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Friday, August 28

Suicide at brothel highlights the status of sex workers in Israel
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JERUSALEM POST – More than 600 people protested in Tel Aviv following the suicide of a woman who lived and worked at a brothel nearby. The woman’s death and the demonstration, a rare sign of support for sex workers, have brought the legally gray area of prostitution in Israel back into the spotlight.

The woman, who has not been officially identified is believed to have been in her 30s and originally from the former Soviet Union. Activists stated that there are more than 200 brothels operating in the city of Tel Aviv alone.

“Selling or purchasing (sex) is legal – well it’s not illegal – but pimping, running or owning a brothel, (or) advertising the sale of sex” is criminal, Michal Leibel, a lawyer and the director of the Task Force on Human Trafficking and Prostitution, an Israeli NGO, told The Media Line.

The Israeli legal system is based on the idea that if something is not forbidden then it is not illegal. This leaves prostitution “not legalized and not regulated,” with the actual act not a crime but most activity surrounding it illegal, Leibel said. This is a similar position to the law in several European countries, as well as England or Canada, the advocate explained.

Many commentators consider there to be three basic models for dealing with the question of how a legal system views the sex trade. Traditional criminalization has been practiced in much of the West in the past and continues to be the norm for law enforcement agencies in many parts of the world. Critics argue that among other problems this unfairly criminalizes the sex workers themselves, pushing them underground and leaving them open to abuse from pimps and customers.

Some countries, most notably Germany and the Netherlands, have taken the opposite approach, deciding that the protection of sex workers is better achieved by allowing them to operate legally. Such policies have led to Amsterdam’s famous Red Light District, where scantily-clad prostitutes stand in windows surrounded by red lightbulbs to offer their wares to customers.

A third option, a compromise of the previous two, is known as the Nordic or Swedish model, and involves legalizing the sale but not the buying of sex. By tackling demand it is hoped that supply will also be reduced. It is this method that the Israeli Task Force on Human Trafficking and Prostitution is advocating. The organization is pushing for the implementation of a change to the law which would allow police to charge an individual found buying or attempting to purchase sex. Several members of the Knesset from across the political spectrum have expressed support for such reforms, including Zehava Gal-On from the dovish Meretz party, and Shuli Moalem Refaeli from the hawkish Bayit Yehudi party, Leibel said.

Legalization has been shown to increase demand for prostitution, as the trade becomes legal and therefore no longer taboo. It also fails in its attempts to improve the lives of sex workers, Leibel argued. Additionally the sale of a person’s body is “degrading (to) human dignity,” she added. Violence and sexual attacks towards prostitutes, and women as a whole across society, may increase in a culture where women can be purchased freely.

“Treating women as a consumer product for sexual consumption embodies the message that it is possible to purchase women (like) any other product. This… reinforces and even increases the inferior status of women,” MK Zehava Gal-On, the chairperson for the Knesset Subcommittee on Trafficking in Women and Prostitution said. But it is unclear how precisely sex work and human trafficking, and other forms of violence against women, are linked.

“Today very few of the women are trafficked… most of (those) in prostitution in Israel are local,” Tali Koral, CEO of Machon Todaa, an awareness center for combating prostitution, told The Media Line. “Israel combated trafficking in women in the early years of the 2000s and did good work on this matter,” Koral explained.  She argued that prostitution was a crime against humanity and as such should never be legalized but other commentators, pointing to a perceived differentiation between sex work and violence against women, have suggested alternative policies.

Such advocates, among them a number of academics and sex workers’ rights organizations, state that traditional feminist arguments against legalization of prostitution completely exclude sex workers’ voices from the debate.

“Many people conflate human trafficking for sexual exploitation with prostitution or, as I would rather call it, with “sex work” (paid sexual or sexualized encounters among consenting adults of all genders),” Sonja Dolinsek, a blogger who focuses on sex workers’ rights wrote in an article for the Council of Europe. By interfering in private consenting sexual encounters between adults the state jeopardizes sex workers’ rights and security, Dolinsek said.

The Nordic model, it has been argued, can have a similar impact on sex workers safety as criminalization. If clients are driven underground by the law then prostitutes servicing them will also have to go out of sight, placing them in danger. A safer model for governments to follow, Dolinsek suggested, is a fourth option known as the Merseyside model.

Following the death of a female sex worker in 2006 the police service in Liverpool, England, implemented a shift in policy by which any crimes committed against a prostitute in the course of her job would be considered as hate-crimes. Accordingly punishments for such crimes would be far harsher, similar to sentencing for crimes motivated by racism or homophobia. Advocates of this policy suggest that sex workers are victims of rape and violence far more commonly that the rest of society, not because they are women, but because they are sex workers – and the law should therefore reflect this.

Since the implementation of the Merseyside model the police force in Liverpool have reported dramatic rises in the conviction rates of attacks against sex workers.



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We are at a critical moment for Palestine Your Support is needed now more then ever!
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We really need your support!


Window into Palestine is a consolidated source for all the news and opinions regarding Palestine & Israel.

It has been a very hard month of trying to get our projects off the ground with videos, still working on publishing a book in regards to this site (with a new domain name coming soon) and more.

We need your thoughts and views about Window into Palestine as well any ideas to help make this better. We have serious debt that we have assumed with our operations here trying to launch projects as well as trying to update and clean up this blog, as well get a new design - we thank those that have have made financial contributions in August and we hope we can can secure enough funds to pay down our debt.

Thanks to everyone for sharing the postings and for your feedback we look forward to more.

Please help with any contribution big or small! 

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Palestinians, Vatican Seek to Raise Flags at UN Before Pope Visit to U.S.
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Supports are betting that the U.S. and other Israel allies won’t block the Palestinian resolution and risk offending the Holy See.

Ha’aretz

AP – In a move likely to upset Israel’s government, the Palestinians and the Vatican are seeking to raise their flags at UN headquarters — just in time for Pope Francis’ visit next month.

Supporters of the idea hope the UN General Assembly will adopt a resolution on the flag-raising shortly before the pope arrives. They’re betting that the United States or other allies of Israel will not block the plan and risk offending the Holy See on Francis’ first U.S. visit.

The Palestinians’ proposal has been tabled, and a draft of the resolution set to be made public Wednesday has been seen by The Associated Press. It would allow non-member observer states — there are only two — to display their flags with the 193 member states.

The United States and Israel oppose recognizing the Palestinian state, arguing that it undermines efforts to negotiate a peace agreement. That process, however, has largely been at a standstill since the deadly conflict in Gaza a year ago.

Many states have shown support for the Palestinians’ pursuit of statehood, including the Holy See.

In May, the Vatican officially recognized the state of Palestine in their first formal, bilateral treaty. Israel’s foreign ministry said it was “disappointed.” During Francis’ 2014 visit to the Holy Land, the Vatican’s official program referred to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as the president of the “state of Palestine.”

In 2012, the Vatican welcomed an overwhelming vote in the General Assembly to upgrade the Palestinians’ status to a UN non-member observer state. Their delegation promptly unfurled the flag in the chamber.

The pope has not been shy about ambitious diplomacy. He helped bring the United States and Cuba together for their historic reestablishment of diplomatic ties. Last year, he invited the Israeli and Palestinian presidents for a day of peace prayers at the Vatican.

Most countries in Western Europe have held off on recognizing a Palestinian state, but some have hinted that their position could change if peace efforts remain deadlocked. Most countries in Africa, Asia and South America have recognized Palestine.

Francis is scheduled to address the General Assembly on September 25, opening a gathering of world leaders to launch a set of development goals aimed at ending both poverty and hunger over the next 15 years.

More than 100 heads of state and government are expected at the gathering, which leads into the annual UN General Assembly of world leaders the following week. President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are scheduled to speak on the first morning.


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Who Controls Canadian Elections - Canadian People Or The Israeli Lobby Or Israel Itself?
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New Democratic Party purges candidates over pro-Palestine positions in lead up to Canadian elections 


Canadian governments have a long history of complicity in Palestinian dispossession. As early as 1947, Lester B. Pearson, then Under Secretary of State for External Affairs and future Canadian Prime Minister, played a key role in drafting and passing the United Nations Partition Plan, so much so that Zionist groups dubbed him the “Balfour of Canada”.
Successive governments have carried on this tradition of one-sided support, although often under the pretense of “peacekeeping” and being a “honest broker”. Fast forward to the last decade, which has brought the Conservative government into power under PM Stephen Harper, famous for such comments as “Through Fire and Water, Canada will Stand with You” made during his speech to the Israeli Knesset in January, 2014. Harper has crafted a policy of zero tolerance for everything Palestinian, from BDS to funding for UNRWA, and also upped the ante by trying to make any criticism of Israeli policies “illegal”. Recent examples are the January 18, 2015 Memorandum of Understanding between Canada and Israel that committed to develop  “a coordinated, public diplomacy initiative both bilaterally and in international and multilateral fora to oppose boycotts of Israel, its institutions, and its people within three to six months” and the announcement just last month of the “expansion and modernization” of the Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement. Unfortunately, the other two main national parties, the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Liberals, are in a frantic race to see who can reach the bottom line first. All three major parties are currently on record as denouncing BDS, condemning Israeli Apartheid week on university campuses and attempting to stifle debate on this issue.
And now, enter the Canadian federal election campaign. Although certainly short by U.S. standards, it still has another 2 months to go and is becoming increasingly nasty. Palestinian activists are either bullied and targeted by our known adversaries or betrayed by our “friends” and told we’re not even allowed to raise our voices. And the pervasive and bludgeoning reach of the Zionist lobby seems to have reached new heights (or lows). The latest round of the brouhaha was instigated by the NDP leadership (who might form the next government) with the purge of several candidates mildly sympathetic to Palestinian rights. The resulting dissent put them in damage control mode, especially since many supporters of the Palestinian people have also historically been involved in some way with the NDP which paints itself as the “party of change”. (Several people were even deleted from various Facebook groups, including Rabble, for refusing to drop the challenges on this issue.) In the past, some high profile veteran MPs from the NDP had a proud history of supporting Palestinian rights; sadly, no longer.
But the issues of censorship and the need to hear the Palestinian voice have refused to go away. On August 20, the Ontario Civil Liberties Association issued a strongly-worded letter defending the freedom of speech of two of the ex-candidates and noting that what one of them said was common parlance in Israel’s mainstream media and included some terminology even used by former Israeli PM Ben-Gurion. The letter went on to state – “The NDP’s stance in barring any criticism of Israel is undemocratic and wrong. Morgan Wheeldon and Jerry Natanine were not breaking confidence with a democratically-determined party policy platform, or engaged in any such mutiny. They have uttered words critical of Israel, in contexts of democratic discourse. Your actions are incompatible with your claim of seeking a balanced approach. A balanced, informed, and tested approach cannot be found by suppressing free expression among potential and actual law makers.”
Of course Palestine is not the only issue in this national election, and Palestinian and Arab Canadians (contrary to some perceptions) are just like everyone else – parents, workers, seniors, disabled etc. with a myriad of concerns . But for supporters of Palestinian rights, the dilemma here is huge. The Zionist lobby are allowed to be “one issue” and have unlimited resources and time to check candidates’ social media accounts going back many years, making any support for Palestine a “red line” issue. And to ask Palestinian-Canadians and their supporters to vote for any party that is clearly complicit in the trampling of human rights, with the faint hope that after the election things will improve, simply will not cut it. Especially not with the current NDP leader, Thomas Mulcair, who proudly pronounced himself an “ardent supporter of Israel”, even before being elected party leader. Does criticizing the NDP (or considering voting for another party, say the Greens) mean you’re supporting Stephen Harper or you don’t want change? Of course not! And frankly, it is arrogant and insulting to everyone’s intelligence to use such fear-mongering tactics.
Palestinians will not be silenced and after 67 years of dispossession they no longer believe in hollow promises. So if the NDP leadership wants to own up and say they’ve thrown the Palestinians under the bus as have the other two major Canadian political parties, then be honest and do so. And engage in that debate as to why Palestinian rights (and even any discussion of them) are expendable and be judged accordingly. All three major federal parties in Canada need to be sent a loud and clear message that Palestinians and their supporters will not be censored and Palestinian rights will not be trampled on so easily. We must all show that there is zero tolerance for hypocrisy and complicity with Israeli war crimes!

Mondoweiss.net
Marion Kawas 


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The Illusion of Unconditional American Support
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Netanyahu believed that he could turn his back on liberal values of Democratic America and still win its automatic support; his dramatic defeat over the Iran deal is a wake-up call.

Ha’aretz

WASHINGTON — For many weeks now, the political arena has been focusing on Chuck Schumer. Both U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were doing all they could to lobby New York’s senior (Jewish) senator to adopt their positions on the Iran nuclear deal. Both the White House and the Prime Minister’s Office assumed that Schumer’s vote would be a decisive one. It was presumed that whichever way Schumer went, dozens of Democratic members of Congress would follow.

And indeed, two weeks ago Schumer decided. He capitulated to the indirect and sophisticated pressures exerted on him by the Israeli prime minister and came out against the position of the president of the United States.

But to everyone’s great surprise, there was no ensuing “Schumer effect.” Contrary to expectations, masses of Democrats did not stream after the man who is meant to be the future leader of the Senate’s Democrats. On the contrary; one after the other, even hawkish Democrats and Jewish Democrats have been siding with the White House.

Why? Because over the past six years the Israeli government has insisted on turning Israel into another red (Republican) state. Because Netanyahu and his patron, Sheldon Adelson, have forged a dangerous link between Zionist issues and conservatism. Because at the moment of truth, Israel-loving Democrats who feel battered by Israel’s policies (occupation, settlement, exclusion of women and discrimination against minorities) were not prepared to put their political futures at risk for Israel. After Jerusalem turned its back on the liberal values of Democratic America, Democratic America decided to turn its back on Israel’s existential anxiety.

Let’s go back for a minute. Let’s assume that in the spring of 2009, Netanyahu saw the Iranian challenge more clearly than any other world leader. Let’s assume for a moment that Netanyahu at the time was a rational strategist who really believed that all threats to Israel began and ended with Iran. Such a strategist ought to have known that the fate of this existential campaign would be decided by an American president committed to peace and human rights. That same strategist ought to have understood that the fulcrum of such a campaign would be the American Jewish community, most of which is also committed to peace and human rights.

Accordingly, Netanyahu should have understood — if only as a cold calculation made by a farsighted chess player — that it was incumbent upon him to pursue peace, respect human rights and capture the hearts of the new, open and progressive America.

But Netanyahu did exactly the opposite. He believed that he could get away with everything; that he could build settlements, give in to all the religious parties’ demands and still win the automatic support of both Jewish and non-Jewish Democrats. That he could embrace Adelson, insult Obama and still expect Washington to support him.

This was a mistake. Now, at the moment of truth, Washington is simply exhausted by Netanyahu. Even when he’s telling the truth — and Netanyahu is right about many aspects of the Iranian issue — Washington isn’t listening to him. The disgust that many feel for the Israel of Danny Danon is blinding them to the danger posed by Hassan Rohani’s Iran.

The writing is on the wall, in really big print. If Israel seeks life, it’s going to have to redefine itself. If Israel wants a true alliance with the American democracy, it’s going to have to prove that it is truly a democracy. The era of using unconditional American support and unlimited American money to realize the vision of Gush Emunim is over. Gone must be the illusion that America will always be with us, even when our values conflict with its values.

Life on the wrong side of history is getting dangerous. Netanyahu’s dramatic defeat in Washington is a wake-up call.



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Petition to End Gaza Blockade Signed by Over 500,000 in One Day
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Online petition, launched by online activist group Avaaz and backed by some 30 other groups, calls on world leaders to pressure Israel into lifting restrictions on building materials.

Ha’aretz

An online petition urging world leaders to pressure Israel to lift its blockade over the Gaza strip has garnered over 500,000 signatures in one day.

The petition, launched on Wednesday by the online activist group Avaaz and supported by 30 other groups, including Oxfam and ActionAid, calls for an immediate removal of construction material from the list of items restricted from entering the Strip.

The petitions notes that world leaders have pledged $3.5 billion for the reconstruction of the Strip, devastated by the war with Israel in the summer of 2014, but accused Israel of causing “incalculable delays” by restricting building materials’ entry into the Strip.

“Not one of the 19,000 homes destroyed in Gaza has been rebuilt in the last year. As concerned citizens, we urge you to take action to press for an end to these restrictions now,” the petition reads.

The petition is addressed to UN Special Coordinator Mladenov, U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British PM David Cameron, Qatar’s Sheikh Al Thani, EU FM Federica Mogherini, “and all other world leaders.”

According to Al Jazeera, the petition’s organizers hope it would gain 1.8 million signatures, representing the population of the Strip.

The blockade on the Strip, also enforced by Egypt, has been in place since the Islamic militant group Hamas seized Gaza in 2007.

Israel and Egypt say they need to maintain the closure because Hamas, shunned by much of the world as a terror group, poses a security threat. Israel has fought three wars with Hamas in the past six years, in part to try to halt Gaza rocket fire on Israeli towns.

The 2014 war was the most devastating for Gaza’s 1.8 million people, killing more than 2,200 Palestinians, a majority of them civilians, according to UN figures. Seventy-two people were killed on the Israeli side, including 66 soldiers.

According to reports, about 19,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged in Gaza, while another 134,000 suffered some damage but are fit to live in. About 100,000 people are still displaced, living in UN schools, tents pitched on rubble or rented apartments and storefronts.

In October, donor countries and international organizations pledged $3.5 billion for Gaza. As of April, only $945 million, or 26.8 percent, has been released, a report by the Association of International Development Agencies said.


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Volunteer at PMNH and more
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The “leadership” of the Palestinian authority continues down the same failed path of cronyism, poor action towards liberation, self-aggrandizement, self- enrichment and ignorance of the peoples’ future or wishes. Hence this keeps people energies locked up and millions of Palestinians who could be recruited to give and serve Palestine get a good excuse not to act. But most people continue to survive and even do amazing good deeds despite their “leaders” and their circumstances. Classes resumed at the universities and schools in the occupied territories. It is nice now to hear the national anthem in schools as I drink my morning coffee. People try to adapt and make the best out of a horrible complicated situation under Israeli colonialism and apartheid. Homes are still being demolished, movement restricted, religious and civil liberties regularly violated, political prisoners held without trial and in bad conditions, etc. But we continue to exist, continue to resist. Last Sunday for example we removed gates installed by the occupation authority to prevent access to land in Beit Jala. Our students continue to try to learn and improve themselves under very difficult circumstances (no jobs after graduation, no income of family to help them pay tuition etc).. We continue to do research and clinical services in our laboratories and the natural history museum and botanical garden at Bethlehem University. I sent two of our bright students to Jordan where they learned more about insects and research. We have plans for a major conference on innovation and excellence (I am a member of the higher council for innovation and excellence, see http://www.hcie.ps). I am planning a trip to Rhodes (Greece), to Indonesia, and to Washington DC in October to speak about the Palestinian cause and about our university and build partnerships.

Join us for two events to protest Zionist theft and destruction of Palestinian lands:
Saturday 10 AM in front of Beit Al-Baraka along the road to Hebron (near Arroub Refugee camp)
Sunday 11 AM Area of Bir Oneh in Beit Jala where ancient trees have been uprooted/destroyed
and here are pother ways to act where you are http://qumsiyeh.org/whatyoucando/


Volunteer: We have many volunteer opportunities at the botanical garden and the Palestine Museum of Natural History that will enhance your skills and allow you to be part of a team that is dynamic and energetic and making a difference locally and globally. Our motto is respect (for one self, for fellow human beings, and for the environment). Opportunities to volunteer exist in these areas: Data collection (plants, animals, geology, human history etc), clerical, botanical garden, education (school children from kindergarten to adult), information technology, media, fundraising, bee keeping, exhibit design, and more. Email us at info@palestinenature.org

Haidar Eid: The songs are dedicated to the courage and resistance of the Palestinian people on the journey to justice and freedom. All proceeds from sales of the song will be donated towards the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
https://electronicintifada.net/content/gaza-blues-hymns-love-death-and-resistance/14801

Newly released documents show US attempts to halt Israeli nuclear weapons program
Gov't papers dating from 1969-72 reveal American discussions about how to convince Israel to abandon pursuit of atomic weapons and to sign the non-proliferation treaty
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4692208,00.html
[note: The major US Jewish organizations still lobby for a war on Iran for Apartheid Israel while claiming to represent Jews and Judaism]

Tear Drop “A Gift From the People of Russia to the USA”. Why were we not told about Tear Drop?
http://gmmuk.com/tear-drop-a-gift-from-the-people-of-russia-to-the-usa-why-were-we-not-told-about-tear-drop/

White House Middle East policy adviser, Gwenyth Todd on how Washington operates under Israeli occupation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLhbXaF5yec

Mazin Qumsiyeh
Professor and Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Bethlehem University
Occupied Palestine
http://qumsiyeh.org
http://palestinenature.org


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Stories of 556 Children Killed in Gaza in the Summer of 2014
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Al Mezan and MAP Petition and Video: Stories of 556 Children Killed in Gaza in the Summer of 2014

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights have recorded the stories of the lives of the 556 children killed during Israel’s summer 2014 assault. For some of these children, there is no photograph. In these cases either the entire family has been killed, or all of their possessions destroyed in the attacks, leaving no remaining images of their child.

Though the conflict has ended, many threats to Gaza’s children remain. The illegal blockade prevents construction materials getting in, meaning that reconstruction has barely begun a year later, and tens of thousands remain homeless. Many vital medicines are at zero-stock levels, chronic malnutrition blights many young lives, and hospitals and clinics remain in rubble.

The film can be accessed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCXTnSYm6Os
The petition that is linked at the end of the film can be accessed at: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/gaza_blockade_loc/?slideshow.

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WHY WE SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT CHRISTIAN ZIONISM
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Christian’s United For Peace:

This is a letter from a Palestinian Christian to the news director and lead 
anchor of EWTN News, the news division of the Eternal Word 
Television Network, a Catholic broadcast network with Zionist leanings.
Dear Raymond Arroyo,
I was watching your world over
 segment last night on EWTN and I had
 some concerns. My name is Mary. I’m a conservative Catholic from 
Bethlehem, Palestine.
I know you didn’t think we existed – 
don’t worry ` you’re not the only one.
Besides, Israel propaganda does
 a great job making sure people think 
Palestinians only consist of mean crazy Muslims fighting the innocent
 virtuous God chosen people.
I couldn’t help but notice
 you were one of them, 
which struck me as very odd considering you work 
for a religious channel 
not political, and even if you yourself had your biases
 it should not be portrayed
 on your show.
Let me clarify some things if 
I may, sir. I have three cousins that 
are priests an uncle who is a Bishop
 look them up Bishop William 
Shomali, Fr. Ibrahim Shomali and Fr.
 Issa Shomali.
My mother lived in Rome for ten years,
 she almost got ordained to become a
 nun.
Yes we are pretty conservative and we are proud of our faith. Growing up 
in occupied Palestine just made our faith even stronger.
Watching on a daily basis Israeli jeeps with huge rifles sticking out from the 
back of the jeep threatening to shoot us at any moment just because we
 happened to live on the wrong side of town.
On the way to my St Joseph all-girls Catholic school I saw them
 making dirty comments, staring me in the face, mocking me.
I saw them shoot little children because they threw rocks at them,
 and sometimes for absolutely no reason.
In my peaceful town of Beit Sahour, mostly Christians, the first boy
 to get killed by Israelis was 16 years old.
He was walking home from the store when Israeli soldiers dropped a huge
 rock on his head from the top of a building and watched him crawl home
 bleeding until he died at the front steps of his home. He was Christian, 
he did nothing to them.
Yet you don’t feel any sympathy for him. The second boy was at home
 in the kitchen watching his mom making fries.
An Israeli settler — you know, those guys who built a home illegally on 
Palestinian land and are armed — shot him through the window and killed 
him in front of his mom.
His name was Salam, it means peace. He was a Christian, not involved in
 anything. Yet you wouldn’t feel any sympathy for him because he’s not Jewish.
I can go on and on and on about how Israel was created, the wars literally
 kicking people out of their homes and moving in them, the massacres.
The times when they would put the whole town on house arrest, which
 means we can’t leave the home or look out the window. It would take
 weeks sometimes.
We are Christians and yet you wouldn’t feel any sympathy for us. 
When they would set us free they would shout in the microphone in their
 jeeps “home arrest is off you dogs and cows and donkeys”. And yet
 it’s all justified.
One time a Christian nurse from my home town took home a young 
boy who was wounded by Israeli soldiers. He was involved in a protest
 against occupation and must have thrown a rock at one of the jeeps 
(oh the horror!)
The soldiers went to her home, and arrested and imprisoned her for
 years for treating a wounded boy; how dare she!!
And when the town had many protests to free her they released her to
 Jordan and she was never allowed back to her home. And yet we are 
the terrorists and you have no sympathy for us.
My ancestors come from that land back in the days when people lived 
in caves even.
What if we are the original Christians that followed Jesus 2000 years ago
 — wouldn’t we have the same right to live there in dignity and yet we have none.
And you don’t care. We will continue to carry the cross proudly on our 
shoulder and suffer, we will continue to pray for our enemy and for peace.
We will not hate, we will only tell the truth. This is what our Bible teaches;
you should try doing the same. Peace be with you my friend.
Love, Mary Alshomaly from the Holy Land of Jesus

Follow Christian’s United For Peace 

Facebook page to learn more about Zionism.



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Thursday, August 27

EU delegation visits area threatened with annexation in Beit Jala
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BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A delegation of European Union diplomats on Tuesday visited the Christian majority village of Beit Jala near Bethlehem to assess recent Israeli efforts to go ahead with a segment of the separation wall that would cut through the village's territory.
The 15-member delegation, which included representatives of France, Germany, and Sweden, among others, was updated on recent developments by the Society of St. Yves Catholic Center for Human Rights.
The diplomats visited an area of the village known as Bir Onah, which together with the adjacent Cremisan Valley, would see its land cut off if the Israeli separation wall goes ahead.
The Society of St. Yves, which is representing a nun's convent in Cremisan, told the delegation that that the Israeli army had refused to abide by a petition they submitted to the Israeli Supreme Court on July 30.
The petition asked the court to order the Israeli Ministry of Defense to reveal its planned route for the separation wall through Beit Jala, and not to allow the army to build the wall until the plan has been presented.
Xavier Abu Eid, consultant at the PLO's negotiations support unit, thanked the EU delegation for their support and for their interest and follow-up on the cause. He called on the diplomats to hold Israel accountable for violations of international law.
Local Christian landowners also presented testimonies to the EU diplomats. They said that Israel's plans would cut them off from their land, damaging their main source of income.
They said that this could ultimately force them to emigrate and "cleanse" the area of its Christian residents.
They called on the delegation to exert pressure on Israel to stop the construction of the wall in the area.
The EU representatives did not make an official statement and were only there to assess the situation, the Society of St. Yves told Ma'an.
However, the EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah last week said they were "concerned" about the beginning of construction work in Cremisan, noting that it will directly affect the livelihoods of 58 families.
There has been fierce opposition from the local Palestinian community to Israel's plans to build the separation wall through Beit Jala and the town's Cremisan Valley.
The case garnered special attention when the wall was slated to separate the Cremisan monastery from the neighboring convent and vineyards.
It would have also separated Palestinians in the nearby Christian village of Beit Jala from their olive groves.
Israel's High Court ruled in April that the work must stop and told the government to consider alternative routes.
However, in July the court reversed the decision, ruling that the previous ban referred only to an area of a few hundred meters alongside the monastery.
Last Monday, Israeli bulldozers began to uproot olive trees east of the convent and monastery.
Israel began building the separation wall with concrete walls, fences and barbed-wire inside the occupied West Bank in 2002 at the height of the second Palestinian Intifada, claiming the barrier was crucial for security.
The International Court of Justice ruled in 2004 that construction of the barrier was illegal and, along with the UN General Assembly, demanded that it be dismantled.
When complete, the 85 percent of it will have been built inside the West Bank, and will have effectively annexed around 13 percent of the West Bank, according to the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem.


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Tuesday, August 25

Israel unleashes its diplomatic thug on the United Nations
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By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth
The appointment by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of one of his most hawkish and outspoken rivals as Israel’s new ambassador to the United Nations has prompted widespread consternation.
As one Israeli analyst noted last week, Danny Danon’s appointment amounts to a “cruel joke” on the international community. The new envoy “lacks even the slightest level of finesse and subtlety required of a senior diplomat”.
Last year Netanyahu sacked Danon as deputy defence minister, describing him as too “irresponsible” even by the standards of Israel’s usually anarchic politics. Danon had denounced the prime minister for “leftist feebleness” in his handling of Israel’s attack on Gaza last summer.
The new envoy “lacks even the slightest level of finesse and subtlety required of a senior diplomat” (Israeli analyst).
Danon is a UN official’s worst nightmare. He is a vocal opponent of a two-state solution and has repeatedly called for the annexation of the West Bank.
Back in 2011, days before the UN General Assembly was due to vote on Palestinian statehood, Danon dismissed the forum as irrelevant: “Even if there will be a vote [in favour], it will be a Facebook state.”
On the face of it, Netanyahu’s timing could not be worse. Danon is to represent Israel as the Palestinians are expected to step up efforts at the UN to entrench recognition of their statehood. He will also be a leading spokesman as Israel tries to fend off war crimes investigations at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
The generally accepted explanation is that Netanyahu’s move is driven by domestic, not diplomatic, calculations. Danon is the Israeli right’s poster boy, one who makes the prime minister look too cautious and conciliatory.
The two faced off for the Likud party leadership last November. Danon lost but Netanyahu doubtless fears, as his party and the Israeli public shift ever rightwards, that his rival’s time is coming.
The posting removes Danon as head of the Likud’s powerful central committee, dispatches him to a distant land, and should provide him with opportunities aplenty to self-harm.
It is hard nowadays to recall that Israel once took the UN very seriously indeed.
But that is not the whole story. Danon’s appointment reveals something more significant about Israel’s deteriorating relations even with its international supporters.
It is hard nowadays to recall that Israel once took the UN very seriously indeed. It had to.
In the decade following 1948, Abba Eban, the country’s foremost diplomat, sought to carve out international recognition and respectability for Israel at the UN.
Eban often used deceit and misdirection – he is reported to have avowed that “diplomats go abroad to lie for their country”. But he never forgot the importance of creating a fa├žade of moral justification for Israel’s actions, even as it launched wars of aggression in 1956 at Suez and again against Egypt, Syria and Jordan in 1967.
Reality caught up with Israel when the UN adopted a resolution in 1975 equating Israel’s official ideology, Zionism, with racism. The resolution was only revoked 16 years later, after the Soviet Union collapsed and the United States emerged as the world’s sole superpower.
Washington arm-twisted the General Assembly with promises that Israel would engage in a peace process with the Palestinians, culminating a short time later in the Oslo Accords.
But as Oslo slowly unravelled, and Israel’s leaders – not least Netanyahu himself – were exposed as the true rejectionists, Israel was forced on to the back foot again.
Today, the consensus in Israel is not only that the UN is a bastion of anti-Israel prejudice but that it is an incubator of global anti-Semitism, much of it supposedly spawned by Arab states. Israel is blameless, so this story goes, but the world has fallen under the haters’ spell.
The parting shot of Danon’s predecessor, Ron Prosor, last week was to accuse yet again a leading UN official, Jordan’s Rima Khalaf, of anti-Semitism for pointing out the untold misery caused by Israel’s near-decade blockade of Gaza.
Danon’s posting is part of a discernible pattern of recent appointments by Netanyahu that reflect a growing refusal to engage in any kind of recognisable diplomacy. Confrontation is preferred.
Earlier this year, after stepping down as Israel’s ambassador to the US, Michael Oren went further, arguing that the plague of anti-Semitism had infected even America’s leading Jewish journalists. Their critical coverage of Israel was proof of self-hatred, he claimed.
The need for such desperate diplomacy has grown as Israel’s moral image has tarnished, even for its allies. But the hectoring and intimidation by seasoned diplomats like Prosor and Oren has produced diminishing returns.
Danon’s posting is part of a discernible pattern of recent appointments by Netanyahu that reflect a growing refusal to engage in any kind of recognisable diplomacy. Confrontation is preferred.
The trend started with Netanyahu’s decision in 2009 to let the thuggish Avigdor Lieberman lead the Foreign Ministry and Israel’s diplomatic corps.
Notably, Netanyahu picked Ron Dermer, a high-profile partisan of the US Republican Party, to replace Oren in 2013. Dermer is widely credited with engineering Netanyahu’s provocative address earlier this year to the US Congress, in an undisguised effort to undermine President Barack Obama’s talks with Iran.
Danon’s appointment, like Dermer’s, indicates the extent to which the Israeli right has abandoned any hope of persuading the international community of the rightness of its cause – or even of working within the rules of statecraft.
Just as Dermer has turned Obama’s White House into a diplomatic battlefield, Danon can be expected to barrack, abuse and alienate fellow ambassadors at the UN in New York.
An Israel that has no place for negotiations or compromise wants only to tell the world that it is wrong and that Israelis don’t care what others think. Danon is the right man for that task.

A version of this article first appeared in The National, Abu Dhabi. The version here is published by permission of Jonathan Cook.
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