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[Video] Channel Ten News: Construction starts at Shepherd Hotel settlement compound in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem

June 28, 2010 12 comments

Transcript follows video.

This comes on the day of the publication of the Jerusalem Municipality Master Plan, with plans for expansion of settlement enclaves across the city. Last night, riots broke out in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan as settlers, backed by Border Police, moved to evict Palestinians from a structure used as a mosque.

Israel began today building at the Shepherd Hotel in East Jerusalem

Channel Ten TV News, June 27 2010 20:31

Yaacov Elon: Very quietly Israel began construction of a new neighborhood in the Shepherd Hotel complex in East Jerusalem. Our correspondent Roi Sharon joins us directly from there. You can hear the construction sounds in the background. What’s happening there, Roi?

Roi Sharon: Work ended here this afternoon at the Shepherd Hotel in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem. Work began this morning, the construction that has already caused several diplomatic crises between Jerusalem and Washington, materialized this morning when the construction team arrived here with a micro fine drill and began the work. The story of this hotel begins in 1985, when the American Jewish millionaire Irving Moskowitz bought the compound and asked the Jerusalem municipality for permission to build here. The city planning and construction committee held the plans up for years and exactly a year ago the committee decided to give Moskowitz a permit to build 20 housing units here plus an underground parking lot. As soon as the decision became known a diplomatic crisis broke out between Jerusalem and Washington, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking Israel immediately to cancel the building permits. This morning the construction work began and now we shall see whether the work goes on as planned and whether we can expect a new diplomatic crisis.

Yaacov Elon: construction at Sheikh Jarrah. Thank you Roi Sharon.

Video: Interview with Israel’s Chief Pathologist on unauthorized organ harvesting (with some context)

December 22, 2009 2 comments

I’ve uploaded the video broadcast on Israeli TV on Friday (December 18 2009) with Israel’s former Chief Pathologist, Prof. Yehuda Hiss, admitting that he oversaw the unauthorized harvesting of organs in the ’90s. You can view it here, and a translated transcript with some hyperlinks is after the cut. If anybody wants to help and caption the video, that would be great: download it, upload to your account, caption and send me the link so I can re-upload.

Yehuda Hiss

Short story

There is no corroboration of what appears to be the way most of the world now perceives as the assertion of the now infamous Aftonbladet op-ed — that Palestinians were targeted and killed by Israel for the purpose of  harvesting their organs. If anything, Israel was an equal opportunity organ thief. All cadavers going through the National Center for Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir were subject to this treatment, including at least one IDF soldier. The Palestinian connection is indirect — because they are occupied by Israel, some of their cadavers also went into this production line. This is not to understate the criminality of the practice, nor it’s immorality and hypocrisy, especially from a culture that places so much value in the integrity of cadavers and a state obsessed with their recovery from enemy hands. The classic blood libel — that Jews kill gentiles and use their bodies — has not been affirmed, however.

Long (and more important) story

The behavior of the Government of Israel has made the jobs of anti-Semites and blood libelers much easier. I am not referring to its policies on the Palestinian issue, to the monstrous beliefs and actions of right-wing Jewish fundamentalists, nor to the medieval theocrats who increasingly govern the personal lives of Israelis of all persuasions. I am referring to a political class, unable to deal coherently with the country’s core problems, which has made demagoguery, disguised as “defense of the Jewish people,” a primary weapon in its communications arsenal.

A government that truly cared about defending Jews from anti-Semitism would have  reacted to the Aftonbladet op-ed by publishing Prof. Hiss’ confession on its own, in the same paper and within a short period of time. That way, it would have remained a Swedish tabloid flap and not fueled an un-extinguishable global debate. Embarrassing but not dangerous.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Instead, either incompetently or maliciously, Netanyahu and Lieberman used it to show their mettle in standing-up to the pro-Palestinian Europeans, with the Israeli neoconservative chorus, like Dore Gold and Gerald Steinberg, enthusiastically cheering. End result: Much of the world became aware of Aftonbladet allegation and now has also heard that someone exposed an Israeli admitting that it was true. That is how modern communications works, as Netanyahu, the self-proclaimed hasbara expert, should know. The damage is not limited to this specific libel, because it contributes to the perception that, as a matter of course, Israelis lie until caught.

One does not have too look far for proof that this behavior is pathological (and I don’t mean that as a pun.) Last Thursday, (December 17 2009) the Arbeit Macht Frei sign was stolen from Auschwitz. No self-respecting Israeli politician lost even a moment in decrying the anti-Semitism/neo-Nazism behind the incident. Sunday is cabinet meeting day. From the first morning radio newscast to the late-night TV news wrap Ministers tried to outdo each other in sanctimony and pathos. Then, this evening (December 22 2009,) some very minor reporting that it was theft-on-order for a collector (I am aware that the fact that he is Swedish may well keep the anti-semitic conspiracy alive. But I think readers get my point.) Tomorrow is another day, which might very well bring another incident to give these addicts their polemic fix.

When I was younger, progressives here expressed their humanistic worldview by saying that they were Israelis before they were Jews. I don’t think that works any more.

Channel Two TV News, Ulpan Shishi [Friday Newsmagazine], December 18 2009

Narrator Yair Lapid: For years it has been rumored that dark things were happening in the National Center for Forensic Medicine [popularly known as the Forensic Institute] in Abu-Kabir that must not happen.  Courageous doctors who worked in the autopsy cellars occasionally tried to break through the wall of silence and alert the media of what was really going on there, but when their testimonies were published, others denied them.  This evening, Ulpan Shishi will air the facts for the first time.  A small tape with the recorded voice of Prof. Yehuda Hiss, the institute director, where he reveals how — ceaselessly, for almost a decade — organs were harvested there without the knowledge of the victims’ families.  Yifat Glick has the story. Read more…

[Video] IDF “concerned” that soldiers are participating in settler “revenge attacks” [but doing next to nothing about it] — UPDATED

November 11, 2009 3 comments
UPDATES
  • November 15, 2009Brig. Gen. Avichai Rontzki, IDF Chief Rabbi and a resident of the West Bank settlement of Itamar told settler soldiers last Thursday that troops who show mercy to enemy will be damned.’
  • November 16, 2009: Another IDF West Bank battalion joins the rebellion and Gavri Bargil warns (Hebrew) of the dangers inherent to this type of sedition.
ORIGINAL POST

Channel Ten TV’s military affairs correspondent reported Monday evening that “these [see video below] pictures give the IDF a serious headache,” because

Channel Ten TV
They show soldiers who join rioting settlers and using their IDF-issue weapons.  Soldiers manning an observation post of the Etzioni Brigade, which is the Bethlehem brigade, were amazed when their security cameras spotted two of their comrades out there. Corporal Baruch Brandoi of the anti-terror school and Sergeant Nahman Alfasi of the Artillery Corps, both residents of the settlement of Bat Ayin, took their M-16’s and joined their friends on a revenge campaign against the nearby Palestinian village of Hirbat Zafa. The incident took place shortly after the lethal ax attack in Bat Ayin. The settlers wanted revenge. A group of settlers started throwing rocks at the Palestinian village. The Palestinians responded in kind, but then came the two armed soldiers. Brandoi fired 26 rounds and kept firing even after the Palestinians have fled.  Alfasi fired 12 rounds. [Full translated transcript here.]

The “headache” was not bad enough, apparently, for the IDF to put some serious effort into disciplining these soldiers, despite the extraordinary evidence.

Presenting the pictures before the court, the military prosecution argued that the two soldiers were under no life threat and thus had no reason to open fire, but was forced to make a plea bargain deal with them, and each of the shooters was handed down a sentence of 21 days in the military prison.
Channel Ten TV

The de facto parallel hierarchies — military and rabbinical — that the many fundamentalist combat soldiers owe allegiance to have been a major problem for IDF operations in the West Bank for some time. One only needs to skim through Yesh Din‘s numerous publications in order to understand how blurred the lines between the IDF and settler paramilitaries have become.

The IDF’s patent inability or unwillingness to deal with the problem is evident on a nearly daily basis. Here are two examples just from this morning:
  1. IDF reservists in a unit specializing in West Bank operations publish a petition calling on the unit to desist from participating in outpost evacuations. This is shortly after the a group of new recruits to the unit who staged a protest [!] in the middle of a major basic training ceremony were given slaps on the wrist.
  2. Students at Mercaz Harav Yeshiva find “the subject of killing gentiles, and more specifically Palestinians as part of the ongoing battle against terrorism, particularly relevant for [those] who have served, are presently serving or plan on serving in the IDF.”

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