It’s what they do: overnight a home belonging to a member of the Dawabsheh clan in the Duma village south of Shechem in Samaria was set on fire. Ma’an reported that two Molotov cocktails were thrown at the house and its second floor caught fire. The house sustained heavy damages but no one was hurt.
There was a feeble attempt on the part of the PA Arabs to blame the “settlers” for the arson (the Ma’an headline ran: “Settlers burn a house in Douma, south of Nablus”), but a preliminary investigation showed it was a villager-on-villager arson, which is how most arson cases in Duma get started. Over the past year and a half there have been at least six arson cases in Duma, because arson is how the local clan, the Dawabshehs, are known to settle their internal accounts.
Speaking of which, the much celebrated Duma arson case is reaching its first anniversary in 11 days, on July 31, and the security apparatus is yet to submit convincing charges to the courts, especially since their version and the descriptions of local Arabs of what took place that night do not match. And while it is true that three members of a Dawabsheh family, including a baby, lost their lives in the fire that night, the prosecution appears reluctant to proceed with the case against Amiram Ben-Uliel and a minor. Ben-Uliel has retracted his confession, saying it had been extracted under torture — which it was, according to Shabak reports, with the blessings of then AG Yehuda Weinstein.
Arab activist Ghassan Douglas, who is in charge of monitoring settlement activities in Judea and Samaria, informed Ma’an it was the settlers who threw those Molotov cocktails Tuesday night—which is par for the course for this PA official. According to Douglas, it had to be the “settlers,” since the owner of the house “felt strange movement around the house”—so that proves it, and also the materials used were highly flammable—must be the Jews, and, most emphatically, as Ma’an put it in simple language: “The Israeli government released 15 settlers out of 17 of the defendants [in the Duma case] to carry out acts of terrorism against citizens in the West Bank.” Case closed…
The IDF initially suggested last night’s fire started due to faulty wiring, but as of Wednesday morning all sides agree it was the Dawabsheh folks settling accounts in their favorite fashion.
A group of anti-Israel Jewish activists arrived in Hebron to award the city its first movie theater. But in the process, according to local Jewish residents, they destroyed the grazing grounds of a local Arab shepherd.
According to a JTA report by Andrew Tobin, dozens of American Jews spent Friday in Hebron “practicing nonviolent resistance against Israel’s presence,” singing “The World is Built with Loving Kindness” in English and Hebrew, clearing scrap metal, weeds and debris from a dirt lot with several low-slung cement structures, singing Jewish and protest songs, and passing around bags of popcorn labeled “Cinema Hebron” below a “triumphant” sign that read “Cinema Hebron: Coming Soon.” Indeed, the mission last Friday was to endow Hebron its “first Palestinian movie theater.”
Eventually, soldiers and police officers demanded that the activists leave the area, and when said activists sat on the ground, locked arms and sang “Lo Yisa Goy el Goy Herev,” they were pulled up one by one and removed. The Israelis in the group were detained, the Americans were let go (which was their strategy). Around 2 PM the American activists left the Israelis behind bars and proceeded to have a much deserved lunch.
There are many things wrong with the above two paragraphs, and we encourage you to read the entire JTA report to better appreciate our story (Peter Beinart joins US Jews for civil rights-style protest in West Bank). We spoke to Tzipi Shlisel, who is actually quoted by Tobin in his story, where he uses her as the obligatory reactionary settler’s counter-view: “[The activists] think they’re doing a good thing, but they’re really helping the terrorists,” and, “I’ll tell you, in the Holocaust, Jewish people helped Hitler, too.”
Tzipi Shlisel’s father, Shlomo Ra’anan HY”D, was stabbed to death by a local Arab back in 1998, the year when then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu handed over most of Hebron to PA Chairman Yasser Arafat. Shlisel recalls it was a scene similar to the devastating stabbing of 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel, in Kiryat Arba two weeks ago.
But Tzipi Shlisel contacted JewishPress.com not because Tobin’s report treated her father’s murder with less empathy than it did the activists’ lunch, or Because Tobin used her as a necessary color stain on his canvas describing brave Jewish activists defying Israeli occupation with action and song. Tzipi Shlisel insists Tobin’s report is partial, and that he missed out on a wealth of historic and cultural information, including the fact that the area the Jewish activists weeded so energetically was prized for its weed by a local Arab shepherd.
The lands in question are in Tel Rumeida (biblical Hebron according to some authorities) which were purchased by the Hebron Jewish community 200 years ago, the first one in 1811, the second in 1816. During the 1949-67 Jordanian occupation, the Abu Aisha clan took over some of those lands. The neighborhood of Admot Yishai was built on a small part of this land, which is otherwise known as the Tel Remeida settlement, over which the Arabs are fighting the Jewish community. “But we have aerial photographs of the entire area, including the ancient olive trees which were purchased along with the land, as is noted in the purchase documents, and these lands all belong to the Jewish community,” Shlisel insists.
Near the neighborhood there’s an area where the army built a bunker behind which there is a copper factory which was shut down for environmental reasons more than 30 years ago. “It generated crazy air pollution, Jews, Arabs, no one could breathe,” Shlisel recalls.
“Eighteen years ago, after my father was stabbed to death by an Arab, the IDF created check points for the Arab traffic near our neighborhoods, and the area around the inactive copper factory is off-limits to Arabs.”
Hebron is divided into the H1 and H2 zones. H1 compromises 80% of Hebron, and Jews are forbidden to go there. The Arabs, on the other hand, can move freely in much of H2.
“Now, when the activists arrived with their tremendous singing, they cleaned up the area thoroughly, it was truly amazing, but the local Arab, a member of the Abu Aisha clan, who’s been claiming that these are his lands, and even says they are registered as his with the city of Hebron, was not consulted.
“Later, a police officer told me there was a military order (tzav aluf — lit. decree issued by a General) to evacuate the activists and that the Arab had filed a complaint with local police,” Shlisel said.
JewishPress.com contacted the local Hebron police station chief who said there had been no complaint filed. But a different source in the Hebron community who asked to remain anonymous told the JewishPress.com that the leftwing activists, one of whom was a former Tanzim activist from the Abu Aisha clan, convinced the Arab shepherd not to file a complaint. The fact is police and IDF soldiers did show up to remove the activists, and the Arab is seen asking police to chase away the American invaders.
In any event, in the video, shot by Shlisel for TPS, the Arab is telling police, “Yalla, take them from here … these are my lands …”
“I heard the same Arab complaining that they pulled out his grazing weed from the ground, that he owns a herd which he keeps in Dura village, and the old factory is one of the area where his goats graze. Those peace activists did a cleanup job on his source of livelihood. They raked and tore up the weeds, and from a Western culture point of view they did a fantastic job, but from this Arab’s point of view they destroyed his grazing field,” Shlisel said.
Responding to an inquiry JewishPress.com emailed Peter Beinart, Sharon Rose Goldtzvik of “Uprise – communications consulting for good guys,” wrote back:
The report you received is incorrect. Early in the day, Israeli police questioned Mr. Abu Aisha’s ownership of the land, and Mr. Abu Aisha quickly produced documents proving that he is indeed the owner. The police then dropped the claim. The “local Arab farmer” you reference was never named and was not present; in fact, there is no evidence that such a complaint was ever filed. Again, Mr. Abu Aisha was able to quickly prove that he owns the property and police recognized his rightful ownership. The IDF later returned with a “closed military zone” order; this was the basis for removing the activists.
I should also mention that the property was a relatively small plot consisting of a couple of cement and cinder block buildings, and a lot of debris. It could not have been used for animal grazing. I don’t know who reported otherwise.
But as can be heard on the video, Abu Aisha is clearly asking police to remove the activists, and says that he often grazes his animals there (watch the last half of the tape, shot by Shlisel for TPS, starting sec. 23).
As to the idea of “Cinema Hebron” (the name of the city in Arabic is Al-Khalil, meaning “friend,” after Abraham who was the friend of God, while Hebron is the colonialist-Zionist name used by the occupiers) Hebron is probably the most conservative religious Muslim city in all of Israel, where men and women are completely segregated, where Hamas rules, and where the very idea of attending a movie, never mind opening a movie theater, could get a man flogged.
That these American “liberators” would be so ignorant of the cultural and religious values of the people they have come to set free with song and hard weeding is possibly the funniest, even hallucinatory, idea of all.
“Which is why the only place where they could advocate having a movie theater in all of Hebron was near the Jewish neighborhoods, where at least no one would stone the living daylights out of them for their insolence, Tzipi Shlisel said, adding, “These human rights group who say they want to help the Arabs are actually ignorant of who these Arabs are. They step on their culture, trampling their values, with great glee and with a loud song on their lips.”
A group of “former” Arab terrorists and their leftwing Israeli enablers held a protest in Gush Etzion on Friday, between Beitar and Efrat.
They shut down Highway 60, the main highway between Jerusalem and Gush Etzion. They held up signs with ridiculous statements on them, such as “The wall is violent”.
While my regular readers know that I am not a fan of the security wall or of Iron Dome, as these are defensive measures we use instead of fighting to win, there’s no question that the psychological shock the Jihadists and their supporters felt when the security fences and walls went up, forced them to reevaluate the “success” of their suicide bombing campaign and ability to continue them.
Almost immediately the Israeli Left and the Arabs began fighting the wall, always leaving out of their narrative the fact that the Arab terrorists were the ones responsible for it having to go up in the first place.
The group who blocked Highway 60 in Gush Etzion describe themselves as having “actively participated in the cycle of violence”, which in plain English means, the Arabs in their group were active terrorists who tried to, and perhaps succeeded in hurting and killing Jews.
In fact, it may very well be that included in this group protesting the security wall are failed suicide bombers and the people that sent them.
Of course people like that would consider the wall “violent”, as perhaps more than anything it affected their ability to kill lots of Jews, and it heavily reduced the active Arab support for their acts of terrorism.
It’s an obvious question to ask, are these “former” terrorists still supporting terror? Is “peace” simply a new tactic for their same nefarious goals?
We could talk about their one-track, mostly one-sided message, and how they don’t block the roads to Yata and Dura in colorful protest of the serial Arab terror emanating from those villages.
They explain away their one-sided protests and imbalanced messages citing the “occupation”. Their catchall word for excusing everything.
But to me, the real warning sign is how “former” terrorists, whose plans were thwarted by the security wall, are now calling to tear down one of Israel’s primary passive deterrents against suicide bombers and Arab terrorism – right in the midst of a new wave of terrorism.
Ragnar Kjartansson is a widely exhibited Icelandic performance artist. In a 2002 work called Death and the Children, he dressed up in a dark suit and carried a scythe, leading young children through a cemetery, answering their questions. In a 2006 live performance titled Sorrow Conquers Happiness, he wore a tuxedo and played the role of a 1940s nightclub crooner with an orchestra, singing, “Sorrow conquers happiness” over and over as the music swelled. In 2011, Kjartansson won the inaugural Malcolm Award at Performa 11, the visual art performance biennial, for his 12-hour work Bliss, which was performed without a break at the Abrons Arts Center on the Lower East Side of Manhattan with repeated performances of the finale of Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro,” the moment when the count gets down on one knee and asks his wife for forgiveness, which she grants in an aria. Icelandic tenor Kristjan Johannson played the count.
For his exhibition titled Architecture and Morality, at the Center for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv this season, Kjartansson, according to a press release, was going to “create a new, ambitious body of paintings within the specific context of Israel. He will spend two weeks painting the urban landscapes in the West Bank ‘En plein air’ (a fancy French term the press release misspelled and which means ‘outdoors’) akin to his performative painting practice over the past few years.”
Ragnar Kjartansson settlements exhibition / Source: CCA Facebook
So Ragnar Kjartansson took his canvas and stand and paints and brushes and went en plein air to various Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, and what he brought back was, well, not so bad. He painted what he saw (a paraphrase on the New Yorker’s surrealist Gahan Wilson’s book of horror cartoons), and apparently he saw none of the blood curdling evil normally associated with the term “settlements” on the corner of south Tel Aviv’s Tsadok Hacohen and Kalisher Streets, which is where the CCA is located.
Ragnar Kjartansson settlements exhibition / Source: CCA Facebook
Or, as Galia Yahav put it in Ha’aretz this weekend, “The houses are rendered separately, one per painting. All of them are drawn from the front and fill the canvas in the same way and from the same distance. The style is blatantly amateurish and naïve, as though from a hobby group, deliberately bland, with obedient brushstrokes and a filling of blank spaces, turgid coloration and pedantically mimetic attention to detail.”
But, most upsetting, from Yahav’s point of view, “the result is a small, suburban neighborhood of villas, completely artificial, in which little Israeli flags attached to parked cars wave in the breeze and larger ones flop from the windows of houses. Without addresses or names of specific settlements, this artistic tactic poses with feigned innocence in the likeness of a 19th-century pilgrimage, in which the Holy Land is portrayed through misty eyes.”
Ragnar Kjartansson settlements exhibition / Source: CCA Facebook
In other words, this cutting-edge performance artist, who was going to do to the settlements what Edvard Munch did the screaming, came away from those colonialist, apartheid-dispensing satanic neighborhoods with a fairly bland set of impressions, which is what one could expect from suburban bedroom communities anywhere.
“Perhaps the idea was to depict a generic quality of life rife with sated insensitivity – architecture as amorality,” Yahav tried to dig up some evil from under those middle class shaggy rugs. “Or perhaps it’s the realization of violent fantasy through painting: the occupied territories without Palestinians, a heaven on earth.”
Ragnar Kjartansson settlements exhibition / Source: CCA Facebook
Curator Chen Tamir wrote that Kjartansson’s settlements paintings “tell a story about the banality of everyday life amid complex political turmoil.” Maybe. But it ain’t in those paintings. Indeed, Tamir conceded that the entire Kjartansson exhibition “is a bold statement on art’s futility in the face of social and political strife.”
Or maybe, just maybe, the Icelandic artist discovered and then made a point leftwing art critics can’t afford to admit: that things in those Jewish settlements and in all of Judea and Samaria, just aren’t nearly as bad as they are in many other, more troubled places, such as London, Paris, Brussels, Nice and Istanbul.
Both houses of Congress are at work to modify funding bills for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), as part of an effort to investigate the very legitimacy of the decades-old agency, Michael Wilner reported in the Jerusalem Post Friday. Both the House and the Senate want the State Department to, once and for all, define the term “Palestinian refugee,” and while they’re at it, reveal how many are receiving aid from UNRWA.
UNRWA was established in 1948 to assist the 750,000 Palestinians who had left Israel. Since then UNRWA has been a promoter of the Palestinian cause, funding as many as 5 million “refugees,” the majority of whom never left the homes where they were born in the Gaza Strip, the “West Bank,” eastern Jerusalem, or other Arab countries, to the tune of $1.23 billion annually, $250 million of which is donated by US taxpayers.
Many in Congress have been saying, since about 2012, that the majority of Palestinians are permanently settled, and should not be under the jurisdiction of a refugee agency.
Needless to say, Wilner points out, “such a finding would fundamentally change the narrative of the decades-old conflict.”
The first Palestinian census was completed 15 years ago, and the head of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) admitted then that the census was, in effect, “a civil intifada” rather than a scientific survey. In 2011 the Bureau attempted to correct that blatant misrepresentation, claiming that 2.6 million Palestinian Arabs inhabit Judea and Samaria.
But Israeli demographer Yoram Ettinger challenged those numbers, claiming they overstated the real number of Arabs there by as much as 66%. He explained that the PCBS’s total counts 400,000 Palestinians living overseas, and double-counts 240,000 Jerusalem Arabs. It also undercounted Palestinian emigration.
In 2014, UNRWA came up with the figure of 5 million Palestinian refugees living in Gaza, Judea and Samaria, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, and the US responded by providing hundreds of millions of dollars for UNRWA’s health, education, and social service programs.
“UNRWA is sort of becoming an entitlement program of the Middle East, and the desire is to increase transparency on who actually are refugees relevant to that conflict,” a senior Senate aide familiar with the language told Wilner, suggesting the new bill “goes to the heart of the debate over UNRWA funding.”
Republicans in both houses have launched parallel efforts to compel the State Department to go on the record with who qualifies as a “Palestinian refugee,” and the combined version of the law, once passed, will compel the secretary of state to provide “a justification of why it is in the national interest of the United States to provide funds to UNRWA.”
The bill’s language continues: “Such justification shall include an analysis of the current definition of Palestinian refugees that is used by UNRWA, how that definition corresponds with, or differs from, that used by UNHCR, other UN agencies, and the United States Government, and whether such definition furthers the prospects for lasting peace in the region.”
And, naturally, “the committee directs that such report be posted on the publicly available website of the Department of State.”
Finally, it should be noted that there are two distinct definitions of the term “refugee” in international law.
A refugee, according to the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, is a person who is outside their country of citizenship because they have well-founded grounds for fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, and is unable to obtain sanctuary from their home country or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country; or in the case of not having a nationality and being outside their country of former habitual residence as a result of such event, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to their country of former habitual residence.
It is rare for a refugee status to extend beyond the lifetime of the original refugee, because normally it is expected that their offspring will have settled someplace else.
Not so regarding Palestinian refugees, according to UNRWA’s definition of the term, which includes the patrilineal descendants of the original “Palestinian refugees,” limited to persons residing in UNRWA’s areas of operation in the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.
MK Yehuda Glick responded forcibly to a Ynet article which discussed the number of people from Otniel who have been murdered by Arab terrorists, where “nearly every second family” has been touched by terror.
Glick wrote back that “Otniel, like all the settlements in Judea and Samria is strong. We will get over this, and we will grow and flourish. In the end, it is clear to everyone that Israeli law will be applied to all of Judea and Samaria. Why wait!”
Samaria (TPS) – Amid the intense heat wave in Israel, the water crisis plaguing Samaria is taking an unprecedented toll as residents and community leaders scramble to find solutions for the water scarcity. To date, eight settlement communities have experienced water shortages and three have had no water at all last week.
“We’ve been saving water, not wasting a drop,” said Rachel Shalev of Elon Moreh, a community with over 1,600 people located in Samaria, northeast of Nablus. “We were told to limit the amount of water we are using. In my neighborhood there is water but there are other parts of the community where the running water isn’t working.”
“On Shabbat, at the synagogue, people were wondering if they’d have to go back to drawing water from a well.”
“Every moment that we have water, I thank God,” Shalev said. “But I’m not doing any laundry for now or taking any chances.”
In some cases, emergency water tanks as well as water bottles have been delivered at special water stations set up in settlement communities like Kedumim and Eli.
“We knew this was coming but we never expected the water issue to be this severe,” said Yisrael Ganz, deputy head of the Binyamin Regional Council to Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “We are at the height of this water crisis, which has left residents unable to maintain a normal way of life at this time.”
Arab residents of the region have been severely affected as well. Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, sent a letter to the government of Israel claiming that Mekorot, the Israeli water company, has significantly reduced the amount of water that it supplies to the region since early June 2016.
Adalah provided TPS with the text that its lawyer, Muna Haddad, wrote to Israeli authorities.
“The reduction in water amounts and pressure prevents the filling of holding reservoirs in the Palestinian communities. As a result, in some of the communities, including the villages of Salfit, Azmut, Salem and Dir Al-Hatab in the northern West Bank, water flow to residential homes has been almost completely cut for more than two weeks,” Haddad wrote.
“The cuts have also caused factory shutdowns, damage to gardens and agricultural lands, and the deaths of livestock due to dehydration. The situation, exacerbated by a period of heavy heat over the past several weeks that is expected to continue through the summer months, is causing significant harm to West Bank residents,” Haddad added.
According to Oded Revivi, the mayor of Efrat and a Yesha Council representative, the reasons for the water shortage are varied and are sometimes influenced by ideological motives. “There is no dispute that both Jews and Arabs in Judea and Samaria are suffering from a shortage of water during these hot summer days,” he commented to TPS.
“The people behind the Oslo Accords foresaw this situation and drew guidelines to prevent specifically such a crisis,” he explained. “Unfortunately, the funds of the European community dedicated to this purpose did not reach its objective.”
Revivi believes that the only way to overcome the situation at the moment is to understand that money must be invested in the proper infrastructure so that drinking water can be provided for both populations.
“At the end of the day, it is the Jews and Arabs who live in this region that need to set rules and come up with a working system that will benefit both sides so that they can live side by side in a peaceful and beneficial co-existence,” he concluded.