Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Palestinian culture, art & resistance in Israel: Le Mur a Des Oreilles interview with Palestinian actor, Saleh Bakri

Dear friends,
A wonderful interview with my friend Palestinian actor, Saleh Bakri, which wsa conducted earlier this month by Frank Barat from Le Mur a Des Oreilles, a monthly radio show on and for Palestine. Les Mur a Des Oreilles, on Radio Panik in Belguim, hosts a range of interviews with artists, academics, activists and others who share their experiences in the struggle for Palestinians’ rights.
 In the interview Saleh discusses the intersection between cultural, art and politics, including his career as an actor, his rejection of Israeli and Zionists attempts to appropriate both him and his work in order to white wash Israel's occupation and apartheid policies and what it means to be a Palestinian living inside the Zionist state.

Saleh also discusses the documentary Jenin Jenin about Israel's 2002 invasion of Jenin refugee camp which was made by his father - Palestinian actor and director Mohammed Bakri - and the attacks on his father by the Israeli state and military for making the film exposing Israel's warcrimes and the 10 year campaign to censor and discredit the documentary.

The interview is audio only and in english. It goes for 30 minutes and is well worth listening too!
To check out the original upload of the interview at Le Mur a Des Oreilles and listen to other of their programs and interviews, you can visit the show's website here.
Hebrew to English translation of Gideon Levy article on Saleh and Mohammed Bakri 
I have also included along with the audio of the interview with Frank Barat, a translation of Gideon Levy's article on Saleh and Mohammed Bakri which appeared in Haaretz.  Unfortunately, the article only appeared in Hebrew, but my friend Sol Salbe has kindly translated it and made it available for people.  Please see it in full below.

in solidarity,
Exclusive Interview with Saleh Bakri: 
 Le Mur a Des Oreilles with Frank Barat, 19 October 2013
Bakri, Bakri 

by Gideon Levy : Haaretz (Hebrew edition): 24 October 2013
English translation by Sol Salbe

We love our "Israeli Arabs" in flat bread, whether in the smaller thicker pita or the larger, thinner Druze/Lebanese lafa. For us it's hummus at  Abu-Shukri ( "the genuine article" ), Koftas at Diana's and kebabs at Al Barbour - that's the way we love them. That's how we fancied  Muhammad Bakri when he played a leading role in Beyond the Walls. He was awarded the David's Violin prize for it. That's also how we loved his son Saleh: when he starred in the Band's Visit. For that role he won an Ophir Prize - the Israeli equivalent of the Oscars. That's the way we love ourselves as well: Look at us, so enlightened, so egalitarian. Arab actors are beautifully successful in the only democracy. Why, we even broadcast Arab Labour --  which pokes fun at Jewish-Arab relations in this country -- on prime time. How liberal is that?

But look, look at what happens when those "good Arabs" step outside the hummus-chips-salad boundaries that we've designated for them --  they immediately become the enemies of the people. It was like that with Muhammad, and same again with Saleh. Their story stretches far beyond the boundaries of their village, Ba'ana, it extends even beyond their roles in the Israeli theatre and cinema. The Bakri Saga is the story of the Israelis' attitude to the Palestinian citizens of the state.

The slanders against Muhammad Bakri began immediately after several members of his extended family were suspected of involvement in deadly Mount Meron terrorist attack, for which two of them were convicted. Bakri the elder became a marked man. Then came Jenin, Jenin oh, Jenin, Jenin, and he was sentenced to the vilest form of character assassination and to a life of ostracism and persecution. All Israeli propaganda films, whether overt or covert, are all based on pure  unadulterated truth, and only the Jenin, Jenin is a lie that need to haunted to death. No war crimes were committed in the destroyed Jenin camp; of course not. And Bakri who may have exaggerated a little in his film, is the real criminal.

The High Court of Justice, sitting as Film Review Board, decreed that film was made for an improper reasons. That was a particularly puzzling and outrageous criterion, although it rejected the libel suit filed by a group of voluble, patriotic reservists. Since then, this gifted creator, this wonderful actor and esteemed director who was so integrated into the art scene, has become a broken man. He who was opposed to violence on both sides, and who was as sharply critical of his own people at least as much he was of his state has, became a bitter person  his voice has almost been silenced and the fount of his work has almost dried up.

Now it's the son's turn. Saleh said in an interview aired this week in Belgium, that he does not feel any connection to Israel. "It ruined my life, my father's life, the life of my people."  Why should he feel otherwise. Unlike Istvan Szabo's Mephistopheles, Saleh said that he won't act anymore in Israeli plays and films. "My decision is a protest against the rising fascism", he explained. He is unwilling to serve as fig leaf "to make Israel look good, as a flourishing democracy."

Yuck, what ungrateful so-and-sos. The Israelis "let" the father study at Tel Aviv University and appear on the stages of the national theatre Habima, as well as in the Haifa and Khan theatres. The son was  permitted to study at the Ben-Zvi Institute and perform at national theatre and at the Acco Festival [in Acca/Acco/Acre.] To paraphrase the prophet Isaiah: Children [Arabs] we have raised and exalted, yet they have rebelled against us.

When Muhammad was being pursued over his film, almost all his fellow artists, actors and directors remained silent. Almost no one came to his aid, no one protested his persecution because of his work. Now that Saleh has expressed his protest and is willing to pay a heavy personal price, this disgraceful silence of the lambs would continue.

Mohammed and Saleh are bad Arabs. They are unwilling to continue to participate in a masquerade called Israeli democracy. They are unwilling to dance to the sounds of the Israeli Magic Flute, which shows them off as a badge of honour, as long as they are submissive slaves. They are  unwilling to cuddle up to racism whether institutionalised or popular. They don't want to entertain the Israelis who are part of this racism and thus help them feel so good about themselves. But instead of father and son being shown solidarity and esteem, at least among the so-called Israeli avant-garde, the response to their action has been a shameful silence . Bakri and his son will not play with us anymore, so what? We have the next music reality TV coming up.

Hebrew original: http://www.haaretz.co.il/opinions/.premium-1.2147653

Translated by Sol Salbe of the Middle East News Service, Melbourne, Australia. 

For the original translation by Sol, which appears on his Facebook page, please click here.

List of Saleh Bakri's major roles and films:
Year Title Role Notes
2007 The Band's Visit Khaled Original title: Bikur Ha-Tizmoret
2008 Salt of this Sea Emad Original title: Milh Hadha al-Bahr
2009 The Time That Remains Fuad
2011 The Source Sami Original title: La Source des Femmes
2012 When I Saw You Layth

 2013 Salvo                            Salvo


When I Saw You (Palestinian film)

Salt of This Sea (Palestinian film)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Video: Israel's New Racism: The Persecution of African Migrants in the Holy Land

Dear friends,
for the last couple of years, Israeli journalist David Sheen has been documenting the increasing racism inside Israel against African migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.  Currently, according to the Israeli Interior Ministry there is to 55,000 undocumented workers and asylum seekers from Africa inside the Zionist state.

Please find below Sheen's latest video, produced in collaboration with American Jewish activist and author, Max Blumenthal.  Blumenthal has noted in an article on Electronic Intifada, that their report was initially commissioned by the New York Tiimes.  However, once the New York Times has seen the content of the story, they refused to publish it.  You can read Blumenthal's full article here.

I have also included below an article I wrote in 2007 which looks at Israel's anti-African racism and the connection between it and Israel's anti-Palestinian laws and racism. As Sheen notes in the video the laws used to detain and persecute African migrants and refugees in Israel and deny them rights are an updated version of laws enacted by Israel in the 1950s to prevent Palestinian refugees from returning to their homes and property after their expulsion during the Nakba.  

I have also included an article from JTA which includes interviews with African refugees, outlining the conditions they are forced to live under inside Israel.

You can also keep update on this topic via David Sheen's excellent blog and website on the issue, which you can access here.

In solidarity, Kim 



Sunday, August 26, 2007 - Green Left Weekly

On August 20, Israel deported 50 Sudanese refugees who had entered the country from Egypt. The deportation went ahead despite 63 of the 120 members of the Knesset (Israel's parliament) signing a petition calling on the Olmert government to allow them to remain in Israel until an alternative country could be found to take them in.

The deported refugees were from the Darfur region of Sudan, where an estimated 200,000 people have been killed in the past two years. There are currently 2800 asylum seekers, primarily from Africa, within Israel. Around 1200 are from Sudan.

Sudanese citizens arrested in Israel are officially considered a "security threat", as Israel has designated Sudan an "enemy state". As a result, Israel has detained many Sudanese refugees under the 1954 Prevention of Infiltration Law, rather than the Entrance to Israel Law. Under the Entrance to Israel Law, refugees and illegal immigrants have the right to judicial oversight. There is no similar provision in the Prevention of Infiltration Law.

The Prevention of Infiltration Law allows refugees to be held for years in detention. Israel first enacted the law in order to prevent 750,000 Palestinian refugees who had fled Zionist terror gangs in 1947 and 1948 from returning to their homes in the territory claimed by the newly established state of Israel. The law was enacted in contravention of international laws and resolutions passed by the UN recognising the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.

Under the law, an "infiltrator" is anyone who "entered Israel knowingly and unlawfully" after November 29, 1947, despite the fact that the state was not established until six months later. According to the law, a person is "unlawful" if they are a citizen of Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Trans-Jordan, Iraq or Yemen; if they were resident or a visitor of anyone of those countries or any part of Palestine outside of Israel; or if they are a Palestinian citizen or resident without Israeli nationality or citizenship, or whose citizenship is "doubtful" and who had "left his ordinary place of residence in an area which has become part of Israel for a place outside of Israel". Under the law, an "infiltrator" can be jailed for up to 15 years.

Around 30,000 Palestinian refugees were either arrested by Israel and deported to Lebanon, Syria and Jordan or jailed and then expelled when their prison sentence ended. In addition, many internally displaced Palestinian refugees who remained in the borders of what was to become Israel but had been unable to gain Israeli citizenship were rounded up and deported under the law. In an attempt to prevent Palestinian refugees from re-entering Israel, the Zionist state also razed Palestinian villages along the new Israeli border and established settlements. A policy of "free fire" was adopted in the border settlements, enabling the shooting of any Palestinians attempting to return to their homes.

According to Badil, an Israel-based Palestinian residence and refugee advocacy group, the 1954 law worked hand in hand with the "absentee" property laws that allowed the Israeli state to "legally" take control of property and land belonging to Palestinian refugees and prevent their return to their homes.

In the case of the Sudanese refugees, Israel contends that it has the right to return refugees to the country they were "resident" or "visitors" in prior to arriving in Israel, in this case Egypt.

A poll by the Kevoon Institute found that 47% of Israelis supported the government expelling the Sudanese refugees, while 39% opposed it. YNet reported on August 6 that "Of those who identified themselves as strictly Orthodox, 67% were in favor of expulsion compared to 13% who opposed it. Among respondents who identified themselves as religious, 55% were in favor of expulsion compared to 35% who were opposed. Similar figures were noted for respondents who defined themselves as traditional — 52% favored expulsion compared to 31% who opposed it.

"The only sector where support for the government's policy was the minority opinion was among secular respondents — 39% favored expulsion compared to 49% who opposed it."


For African migrants in Israel, a life in legal limbo

Eritrean refugees gathering outside Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem for a demonstration against the deportation of refugees from Israel, June 9, 2013. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Eritrean refugees gathering outside Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem for a demonstration against the deportation of refugees from Israel, June 9, 2013. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

TEL AVIV (JTA) — Hanging by his feet in a torture cell in the Sinai Desert, Dawit Demoz knew he had only one way to escape a nearly certain death: He would have to make good on his captors’ demand of a $3,500 ransom to buy his freedom.

Demoz, 23, tells a harrowing tale of escaping mandatory conscription in the Eritrean Army and following a desperate journey through Sudan, Libya and finally Egypt, where a human trafficking gang captured him in 2010 as he made his way toward the Israeli border.

For three weeks, Demoz claims, he was beaten, electrocuted and hung from the ceiling until his family was able to come up with the money to buy his freedom.

Demoz then was smuggled across the border into Israel, following a path that tens of thousands of Eritreans had followed before. He had hoped his struggles might finally be over. But as soon as he crossed the border, he was thrown in jail.

“I heard that Israel is a democratic country with Jewish people who know what a refugee is because they suffered before,” Demoz said. “So I thought Israel could save our life. But it’s not what I expected.”

Demoz is one of an estimated 62,000 migrants who have illegally crossed into Israel since 2006 — most of them Eritrean men driven from their homeland by an oppressive dictatorship that drafts them into the military as teenagers and can keep them there indefinitely. According to the United Nations, there are more than 300,000 Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers worldwide.

In Israel, they live without fear of torture and death. But their rising numbers have led to a backlash here, prompting a government crackdown that has nearly eliminated the cross-border flow. In July, Israel sent 13 detained Eritreans back home and has been urging others to self-deport for more than a year.
JTA PHOTO: For African migrants in Israel, a life in legal limbo Sudanese and Eritrean refugees gather in the Levinski Park area in south Tel Aviv. (Nicky Kelvin/Flash90/JTA)
Sudanese and Eritrean refugees gather in the Levinski Park area in south Tel Aviv. (Nicky Kelvin/Flash90/JTA)

But though the influx has stopped, nearly 55,000 migrants remain in Israel, most of them in Tel Aviv. The government affords them limited rights and services, but does not recognize them as refugees, instead giving them temporary IDs they must renew every three months.

For these migrants, who arrived in Israel with no money, no Hebrew and no work permit, daily life often is a challenge.

“These are people who are here five years, and when they go to the Interior Ministry, they don’t know what will happen,” said Orit Marom, director of public activism for Assaf, a nonprofit that helps illegal migrants receive social services. “They’re always temporary.”

Like many Eritreans who have crossed into Israel, Demoz spent his first three months in jail while Israel determined his status. Upon his release, the army took him to Beersheva and gave him a one-way bus ticket to Tel Aviv.

His first three nights were spent with other Eritreans in a park across from the Tel Aviv bus station. But then a friend from back home found Demoz and took him into a one-room apartment he shared with three other men. It’s crowded, Demoz says, but better than sleeping outside.

“Some don’t have a place to sleep,” said Nordin Ishag, a Darfurian who came to Israel in 2007 and last year founded Darfur Friends Association, a social service organization. “They were sleeping in the park, the street. We cannot let them sleep outside. They are human beings.”

Despite its refusal to grant them permanent residence, the Israeli government provides a range of services to the migrants. Children receive free education through high school and infants get free medical care. This year, the Health Ministry opened an emergency medical clinic for migrants at the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station, and a Tel Aviv municipal program provides child psychiatric services and access to government services to the migrant population.

An array of community nonprofits also have sprung up to help.

The Schoolhouse provides English classes and helps migrants qualify for employment, while the Darfur Friends Association offers legal advocacy, health care and English classes funded almost entirely by local Darfurians. Ishag estimates the organization receives monthly donations of about $25 each from 300 donors.

For many, $25 is a significant sum. Demoz’s first job in Israel, working seven days a week at a metal shop, paid him just about $6.50 an hour. He has found each of his subsequent jobs — pool cleaning, building platforms for construction and working at a Herzliya hotel — through employment contractors in south Tel Aviv. The contractors match asylum seekers with jobs and pay their salaries — often with fees attached, ostensibly for taxes.

“There is one big problem here — we have no ID, no papers, no life,” said Sammy, 32, an Eritrean who worked 14 hours a day, seven days a week as a restaurant dishwasher before he was fired, with no severance, after three years.

Sammy was interviewed recently at a health clinic for asylum seekers and migrant workers run by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel. The clinic, staffed by volunteer doctors with specialties ranging from gynecology to physiotherapy, treats 7,000 people a year. For many of them, it is their only realistic way to get health care.

“It’s difficult to get a doctor beyond the human rights doctors,” said Ananwuna, 41, who said he owes nearly $10,000 to an Israeli health care provider for the 2010 removal of a uterine tumor.
Some Eritreans have managed to achieve a measure of success. Habton Mehari, 31, who came here in 2007 and calls himself “the luckiest refugee in Israel,” is on a full scholarship at Ben-Gurion University.

As of last year, he’s also a father, but the Interior Ministry won’t register his son in his name. He is also $3,000 in debt from his wife’s labor, he says, and often faces racism when he leaves campus.
For Demoz, the future remains uncertain. He hopes to be able to return home at some point. Until then, he wants the Israeli government to recognize him as a refugee.

“I want to be here and for the Israeli government to treat me like a human being,” he said. “All Eritreans who live in Israel want to go back to Eritrea, but we can’t go back now. These people have no other option.”

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

SpinWatch: BDS campaigner targeted by law firm with links to Israeli intelligence

Dear friends,
UK based group, SpinWatch earlier this month published the expose about Shurat HaDin, citing US Cables leaked by WikiLeaks.  According to SpinWatch: Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, who is the founder and director of Shurat HaDin "has privately admitted to taking direction from the Israeli government over which cases to pursue and relying on Israeli intelligence contacts for witnesses and evidence".

As readers of Live from Occupied Palestine will be aware, Shurat HaDin has recently sort to target pro-Palestine supporters in Australia, most notably Professors Jake Lynch and Stuart Rees, who are outspoken supporters of the Palestinian BDS campaign.  Shurat HaDin recently lodged a complaint against Lynch and Rees with the Human Rights Commission, citing the anti-Discrimination ACT.  They have since ceased the complaint but according to The Australian newspaper, they are considering taking legal action via the courts.

For more information on Shurat HaDin and their lawfare attacks on BDS, Jake Lynch and Stuart Rees, please see my earlier blogs here and here

You can also sign the petition to defend free speech and stand in solidarity with Lynch and Rees against the attacks by Shurat Hadin by clicking on this link here.

In solidarity, Kim 


BDS campaigner targeted by law firm with links to Israeli intelligence


A law firm targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has close links to Israeli intelligence, US government cables leaked by Wikileaks show.

Shurat HaDin—Israel Law Center (ILC) made a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission last month against Jake Lynch, the director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Sydney University, over Lynch's support for BDS.

The ILC, set up in 2003, claims to be 'a fully independent non-profit organization, unaffiliated with any political party or governmental body.'

However, the organisation's director, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, has privately admitted to taking direction from the Israeli government over which cases to pursue and relying on Israeli intelligence contacts for witnesses and evidence.

Darshan-Leitner made the comments in 2007 to diplomats from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, who reported the conversation in a cable leaked by Wikileaks four years later. It states:
Leitner said that in many of her cases she receives evidence from GOI officials, and added that in its early years ILC took direction from the GOI [Government of Israel] on which cases to pursue. ‘The National Security Council (NSC) legal office saw the use of civil courts as a way to do things that they are not authorized to do,’ claimed Leitner. Among her contacts, Leitner listed Udi Levy at the NSC and Uzi Beshaya at the Mossad, both key Embassy contacts on anti-terrorist finance cooperation. Leitner offered a case against Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) as example of ILC's close cooperation with the GOI. After obtaining a judgment against PIJ for NIS 100 million (USD 25 million), ILC requested a lien for that amount against the Abu Akker Trading Company as a third party defendant. At the time, Abu Akker was one of the largest Palestinian importing companies, and Leitner said the Mossad provided her with the intelligence (similar to information provided to USG officials in a classified briefing) to prove that the company was funneling money to PIJ. According to Leitner, the ILC now decides its cases independently, but continues to receive evidence and witnesses from Israeli intelligence.

The US cable goes on to comment that:

While the ILC's mission dovetails with GOI objectives of putting financial pressure on Israel's adversaries, the often uncompromising approach of ILC's attorneys seems to overreach official GOI policy goals. ILC's relentless litigation has proven to be an obstacle to the GOI's releasing of all customs revenues previously withheld from the PA [Palestinian Authority].

ILC has engaged in a wide variety of other actions in the US, Australia, Israel itself and in Egypt as well as targeting Iran, Syria, North Korea and the Palestinian Authority.  Amongst its targets have been financial institutions including UBS, American Express Bank and the Lebanese-Canadian Bank, President Jimmy Carter, World Vision Australia (a Christian aid agency) and, most notably, the largely successful attempt to stop the second Free Gaza Flotilla.  This involved a blizzard of legal threats against insurance companies port authorities and satellite firms.  They were informed that they would open themselves to criminal liability for "aiding and abetting" a "terrorist" organisation or would become "legally liable" for any future attacks by Hamas.

The Bank of China Affair

Further details of the ILC's links with Israeli intelligence have emerged amid fallout from a case brought by the firm against the Bank of China. According to accounts in the Israeli press, officials from the National Security Council approached Darshan-Leitner, after identifying the bank as a conduit for Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Darshan-Leitner found a suitable plaintiff to bring the case in the family of Daniel Wultz, a 16-year-old American citizen killed in a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv in 2006. Yediot Ahronot reported,

In her discussions with the intelligence agents, Darshan Leitner insisted that she receives massive assistance from the government.  She demanded convicting information on the bank activities, affidavits from authorized people and a commitment to provide for the trial an authorized witness that will say that the Chinese knew about the nature of the accounts and refused to close them.  The consent was given – orally. In 2009, a lawsuit was filed to the NY Federal court.

This arrangement began to collapse in the face of Chinese Government pressure ahead of a visit to Beijing by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this year.

The Wultz family has accused the Israeli Government of sabotaging the case, by failing to provide the documents it promised at the outset. The standoff is particularly embarrassing, because Daniel Wultz's mother, Sheryl Cantor Wultz, is a cousin of Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader in the US Congress.

Among the key documents at the centre of the case is an affidavit by Uzi Shaya, who may be the same person as 'Uzi Beshaya', the Israeli security official named in the 2007 cable as a contact of both Shurat Hadin and the US Embassy.

Another US cable describes Shaya as an officer of Israel's Shin Bet service, working in the Counter Terror Finance Bureau of the Israeli National Security Council alongside Udi Levi, Darshan-Leitner's other intelligence contact.

Meir Dagan's Lawfare programme

The National Security Council appears to be the central node in the Israeli Government's attempts to use deniable civil actions against alleged terrorist financing. According to veteran Haaretz intelligence correspondent Yossi Melman, this strategy was initiated by Meir Dagan when he headed the NSC in the late 1990s, before becoming chief of the Mossad.

In a 2007 article, Melman went on to suggest that Israeli intelligence was connected to a lawsuit brought against the Arab Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in the Middle East.

The law firm which brought the Arab Bank case, Mann Mairone, moved into terrorism litigation around 2001, having previously specialised in taxation and commercial law. In the process, it acquired a roster of researchers and advisors drawn largely from Shin Bet and Israeli military intelligence.

Wikileaks cables show that the Arab Bank was a frequent subject of discussions between Israeli NSC officials and US diplomats during the case.

At one such meeting with US Treasury officials in 2005, ILC contacts Udi Levi and Uzi Shaya were prominent in defending the litigation, although vague as to the justification for it:
Levi said the bank had stopped all transactions to the territories after it was sued in U.S. court. He cautioned, however, that the bank is ‘playing with evidence, cleaning the records, and deleting accounts’ to cover its tracks. Shaya said that the GOI has unspecified proof that the Arab Bank is still dealing with Hizballah in Lebanon.

Levi went on to suggest further litigation:

Levi called INTERPAL and other European groups that channel funds to Hamas ‘a problem we do not know how to solve,’ but added that lawsuits similar to the ones filed against the Arab Bank might help. He suggested that another option to restrict funding would be to prevent INTERPAL from clearing dollar donations through New York.

Interpal, a British charity focused on Palestine, had been a source of friction between the Israeli and British governments for several years. The Israeli daily Haaretz reported in 2004 that Foreign Minister Jack Straw had refused a request from his Israeli counterpart Silvan Shalom to put an end to Interpal’s activities. Significantly, Haaretz noted that even if the Israeli intelligence on Interpal were made public, it would not necessarily meet the threshold for banning a UK charity and that, 'it is therefore not at all certain that even if the evidence were to be revealed, it would lead to a curbing of Interpal in Britain'.

In 2007 Interpal had its account closed by Natwest, as the bank sought to avoid potential liability in a civil case. Darshan-Leitner claimed in her 2007 comments that the ILC had been involved in the action, and that Natwest itself now consulted with Israeli intelligence on Islamic charity clients.

Interpal was also targeted in 2007 by a British think tank, the Centre for Social Cohesion, as chronicled in Spinwatch's pamphlet, The Cold War on British Muslims. In their attack, the CSC cited 'allegations made by Israel and the USA', as well as a 2006 BBC Panorama documentary, which had also relied extensively on evidence provided by current and former Israeli security officials.

In 2009, an inquiry by the UK Charity Commission found that there was insufficient evidence to take action over claims that Interpal beneficiaries were supporting terrorism, because it could not verify 'the provenance or accuracy' of material provided by the Israeli government.
Udi Levi's comments suggest that such developments are in line with the wider strategy being pursued by the National Security Council.

Key Questions
If a firm that has received covert support from the Israeli government is now targeting BDS activists, does this mean that the Israeli government has widened its use of lawfare in a bid to silence its critics?

As we have noted firms like the ILC are prepared to take on the Israeli government over issues like the Bank of China case. Yet that case itself illustrates the extent to which they are nevertheless dependent on a government which is prepared to use and then abandon terror victims for cynical political reasons.

The fact that the Israeli Government is prepared to support organisations whose hardline stances are at odds with its own public positions, must also create doubts about how sincerely held those positions are.

The targeting of the Palestinian Authority in particular, in cases largely dependent on official Israeli sources, is surely inconsistent with any commitment to a genuine peace process.

Friday, October 4, 2013

PHOTOS: Palestinian activists dismantle Israeli roadblock

Dear friends,
please find below photos and an article on the direct action protest which took place yesterday in the Occupied West Bank to dismantle an Israeli roadblock at Walaja.  My friend Manal Tamimi from the village of Nabi Saleh reported that three Palestinian activists, including my friend Naji Tamimi from Nabi Saleh, along with Abdulah Abu Rahmeh and Mohammed Khatib from Bil'in were arrested and detained by the IOF on their way to the action.  They were detained for more than four hours before they were finally released.

in solidarity, Kim


PHOTOS: Palestinian activists dismantle Israeli roadblock

Palestinian activists, accompanied by international supporters, descended on an Israeli military roadblock in the Palestinian village of Al Walaja at noon Thursday, quickly dismantling it before Israeli forces could arrive on the scene.
Palestinian and International activists remove a gate built by the Israeli army blocking the road between the village of Al Walaja and the West Bank town of Beit Jala, October 3, 2013. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)
The activists used a sledge hammer to break the lock on a steel gate blocking the road between Al Walaja and the bordering village of Beit Jala. The gate had been installed by the Israeli military in the past year to prevent movement between the two Palestinian villages at the location where the Israeli separation wall will eventually be built.
Activists use the leverage of the opened gate to shift the concrete block on which it is mounted toward the edge of the hillside. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
Activists used the leverage provided by the now-open gate to shift the massive concrete block on which it was anchored, eventually sending the entire apparatus tumbling down the steep hillside. The group then made a quick getaway, leaving the site before a single member of Israeli forces could arrive to interfere.

Read part 7 of Haggai Matar’s Wall project: Al-Walaja - A village turned prison

Some participants even drove through the newly opened road, passing through Beit Jala land, including the Cremisan monastery, that will be even further divided by the separation wall if it is built as planned. Many of the activists who participated in this action were attending the Bil’in International Popular Resistance Conference, taking place this week.
Palestinian and international activists move the roadblock inch by inch toward the edge of the hill. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

The block and gate tumble down the hillside in a cloud of dust as the activists cheer. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Activists celebrate their victory before quickly vacating the scene before Israeli forces arrive. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)