Saturday, June 24

Permanent Palestinian Residents of Jerusalem are Entitled to Israeli Citizenship

What is the present status of Jerusalem? According to Israel, Jerusalem is a united city and will remain so. In 1980, Israel passed the "Jerusalem Law", stating that "Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel", thereby formalizing its annexation of East Jerusalem.1 Surely this means that those born in Jerusalem are entitled to Israeli Citizenship by birth. There are many Palestinian permanent residents of East Jerusalem, who do not hold Israeli Citizenship and do not have equal rights to West Jerusalem Israelis even though they were born and lived there for generations.

In the 1967 census, the Israeli authorities registered 66,000 Palestinian residents (44,000 residing in the area known before the 1967 war as East Jerusalem; and 22,000, in the West Bank area annexed to Jerusalem after the war).2

These East Jerusalem Palestinians were born in East Jerusalem and have been living in Jerusalem for generations. They suffer from discrimination and are disenfranchised. Many live in poverty and the infrastructures in the areas where they live are poor. Their education facilities are not as good as in Israel proper. Jerusalem unity is totally artificial demographically and in practice. East Jerusalemites do have the vote in Municipal Elections

It is an infringement of human rights when East Jerusalem Palestinians born in Jerusalem are denied Israeli Citizenship. They should have the option of applying for Israeli Citizenship. If East Jerusalem is part of Israel, as the government claims on the grounds that Jerusalem is united, then its citizens should have equal rights to those living in Israel proper. Internationally the status of East Jerusalem is controversial and when it suits Israel to view it as not part of United Jerusalem vis a vis its Palestinian permanent residents, something's not right.

Since the annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967, Israeli authorities have promoted the two-fold goal of expanding the city’s Jewish population and reducing its Palestinian population. Various steps have been adopted to achieve this objective, including the isolation of East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, land appropriation, and discriminatory policies on planning and construction and budget allotment. Furthermore, although the annexation of East Jerusalem and its residents was a decision made by Israel and not by the people who live there, Israeli authorities treat East Jerusalem Palestinians as if they had made a voluntary decision to immigrate to Israel. Therefore, the authorities void Palestinians’ residency status and social benefits if they do not meet the restrictive criteria originally formulated for foreign residents.3

Daniel Seidemann, an Israeli lawyer specializing in issues related to Jerusalem and its residents, told Al-Monitor that the residency issue for Palestinians in East Jerusalem has been left vague by a collective Israeli decision-making process.4  

One cannot really have it both ways. Jerusalem is united when it comes to consideration of automatic citizenship for Jews living there according to the Law of Return, but not for Palestinian permanent residents born there. This is discrimination no matter how one views it. If there was an Arab East Jerusalem not part of the same Jerusalem Municipality and a separate entity, part of Palestine, then the eternal status of being a permanent resident of East Jerusalem would be justified

The cabinet this week approved a plan submitted by Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze'ev Elkin to encourage schools in East Jerusalem to teach an Israeli curriculum as opposed to the Palestinian school curriculum.5 If this is the case, surely this strengthens the East Jerusalem Palestinians’ case for Israeli Citizenship if they so desire.

Integration of schools in Jerusalem with Jewish and Palestinian children studying together from a young age will contribute to true coexistence without any side compromising on their culture. By achieving this, both sides will learn to accommodate each other in friendship and understanding. Both sides will learn from each other about each other's’ culture and traditions.

There are reports a few years ago of a growing trend amongst East Jerusalem Permanent Residents applying for Israeli citizenship.

If Jerusalem does become the shared capital of a future Palestinian State and Israel if this will occur, which I doubt very strongly under the present circumstance, the East Jerusalemites would have a clear choice in that matter. Jewish neighborhoods built by the government on land annexed to Jerusalem in 1967, in which 190,000 Israelis presently live; These large settlements were originally built in order to prevent such a solution and to isolate East Jerusalem from the West Bank.6

What is clear at present is that the present status of East Jerusalemite Palestinians is unsatisfactory for the reasons mentioned earlier in this article.

  1. 28 May. 2017, Accessed 16 Jun. 2017.
  2. Accessed 18 Jun. 2017.
  3. "East Jerusalem | B'Tselem." Accessed 16 Jun. 2017.
  4.  28 Mar. 2017, Accessed 16 Jun. 2017.
  5.  29 May. 2017, Accessed 16 Jun. 2017.
  6. Accessed 18 Jun. 2017.

Saturday, June 17

Occupation has Two Faces - Israeli and Palestinian

The occupation mantra has two faces. We are all familiar with the Israeli Occupation that is opposed by many Israelis, (including Yours Truly,) and the world. The big question is how do we end it when partners on both sides have no interest in negotiating ending the occupation.

On the Israeli side, there is PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s lip service to a Two State solution but in reality, this is not the case. This would mean the demise of many illegal settlements in the occupied territories. The heavy pressure of his extremist right wing flank would never support uprooting these settlements under any agreement.

On the Palestinian side, there is no partner to negotiate with Israel on ending the occupation. President Mahmoud Abbas is weak and has very little support from his people and Hamas will not recognize Israel’s right to exist and refuses to negotiate with Israel. As mentioned many times in my articles, Hamas views the occupation as Israel’s establishment in 1948. Only Israel’s demise is acceptable in the Hamas Covenant (Revised Version 2017). This revised version has not negated  Israel’s demise as many people believe.

Abbas can never sign any agreement with Israel as he knows that his life will be endangered and he will be viewed as a traitor by Hamas. Apart from that, the PA and Hamas are at loggerheads. The Palestinian territories are divided into two entities, Gaza 1. and the West Bank. The former is ruled by Hamas 2. and the latter by the Palestinian Authority (PA) 3. Both Hamas and the PA are “occupying” their people. Both rulers have not had general elections for over 10 years. Both parties are not democratic and rule their people with an iron fist.

Opposition to the PA and Hamas is not tolerated or permitted in the territories where they rule. The Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and the Hamas de facto administration in the Gaza Strip continue to restrict freedom of expression by arresting and detaining critics and political opponents 4.

There is no press freedom, transparency, and accountability in the occupied territories. Both Hamas and the PA are corrupt and their leaders are extremely wealthy. Funds earmarked for rehabilitation of Palestinian needs in Gaza have landed in the pockets of the corrupt Palestinian leaders, who have foreign bank accounts and live the good life. Their lifestyles are reminiscent of the deceased Communist dictator of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu, who was assassinated by the Romanian opposition in 1989.

Bearing all this in mind, apart from complaints and international PA antics of Palestinian suffering, the occupation is a source of enrichment for the Palestinian leadership. If the occupation ends and the international community starts monitoring for transparency in funding the fledgling Palestinian State-To-Be, if by some miracle does occur, the Palestinian leaders will not be able to enrich themselves at their peoples' expense as is the case at present.

The Hamas and PA leadership are responsible for hate propaganda against Israel and the Jewish People in their education systems, poisoning the minds of young, impressionable schoolchildren. This is their strength as a new generation of Palestinians will grow up with their minds full of hate for Israel and Jews generally. These corrupt and wealthy leaders of the Palestinians will continue to cry crocodile tears over Palestinian suffering under Israeli occupation while at the same time pocketing money donated to Palestinian rehabilitation projects by the EU, USA and other world bodies. Transparency, checks, and balances are not in the lexicon of the two divisive groups ruling the Palestinians today. Is this not also “occupation” by Hamas and the PA?

Its members were briefed by senior intelligence officers about the worsening humanitarian crisis in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, which will be greatly exacerbated by the Palestinian Authority's decision to stop paying Israel for the power it sells to Gaza. The Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip may be at war with each other, but the two rival parties seem to be in agreement over one issue: silencing and intimidating their critics 5.

Both sides to the conflict are demonizing each other. The stabbing attacks against Israel's Security Forces continues. This clip will give some idea as to the source of motivation of Palestinian terror.

  1.  (n.d.). Does Israel actually occupy the Gaza Strip? - The Washington Post. Retrieved June 16, 2017, from
  2.  (n.d.). Debunking Israel's 11 Main Myths About Gaza, Hamas and War Crimes. Retrieved June 16, 2017, from
  3. (n.d.). President of the Palestinian National Authority - Wikipedia. Retrieved June 16, 2017, from
  4. Accessed 16 Jun. 2017.
  5. Accessed 16 Jun. 2017.

Thursday, June 8

Islamist Terrorism and its Allies

Over the last two weeks, London and Manchester have been subjected to Islamist terrorism, which appears to be escalating. The terrorist tactics involved are similar to Hamas and their Islamist allies’ tactics against Israel. Vehicle ramming of innocent people, stabbings and the use of fake explosive belts, followed by cries of “Allahu Akhbar!” (!الله أكبر) as their evil deeds are committed. There seem to be more similarities between Hezbollah, Hamas and ISIS than so-called Palestinian terrorist organizations wish to admit. While Daesh has suffered a humiliating defeat in Mosul and other parts of Syria and Iraq, they still have active cells operating in Europe and Great Britain waiting for an opportunity to strike.

What is it that makes mostly second generation sons and daughters of immigrant parents of Middle Eastern origin so susceptible to the propaganda of Daesh (ISIS)? What is it that even attracts non-Moslem European youth into the ranks of Islamist terror?

There are so many theories causing this attraction for many wayward youths, who somehow are failures within their societies and environment in which they grew up. They somehow, never “fitted into” what is considered acceptable norms of behaviour. They seek another way to prove themselves and are very susceptible to social media propaganda, the sources of which come from Daesh and affiliated hatred spewing Islamist terrorist organizations.

Another brainwashing source of hatred and glorification of destroying “the infidel”  which they refer to us non-Muslims is the racist, hate- spewing, charismatic Imams that deliver hateful sermons in mosques in their adopted countries in Europe and the US as well as in education. They issue calls to use any means to kill the non-believer. This definition of “infidel” also, includes many Muslims who do not hold radical Islamist views and this happens to include most Muslims, who are law-abiding citizens in their adopted countries.

The Manchester and London Bridge terrorist attacks provide further proof that Daesh terrorist cells are alive and kicking in London and Manchester as well as in various cities throughout Europe. The tactics that they have adopted are very similar to the tactics used by Hamas lone terrorists infiltrating into Israel. These tactics are the result of the brainwashing in the social media as well as appeals from radical imams as mentioned earlier.

When the UK PM claims that, Islamic terrorism “is a perversion of Islam”, that's cowardice after an attack in which the Islamic killers made a point of proclaiming, “This is for Islam” and “This is for Allah”.1.

No matter where you look, you will find that the strongest association between Muslims and terrorism is one in which Muslims are victims of it. 2.

Christians must, therefore, recognise that while some Islamist terrorists use Qur'anic verses calling for violence as a theological justification for terrorism, many orthodox Muslims and Islamists totally reject this way of interpreting the Qur'an. 3.

The attitude in the EU countries, including Great Britain, over the years, is to show sympathy and understanding towards those immigrants embracing Islam, by being “politically correct and tolerant” and taking this attitude towards extremes. Sweden even went to so far as to forbid journalists reporting the religious background of criminals involved in rapes and theft in order not to insult the sensitivities of Muslims in their country.

It appears that this tolerant attitude towards Islam has not achieved the integration of Muslim immigrant communities. Non-Muslim countries are paying a heavy price in blood from lone Islamist terrorist cells scattered all over Europe.

Ways of fighting this form of terrorism are:
1.   Arresting those in the social media responsible for creating and glorifying potential terrorists as well as encouraging it.
2.   Expelling those imams, who preach racial hatred, to their countries of origin.
3.   Demolishing places of worship where racist sermons and propaganda encouraging terror is preached.

We must not lose our sense of proportion even during these times of Islamist terror and remember that most Muslims are law-abiding citizens and loyal to their countries of adoption. European governments should heed the advice of British Imam, Abdul Arif, who travels in Britain speaking out against terrorism, said there were “no words” to express how he felt when he learned the attackers screamed “this is for Allah” as they hit on Saturday night.

  1.  (2017, June 5). Retrieved June 8, 2017, from (n.d.). 
  2. Retrieved June 8, 2017, from
  3. (n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2017, from

Saturday, May 27

Jerusalem - A City more Divided than Ever!

Israelis wave flags as they celebrate Jerusalem Day outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City 
This past week, almost coinciding with the glitch-filled Trump visit, including the notorious, loutish behavior of MK Oren Hazan, who pushed his way through to take a selfie with President Donald Trump, which was the only achievement of Trump’s State visit to Israel. Another celebration took place after Trump and his retinue boarded the plane to the Vatican to meet Pope Francis.

But as to whether the US considers Jerusalem to be in Israel, whether in the eastern or western part of the city, that question remains unanswered, even after Trump's ceremonial visit.1

Some Israeli politicians have felt that Trump's visit to Jerusalem is a sign of obvious recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the city, including the Old City.2

This celebration - the 50th Anniversary of the capture of Jerusalem during the Six Day War of 1967. There was tremendous euphoria when Eastern Jerusalem fell into the hands of Israel at the time and for a few years after that until the Yom Kippur War of October 1973.

Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War and subsequently annexed it into Jerusalem, together with the additional surrounding territory.3

The cracks in this euphoria began when settlements were built in occupied territories for religious Zionist zealots. These occupied territories are controversial and Israel was not able to enjoy the fruits of victory for very long as a new reality of illegal settlements were established, including in areas around Eastern Jerusalem that belonged to East Jerusalem Palestinians.

Jerusalem, while being united territorially, was never united demographically and still remains so to this day. This year, while Israel celebrated the unity of Jerusalem, it became clear that cracks in that unity is growing wider and wider so much so that those who celebrated and made themselves the most felt were the right wing, religious Zionists.

An activist with IfNotNow is carried away by Israeli police during a Jerusalem Day protest, Jerusalem, May 24, 2017. (JC/
It became a political fanfare of showing who are the bosses of Jerusalem today! The Israeli flag waving, tzitzi-dangling, kippa-cladded youngsters of the extremist right wing Zionist religious, Bayit HaYehudi Party, (whose leader is Naftali Bennett) and the religious, fascist, extremist, MK and Deputy-Speaker, Bezalel Smotrich, were raucously parading the streets.

It was a frightening spectacle to watch.
These noisy demonstrations’ sole purpose was to provoke the East Jerusalem Palestinians and those who are against the occupation seeking a just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. Most secular Israelis were not part of this hateful, provocation and there were counter-demonstrations resulting in arrests. The loutish and provocative behavior of the right wing religious, Zionists were left to their own shocking behavior.

The message of this whole charade was a message of power and to show the world that Jerusalem is the property of the right to extreme right-wing settler movement that wishes to colonize the West Bank. There was nothing that one could view as promoting peace. There was no hint of good will or a feeling that Jerusalem belongs to everybody who lives in it irrespective of their creed or race.

Many of us cringed with shame when we saw how the masses of right-wing Zionist religious youth with their raucous, provocative screaming did their utmost to display their power over the Palestinians and others who do not share their racist, extremist views. It was an exercise of hate for the stranger in their midst.

Naturally, there were arrests and detentions of those who opposed this mass exercise of hatred and self-righteousness.

The despicable behavior of the religious, Zionist extremist right-wing is further proof that Jerusalem is far from being a united city. Unity is not based only on free access to every part of Jerusalem, but also on the desire of all Jerusalemites to accept each other. Tolerance towards all people whether they are Christian, Muslim or Jew is not part of the extreme right wing agenda as illustrated by these loutish demonstrators.

This disgraceful, Israeli flag waving and crude slogan screaming of “who is the boss” proves that Jerusalem will remain a city divided by hate for many years to come.

The United States and most other nations have not recognized Israel's annexation of territory captured in 1967, and both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital.4

  1.  24 May. 2017, Accessed 27 May 2017.
  2. 24 May. 2017, Accessed 27 May. 2017.
  3. Accessed 27 May. 2017.
  4. 24 May. 2017, Accessed 27 May. 2017.

Tuesday, May 23

Right - Wing Threats to Democracy in Israel

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked in Knesset, June 27, 2016. Olivier Fitouss
District Six Memory Plaque at the Moravian Chu...
District Six Memory Plaque at the Moravian Church in District Six, Cape Town, South Africa. It commemorates the victims of apartheid-era forced removals through the racially divisive Group Areas Act. Picture by Henry Trotter, 2000. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It is rare for me to write something about my personal experience in the 1960s and early 70s in South Africa where I was born, brought up and educated. It was in the era of apartheid when people, who opposed the evil white apartheid government, were placed under detention for 90 days, 180 days, and house arrests with no recourse to a lawyer. The criteria for everything were skin colour. Separate and inferior facilities for those who were not white - separate entrances in public buildings, buses and trains and separate beaches for blacks and whites.

The Group Areas Act, Immorality Act, and much other heinous legislation were the order of the day Those were chilling days, our phones were tapped by security police as my family opposed apartheid. The definition of a “communist” under the Suppression of the Communist Act of 1950 was very wide to include those opposing apartheid. Democracy in apartheid South Africa was thoroughly compromised. The Black people were disenfranchised. The list went on and on.

Demonstrators protesting in solidarity with ‘Breaking the Silence’ and other left-wing NGOs, after the Israeli government proposed a new law governing the financial disclosure of NGOs, in Tel Aviv, Israel, 19 December 2015. Photo activesills/Flickr
I had made up my mind in 1974 that I had to leave South Africa as the noose was tightening against those who opposed racism and apartheid in all its evil forms. I chose Israel as my country where I could start a family eventually. Israel is the only democratic country that I felt I could live and be free from the restraints of racism and hate for people of colour.

If we are to discuss the right wing threat to democracy in Israel, it is unavoidable not to use the apartheid South Africa comparison.

Today over forty years later, and after much water had flowed under the bridge, we are reaching a stage where the similarities between the present Israeli Government Coalition and the apartheid government of the old South Africa are becoming evident when it comes to enacting legislation weakening the law courts in as far as a citizen’s right to address a legal problem is concerned if it is not in line with the ruling government agenda. This is the case when the justification of theft of Palestinian land is concerned.

Countless articles have been written on the evils of the occupation since the June 1967 Six Day War on my blog as well as the history of the conflict.

There is a growing trend in the Coalition Government to try and pass laws that emphasize Israel as the Jewish State as if we are not aware of it. Perhaps there are Israelis who need reminding by having a law enacted to leave them with no doubt! Is this really necessary? Even the ultra-Orthodox coalition partner, Yahadut Hatorah, opposes this bill for their own partisan, political reasons. The innuendo of this bill is to ensure that non-Jewish citizens of Israel will remain inferior. The status of Arabic as one of Israel’s official languages will also drop. Why?

A very good friend of mine said that we, the secular, progressive citizens of Israel, who happen to oppose the present right wing Government Coalition of Israel, are caught up in a trap that is a two-edged sword. We are ostracized by BDS (that is anti-Semitic as well as being anti-Israeli) and Palestinian terrorist organizations such as Hamas that fail to recognize Israel’s right to exist on the one side, and we are viewed as traitors to Israel by the right wing supporters of the Israeli Government Coalition. We are caught in between and get the flack from both sides. The latter is another symptom of the erosion of democracy in Israel, where having a left of centre viewpoint is synonymous to treachery. This gives a feeling of déjà vu for many of us, who grew up under apartheid in South Africa and now live in Israel.

There are accusations that any singling out of Israel is anti-Semitic: so, for example, calling for boycott, divestment, and sanctions in Israel's case but not in others is prima facie evidence of anti-Semitism, as is using the word apartheid to characterize any aspect of Israeli society 1.

South African parliamentarian, Kenneth Meshoe, who suffered under the apartheid regime, said the comparison of Israel to apartheid South Africa “betrays the memory of those who suffered through a real apartheid” and those who draw such comparisons “are minimizing the suffering that black South Africans endured.2

I have written articles on how wrong and inaccurate it is to compare Israel to South African apartheid. While this may still be true in many respects, today under the present right-wing Likud Coalition Government, the similarities, unfortunately, are becoming more poignant.

Adam and Moodley argue that notwithstanding universal suffrage within Israel proper if the occupied Palestinian territories and settler presence are considered part of the entity under analysis, the comparison between a disenfranchised African population in apartheid South Africa and the Palestinians under Israeli occupation gains more validity.3

In recent years we have witnessed a disturbing trend toward the erosion of democratic values in Israel and the promotion of anti-democratic initiatives. There is a move to silence those NGO watchdogs on human rights. Some examples are Breaking the Silence, B’tzelem and even Peace Now. Another example is the hegemony of the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate on freedom of choice of which religious Jewish stream a Jewish person wishes to adhere. Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist Judaism have no religious rights at all to marry couples and are not recognized. There is no civil marriage or divorce. There Is no separation of Synagogue and State in Israel.

Donations to Israel from naive Reform and Conservative Jews to the Orthodox establishment are always accepted. Of course to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, donations are always Kosher no matter from where it comes! Non-Orthodox observant Jews are viewed as “goyim” by the Orthodox Rabbinical Establishment. It will only get worse:

The security problem adds to the similarity. The lack of progress on both sides makes a solution to the conflict more complicated and impossible. Israel wishes to increase settler occupation in Palestinian lands beyond the Green Line. Naftali Bennett, Leader of Bayit Hayehudi and Coalition partner, has made this one of his mantras for remaining in the Netanyahu Coalition. He opposes the Two-State Solution. The only other solution is the One-State Apartheid Solution which is gaining more support as the Israeli Electorate moves further towards the right and at the same time viewing the left wing in Israel as traitors. In a recent poll, the young people are moving increasingly towards the right and becoming more religious.

So Israel — in the words of its most loyal benefactor — is moving inexorably “towards cementing a one-state reality of perpetual occupation” that is anti-democratic: i.e., the equivalent of apartheid.4

The upsurge of religious observance in Judaism and right wing Zionist religious ideology with its increased power over law court decisions on issues of increased Israeli settlement on disputed Palestinian lands is a threat to Israel’s reputation as being a democratic state. The trend to delegitimize NGOs such as Breaking the Silence, B’tzelem and Peace Now is threatening democracy in Israel.

  1. . 2 May. 2017, Accessed 21 May. 2017.
  2. 17 Mar. 2017, Accessed 23 May. 2017.
  3. Accessed 21 May. 2017
  4. 6 Oct. 2016, Accessed 23 May. 2017.