Palestine News Network
How do you explain to a Palestinian child he must ration his drinking water so an Israeli can swim?
Editorial / Mitri I. Musleh
Over the past 60 years or so the situation in Palestine has reached astronomical dimensions that stretch far beyond what could have been expected.
In the midst of it all, Palestinians past and present have watched their young killed, jailed or exiled, their homes blown up, their fields ravished and their olive trees uprooted, their freedoms ripped away from them and their country depleted by the day.
All of this was done to them by Israel and its supporters in the name of freedom, godly wish and imperialism.
How do you explain to a young Palestinian that his father is being kept in Israeli jail because he was born Palestinian? How do you explain to a young Palestinian that his sibling was shot because he or she wanted to look out of the window? How do you explain to a young Palestinian that he has to ration his drinking water so an Israeli youngster can swim? How do you explain to a young Palestinian that all of the countries in the world are against you because you keep saying no to occupation, corruption and imperialism?
The Palestinian leadership is meeting in Cairo in October, 2008 for yet another round of reconciliation. The unfortunate precursor to such a meeting is the number of times they have met in the past and how many times they expect to meet in the future to further discuss national unity.
The Palestinian people are tired of all the talk, disagreements and the time wasting agenda their leaders claim they need to eventually deliver a national home for the Palestinians.
While the Palestinian leadership is busy talking and dealing, the Israeli leadership is confiscating and dividing the land as they see fit. In addition, there are the academics, scholars and intellectuals who love to debate and hypothesize about conflicts and solutions.
Two theories have been debated as a solution to the Palestinian/Israeli dilemma. One issue has to do with a "Two State Solution" where Israel and Palestine can live side by side in peace and harmony. The second theory calls for a "One State Solution" where Palestinian and Israelis live together under one flag while enjoying equal rights and freedoms. As romantic and enticing these ideas may seem, the fact on the ground remains bleak and dangerous. The problem on the ground is not whether to establish one state or two states solution, nor is it a problem of reconciliation or lack of. The problem being displayed on stage is a problem of occupation and oppression.
Long before discussing a one or two state solution, there must be an agreement to end the occupation first.
However, an end to the occupation will never materialize as long as the Palestinian leadership is divided and in constant struggle to control the decision making at the helm.
Without a unified objective to the Palestinian struggle, Palestine will remain under Israeli occupation and the Palestinians will remain oppressed by an unrelenting Israeli leadership.
If the Cairo conference fails to deliver a strong and committed Palestinian unity government, Palestine will remain occupied and the Palestinians will remain oppressed, tortured and robbed of their properties by Israel and its imperialist supporters.
Also from Sami Joseph
Look beyond Rafah
Hamas needs to set its sights on the good of the Palestinian people, not simply its own self-interest, writes Galal Nassar
September 25, 2008
Once again, Palestinian factional leaders come to Cairo in search of elusive reconciliation. The deal they once signed in Mecca looked good, but it didn’t stick for long. Is anyone keeping track of all the rounds of talks that have been held? Dozens, hundreds perhaps! Some may recall that Fatah and Hamas started talking in the early 1990s in Sudan. Well, they’ve been talking ever since, in various venues around the region.
A few years back, the positions of the two sides were far apart. Hamas posed as a resistance movement that was not going to compromise, that didn’t care about power, that was not about to sell out. And it was fond of portraying Fatah, or the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), as a sell-out. Now, these claims are hard to maintain. Hamas is in government, self-proclaimed and all. It is worried about its own survival, Jerusalem and refugee rights put on the backburner for the moment. And yet Hamas and Fatah are still at loggerheads. Instead of working out their grievances, the list keeps getting longer as time goes by. Fatah is mad at Hamas’s so-called coup. Hamas, for its part, is sure that Fatah is going to manipulate Palestinian presidential and legislative elections.
More out of embarrassment than obligation, Arab states, especially Egypt, are once again tackling Palestinian divisions. No matter that inter-Palestinian divisions were fuelled in part by the Arabs, the Palestinians seem pleased to see Arab mediation resumed. Having wagered for decades on the support of the Arab and Islamic masses, Hamas has resigned itself to seek the help of Arab regimes, the Egyptian included, with good ties to Israel and Washington. This change of heart somewhat vindicates Arab regimes, often accused of letting down the Palestinians.
When talking about reconciliation, clarity and frankness are at a premium, as the Saudi foreign minister said. We need to distinguish between dialogue and reconciliation on the one hand and the search for a peaceful settlement on the other. A dialogue that doesn’t lead to national reconciliation is meaningless — just as meaningless as the years of endless negotiations with Israel, of endless talks that did more harm than good to the Palestinians.
Under the current auspices, Palestinian reconciliation is bound to head in a certain direction. Arab countries, most of which having normalised their ties with Israel or intending to do so, cannot possibly suggest a national reconciliation deal that contradicts the terms set by Israel and the US. So let’s recognise this for a fact and stop wasting time in blaming Egypt and the Arabs for what comes next. A reconciliation plan that restores harmony onto the Palestinian scene and keeps bridges open with the outside world has to abide by the terms of the Quartet. And it may need a boost, in the shape of Arab or foreign forces, to keep everyone in line. A few scenarios of reconciliation come to mind.
The Palestinians may agree on national guidelines commensurate with the Oslo Accords, leading to a unified government for both the West Bank and Gaza. Such government has no chance for success unless it plays by the rules of the Quartet — Arab countries wouldn’t have it otherwise. The problem in Palestine is not that Hamas has staged a coup, or that the security services are divided, or that presidential and legislative elections are up in the air. These are only symptoms underlying a deeper malaise; namely, the lack of agreement on what constitutes the feasible terms for reconciliation.
Hamas formed a government following the last legislative elections, and the result was a blockade on Gaza followed by domestic animosity. Then, after the Mecca agreement, a national reconciliation government was formed under Hamas. This too failed because the government wouldn’t deign to play by the Quartet’s rules. We know what hasn’t worked in the past. Yet there is no indication that Hamas is willing to accept the Quartet’s terms. And there is no sign that the Palestinians are going to get a better deal than the Oslo Accords anytime soon. Accepting the Quartet’s terms seems to be a prerequisite for successful reconciliation.
Reconciliation, once it takes place, must lead to a national accord government, one that recognises the weight of Hamas in the recent legislative elections. Such a government would be best run by a non- partisan prime minister, its political programme a document of national reconciliation that spells out those matters left vaguely worded in the past. National reconciliation requires a strong Arab presence and guarantees, so as to avoid acts of retaliation and the settling of accounts, especially in Gaza. The new government should rebuild security services and create the right circumstances for presidential and legislative elections in January 2009. But Hamas may not be willing to accept such reconciliation. Perhaps it prefers to hold on to Gaza while demanding a share in the central government.
The Palestinians may agree on a new political system, one that transcends the conundrums of negotiations and the militancy of resistance factions. Such reconciliation would require both sides to recognise what they have in common. Perhaps Fatah and Hamas would find a way of revising their negotiating tactics without compromising their independent decision-making.
But such reconciliation may lead to a confrontation with Israel, and may even require reconsideration of the very existence of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The Arabs are unlikely to endorse such a course of action. And the web of institutions, relations and interests that the PA has spawned over the years may get in the way.
Alternatively, a national reconciliation maintaining the status quo may evolve. In which case, two separate Palestinian political arrangements may continue to exist until such time when domestic and regional circumstances improve, but with hostility and rivalry replaced by accommodation and cooperation. Hamas and Fatah may recognise their respective control over Gaza and the West Bank and all Palestinian factions may be given freedom of political activity in both Gaza and the West Bank.
This scenario may involve a restructuring of the PLO or the creation of a new political umbrella encompassing all political factions, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad included. The problem of the presidency must be resolved in a way that ensures that the Palestinian people have one president. All Palestinian groups are to support Hamas’s request for open borders with Egypt. Meanwhile, Hamas is to desist from obstructing the efforts of the Ramallah government to pursue negotiations over the West Bank, Jerusalem and final status issues.
The Arabs may fail to find a consensual formula for reconciliation. If proposals for reconciliation fail to obtain Arab backing, or are rejected by Hamas, Egypt may decide to lift the siege on Gaza, albeit gradually and conditionally. Such a move is likely to perpetuate the divisions between Hamas and Fatah rather than resolve them. Egypt, meanwhile, would justify its position on humanitarian grounds.
Hamas is more interested in ending the political blockade and being recognised as a legitimate authority than in terminating the economic and humanitarian siege. The opening of Gaza’s borders would satisfy Hamas and some other parties, but would undermine efforts to bring about Palestinian reconciliation.
Of all the above, the most realistic course for reconciliation is the first one. Success in the first scenario would give the Palestinians a chance to move on to the second scenario should Israel block progress towards a solution. The only way for the Palestinians to cope with the requirements of peace, deal with Israeli practices, and resist international pressures is to have a government of national unity.
A Palestinian state will not spring into life overnight, not even if Hamas agrees instantly to the Quartet’s terms. The Palestinians have to remain united in the face of the occupation and tough peace talks ahead. Their unity is their only defence against those who want to derail negotiations and forget about a final settlement. Their unity would give legitimacy to all forms of resistance within the pre-1967 borders. Hamas may be thinking of scoring points as a political party and an Islamist movement, but that’s all short-term. Hamas should start thinking beyond Rafah. It should start thinking in terms of what’s good for the whole nation.
:: Article nr. 47516 sent on 26-sep-2008 07:18 ECT
:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Uruknet
From Anthony Saidy
(Since Sharon drew the wall, I guess there are now "kosher" settlers inside it, about whom we shall be hearing little in future, and outlaws on other side, which Olmert did nothing to rein in while talking "peace." Two decades ago, when there were half as many, Peres said he could not touch them, as it would cause "civil war among the Jews." But the only casualties of Sharon’s withdrawal from Gaza were gnashed teeth. -AFS)
this is on NYT front page
September 26, 2008
Radical Settlers Take on Israel
By ISABEL KERSHNER
YITZHAR, West Bank A pipe bomb that exploded late on Wednesday night
outside the Jerusalem home of Zeev Sternhell, a Hebrew University
professor, left him lightly wounded and created only a minor stir in a
nation that routinely experiences violence on a much larger scale.
But Mr. Sternhell was noted for his impassioned critiques of Jewish
settlements in the West Bank, once suggesting that Palestinians "would
be wise to concentrate their struggle against the settlements." And
the authorities found fliers near his home offering nearly $300,000 to
anyone who kills a member of Peace Now, a left-wing Israeli advocacy
group, leading them to suspect that militant Israeli settlers or their
supporters were behind the attack.
If so, the bombing may be the latest sign that elements of Israel’s
settler movement are resorting to extremist tactics to protect their
homes in the occupied West Bank against not only Palestinians, but
also Jews who some settlers argue are betraying them. Radical settlers
say they are determined to show that their settlements and outposts
cannot be dismantled, either by law or by force.
There have been bouts of settler violence for years, notably during
the transfer of Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005. Now, though, the
militants seem to have spawned a broader, more defined strategy of
resistance designed to intimidate the state.
This aggressive doctrine, according to Akiva HaCohen, 24, who is
considered to be one of its architects, calls on settlers and their
supporters to respond "whenever, wherever and however" they wish to
any attempt by the Israeli Army or the police to lay a finger on
property in illegally built outposts scheduled by the government for
removal. In settler circles the policy is called "price tag" or
Besides exacting a price for army and police actions, the policy also
encourages settlers to avenge Palestinian acts of violence by taking
the law into their own hands an approach that has the potential to
set the tinderbox of the West Bank ablaze.
Hard-core right-wing settlers have responded to limited army
operations in recent weeks by blocking roads, rioting spontaneously,
throwing stones at Palestinian vehicles and burning Palestinian
orchards and fields all over the West Bank, a territory that Israel
has occupied since 1967. They have also vandalized Israeli Army
positions, equipment and cars.
In Jewish settlements like Yitzhar, an extremist bastion on the
hilltops commanding the Palestinian city of Nablus in the northern
West Bank, a local war is already being waged. One Saturday in
mid-September a Palestinian from the neighboring village of Asira al
Qibliya climbed the hill to Shalhevet, a neighborhood of Yitzhar, set
fire to a house whose occupants were away for the weekend and stabbed
a 9-year-old settler boy, the Israeli Army said.
Hours later, scores of men from Yitzhar rampaged through the
Palestinian village, hurling rocks and firing guns, in what the prime
minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, described as a "pogrom." Several
Palestinians were hospitalized with gunshot wounds.
"The army was complaining that we were bothering them in their efforts
to catch the terrorist," said Ephraim Ben Shochat, 21, a resident of
Shalhevet Ya, an illegal outpost consisting of three permanent houses
and a trailer halfway down the slope between Yitzhar and Asira al Qibliya.
"To us, deterrence is more important than catching the specific
terrorist. We’re fighting against a nation," Mr. Ben Shochat said.
As he spoke, soldiers were in the process of reinforcing a small army
post at the end of the path with concrete slabs. "We would rather
fight and kill the enemy," Mr. Ben Shochat said, adding scornfully
that the army, which guards Yitzhar and its satellites from the
lookout post, "would rather hide."
Ten months ago in Annapolis, Md., Israeli and Palestinian leaders
pledged to make every effort to reach a historic agreement for a
Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza by the end of this year.
The Palestinians further promised to dismantle all terrorist networks,
and the Israelis agreed to freeze all settlement activity and
immediately remove settlement outposts erected since March 2001.
In practice, only a handful of the 100 or so outposts, at least half
of which were erected since 2001, have been removed, and construction
in the official West Bank settlements goes on.
At the same time, the religious, ideological wing of the settlement
movement has grown more radical. Those on the extremist fringe like
Mr. Ben Shochat, who belong to the so-called hilltop youth are
increasingly rejecting any allegiance to the state, backed up by an
older generation of rabbis and early settler pioneers.
In Samaria, the biblical name for the northern West Bank, and in
Binyamin, the central district around the Palestinian city of
Ramallah, settlers recently ousted their more mainstream
representatives in local council elections, voting in what they called
"activist" mayors instead.
These new mayors, like the Samaria council’s Gershon Mesika, reject
what they see as the more compromising policies of the Yesha council,
the settler movement’s longstanding umbrella group. They are
particularly incensed by the Yesha council’s willingness to negotiate
with the government over the removal or relocation of some West Bank
outposts in exchange for official authorization of others.
"We are taking our fate into our own hands," Mr. Mesika said of the
price tag doctrine. "We won’t go like sheep to the slaughter." He
added that the recent settler violence was something he understood,
though did not support.
For many in the religious, ideological settler camp the rude awakening
came with the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in the summer of 2005.
Then, under the premiership of Ariel Sharon, a driving force of the
settlement-building enterprise who turned more pragmatic, Israel
evacuated all 21 Jewish settlements there, and razed four official
settlements in the northern West Bank. Another watershed came in early
2006 when thousands of settlers clashed with Israeli police officers
who had come to destroy nine houses built without government
permission in Amona. Traumatized by the resistance, the government put
plans for further evacuations on hold.
"Amona pretty much divided this public into two parts, the more
militant activist part and the more passive part," said Mr. HaCohen,
an Orthodox hilltop youth pioneer and a founder of Shalhevet Ya. The
people, he said, "have to decide whether they are on the side of the
Torah or the state."
Mr. HaCohen was speaking from a cousin’s house in Jerusalem.
Identified by the Israeli security services as one of the authors of
the price-tag doctrine, he has been banned by the army from entering
the West Bank for four months.
Born in Monsey, N.Y., Mr. HaCohen came to Israel with his parents as a
child. He dropped out of yeshiva, or religious seminary, at 16 and
went to settle the hilltops, he said. He got married at 18 and has
since been living in and around Yitzhar.
Representing the messianic, almost apocalyptic wing of the settler
movement, Mr. HaCohen peppers his speech with talk of redemption and
makes it clear that in his land of Israel, there is no place for Arabs.
Like Mr. Ben Shochat, Mr. HaCohen, who is disarmingly soft-spoken,
said he was not drafted into the army because of his religious
beliefs. As a member of Yitzhar’s first response security team,
though, he receives regular combat training and has a personal weapon.
More than 250,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank among roughly
2.4 million Palestinians, not including East Jerusalem. The Samaria
council represents 30 official settlements and 12 unauthorized
outposts that it says were all founded before 2001; others, like
Shalhevet Ya, have sprung up since then, at least partially on private
Local settler leaders argue that the only difference between an
authorized settlement and an illegal outpost is the lack of the
defense minister’s final signature on the planning papers, and that in
any case, full authorization did not help the settlements razed in 2005.
They complain of government hypocrisy. Rahelim, a Samarian community
of 45 families founded in 1991, has been labeled an illegal outpost
even though the state Housing Ministry built 14 permanent homes here
Avri Ran, a charismatic guru of the hilltop youth, formulated the
concept of the outposts around the time that Israel started
negotiating with the Palestinian leadership in the early 1990s. The
idea was to populate empty spaces of the West Bank with Jews to
preclude their being handed over to the Palestinians.
Mr. Ran and his wife, Sharona, started out in Itamar, a settlement
just south of Nablus, and moved from hilltop to hilltop, finally
establishing a private ranch more than a mile east of the mother
settlement majestically named Givaot Olam, or hills of the universe.
Like many of the settlers in this area who see themselves as guardians
of Joseph’s Tomb, a site sacred to Jews that lies in the heart of
Nablus, the Ran family exudes a deeply religious, almost mystical
attachment to the land.
The farm is said to be the largest Israeli producer of organic eggs.
Mr. Ran’s son-in-law, Assaf Kidron, an artist who works in stone, says
the inclement winds that used to whip around the mountain have dropped
significantly since Jews came to live here, proof of a divine hand.
Outside the settlement of Har Bracha on Mount Grizim, settlers have
taken over a former army lookout post on the ridge overlooking Nablus
and Joseph’s Tomb, and just started operating a yeshiva to ensure a
permanent presence there. Nobody has tried to remove the settlers,
although there is an army position a short distance along the ridge.
In general, the relationship between the religious settlers of the
area and the army is an ambiguous, if symbiotic one. Most young
ideological settlers serve in the army and now make up an increasing
portion of the elite combat units and the officers corps.
At the same time, two soldiers have been lightly wounded in recent
"To go out and assault soldiers is wrong," said David Ha’ivri, who
handles foreign relations for the Samaria council. But, he said, "It
is to be expected that when force is used, there will be counterforce."
The army is appreciated when it sticks to providing security, Mr.
Ha’ivri added, but, "We don’t respect them in the role of enforcing
The army refused to comment on the effects of the price-tag doctrine,
saying it was too sensitive.
A spokesman for the Israeli police, the party responsible for law
enforcement among the settlers, said that in the last two months, at
least half a dozen arrests had been made. __From
Dichter: Prof attack takes us back to days of Rabin assassination – Haaretz – Israel News
w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m
Last update – 01:46 26/09/2008
Dichter: Prof attack takes us back to days of Rabin assassination
By Shahar Ilan and Roni Singer-Heruti, Haaretz Correspondent, and Haaretz Service
Public Security Minister Avi Dichter joined senior political officials on Thursday in condemning a pipe bomb attack on the home of left-wing activist and Haaretz columnist Professor Ze’ev Sternhell, saying that the incident called to mind the days of the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Dichter described the event, which left Sternhell lightly wounded, an "assassination attempt" and a "nationalistic terror attack perpetrated, in all likelihood, by Jews, which pushes our society many years backward."
Speaking at a police ceremony in Netanya, Dichter added that "the pipe bomb that was planted yesterday should be viewed as a bomb meant to kill. The law enforcement authorities will not rest until the terrorists are put where they belong ? in prison."
Police suspect Jewish extremists of having carried out the pipe bomb attack earlier in the day. Sternhell walked out of his home in a quiet Jerusalem neighborhood shortly after midnight to shut a courtyard gate when the bomb went off, lightly wounding him in one of his legs, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said.
"We believe the background is ideological," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
Sternhell, an internationally renowned expert on the history of fascism, was awarded the country’s highest honor, the Israel Prize, earlier this year. The award drew fire from West Bank settlers and their supporters, who unsuccessfully petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court to try to block it.
Sternhell himself spoke from his hospital bed at Jerusalem’s Shaarei Tzedek hospital Thursday evening, warning that "if this act was not committed by a deranged person but by someone who represents a political view, then this is the beginning of the disintegration of democracy."
"The very occurrence of the incident goes to illustrate the fragility of Israeli democracy, and the urgent need to defend it with determination and resolve," he added.
"On the personal level," he went on to say, "if the intent was to terrorize, it has to be very clear that I am not easily intimidated; but the perpetrators tried to hurt not only me, but each and every one of my family members who could have opened the door, and for that there is no absolution and no forgiveness."
Meanwhile Thursday, Kadima leader and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni condemned the attack saying that the incident was "intolerable, and cannot be glossed over."
At a ceremony marking the Rosh Hashanah holiday at the Foreign Ministry, Livni went on to say that "the state of Israel is a lawful state, and moreover, it is populated by a society with values. It is the responsibility of the government and the Israeli society to renounce such phenomena as soon as the rear their heads."
Earlier Thursday, Jerusalem police said they found fliers offering more than NIS 1 million to anyone who kills members of left-wing human rights organization Peace Now at Sternhell’s home following the blast.
Investigators said a number of such pamphlets were found outside the home and in adjacent streets.
In the wake of the attack and the discovery of the fliers, police have beefed up security around the home of Peace Now secretary-general Yariv Oppenheimer.
Senior political figures also expressed outrage at the news of the attack on Sternhell, which has touched a nerve given the country’s sensitive history of politically-oriented violence.
"We are returning to the dark spectacle of pipe bombs that are aimed at people, in this case against a very gifted person who never shies away from expressing his opinion," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.
"We won’t let any elements, from any dark corner of Israeli society, to harass people who let their clear, lucid, unique voices like that of Ze’ev Sternhell be heard," Barak said.
"The attack on Professor Sternhell is a cowardly, terrorist act of those with no sense of justice," the chairman of the Knesset’s internal affairs committee, Labor MK Ophir Pines-Paz, said.
"I call on the police and the Shin Bet security service to make every effort to locate the perpetrators quickly and to make sure that they be put under lock and key for many years."
"They better not talk to us about a few bad weeds," Meretz chairman Haim Oron said. "These phenomena spring up on the right-wing [of the political spectrum]."
"This thuggish and dangerous act is the result of the continuing see-no-evil approach toward the vicious violence against soldiers and police officers and anyone else who doesn’t agree with the brutish section of the extreme right wing," Oron said.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, an activist with a fringe settler group calling itself the National Jewish Front, said Sternhell was an irrelevant figure and that he did not believe settlers were behind the attack. "I don’t denounce this incident, but say categorically that we are not involved," Ben-Gvir said.
Settlers regularly clash with Palestinians and Israeli peace activists in the West Bank, but the use of weapons against political opponents in Israel is uncommon. There have, however, been precedents. A pro-settlement extremist shot and killed Rabin in 1995 as he spearheaded efforts to strike a peace deal with the Palestinians. Another extremist killed a member of Peace Now with a grenade at a 1983 peace protest.
Sternhell frequently writes for Haaretz and was awarded the Israel Prize in political science in February 2008.
Recently, Sternhell has received threatening phone calls. Police assess that the background for the attempt to harm Professor Sternhell is politically motivated. They suspect that right-wing activists carried out the attack in response to his remarks decrying Israeli settlers.
Five months ago, the High Court of Justice deferred a petition by the Legal Forum for the State of Israel against the decision to award the Israel Prize in political science to Sternhell.
The petition condemned Education Minister Yuli Tamir and the judicial committee who awarded Sternhell the prize. Sternhell, the petition claimed, was not deserving of the prize because of his remarks in the media, specifically an article he wrote in Haaretz which justified an attack by Palestinians on settlers.
# Haaretz’s Ze’ev Sternhell wins Israel Prize in political science
# Ari Shavit / Amazing grace
# Zionism’s dying between Hebron and Yitzhar
FAn emergency appeal for support of New Profile
The Refuser Solidarity Network is making an emergency appeal for contributions to support the Israeli group
New Profile. (www.newprofile.org/) New Profile faces two serious immediate challenges. New Profile is an Israeli feminist organization working t de-militarize Israeli society and end the Israel’s Occupation. New Profile supports those who refuse military service for whatever reasons — religious conscience, moral scruples, economic disadvantage, political or ethical.
Two significant challenges in recent weeks have caused unexpected legal expenses for New Profile. The first is an appeal by the Attorney General of Israel to the Israeli High Court to close New Profile. The second challenge is an unprecedented number of young people who are choosing to go to jail rather than serve in the Israeli army. New Profile is in the forefront of providing legal assistance to this new wave of courageous young Israeli resisters. Each case costs approximately $1,400 US. The combination of the Attorney General’s investigation of New Profile and challenge their NP’s status goes hand in hand with a growing number of cases on behalf of young resisters. Both these developments have depleted New Profile’s financial resources.
The Refuser Solidarity Network (www.refusersolidarity.net/) is a US nonprofit that accepts tax deductible contributions to support Israeli organizations supporting Israelis who refuse military service. We strongly encourage you to visit out website and click on the Donate Now button to make a contribution to support New Profile. Be sure to set the "RSN Project" to "New Profile" when you make your donation, so that we can direct the funds to New Profile.
You will find below a message from Rela Mazali of New Profile and also the text of an article in Haaretz on this issue.
Warm regards and many thanks in advance for your support,
The RSN Board of Directors
Israel: A State "War" on Youth
Ratcheting up their campaign against so-called "shirkers", Israeli authorities have declared a new front in their "war" as it is termed by the news item below on Israeli youth.
Growing numbers of young men and women currently find themselves unable or unwilling to accept or trust the worn Israeli dictate: "There’s no other choice". Four generations and over six decades of repeated, unending "military solutions" have engendered an expanding movement of young people who experience and express excruciating inner struggles and rifts in face of the legal duty to serve. Despite the attempt of state courts, both military and civilian, to compartmentalize such processes as either ‘political’, (very rarely) ‘conscientious’, or ‘psychological’, these internal conflicts are both emotional and ideological, combining views, feelings, convictions, ideas, beliefs, questions, personality, life experience and sense-of-self. For some young people, they also involve highly dangerous levels of personal distress and indeed, in recent years, suicide has claimed the lives of more Israeli soldiers than all other causes-of-death combined.
Rather than listening to the voice raised by these future citizens, rather than fathoming the social change it reflects and responding with changed, innovative policies,Israel’s state institutions have chosen to wage a "war" against these youths and the developments they represent. Criminalizing the movement, state authorities will now attempt to seek out illegalities in open and legal resistance work, a move characteristic of a militarized state abusing its power in a bid to keep in place an old, cracking order.
The news item below reports on a criminal investigation now to be conducted into the activities of the "New Profile" movement. Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has, the piece reports, ordered a probe into the actions of this movement, suspected among other things of "convincing [people] to obtain exemptions from service".
I have been an active member of "New Profile" since it was founded ten years ago. We are a feminist group of both women and men that has identified and recognized the existence of the unorganized social movement borne by youth today in Israel. "New Profile" acknowledges the major importance of this movement, responding to the need and rights of the young people involved to open discussion of the pressing questions they face, equipped with full and accurate information about their prospects information with which the authorities are not forthcoming, to put it mildly. This is only one of many ways in which "New Profile" works to change the militarized thinking holding all of the people in Israel/Palestine hostage to the policy of use-of-force, implemented to date by virtually every Israeli government. While "New Profile" activities may enrage some, whether individuals or institutions, they are totally legal.
The short item below, however, written by Amos Harel, with contributions by Yuval Azoulay, is illustrative of the type of militarized justice and slanted exposure that state institutions and media tend to dispense in Israel to dissenting groups. Deputy Attorney General Shai Nitzan, whose letter the item quotes, has apparently upended the legal principle: ‘innocent until proven guilty’. Investigation or none, on dispatching his instructions to conduct a probe he has already determined, "the severity of [New Profile’s] incitement to draft evasion". Parroting rather than scrutinizing the claims of this state official, journalist Amos Harel also has no use for the yet-to-be-held investigation. He proceeds to convict "New Profile" casually, describing it as if he were simply recounting facts as a movement that "encourages draft dodging".
What "New Profile" encourages, in my experience of the movement, is posing, studying and openly discussing unobvious unorthodox questions, taking personal and collective responsibility for some of the answers, learning and creating ways to act on these through the exercise of civil, human and legal rights. I believe that we speak with and for a future that will not be silenced.
w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m