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To honour all of the dead in Jerusalem, we must redouble our efforts toward a better future

jewish voice for peace killings in synagogue

When we heard the news of the brutal murder of Rabbi Moshe Twersky, 59, Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky, 43, Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, 68, Rabbi Kalman Zeev Levine, 55, and Zidan Nahad Seif, 30, we felt deep horror and grief. We mourn and condemn the gruesome murders at the Har Nof synagogue. Our hearts break for the victims and for their families - may their memories be for a blessing.

Any act of violence, especially one against civilians, marks a profound failure of human imagination and causes a deep and abiding trauma for all involved.

All lives are sacred. With every life taken, God's presence is diminished in our world.

In mourning the five lives lost in Jerusalem this week, we reject the pattern of condemning the loss of Israeli lives while ignoring the loss of Palestinian life. We also mourn the daily killings and other forms of violence against Palestinians which are all too often ignored, dismissed, or rendered invisible by the ongoing occupation and oppression of Palestinian people.

We mourn for the families of Mayar Amran Twafic al-Natsheh, 10, who was shot in the face by Israeli military; 11 year old Saleh Samer Attiyeh Mahmoud who was blinded by close range Israeli gunfire; 14 year old Palestinian American Orwah Hammas, 21 year old Mohammed Jawabreh, both shot and killed by Israeli military, and 22 year old Khayr al-Din al-Hamdan, a Palestinian citizen of Israel killed by the police.

As we mourn all of these lives lost, it is important to ask ourselves honestly: how will we memorialize the dead? The only way to fully honor their memory is to put our grief in context.

To this end, we reject the narrative that views such tragedies as part of a "cycle of violence" between two peoples locked in interminable conflict. Rather, we believe they occur within an overall context of structural violence: i.e., an Israeli system of power and control over Palestinians.

As JVP pointed out in our recent statement, "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's declared intention to further entrench Israeli control over all of Israel/Palestine and pursue the collective punishment of Palestinians will bring neither peace nor quiet."

It is clear that allowing this oppressive status quo to continue will only mean more bloodshed, more grief, and more horror for both Israelis and Palestinians. If we are truly to honour the memory of all the dead in Jerusalem, we must redouble our efforts toward a future of equal rights and equality for all who live in the land.

With hopes for a just peace soon and in our day,
Rabbis Alissa Wise and Brant Rosen
Co-founders of the JVP Rabbinical Council

Here are a handful of thoughtful articles that we found helpful in making sense of this weeks events:

Noam Sheizaf in 972 Magazine

Amira Haas in Haaretz (Premium)

Gideon Levy in Haaretz (Premium)

Michael Omer-man in 972 Magazine

Jeff Halper/ICAHD in Mondoweiss

Rashid Khalidi and Eran Efrati on Democracy Now

Yousef Munayyer on Permission to Narrate

JVP Rabbinical Cabinet Response to Escalating Violence in Jerusalem


Israel sows despair and senseless violence Jeff Halper on November 19, 2014 28 Comments

See more www. mondoweiss.net

A Statement of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)

And the "Zionist answer" to the downward cycle of senseless violence in which Jerusalem finds itself: house demolitions, mass arrests, revoking the "residency" of native-born Jerusalemites, closing Palestinian neighborhoods with concrete blocks, arming Israeli Jewish vigilantes and cheap shots at the last person who believes in a two-state solution, Abu Mazen. Everything, that is, except an end to occupation and a just political solution. This is what happens when a powerful country forgoes any effort to address the grievances of a people under its control and descends into raw oppression.

Israel is not in "the grip of a terrorist onslaught," as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated in this press conference tonight; it is in the grip of senseless violence spawned by despair and repression. The Palestinians, having lost all hope of the Occupation ending and a tiny state of their own, imprisoned in tiny islands of their country, victimized, impoverished, lacking the minimum in individual and collective rights, displaced, even their only place of refuge, their homes, demolished (some 48,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished in the Occupied Territory since 1967), have been reduced to lashing out.

Threats to al Aqsa mosque - and there are palpable threats coming from the Israeli right, which wants to partition the holy site as it did to the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron - only add to the danger that what has been until now a political conflict that can be resolved may turn into an uncontrollable religious war.

Israel, having given up all pretence of seeking a just solution, has answered Palestinian despair with pure, atavistic repression. Once again Prime Minister Netanyahu's analysis is dead wrong: the "core of the violence," as he puts it, is not the Palestinians' refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state (they recognized the state of Israel on 78% of historic Palestine 26 years ago), but Israel's refusal to address - even acknowledge - Palestinian national rights and claims. His "Zionist answers" of increased repression are empty of any political policy that could ease the conflict; not only do they not deter, as an IDF commission concluded in 2005, but they inflame the situation and lead to an endless downward spiral of violence. The Israeli political scene has deteriorated to raw revenge - and revenge for both crimes and acts of resistance that could have been avoided by a genuine Israeli aspiration for a just solution.

In the meantime, the people suffer and hatred prevails, stoked by the only party strong enough to end it all, the Occupying Power, Israel. Jeff Halper is the Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD). He can be reached at jeff@icahd.org


Israel seizes 400 hectares of West Bank land" - source: Aljazeera

S official describes as "counterproductive" Israeli announcement to appropriate land, said to be largest in 30 years.

The United States has urged Israel to reverse its decision to seize nearly 400 hectares of land in the occupied West Bank, a move anti-settlement activists termed the largest land grab in 30 years.

Israel announced the massive land appropriation on Sunday in the Etzion settlement bloc near Bethlehem just days after Gaza ceasefire. A Palestinian official said the latest land grab by Israel would cause only more friction after the Gaza war that left more than 2,000 Palestinians dead and over 10,000 injured.Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, called on Israel to cancel the appropriation. "This decision will lead to more instability. This will only inflame the situation after the war in Gaza," presidential spokesman Abu Rdainah said.

A US State Department official called the announcement as "counterproductive to Israel's stated goal of a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians"."We urge the government of Israel to reverse this decision," the official said in Washington.

Peace Now group, which opposes Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank, territory the Palestinians seek for a state, said the appropriation was meant to turn a site where 10 families now live adjacent to a Jewish seminary into a permanent settlement. Oppenheimer from Peace Now said the move does not support moderate Palestinian forces who are actively seeking a peaceful resolution to the conflict. "I think this is a huge mistake [by Israeli premier Benjamin] Netanyahu," Oppenheimer told Al Jazeera. "The message [from] this action is when you approach Israel about a peaceful solution, the outcome is settlement activity. And when you are Hamas firing missiles at Israel, then Israel is ready to speak with you."

This Israeli move has cast a spotlight once more on land confiscations and settlement expansion in the West Bank, which the US partially blamed for the breakdown in talks between Palestinians and Israelis earlier this year. "Under the cover of its latest campaign of aggression in Gaza, Israel pursued a stepped-up campaign of violence [and] settlement expansion [in the West Bank]," said Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi. "Today's announcement clearly represents Israel's deliberate intent to wipe out any Palestinian presence on the land and to wilfully impose a de facto one-state solution," she added.

Meanwhile, residents of Wadi Fukin and the nearby villages have 45 days to appeal in an attempt to stop this land-grab.

"In 1948, we had 12,000 dunams [12 square kilometres] of agricultural land," Sukkar said. "Today that number has dwindled to 2,600 [dunams]. We are only allowed to farm on 250 dunams of those. That's why we will go to the [Israeli] courts. We will not stand idly as Israel carves up and snatches our land."


Saturday 19th July 2014 - world marches for Palestine

Ordinary people all over the world marched on Saturday 19th July 2014 in support of the citizens of Palestine, and Gaza in particular

postcards from world demonstrations for palestine


Email from As-Sawiya 4th March 2014

Dear all friends , please pass this massage with photos for all human rights and peace organization .. > Israelis military attacks al sawiaya boy school every day ...they arrested > the studints with out any resons ..we need international protection to stop the Israeli aggression against our people . the last atack they arested 17 years boy student they took him to unknown area his name obada mohamad saleh .. .please do your best to stop the occupation and > military action.. if any boday have any more questions please ask me

arafat abu ras member of the council of the village


23th August 2013 - BBC censor comments about Palestine

Dear Friends,
If you would be kind enough to ring the BBC just before this evening's Proms broadcast, perhaps you could point out to them that their objections to Nigel Kennedy's comments - as being too 'political' - are a little hypocritical considering they have no objections to playing Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia, with their overtly political imperialist natures.
Thanks very much indeed,
Cardiff PSC

Nigel Kennedy's Prom concert with the Palestine Strings will be broadcast on BBC Four this evening from 7pm.

The BBC has confirmed that it will edit out the following comments, made by Nigel during the concert:

"It's a bit facile to say it, but we all know from the experience of this night of music that giving equality and getting rid of apartheid gives a beautiful chance for amazing things to happen."

Please ring the BBC switchboard, either before, during or after the concert, to express your opinion on this edit, this is the number:

BBC Switchboard for complaints: 03700 100 222

Or you can make a complaint online at www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

Further details of the censorship:


Email from as-Sawiya

" 24th July 2013 - The boy Mahmoud Mefla released from an Isreali jail

from the israeli preson after 7 month ...the boy in very good health but still have worry ... we woul like to thank all the human rights activist and very kind people who support mahmoud .. we would like to thanks our friend in illindloese for the meony for his familly .... we are in alsawiay village apreciate very much all people who support and help mahmoud to be released ... his fother and mother sending you all best regards and highlly apreciate your kind efforts ... we hope to countinue to take care of the boy mahmoud ...
please see mahmoud and fother last night ...

many thanks

salam,peace and love for all

arafat abu ras
human rights activist "

From the right, Mefleh, Arafat, Mahmoud and a family friend

Dear all friends and all Human Rights supporters.

Yesterday, the Israeli force soldiers and Settlement Security of Eli arrested Mahmoud Mefleh Ahmad a 14 year old boy while he was in his field in front of his house with the sheep. At Asawiayah village, south Nablus the soldiers took him into an unknown area. After 5 hours the Palestinian DCO called and stated that Mahmoud was near the main street on Road 60. They also claimed that the security guard of Eli and Shilo settlements were stoned . At that time his mother and brothers were in the same area and they didn't see any strange things happening. After that they called me and other friends to ask us to tell the human rights organizations. Maybe they can help to release him soon. It's very sad that this boy is in prison and treated badly by soldiers. On the second day the DCO told his father that the boy is still being questioned in prison in Ramallah The familly and all the villagers are very worried about the child. The Palestinian prisoner club talked also with his father to follow up and get a lawyer for him .

I'm really very sad about our situation in the village especially because we already had a very hard situation at best.

We are looking for especial solidarity and support from you all ...


Arafat Abu Ras


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  Llanidloes - As-Sawiya Friendship Association  Chair: Sue Prince     Secretary: Marg Munyard     Treasurer: Angela Scrase
  Sue: 01686 413753 | Marg: 01686 413513