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Home arrow Blog arrow October 2009 arrow October 23, 2009

October 23, 2009
October 23, 2009: Good PR for Israel: With Hope for a Continuing Series Nov. 2, 2009 LEADS
Case against 'New Profile' closed

Prosecution closes case against movement suspected of inciting youth to evade military service, cites lack of culpability, admissible evidence

Aviad Glickman Published:  11.01.09, 12:29 / Israel News

The Prosecution is closing its case against the New Profile movement, suspected of encouraging youths to shirk military service. Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan closed the case due to lack of culpability in the case of some of the suspects, and due to lack of evidence in the case of the others.

Police opened a criminal investigation against the movement following various publications on its website suspected of being fraudulent and inciting. Several months ago the police handed their investigation material over to the Tel Aviv District Prosecution.

Nitzan said in his ruling that while some of the publications, which led to the investigation being launched, do raise suspicion of criminal offences, sufficient admissible evidence to attribute incitement and fraudulent publications to the suspects could not be found.

He added that in the meantime, the suspicious content had been removed from the movement's website.

It should be noted that the deputy state prosecutor last year made very harsh comments against New Profile's publications. He said the severity of the incitement expressed on this website can be seen particularly in light of the fact that it tries to persuade youth to attain exemptions from military service by deceiving the system, as well as offering detailed explanations as to how to go about this.

He said this calls for a deviation from the law enforcement's generally limited policy on opening legal proceedings in cases of incitement to army evasion.

Michal Michlin-Friedlander, a senior deputy state prosecutor, notified the High Court of Justice of the decision to close the case last week.

The Prosecution was responding to the High Court of Justice following a petition filed by the Israeli Forum for the Promotion of Equal Share in the Burden to have the New Profile movement dismantled following the content published on its website.

Ruti Divon, a New Profile activist summed up the police investigation on Sunday as "a ridiculous, but also stressful experience. We already know that there is no real democracy here. A people that settles on another people cannot act democratically, but this whole ordeal shows that democracy for Jews here isn't even guaranteed."
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3798368,00.html




"I'm an Israeli and Israel is my country and I don't like what the occupation is doing in my name. I come here because this is what I must do. I don't fear the Palestinians, I fear the settlers. In fact I feel more comfortable with the Palestinians than I do with many Israelis." 



RABBIS TAKE ON SETTLERS

October 22, 2009
Mel Frykberg



AWARTA, West Bank (IPS) - Away from the media spotlight that focuses on the widening chasm between Israelis and Palestinians, a group of Israeli humanists is quietly working to break down barriers with their Palestinian neighbours.

Rabbi Arik Ascherman, director of Israel's Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR), has been used as a human shield, arrested, and beaten up several times by Israeli security forces while defending Palestinians. He has also been stoned by Palestinians who mistook him for a settler.

Every year during the Palestinian olive season in the autumn months, Palestinian farmers have been subjected to escalated violence by some of the half-million Israeli settlers who live in illegal settlements scattered all over the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Much of the Palestinian farmers' land has been expropriated by the Israeli authorities for enlargement of settlements and to establish new ones.

The Israeli government recently began laying foundations in 12 settlements for new buildings, while other construction continues in a total of 34 settlements.

Areas around the settlements have been declared closed military zones by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).

Groups of vigilante settlers, often protected by the IDF, have set fire to swathes of Palestinian agricultural land, cut down trees, beaten up farmers, and killed some of their livestock.

Israeli and international supporters of Palestinian farmers have been arrested by Israeli soldiers for allegedly breaching the closed military zones, and attacked by settlers as well.

The settler violence is part of an established "price-tag" policy in retaliation for every small settlement outpost evacuated by the IDF.

Ascherman and RHR have been in the forefront of fighting for justice for disadvantaged groups both within Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Each year during the olive season Ascherman leads a group of rabbinical students, and Israeli and international volunteers to accompany Palestinian farmers as they try to harvest their olives. IPS joined them as they accompanied Palestinian farmers to their olive groves in the northern West Bank villages of Awarta and Jit.

Hellela Siew, 65, an Israeli now resident in the UK, travels to Israel each year to partake in the olive harvesting.

During a previous harvest she had to be taken to hospital after she was hit over the head with an iron bar by an Israeli security guard from one of the nearby settlements. On another occasion settlers threw stones and human excreta at her and other volunteers, while shooting into the air.

"I'm an Israeli and Israel is my country and I don't like what the occupation is doing in my name," Siew told IPS. "I come here because this is what I must do. I don't fear the Palestinians, I fear the settlers. In fact I feel more comfortable with the Palestinians than I do with many Israelis."

German-born Suzanne Moses, 80, fled the Nazis as a child after her mother perished in the Auschwitz death camp. After years as a refugee in various countries she settled in Israel as a young woman.

Moses has been volunteering on the olive groves for years. She spends back- breaking hours in the scorching sun picking olives "because I love olives," she jokes.

"Seriously, I'm against the occupation. I don't like the settlers and I'm actually very worried about civil war in the future. The settlers are armed, and even if there was an Israeli government willing to evacuate the settlements, the settlers won't leave without a fight," Moses told IPS.

Shy Halatzi, 23, is a physics and astronomy student at Tel Aviv University who served in the IDF. This was his third trip to the West Bank to pick olives.

"I had never been to the West Bank before apart from visiting the Dead Sea. I was a bit apprehensive at first as I wasn't sure about safety. But I wanted to understand the Palestinians better and see their perspective. Israelis don't really understand what is happening here from our media.

"If every violation against Palestinians was written about, it would fill a book. I feel my presence here is small compensation for what my countrymen are doing," Halatzi told IPS.

The volunteers included some refuseniks, or young Israeli conscientious objectors who refuse to serve in the IDF and are prepared to go to prison for this.

But despite the dedication and commitment of these volunteers the settlements continue to grow, and the settlers continue to be a law unto themselves.

IPS asked Asherman if he thought that his organisation has made any difference. "Today Palestinians are able to access some of their land at times. Ten years ago this was almost impossible. The IDF also provides more protection from the settlers than previously.

"I've also noticed a change in some Israeli hawkish Labour Party supporters from the kibbutzim who used to be farmers themselves. Despite their politics they can relate to the struggles of the Palestinian farmers," Ascherman told IPS.

"I strongly believe we are helping to break down stereotypes and build dialogue.

"I was blown away several years ago to find out that one of the Palestinian guys I was working with belonged to Yasser Arafat's Presidential Guard, some of whose members have carried out serious attacks against Israelis.

"He was equally blown away to find out that I was an Israeli rabbi. I'm not so naive as to believe that in the future he wouldn't consider violence. However, I think he might have a new perspective should he reach that junction," said Ascherman.


http://www.ipsterraviva.net/Europe/article.aspx?id=7962



The following satire was published in the conservative Jerusalem Post!


Rattling the Cage: Our exclusive right to self-defense


Oct. 7, 2009
By Larry Derfner


Virtually all of Israel is now speaking in one voice against the Goldstone report, against any attempt to blame us over the war in Gaza . We've honed our message to a sharp point and, inspired by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's performance at the UN, we're delivering it with just the right tone of outrage:

How dare anyone deny us the right to self-defense! How dare anyone deny us the right to fight back against terrorism!

Very nice. Puts everyone else on the defensive. The right to self-defense is up there with motherhood and apple pie - who's going to come out against it, especially for us, for Israel , for the Jews, for the people of the Holocaust?

The right to self-defense - perfect.

But I'd like to ask: Do the Palestinians also have the right to self-defense?

We probably wouldn't admit it out loud, but in our heads we would say - again, in one voice - "No!"

This is the Israeli notion of a fair deal: We're entitled to do whatever the hell we want to the Palestinians because, by definition, whatever we do to them is self-defense. They, however, are not entitled to lift a finger against us because, by definition, whatever they do to us is terrorism.

That's the way it's always been, that's the way it was in Operation Cast Lead.

And there are no limits on our right to self-defense. There is no such thing as "disproportionate." We can blockade Gaza , we can answer Kassams with F-16s and Apaches, we can take 100 eyes for an eye.

We can deliberately destroy thousands of Gazan homes, the Gazan parliament, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Interior, courthouses, the only Gazan flour plant, the main poultry farm, a sewage treatment plant, water wells and God knows what else.

Deliberately.

After all, we're acting in self-defense. By definition.

And what right do the Palestinians have to defend themselves against this?

None.

Why? Because we're better than them. Because we're a democracy and they're a bunch of Islamo-fascists. Because ours is a culture of life and theirs is a culture of death. Because they're out to destroy us and all we are saying is give peace a chance.

One look at the ruins of Gaza ought to make that plain enough.

Here is our idea of the "laws of war":

When Israeli bulldozers rolled across the border into Gazan villages and flattened house after house so Hamas wouldn't have them for cover after the IDF pulled out, that was self-defense. But if a Palestinian boy who'd lived in one of those houses threw a stone at one of the bulldozers, that was terrorism.

The Goldstones of the world call this hypocrisy, a double standard.

How dare they! Around here, we call it moral clarity.



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