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We provide links to articles we think will be of interest to our supporters, informing them of issues, events, debates and the wider context of the conflict. We are sympathetic to much of the content of what we post, but not to everything. The fact that something has been linked to here does not necessarily mean that we endorse the views expressed in it.

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Settlements Generate Virtually No Economic Activity
"A recent Israeli government report estimated there are…$250 million in annual exports — [only] 0.55 percent of the national total — from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, territories the international community generally considers illegally occupied."
Jodi Rodoren cited by Richard Silverstein, 22 Jan 2014

Daily acts of violence committed by Jewish Israeli citizens against West Bank Palestinians
"These incidents — now particularly heightened during the olive harvest season — are not the aberration from the norm, but a regular feature of life in the occupied West Bank. In 2012, over 7,500 Palestinian olive trees were destroyed. In the 5-year period between 2007 and 2011, there was a 315 percent increase in settler violence."
Mairav Zonszein, Israel Must Stop Settler Violence, 8 November 2013
Police impunity
After their own investigations establishing a prima facie violation, Btselem has lodged over 280 complaints of alleged police violence in the oPt since the start of the second Intifada: "we are aware of only 12 indictments" Btselem April 2013
Runners in the first ever Bethlehem Marathon were forced to run two laps of the same course on Sunday 21 April 2013, as Palestinians were unable to find a single stretch of free land that is 26 miles long in Area A, where the PA has both security and civil authority. See Marathon report
30th March, land day.
On 30 March 1976, thousands of Palestinians living as a minority in Israel mounted a general strike and organised protests against Israeli government plans to expropriate almost 15,000 acres of Palestinian land in the Galilee.The Israeli government, led by prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and defence minister Shimon Peres, sent in the army to break up the general strike. The Israeli army killed six unarmed Palestinians, wounded hundreds and arrested hundreds more, including political activists. All were citizens of Israel.
* Out of 103 investigations opened in 2012 into alleged offences committed by Israeli soldiers in the occupied territories, not a single indictment served to date
Yesh Din, 3 Feb 2013
* In total, out of an area of 1.6 million dunams in the Jordan Valley, Israel has seized 1.25 million − some 77.5 percent − where Palestinians are forbidden to enter.
Haaretz editorial, 4 Feb 2013


Two dead boys – power of the camera

The killing of two Palestinian boys near Ofer prison (where most Palestinian prisoners are held) on Nakba day, May 15, has created unusual publicity: it was filmed and the video has been widely circulated. Perhaps a 2nd reason is that, following the failure of peace talks, more people are willing to note the violent injustice of IDF rule. Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights press the FCO to speak.

Converting IDF into religious forces

Only amongst the most-committed zionists does the IDF still enjoy the idealised image it enjoyed for decades – not only effective, but a force for equality regardless of the normal divisions of society. On top of the revelations of brutal and illegal practices towards Palestinians by all the security services, now a preference for religious orthodoxy is infiltrating the ranks and the top leadership. Richard Silverstein finds out.

Finding money to keep the IDF in with the big spenders

The IDF is struggling to keep up with the world’s top weapons’ spenders as other countries drive up their spending faster than Israel. The IDF has been complaining loudly for the last few years – and is making public its dispute with the finance ministry. But, keeping this in proportion, the country has more than enough, thankyou USA, to equip itself with all it wants to keep enemies at bay. Graphs of the figures.

Tanks – fall out! Special Ops – forward!

“it is abundantly clear, including to IDF generals, that Israel is not facing an existential threat at this time” writes Ben Caspit. So clear that they have reconfigured their armed forces and order of battle. Today the army relies on a large infantry (for policing the oPt ) and elite units for special ops. Its intel work is up to scratch; its understanding of Palestinian aspirations remains at zero.

Military Man is the only hero in Israel

Israel was created, expanded and is sustained by military force. It is not democracy Israelis admire but the IDF. It is the one firm and protective father for whom Israelis yearn – and whose cruelties and errors they pretend not to notice. Yossi Sarid on Israel’s cult of the soldier-hero.

Farewell to the People’s Army

From the beginning, the IDF has been lauded as Israel’s greatest creation – not just an effective fighting force but symbol of an egalitarian willingness to fight and die in the service of country. No more. An attempt to conscript the burgeoning population of the Ultra-Orthodox has been diluted because they are also seen as the protector of Israel’s religious soul. To the secular, it is now the Ultra-Orthodox who provide ‘the existential threat’ to Israel.

Israeli public opinion swings against the bonanza for military spending

For the first time since 2006, questions are being raised at the enormous sums of money – part American, part Israeli, and everywhere the envy of defence departments – that are spent on the Israeli defence forces. There have been cutbacks, there is an erosion in the image of the career officer. That means for the first time, says Amos Harel, transparency is being demanded – what exactly is the money spent on and why?

IDF’s unmarked firing zone keeps farmers of Gaza off their land

In theory, Israel has left Gaza and the residents are free to go about their business. In practice, the IDF patrols an indeterminate area beside the border and shoots at Palestinians who wander into it, thus preventing farmers from working on their land, a third of which adjoins the border. B’Tselem spells out the rules which the IDF should observe.

Two states? ‘The system is quietly grinding this concept into fine dust.’

Some careful work with maps shows Chaim Levison that there has been a creeping increase in the amount of land given to settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. While both the EU and the US have chastised the Israeli government for its settlement policies, it is the IDF’s Central Command which has the authority over land use in the oPt. Zionism, the system where government and army have but one mind.

Besotted with violence and dope: Israel’s soldiers

Using soldiers’ own Tweets and Instagram photographic pages, Ali Abuminah collects disturbing evidence of IDF soldiers exalting in violence, in killing Arabs, in taking aim at children, in getting out of their heads on marijuana. These are the men who enforce the occupation. The soldiers have deleted these pages. So far there has been no report that they have been reprimanded let alone excluded as unsuitable for Israel’s army.

IDF becoming private militia for settlers

In practice, the primary role of Israel’s vaunted IDF has become the inglorious business of policing the Occupation, more often than not at the bidding of the illegal settlers. Report from Yesh Din and Yossi Gurvitz.

IDF breaks ceasefire, kills young Gazan

At best it was a misunderstanding; Gazans thought the ceasefire agreement meant they were free to go into the border zone, and celebrated by entering it; the border guards thought they were trying to breach the fence, and shot at them. Pragmatically, IDF soldiers had no idea of the conditions of the ceasefire agreement and by training shoot Palestinians who are, to them, out of order. Result 1 dead, 19 injured Palestinians. No IDF hurt.

Settlers destroy olive trees to prevent Palestinian harvest

The olive harvest season has begun in the West Bank – and with it repeated attacks by settlers on the fruit-laden trees owned by Palestinians. The IDF does not intervene to protect this property – many attacks happen at night – but has been active in preventing farmers and families from reaching the olive groves. Reports from ISM, Irish Times and B’Tselem.

The lasting horror of a mass killing

The main item in this posting is very distressing to read. It is an account by an Israeli soldier who was there, was so traumatised by what he saw that he was eventually discharged as mentally ill and has been unable to speak about it until now. This is followed by three letters to the NY Times written in response to the article by Seth Anziska, which we posted last week. Only the letter from Israel’s spokesman was published.

Media verdicts on Corrie verdict

If there is a simple division on the verdict on the case brought by Rachel Corrie’s parents it is this: 1) Israel, and the IDF particularly, are above the law; 2) Pro-Palestinians exploited a naive young American for their own nefarious ends. Unable to come down on either of these sides, most US and Israel media have published no opinion. Remarkably, the story was the lead item on BBC radio on Tuesday. 15 items to choose from.

The role of the IDF: to terrorise children

Breaking the Silence, the veterans’ organisation committed to gathering testimony about what soldiers actually do in the oPt, has published a new report, focussing on the treatment of children and youth. Each account is unique in its detail but all tell the same story: Israeli soldiers who seem more concerned with humiliating and terrifying youngsters than any recognised form of peace-keeping. Seven out of 47, chosen almost at random, are posted here.

Occupation and military rule

Oded Na’aman writes: “As you stand at the checkpoint, you must constantly consider the various ways in which you may be attacked: Where are they going to come from? What will their strategy be? Is that child as innocent as he seems, or is he smuggling a weapon? Is that ambulance really rushing a woman to the hospital to give birth, or are there enemies hiding inside? Is that old man harmless…
These are the instructions soldiers receive before beginning their principle combat mission in the IDF: enforcement of military rule in the West Bank.”

IDF plans academy in East Jerusalem to establish total Israeli ownership

Israel’s Interior Ministry has approved a plan to construct an academy for IDF officers on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem, the area where Palestinians live and own most of the land. The Mount of Olives is regarded as a sacred space by Christians and religious Jews. The plan has been variously justified as providing a magnet for young Jews to a depressed area and establishing Israeli ownership over all Jerusalem.

Settlers disturb laws of property and peace

The Israeli government has ruled that the Ulpana outpost – a state enterprise to boost settlements – has to be evacuated because it infringes Palestinian property rights. This idea has no weight with right-wingers or the Ulpana settlers, from whom the IDF expects violence. Should the establishment support the rule of the state or the rule of settling on all Palestinian land? Jpost reports and deliberates, plus Ynet and +972.

Remembering – and arming against – Nakba Day

The IDF gears up for violence on Nakba day (3), Palestinian Christians hold a peaceful commemoration (4) and PSC holds a protest outside Downing Street at which Diana Neslen of JfJfP gives a moving speech about memory and exile (1 & 2). Haaretz declares Israel should acknowledge the Nakba as part of its history (5).Tel Aviv students defy education minister to hold ceremony (6).