Thursday, 8 August 2013

Amnesty to Hamas: Halt planned Gaza executions

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Amnesty International on Thursday urged Gaza Strip rulers Hamas to halt prisoner executions planned for after the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday, which is celebrated until Sunday.

"The Hamas authorities in Gaza must halt several executions they say they plan to carry out after this week's Muslim religious festival of Eid al-Fitr," the London-based rights watchdog said in a statement.

"We acknowledge the right and responsibility of governments to bring to justice those suspected of criminal offenses, but the death penalty is cruel and inhuman," said Philip Luther, Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa director.

"There is no evidence that (execution) deters crime more effectively than other punishments," he added. more

Tel Aviv sets timeframe for releasing 104 detainees

The Israeli Government has officially announced a timeframe for the release of 104 Palestinian detainees, imprisoned since before the first Oslo peace accord was signed in 1993, and said that the detainees will be released in four stages, starting next week, and ending in eight months of direct talks.

The Israeli Radio has reported that the first group of detainees will be released next week, then four months later, the second group will be released “depending on the progress of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) in the West Bank.”

The Radio added that the third and fourth stages would be implemented after the direct talks have continued for six and eight months, and that the release is solely dependent on the “progress of talks with the Palestinians”. more

Do Israelis want a real Palestinian state? The polls say no

It’s peace process time again--and with it comes the trope that Israelis are ready for a two-state solution. That sentiment is accompanied by polls showing the same: that Israelis support the principle of two states for two peoples. But an examination of Israeli polls shows that nothing like a viable Palestinian state that would be acceptable to the Palestinian population is on the table.

With the peace process in overdrive, media consumers have been treated to a lot of hopeful thinking. In the past month, journalists and analysts have lined up to say that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has the support of the Israeli people to make a peace deal--if he would just go ahead and buck his right-wing coalition.

Writing in Foreign Policy, Brent Sasley says that there is “majority support, including among Jewish-Israelis, for talks and for a final settlement. One recent poll found that 62 percent of Israelis support a two-state solution.”

In a piece on why there’s hope for a two-state deal, The New Republic’s Ben Birnbaum writes that “two-thirds of Israelis—including a majority of Likud and Jewish Home (!) voters—would support a peace deal that gave the Palestinians a state on 100 percent of the West Bank (with land swaps) with its capital in East Jerusalem.”

The Guardian’s Michael Cohen similarly writes that “Israelis strongly support a two-state solution.”

All three of those analysts link to articles in Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post that provide details on the same poll: a December 2012 study conducted by the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace showing that right-wing Israelis would support a Palestinian state. The polls--there were two in total commissioned by the center--surveyed Habayit Hayehudi and Likud voters, and found that the majority of them would support a Palestinian state. Conflict solved!

Not so fast. The devil is in the details when it comes to a Palestinian state. more

Nazareth Illit mayor says, ‘If you think I’m a racist, then Israel is a racist state’

Shimon Gapso is back on the scene. You might remember Gapso made headlines in April when he published a broadside on Facebook promising to continue the "daily struggle" of keeping Nazareth Illit "Jewish Forever!" Nazareth Illit was established in the 1950s overlooking the Palestinian city of Nazareth to promote the Judaization of the Galilee.

Since, Gapso's call for racial purity has been roundly criticized and he has been the focus of some creative protest. Today, Gapso decided to fight back, and, in all honesty, he makes a compelling argument. Gapso asks, why attack him when he's just promoting what the state of Israel was founded for?

From the Haaretz Op-Ed, "If you think I’m a racist, then Israel is a racist state":
Yes — I’m not afraid to say it out loud, to write it and add my signature, or declare it in front of the cameras: Upper Nazareth is a Jewish city and it’s important that it remains so. If that makes me a racist, then I’m a proud offshoot of a glorious dynasty of “racists” that started with the “Covenant of the Pieces” [that God made with Abraham, recounted in Genesis 15:1–15] and the explicitly racist promise: “To your seed I have given this land” [Genesis 15:38]...

Hamas's Barhoum: Israel, PA work jointly to liquidate resistance in WB

GAZA, (PIC)-- Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, has accused the Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) of working together to liquidate resistance in the West Bank.

Barhoum said in a statement on his Facebook page on Wednesday that the recent escalation in arrest campaigns by both the IOA and the PA was meant to distract the attention away from the resumption of negotiations between both.

He urged all parties to expose those involved in the talks, which would ultimately lead to liquidating the Palestine question. more

Delta Air Lines drops Israeli settlement snack from onboard meals

(Source: WhoProfits Facebook page)

Delta Air Lines, one of the world’s largest carriers, will stop serving snacks manufactured in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank on its flights from Tel Aviv.

Who Profits, a research project of the Tel Aviv-based Coalition of Women for Peace, learned that Delta Air Lines will stop serving the Ahva Vanilla Halva bar, three weeks after a customer filed a complaint with the company’s legal department.

In the copy of Delta’s email to the customer that I received from Who Profits, Delta Air Lines writes:
From: Delta Customer Care Date: Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 8:00 PM Subject: Delta Air Lines (KMM25201657V70362L0KM) To: [redacted]

RE: Case Number # [redacted]

Dear Ms. [redacted]

We are in receipt of your letter to the Delta Law Department dated July 2, 2013 and the subsequent communication sent on July 25, 2013. We apologize for the delay in our response.

Delta has notified our local catering company to discontinue serving the Vanilla Halva bar in meals onboard Delta flights from Israel.

Please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns.


Specialist, Corporate Customer Care
Delta Air Lines
WhoProfits ( did not release the name of the customer, at the customer’s request. more