African refugees protest in Israel


This video says about itself:

14 Oct 2012

Sudanese refugees protest in front of the government’s offices in center Tel Aviv, against the plan to imprison refugees, October 14, 2012.

Israel is building a new facility that could house thousands of additional asylum seekers in the Negev Desert.

From daily Haaretz in Israel:

African migrants take to the streets to demand Israel consider asylum requests

Human rights groups assert open detention center no different from jail. ‘I didn’t come for $3,500,” says one refugee about government exit grant.

By Ilan Lior | Dec. 22, 2013 | 12:20 PM

An estimated 1,000 Sudanese and Eritrean migrants, along with Israeli human rights activists, marched through the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday night to urge the government to consider the asylum requests of migrants from Africa and release the approximately 3,000 held in Israeli custody.

“I looked into the eyes of the people here with me – everyone has had enough,” said Najmaldin, a Sudanese migrant who took part in the rally and did not want to give his last name. “People want their asylum requests looked into. If someone’s a refugee he should stay here; if someone’s not a refugee he should go back to Africa.”

“We demand a solution from the Israeli government for the people who are currently in prison and for us,” he said. “The people who are in Saharonim and in south Tel Aviv – it’s the same story, the same problems.”

Human rights groups say an estimated 3,000 of the 50,000 asylum seekers in Israel are locked up in the Saharonim detention center in the Negev. The government moved 480 of them to Holot, a nearby open detention facility, after the Knesset approved a legal amendment earlier this month authorizing the open center, where migrants are locked in only at night.

Though they are technically free to leave the premises during the day, they have to be present for roll call three times a day, a restriction meant to prevent them from finding jobs outside the facility. Last week hundreds of migrants marched out of the open center in protest, but were ultimately taken back into custody.

On Saturday, demonstrators marched from Levinsky Park in south Tel Aviv, where many migrants live, to Independence Hall on swanky Rothschild Boulevard. In an unplanned continuation of the protest, the demonstrators kept marching through Tel Aviv and blocked off some of the city’s roads, waving signs reading “Liberty” and “Not another jail.”

Human rights groups have said there is no real difference between the open detention center and a jail. Several of the groups have filed a High Court petition against the law that authorizes the Holot center, as well as allowing the state to hold migrants for up to a year without trial, down from three years.

Police detained two migrants for questioning Saturday on suspicion of attacking a police officer and disturbing the peace, and used pepper spray in an effort to disperse the rally.

Million, an Eritrean migrant who took part in the rally, said race was a major factor in the Israeli government’s treatment of the asylum seekers.

“The Israelis are white, the Africans are black,” he said. “The blood is the same blood. But the government of Israel, a democratic state, is not acting in a democratic manner and is putting the blacks in jail.”

Nazer said Israeli efforts to sway migrants like him to go back to Sudan or to neighboring Eritrea, by offering grants to those who leave the country, would not succeed. The cabinet recently agreed to more than double the amount offered, bringing the grant to $3,500.

“I didn’t come here for $3,500,” said Nazer. “I came here because I’m a refugee. The State of Israel wants to send us back to Sudan and Eritrea. How can we go back? There’s a war there.”

Sometimes it’s kind of scary how Israel treats asylum seekers. From jailing them with no trial to brutal arrests and now, referring to them as numbers. It’s as if they don’t think they’re human beings, with names: here.

Many refugees in Israel are from South Sudan; where there is horrible violence now.

Washington issues warning as South Sudan slides toward civil war: here.

Thousands of Africans, Israelis march in Tel Aviv to demand freedom for asylum seekers: here.

A penal colony for Africans in the heart of Israel: here.

Support Israeli actresses refusing to perform at West Bank settlement: here.

The Birds of Israel (dedicated to Dear Kitty. Some blog)


petrel41:

Thanks, naturebase! More about birds in Israel, Palestine, etc. is here. And here.

Israeli waterfowl in danger of losing their alternative habitats. New report issued by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority warns that the current trend of sealing water reservoirs with plastic covering will preclude their usage as alternative wildlife habitats: here.

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Originally posted on NatureBase:

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Arafat was murdered, Israeli former MP says


This video says about itself:

6 Nov 2013

Al Jazeera Exclusive

Studies by Swiss scientists have discovered levels of polonium at least 18 times higher than normal in Yasser Arafat‘s ribs, pelvis and in soil that absorbed his remains.

They say their data is compatible with the theory that the Palestinian leader was poisoned with the radioactive element at a level up to 83 per cent.

A leading forensic scientist now say it’s almost certain he was murdered.

An Al Jazeera investigation triggered the Palestinian leader’s exhumation in November last year.

Al Jazeera’s Clayton Swisher reports from Paris.

www.aljazeera.com/killlingarafat

By Uri Avnery (former Member of Parliament in Israel):

The Assassination

16/11/13

FROM THE first moment, I did not have the slightest doubt that Yasser Arafat was assassinated.

It was a matter of simple logic.

On the way back from the funeral, I happened upon Jamal Zahalka, a member of the Knesset for the nationalist Arab Balad party, who is a highly qualified doctoral pharmacist. We exchanged views and came to the same conclusion.

The findings of the Swiss experts last week only confirmed my conviction.

FIRST OF all, a simple fact: people don’t just die for no reason.

I visited Arafat a few weeks before it happened. He seemed in reasonably good health. Upon leaving, I remarked to Rachel, my wife, that he seemed more sharp and alert than during our last visit.

When he suddenly became very ill, there was no obvious cause. The doctors at the French military hospital, to which he was transferred at the insistence of Suha, his wife, and where he died, conducted a thorough examination of his body. They found no explanation for his condition. Nothing.

That by itself was very strange. Arafat was the leader of his people, the de facto head of a state, and one can be sure that the French doctors left no stone unturned to diagnose the case.

That left only radiation or poison. Why was no poison detected at the autopsy? The answer is simple: in order to detect a poison, one must know what one is looking for. The list of poisons it almost unlimited, and the routine search is restricted to a small number.

Arafat’s body was not examined for radioactive polonium.

WHO HAD the opportunity to administer the poison?

Well, practically anybody.

During my many visits with him, I always wondered at the lax security precautions.

At our first meeting, in besieged Beirut, I wondered at the trust he put in me. It was known at the time that dozens of Mossad agents and Phalangist spies were combing the city for him. He could not be sure that I was not a Mossad agent myself, or that I was not followed, or that I was not unwittingly carrying some locating device.

Later, in Tunis, the security search of his visitors was perfunctory. The security precautions of the Israeli Prime Minister were immeasurably more stringent.

In the Ramallah Mukata’a (“compound”), no security measures were added. I had meals with him several times, and wondered again at his openness. American and other foreign guests, who were (or seemed to be) pro-Palestinian activists were invited by him freely, sat next to him and could easily have slipped poison into his food. Arafat would joke with his guests and feed them choice tidbits with his hand.

Certain poisons do not need food. Slight physical contact is enough.

YET THIS man was one of the most threatened persons in the world. He had many deadly enemies, half a dozen secret services were bent on his destruction. How could he be so lax?

When I remonstrated with him, he told me that he believed in divine protection.

Once, when he was flying in a private jet from Chad to Libya, the pilot announced that the fuel had run out. He was going to crash land in the middle of the desert. Arafat’s bodyguards covered him with cushions and formed a ring around him. They were killed, but he survived almost without a scratch.

Since then he became even more fatalistic. He was a devout – though unostentatious – Muslim. He believed that Allah had entrusted him with the task of liberating the Palestinian people.

SO WHO carried out the assassination?

For me, there cannot be any real doubt.

Though many had a motive, only one person had both the means and a profound and lasting hatred for him – Ariel Sharon.

Sharon was furious when Arafat slipped through his fingers in Beirut. Here was his quarry, so near yet so far. The Arab-American diplomat Philip Habib managed to make an arrangement which allowed the PLO fighters, including Arafat, to withdraw with honor from the city, with their arms. I was lying on the roof of a warehouse in Beirut Harbor when the PLO troops, flags flying, were driving by to the ships.

I did not see Arafat. His men were hiding him in their midst.

Since then, Sharon made no secret of his determination to kill him. And when Sharon was resolved to do something, he never, but never, gave up. Even in much smaller matters, if he was thwarted, he would return to his effort again and again and again, until he succeeded.

I knew Sharon well. I knew of his determination. Twice, when I felt that Sharon was nearing his goal, I went with Rachel and some colleagues to the Mukata’a to serve as a human shield. Later we had the satisfaction of reading an interview with Sharon, in which he complained that he had not been able to carry out the planned assassination because “some Israelis were staying there”.

THIS WAS much more than a personal vendetta. He – and not only he – saw it as a national aim.

For Israelis, Arafat was the embodiment of the Palestinian people, an object of abysmal hatred. He was hated more than any other human being after Adolf Hitler and Adolf Eichmann. The generations-old conflict with the Palestinian people was personified by this man.

It was Arafat who had resurrected the modern Palestinian national movement, whose supreme aim was to thwart the Zionist dream of taking possession of all the country between the sea and the Jordan. It was he who had led the armed struggle (a.k.a. terrorism). And when he turned towards a peaceful settlement, recognized the State of Israel and signed the Oslo Accords, he was even more hated. Peace was bound to give back a lot of territories to the Arabs, and what could be worse?

The hatred of Arafat had long since ceased to be rational. For many, it was a total, physical rejection, a deadly brew of hate, aversion, enmity, mistrust. In the forty or so years after he appeared on the stage, millions upon millions of words had been written about him in Israel, but I truly believe that I have never seen a single positive word about him.

For all those years, an entire army of paid propaganda hacks conducted a relentless demonization campaign against his person. Every conceivable accusation was thrown at him. The assertion that he had AIDS, which is now so prominent in the Israeli covert propaganda effort, was invented then in order to mobilize homophobic prejudices. Needless to say, no evidence of homosexuality was ever presented. And the French doctors found no trace of AIDS.

IS THE Israeli government capable of deciding to carry out such a deed? It is an established fact that it is.

In September 1997, an Israeli hit squad was sent to Amman to assassinate Khalid Mishal, the Hamas leader. The chosen instrument was levofentanyl, a deadly poison that leaves no traces and produces effects like a heart attack. It was administered by a slight physical touch.

The act was bungled. The killers were detected by passers-by and fled into the Israeli embassy, where they were besieged. King Hussein, generally an Israeli collaborator, was furious. He threatened to hang the perpetrators unless a life-saving antidote was provided at once. The then Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, caved in and sent the Chief of the Mossad to Amman with the required medicine. Mishal was saved.

Later, in 2010, another squad was sent to assassinate another Hamas operative, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel. They bungled the job, too – though they succeeded in killing their prey by paralyzing and then suffocating him, they were filmed by the hotel cameras and their identity disclosed.

God knows how many un-bungled murders have been carried out this way.

Israel, of course, is not alone in this field. Before, a Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, was ill-advised enough to displease Vladimir Putin. He was killed by the same radioactive polonium as Arafat, but before he died an alert doctor detected the poison. Even before, a Bulgarian dissident was poisoned by a tiny pellet fired from an umbrella,. One must assume that every self-respecting secret service has suchlike means of murder.

WHY DIDN’T Sharon kill Arafat before? After all, the Palestinian leader was besieged for a very long time in his Ramallah compound. I myself saw Israeli soldiers a few meters away from his office.

The answer is political. The US was afraid that if Israel was seen killing the PLO chief, a hero to tens of millions around the Arab world, the region would explode against the US. George Bush the son forbade it. The answer was to do it in a way that could not be traced to Israel.

This, by the way, was quite usual for Sharon. A few weeks before his 1982 invasion of Lebanon, he told the US Secretary of State, Alexander Haig, about his plan. Haig forbade it – unless there was a credible provocation. Lo and behold, a dastardly attempt was made on the life of the Israeli ambassador in London, the provocation was duly deemed to be intolerable and the war started.

For the same reason, the Netanyahu government now strenuously denies Israeli involvement in the assassination of Arafat. Instead of bragging about the successful operation, our powerful propaganda machine asserts that the Swiss experts are incompetent or lying (probably they are also anti-Semites), and that the conclusions are wrong. A respected Israeli professor is trotted out to declare that it is all nonsense. Even the good old story about AIDS is called out of retirement.

Sharon himself, in his endless coma, cannot react. But his old assistants, all of them seasoned liars, repeat their mendacious stories.

TO MY mind, the assassination of Arafat was a crime against Israel.

Arafat was the man who was ready to make peace and who was able to get the Palestinian people to accept it. He also laid down the terms: a Palestinian state with borders based on the Green Line, with its capital in East Jerusalem.

This is exactly what his assassins aimed to prevent.

See also here.

Israeli-Palestinian peace movement update


This video from Israel says about itself:

Mind of peace- Negotiating Israelis and Palestinians with no leaders in the room…

Today, an e-mail says:

Minds of Peace Grassroots Israel-Palestinian negotiations continue  in Jerusalem

November 14-15 New Location: Horse Square, Jerusalem, Israel

Despite considerable extreme-right violence on the previous occasion, Minds of Peace is continuing its campaign of grassroots Israel-Palestinian negotiations, held on the streets and public squares of Jerusalem between Israelis and Palestinians who are not professional diplomats – so as boost and promote the faltering official negotiations.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most entrenched conflicts in the world with disastrous consequences for all the people involved. Many substantial peace-making initiatives have been carried out but have failed to produce a lasting peace.  The 22nd session of the Minds of Peace Mini Congress illuminated the stark differences between two sides.  Not the two sides at the negotiating table though.  The six Israelis and six Palestinians who met in Hamashbir Plaza, Jerusalem on October 24-25 worked to find common ground.  Led by Minds of Peace founder Sapir Handelman and Palestinian moderator Ibrahim Enbawi, the Israeli delegation and the Palestinian delegation negotiated possible solutions to their struggle.

The other more difficult side was the contingency of determined demonstrators in the audience who did their best to disrupt the negotiations.  The congress started to look like a battle field between right wing extremists and those who support the establishment of a Palestinian state. On Friday the negotiators were surrounded by a fence and police forces. Leaders of the large group surrounding the tables and objecting were invited to join the negotiations, but they preferred to stay on the sidelines preventing progress. Video link of Day two:

However, the two delegations concluded one preliminary agreement despite many efforts to spoil the events with whistles and shouting. Both delegations committed to meet again November 14-15 at Horse Square.  “The line between freedom of speech and chaos can be very thin,” commented Handelman. “In order to have peaceful negotiations on our part we have asked religious settlers, who are pro peace, to come to the event, participate in the discussion with the audience and try to relax the atmosphere and asked other people for other organizations, who are “experts” in peaceful dialogue, to participate in the dialogue with the audience.”

November 14-15 negotiations will tackle a conclusive peace pact

with discussions on borders, security, refugees and Jerusalem.

Dr. Sapir Handelman, Chairman of the Board of Minds of Peace is available for interviews

Dr. Daniel Mahgerefteh, of Los Angeles, is the chief executive officer of Minds of Peace and explains, “One of our goals is to directly involve the public in the difficult, messy, and painful peace making process the debate, struggle with compromise, and acceptance. The event is also designed to demonstrate the peacemaking creativity, zeal and power of the public without the political pressures faced by diplomats and government officials.” The congress comprises Israeli and Palestinian delegations made up of people from all walks of life that come to discuss debate and negotiate solutions to the conflict under the guidance of two moderators.

In the October Congress, the two delegations succeeded to conclude a preliminary agreement – Trust Building Measures – the topics are: Prisoners, incitement and violence, and settlements. The members negotiating agreed that the solution to the conflict is: Two states for two people in one land, located between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River.

The assembly has five sessions of two hours to conclude peace agreements. The Israeli delegation will include: Zeev Raz – Colonel (ter.) Ze`ev Raz, combat pilot the attack on the Iraqi reactor in 1981, Abie Moses , who lost his wife and young son in a terrorist attack, making him  a symbol of bereavement and of standing against terrorism, Orna Oshri,  graphic editor of Yedioth Ahronoth, Rabbi Haim Cohen and Yehoshua Meyer a religious settler Kibbutz Kfar Etzion. The Palestinian delegation included academics, educators, business people, former prisoners and students.

In almost all of the congresses, the delegations succeeded to reach peace agreements. “It is an amazing result because the various delegations included people with deferent political views and from all walks of life, for example: settlers and right wingers, ex Palestinian prisoners, generals, business people, academics and people that lost loved ones in the conflict, said founder of Minds of Peace, Sapir Handelman..

Dr. Handelman explains, “This congress demonstrates a classical symptom of intractable conflicts like the Israeli-Palestinian one. Any peacemaking initiative that can lead to a change will increase the level of violence. The extremists, on both sides, will try to crash it. Therefore, it is critical to involve the people in the peacemaking process.” 

###

More information on Minds of Peace:

Media Request: Sari M Cicurel sari.cicurel@gmail.com

Dr. Sapir Handelman, Chairman of the Board of Minds of Peace

972-50-307-6927 and sapir.handelman@gmail.com

Daniel Mahgerefteh, chief executive officer of Minds of Peace – dmahgerefteh@yahoo.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Minds-of-Peace/186081194106

Website: www.mindsofpeace.org

Blind mole-rats resistant to cancer


This video is called Spalax microphthalmus, Mole-Rat.

Today, there was news about “deaf” frogs which turned out to be not really deaf.

Now, about blind mole-rats which turn out to be blind indeed; however, they turn out to have other strong points.

From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the USA today:

Blind mole-rats are resistant to chemically induced cancers

Like naked mole-rats (Heterocephalus gaber), blind mole-rats (of the genus Spalax) live underground in low-oxygen environments, are long-lived and resistant to cancer. A new study demonstrates just how cancer-resistant Spalax are, and suggests that the adaptations that help these rodents survive in low-oxygen environments also play a role in their longevity and cancer resistance.

The findings are reported in the journal Biomed Central: Biology.

“We’ve shown that, compared to mice and rats, blind mole-rats are highly resistant to carcinogens,” said Mark Band, the director of at the University of Illinois Biotechnology Center and a co-author on the study. Band led a previous analysis of in blind mole-rats living in low-oxygen (hypoxic) environments. He found that genes that respond to hypoxia are known to also play a role in aging and in suppressing or promoting cancer.

“We think that these three phenomena are tied in together: the hypoxia tolerance, the longevity and ,” Band said. “We think all result from to a .”

Unlike the naked mole-rat, which lives in colonies in Eastern Africa, the blind mole-rat is a solitary rodent found in the Eastern Mediterranean. Thousands of blind mole-rats have been captured and studied for more than 50 years at Israel‘s University of Haifa, where the animal work was conducted. The Haifa scientists observed that none of their blind mole-rats had ever developed cancer, even though Spalax can live more than 20 years. Lab mice and rats have a maximum lifespan of about 3.5 years and yet regularly develop spontaneous cancers.

To test the blind mole-rats’ cancer resistance, the Haifa team, led by Irena Manov, Aaron Avivi and Imad Shams, exposed the animals to two cancer-causing agents. Only one of the 20 Spalax tested (an animal that was more than 10 years old) developed after exposure to one of the carcinogens. In contrast, all of the 12 mice and six rats exposed to either agent developed cancerous tumors.

The team next turned its attention to fibroblasts, cells that generate extracellular factors that support and buffer other cells. Previous studies of naked mole-rat cells have found that fibroblasts and their secretions have anti-cancer activity. Similarly, the researchers at Haifa found that Spalax fibroblasts were efficient killers of two types of breast and two types of lung cancer cells. Diluted and filtered liquid medium drawn from the fibroblast cell culture also killed breast and lung cancer cells. Mouse fibroblasts, however, had no effect on the cancer cells.

To help explain these results, Band and his colleagues looked to the gene expression profiles obtained from their previous studies of blind mole-rats in hypoxic environments. The researchers had found that genes that regulate DNA repair, the cell cycle and programmed cell death are differentially regulated in Spalax when exposed to normal, above-ground oxygen levels (21 percent oxygen) and conditions of hypoxia (3, 6 and 10 percent oxygen). These changes in gene regulation differed from those of mice or rats under the same conditions, the researchers found.

Spalax naturally have a variant in the p53 gene (a transcription factor and known tumor suppressor), which is identical to a cancer-related mutation in humans, Band said. Transcription-factor genes code for proteins that regulate the activity of other genes and so affect an animal’s ability to respond to its environment. The research group in Israel showed “that the Spalax p53 suppresses apoptosis (programmed cell death), however enhances cell cycle arrest and DNA repair mechanisms,” he said.

Hypoxia can damage DNA and contribute to aging and cancer, so mechanisms that protect against hypoxia – by repairing DNA, for example – likely also help explain the blind mole-rat’s resistance to cancer and aging, Band said.

“So now we know there’s overlap among the genes that affect DNA repair, hypoxia tolerance and suppression,” he said. “We haven’t been able to show the exact mechanisms yet, but we’re able to show that in Spalax they’re all related. One of the lessons of this research is that we have a new model animal to study mechanisms of disease, and possibly discover new therapeutic agents.”

Explore further: The naked mole-rat’s secret to staying cancer free

More information: “Pronounced Cancer Resistance in a Subterranean Rodent, the Blind Mole-Rat, Spalax: In Vivo and In Vitro Evidence,” www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/

Scientists have been fascinated by the long lives of the nearly hairless, big-toothed rodents known as naked mole rats that live in the Horn of Africa. The animals have lifespans of up to 31 years, which is decades longer than would be expected for something of their size. By comparison, for instance, mice live for four years at most: here.

Israeli soldiers punished for dancing peacefully with Palestinians


This video from Palestine is called Israeli soldiers dance to Gangnam Style at Palestinian wedding.

From Associated Press:

Hebron style: Israeli soldiers’ dance with Palestinians angers top brass

Gangnam Style remix causes moment of K-pop unity in West Bank as video shows patrol group joining dance hall party

Associated Press in Jerusalem

Thursday 29 August 2013 08.27 BST

A group of Israeli soldiers has danced up a storm of criticism after they were filmed boogying alongside Palestinians while on patrol in the West Bank.

The soldiers were making their rounds in the city of Hebron when they entered a dance hall and joined dozens of Palestinian men dancing to South Korean rapper Psy’s hit Gangnam Style.

The Israeli military said on Thursday that it considers the incident serious, adding “the soldiers exposed themselves to unnecessary danger and were disciplined accordingly,” without elaborating.

Footage aired on Israeli Channel 2 TV shows the solders in uniform, flak jackets and carrying guns.

One was shown hoisted on the shoulders of Palestinian dancers. Other soldiers joined hands and grooved with the partygoers. The channel said the incident occurred on Monday.

Hebron has been a flashpoint of violence between Israelis and Palestinians for decades.

So, these Israeli soldiers were punished for peaceful acts. While, on the other hand, Israeli soldiers committing violence against Palestine civilians, including children

These Israeli soldiers and these Palestinians in Hebron gave an example of non-violence which the whole Middle East and the whole world should follow.

Please, Psy, if you happen to read Dear Kitty. Some blog: then, please take the first plane from Korea to Hebron. Organize the biggest dance party ever there. Invite all Palestinians who were at that wedding. Invite all Israeli soldiers who were at that wedding. Invite all Israeli soldiers and Israeli civilians who want peace. Invite all Palestinians who want peace. Let peace spread throughout the whole world from Hebron.

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