≡ Menu

There’s a fascinating drama playing out at the NY Times thanks to public editor, Margaret Sullivan.  Sometime after the Shin Bet removed the gag order on the reporting of the Majd Kayyal case, Jodi Rudoren appointed her beat reporter, Isabel Kershner to write about the story.  She did a rather decent job and even interviewed Kayyal to add his perspective to the story.  I was rather surprised by this element, because the Times rarely interviews Palestinians who aren’t considered political leaders.  It almost never interviews those accused of security offenses.

Now, after Ali Abunimah complained about the Times’ collaboration with the Israeli security apparatus on gag orders, Sullivan’s column was published excoriating Rudoren for abiding by the gag order.  Thus it becomes more clear why Kershner’s reporting was so careful and comprehensive.  Undoubtedly, Rudoren knew she was under scrutiny and had to ensure the story would be fully reported and balanced.

I’m rather shocked by the entire brouhaha because it’s obvious to anyone with half a brain who follows Israel reporting by domestic Israeli and foreign media, that they all abide by gag orders.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve approached reporters for both the Times and other foreign papers with stories under gag, asking if there was any way they or a non-local reporter could cover the story.  Specifically, in one case where I offered a gagged story to a U.S.-based NYT reporter he specifically asked me if I’d brought the story to Rudoren’s attention.  Which seemed either a naive response or a way of getting himself off the hook.  Of course I wouldn’t offer the story to Rudoren because she wouldn’t or couldn’t report it.

At any rate, all reporters inside Israel are bound by gag orders.  Technically, as a non-Israeli you are not bound by a gag, but since you are physically within Israel’s jurisdiction, both the censor and courts consider you subject to Israeli gags.  If a locally-based foreign reporter violated a gag by writing a story, not only could their own personal credentials be yanked, but the existence of an entire bureau could be jeopardized.

But why wouldn’t a paper like the NYT assign a non-local reporter to cover such stories?  After all, there would be no jeopardy for such a reporter since he or she is not based in Israel.  However, despite the separation between the Israel-based and U.S.-based reporters, the Israeli security apparatus would take such a violation as a breach of domestic journalistic protocol.  It could either refuse to renew the bureau chief’s credential or it could make the bureau persona non grata and refuse to cooperate on any stories.

All this is written from the perspective of the Israeli government and the news agencies.

But what would happen if a number of the foreign bureaus united to announce they would refuse to abide by gags in future.  They wouldn’t have their local staff write these stories, but they’d be written by foreign-based reporters.  They could even say they wouldn’t rely on any locally-based reporting.  This of course would still anger the government, but what could they do if there was a united front presented by major foreign presses like the Times, Washington Post, Guardian, etc.?

self censorshipAs anyone who reads this blog knows, my major beef with the Israeli and foreign media is that they’re too quiescent regarding authority.  They view themselves more as conduits for official policy statements than as investigative reporters breaking stories.  While the Times staff does some feature writing that has some interest, they almost never do original investigative stories which break new ground.  So given this level of collaboration and back-scratching it seems unlikely the foreign press would stand up for such a principle.  Though it’s wonderful for Sullivan to hold Rudoren’s feet to the fire.

After all, what Rudoren and the Times are practicing is a form of self-censorship.  They won’t report a story they could report because they know it will inconvenience their professional lives.  But if the Times had followed the same rule regarding the Pentagon Papers, it would never have published them.  If the Times China bureau followed the same rule it would never have reported the amazing Pulitzer Prize-winning stories of high-level Chinese corruption, which caused a huge uproar and the expulsion from the country of one of the NYT reporters who wrote it.  In that case, the fear of repercussions didn’t deter the Times.  What’s the difference between Israel and China?  The difference is the Special Relationship.  Times reporters simply will not take an adversarial position to Israeli authorities.

I was tickled by Jodi Rudoren’s explanation of her choice to abide by gag orders as a simple agreement to abide by the local laws of the land, just as you abide by traffic laws.  As if issues like press freedom and censorship are as insignificant as jaywalking or speeding.  This shows not only Rudoren’s faulty grasp of the big issues involved, it shows her absolute buy-in to her role of journalistic cipher for the national security state.  She spoke hopelessly in this passage quoted by Sullivan:

If there had been a major story and a longstanding gag order, Ms. Rudoren said, she is convinced that The Times would find a way to publish, despite the legal restriction.

Indeed there have been many such longstanding gag orders which the Times did not violate including the Anat Kamm and Ben Zygier stories.  Especially in the former case, the Times had no excuse since I’d been reporting the story for months while the gag was in place.  The first U.S. reporter who broke that story was not Jodi Rudoren or Ethan Bronner her predecessor, but Judith Miller, who reported it for the Daily Beast and FoxNews.

It was also delightful to read the hypocritical statement by the managing editor that he “wasn’t aware” that the Times abided by Israeli gag orders.  Of course you weren’t aware if you chose to make yourself unaware.

You’ve heard me here excoriate the media who have finally reported this story, for forgetting that the only reason they are reporting it is because of the work of blogs like this one (and Electronic Intifada, who wrote its first report a day after mine) which first broke it.  Zvi Barel, writing in Haaretz never mentions the international campaign to free Kayyal.  Even Phil Weiss in sloppy fashion credits Ali Abunimah with “repeatedly scooping” the Times with its story.  My thanks to a number of those readers in the comment thread who linked to my reporting and offered credit.  Weiss also credits Matt Lee’s questioning of the State Department about Kayyal incarceration as instrumental in raising the visibility of the issue.  If he read this blog, he’d know that I tweeted such a request to Lee, who graciously acceded to it.  Abunimah himself didn’t link to my own original report until I’d tweeted to him about the omission.  He was so defensive about my tweet and our subsequent debate that he’s declared me persona non grata.  Which I suppose earns me excommunication from the anti-Zionist left caucus, another branch of which has drummed me out of the corps for being a racist.

All of which is my way of saying that while the Israeli national security state has much to answer for in its egregious violation of press freedom, the progressive left media often does a less than stellar job at research and reporting these stories as well.  Just as the Rudorens and Kershners of the journalist world rely on their pre-selected group of analysts and talking points in doing their reporting, so the left often reports stories according to its own prepared script.  Though outlets like Electronic Intifada and Mondoweiss add a great deal to our knowledge of the issues, their own prejudices and omissions are evident, but often unacknowledged.

My own quarrels with both blogs don’t prevent me from crediting their work.  I wish they’d return the favor.

 

{ 0 comments }


It isn’t often there are victories to report in the struggle for justice for Palestine.  But through the combined efforts of U.S. bloggers, reporters and Israeli activists, the Israeli state has backed down from its persecution of Israeli-Palestinian journalist and political activist, Majd Kayyal.  Today, he was released from prison and placed under house arrest.  The secret police also dropped the most serious charges against him of contact with an enemy agent and hostile organization (Hezbollah).  Now, he is charged with visiting an enemy state.

I should note that every Israeli Jewish journalist who has done the same (and there are at least three I can think of) has been threatened with investigation by the police, but no case was ever pursued.  A clear double-standard.

Besides coverage here, at Electronic Intifada, and at the brave Israel blog, O139, Matt Lee, AP’s State Department correspondent raised a timely question on Kayyal’s behalf at this week’s press briefing.  Jamil Dakwar of the ACLU first brought the case to my attention.  And Israeli activists protested the Palestinian reporter’s arrest in Tel Aviv on April 16th (see video).  Adalah, the Israeli-Palestinian NGO and Majd’s employer, defended him. After the fact (naturally), even the NY Times has gotten into the act. It interviewed Kayyal as part of its report, which is unusual for the Times in such Palestinian security cases.

Now, I would challenge those Israeli Jewish journalists like Lisa Goldman and Ron Ben Ishai, who visited “enemy states” but were not charged with a crime to make their voices heard on Majd’s behalf.

UPDATE: Lisa Goldman wrote about Majd’s case for the liberal Zionist site, 972 Magazine.  She’s apparently unaware of the international campaign for Kayyal and didn’t acknowledge it in her post.  Nor did the other two 972 posts on the case.  In fact, Goldman wrote this inaccurate statement:

And a judge granted the Shin Bet’s request for a gag order, so the media did not report on the arrest either.

Kayyal’s name was published in the Israeli blog to which I linked above, plus Rotter and another site.

Zvi Barel wrote an impassioned plea on Kayyal’s behalf in which the Haaretz columnist noted that he had violated the law the Palestinian was charged with numerous times, and not received so much as an invitation from the secret police to regale them with any of his travel stories.  But the glaring omission from Barel’s piece was an acknowledgement that the sole reason he could even write this story was the intrepid work of largely foreign journalists who rejected the Israeli gag and compelled the security police to remove it and free its prisoner.  Israeli journalism has a strong case of amnesia.  All that it does it does on its own merit.  It owes nothing to anyone.

Though this is a victory, it was one earned only through the help of foreign groups.  It can’t be emphasized enough that the Israeli system, if left to itself, would trample democratic rights, especially those of Palestinians.  This makes the efforts of outsiders critical to protect the vulnerable inside Israel.  I wish it weren’t so, but it is.  And let no liberal Zionist or Israeli nationalist dare make the claim that Israeli democracy “worked” in this case.  It didn’t.  If Israeli democracy worked it wouldn’t have charged him to begin with.

I have also contacted Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists along with Amnesty and Human Rights Watch.  None have taken any action that I know of on Majd’s behalf.   It would be helpful for them to weigh in even now to protect Majd’s rights to practice journalism undeterred by criminal charges.

I founded a Facebook group on Majd’s behalf as well.  I invite you to join, post updates on this case and Israeli press freedom in general, and invite others to join as well.

{ 7 comments }

temple institute

Temple Institute’s Passover priestathon

An Israeli friend has found an amazing YouTube video (apologies that it is in Hebrew without English captions) of the quasi-religious ceremony at which settler paraded scores of white tunic-clad (also called “kittels”) men of various shapes and sizes as the coming generation of kohanim (priests), who would assume duties when (not “if”) the State destroys the Dome of the Rock and replaces it with a rebuilt Holy Temple.  All this is under the auspices of the Temple Institute.  In a related incident, Israeli police arrested radical settler activists attempting to bring goats to the Temple Mount for the ritual Passover sacrifice.  No sooner were they released than one of them was rearrested bringing yet another goat into the Old City for sacrificial purposes.

To my surprise, my rightist readers didn’t pooh-pooh earlier coverage of this incident by saying these are a bunch of crazy marginal extremists.  Instead, a few readers argued that this ceremony is an entirely mainstream ritual with no extremist overtones.  I’d hoped at least a few readers would try to argue the marginal angle so I could respond by noting how insane Ariel Sharon’s plan to settle hundreds of thousands of settlers in the Territories appeared in the late 1970s, when there were only 20,000 settlers there.  One could retreat even farther in history to 1968 and speak of the small spark that was the settler movement then.  No one could foresee that from a tiny protest in Sebastia led by Shimon Peres, this incipient movement would, in effect, become a hidden elite actually controlling the Israeli government and political system.

So, when a bunch of seeming fanatics parade a bunch of fat, balding middle aged men through the streets of Jerusalem and tell us they’re the Jewish High Priests of the future, I sit up and take notice.  This is friggin’ scary.  Not because the rest of world Jewry will respond in any positive way to this rump attempt to revive the priestly elite.  But rather because the combination of this religious movement allied with State power will send Israel even farther in the direction of religious holy war.

There may be readers and policymakers in the U.S. and Europe who believe that this is a case of the boy who cried, “wolf.”  But I assure any sensible analyst or policymaker that this is a lot worse than a silly visual farce (which it is).  It could rapidly spin out of control, just as Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount led directly to the second Intifada.  If anyone thinks Muslims throughout the world will react with equanimity to news of Jews encroaching on the Haram al-Sharif, they should have their heads examined.  Israeli Jewish fanaticism will be met with strenuous Muslim resistance.

I also urge Jewish religious leaders around the world to soundly reject this project.  There must be a loud, united voice saying Jews do not want this.  We do not want priests, we do not want sacrifices, we do not want Jews raising their arms in a priestly salute that reminds some of us other similar past racist salutes, we do not want a Temple.  The poor goat sacrificed is worthier than those who would slaughter it.  The blood flowing from its veins which they bless with a bracha is nothing more than a travesty and needless animal cruelty.  Their ritual project is nothing more than what the impatient Jews did in Sinai with the Golden Calf.  It is avodah zarah, worship of strange gods.  We want values and ideas, not sacred relics.

If there is anyone out there who objects, let them think back in Jewish history to the age of the Temple.  Remember the corruption, violence, unrest, class divisions.  Remember when the Romans destroyed the Temple and Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai escaped to found his school at Yavneh and ushered in the era of rabbinical (rather than priestly) leadership.  Since that historical moment Jews have rejected centralized authority in the form of monarchy or priesthood.  Instead, Jews have embraced a decentralized, democratic form of leadership led by rabbis and lay leaders.

We don’t need priests.  We don’t need kings.  We don’t need a theocratic state.  As Jews, we need Israel to be a democratic state.

Speaking of the Judaism (and Israel) I want, a group of African refugees celebrated a seder in an Israeli concentration camp along with Israeli human rights activists:

holot passover seder

Behold the bread of affliction. Let all who are hungry come and eat. (Roi Edan)

Outside the Holot detention center, migrants sat with Israeli activists amid the dust of the vast desert and listened to speeches about the lessons of the weeklong Passover holiday: the meaning of freedom and the importance of showing hospitality to strangers. They ate matzo, the unleavened bread meant to commemorate the Jews’ hastened flight from Egypt, when they did not have time to wait for their bread to rise. There was no wine, a main fixture of the holiday, out of respect for Muslim migrants who refrain from drinking alcohol.

“(Jews) asked to leave Egypt. We also asked to leave our countries because the situation there is very difficult,” said Anwar Suliman, a migrant from Sudan’s Darfur region who has been held at Holot for the past month. “We are in the same situation.”

During their Passover ritual they, just like Jews, asked for their freedom. They asked why, if Jews could gain their liberation from bondage in Egypt, today’s refugees can’t be treated with dignity and respect in modern Israel. Why they can’t be sheltered as international law demands instead of being sent to countries like Rwanda and Uganda, where they are stateless.

Poignant questions deserving of answers. Instead of the hostility and moral obtuseness with which they’re normally met by Israel’s racist government.

{ 17 comments }

Passover Holiday of Liberation Bypasses Some in Israel

Today, is the first night of Passover when many Jews and non-Jews enjoy a seder and tell the story of our liberation from bondage in Egypt.  There are 60,000 African refugees in Israel, many of whom arrived via Egypt, as our ancestors did.  They too fled persecution and deprivation in their home countries.  They too hoped for a new start in a free nation that would treat them fairly and decently.  Alas, their hopes have been dashed.  Many have been confined to internment camps like Holot.  Others have been pressured into accepting “voluntary deportation” to African countries like Rwanda and Uganda, where they have no legal status or protections.  They are essentially dumped as human refuse, in return for which Israel offers these countries advanced weapons, technology and other forms of aid.

This treatment at the hands of the “Jewish state,” which forgets its own Biblical origins, is shameful.  I hope you will talk about their plight tonight at your seders.

Additionally, there is another individual who is held in a form of bondage by the Israeli national security state tonight.  He is a citizen of Israel, though not Jewish.  That is, Israeli-Palestinian journalist and political activist, Majd Kayyal.  He was arrested by the secret police last weekend for unspecified ‘dangerous acts’ against the interests of the state which included meeting anonymous ‘enemy agents’ and participating in public events hosted by Israel’s “enemies.”

Kayyal is being held incommunicado with no access to his attorney.  The evidence against him is secret.  A fellow Israeli-Palestinian judge is the one who extended this judicial travesty in examining his case and extending his custody, so that he may be tortured by security forces to extract whatever damaging admissions they may force him to make.

Kayyal is held in conditions even worse than the slavery in which the Israelites were held.  He is a citizen of the state who cannot obtain the rights it owes him.  His predicament isn’t known to Israelis since in their wisdom the security state prohibits it.

I’d like to thank AP State Department reporter Matt Lee for posing questions about two Palestinians held by Israel in today’s State press conference.  This is how Jen Psaki responded to his query about Kayyal:

LEE: …This is not an American citizen, but it’s a journalist –

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: — Majd Kayyal. I don’t know if I’m pronouncing the name right. He was arrested over the weekend. Are you aware of this case?

MS. PSAKI: We have seen the reports, but – that he’s being held incommunicado detention, but we have not been able to confirm these reports. We’re continuing to seek more information.

QUESTION: Is this – recognizing that you don’t have an interest because he is not an American citizen, do you – is this the kind of thing that you – that causes you concern, these types of arrests, or is this something –

MS. PSAKI: Certainly, reports of journalists being arrested certainly cause concern, but we don’t have any confirmation of that specific case, so we’re just looking for more information.

QUESTION: Do you know if you have asked the Israelis about it?

MS. PSAKI: I’d have to check on that. I believe we were exploring through all avenues we have, but I don’t want to speak out of turn, so let me check back with our team

So you can see the extraordinary level of concern and interest displayed by the U.S. State Department in the face of Israeli violations of its own democratic principles that protect freedom of the press.

Happy Passover!  Remember those still in bondage.  This year they are slaves, next year may they be free.

 

{ 1 comment }
majd kayyal gag order

Judicial gag order prohibiting coverage of Majd Kayyal case

Yesterday, I reported that the Israeli secret police had arrested Israeli-Palestinian journalist and political activist, Majd Kayyal.  A judge extended his remand by a week to next Sunday so that the security apparatus could work wonders on his willingness to cooperate with their “interrogation technique.”

The court transcript notes the judge’s name as Ziyad Falah.  He is a Druze and former military prosecutor.  No surprise there.  Israeli Jews consider Druze to be the “good Arabs.”  They serve in the IDF, unlike most other Palestinian citizens.  This judge appears happy to approve the security apparatus’ dirty work and to do so as an Israeli Palestinian citizen.  Though I should be fair and say that there are many Druze who object to such servility to, and collaboration with the power elite.

Kayyal has been refused access to his lawyer, who works for Adalah, the NGO whose website he edits.

I reported that there likely was a gag order prohibiting Israeli media from reporting the story.  Abir Kopty confirmed this in a tweet in Arabic.  My Israeli source has provided me a copy of the gag order which I display here.  I’m proud to report that the o139 blog has broken the gag.  The Israeli author is a brave man.

Electronic Intifada has also obtained a copy of the charge sheet and translated it, also featuring photos of Kayyal’s arrest and his Beirut conference appearance (an event which undoubtedly angered the security goons).  EI inadvertently hasn’t linked to my own reporting of the story, which preceded theirs.

Some Israelis will say: what did Kayyal expect?  Lebanon is an enemy country.  Visit it and you’re breaking the law.  Except there’s one small problem with that: it’s not true.  Yes, it is illegal to visit Syria or Lebanon, technically.  But if you’re a Jewish journalist you’re fine.  Lisa Goldman visited Lebanon and aired footage on Israeli TV, thereby endangering the unknowing Lebanese whom she interviewed.  They threatened her with prosecution, but somehow never did.  Another Israeli journalist also reported from Lebanon and wasn’t prosecuted.

Kol Yisrael reports that Israeli Druze also complain that they are not allowed to make religious pilgrimages to their holy sites outside Israel.  The chief Druze religious leader appealed in recent days to Shimon Peres to intervene on behalf of priests who’ve been arrested for such pilgrimages to Syria or Lebanon.  Israeli Jews from Arab countries, on the other hand, are allowed to make “under the radar” return visits to their homelands to explore their ‘roots.’

The Shin Bet are extremely sensitive to Israeli Palestinians who express their solidarity too strongly with Arab nationalist groups like Hezbollah, Hamas or even Syria.  This was how Ameer Makhoul got a nine-year jail sentence and Azmi Bishara was driven into exile.  You may be an Israeli-Palestinian as long as you meekly accept your second-class lot in life.  But once you express support for a one-state solution or solidarity with Gaza, as Kayyal did by joining the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in 2011, you become an enemy of the state.

Let’s remember we’re talking about the Only Democracy in the Middle East, where all citizens are created equal and treated so–unless you’re Palestinian.

{ 21 comments }

IDF Officers Produce Islamophobic T-Shirt

racist idf t shirt

Racist IDF t-shirt

Yediot Achronot reported that several IDF officers created a T-shirt for their soldiers with a chilling explicitly  racist, Islamophobic message.  It read:

“Every Arab mother should know that the fate of her children is in our hands…Schem [Nablus] we’re on the way.”

The T-shirt features a graphic image of an armed soldier toppling the minaret of a mosque.  It’s certainly designed to reassure the mothers of Nablus that the IDF believes in the purity of arms and is the most moral army in the world, as liberal Zionists and others like to claim.

This T-shirt is not an anomaly.   Veterans of Operation Cast Lead made a variety of equally offensive products which were proudly modeled and sold online.  In fact (and as an aside), the reason I stopped posting for Huffington Post is that they refused to publish my post on this story, which was originally broken by Uri Blau (of course).

H/t to Ari Remez.

fake orthodox jewish priests

Reuters caption: ‘Orthodox Jewish priests gesture during re-enactment of Passover animal sacrifice.’

Speaking of destroying mosques, it’s no accident that in the past week, Israeli settler jihadists have made strenuous efforts to promote their goal of destroying the Haram al-Sharif, the Dome of the Rock.  I reported here the arrest (and quick release) of two Israeli settlers who posted flyers which demanded that Muslims vacate the Temple Mount so that work could begin on the Jewish Temple.  In addition, Al Monitor posted a paean to this movement which featured the news that settler rabbis have been praciticing their proficiency at animal sacrifice in preparation for the day that God and people summon them to be priests once again in the Holy Temple.

Speaking of which, Haaretz features a Passover slide show with an image credited to Reuters with the incredibly misleading caption:

Orthodox Jewish priests gesture during re-enactment of Passover animal sacrifice.

Excuse me. Who died and left them “Jewish priests?”  Some settler rabbi?  There are no Jewish priests.  Any claim otherwise is fake.  And if there ever does come a time when there will be, be prepared for the New Jewish Crusades.  There may be Jews who are kohanim, but that doesn’t qualify them to re-enact anything.  Certainly not in my name or the name of the rest of world Jewry.

The punishment offered to the officers in the T-shirt incident was removal from their combat unit.  They remain in military service though.  Perhaps they’ll now be serving in the ‘T-shirt division’ making similar products for other IDF units!

{ 6 comments }
majd kayyal

Israel’s security services secretly arrested Palestinian activist-journalist Majd Kayyal. The arrest is under gag order

I received an urgent message from Jamil Dakwar of the ACLU that Palestinian journalist and political activist, Majd Kayyal, age 22, was arrested on his return to Israel from a trip to Lebanon and Jordan.  I’ve checked with an Israeli source who tells me he was arrested as a national security suspect.  The combination of his trip to Lebanon, where he attended an event celebrating the 40th anniversary of As-Safir (considered a pro-Hezbollah publication), his participation in a 2011 flotilla voyage to break the Gaza siege, and his activist role in Adalah (where he was the website editor) and Balad (Hebrew), made him a ready target.

Kayyal also edits the political and cultural website, Qadita and the English-language blog, Message to the Tricontinental.

At midnight Saturday Israel-time, a few hours after his arrest, the security police raided his Haifa home and confiscated his computer and other electronic devices and materials.  Jamil reports he has been denied access to an attorney, which is standard procedure for Israeli Palestinian security suspects.  A judge will be asked to extend his remand tomorrow and will automatically do so, again as is standard for the Only Democracy in the Middle East.  Majd can also expect abuse and even torture from his security service interrogators just as Ameer Makhoul did.

For those with good memories, who’ve been reading this blog for several years, you’ll recall his case.  He was also a Palestinian community activist from Haifa who founded the Ittijah NGO.  He too returned from a trip to Jordan, where he allegedly met a fellow activist Hassan Jaja at an environment conference.  The Shabak made Jaja out to be a key Hezbollah operative, when in reality he owned a landscaping business in Amman.  My guess is that Shabak discovered a similar meeting Kayyal had with a suspect individual who the security forces can turn into an Islamist bogeyman.

This persecution is part of the ongoing effort by Israeli secret police to criminalize Israeli Palestinian nationalism.  As I’ve reported here, Yuval Diskin, then Shabak chief, said in 2007 that any such political expression would be viewed as sedition and criminally prosecuted by the State.  That is what is happening in this case.  Nothing more.

 Here is a Mondoweiss interview published with Kayyal before he joined the 2011 Gaza flotilla.  Read the words of this ‘mortal danger’ to the Jewish State:

Are you concerned you will be treated worse because you are Palestinian?

I hope not, but usually Palestinian activists face more problems from Israeli armed forces. However, as a Palestinian citizen of Israel, it’s extremely important to show the unity of the Palestinian people to the international community and remind the political leadership that they cannot abandon our rights and must include the status of ’48 Palestinians in any just solution.

How do you see the Palestinian struggle right now?

I think that the Arab spring is the most inspiring and is providing us with a renewed motivation. I see that we need to rebuild the popular struggle on the ground. We need to revitalize the participation of the youth and the students in forging a more powerful movement, as we can see their importance in the uprisings of Egypt, Tunisia and others. Now is the time to move beyond partisan problems and focus on the main target, which is the colonial and racist regime Israel has imposed on the Palestinian people.

This arrest, which constitutes a severe assault on press freedom, since Kayyal is an Israeli Palestinian journalist, is under gag order in Israel.  It has not been reported in Israeli media.  I hope this publication will poke a hole in the shroud of opacity that favors such assaults by the security apparatus.  An international group of activists joined together to fight on Ameer’s behalf.  I’ve begun a process which I hope will lead to the same support for Majd.

{ 5 comments }