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Israeli MPs try to assault Haneen Zoabi


This 9-minute video, showing Israeli Jewish MPs’ reaction to a speech by Haneen Zoabi today, offers a very revealing insight into how Israel’s tribal democracy works. And it isn’t pretty.

Even in the British parliament, which is imploding at the moment, it is impossible to imagine scenes like these.

Zoabi made the speech after Israel agreed this week very belatedly to pay compensation to the families of nine humanitarian activists killed by Israeli commandos in 2010 on the Mavi Marmara, as it plied international waters on its way to deliver aid to Gaza. In fact, it would be more accurate to say Israel assassinated the activists, as a way to deter others from following in their wake.

The Marmara was a Turkish vessel and the compensation was part of Israel’s reconciliation deal with Turkey.

Zoabi was the only Israeli MP on the ship, and was accused of treason by Knesset members for participating in the aid flotilla. She became public enemy number one and received many death threats at the time, including some barely veiled ones from Jewish MPs.

All the exchanges in this video are in Hebrew, but that doesn’t really matter. You don’t need to understand the language to understand what is going on. One Jewish MP, Oren Hazan, of Netanyahu’s Likud party, heckles Zoabi non-stop for more than four minutes, with the Speaker doing nothing more than politely asking him to calm down and refrain from interrupting.

Remember that Palestinians MPs are regularly ejected from the Knesset for far less than this kind of barracking and violation of parliamentary protocol. Notice also that the Knesset TV spends as much time, if not more, focusing on the heckler than Zoabi, implicitly legitimising his anti-democratic behaviour.

But when Zoabi accuses the soldiers of “murder” at about 4.30-min into the video, all hell breaks loose. A dozen or more Jewish MPs rush to the podium and start circling Zoabi like a pack of baying hyenas. By this stage, when Zoabi is being physically threatened by a number of MPs in the parliament chamber, you might think it would be time for some of them to be forcefully ejected, if only to indicate that this subversion of the democratic process will not be tolerated. But not a bit of it. They are treated with kid gloves.

The Knesset guards simply try to block the violent Jewish MPs from reaching the single Palestinian MP in their sights, presumably fearful that were she to be physically assaulted that might make headline news and make Israel look bad.

Paradoxically, the only MP you can see on the film being pushed out of the Knesset chamber is Zoabi’s party leader, Jamal Zahalka, who from the look of things is interceding because he’s worried she is in danger. Hazan was finally removed, though after more than eight minutes of heckling, threats and belligerence.

Another paradox: Zoabi and her fellow party MPs have only recently been allowed to speak in the Knesset again, after the ethics committee (dominated by Jewish MPs) suspended them for several months because of their “unacceptable” political views.

I doubt very much that any of these Jewish MPs, even though they have threatened and tried to physically harm another MP, one from the wrong tribe, will suffer any consequences at all for their behaviour.

Zoabi said in her speech: “I stood here six years ago, some of you remember the hatred and hostility toward me, and look where we got to. Apologies to the families of those who were called terrorists. The nine that were killed, it turns out that their families need to be compensated. I demand an apology to all the political activists who were on the Marmara and an apology to MK Haneen Zoabi, who you’ve incited against for six years. I demand compensation and I will donate it to the next flotilla. As long as there’s a siege, more flotillas need to be organized.”

In addition to the violent reception from MPs visible on film, there was widespread incitement from other MPs. Michael Oren, who a while back was Israel’s ambassador to the US, sounded like Avigdor Lieberman as he said Zoabi’s speech proved she was not loyal and should be permanently stripped of her parliamentary status, under a soon-to-be-passed Suspension Law.

In true colonial style, the government’s chief whip, David Bitan, was reported to have told Palestinian voters in Israel after Zoabi’s speech: “We need to make sure she doesn’t stay in the Knesset. We’ve had enough of this and she doesn’t even represent you properly.”


Israeli soldiers have depraved “fun” making “Rachel Corrie pancakes”


      Submitted by Ali Abunimah on Fri, 07/19/2013 – 14:26


Israeli soldiers had a “fun” time making what they called “Rachel Corrie pancakes.”

Photos of the event were posted on the Facebook page of the “Heritage House,” a settlement in occupied East Jerusalem that houses so-called “lone soldiers,” men recruited from overseas to join the Israeli occupation forces.


Nesim Pesarel, one of the “Heritage House” residents, seen in a photo from his personal Facebook page.

Above the photos of young men, some in Israeli army fatigues or apparently carrying guns, is the caption “Afternoon of ‘rachel corrie’ Pancakes and fun!”

Rachel Corrie is the young American woman murdered by an Israeli soldier who crushed her to death with a bulldozer as she tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian family home in the occupied Gaza Strip on 16 March 2003.

The depraved joke that these men were presumably making is a play on the English idiom “flat as a pancake.” Their celebration and joking about Rachel Corrie’s death is utterly vile and reflects the culture of dehumanization inculcated into Israeli soldiers.

Ben Packer, the director and rabbi of “Heritage House,” hit back at some negative comments about the images, posting this response:

In honor of the all the hate messages from the anti-Israel/Jewish crowd, one of our supporters has pledged $5 towards Israeli settlements (maybe for additional bulldozers) for each additional comment. keep’em coming anti-semites! We love our Israeli soldiers and will not back down in the face of those who attempt to endanger them!

Packer added, “Anti-Israel activists are all in a tizzy about these pictures! makes them even funnier!!!”

The page also appeals for donations “to support our guests and ‘lone soldiers.’” Residents of the “Heritage House” settlement also take part in colonization activities in other parts of the occupied West Bank, including Hebron.


Alex Winston is the “den mother” of The Heritage House men’s dormitory. Alex Winston is a member of the Israeli army’s Givati Brigade.


Nesim Pasarel (right with weapon) and Jonathan Leibovits (seated)


(Update: The gallery was removed shortly after the publication of this post.)

The true face of the “IDF”

In recent months, The Electronic Intifada has highlighted incidents of Israeli soldiers using social media to advocate brutal violence, and acts of sadistic torture and murder of children.

The Electronic Intifada also revealed images soldiers posted on the photo-sharing site Instagram of nudity, drug use and violence and most notoriously of a Palestinian child seen through the scope of a sniper’s rifle.

This week, the army began investigating a video posted online of Israeli soldiers frying a small bird alive, an act that had no purpose but gratuitous animal cruelty.

Israeli army attempts to halt social media scandals

The “Rachel Corrie pancakes” photos provide yet another window into the Israeli army’s culture of violence and come just as the occupation forces have tried to staunch the flow of embarrassing incidents on social media that have hurt its propaganda efforts.

The campaign, which includes this YouTube video, urges soldiers to “improve their image online.”

The voiceover in the video commands:

Soldier! Improve your appearance! Always remember: You are the face of the IDF. So improve your appearance – online!

The IDF is glad to invite you to get connected, share, love, tweet, respond, and show the pretty face of the IDF.

So go into the official pages and send us pictures, videoclips, and stories. The IDF on the Internet. One army, everybody’s face.

The “lone soldiers” at the Heritage House settler-colony have clearly not got the message.

With thanks to Dena Shunra for assistance with research and translation and Benjamin Doherty for assistance with research.

Israeli female soldiers break the silence

If videos turn out black  go straight to the Youtube link on the right side below



See the whole collection of shovrim videos here

IDF sweatshirt: ‘We won’t leave Gaza until they are all wiped out’


|Published April 18, 2013

Another hate-mongering IDF shirt hits the social networks.This one says: ‘Citizens of the south – batallion 890 will not leave Gaza UNTIL THEY ARE ALL WIPED OUT.” Sharon Dolev, who took the picture, writes on her Facebook wall: “The most moral army in the world. Yesterday I went to the Interior Ministry in Hadera with my mother and son to get him his first ID card. Yuval was very excited about it. We took pictures of him with his new card, and then we saw this soldier. The excitement turned into nausea. My mother and I decided to approach the soldier and ask him about the shirt. He still serves in the unit and is very proud of their dedication. The shirt was printed by the battalion soldiers and it is their initiative. The funding is apparently from the army. I asked him if this includes children, babies, families… what they were thinking when they printed these shirts… I must say that he said the intention was for those who shoot missiles on us, but anyway, one can not stay silent. Yesterday I put up the pic. Today I’m asking you my Facebook friends to share, send, write something. Thank you.”

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Israeli soldier posts disturbing Instagram photo of child in crosshairs of his rifle

Submitted by Ali Abunimah on Fri, 02/15/2013 – 21:28

This disturbing image shows the back of the head of a child or young man as seen in the crosshairs of a rifle. The photo was posted on the personal Instagram account of Mor Ostrovski, a 20-year old Israeli soldier in a sniper unit.

The context – particularly the character of the buildings seen in the background of the image – strongly suggests the child could be Palestinian.

There are no other images to suggest that the photographer actually fired at the person in the image in this case. The image is simply tasteless and dehumanizing. It embodies the idea that Palestinian children are targets.

It reminded me of a chilling account another Israeli soldier gave to the group Breaking the Silence about how Israeli soldiers in Nablus in 2006-2007 would deliberately fire at children, sometimes using live ammunition and sometimes rubber-coated steel bullets:

Where do you aim? Do you choose some kid at random?
Yes. Choose someone, aim at his body.
Center of mass.
10 meters’ range at the center of mass?
I remember one time we put a kid down. We didn’t kill him but someone hit the kid in the chest and he fell and probably lost consciousness, or at least, it was pretty close. About 10 meters.

Recently, Benjamin Doherty pointed out how the Israeli army has wittingly and unwittingly used Instagram and other social media to promote itself. These images, which Doherty calls “war sporno” use “male and female bodies to eroticize the military, to displace violence against Palestinians, to encourage Western publics to identify with Israeli soldiers.”

Ostrovski’s account includes other images of himself and his weapons:

The Palestinian Minority in Israel : Systematic Discrimination

Siedlungsbau Palestinian workers wait for Israeli soldiers to open the gate of a separation barrier between the Jewish settlement of Modiin Elite and the west bank village of Harbeta to return home after the day's work in Israel, 15 March 2012 (photo: Oded Balilty/AP/dapd)

The Israeli government and its advocacy groups like to boast of the country’s supposed democratic, multicultural way of life. In reality, Palestinians in Israel experience systematic discrimination in such a way that calls into question the validity of the “Jewish and democratic” formulation. By Ben White

It has been received wisdom in the West for decades to see Israel as “the only democracy in the Middle East”. In recent times, however, Israeli policies have been subject to increased criticism, particularly in Europe – and specifically in terms of military action in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the territories occupied since 1967.

Yet whether criticising “disproportionate” strikes or highlighting the radical Jewish settler movement, substantial Western disapproval of Israeli policies is restricted to the territory where it is assumed a Palestinian state will someday be created.

Ignored by this analysis are the 20 per cent of Israel’s citizens who are Palestinian, a minority increasingly targeted by Israel’s security-political establishment. Addressing this knowledge gap and examining the issues facing Palestinians in Israel since 1948 sheds light on the core of the conflict.

Confiscation and expulsion

With Israel’s establishment, around 85 percent of Palestinians inside the borders of the new state were expelled and became refugees; those who remained are now 1 in 5 of Israel’s citizenry (whose identity has been intentionally obscured with the “Israeli Arab” label).

photo: AP
“With Israel’s establishment, around 85 percent of Palestinians inside the borders of the new state were expelled and became refugees.” Pictured: Palestinian Ahmed Elaian, 86, shows the keys of his home in Israel, abandoned during the 1948 war, on Nakba Day The Israeli government and its advocacy groups like to boast of the country’s supposed democratic, multicultural way of life. In reality, Palestinians in Israel experience systematic discrimination in such a way that calls into question the validity of the “Jewish and democratic” formulation.

The amount of land belonging to Palestinian refugees that was expropriated by Israel’s ‘Absentee Property Law’ amounts to around 20 per cent of the country’s total pre-1967 territory. The body of refugees includes roughly one in four Palestinian citizens who, as “present absentees”, have also had their lands and property confiscated by the state.

Provoking mass evictions

These policies meant that by the mid-1970s, the average Palestinian community in Israel had lost between 65 and 75 per cent of their land. Since 1948, over 700 Jewish communities have been established in Israel (not including settlements in the West Bank and Gaza) – but only seven for Palestinian citizens (and those as a means of resettling the Bedouin population in the Negev desert).

While the Israeli government talks of “developing” the Negev, tens of thousands of Bedouin live in dozens of ‘unrecognised villages’. They suffer from home demolitions and a lack of basic infrastructure. A serious new threat is the Prawer plan, with planned mass evictions meaning up to 70,000 Arab citizens face forced relocation and the destruction of their villages.

Significant authority over areas like land ownership and rural settlement is invested in bodies that are constitutionally mandated to privilege Jews, while residency in 70 per cent of Israeli towns is controlled by admissions committees that filter out those deemed “unsuitable” for the “social fabric” of the community. These small communities, particularly in the Negev and Galilee, play a crucial role in maintaining Jewish spatial hegemony (many of whom also sit on the land of destroyed Palestinian villages).

Segregation policies

Discrimination is systematic. The Education Ministry spends more than five times as much on Jewish students as Palestinian students.

photo: AP
“The uncomfortable truth is that Israel is democratic for Jews, and Jewish for Palestinians.” A Palestinian youth watches demonstrators clash with Israeli troops as they mark the “Land Day” in east Jerusalem on 30 March 2012. At the annual “Land Day” rallies Israeli Arabs and Palestinians protest what they say are discriminatory Israeli land policies Public officials, including Members of Knesset and cabinet members, routinely and publicly express racism towards Palestinians with impunity. Shin Bet, the domestic intelligence agency/secret police, openly fights peaceful and legal efforts by Palestinian citizens to challenge the Jewish nature of the state.

The uncomfortable truth is that Israel is democratic for Jews, and Jewish for Palestinians, as evidenced by the racist priorities shaping immigration, land, planning, development budgets and more. To point to a handful of Arabs in the Knesset, football teams and on television is nothing better than shallow propaganda.

Denying rights on the basis of ethnicity

Laws and policies designed to benefit one group of people over another and enforce separation fit the description of apartheid under international law. This year, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has slammed Israel, condemning “segregation” in both Israel’s pre-1967 borders, as well as in the Occupied West Bank.

No amount of diversions by Israel’s supporters can hide the grim, daily reality of occupation and colonialism. From the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, a de facto one state has emerged, a regime which grants or denies rights and privileges on the basis of ethnicity.

This is not a democracy, and the sooner the tough questions are asked – and Israeli policies identified and resisted for what they are – the more likely it is that a post-colonial future can emerge where Palestinian rights are realised and both peoples share the land on an equal footing.

Ben White

© 2012

Ben White is a freelance journalist, writer and activist, specialising in Palestine/Israel. He has been visiting the region since 2003 and his articles have been widely published in the likes of The Guardian’s Comment is free, Al Jazeera, New Statesman, Salon, Christian Science Monitor, and others. His most recent book, ‘Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy’, was published by Pluto Press in January 2012, with a foreword by Member of Knesset Haneen Zoabi.

Editor: Lewis Gropp/


Exclusive: ‘Political contract’ required to enter Israel?

Dimi Reider

April 14, 2012

A Swedish tourist trying to enter Israel was made to sign a “contract” promising she won’t get in touch with “pro-Palestinian” organisations, and acknowledging she’ll get deported if she “gets caught doing even one of these things.” Meanwhile, Prime Minister’s Office released a letter that will be handed to deported Flytilla activists: Go to Syria. 

Check this out. This is a “contract” that a Swedish citizen was required to sign upon entering Israel via the Eilat land crossing:

Please, stop snickering at the “nine-tens,” the “passpot,” and the bizarre grammatical construct in the first sentence. This is quite serious. The person in question told +972:

I’ve been in East Jerusalem on and off for six months now, visiting friends. Since I am here on a tourist visa, I have to leave the country every three months and renew my visa at the border. No problem, until this time when me and a friend made an Easter trip to Jordan and planned to get a new visa stamp in my passport on our way back. I’ll go back to Sweden next week again, so I just need a visa for my last days here.

When we got to the Israeli section of the border crossing – that one between Aqaba and Eilat – we were asked to sit down and wait a moment while they kept my passport. Then I was invited into an office and was questioned about my religion, if I had contact with any religious organizations here, what I do during the day, how much money I have got to spend and where I got it, what I do in Sweden and so on. Then we had to wait again, not knowing what would happen. After 4 hours and 20 minutes, I was asked to sign this contract and got back my passport with visa stamp in which the expiration date (normally three months later) was corrected to April 19, which is when I have my plane ticket home. Then we could finally enter Israel again.

They retained the original “contract” at the border control, and mine is only a copy. I don’t know what consequences I could expect if I would break it. Personally, I am pleased that I was let in and can spend one last week in Jerusalem. I am five months pregnant and hardly look like any security risk. As far as I know, I haven’t done anything illegal during my stay here.

When reached for comment by my colleague Haggai Matar, Population and Immigration Authority spokeswoman Sabine Haddad said : “The purpose behind the document was to make sure the lady doesn’t visit friction areas. Nevertheless, we intend to check the issue and the document itself.”

Considering the inane phrasing, spelling errors and the fact the entire letter was custom-printed for the woman personally (as opposed to a form where her departure date would have been written in), I’ll go on to venture a highly charitable guess this is the local initiative of staff at this particular crossing, rather than a policy. The initiative might actually belong to the very same “Meital Yahud”, who appears as the other signatory to the contract and might be anxious to have an alibi (a rather weak one, mind you) in case the person she let in goes on to do something as dangerous, as, um, speak the word “Palestine”, or something. It’s still morbidly fascinating to see the Flytilla getting our authorities to make themselves look like complete buffoons even before a single activist actually boarded a plane.

Update 18:30 And as if to vindicate that last sentence, Netanyahu’s spokesman Ofir Gendelman tweeted the official letter Flytilla activists will be handed on arrival. The grammar is a little better. The content – judge for yourselves.

…Going back to the political “contract” document, immigration and human rights lawyer Yadin Elam told +972:

“This is the first time I have seen such a form but as someone who deals with the Ministry Of Interior on a daily basis, nothing can surprise me anymore. Legally, she is very fortunate that it is written so badly. If she “cannot” be a member of a pro-Palestinian organization then I guess she is not…”

As for the question of responsibility, Elam suggests:

…it does seems like a private initiative of a low-level clerk at the Ministry of the Interior but one should be worried why a low-level clerk has the powers to make such decisions. We all remember that Israel blamed immigration officials for the decision to deny entry to Noam Chomsky nearly two years ago. Would it be too much to hope that after such a mistake, the ministry would make sure that private initiatives would not take place? and if the didn’t, can we still call it a private initiative?

Anyway, at least they didn’t summarily execute the visitor’s laptop this time. Things are looking up.

Joint Palestinian-Israeli ‘peace radio’ station shut down by Israeli authorities

author Sunday November 20, 2011 01:07author by Saed Bannoura – IMEMC News Report post

A radio station that has worked for seven years to bring together Palestinians and Israelis in joint broadcasts and dialogue was shut down by Israeli authorities on Saturday, with the claim that the station lacked the proper license – despite the fact that the station broadcasts from the West Bank and is not under Israeli jurisdiction.

Kol Hashalom call numbers
Kol Hashalom call numbers

The station was founded by Israeli and Palestinian peace groups seven years ago, and is called ‘Kol Hashalom’ which means ‘Whole Peace’. Its broadcast facility is in Ramallah, which is the base of the Palestinian Authority and considered to be under Palestinian Authority control according to the Oslo Agreement of 1993.

According to the Israeli Communications Ministry, “The Ministry carried out wireless supervisory activities in cooperation with Israel Police against a pirate radio station, just as it carries them out against all other illegal stations”.

The shutdown came after Israeli Knesset (Parliament) Member Danny Danon demanded that the station be shut down, appealing to the Israeli Attorney General and demanding immediate action against the station.

After a November 4th letter to the station claiming that its broadcast was illegal, the station’s management requested time to reply, saying that the station was fully licensed by the Palestinian Authority’s Communication Ministry and therefore not an illegal broadcast.

Israeli peace groups have recently come under fire from Israeli Knesset members, who have passed draconian measures limiting freedom of speech and limiting foreign funding for Israeli peace groups.

Mossi Raz, a former Israeli Knesset (Parliament) member and current station manager of the Kol Hashalom radio station said that the government’s actions are illegal, and plans to file an appeal against the shutdown of the radio station.

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