VIDEO | 3 Archaeological Reports from the Franciscans

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Kill the Messenger: Why Israel Labels Human Rights NGOs as “Terrorists”

Youseff Munayeer, a non-resident fellow at the Arab Center Washington, recently published an essay in the journal Foreign Policy entitled “The Long Arm of Israeli Repression”. Echoing similar analysis from numerous other media outlets, he deals with Israel’s recent decision to designate several human rights groups as “terrorist” organizations, putting it in league with the world’s other most repressive regimes. Munayeer writes, in part:

Ensuring that European and North American decision-makers hear less and less about Israel’s human rights violations has always been the repression network’s overarching goal. […]

It doesn’t matter if the allegations are entirely bogus, the point is to put human rights defenders themselves on the defensive, smear their reputations, and attack or intimidate their donors. […] As the director-general of [Israel’s] Strategic Affairs Ministry once acknowledged, “We are not fighting with facts. We’re not fighting by telling the truth.”

To read the entire piece, visit the FP website, HERE

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Leftist Israeli Journalist Confesses: “I Finance Terrorism”

The fearless Amira Hass and other writers for the Haaretz newspaper — along with Uri Avnery, Jonathan Cook and others of their ilk — were critical in shaping my political awareness during my sojourn in that land. Haas is still at it, thank goodness, and wrote the following opinion piece for the Israeli daily Haaretz, published 26 October 2021. Toward the end she comments on Israel’s weaponizing of language in their labeling of six Palestinian NGOs as “terrorist” groups a few days ago.

Oh, yes: If you’re an American taxpayer, you may join in Ms. Haas’ confession, since your country sends the State of Israel over $10,000,000 every single day — nearly $4,000,000,000 a year — in 100% military aid, in support of such madness. The article appears below in its entirety (secondary online source HERE):

I am announcing and confessing here that I finance terrorism. Some of the tax money I pay to the Israeli government is transferred to its terrorist activities and those of its representatives, the settlers, against the Palestinian people.

If by “terrorism” one means imposing terror and fear – then what are the commanders in the army and Shin Bet security service doing when they send masked soldiers to raid the homes of Palestinians night after night? Accompanied by dogs and with rifles aimed, soldiers wake families from their slumber, overturn the contents of closets, confiscate property and strike the adults in front of the children.

What are the inspectors of the Civil Administration doing when they wander among communities of shepherds, and check whether maybe a tent or a slide for children was added that should be demolished? What do the surveillance cameras stuck at every checkpoint at the exit from a Palestinian city do, if not intimidate and regiment?

And the male and female Border Police in Jerusalem, who detain anyone who looks to them like an Arab, and the soldiers and policemen who deliver a kick here, a slap there, to anyone who dares to argue with them, or to harvest olives – what is their job if not to instill fear?   And the gangs of masked settlers, with bare chests, holy fringes and “nonlethal” weapons and firearms – what will we call their orgies of attacking people and trees if not terror? Fractions of percentages of the taxes I pay certainly reach them: Perhaps they end up going to the settlement councils that embrace the thugs, perhaps to their officials and to Defense Ministry officials who together planned and implemented the successful model of shepherds’ outposts.

Throughout the West Bank the outposts operate by the same pattern: One family of veteran settlers takes over a plot of Palestinian land, receives a herd of sheep or goats and cattle, and then, using rifles, stones, dogs, young shepherds and drones, threatens the Palestinians and prevents their herds from reaching their grazing areas.

The concept “terror” has long since exceeded the bounds of simple intimidation, and also includes acts of destruction and killing. My taxes, and those of all Israeli citizens and residents, finance them.

Part of my taxes went to the bombing of residential structures and the killing of their Palestinian inhabitants, including young children and women. My taxes finance the bullets that kill and wound demonstrators in the West Bank village of Beita and in Gaza. Our taxes subsidize the settlements and cover the cost of the demolition of Palestinian homes by the Civil Administration and the Jerusalem municipality. Under the camouflage of a law-abiding country and by means of our financing, Israel has perpetrated all these acts of terror and many others. Day by day. Hour by hour.

Those who control the centers of power have always tried and are trying to assume a monopoly over the language too, as a way of perpetuating their supremacy. The patriarchy derived the medical term “hysteria” from the Greek root for uterus, as a way of cementing the inferior status of women. Englishmen made sure that “Irish” would be a synonym for stupid, and later for lazy and a drunkard, as a way of explaining their colonization of Ireland.

“Stupid,” “black” and “terrorist” were also synonyms among the whites in South Africa, used to justify the exploitation, the racial segregation and the terrorist oppression. And that’s how the Israeli occupier decides what “terror” is, and [now] includes in it another six Palestinian NGOs.

The reason for persecuting them is so clear: These civil society organizations have registered several impressive achievements in their opposition to the cruel Israeli occupation. It was they that acted and are acting to prosecute Israelis who are responsible for war crimes and crimes of apartheid in the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and urged the Palestinian Authority to take this route. It is they that expose Israel’s system of wholesale detention, including of minors, and the scandal called the military court.

It is they that support Palestinian farmers against the harassment of the Civil Administration and the settlers. They nurture leftist and feminist values, and criticize the Palestinian authorities as well.

They (and not only they) are in a constant battle against the terror of the occupation. And the occupation, through its persecution of those organizations, aspires to terrorize other Palestinians and deter them from mounting any resistance.

This article is reproduced in its entirety

Posted in Gaza, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Journalism, Modern History, Occupied Territories, Palestinians, The Occupation, West Bank | Tagged , | Leave a comment

At 95, Son of an Israeli PM Comments on Zionism’s Founding Ideology

Online source:

In a remarkable political conversion, Yaakov Sharett, the heir to an iconic Zionist family and son of Israel’s second Prime Minister, Moshe Sharett, has turned his back on the founding ideology of the occupation state.

“The State of Israel and the Zionist enterprise were born in sin,” said Sharett in an interview with Haaretz. The 95-year-old spoke at length about his journey from a faithful servant of Zionism in the state of Israel to one of its harshest critics.

Sharett was born in 1927 and is said to belong to a well-connected family from the cream of the Yishuv, the Jewish community in Palestine. His father was Israel’s first foreign minister and one of the country’s leaders who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1948. Sharett also dutifully served Israel as a member of the Shin Bet, the country’s security agency, and helped Soviet Jews flee to Israel.

Ending his days in Tel Aviv as an anti-Zionist, Sharett predicts dark days for the country he spent nearly his entire life serving. “This original sin pursues and will pursue us and hang over us,” said Sharett referring to the ethnic cleansing of Palestine prior to Israel’s creation in 1948. More than half of the indigenous community were expelled in an attempt to artificially construct a Jewish majority.

Sharett recollected the history of Zionism and its rise within Jewish communities. He argued that the moment Zionism called for the Jews to immigrate to Israel, in order to establish an ethno-nationalist state, a conflict was created. “I see in this whole transformation of the majority [Arab] to a minority and the minority [Jewish] into a majority as immoral,” explained Sharett.

“Have you seen anywhere in the world where the majority would agree to give in to a foreign invader, who says, ‘our forefathers were here,’ and demands to enter the land and take control?” Sharett rhetorically asked. “The conflict was inherent and Zionism denied this, ignored it… as the proportion of Jews to Arabs changed in favor of the Jews, the Arabs realized that they were losing the majority. Who would agree to such a thing?”

Lamenting his continued presence in Israel he said that he sees himself as a “a collaborator” against his will.

I’m a forced collaborator with a criminal country. I’m here, I have nowhere to go. Because of my age, I can’t go anywhere. And that bothers me. Every day. This recognition won’t leave me. The recognition that in the end, Israel is a country occupying and abusing another people.

Sharett also railed against Israel’s turn towards religious fundamentalism and ultra-nationalism. “When I see the prime minister with a kipah on his head, I don’t feel good,” he added. “This is not the Israel I want to see. How did it happen that this new place, that was to have brought innovations, became the blackest place, controlled by the nationalist ultra-Orthodox? How is it that here of all places, there’s reactionism and zealotry, messianism, the desire to expand and control another people?”

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Give Israel Your Unconditional Support… and this is what you’re supporting

Click on image below:

Posted in Bethlehem area, Occupied Territories, Palestinians, Racism, The Occupation, U.S. Foreign Policy, West Bank | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

VIDEO | Recent Discoveries, Enhancements at the Herodium

A recent report from the Franciscans, via their Christian Media Center, highlights recent developments at the Herodium, the mountaintop palace-fortress of Herod the Great that dominates the landscape of the Judean Desert east of Bethlehem.

New aspects of the site and its interpretation (new to me, anyway) include:

  • Partial restoration of the small theater discovered several years ago on the north slope of the mountain.
  • An elaborate, hi-tech interpretive installation — apparently focusing on Herod’s thoroughly Roman sensibilities — in what they are now calling the “Royal Hall”, which seemingly served as a sort of VIP box above the theater.
  • Restoration of the “Royal Corridor”, which seems to have been turned into — just as in antiquity — the main access to the palace itself, via a monumental staircase between tall retaining walls supported by perfectly intact arches.
  • A wine-press (not yet open to the public), presumably where Herod’s “house label” was produced…

To view the 5-minute video, follow the link…,-the-mausoleum-of-hero

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PHOTOS | Surprising Finds Exposed on Franciscans’ Gethsemane Property

Across the busy street running in front of the Church of All Nations, a popular pilgrim site (in normal times, that is), a recent salvage excavation is providing yet another window into Jerusalem’s past. Not surprising, really, in a city where one can hardly turn a spadeful of earth without uncovering something of antiquity!

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