Goliath, according to Adam Hochschild, is "brash, gritty, personal and close to the ground...a report from an Israel and a Palestine we seldom see in the mainstream media." Blumenthal takes us on a journey through the badlands and high roads of Israel-Palestine, painting a startling portrait of Israeli society under the siege of increasingly authoritarian politics as the occupation of the Palestinians deepens. The book is already receiving significant attention and has been positively reviewed by Kirkus Reviews: "A rich, roiling examination of 'the State of Israel during a period of deepening political and societal crisis' ... Blumenthal is an enterprising reporter."
In an article for Al-Monitor, Akiva Eldar — a former chief political columnist and editorial writer for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, where he worked for 35 years — writes,
Unlike most Jews — American or Israeli — Blumenthal chose to leave his comfort zone, go into disputed territory and examine the burning questions for himself. In fact, Blumenthal's greatest strength and interest is in events on the ground and the people who live there, far from the 'peace process' and diplomatic salons.
To all our Sabeel-Colorado trip friends:
On most of our Sabeel-Colorado trips we have visited Augusta Victoria Hospital on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem. Usually Mark Brown, the Lutheran World Federation representative in Jerusalem, or his assistant -- has explained how an institution of mercy has to function under conditions of occupation.
Caught under the grinding political realties, Augusta Victoria has not received payment for medical services she has performed. Help is needed to restore this funding lest the services be curtailed and greater suffering ensue.
So, now I am asking you to write/phone your elected officials in Washington and ask them to make this request of USAID. The situation at Augusta Victoria is explained below. Please google your senators and congresspersons to obtain the needed contact information.
Your follow up to what we experienced on our Sabeel trips is deeply appreciated.
Thank you, and blessings,
Arnie Voigt, arnievoigt AT msn DOT com
[Americans and Palestinians have something in common: Israel is spying on us both!]
WASHINGTON — IN Moscow this summer, while reporting a story for Wired magazine, I had the rare opportunity to hang out for three days with Edward J. Snowden. It gave me a chance to get a deeper understanding of who he is and why, as a National Security Agency contractor, he took the momentous step of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents.
Among his most shocking discoveries, he told me, was the fact that the N.S.A. was routinely passing along the private communications of Americans to a large and very secretive Israeli military organization known as Unit 8200. This transfer of intercepts, he said, included the contents of the communications as well as metadata such as who was calling whom.
Typically, when such sensitive information is transferred to another country, it would first be “minimized,” meaning that names and other personally identifiable information would be removed. But when sharing with Israel, the N.S.A. evidently did not ensure that the data was modified in this way.
Mr. Snowden stressed that the transfer of intercepts to Israel contained the communications — email as well as phone calls — of countless Arab- and Palestinian-Americans whose relatives in Israel and the Palestinian territories could become targets based on the communications. “I think that’s amazing,” he told me. “It’s one of the biggest abuses we’ve seen.”
It appears that Mr. Snowden’s fears were warranted. Last week, 43 veterans of Unit 8200 — many still serving in the reserves — accused the organization of startling abuses. In a letter to their commanders, to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and to the head of the Israeli army, they charged that Israel used information collected against innocent Palestinians for “political persecution.” In testimonies and interviews given to the media, they specified that data were gathered on Palestinians’ sexual orientations, infidelities, money problems, family medical conditions and other private matters that could be used to coerce Palestinians into becoming collaborators or create divisions in their society.
Written in a clear and accessible style by the advocacy director of a national peace organization and former Middle East analyst for the Congressional Research Service, Shattered Hopes offers an informed history of the Obama administration’s policies and maps out a true path forward for the United States to help achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Read more: 7500 New Settlers Moved Into West Bank, Jerusalem, Settlements In Six Months
The Yesha Council of Settlements has reported that the number of Jewish settlers living in the occupied West Bank, including in and around occupied Jerusalem, has reached 382031, adding that 7500 Israelis have moved into West Bank and Jerusalem settlements in the last six months.
Yesha said that, back in January of 2014, 374469 settlers lived in the West Bank and Jerusalem, and that the current number of settlers (382031) is a 2% increase.
It said that the biggest settlement is Beitar Illit settlement, located southwest of occupied Jerusalem, with a population of 63087 Jewish settlers.
There are more than 200.000 Israeli settlers living in various settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.
Settlements are illegal under International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory.
They are largely built on privately-owned Palestinian lands, and many on what Israel calls “State Lands” which, by itself, is illegal as the West Bank and Jerusalem are under illegitimate Israeli occupation.
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