Tag Archives: west bank

Palestinians are Hurt by BDS

CAMERA Fellow Deborah Shamilov.

“All the people who wanted to close SodaStream’s West Bank factory are mistaken… They didn’t take into consideration the families,” Ali Jafar, a Palestinian SodaStream employee stated back in 2015. He had been working at the Israeli company’s West Bank factory which produced home carbonation drink machines for two years before it was shut down due to pressure from the BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) campaign.

Palestinian workers react to the SodaStream in the West Bank being shut down.

The BDS campaign aims to prevent people around the world from buying Israeli products, and even has targeted celebrities and educational institutions for their support for or representation of anything related to the Jewish state. The campaign claims that Israel practices apartheid in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank – similar to that which was practiced in South Africa. However, SodaStream and its employees contradict such lies about Israel. The factory had been bringing Palestinians and Israelis to work together happily, and today also employs Arabs and Bedouins. Management and staff had shared that benefits and salaries were the same for employees in the same job setting, regardless of whether they were Jewish, Bedouin or Palestinian. In some cases, Palestinian workers were even given higher positions than their Jewish counterparts. In a video made by the SodaStream employees, you can see them introducing each other and working side-by-side in peace.

Following SodaStream’s fall in sales, the factory had to be relocated to Southern Israel and as a result, had to lay off the 500 West Bank Palestinians it had employed. In the end, the global campaign intended to delegitimize Israel had in fact hurt the Palestinians. It had hurt the opportunity for Israelis and Palestinians to work together and build relationships.

Regardless of the progress and happiness felt by the workers, the fanatics of the BDS campaign squandered a wonderful opportunity for Palestinians and Israelis alike. This is just one example of the BDS campaign attacking Israel with blind, unjustifiable hatred; and the torment continues. In response to the boycotts and protests, SodaStream will now be placing stickers that read, “Made is in Israel: This product is produced by Arabs and Jews working side by side in peace and harmony” on all of its products.

New SodaStream labels

The question is, what are the real goals of the BDS campaign? Is it to help the Palestinians, or is it to use the Palestinians as a reason to target Israel? Either way, it has neither been helping Palestinians, nor has it been using factual claims as a basis for its Israel hatred. Innocent people working towards peace should not have to suffer because of the hatred spewed out by the ignorant.

Contributed by Rutgers University CAMERA Fellow Deborah Shamilov.

Israel Increased Water Supply to West Bank

Some kids find rumors fun in grade school. A child makes up something about a schoolmate, tells it to the whole class, and that schoolmate ends up crying from embarrassment. But what is he embarrassed of?

The rumor is simply a lie, a lie that needs to be confronted and replaced with the truth.

So here is the rumor:

Media outlets, NGO’s, and pro-Palestinian propagandists are currently claiming that Israel is “cruelly [using] water as a weapon against innocent Palestinian civilians [and] cruelly denying the population an adequate supply.”

The Independent pushed this rumor even further when it posted this as a headline:

Ramadan Independent pic

Unfortunately for the readers, the article is far from the truth here. After a short investigation, UK Media Watch was able to diffuse this rumor.

Here is the truth:

Israel, as is the Middle East, is incredibly hot in the summer. Needless to say, when it’s hot, people drink more water. Water demand increases which results in shortages.

While Palestinian Authorities have claimed that “Israel has cut off the water supply to large areas of the West Bank,” the truth is that there were simply water shortages in the West Bank, in general —in Israeli settlements as well as Palestinian areas. Muslims and Jews experienced a water shortage.

Israel’s actions have been quite the opposite of what the media is claiming.

In addition to sorting out the water shortages, Israel has increased the water supply in Palestinian areas and is specifically accommodating Muslims during their fasting period of Ramadan.

During Ramadan, Muslims fast in the day, only eating and drinking at night. Therefore, Israel has increased the water supply during night-time in order to meet their needs.

The accusation that Israel would think to decrease water supply to Palestinians is baffling. In fact, just recently, in June, “the water supply to Hebron and Bethlehem [was] expanded [by] 5,000 cubic meters per day in order to meet the needs of the residents,” according to water supplier Mekorot.

Israel has no desire to interfere with Ramadan or to cut off Palestinians’ water supply.

President Reuven Rivlin’s visit to a Ramadan fast-breaking feast a few days ago further demonstrates Israel’s true priorities:

This past April, Pres. Rivlin met with religious leaders of the council of the Faith at the presidential compound in Jerusalem. Leaders from the Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Druze communities participated. Source: Getty Images

This past April, Pres. Rivlin met with religious leaders of the council of the Faith at the presidential compound in Jerusalem. Leaders from the Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Druze communities participated. Source: Getty Images

Addressing the municipal and faith community leaders from the Muslim and Druze communities, Rivlin spoke about the horrific Sarona Tel Aviv and Orlando terror attacks. “[We] must insist,” Rivlin explained, “that murder and violence are the result of intellectual distortion which has nothing to do with a healthy religion.”

Rivlin concluded beautifully by saying that, “Our lives and your lives here in this country are intertwined. We are here together, and we will remain here together.” Israel strives for, Rivlin summarized, a society of “equality and fairness…that we all deserve together.”

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Penina Simkovitz

Letter: BDS – A Reality Check

Emet group Cornellians for Israel (CFI).

Emet group Cornellians for Israel (CFI).

In the guest column “On Divestment and Hypocrisy,” the authors described an idealistic moral calling to divest from companies supporting Israel’s so-called apartheid actions. The truth is not so simple. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is extraordinarily complex, and portraying it as they did is inaccurate. Furthermore, their claim that boycotting companies is an action that will lead to meaningful change is fabricated.

To state that the living situation for residents of the West Bank is not ideal is correct. To claim that Palestinians deserve better treatment than what they currently receive is also absolutely right. But to compare what is happening in Israel with apartheid in South Africa represents a severe misunderstanding of the current conflict. Even South African Judge Richard Goldstone, whose U.N. Report on Israeli war crimes was reviled by Israelis and celebrated by Palestinians, has claimed “in Israel, there is no apartheid,” and “the charge that Israel is an apartheid state is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony.”

Amarbneil, Emad and Hadiyah discuss five factors that they believe indicate the existence of Israeli apartheid: racist statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, segregated roads, inaccessible land, inhumane working conditions and Palestinians deaths, especially in Gaza. None of these factors actually represent apartheid.

Netanyahu’s statements were reprehensible; they were instantly condemned by Israeli leaders. However, this is not a sign of apartheid. It’s the sign of a politician saying something stupid. Furthermore, Netanyahu apologized for his statements, a fact that escapes mention in their article.

In South Africa, segregation existed because of racism. In Israel, this is not the case. There are few roads in Israel that are segregated, and those ones are made that way exclusively for security reasons. The same is true with regard to inaccessible land. Ideally, there would be no checkpoints and everyone would travel freely around the West Bank. Unfortunately, there are serious security issues that need to be taken into account. Just since September 2015 there have been 206 stabbing attacks, 83 shootings and 42 vehicular ramming attacks by Palestinians against Israelis, according to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Palestinians in the West Bank are occasionally subject to inhumane working conditions and low wages. Yet this is not Israel’s fault. Palestinians in the West Bank are not Israeli citizens. They have their own government, the Palestinian Authority. Granted, their government hasn’t held an election since 2006 and is more concerned with criticizing Israel than with helping its own citizens. Nevertheless, people wouldn’t call America apartheid if their citizens weren’t paid the minimum wage of Australia. So how is Israel apartheid because Palestinians are not paid Israeli minimum wage?

Their final issue involves a great distortion of the current situation. Yes, many Palestinian civilians have been killed, especially in Gaza, and this is tremendously sad and distressing. But to argue that Israel is fully responsible for these deaths is a gross misrepresentation of the truth. Between 2005, when Israel unilaterally left Gaza and gave it to the Palestinians, and 2015, over 11,000 weaponized rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza with the purposeful intent of damaging Israel and killing Israelis. Israel had the right to respond to these acts of war. Furthermore, it is well documented that Hamas uses civilians as shields and purposely operates their military in civilian areas, both in clear violation of international law. This also contributes to civilian deaths.

In addition to their arguments about Israeli apartheid being tenuous, their claims that BDS is an appropriate solution to the problem are incorrect. In fact, it hurts those it purports to help. While the Israeli economy remains unaffected by such movements, Palestinian beneficiaries are hurt. The Palestinian Authority’s official daily newspaper published that Israeli companies offer higher wages to Palestinian employees than Palestinian companies and also provide benefits like medical insurance and transportation stipends.

Furthermore, it does not address the main underlying causes of the current conflict. Very recently, the Pew research group did a study on Israelis and Palestinians, and found that one of the major issues preventing peace in the region is a lack of trust. Less than half of Israelis and Palestinians believe peaceful co-existence is possible. This lack of trust must be repaired if there will ever be a solution to the conflict. And BDS does not repair distrust — it exacerbates it. Even Norman Finkelstein, who was once called by Al-Jazeera a “rock star of the Pro-Palestinian movement,” has come out against BDS. He claims the movement is filled with “disingenuousness — they don’t want Israel to exist.”

The article is right on one issue, though. Debate is needed. Sadly, in the past, BDS activists on campus have not been in favor of debate. In 2014, the Student Assembly voted down a BDS motion because they felt it was not their place to be making decisions on such topics. Yet, they strongly encouraged everyone to stay behind to debate the issues at the meeting. This debate did not occur. The supporters of BDS angrily stormed out of the room screaming and shouting.

More than debate being needed, conversation is needed. Debates have winners and losers, but no one gains new insight. Conversations don’t have winners and losers, but everybody learns something new. People in Cornell, whether “pro-Israel” or “pro-Palestinian,” need to talk to each other. Learn the other side. Try to increase trust. Peace will be made through understanding, not boycotts.

Originally published in the Cornell Daily Sun.

Contributed by CAMERA Intern and Co-President of Emet for Israel group Cornellians for Israel Reut Baer, Co-President Yonatan Krakow, and Vice President Tamar Kahan.

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Ali Abunimah Justifies the Murder of Two Israelis

Yesterday Eitam and Na’ama Henkin were murdered in front of their children in a disputed area of Samaria, in the West Bank. Most people are shocked and horrified that such an event like this could happen and their responses have been full of sympathy for their family, including their four children who witnessed the murder.

Not everyone responded as most would to a murder. Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, whose organization, Fatah, claimed responsibility for the attack, has said nothing, even after talking about making peace with Israel.

Another person who responded to the murder inappropriately was notorious anti-Israel activist, Electronic Intifada founder, and frequent speaker for Students for Justice in Palestine, Ali Abunimah. His tweet about the two murders was not surprising, given Abunimah’s stance on Israel, however it was incredibly unsettling.

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Abunimah appears to justify the murder of these two Israelis.

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Some Twitter users were quick to bring up the inaccuracies in his post.

Abunimah doesn’t see the difference; he wages false charges of “colonialism” not only against the state, but against the people. This is why he feels that these “colonialists” were murdered, to Abunimah this was not a young couple, this was a symbol of the State of Israel.

Below are the victims. As of the time of publication, Amnesty International has not yet condemned these murders.

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Palestinians in Bethlehem celebrated the murders on the streets. The sparse coverage by the media of this is concerning.

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Settlements and Law

ARE SETTLEMENTS REALLY ILLEGAL?

WRITTEN BY ELISA GREENBERG

THE FOURTH GENEVA CONVENTION

Reuters, BBC, and The Guardian are among a number of mainstream media outlets that often claim Israel illegally occupies Judea and Samaria (also known as the West Bank of Jordan) and illegally occupied Gaza before Israel’s 2005 unilateral withdrawal from 21 settlements (8,500 Jewish Israelis) there.
Their misrepresentation of the facts is based on the distortion of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states:
“Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the occupying power or to that of any other country…are prohibited…The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its         own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
By casting Israel as a colonial occupier and the Palestinian Arabs as oppressed, indigenous people, various media outlets are able to erroneously apply the above directive to Israel and claim that she is violating international law. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth.

WHEN AND WHY WAS ARTICLE 49 WRITTEN? DOES IT APPLY TO THE ARAB POPULATION IN JUDEA, SAMARIA, AND GAZA?

The article was created on August 12, 1949 in an effort to outlaw the Nazi practice of forcibly transporting populations into or out of occupied territories to death and work camps.
Arab residents are neither forcibly transferred nor has their growth been suppressed. in fact, their population has more than quadrupled in these territories since 1948. In fact, the Arab population in Jerusalem has increased at a faster rate than the Jewish population.
Any limitations that exist of the freedom of movement for Arabs in Gaza and Judea and Samaria such as checkpoints, the security fence, and/or security forces are direct results of the threat they pose to their Israeli neighbors and their governance by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

 

THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY’S OBSESSION WITH SETTLEMENTS

locationIn 2005, 21 Jewish settlements were uprooted from Gaza as part of a land-for-peace agreement. Not a single member of the United Nations objected to Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and the removal of Jewish families from their homes.
Recently, Israel announced the construction of 2,200 Arab homes  in eastern Jerusalem. Rather than applause or condemnation regarding this construction, the international community simply ignored it. On October 1, 2014, Israel announced the construction of 2,500 Jewish and Arab homes on desolate land in Jerusalem.
Currently, less than three percent of Judea and Samaria’s population is Jewish, yet the Palestinian Authority has been successful in their efforts to vilify their Jewish neighbors for simply raising families near or in predominantly Arab communities. This comes as no surprise, since Mahmoud Abbas, the current president of the Palestinian Authority, has openly stated, “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli — civilian or soldier — on our lands,” despite there being 1.5 million Arabs living in Israel proper today.
Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch, recently spoke out regarding the imbalanced focus and condemnation of Israel at the UN Human Rights Council:
“If in the past year, you didn’t cry out when thousands of protesters were killed and injured by Turkey, Egypt and Libya, when more victims than ever were hanged by Iran, women and children in Afghanistan were bombed, whole communities were massacred in South Sudan, 1,800 Palestinians were starved and murdered by Assad in Syria, hundreds in Pakistan were killed by Jihadist terror attacks, 10,000 Iraqis were killed by terrorists, villagers were slaughtered in Nigeria, but you only cry out for Gaza, then you are not pro human rights, you are only anti-Israel.”
The imbalance of condemnation against Israel and charges regarding the illegality of Israeli settlements are without foundation in international law. Rather than search for a solution to the Israel-Arab conflict, the international community has consistently driven a wedge between Israelis and Palestinians by feeding the narrative of Arab victimhood and Israeli oppression.

THE SIX DAY WAR

Prior to analyzing the rightful ownership of the West Bank and Gaza, it is important to first understand how and when Israel most recently re-conquered the land. During the 1967 war of self-defense, known as The Six Day War, Israel took control of  Judea and Samaria, which was illegally occupied by Jordan, and Gaza, which was occupied by Egypt.
Israel proceeded to warn Jordan’s King Hussein against joining the attack against Israel. Hussein, however, worried about the perception of his Arab brethren, refused to hold back arms and decided to attack the Jewish state. Throughout the battle, Judea and Samaria were used as a buffer zone for Israel’s security. Israel captured this land, as it did not belong to any country at the time and it became clear that Israel would need this land in order to ensure her future security.
Syria joined the attack on Israel by initiating an attack on the Israeli settlements in the northern Galilee. This was meant to be a diversion to cover a full-fledged assault further south by three Syrian brigades. Israeli forces were able to thwart the attack, however, Syria, continued constant shelling of their border with Israel The Israeli Defense Force reacted by storming the mountains in the northeast and in spite of stubborn Syrian resistance, completed their mission the next day.
On the evening of June 10, the rising tension dissipated as soon as the Israelis announced that they had accepted the cease-fire. Stationed on the banks of the Suez Canal and Jordan River and deep in the Syrian Heights, Israeli forces rested their weapons, bringing an end to the war.
(For more details on the Six Day War, click here)

IS ISRAEL AN OCCUPYING POWER? LEGAL MINDS SAY ‘NO’

Julius Stone, considered one of the premier legal theorists of the modern era, maintained that the effort to designate Israeli settlements as illegal was a “subversion. . . of basic international law principles.”
Stephen Schwebel, former judge on the Hague’s International Court (1981-2000), concured, in view of his distinction between territory acquired in an aggressive conquest and territory attained through a war of self defense. The Six Day War was an unprovoked war devoted to the destruction of the Jewish state. It was necessary for Israel to conquer Judea and Samaria and Gaza, as they served as buffer zones between hostile neighbors and Israel’s borders. Schwebel wrote,
“Where the prior holder of territory had seized that territory unlawfully, the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense has, against that prior holder, better title. (“What Weight to Conquest,” -American Journal of International Law, 64 [1970])
Schwebel made another distinction between acquisition of territory illegally held by another nation and territory that is legally held. From 1948-67 (when Israel became recognized as an independent state and the Six Day War), the West Bank was illegally held by Jordan and Gaza was illegally held by Egypt. Neither country had lawful or recognized ownership of those lands.
In March 2014, Dr. Harel Arnon, a recognized authority and attorney on international law, expanded on Schwebel’s second point in an address to the Knesset in Jerusalem:
“When Great Britain received the mandate over Palestine, including Transjordan, it received it for one purpose only – to establish a Jewish national home. Afterwards, in 1948, Britain returned the mandate to the UN, which had inherited the authority of the League of Nations, and left the territory of Palestine, which is now the State of Israel and Judea and Samaria. In this territory…a legal vacuum was formed, a territory without a sovereign.
Israel stood on the borders of 1948 and declared its independence. After, Jordan…unlawfully invaded and annexed Judea and Samaria. This action was indisputably unlawful, and even the Arab League condemned Jordan for doing it.
In 1967, Israel returned to Judea and Samaria, got rid of the illegal Jordanian occupation, and took control.
In other words, when we want to examine the question of whether or not Israel is occupying Judea and Samaria, we must address the fact that Israel took Judea and Samaria from someone who was there illegally, and therefore Israel cannot be seen as an occupier…the laws of occupation do not apply to Judea and Samaria.”

Budrus

Budrus is a documentary that was released in 2009. The film focuses on the anti-Security Fence movement growing in the village of Budrus, located in the West Bank. The anti-Security Fence movement is a series of protests which often start as nonviolent demonstrations but often end with throwing rocks. These protests are meant to urge the Israeli government to change the path of the security fence so it does not uproot olive trees or cross into Palestinian territory.

Budrus

Julia Bacha wrote and directed Budrus. Bacha is a Brazilian filmmaker and media strategist who was educated at Columbia University. The job of a media strategist is to ensure that a certain message is conveyed in media, which means that the slant in Budrus was not accidental. Bacha now works for Just Vision which has produced films such as, Budrus, My Neighborhood, Encounter Point and Home Front, all of which have a very clear anti-Israel slant.

According to Just Vision’s website, “Just Vision highlights the power and potential of Palestinians and Israelis working to end the occupation and build a future of freedom, dignity, equality and human security using nonviolent means.” Just Vision promotes other organizations such as B’Tselem and Women in Black.

Ayed Morrar, the film’s narrator, is a community leader who often organizes nonviolent demonstrations. Morrar is accompanied by Ahmed Awwad, a Hamas activist. The film attempts to show the audience that these two men are the victims and the nonviolent activists and that the soldiers are led by brutes and thus behave in a barbaric manner. The film also tries to show the people of Budrus as the true victims.

Budrus not only shows Palestinian protesters, but Israeli and foreign protesters as well. This angle attempts to give the movement against the destruction of Palestinian land some sort of validity. However, these international protesters mainly serve as a hindrance to the IDF and not in a helpful way. These international “friends” of the Palestinians often taunted the soldiers and escalated the problems, making it worse for the people of Budrus. The violent response demonstrations increased as the international protesters forced the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to take more drastic measures, making Israel seem like the aggressor.

This film also shows these protests from the perspective of the IDF soldiers who were serving at the border at the time. While the film paints the IDF and its tactics with civilians as harsh, two of the soldiers, Doron Spielman and Yasmine Levy, are seen as civilized. Spielman discusses the purpose of the fence and its realities, as well as the nature of IDF soldiers, whereas Levy discussed the relationship between the soldiers and the Palestinians and how that relates to the army’s orders.

Spielman acknowledged that the fence’s background was rooted in the intifada, saying, “…and that’s what we’re up against and the answer is a fence. The answer is not going out and mulling down people.”

While the film’s multicultural approach makes it seem like a fair and balanced piece, this is not the reality of the film. The film itself contains shocking language and scenes, in addition to heavily edited footage and a clear bias.

One of the more shocking tends in the film is that the words “Jew” and “Israeli” are used interchangeably. At one point, Awwad discusses how shocked he is that a Jew would stand by his side to fight another Jew. Then, in the next sentence, he goes back to using the word “Israeli.” This is troubling because it not only shows the assumption that all Israelis are Jews, but that Jews are the enemy. This interchangable use gives an anti-Semetic tone to the film.

The film also contains contradictory information that is evident in two main forms. First, in a scene with Morrar’s family, Morrar states that only men will be going to protest that day and that the co-ed march will be held the next day. Not more than 30 seconds after that sentence, his daughter, Iltizam, states that marches are always co-ed.

The other contradictory point in the film is that, despite the fact that Morrar and Awwad, as well as several other protesters, constantly insist that the protests are strictly nonviolent, there is a lot of footage that shows protesters throwing rocks. Though it is usually followed by a cry to stop, the rock throwing is evident of violent intentions. This contrast shows the filmmakers are ignoring these acts of violence in order to push the message that all Palestinians are victims and peaceful.

Iltizam Morrar is also a troubling character in the film. While she is passionate about her people’s land, some of the things that she says in this film can be questionable. For example, she discusses her family’s “history of resistance.”

“I’m from a family that I am proud of. We have a history of resistance. My father, uncles and grandmother are always talking about everything they did in the Intifada. When the Wall came I said, ‘Well, it’s my turn.’”

This reverence for violence is something that is never expanded upon, outside of a few more extreme quotes from Iltizam, but it seems odd that the daughter of a supposedly peace-loving man would admire someone who had so much to do with violence.

Finally, this film loses its credibility with its highly edited footage. There are various points in the film, but it is most evident in the interview with Zeev Boim, that the Israeli side is not allowed to speak. They cut the interviews to the sound bites that they want. Zeev Boim says that an Israeli activist should go on trial for helping the people in Budrus and when they reporter asks him about it, astonished, there is no response. They do not allow Boim to respond, expand on or clarify his comment.

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Rachel Wolf, a student at American University.

Background Information Necessary in Articles about Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

This piece was written by Brett Hausler and originally published in Massachusetts Daily Collegian, UMASS Amherst’s daily newspaper, on March 26th, 2014. Brett is a senior studying social thought and political economy, in addition to public policy and administration. Brett is a proud CAMERA Fellow, and a strong Israel advocate in the UMASS community.

A little while ago, I picked up a copy of the Massachusetts Daily Collegian. It was a typical day, where I would make my way through the Campus Center and into the Student Union to stay warm on my walk toward class in Bartlett. On the second page of the Collegian, the editor had chosen to provide several stories with issues “Around the World.” In this particular issue of the Collegian, I noticed that there were two articles about Israel. One of them caught my eye, because I recognized that it was written in a way that mislead and distorted the actions of Israel.

The article began with, “An Israeli airstrike killed two people in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday, including a man identified by Israeli security forces as a militant who fired rockets across the border last week during former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s funeral.” In order for proper recognition of why there was and continues to be rocket fire between Israel and Hamas, there must be some background information provided, which the original piece of writing did not include.

Israel has strived to create peace with the Palestinian government since 1948 – other instances include 1973, 2000 and 2008. Initially, in 1947, the Arab countries rejected the UN Resolution 181 (two-state solution) because they refused to recognize Israel as a legitimate country. In 1993, Israel transferred ownership of much of the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority. The exchange was intended for peace, but none materialized. After the evacuation of all Israelis from Gaza in 2005, the Palestinian government still refused to have peace talks with Israel. In fact, since the withdrawal – one that has caused much dispute within the Israeli and Jewish communities – Hamas, an Islamist group, has increased rocket fire into Israel from Gaza.

The article lacked context about the air strike. By naming the casualties as just people, the severity of the militant’s actions is decreased. Initial descriptions of one of the casualties as a militant is necessary in order to better illustrate a very serious situation that happened and continues to happen in Israel. In addition to this destruction, context of Hamas’ operations within Gaza borders show the struggle that Israel faces when countering continuous rocket attacks which originate from Hamas militants.

Hamas uses civilian buildings in Gaza for military purposes, which is why many rockets sent into the Gaza Strip by Israel result in civilian casualties. According to the Israel Defense Forces blog, “Hamas uses homes, schools, mosques and hospitals as weapons caches and hiding spots for its fighters.” Israel has the right to attack these private properties, and they must do so with the knowledge that killing militants may come with the unpleasant loss of civilian life.

Hamas Human Sheilds

Hamas’ strategy of using human shields to create more ‘collateral damage’ and negative press towards Israel

According to the Geneva Convention (Protocol 1), Article 52, “military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose, or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.” This specific rocket attack was Israel’s legal obligation with regards to Article 52.

Israel struggles to generate peace with Hamas because Hamas completely rejects a Jewish State. It has the ultimate mission to “fight the Jews and kill them” and to replace the Jewish state with an Islamic caliphate, among many other destructive actions even against its own Palestinian population. The article I am responding to did not provide context to Israel’s actions which killed a Palestinian militant. These aspects of the Israeli-Arab conflict need to be offered in all articles explaining the conflict, and when they are not, the words serve no purpose.

Accuracy Needed Regarding Settlements

This piece was written by Lauren Barney and originally published in the school newsletter, Pitt News, on February 12, 2014. Lauren is a CAMERA Fellow and a proud Israel activist dedicated to speaking the truth. 

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To the Editor,

This past Friday the Global Studies Center hosted a lecture titled, ”The Settler Movement: History, Impacts, and Perceptions” by Luke Peterson. According to the announcement dis- tributed from the Global Studies Center, “The lecture [examined]e the politics, history and impact of this movement (settlements) from its inception in the early 1970s through to the present day:’ However, Peterson’s speech did not address these issues factually. Instead, his lecture demonized Israeli settlements as a tool of the Netanyahu administration to remove the possibility ofa future two-state solution and the key issue in resolving the conflict.

Peterson claimed that the settled land comes from Palestine’s possession. However, in 1967, the West Bank was captured from the Jordanians during the Six-Day War. This war was a strike on Israel by multiple Arab countries. Miraculously, Israel was able to defensively push back the Jordanians out of the Jordanian-annexed West Bank. In July of1967, Israeli Cabinet Minister Yigal Allon drafted a plan to maintain military control over a strip comprising less than half of the West Bank from the Dead Sea to Jerusalem and west of Ramallah. Over the years, many historical pre-modern State of Israel Jewish land was settled once again in the West Bank. The settlements in the West Bank account for 5 percent of total land. All other security measures, such as checkpoints, are for the sole purpose of protection and do not inhibit the existence of Arab neighborhoods.

There are far greater dangers in the region than settlements. According to Palestinian Media Watch, Al-Khansa, a mother of four terrorists, is the namesake of eight schools under the Palestinian Authority. As I saw on my trip to Bethlehem, maps cease to recognize the existence ofthe State of Israel.

In order to truly bring peace, universities around the world should educate students, faculty, staff and the greater community through unbiased, accurately informed and open dialogue events.

Lauren Barney

Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America campus representative-fellow 

Terrorists Unite For “Peace”

This piece was originally Published in the Times of Israel on June 6th, 2014 and was written by Seth Greenwald. Seth Greenwald is an active writer for the Times of Israel, a pro-Israel activist, and a CAMERA intern.

As Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reaches the tenth year of his four-year term, he has achieved the “impossible,” a brokered “peace.” Abbas has established friendly relations with one of his greatest adversaries, and that is not Israel. For the first time in nearly a decade, the “former” terrorist organization, Fatah, has agreed to form a unity government with the terrorists of Hamas. Considering the fact that Abbas has spent many months attempting to broker peace talks with Israel, this seems like the perfect way to establish peace with the Jewish State.

Hamas and Fatah have been at odds for roughly eight years, following a history of Civil War in which over 600 were killed, more than 1000 were wounded, and cities were reduced to rubble. So much has changed since innocent Palestinians were killed, terrorists bombed terrorists, and cities were destroyed. Now, their previously mutual animosity towards each other has been pushed aside and terrorists have united to kill more innocent Israelis. What has not changed is that Palestinian and Israeli civilians are still casualties of war, and rockets continue to damage civilian areas in order to combine forces against the “Zionist entity,” or the Jewish State of Israel.

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Senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad, left, Gaza’s Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, center, and senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk, who is based in Egypt. This photo was taken after the announcement of an agreement between the two rival Palestinian groups, Hamas and Fatah, at Haniyeh’s residence in Shati Refugee Camp, Gaza Strip, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Not many details are yet known regarding the terrorist government claiming to unite for peace, but one thing is for certain. Ismail Haniyeh, current Prime Minister of the Hamas government in Gaza, said at a rally on Tuesday that Palestinians would now be newly empowered to fight Israel.

“Palestinian reconciliation aims to unite the Palestinian people against the prime enemy, the Zionist enemy. It aims to pursue the choice of resistance and steadfastness,” Haniyeh told supporters in the southern town of Rafah.

The reports further state that the Hamas-built security in Gaza and Abbas’ Western-armed security forces wouldn’t be reconciled until after elections, yet the armed wing of Hamas known for firing roughly 13000 rockets from Gaza to Israel over the past 10 years will remain intact following the vote.

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Contributed by CAMERA intern Seth Greenwald, Sophomore at Clark University 

Etymology of “Zionism”

This piece was written by CAMERA Fellow Daniel Narvy and first published in the New University on May 13th. Daniel Narvy is a junior majoring in Political Science and a frequent writer for NewUniversity.org. For more of his writings, click here.

Campus coordinators Samantha Mandeles and Gilad Skolnick meet with Daniel Narvy and other members of Anteaters for Israel.

Campus coordinators Samantha Mandeles and Gilad Skolnick meet with Daniel Narvy and other members of Anteaters for Israel.

Israel has been a focal point on campus for the past two weeks. The past two weeks have painted two visions of Israel, two different perspectives on the Middle East, and two very different interpretations on the Israeli-Arab conflict. I think this issue on campus boils down to a very simple question: do the Jewish people have a right to a state in their ancestral homeland? One very bigoted side says no, and the other side says the Jewish people have the right to self-determination, the same way any other people have the right to self-determination.

Last week on campus, the MSU sponsored an event which they call “Anti-Zionism Week.” What is anti-Zionism? At its very simplest definition, Zionism is the national liberation movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland, the land of Israel. Basically, it is the belief that the Jewish people have a right to their own nation-state like every other peoplehood. It is the movement for the Jews to regain sovereignty over their indigenous homeland, the homeland they have maintained a continuous presence in for 3300 years.

Anti-Zionism is going against this movement, using a double standard to deprive the Jews of a homeland. As Martin Luther King Jr. once famously said, “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You are talking anti-Semitism.” Why do many want to deprive the Jewish nation of a homeland?

I think this question can be traced back to the origins of the words “Jew” and “Palestinian.” Where does the word Jew come from? It is fundamental to note that the Jewish people are a nation who happen to have the common religion of Judaism. A Jew is not a Jew because he practices Judaism, rather, he is a Jew because his ancestors are Jewish. The origin of the word Jew (ye-hu-dee in Hebrew) comes from the Judea (Ye-hu-dah). Where exactly is Judea/Yehuda? The hills south of Jerusalem, part of the West Bank of the Jordan River, one of the areas anti-Israel activists are trying to claim never had a Jewish presence. Only one period in the past 3000 years have the Jews not lived in Judea; the period from 1949-1967 when the land was illegally occupied by the Jordanians and Jews were removed from the area.

Where does the word Palestinian come from? The Jews had sovereignty over the borders of modern day Israel from 1000-586 B.C.E with the first Jewish kingdom. The second Jewish Kingdom was 538-63 B.C.E. Upon the destruction of the Jewish Kingdom by the Romans in the year 70 A.D, the Romans named Judea “Palaestina” to erase the Jewish connection to the land. Palaestina was named after the ancient Philistines, the enemy of the Jewish nation thousands of years ago. The Philistines are an extinct nation and have zero connection to the modern Palestinian people.

Now, this is not the rhetoric told at UC Irvine, so let me use a modern linguistic example to illustrate my point. There is a city in Hebrew called Shchem, and in Arabic it is called Nabulus. Israelis refer to it as Shchem because that was the original name used in the Jewish Bible, and has been used for over 3500 years. Palestinians call the city Nabulus. The Jewish origin traces back to the Bible, whereas the Arabic origin traces back to the Roman conquest of Israel. The Romans renamed the city after the famous city of Naples. In Arabic, the “p” sound is a “b”, thus Naples evolved into Nabulus.

Another great example in the question of who is indigenous is the evidence left around the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount, a fundamental place in the 3 Abrahamic religions, was built by the Jews. Two Temples, Jewish holy sites, were build there by the Jews. Only after the second Jewish exile by the Romans did Christian holy sites start appearing, and well after that did Islamic holy sites exist. This is not a religious proof for the Jews, rather, it is a historic fact at the most basic level that the Jews were in Israel long before other nations.

Getting back to the original question, do the Jewish people have a right to their homeland? I would argue the following points: the Jewish people have maintained a continuous presence in their indigenous homeland of Israel for over 3300 years. The Jews revived a dead language, wear some of the same cultural clothing, and celebrate the same holidays. Walking down the streets of Israel, I could see Jewish history from every period for well over the past 3000 years. The Jews are indigenous, are an organic and authentic part of the Middle East, and the re-creation of the Jewish state of Israel in 1948 was not an act of colonization or imperialism, but rather the rightful owners of the area returning home.