Palestine Theater

Popular Suicide Surfer Squad of Judea threatens strike

In the Gaza Strip, reality parodies Monty Python.

Avid surfers from several Gush Katif communities are threatening to take their boards out to sea on evacuation day and commit mass suicide by drowning. Settlement secretariats, psychologists and social workers have known about the plans of these young men, aged 16-21, for several weeks.

Israeli state: fence not temporary

Finally the State of Israel is admitting that its "separation barrier," most of which is illegally built on occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank, is not placed where it is solely due to "security" considerations. The form of admission came in a petition to the Israeli High Court brought on behalf of villages in the Qalqilya district, in which the state complained it would be "very expensive to move" the fence from its current location. Not a word from the Zionist lobby and hasbara (propaganda) forces which have worked overtime to project an image of the fence as a "temporary" security measure which can be removed when the Palestinians turn into "Finns:"

Israeli peace wonk complains about AIPAC

Gershon Baskin is co-CEO of the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information (ICPRI), a joint Israeli -Palestinian think tank which was involved with the Oslo process. In the June 28 Jerusalem Post, he writes:

"Meeting with people in the halls of Congress to exchange views, the first questions I was asked were: What does AIPAC have to say about that? Have you spoken to AIPAC? There is little doubt that AIPAC has successfully instilled a strong sense on the Hill that anything that concerns the US-Israel relationship must be checked with them first.

Settler-soldier refuses to "expel Jews"

Move over, Yoni, there's a new kid in town. Sgt. Avi Beiber made headlines June 28 when he became the first Israeli soldier to refuse to act against Jewish settlers living illegally in the Occupied Palestinian Territories -- like himself. Beiber, who was born in the US, lives with his parents in the illegal settlement of Tekoa in the occupied West Bank. He was sent along with his unit to destroy 11 beach bungalows built by Egyptians when the Gaza Strip was in Egyptian hands before 1967. The IDF feared that settler youth might try to occupy the houses. According to Bieber and journalists at the scene, when he realized what he was being asked to do, he went through a crisis of conscience and started shouting "Jews don't expel Jews." His rifle was taken from him and he was arrested, and slapped with 56 days in the brig for refusing an order. 12 other soldiers also refused, Yediot Aharonoth reported, although the IDF denies this. Bieber explained he "didn't come to the country to expel Jews from their homes," and that he was a "conscientious objector." When fistfights and shoving matches developed after anti-disengagement protesters swarmed to the site, Bieber refused to get involved, leaving his fellow soldiers to take the blows from the settlers. Footage of Bieber's moment of refusal was shown on TV channels 2,4, and 7 in New York City, and Bieber's father received congratulatory calls for his son's actions from Brooklyn.

Some settlers to stone back?

Israeli pot activists try to stone the Gush:

Settlers Urged to Smoke Pot During Gaza Evacuation
Gush Katif, Gaza Strip ( — June 27) - Activists of all stripes are flocking to the Gaza Strip, some to lobby for pet causes, while others dig in to resist the Israeli government's disengagement plan.

"Giuliani time" in Israel?

The following item was featured in JTA on June 7:

Rudy to the rescue?
Rudolph Giuliani offered to help Israel fight crime.

"I am prepared to help you but it would have to be done on a clandestine basis, not publicly and not through a newspaper," the former New York City mayor said Tuesday when asked by Yediot Achronot about recent calls by Israeli authorities to emulate his law-enforcement policies, which curbed crime in New York City. Giuliani noted that during his time as mayor, New York had 55 police officers for every 10,000 citizens, more than twice the figure in Israel.

Israeli pacifist denied CO status -- again

Yonatan Ben Artzi, an pacifist Israeli who the IDF refuses to recognize as such, was again denied conscientious objector status by Israel's High Court of Justice on June 1. The army and state have been wrestling with Ben Artzi, who is the nephew of hawkish Israeli Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyau, for several years, jailing him seven times for a total of 19 months. The IDF wants Ben Artzi jailed again for another two months and fined 2,000 shekels. Because he refuses to pay the fine, he will probably have to serve four months. However, in a bit of seemingly unselfconscious whimsy, the court did recommend "that the IDF send Ben Artzi a letter explaining that the fact that the exemption is based on him being unsuitable does not contest the fact that he is a pacifist."

The "Protocols" and the Palestinians

The May 19 Jerusalem Post reports that the Palestinian Authority pulled a link to the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," the notorious 19th-century anti-Semitic forgery, from one of its Web sites. The link reportedly appeared on the site of the PA's State Information Service in a list of historical sources about Zionism. The removal of the link came after protests from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to the PA. The story also noted that PA Information Minister Nabil Sha'ath said that he had ordered the suspension of Sheik Ibrahim Mdaires, a Gaza Strip imam who told his congregation last week that "Jews are a virus resembling AIDS." Mdaires, whose statements were carried live on Palestine Television, also said Jews exaggerated the number of people killed in the Holocaust.

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