Tag Archives: Settlements

Height of irony: SodaStream ad attached to video showing Israelis arresting 18-month-old infant

An ad for SodaStream attached itself to this video showing Israeli soldiers arresting a mother and her baby.

An ad for SodaStream attached itself to this video showing Israeli soldiers arresting a mother and her baby.

Google Ads for SodaStream, the carbonated beverage maker produced in Israeli settlements, seem to be hounding my every move on the Internet these days. That’s most likely because I’m in the midst of working on a nationwide interfaith collaborative boycott campaign against the newest kitchen-tech gadget to hit the American market.

One such appearance recently, however, reached the heights of perfect irony. Were it not so sickening, it could almost be funny: Google placed a SodaStream ad on the bottom of a video that captured Israeli soldiers arresting a young Palestinian woman and her 18-month-old baby.

SodaStream is marketing itself as a holistic and environmentally friendly alternative to established sodas, such as Coca Cola and Pepsi. It’s supposed to help cut down on plastic bottles in landfills and its syrups are supposed to be less expensive and healthier than pop you’d buy in the store. All advertorial hyperbole, based upon one investigation.

The biggest reason Palestine solidarity activists around the world are boycotting SodaStream is because it is produced, in part, in an Israeli settlement, which is built illegally on stolen Palestinian land. Settlements entrench Israel’s colonizing and apartheid  policies by confiscating ever more land, roads and buffer zones meant only for Jewish residents. Because settlements are protected by the Apartheid Wall, checkpoints and Israel’s security apparatus, Palestinians have lost their freedom of movement. Many of them have lost their jobs as a result because they cannot travel into 1948 Palestine anymore, or because the Wall has cut them off from their fields and other livelihoods. As a result, many Palestinians  — including children as young as 12 — work in settlements. They are routinely underpaid and overworked, according to a new study by  WhoProfits.org, an organization that tracks companies that profit from the occupation.

Another reason activists boycott products made in settlements is because these items support the settlement industry, which in turn helps nourish Israel’s continued occupation of Palestine.

Another practice that shores up the occupation is Israel’s random arrest and detention of Palestinians. Currently, more than 4,600 Palestinians are incarcerated illegally in Israeli prisons. Every year, some 700 children, as young as 10 years old, are arrested and processed through Israel’s military court system, according to Swiss-based organization Defence for Children International – Palestine Section. As of December 2012, nearly 180 children were behind bars.

Apparently, 18 months isn’t too young to be jailed. On Jan. 19, Israeli soldiers, acting to help illegal settlers appropriate Palestinian land and olive orchards, arrested Qamar, her mother Rima Ismail Awad, and several others as they attempted to access their land.

Ma’an News reported that the infant was released that night, while Rima was released the following day.

What kind of democracy takes a baby into custody?

The fact a SodaStream ad appeared on the video of the violent arrest breaches credulity. SodaStream is a product that supports an occupation apparatus that allows for the incarceration of an infant – and indeed thousands and thousands of innocent Palestinians, many of whom are being held without charge or trials. Samer Al-Issawi is one such prisoner. He is in critical condition and near death, after having refused food for 184 days to protest Israel’s use of administrative detention, torture and other human rights abuses.

SodaStream needs to go away, and settlements along with it. Boycott, divestment and sanctions is the one way to make this happen. BDS is a peaceful method to pressure Israel to comply with international law in the absence of global diplomatic or political pressure.

Do you part. Join BDS. Boycott SodaStream. Fight for justice for Palestinian prisoners. And stand in solidarity with Palestinians as they work for their internationally guaranteed right of self-determination.

The interfaith boycott committee, housed within the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, is a group of Jewish, Christian and Muslim activists committed to working for justice in Palestine. American Muslims for Palestine, Jewish Voice for PeaceUnitarian Universalist for Middle East Justice, Quakers and other Christians groups are involved. We’re gearing up to kick off our campaign on SuperBowl Sunday, when SodaStream plans to have a splashy commercial during the fourth quarter. Get involved by entering a ‘spoof commercial’ video contest, holding a Fizzies For Freedom house party on Super Bowl Sunday, or join our Twitter campaign. For more information and the list of all the fun ways you can help boycott SodaStream, click here


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Hebron Rehabilitation Committee to hold conference


I was in Khalil (Hebron) in October when the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee hosted its first food festival in the Old Market area, which has been decimated by the Israeli occupation.

The organization kindly took the group I was with on a tour of the area. I’m  happy to see there will be conference in July on the development of historic city centers.

Below is a Call for Papers for that conference.



19-21 July 2011
OldCity, Hebron – Palestine


Hebron and its OldCitystill suffer from the oppression of Israeli occupation, subjecting them to all kinds of aggressions and methodically endeavoring to drive away the original population and erase the city’s cultural, religious and historical landmarks.

The Israeli occupation has also set up a number of settlements in the OldCity and provided protection to settlers at the expense of Palestinians and their properties. Such Israeli violations have had severe negative impacts on the economic situation, hindering development in the region and causing the dismantlement of the city’s social fabric as a result of its residents’ exodus. Eventually, the OldCity found itself isolated from the rest of Hebron and other Palestinian regions.

In light of this reality, Hebron Rehabilitation Committee (HRC), in partnership with University Graduates Union (UGU)/Palestine Polytechnic University, is conducting “The International Conference On The Development Of Historical City Centers And Promotion Of Their Economic Conditions” as part of the celebration held in commemoration of HRC’s 15th anniversary. Therefore, it is our pleasure to invite researchers and interested parties and individuals to take part in the conference by submitting papers in accordance with the following:

Conference topics:

I. Economical:

Discussing means to support historical city centers’ economies, bring in local and international investors and spare no effort in making city centers economically attractive to investments. Concentrating on finding mechanisms to promote tourism in historical city centers through the creation of specific tourist trails and underlining the characteristics of concerned cities. The media should also be mobilized to serve this purpose.

II. Political:

Promoting Palestinian historical city centers and archeological sites. Publicizing persistent judaization and alteration attempts aimed at quashing and trying to falsify their real history. Underlining the role played by international organization and local institutions in protecting and managing the cultural heritage.

III. Civilization, cultural and historical:

Documenting characteristics of historical cities in terms of architecture, culture and heritage, focusing on hebron city that dates back to 6000 years, in view of its historical significance as the final resting place of Prophet Abraham. Encouraging the implementation of modern engineering and technical projects aimed at simulating the city’s history by highlighting its esthetics and its characteristic architectural style, which recounts its Arab and Islamic history.

IV. Social:

Analyzing the impact of social and demographic changes on the social fabric of historical city residents, assessing their basic needs in the absence of comprehensive development plans which cover all of their living activities, and achieving harmony between them and their environment.


Participation in the conference:

  • Candidates interested in participating in the Conference should send in abstracts of their scientific paper, specifying the relevant topic. Such abstract should consistsof 500 words maximum, either in Arabic or English, in addition to their résumés including e-mail addresses and various contact details.
  • Abstracts shall be addressed to mradwan@ppu.edu,
  • Submissions should be original and not applied to other conferences, with a maximum of 5000 words
  • Technical specifications
    • In Arabic: font (14 simplified arabic), double space.
    • In English: font (12 Times New Roman), double space.
  • Important dates:
    • April 15, 2011           The deadline for abstract submission
    • April 25, 2011           Notification of abstract  acceptance
    • May 25, 2011            Full text submission


For queries and follow-up:

Conference coordinator: PR. Mohammad Radwan Abou Hammad

Tel.:      +970 2222 8550

Fax:      +970 2222 0597

Mob.:    +970598 71 2222

E-mail:  mradwan@ppu.edu

Website: http://www.hebronrc.org





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Israel’s 2010 master plan for Jerusalem revealed

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President Obama’s UN speech dismisses legitimate grievances; places blame squarely on Palestinian shoulders

By Kristin Szremski

President Barack Obama’s speech to the  United Nations General Assembly Thursday was a crushing blow to those who have the audacity to hope that the United States can and will be a truly honest broker in the Middle East peace process. In his remarks – delivered in his trademark lets-get-this-job-done style, Mr. Obama shifted the paradigm of discussion in much the same way his predecessor George Bush framed the post-911 debate by saying “You are either with us or you’re with the terrorists,” leaving no middle ground where true debate can take place.

Mr. Obama set the stage by saying Israel is the historic home of the Jewish people and then immediately moved to stifle any justifiable debate this statement – for which no historical or empirical evidence exists –  would elicit by saying it was time move on and to forgo “the familiar list of grievances.”

In two short paragraphs, Mr. Obama dismissed the rights of the Palestinians who had lived in that region for thousands of years before the creation of the State of Israel. With this dismissive phrase, Mr. Obama negated the validity of very real grievances held by the millions of Palestinians who constitute 40 percent of the world’s refugees – the largest and longest-standing refugee population. He chose to ignore the plight of the 1.5 million Palestinians living in an abject humanitarian crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip or the

He evoked the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human when he said that “freedom, justice and peace for the world must begin with freedom, justice, and peace in the lives of individual human beings.” The United States upholds these values because it is the right thing to do, according to the president, who also said that those who uphold these values are America’s friends while those who “have denied those rights – whether terrorist groups or tyrannical governments – have chosen to be our adversaries.”

What is so maddening is that Israel is guilty of exactly what Mr. Obama is attributing to our adversaries – by implication in this case, the Palestinians. But the president overlooks Israel’s duplicity to focus instead, once again, on its victimhood. “The slaughter of innocent Israelis is not resistance – it’s injustice,” President Obama told the General Assembly.

What about the slaughter of innocent Palestinians?  Are the deaths of more than thousands Palestinians at the hands of Israeli soldiers, police and illegal settlers, worth any less than the deaths of Israelis? Don’t their deaths amount to injustice as well?

To be sure, no one can support the bloodletting of innocents.

But how President Obama can unconditionally support Israel without once acknowledging that it consistently denies the rights of not just the Palestinians but also of non-Orthodox Jews living in Israel, undermines the sincerity and determination he is trying to achieve with this speech. He therefore undermines the position the United States is trying to take within the Arab and Muslim worlds. Annually, the U.S. Department of State lists numerous human rights abuses perpetrated by Israel upon Palestinians and non-Orthodox Jews in its Human Rights Report. The same is true in the State Department’s annual Report on International Religious Freedom.

One can’t travel to Jerusalem, let alone the West Bank, without seeing evidence of home demolitions; the 30-foot-high concrete barrier isolating Palestinian villages into tiny enclaves; complete lack of freedom of movement; and the illegal settlement construction that eats up more and more Palestinian land with each passing year.

Because of Israel’s occupation, per capita income in the Palestinian Occupied Territories has dropped 45 percent since 2000 and its gross domestic product has plummeted too, and consequently unemployment and poverty have skyrocketed.

The Israeli military, police and illegal Israeli settlers killed more than 6,500 Palestinians – including nearly 400 children – between 2000 and Dec. 30, 2009.

At the end of 2009, roughly 9.400 Palestinians, including 310 children and 34 women, were still in Israeli custody in detention facilities mostly inside Israel, in violation of international law. In Gaza, the number of detained was 855. Many of these prisoners were being held without charges for indefinite periods of time.

Also in 2009, Israel destroyed some 2,881 housing units giving shelter to 3,253 families totaling 18,750 individuals; more than 3,000 houses were partially destroyed and at least 16,000 houses were damaged and 51,453 civilians suffered from fear and forcible migration, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.

President Obama: According to international law – and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which you quoted in your speech – all of the above facts amount to legitimate, justifiable grievances for the Palestinian people. To discard these and to disallow them to be part of the discussion, you are discarding the entirety of the occupation and its unjust legacy. You are laying the responsibility for the Middle East conflict solely and squarely upon the shoulders of the victims – the Palestinians and obligating them to meet the demands of the very people who are occupying them.

You can drive Mr. Abbas – who has very limited support among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza – to the bargaining table. But until the United States has the integrity and temerity to stand for truth and to hold Israel accountable for its crimes against humanity and force it to end the occupation, you will never achieve peace.

Until you speak the truth, you will not be able to count peace in the Middle East among the legacies of your presidency.

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Map of illegal Israeli colonial outposts

I found the following report on the Web site for the Applied Research Institute for Jerusalem. The following is an excerpt on a report about how the government of Israel was secretly funding illegal colonial outposts:

The Sasson Report, an official Israeli government report published on March 8, 2005, concluded that Israeli state bodies had been discreetly diverting millions of shekels to build settlements and outposts in occupied West Bank that were illegal under Israeli law. The report was headed by the former head of the State Prosecution Criminal Department Talia Sasson. The report detailed how officials in the Israeli Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Housing and Construction and the settlement division of the World Zionist Organization spent millions of Israeli shekels from state budgets to support the unauthorized outposts.

The report states:

  • The Israeli Ministry of Housing supplied mobile homes for outposts on private Palestinian land
  • The Israeli Ministry of Defense approved the positioning of trailers for the new outposts
  • The Ministry of Education paid for nurseries and their teachers
  • The Ministry of Energy facilitated work to connect outposts to the electricity grid
  • Roads to outposts were paid for with taxpayers’ money

The settlement expansion initiative was backed by Ariel Sharon when he was serving as foreign minister under Binyamin Netanyahu government at that time, In 1998 he publicly urged settlers to seize hilltops in order to break up the contiguity of Palestinian areas and prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, saying: ‘Let everyone get a move on and take some hilltops! Whatever we take, will be ours, and whatever we don’t take, will not be ours!’.

This Web site is definitely worth bookmarking.

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