Arab writers denounce celebration of Israel at Mexican Fair

[Recently received:  "Below is a statement issued by Arab writers and intellectuals protesting having Israel as the guest of honor at the Guadalajara International Book Fair – Mexico, which opened on Saturday November 30......The main signatories are: Idriss Allouch (Poet) from Morocco, Abdul-Razzaq Bukubba (Novelist and Storywriter) from Algeria, Naela al-Wardi (Plastic Artist and Translator) from Tunisia, Najwan Darwish (Poet) and Rasha Hilweh (Writer) from Palestine, Mohammad Dibo (Poet) from Syria, Samah Idriss (Writer and Publisher) from Lebanon, and Jamal Naji (Novelist), Ilias Farkouh (Novelist), Fakhri Saleh (Literary Critic), Ghazi al-Theibeh (Poet), Basma al-Nsour (Storywriter), Mahmoud al-Rimawi (Storywriter and Novelist), and Hisham Bustani (Storywriter) from Jordan." -- Frontlines ed.]
Guadalajara International Book Fair
“Israel” should be boycotted and condemned, not celebrated and honored
 
We write to you from a region that suffers from daily oppression, oppression that is the direct result of the establishment of the Zionist movement in Europe during the late nineteenth century, its campaign to found a settler colonialist state in Palestine with the assistance of imperialist powers, and its declaration the “State of Israel” in 1948 – an event that marked a catastrophe for Palestinians, for Arabs and for humanity. This event was accompanied by massacres and ethnic cleansing, atrocities that the “State of Israel” – built on fabricated religious myths and values of isolationism, aggression, expansionism and hegemony – continues to commit until this day.
 
We are living in the twenty-first century and “Israel” continues to exist as a settler colonialist state. It continues to exist as a state built on imprisoning people in Bantustans and ghettos behind high cement walls. “Israel” is one of very few states in the world today that is openly based on religion, in an age that scorns isolationism, denounces religious discrimination and mocks those who claim to have a mandate from God … that is, except “Israel”.
 
Justice, freedom and openness are fundamental values in the creative world. They are values that cannot be realized in a settler colonial state – a state that on a daily basis commits murders and massacres, shells people, assaults them and confiscates their land. Any person – especially one from the region of Latin America, which has suffered from such colonialism in the past – knows that such a regime can only survive through complete hegemony and the systematic destruction of indigenous people, their society and culture, and by falsifying history – with the catastrophic implications this has for humanity as a whole. Continue reading

Event honoring Edward Said prompts Zionist smear campaign against San Francisco State students

The mural honoring Edward Said at San Francisco State University.

An anti-Palestinian group is mounting an attack against students at San Francisco State University. Following an on-campus event honoring a mural of the late Palestinian scholar Edward Said, the group asserted that an artistic stencil glorified “the murder of Jews.”

The university’s president, at the urging of pro-Israel advocates, has joined the condemnation of the students.

On 7 November, as part of the sixth annual event to celebrate the mural and Palestinian culture, activists with several allied student organizations, including the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) and the Student Kouncil of Intertribal Nations (SKINS), an indigenous student group, set up informational tables on the campus’s Malcolm X Plaza.

The SKINS’ table made various stencils available for students to express themselves using images and slogans. One slogan read “my heroes have always killed colonizers,” which has been used for years by indigenous cultural workers in commemorating the resistance to the genocide of First Nations peoples and other indigenous communities around the world.

For the last two years, for example, indigenous communities have held cultural events entitled “My Heroes Have Always Killed Colonizers” in San Francisco during Indigenous Peoples’ Day — a day reclaimed from the national holiday celebrating the legacy of Christopher Columbus.

It didn’t take long for local Zionist watchdogs to launch a vicious attack against the entire event, the student organizations involved, and even the co-sponsoring academic department on campus, calling it “anti-Semitic” and insinuating that the stencil “glorif[ies] the murder of Jews.” Continue reading

The Zionist Threat to “Take Alice Walker Out”

“Alice Walker’s New Book Makes Her the Zionists’ Target”Smearing Alice Walker
by JEFFREY BLANKFORT, in CounterPunch, June 26, 2013
Alice Walker

Alice Walker

In the comments section of a recent online article in the right wing New York Jewish publication, Algemeiner, not to be confused with the Frankfurter Allgemeine but conceivably with Der Sturmer, there was an argument over whether or not the “Mossad should deal with” Alice Walker as punishment for the critical comments directed towards Israel and American Jewish supporters of Israel in her latest book, “The Cushion in the Road” which, we can assume, none of those commenting had read.

All it took to set off the threat and a stream of racist venom against the 69 year African-American author was an inflammatory headline in Algemeiner’s June 19th edition:“ADL Blasts Anti-Israel Author Walker: ‘She is ‘unabashedly infected with Anti-Semitism’” followed by an article in the same vein.

As could be anticipated from the headline, the story featured a statement by Anti-Defamation League director, Abe Foxman:

“Alice Walker has sunk to new lows with essays that remove the gloss of her anti-Israel activism to reveal someone who is unabashedly infected with anti-Semitism.

“She has taken her extreme and hostile views to a shocking new level, revealing the depth of her hatred of Jews and Israel to a degree that we have not witnessed before.  Her descriptions of the conflict are so grossly inaccurate and biased that it seems Walker wants the uninformed reader to come away sharing her hate-filled conclusions that Israel is committing the greatest atrocity in the history of the world.”

According to an ADL press release, Walker’s book “devotes 80 pages to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, often making comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany, denigrating Judaism and Jews, and suggesting that Israel should cease to exist as a Jewish state.”

To make the point, the ADL includes four examples. Let’s look at one of them:

“Walker analogizes the Palestinians’ situation with the civil rights era and discrimination against Blacks in the American South.  She writes: ‘It is because I recognize the brutality with which my own multibranched ancestors have been treated that I can identify the despicable, lawless, cruel, and sadistic behavior that has characterized Israel’s attempts to erase a people, the Palestinians, from their own land.’”

In case the inner racists of its readers hadn’t been stirred up enough by Foxman’s rant, the Algemeiner reporter added that “Walker has a history of making extreme anti-Israel statements. In June 2012 she refused to allow an Israeli company to publish a Hebrew edition of her novel, ‘The Color Purple.’ Most recently, Walker wrote a letter calling on the singer-songwriter Alicia Keys to cancel her upcoming July 4th concert appearance in Tel Aviv.”

“In her book,” the article concludes, “Walker accuses Israel of ‘genocide,’ ‘ethnic cleansing,’ ‘crimes against humanity,’ and ‘cruelty and diabolical torture.’” In so doing, it should be noted, she is simply observing the same phenomena that a number of dissident Israelis have previously noted. Continue reading

Cruelty of Israel’s Cast Lead assault captured by new documentary

Daryl Meador, The Electronic Intifada, 6 June 2013

WBoy leans against fence with destroyed homes in backgroundhere Should the Birds Fly, the new documentary directed and narrated by Fida Qishta, begins with chilling footage of Israeli bulldozers destroying houses in Rafah in 2004. Qishta, a native of Rafah, the city in the south of the Gaza Strip, watched her parents’ house of 30 years crumble under the bulldozers. As it was destroyed, her father told her and her family to leave and keep walking. “He feared if our eyes took in the sight, our hearts would be filled with hate,” Qishta says.

The young woman channeled the intense anger and frustration felt from this episode, and many others caused by the Israeli blockade, to create a touching film that reveals many of the daily injustices in Gaza.

Qishta began her career as a wedding videographer. After becoming comfortable with the camera, she began to film her surroundings and eventually accompanied human rights observers to document their work.

Much of the first half of the film features scenes of everyday life for Palestinians in Gaza. Qishta left the Gaza Strip in 2006 to visit Europe; when she returned she was forced to wait for three weeks at the border. She filmed the time she spent waiting to re-enter her home.

Shots of the border crossing terminal show tired men, women and children as they waited indefinitely without being offered beds or food.

Targeted by snipers

The documentary visits the farming village of Khozaa, which lies in the Israeli-designated “buffer zone,” land near the boundary with Israel that Palestinians are forbidden from entering. The land, once fertile farmland, is frequently targeted by Israeli sniper fire when farmers attempt to tend it.

The documentary follows farmers as they are accompanied by international activists and try to work the land. Included in this scene is footage of International Solidarity Movement volunteer Vittorio Arrigoni, who dedicated much of his life to working in Gaza and was murdered there in 2011.

Arrigoni stands up against the faraway Israeli soldiers who are shooting at the farmers and yells into a bullhorn, “Stop shooting. We are unarmed.” The shooting continues. Continue reading

Palestine: “After the flames, only determination remains in Burin and Madama”

International Solidarity Movement | June 3, 2013

Burin and Madama, Occupied Palestine – On Monday 3rd June, around a dozen settlers from the illegal colony of Yizhar set fire to Palestinian’s fields in the villages of Burin and Madama, destroying at least 50 acres of arable land with olive trees. The settlers were joined by a jeep of border police when 40-50 Palestinians from the village of Burin came out to attempt to put out the fire, with some being stopped from doing so by the border police present.

As people from the two villages south of Nablus were hoping for an uneventful workday, the settlers from Yizhar, renowned for being one of the worst for settler violence, set fire to fields in the Khallat al-Injas neighbourhood of Madama. One young person there desribed how, “then I went there quickly with my friends and tried to extinguish it. During that time the settlers went to the eastern area which is between Madama and Bureen. They set fire into the hills there.”Before long, the enormous fires spread across the field and towards the olive tree groves of neighbouring Burin. Shortly after, Israeli border police turned up at the scene in Burin’s land, delaying the extinguishing of the fire.

Salman Valley was a major source of income for Burin (photo: ISM)

Salman Valley was a major source of income for Burin (photo: ISM)

Of the Palestinians that gathered, the Israeli border police only allowed uniformed firemen and those from the Palestinian Authority’s civil volunteer service to put out the raging fires. Those who approached to help were threatened with pepper spray. The fire was eventually slowed down when  the border police left and the community was able to help. Areas of the hills still burned when volunteers were leaving at around 6 o’clock in the evening. The Israeli fire service appeared in case the fire spread to settler-occupied land, but did nothing to help the Palestinians nearby. Continue reading

Thousands of Palestinian prisoners launch hunger strike protesting death of prisoner

4,500 Prisoners Refuse Food, Launch 3-Day Hunger Strike in Israeli Jails

On Wednesday 3rd April, around 4,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails sent back their food this morning as part of a protest launched following the death of their fellow prisoner, Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh, who suffered from cancer.

Palestinian prisoners also launched a three-day hunger strike following the death of 64-year-old Abu Hamdiyeh, who was serving a life term in Israeli prison.

An autopsy of Abu Hamdiyeh’s body was scheduled to take place Wednesday at the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir in Tel Aviv in the presence of a Palestinian observer. The body will then be transferred to the Palestinian Authority for burial.

Abu Hamdiyeh’s funeral was scheduled to take place Thursday in his hometown of Hebron.

Palestinian protesters hold up photos of Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh, a prisoner who died of cancer while in an Israeli jail.

Palestinian protesters hold up photos of Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh, a prisoner who died of cancer while in an Israeli jail.

Protests immediately erupted in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and in Israeli prisons on Tuesday over his death. More protests are expected to break out at his funeral in Hebron on Thursday.

Protestors and the Palestinian Authority (PA) blamed on Israel for medical negligence and bare Israeli authorities the full responsibility for Abu Hamdiyeh’s death. Abu Hamdiyeh was claimed a hero and a martyr. 

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Jail death sparks Palestinian protests

Jerusalem (CNN), April 3rd, 2013— A well-known Palestinian prisoner died of cancer in Israeli custody on Tuesday, sparking outrage among Palestinian groups who accuse Israel of denying him treatment.

Maysara Abu Hamdiya, 64, a retired Palestinian general, had been in Israeli prisons since 2002 and was serving a life sentence for alleged involvement in an attempt to bomb a Jerusalem cafe. He died Tuesday morning in an Israeli hospital after being admitted last week because of his deteriorating health, according to the Palestinian Authority’s Government Media Center. Continue reading

Film review: 5 broken cameras

Hot Docs Trailers 2012: 5 BROKEN CAMERAS

 

4 March 2013. A World to Win News Service. 5 Broken Cameras, the first Palestinian documentary nominated for an Oscar, gives an overwhelming depiction of the injustice and brutality on a massive scale against the residents of a village called Bilin in the West Bank. Israeli settlers exude entitlement as they move into new apartments on the hilltops surrounding Bilin, settlements on land stolen from Belin farmers. Not only are Belin’s inhabitants viciously assaulted and oppressed but even the olive trees that are supposedly left to them are burned by brazen settlers or uprooted by the army using armoured construction machinery.

Starting in 2005 and filming over a period of five years with a succession of five cameras destroyed one after another by Israeli soldiers or settlers, Emad Burnat, a farmer turned amateur filmmaker, documented the protests against the land seizures by the Israeli government and the wall under construction that occupies and will separate them from their farmland. Despite great personal risk, he continued filming from a sense of moral obligation to his people and the desire to make the world aware of the struggle to save their land. In 2009 Burnat enlisted the aid of Israeli activist and filmmaker Guy Davidi to help make the film.

The film won many prizes worldwide, in Europe and in the U.S. at the Sundance Film Festival. That this documentary did not win an Oscar is not surprising in a climate where the reactionary feature film Argo received the award for the best picture of the year. Despite having an official invitation to attend the Academy Awards ceremony, when Emad Burnat, his wife and youngest son Gibreel landed in Los Angeles, they were detained and almost deported by U.S. immigration officials until filmmaker Michael Moore intervened and called in Academy lawyers. Continue reading

Obama Urged to Heed Warnings of ‘Palestine on Fire’

[President Obama, who has carefully clung to his Zionist-loyalist agenda (while his meaningless rhetorical differences with Israeli settlement policies have been exaggerated by his 'liberal' spin-doctors), is being warned by a comprador-trained Palestine Authority official that things may get uncontrollable if he does not make a dramatic show of concern for Palestinian prisoners.  If Obama decides to heed this warning,   his upcoming trip to Israel may test his rhetorical and theatrical skills.  Those who think Obama will launch a meaningful change in US-Zionist relations should, however, sober up. -- Frontlines ed.]

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Palestinian officials warn of possible third intifada in wake of Arafat Jaradat’s death

by Lauren McCauley, staff writer, Common Dreams

In the wake of the death of detained Palestinian Arafat Jaradat, officials with the Palestinian Authority have issued a warning to President Obama that Palestine could be “on fire” during his upcoming visit to the region if he does not exert pressure on longtime ally Israel regarding the ongoing treatment of prisoners.

Wrapped in the Palestinian flag, Arafat Jaradat received a ‘hero’s burial’ on Monday in the West Bank village of Saeer. (Photo: Ammar Awad/Reuters) On Monday, over 10,000 Palestinians took part in a funeral procession for Jaradat, the thirty year old Palestinian man who died Saturday after being in Israeli custody for less than one week. An autopsy showed that he had many broken bones, and the PA attributed his death to “extreme torture” inflicted by his captors.

“If President Obama wants to visit the region peacefully, he should exert pressure on Israel to release the prisoners—especially the ones who are on hunger strike—or else he will visit while Palestine is on fire,” said Palestinian Minister of Prisoner Affairs Issa Qaraqe, speaking at a news conference in Ramallah.

Obama’s trip to Israel in March will be his first since becoming US president. Continue reading

How Israel Legitimizes Torturing Palestinians To Death

By Charlotte Silver

26 February, 2013
Al-Jazeera

Six days after Arafat Jaradat was arrested by the Israeli army and the Shin Bet, he was dead. Between the date of his arrest – February 18 – and the day of his death – February 23 – his lawyer Kamil Sabbagh met with Arafat only once: in front of a military judge at the Shin Bet’s Kishon interrogation facility.

Sabbagh reported that when he saw Jaradat, the man was terrified. Arafat told his lawyer that he was in acute pain from being beaten and forced to sit in stress positions with his hands bound behind his back.

30 years old, Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat was tortured and beaten to death in Israeli prison

30 years old, Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat was tortured and beaten to death in Israeli prison

When it announced his death, Israeli Prison Service claimed Arafat – who leaves a pregnant widow and two children – died from cardiac arrest. However, the subsequent autopsy found no blood clot in his heart. In fact, the autopsy concluded that Arafat, who turned 30 this year, was in fine cardiovascular health.

What the final autopsy did find, however, was that Jaradat had been pummelled by repeated blows to his chest and body and had sustained a total of six broken bones in his spine, arms and legs; his lips lacerated; his face badly bruised.

The ordeal that Arafat suffered before he died at the hands of Israel’s Shin Bet is common to many Palestinians that pass through Israel’s prisons. According to the prisoners’ rights organisation Addameer, since 1967, a total of 72 Palestinians have been killed as a result of torture and 53 due to medical neglect. Less than a month before Jaradat was killed, Ashraf Abu Dhra died while in Israeli custody in a case that Addameer argues was a direct result of medical neglect. Continue reading

West Bank protesters rally for release of deteriorating prisoners

19 February, 2013

Palestinians throw stones towards Israeli troops during clashes that broke out after a rally in the West Bank city of Hebron to show solidarity with prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails February 18, 2013. (Reuters / Ammar Awad)

[Palestinians throw stones towards Israeli troops during clashes that broke out after a rally in the West Bank city of Hebron to show solidarity with prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails February 18, 2013. (Reuters / Ammar Awad)]

Thousands demonstrated in Palestine’s two largest cities in support of hunger strikers in Israeli jails. Protesters called on the EU to take action to demand better treatment of the weakening prisoners and back their release.

­More than 1,000 people rioted in the West Bank’s two largest cities on Monday to collectively demonstrate their support for the four long-term hunger strikers imprisoned in Israel’s jails. Public anger has heightened over the uncertainty of the prisoners’ fates, and people took to the streets to both show their support and demand that the international community step in.

The protests flared in both Nablus in the north and Hebron in the south, prompting clashes with the army. Over 1,000 people gathered in Nablus, with a further 1,500 demonstrating in central Hebron. Palestinian youths also blocked the entrance to the UN offices in Ramallah, 10km north of Jerusalem. However, Palestinian police prevented them from entering the building, according to AFP correspondents. Continue reading

India: Academics Condemn Israeli-Indian Partnership

[The international boycott of Israeli academics is growing, as the following statement from India indicates.  And it challenges the abstract claims of "academic freedom" and "objectivity" by describing the actual function of academic work--for instance, regarding studies of water management, it points out that "Israel’s R&D in water .... has in effect stolen water from the the West Bank aquifers to provide water to illegal Israeli settlements, while depriving Palestinians of their own water." -- Frontlines ed.]

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InCACBI Condemns the Growing Partnership between the State of Gujarat and the State of Israel

Statement by the Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (InCACBI)

No partnership with Apartheid Israel!

New Delhi – 2 Feb. 2013

We, a group of academics, activists and artists in India, came together in 2010 to campaign against yet another apartheid regime by extending support to the international campaign for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. (Visit our website www.incacbi.in for more information.)

The Israeli state consistently and ruthlessly tramples on the academic freedom and cultural life of the Palestinian people; and a continued association with the instruments of such a state is unconscionable to any freedom loving person.

This is why we condemn recent efforts to strengthen an already reprehensible partnership between the State of Gujarat and the State of Israel. On January 30th, 2013, the Israeli ambassador to India, Alon Ushpiz, and the Israeli Consul General in Mumbai, Orna Sagiv, met Chief Minister Narendra Modi at his residence to discuss furthering Research and Development (R&D) ties between Gujarat and Israel. Continue reading

Looting books from Palestinian libraries

Dark stories

IN THE dark rooftop viewing space of the Khalil Al Sakakini Cultural Centre in Ramallah, the air was heavy with sighs. Occasionally the faint sound of a whimper could be heard. The screen flickered with images of Palestinians forced out of their homes in the 1948 war. On camera, refugees recounted their ordeals and lamented the loss of something precious: their books.

This was the Ramallah debut of “The Great Book Robbery“, a 2012 documentary about the looting of some 70,000 books from private Palestinian libraries during the 1948 war. It vividly chronicles the large-scale cultural pillage and dispossession of Palestinian literary archives. Directed by Benny Brunner, a Dutch-Israeli immigrant and self-described former Zionist, the film left the 40 or so attendees in awe. Adding to the poignance, the audience was gathered in a centre named for a famous Palestinian poet and scholar whose own book collection had been looted.

“Farewell, my books! How much midnight oil did I burn with you…” Al Sakakini wrote these words shortly after Jewish soldiers swept through Jerusalem’s affluent Arab neighbourhoods of Qatamon, Musrara and Baq’a, “collecting” 30,000 books, newspapers and documents. The haul included works of immeasurable historical or religious significance, such as hand-written copies of the Koran and Hadith, emblazoned with gold leaf. Some 40,000 other books were seized from abandoned homes in urban centres such as Nazareth, Jaffa and Haifa. In writing, Al Sakakini wonders if his treasured possessions were looted or burnt. “Were you transferred, with due respect, to a private or public library?” he asks, or “did you find your way to the grocer, your pages wrapping onions?” Continue reading

Yet another toothless UN condemnation of Israeli crimes?

[Israel would not allow the UN team to conduct inquiries or take testimony in Israel, and has already dismissed this report, the latest of countless UN declarations, resolutions and findings of Israeli violations of international law.  Israeli impunity serves only to rubbish the credibility of the UN as a force for justice, and clarifies once again the need for people to press forward their direct, uncompromising struggle for Palestinian liberation against the always-expanding settler-colonial crimes of ethnic cleansing, Israeli apartheid, and brutal displacement. -- Frontlines ed.]

Independent UN inquiry urges halt to Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory

called on Israel to halt all settlement activity and to ensure accountability for the violations of the human rights of the Palestinians resulting from the settlements.

The report of the International Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) states that a multitude of the human rights of the Palestinians are violated in various forms and ways due to the existence of the settlements.

“These violations are all interrelated, forming part of an overall pattern of breaches that are characterized principally by the denial of the right to self-determination and systemic discrimination against the Palestinian people which occur on a daily basis,” said a news release on the report.

The UN Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, dispatched the Mission in March 2012 “to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”

Since 1967, the Mission’s report notes, Israeli governments have openly led, directly participated in, and had full control of the planning, construction, development, consolidation and encouragement of settlements. Continue reading

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Intifada

A Leap of Faith Toward Freedom
by RAMZY BAROUD, Counterpunch

If Palestinian leaders only knew how extraneous their endless rounds of “unity” talks have become, they might cease their enthusiastic declarations to world media about yet another scheduled meeting or another. At this point, few Palestinians have hope that their “leadership” has their best interests in mind. Factional interests reign supreme and personal agendas continue to define Palestine’s political landscape.

Fatah and Hamas are the two major Palestinian political factions. Despite Hamas’s election victory in 2006, Fatah is the chief contender. Both parties continue to play the numbers game, flexing their muscles in frivolous rallies where Palestinian flags are overshadowed with green and yellow banners, symbols of Hamas and Fatah respectively.

Historically there has been a leadership deficit in Palestine and it is not because Palestinians are incapable of producing upright men and women capable of guiding the decades-long resistance towards astounding victory against military occupation and apartheid. It is because for a Palestinian leadership to be acknowledged as such by regional and international players, it has to excel in the art of “compromise”. These carefully molded leaders often cater to the interests of their Arab and Western benefactors, at the expense of their own people. Not one single popular faction has resolutely escaped this seeming generalization.

This reality has permeated Palestinian politics for decades. However, in the last two decades the distance between the Palestinian leadership and the people has grown by a once unimaginable distance, where the Palestinian has become a jailor and a peddling politician or a security coordinator working hand in hand with Israel. The perks of the Oslo culture have sprouted over the years creating the Palestinian elite, whose interest and that of the Israeli occupation overlap beyond recognition of where the first starts and the other ends. Continue reading

Zionism is shameless and proud of settler colonial conquests and racist expulsions of Palestinians

[Once again, every act of the violent settler colonial state of Israel clarifies the fact that Palestinian liberation will not come by submission, surrender, collaboration, or dinner parties. -- Frontlines ed.]

Netanyahu to Europe leaders: no apology over settlements

The Israeli prime minister has remained defiant over controversial settlement plans during a visit to Europe, as Israel presses ahead with proposals to build in one of the most sensitive areas of the occupied West Bank.

In Prague small numbers of demonstrators turned out both for and against the Israeli cause.

Benjamin Netanyahu had come to thank the Czech Republic for voting against the Palestinians’ diplomatic upgrade to non-member observer status at the United Nations.

He praised his hosts for opposing what he called a “one-sided” resolution. Israel would not sacrifice its “vital interests for the sake of obtaining the world’s applause”. Continue reading