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January 2, 2011

Cut ties with Israel NOW! by Carlos Latuff

The year of truth: Haaretz

At midnight, when the French champagne is flowing like water, perhaps we will understand that next year will be the last year we can still save something, and be grateful the truth came out.

By Gideon Levy

This was (also ) a good year – the year of truth. The year that concludes tonight with a kiss was the year the Israeli masquerade party ended, the year the costumes were torn off and the truth came out. The true face was revealed. This was the year we finally came out of the closet – no more saccharine phrases and hollow talk about justice and equality, no more flowery and superficial words about peace and two states. This year the truth was heard in public, echoing loud and clear from one end of the country to the other, worrisome and depressing.

No one is talking anymore about peace; we even put the “peace process” in quotes this year, to make fun of it, as it deserves. All that’s left of peace this year is U.S. special envoy George Mitchell. And nothing remains of the prime minister’s two-state vision or the majority in the surveys: This year the Israeli government said no, even to a temporary freeze on settlement construction, and the Israelis said nothing.

After this year of truth, no one will be able to claim seriously that Israel seeks peace with the Palestinians, or with the Syrians, who spoke peace but were left unanswered. All the excuses have lost their value – Palestinian terror has halted and there is at least half a partner who is more moderate than any other. Still, we’re sticking to our positions. The truth shouts out: The Israelis don’t really want peace, they prefer real estate.

The inner workings of Israeli society have also been unmasked. The appearance of a tolerant, democratic and egalitarian society has been suddenly replaced by an authentic portrait, one that is terrifyingly nationalist and racist. Rabbis and their wives, mayors and parliamentarians all sang together in a discordant choir: no to Arabs and no to foreigners. In the years preceding this year of truth, racists still used to be excommunicated.

In this year of truth we said unabashedly that Meir Kahane was right. Almost half of Israelis oppose renting apartments to Arabs; more than half favor an oath of allegiance to the state; rabbis’ wives join their husbands in calling on the modest daughters of Israel not to go out with Arabs; a Knesset member says that those who smuggle in “infiltrators,” as migrant workers and war refugees were termed this year, should be shot in the head; and one of his colleagues blames the Russians for Israelis’ drinking habits.

Meanwhile, we proposed a law calling for foreigners who criticize Israel to be expelled if they visit here, a Jaffa school principal does not allow his students to speak Arabic, an activist against the occupation was jailed for taking part in a cycling protest, and a Bedouin-rights activist was jailed for an even longer period for the offense of having an illegal garage.

This is the plethora of reports about a day in the life of the country in the latter part of this cursed year. Such reports were thrown in our faces almost daily. The foreigner is spreading diseases and crime, and the Arab student wants to disinherit us with the price of a two-room rented apartment. We also held campaigns of intimidation and sowing fear of the different and the other that would not have shamed the most dubious regimes of the past. We had disgraceful demonstrations against refugees and Arabs, with the encouragement of part of the establishment and silence from the others, out of which one tune can be heard – a tune of arrogance and nationalism.

This was also the year of Yisrael Beiteinu’s Avigdor Lieberman, no longer a wolf in sheep’s clothing but a neighborhood bully who doesn’t care about the consequences. An attempt to defuse the crisis with Turkey and then, boom! – a blow to the head. Instead of the never-ending peace speeches by President Shimon Peres, this year the foreign minister repeatedly slapped the entire world in the face for us. Not only Kahane was right; Lieberman was too. He speaks the truth, the truth of Israel.

There is nothing like sunshine for disinfecting, so this was a relatively good year. Perhaps precisely this flood of dubious nationalist feelings from the depths of the soul, which had been latent for years, will at long last stir this slumbering nation to action. Perhaps after this year, the minority that thinks differently will finally open its eyes. Maybe when the flames are closing in around us all, we will understand that this is not the society we want to live in. And maybe the world will understand who is involved.

Tonight at midnight, when the French champagne is flowing like water and the French kisses are bestowed on the mouths of our beloveds, perhaps we will begin to understand that next year will be fateful. It will be the last year we can still save something. If a miracle occurs and this does indeed happen, we will be grateful for the year that has passed, the year of truth for Israel.

Israeli forces kill female protester in Bil’in: IOA

1 JANUARY 2011
YouTube – 1 Jan 2010
www.youtube.com/watch?v=FErDPdMzWjY

Over a thousand protesters responded to the Bil’in Popular Committee’s call to march on the Wall in the village today, in what they announced to be “the last day of the Wall”. Two protesters were hospitalized for their injuries.

Over a thousand people heeded to the call issued by the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements today, and joined the weekly demonstration. Despite the siege laid on the village by the Israeli army, activists – Palestinians, Israelis and internationals – swarmed the hills and valleys surrounding Bil’in by the hundreds and managed to join those already in the village.

Among those giving speeches before the demonstration were local leaders, as well as Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, who voiced his support for Bil’in and the popular struggle. The march then proceeded towards the Wall, where it was barraged with tear-gas on sight.

Small organized groups of protesters then spread across the Wall to try and implement the popular committee’s announcement that he last day of the decade will indeed also be the last day of the Wall on Bil’in’s land. An overwhelming number of Israeli soldiers and Border Police officers spread along the path of the Wall, but were not able to stop demonstrators equipped with bolt-cutters from breaching through the Wall in three places.

In one place, the protesters actually managed to carry a rather significant chunk of the Wall back to the village.

One protester was hit in the face with a tear-gas projectile shot directly at him, and required hospitalization. Another female protester suffered such degree of asphyxiation from the tear-gas that she had to be evacuated to the Ramallah ICU, where she is still under observation.

The Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements announced:

Press Release
January 1, 2011

Israeli Forces Kill Female Protester in Bil’in

Jawaher Abu Rahmah, 36, was evacuated to the Ramallah hospital yesterday after inhaling massive amounts of tear-gas during the weekly protest in Bil’in, and died of poisoning this morning. Abu Rahmah was the sister of Bassem Abu Rahmah who was also killed during a peaceful protest in Bil’in on April 17th, 2010.

Doctors at the Ramallah hospital fought for Jawaher Abu Rahmah’s life all night at the Ramallah Hospital, but were unable to save her life. Abu Rahmah suffered from severe asphyxiation caused by tear-gas inhalation yesterday in Bil’in, and was evacuated to the Ramallah hospital unconscious. She was diagnosed as suffering from poisoning caused by the active ingredient in the tear-gas, and did not respond to treatment.

Jawaher Abu Rahmah was the sister of Bil’in activist, Bassem Abu Rahmah, who was shot dead with a high velocity tear-gas projectile during a demonstration in the village on April 17th, 2009.

Israel investigates tear gas death of Palestinian protester
Jawaher Abu Rahmeh inhaled tear gas fired by soldiers at weekly protest in Bilin against Israel’s West Bank barrier

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Associated Press
guardian.co.uk,     Sunday 2 January 2011 12.04 GMT
Article history

Mourners carry the body of Jawaher Abu Rahmeh in a funeral procession in Bilin. Photograph: Majdi Mohammed/AP
The Israeli military has launched an investigation into the death of a Palestinian woman who was overcome by tear gas fired by soldiers at a West Bank protest.

In an unrelated incident today, a Palestinian man was killed in the West Bank after trying to attack Israeli troops at a checkpoint, Palestinian and Israeli security officials said.

Contradictory accounts were given of the circumstances surrounding the woman’s death. Jawaher Abu Rahmeh, 36, inhaled the gas at the weekly demonstration in Bilin against Israel’s West Bank separation barrier.

Tear gas is meant to be a non-lethal crowd control method and is used routinely by Israeli troops at protests. Doctors say the gas can kill on rare occasions if a victim has a pre-existing condition.

Mohammed Abu Rahmeh, a relative of the woman, said she had suffered from asthma since she was a child. Rateb Abu Rahmeh, a doctor and a spokesman for the Bilin protesters, said she had a “weak immune system”. However, her parents said she was healthy and did not have asthma.

Dr Mohammed Eideh, who treated Abu Rahmeh in Ramallah, said she died of “respiratory failure and then cardiac arrest” caused by inhalation of tear gas. He said he did not know whether she had a pre-existing condition.

Another doctor said she was initially released from hospital, later collapsed, was readmitted and then died. Eideh said she had not been released.

Michael Sfard, the Israeli lawyer representing the woman’s family, said troops used “incredible quantities of gas” at the protest, a weekly event that often deteriorates into violent clashes between protesters and soldiers.

Abu Rahmeh’s brother, Bassem Abu Rahmeh, was killed at a similar demonstration in 2009 after being hit by an Israeli tear gas canister, becoming the 17th Palestinian to die at barrier protests since 2004.

The military described Friday’s protest as a “violent and illegal riot” and released photographs it identified as being from the demonstration showing Palestinian youths using slingshots and a firebomb against troops. The military said it was investigating Abu Rahmeh’s death but had not been allowed to see the Palestinian medical reports.

Several hundred Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday to protest over the woman’s death, Haaretz reported.

In the incident at the West Bank checkpoint today, a Palestinian worker in his 20s attacked soldiers with a glass bottle after he was denied permission to cross, Palestinian security officials said. The Israeli military said the man approached troops with a broken bottle and ignored calls to stop before he was shot.

EDITOR: New tear gas used is lethal

Yet another Israeli ‘investigation’ which will find no one has done anything wrong… in the meantime, they use this lethal gas on peaceful protests with impunity.

Israel investigates tear gas death of Palestinian protester: The Guardian

Jawaher Abu Rahmeh inhaled tear gas fired by soldiers at weekly protest in Bilin against Israel’s West Bank barrier

Mourners carry the body of Jawaher Abu Rahmeh in a funeral procession in Bilin. Photograph: Majdi Mohammed/AP
The Israeli military has launched an investigation into the death of a Palestinian woman who was overcome by tear gas fired by soldiers at a West Bank protest.

In an unrelated incident today, a Palestinian man was killed in the West Bank after trying to attack Israeli troops at a checkpoint, Palestinian and Israeli security officials said.

Contradictory accounts were given of the circumstances surrounding the woman’s death. Jawaher Abu Rahmeh, 36, inhaled the gas at the weekly demonstration in Bilin against Israel’s West Bank separation barrier.

Tear gas is meant to be a non-lethal crowd control method and is used routinely by Israeli troops at protests. Doctors say the gas can kill on rare occasions if a victim has a pre-existing condition.

Mohammed Abu Rahmeh, a relative of the woman, said she had suffered from asthma since she was a child. Rateb Abu Rahmeh, a doctor and a spokesman for the Bilin protesters, said she had a “weak immune system”. However, her parents said she was healthy and did not have asthma.

Dr Mohammed Eideh, who treated Abu Rahmeh in Ramallah, said she died of “respiratory failure and then cardiac arrest” caused by inhalation of tear gas. He said he did not know whether she had a pre-existing condition.

Another doctor said she was initially released from hospital, later collapsed, was readmitted and then died. Eideh said she had not been released.

Michael Sfard, the Israeli lawyer representing the woman’s family, said troops used “incredible quantities of gas” at the protest, a weekly event that often deteriorates into violent clashes between protesters and soldiers.

Abu Rahmeh’s brother, Bassem Abu Rahmeh, was killed at a similar demonstration in 2009 after being hit by an Israeli tear gas canister, becoming the 17th Palestinian to die at barrier protests since 2004.

The military described Friday’s protest as a “violent and illegal riot” and released photographs it identified as being from the demonstration showing Palestinian youths using slingshots and a firebomb against troops. The military said it was investigating Abu Rahmeh’s death but had not been allowed to see the Palestinian medical reports.

Several hundred Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday to protest over the woman’s death, Haaretz reported.

In the incident at the West Bank checkpoint today, a Palestinian worker in his 20s attacked soldiers with a glass bottle after he was denied permission to cross, Palestinian security officials said. The Israeli military said the man approached troops with a broken bottle and ignored calls to stop before he was shot.

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