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NY Times: Emboldened by Trump, Israel Approves a Wave of West Bank Settlement Expansion

Posted by uscsjp on January 25, 2017

JERUSALEM — In a pointed act of defiance against international pressure, Israel on Tuesday approved a huge new wave of settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

The announcement made clear that just a few days into the Trump presidency, the Israeli government feels emboldened to shake off the constraints imposed by the Obama administration and more willing to disregard international condemnation.

Leaders from 70 countries met in Paris more than a week ago and issued a warning that the two-state peace solution was imperiled by Israel’s expanding of settlements in Palestinian-claimed territory in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as violence against Israelis. But even though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed the principle of side-by-side states, in the past few days Israel’s campaign of settlement building has only accelerated.

The first step came on Sunday, when the Jerusalem City Council approved 566 new housing units in East Jerusalem that had been delayed over President Barack Obama’s objections.

Then on Tuesday, the Israeli government announced that 2,500 new housing units would be built in the West Bank. Officials said most would be built in “settlement blocs,” referring to areas of the West Bank that Israel has long intended to keep under any future agreement with the Palestinians, possibly in return for land swaps along the boundary that separated Israel from the West Bank before the 1967 war. But in years of failed negotiations, the Israelis and Palestinians have never agreed on the size or location of such blocs.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense said 900 of the newly announced homes were being planned for Ariel, an urban settlement of about 20,000 residents that Israel considers a “bloc,” but is strategically — and problematically — located in the heart of the West Bank. It also said it would bring to the cabinet a plan to build a large industrial zone to create work for Palestinians in the southern West Bank.

“We are going back to normal life in Judea and Samaria,” Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s hard-line defense minister, said in a statement announcing the new settlement building, referring to the West Bank by its biblical names.

Asked about the Israeli move, the White House spokesman, Sean Spicer, said that Mr. Trump was still getting his team together and that there would be discussions with Mr. Netanyahu. “Israel continues to be a huge ally of the United States,” Mr. Spicer said. “He wants to grow closer with Israel to make sure that it gets the full respect that it deserves in the Middle East, and that’s what he’s going to do.

Palestinian officials immediately denounced the new plans.

“Once again, the Israeli government has proved that it is more committed to land theft and colonialism than to the two-state solution and the requirements for peace and stability,” Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, said in a statement.

“It is evident that Israel is exploiting the inauguration of the new American administration to escalate its violations and the prevention of any existence of a Palestinian state,” she added, calling on the United States and other international players to take concrete measures against Israeli settlement activities.

Israel’s campaign of settlement construction has brought widespread criticism. A month ago, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution condemning Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as having no legal validity and constituting a “flagrant violation under international law” after the Obama administration decided not to veto the measure.

Days later, the departing secretary of state, John Kerry, rebuked Israel’s settlement activities in an impassioned speech, saying, “The status quo is leading toward one state and perpetual occupation.”

But with Israel’s occupation of the West Bank in its 50th year, the Israeli government, dominated by right-wing and religious parties, is clearly expecting a friendlier approach from the White House after years of tension with the Obama administration.

David M. Friedman, the bankruptcy lawyer President Trump has nominated as his ambassador to Israel, has led a fund-raising arm of the settlement movement and has dismissed the idea of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. He has declared that he intends to work in Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv, where the American Embassy has been for decades, under the State Department’s insistence that the holy city’s status be determined as part of a broader deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

It was not immediately clear whether the Israeli announcement had been coordinated in advance with Mr. Trump’s team. But beyond Mr. Netanyahu’s apparent attempt to chart a new course with Mr. Trump, he is also under intense pressure from the right flank of his governing coalition to demonstrate where his domestic loyalties lie.

Naftali Bennett, the education minister and leader of the staunchly pro-settlement Jewish Home party, has been goading the prime minister to seize the moment and take the extreme step of beginning a process of annexing the West Bank settlements to Israel.

“Netanyahu is facing a historic decision: sovereignty or Palestine,” Mr. Bennett said on Monday. “We urge Netanyahu, don’t miss an opportunity that comes along once every 50 years.”

Mr. Netanyahu appeared to postpone any discussion of annexation: “This is no time for off-the-cuff decisions or political dictations, and this is no time for surprises.” This, he added, “is the time for considered, responsible diplomacy among friends.”

The prime minister’s office said that in a phone conversation with Mr. Trump on Sunday, Mr. Netanyahu discussed the peace process and hoped to forge a “common vision” with Mr. Trump “to advance peace and security in the region, with no daylight between the United States and Israel.” No more details were given.

The peace process has been at an impasse since the last round of American-brokered talks collapsed in the spring of 2014. During the nine months of talks, Mr. Netanyahu attempted to appease Israel’s right wing by advancing plans for about 13,000 new housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, infuriating the Palestinian side. The weakened Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, who appeared reluctant to take risks of his own, never responded to the ideas that Mr. Kerry’s team had formulated for a framework to guide further negotiations.

Now, with the change of American administrations, some Israeli analysts have recommended that Mr. Netanyahu take the opportunity to try to reinstate understandings that Israel had with President George W. Bush, who wrote in a 2004 letter that “already existing major Israeli population centers” should be taken into consideration in redrawing the borders between Israel and the West Bank — a reference to settlement blocs.

But that came in the context of Israel’s plans to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza and from a section of the northern West Bank. And the case of Ariel serves to illustrate the contentiousness of unilaterally defining the blocs.

Israelis have long labeled Ariel part of their national “consensus,” meaning that it would be included in Israel’s borders under any peace deal, and it often appears as one of the regular dots on Israeli weather maps. But Palestinian negotiators have always rejected that idea, arguing that Israeli control over Ariel would preclude the territorial contiguity of a Palestinian state. They also note that Ariel sits on a major aquifer.

According to Tuesday’s announcement, 20 of the new units are to be built in Beit El, a settlement deep in the West Bank that has particularly benefited from Mr. Friedman’s fund-raising activities. The government promised in 2012 to build 300 units in Beit El, a settlement of about 7,000 residents, to compensate for the court-ordered evacuation of part of a neighborhood there that was illegally built on private Palestinian land. So far, the promise has remained unfulfilled.

According to Israel’s Ministry of Defense, bids will now be solicited for the construction of about 900 of the 2,500 new units around the West Bank. But the rest, including most of those planned for Ariel, still have to go through additional planning phases, a bureaucratic process that can take months, if not years, and requires additional government approval at each stage.

Oded Revivi, the chief foreign envoy of the Yesha Council, an umbrella organization representing the more than 400,000 settlers in the West Bank, said in a statement, “We hope that this is just the beginning of a wave of new building across our ancestral homeland after eight very difficult years.”

But some in the settler camp played down the construction plans and expressed suspicions about Mr. Netanyahu’s intentions.

“We are not stupid,” Bezalel Smotrich, a legislator from the Jewish Home party, wrote in a post on his Facebook page. Objecting to the government announcement mostly describing the advancement of existing plans in settlement blocs, Mr. Smotrich accused Mr. Netanyahu of “throwing a candy” to the settlers and playing “public relations tricks.”

Correction: January 24, 2017
An earlier version of this article misstated part of the name of the world body that passed a resolution last month condemning Israeli settlements. It is the United Nations — not States — Security Council.

–New York Times, ISABEL KERSHNER, JAN. 24, 2017

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/24/world/middleeast/israel-settlement-expansion-west-bank.html?_r=0

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President Trump to Sign Executive Order Banning Refugees and Citizens from Arab Countries

Posted by uscsjp on January 25, 2017

POSTED ON: JAN 25, 2017

President Trump to Sign Executive Order Banning Refugees and Citizens from Arab Countries

BY: Nisreen Eadeh/Staff Writer

President Trump is expected to sign executive orders today that include a temporary ban on most refugees and a suspension of visas for citizens from the Middle East and North Africa. In a tweet he sent late Tuesday night, President Trump said “Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow.”

According to the immigration and congressional aides briefed on the issue, the ban on refugees, with the exception of those facing religious persecution, is likely to last for several months. President Trump wants the ban in place until a more aggressive vetting plan is in place.

However, the fact remains that most Syrian and Iraqi refugees fled because they faced religious persecution from the Islamic State. It is unclear if President Trump will allow them to be included in the small number of refugees who will be permited under his administration.

For the other executive order, visas will be banned for citizens from mostly Arab countries, including Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Iran, and Somalia. The aides say the president has it in his power to limit which countries refugees come from and who gets visas if the plan matches public interest. President Trump was elected partially for his plans to deport undocumented immigrants, stop the refugee resettlement program, and temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the United States.

Since becoming president, Trump and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions have said they would not ban all Muslims, but rather, anyone who comes from certain terror-prone countries. Many Trump supporters feared that allowing refugees from the Middle East into the country would bring Islamic terrorist attacks to U.S. soil. However, executive orders discriminating against a certain religion are unconstitutional and illegal.

Furthermore, the orders would wrongfully stigmatize and stereotype people from an entire region, who have been living in the U.S. for generations. They also apply a double standard to people of Middle Eastern and North African descent because their crimes are seen as more threatening than those of American mass shooters, who pose a larger danger to society than refugees.

The executive orders would also threaten a refugee resettlement deal the U.S. has with Australia. There are about 1,000 refugees and asylum seekers currently waiting to be resettled to the U.S. from Papua New Guinea on Australia’s behalf. Their plans to migrate to the U.S. were approved under President Obama’s administration, but are now unclear with President Trump.

–Arab America, Jan 25, 2017

http://www.arabamerica.com/president-trump-sign-executive-order-banning-refugees-citizens-arab-countries/?utm_source=January+25%2C+2017&utm_campaign=Arab+America+12%2F3%2F14&utm_medium=email

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U.N. Resolution Condemning Israeli Settlements Is Approved; U.S. Abstains

Posted by uscsjp on December 23, 2016

UNITED NATIONS — Defying extraordinary pressure from President-elect Donald J. Trump and furious lobbying by Israel, the Obama administration on Friday allowed the United Nations Security Council to adopt a contentious resolution that condemned Israeli settlement construction.

The administration’s decision not to veto the measure broke a longstanding American tradition of serving as Israel’s sturdiest diplomatic shield.

It came a day after Mr. Trump personally intervened to keep the draft measure, proposed by Egypt, from coming up for a vote on Thursday, as scheduled. Mr. Trump’s aides said he spoke to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Both men also spoke to the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Egypt postponed the vote.

But in a show of mounting frustration, a group of other countries on the 15-member Security Council — all of them relatively powerless temporary members with rotating two-year seats — snatched the resolution away from Egypt and put it up for a vote Friday afternoon.

It passed 14 votes in favor, with the United States abstaining.

Document: U.N. Security Council Draft Resolution on the Middle East Peace Process

The departing Obama administration has been highly critical of Israel’s settlement building, describing it as an impediment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mr. Trump has made clear that he will take a far more sympathetic approach to Israel when his administration assumes office in a month.

Mr. Trump’s comments on the issue amounted to his most direct intervention on United States foreign policy during his transition to power.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, had urged the American delegation to block the measure.

“This resolution is a Palestinian initiative, which is intended to harm Israel,” he said in a statement.

–The New York Times, 23 Dec. 2016

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/23/world/middleeast/israel-settlements-un-vote.html?emc=edit_na_20161223&nlid=49989207&ref=headline&_r=0

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Netanyahu Romances Candidates

Posted by uscsjp on September 26, 2016

Israeli PM Netanyahu Meets Trump, Clinton in New York

SEPTEMBER 26, 2016
HEADLINES

H9 trump netanyahu meet

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Sunday in closed-door meetings. Trump hosted Netanyahu at his New York penthouse, where his campaign said Trump compared Israel’s separation wall favorably with his proposed wall along the Mexican border. Netanyahu later met with Hillary Clinton, whose campaign said she expressed support for the new U.S. military aid package to Israel of $38 billion over 10 years.

–Democracy Now!, September 26, 2016

 

http://www.democracynow.org/2016/9/26/headlines/israeli_pm_netanyahu_meets_trump_clinton_in_new_york

 

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The Times of Israel: “Israel and US say ‘gaps closed,’ progress made on aid deal”

Posted by uscsjp on August 5, 2016

After three days of talks in Washington, negotiators close in on agreement for unprecedented 10-year defense package

BY RAOUL WOOTLIFF, August 4, 2016, 8:58 am

US President Barack Obama, right, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, November 9, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB)

Israel and the US have made significant progress in negotiations over a 10-year American military aid package, with a final agreement expected to be signed soon, Israeli government sources said Thursday.

Following three days of closed-door discussions in Washington, “progress has been made and gaps have been closed” between the two sides, an Israeli diplomatic official said.

“Israel and the US are hoping to arrive at an agreement soon,” the official added.

Sources in Washington had similar assessments of the talks.

“We’ve made progress and closed many of the remaining gaps. We hope to be able to reach a final agreement soon,” a senior official told Reuters after the talks concluded on Wednesday night.

Brigadier General (res.) Yaakov Nagel, the acting head of the National Security Council, has been meeting with his American counterparts to work on the final draft of a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) set to come into effect in 2018, when the current one expires.

Negotiations on the deal have been going on for months amid tensions over the Iranian nuclear deal reached last year, which Israel vociferously opposed. Israel has charged that the accord signed between Tehran and six world powers, including the US, poses an existential threat to Israel and warrants increased aid to the Jewish State.

The Prime Minister’s Office said last week that Israel “places great value on the predictability and reliability of the military assistance it receives from the United States and on honoring bilateral agreements.

“Therefore, it is not in Israel’s interest for there to be any changes to the fixed annual MOU levels without the agreement of both the US administration and the Israeli government,” it added.

Netanyahu also said last week that he hoped to conclude the aid negotiations under the Obama administration, which ends in January 2017.

The US offer currently on the table, outlined to members of Congress earlier this month in a letter from US National Security Adviser Susan Rice, includes a pledge to substantially increase the aid package, now worth some $30 billion, and ink a new one that would constitute “the largest pledge of military assistance to any country in US history.” The letter was sent in response to a missive signed in April by 83 out of 100 senators calling on President Barack Obama to increase foreign aid to Israel and sign the new deal.

Under the existing agreement, Israel is permitted to spend about 25 percent of the aid it receives outside the US and another 13% on fuel for its aircraft — allowances no other recipient of US aid is granted.

That arrangement originated in the 1980s to build up Israel’s defense industry, which has thrived, helping Israel to become among the top 10 arms exporters in the world — and in some fields a competitor with US firms.

In an apparent concession, Israel will reportedly not request supplemental funding for the entire 10 years, and in the second half of the decade, will incrementally increase the amount it spends in the US per annum, until the entire amount of aid is invested in the American domestic market.

Israel has already indicated that it will not seek additional military funding for 2017, which still falls under the terms of the previous 10-year package. The defense aid for 2017 currently stands at $3.1 billion.

Cliff Churgin and Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.

 

Read more: http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-and-us-say-gaps-closed-progress-made-on-aid-deal/

 

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US to Grant Israel Largest Military Aid Package in History

Posted by uscsjp on May 2, 2016

The US is planning to provide Israel with the largest military aid package in the history of the two countries, the Times of Israel reported on Monday citing a White House official.

A large majority of US senators have called to increase foreign aid to Israel.

“We are preparing to sign a memorandum of understanding with Israel to provide the largest single package of aid to any country in the history of the United States,” a White House official told Reuters.

As many as 83 out of 100 US Senators signed a letter calling on President Barack Obama to increase foreign aid to Israel and to immediately sign an agreement on a new defence package.

The letter was drafted by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democrat Senator Chris Cowans and was signed by 51 Republicans and 32 Democrats including Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

The United States currently gives Israel $3.1 billion annually in military aid, but Israel wants to increase it to $5 billion a year.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted that he would wait for Obama’s successor to get what Israel wants.

US Vice President Joe Biden warned Netanyahu during his last visit to Israel last month that the aid package would be “smaller than what Israel seeks”, but stressed that the amount will reflect the security needs of the country.

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17 Jewish Activists Protesting Israeli Occupation Arrested at ADL Headquarters

Posted by uscsjp on April 22, 2016

By Sam KestenbaumApr 20, 2016

Police arrested 17 activists denouncing the “Jewish establishment’s support of the occupation of Palestine” on April 20 in the lobby of the Anti-Defamation League during one of a series of Passover protests organized by anti-occupation group If Not Now.

Before they were cuffed and shuffled into New York Police Department vans, the young activists had sat cross-legged on the lobby floor, leading a larger crowd in their version of a Passover Seder.

They banged on the floor, danced in circles and sang familiar Hebrew songs. The Seder’s ten plagues included “subjecting Palestinians to daily humiliation” and “destroying the Palestinian economy.” A hand-drawn cardboard Seder plate rested next to a sculpted tinfoil goblet, reserved for Elijah.

“We act now to build a Jewish community that recognizes that we cannot be free absent the freedom for Palestinians,” the text of one handout read.

Passersby paused, snapping photos on their cameras, to take in the unusual scene — around 100 Jewish activists singing and dancing in the glass-walled lobby of a midtown office. One young woman turned to the assembled crowd as she was led away by police, so that her shirt was in full view. “No liberation with occupation,” it read.

If Not Now, which formed two years ago to protest the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict and Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank, staged several other Passover-themed events this week.

Six were arrested in Boston, where they rallied outside the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. In Washington D.C., activists gathered outside Hillel.

But the New York protest took on another layer of significance as one prominent New York activist has been at the center of national controversy.

Simone Zimmerman, an If Not Now co-founder, made headlines last week when she was named Jewish outreach coordinator for Bernie Sanders’ campaign. Her peers celebrated. But, just days later, she was suspended from that position after an old Facebook post resurfaced, in which Zimmerman had used profanity and insulted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Abe Foxman, former head of the Anti-Defamation League, denounced Zimmerman and the Zionist Organization of America followed suit.

“She is entitled to say what she wants, but there is something bizarre about making her the liaison for the Jewish community,” Foxman said in a Wednesday interview with the Forward. “Either she wasn’t vetted — or worse, she was.”

Foxman said he took issue with Zimmerman’s criticism of Israel during the 2014 Gaza conflict. Her comments “go to the essence of questioning and challenging Israel’s credibility.”

Foxman declined to comment about the 17 activists’ arrest, deferring to the ADL.

“ADL had no role whatsoever in the arrest of the protesters,” Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL’s CEO stressed in a Thursday statement . “The protesters trespassed in the lobby of a private office building in which ADL happens to be one of dozens of tenants.”

“ADL and [If Not Now] … share the same goal,” Greenblatt continued, “a two-state solution that provides for the safety and security of Israel and a viable Palestinian state.”

If Not Now, however, has not taken any specific position on a two-state solution, nor the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel — another divisive topic in the Jewish establishment.

“It is unfortunate that [If Not Now] seems to be more interested in spectacles and ultimatums than in discussion and dialogue grappling with the difficult issues involved in achieving peace,” Greenblatt said. “Nevertheless, our doors are open, and our invitation to speak with [If Not Now] still stands.”

Zimmerman stood in the background at Wednesday’s protest. She declined to speak with the Forward, but her friends rallied around her, posing for photos and intoning her name during the rally.

“Simone speaks for my kind of Judaism,” said Gabrielle Egan, an If Not Now activist from Canada.

If Not Now first took shape online in 2014, as a rallying hash tag on social media during the latest Israel-Gaza conflict. Many participants had been involved in J Street, but had become dissatisfied with that organization’s position on the conflict. Several activists describe their involvement with If Not Now as a sort of Jewish homecoming.

“These are people who grew up in a post-peace process environment,” said Peter Beinart, a mentor to Zimmerman and a leading voice in liberal Zionism. “If you look at If Not Now, there is a deep alienation, a dissatisfaction with the Jewish community’s lack of discussion.”

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UCSD Guardian: UC Regents Condemns Anti-Semitism in Revision of Discrimination Guidelines

Posted by uscsjp on March 28, 2016

The UC Board of Regents voted to amend the University of California’s Statement of Principles Against Intolerance to include a condemnation of anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism at last Wednesday’s Regents meeting. However, the committee declined to condemn anti-Zionism as a form of discrimination in and of itself.

Anti-Zionism — a political ideology that opposes Israel’s right to exist in Palestine — has raised a lot of questions at the UC campuses ever since 521 alumni along with 23 education and Jewish advocacy groups submitted a petition to UC President Janet Napolitano last May. The petition called for the UC system to formally adopt the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, which denounces statements about Israel that demonize or delegitimize the nation.

UCSD Hillel of San Diego Director David Singer expressed his support for the resolution, calling it a step in the right direction for a the UC system at which anti-Semitism has had tangible consequences. He said that it was “no coincidence” that UCSD’s Jewish student population declined by more than 60 percent over the last decade.

“Jewish students throughout the UC campuses have, for years, lived in the shadow of incidents of anti-Semitic speech, intimidation, vandalism and even violence,” Singer told the UCSD Guardian. “Yesterday’s condemnation by the Regents is an important step in defining the problem and pledging to ensure that the university is hate-free for all students.”

Examples of these incidents include one that occurred in February 2015, when vandals defaced a Jewish fraternity house at UC Davis with a Nazi swastika. More recently, members of UCLA’s student government questioned a student’s ability to remain unbiased because she was Jewish, and they planned to reject her nomination to their judicial board until a faculty advisor intervened.

Originally, the amendment stated that “anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California,” implying that anti-Zionism is a form of discrimination. However, some across the UC campuses have raised concerns that this would infringe on free speech.

Among them is the UC Academic Council, which sent its own letter to the Regents stating that the amendment would harm academic freedom. The council argued that it would cause “needless and expensive litigation, embarrassing to the university, to sort out the difference between intolerance on the one hand, and protected debate and study of Zionism and its alternatives on the other.”

Moreover, when the Guardian spoke to UCSD’s Students for Justice in Palestine last November, the organization expressed fear that the revision would silence all perspectives that opposed Israel.

“Any critique of Israeli policy, because of the nation’s identity as a Jewish state, would be labeled as anti-Semitic,” SJP said in a statement. “Anti-Zionist activity, such as that of SJP, strives to amplify Palestinian voices calling for their right to self-determination and their right to return to their homeland. This policy seeks to silence and censor these voices.”

Following these complaints, Regent Norman Pattiz, who proposed the amendment, revised it to state that “anti-Semitism, anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California.”

Singer applauded the revision, stating that it ensures that people can use their First Amendment rights by only targeting political beliefs that cross over into hateful speech.

“Freedom of speech is paramount, and we are encouraged that the resolution affirms this fact,” Singer said. “We respect the right of students to speak out for politics that they believe in. Yet, all too often we have seen criticism of Israel elicit deeply anti-Semitic undertones, or, worse, result in attacks on Jewish students.”

The University of California stands as the first and only public university system so far that has reaffirmed its opposition to anti-Semitic behavior.

The Guardian contacted the UC Office of the President and Students for Justice in Palestine regarding the UC Regents’ recent decision, but neither could be reached by press time.

 

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Al-Qeeq Suspends His Strike After Reaching An Agreement For His Release

Posted by uscsjp on March 3, 2016

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that hunger striking journalist Mohammad al-Qeeq, who is held by Israel without charges or trial, has suspended his strike that lasted for 94 days, after reaching an agreement for his release, in May.

qeeqv.jpg

Lawyers Hanan al-Khatib and Hiba Masalha, of the Palestinian Detainees’ Committee, said al-Qeeq has officially suspended his hunger strike, on Friday 26, in a statement made in front of his family and Arab political leaders, including lawyers, Arab Members of Knesset and members the Detainees’ Parents Committee.

The PPS said the agreement is an official declaration of ending his strike, in exchange for his release on May 21, 2015, and that he will continue to receive medical treatment in Israeli hospitals until his release.

Head of the Detainees’ Committee Issa Qaraqe said al-Qeeq’s will, and determination, overcame Israel’s policies of death, and that he managed to challenge Israel’s illegal Administrative Detention policies, that enable Israel to hold hundreds of Palestinians indefinitely captive, without charges.

Qaraqe’ thanked the Palestinians, their institutions and all Palestine solidarity activists around the world, for their support. He also thanked all lawyers involved with al-Qeeq’s case and the fight for his release.

–Friday, Feb 26th, 2016

http://www.imemc.org/article/75079

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Israel: Video Shows Jewish Extremists Celebrating Death of Palestinian Toddler – Democracy Now!

Posted by uscsjp on December 28, 2015

Israelivideo

Israeli authorities say they are investigating newly released video which appears to show Jewish extremists celebrating the death of a Palestinian toddler in an arson attack last summer. The footage, which aired on Israel’s Channel 10 news, was filmed at a wedding. It shows two men apparently stabbing pictures of 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh, who was killed in an arson attack, allegedly by Jewish settlers. The fire also killed his parents.

 

–Democracy Now!, December 28, 2015

http://www.democracynow.org/2015/12/28/headlines/israel_video_shows_jewish_extremists_celebrating_death_of_palestinian_toddler

 

 

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