in Ramallah, and the frustration of young Palestinians who carried out a stabbing attack that wounded two Israelis in 2015.

“They came with relatively few preconceptions,” Chabon said. “They saw for themselves and they got to talk to people on the ground.”

The project was organized by Breaking the Silence, an Israeli organization of former soldiers who speak out against the military’s policy in the Palestinian territories. The group has come under heavy fire from Israeli leaders, who say it should air its criticisms locally instead of taking its message to foreign audiences.

Chabon said the book is aimed both at international and Israeli readers, though its affiliation with Breaking the Silence and reliance on foreign critics may limit its impact with the local audience. Education Minister Naftali Bennett, one of the most outspoken critics of the organization, declined to comment, as did Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.

The book was launched on Sunday to commemorate this month’s anniversary of the 1967 Mideast War, in which Israel took control of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. Hebrew and Arabic versions are to hit bookshelves in Israel and the Palestinian territories later this week.

Speaking to reporters at Jerusalem’s American Colony hotel, Chabon said the project seeks “to draw attention to the occupation, and especially to draw the attention of people who aren’t paying attention.”

Chabon, in his essay “Giant in a Cage,” describes travelling from Ramallah to the northern West Bank city of Nablus with a Palestinian-American businessman. He talks of witnessing firsthand the seemingly arbitrary nature of Israel’s military control over Palestinian lives — from checkpoints and permits to resource allocation and settlement construction.

“I was embarrassed and ashamed, both by my ignorance before seeing it and also that such things are being done with my money as an American taxpayer and in my name as a Jew,” he said.

Waldman, who was born in Israel and grew up in the United States and Canada, worked as a public defender in California before turning to a career in writing. An outspoken liberal, she campaigned for Barack Obama, a former classmate at Harvard Law School, during his 2008 presidential campaign.

Her essay, “Justice, justice you shall pursue,” reads like a legal argument against Israel’s military court system through the case of two Palestinian teens. One was arrested and roughly handled, then held without bail for allegedly possessing a knife. The other was arrested in the middle of the night, imprisoned and confessed to setting a field on fire in exchange for a fine and lighter sentence.

“Whether those accused in fact committed the offences is less important than the creation of a general climate of fear, anger, and distrust that quashes rebellion,” she wrote.

While Israeli settlers in the West Bank are subject to Israeli civilian law, Palestinians are subject to military law. The military court system is frequently criticized for its near 100 per cent conviction rate and for meting out stiff penalties.

The authors say their work is not meant to be against Israel, only Israeli policies. Waldman and Yehuda Shaul, a founder of Breaking the Silence, consider themselves Israeli patriots.

“What we’ve come to see and believe is that the existence of Israel, which we feel very invested in, depends on ending the occupation,” Chabon said.

Though sympathetic to the Palestinians living under Israeli rule, the authors are not blind to the violence inflicted upon Israelis, whether in the latest wave of stabbings and shootings that erupted in late 2015 or in the past, during the second Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s and the massacre of Hebron’s Jews in 1929, decades before Israel was established in 1948.

Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians seek all three territories for a future state — a position that has wide international support. Netanyahu has rejected any return to the 1967 frontiers.

Over the past five decades, Israel, citing security needs, has established a military bureaucracy in the West Bank that enforces movement restrictions on Palestinians through a complex permit system. Some 600,000 Israelis now live in settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Israel says it has been willing to negotiate an end to occupation, but that Palestinians rejected or responded with violence to generous Israeli offers in 2000 and 2008. Netanyahu says he is open to talks, but negotiations have been frozen for over three years and most members of Netanyahu’s government oppose Palestinian statehood.

Waldman said the essays do not address all the aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but focus on the impact of the occupation on ordinary lives.

“This book is not going to end the occupation,” Waldman said. “The occupation is a vast edifice, and everybody’s obligation is to pry loose their brick. And if enough bricks get pried loose, the wall will crumble.”

The Associated Press | June 21, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Tags: AP | Categories: NewsWorld | URL: http://wp.me/p2zm7z-591Gg

Israeli general: ‘Full force’ in future war with Hezbollah y:sh

New post on National Post

Israeli general: ‘Full force’ in future war with Hezbollah

by The Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Israel’s air force chief is warning that his country will strike Hezbollah “with full force” in any future war with the Lebanese Shiite militant group.

Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel touted Israel’s superior air power and build-up at a conference Wednesday, saying it can deliver in 48 hours the same blow it took 34 days to inflict on Hezbollah during the 2006 war.

He says Israel must strike “with full force from the beginning” to gain air superiority in any future conflict with the Lebanese archenemy.

Hezbollah fired more than 4,000 rockets on Israeli communities in the 2006 war, while Israel bombarded targets in southern Lebanon. The month of fighting killed an estimated 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, as well as 44 Israeli civilians and 121 Israeli soldiers.

The Associated Press | June 21, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Tags: AP | Categories: NewsWorld | URL: http://wp.me/p2zm7z-591Kr

Haifa fires die down, many others break out – #Israelfires

Anne's Opinions

The devastating wildfires in Haifa appear to have died down, and now one can see the level of damage caused to the city:

However other fires were still smouldering when Shabbat began, and over Shabbat more destructive fires broke out or were deliberately set, particularly in the towns of Bet Meir and Neveh Tzuf-Halamish.

Firefighters tackle the ferocious blaze at Nataf in the Judean Hills Firefighters tackle the ferocious blaze at Nataf in the Jerusalem Hills

According to security forces, after the initial fires, arsonists “jumped on the bandwagon“:

Amid signs that the wave of wildfires that have blight Israel since Tuesday was being brought under control, Israeli security officials on Saturday night gave preliminary indications that weather was the prime cause of the initial blazes but that arsonists jumped on the bandwagon increasingly from Wednesday and into the weekend.

Israeli security forces have arrested…

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No ‘safe spaces’ for Jews? First hand account of hatred at Hen Mazzig event in London — UK Media Watch

I tried dialogue pointing out the carnage taking place across the Islamic world and asked why they were indifferent to the slaughter of their co-religionists in industrial numbers but they were not interested. Nothing could placate them. Israel was the focus of their universe and the fount of all evil with Hen as the object of their mania.

via No ‘safe spaces’ for Jews? First hand account of hatred at Hen Mazzig event in London — UK Media Watch

No ‘safe spaces’ for Jews? First hand account of hatred at Hen Mazzig event in London — UK Media Watch

I tried dialogue pointing out the carnage taking place across the Islamic world and asked why they were indifferent to the slaughter of their co-religionists in industrial numbers but they were not interested. Nothing could placate them. Israel was the focus of their universe and the fount of all evil with Hen as the object of their mania.

via No ‘safe spaces’ for Jews? First hand account of hatred at Hen Mazzig event in London — UK Media Watch

Jerusalem attack: 2 killed, 4 wounded in drive-by shooting, Israeli police say — CNN.com – RSS Channel – Mobile App Manual

Two people were killed and four wounded in a drive-by shooting attack and subsequent shootout in Jerusalem on Sunday, Israeli police said.

via Jerusalem attack: 2 killed, 4 wounded in drive-by shooting, Israeli police say — CNN.com – RSS Channel – Mobile App Manual

BBC’s Gaza correspondent amplifies Hamas’ version of a story — BBC Watch

On September 9th a group of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip initiated a violent riot at the border fence east of al Bureij. The BBC did not report on the incident but later the same evening its Gaza correspondent Rushdi Abualouf sent the following Tweet: Around half an hour later, he sent a second Tweet […]

via BBC’s Gaza correspondent amplifies Hamas’ version of a story — BBC Watch

the world is comprised of multiple truths – every living thing is in its own reality – however there is one being endowed both with intellect and irrational instincts (hence thoughts, speech and action); and the entire world was made for this being – for the ultimate prize is the ability to grow and then grow… (for growth is the abandonment of foolishness, as we see in a child’s progression, and relative to infinite wisdom we are always…) —

via the world is comprised of multiple truths – every living thing is in its own reality – however there is one being endowed both with intellect and irrational instincts (hence thoughts, speech and action); and the entire world was made for this being – for the ultimate prize is the ability to grow and then grow… (for growth is the abandonment of foolishness, as we see in a child’s progression, and relative to infinite wisdom we are always…) —

International Correspondent Melissa Bell Joins CNN — CNN Press Room

CNN is expanding its presence in France with the hiring of Melissa Bell, who leaves France 24 to become the network’s Paris Correspondent. Bell will join CNN’s longtime Senior International Correspondent Jim Bittermann in early October, it was announced today by Tony Maddox, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of CNN International. Bell most recently…

via International Correspondent Melissa Bell Joins CNN — CNN Press Room