Nearly 500,000 thousand Israeli protestors of last year, starting again !

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    Jul 15, 2012 3:40 PM GMT
    Occupation Divides Israeli Protest Movement

    Will Efforts To Broaden Focus Lead to Marginalization?

    By Nathan Jeffay

    Published July 15, 2012

    Tel Aviv — One year after Israel’s social protest movement was born, activists are battling over its soul.

    Throughout June, protestors once again started to flow into the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday nights. They all claimed to be reviving the demonstrations held weekly last summer, when tent cities proliferated all over the country. But it quickly became evident that this time, there were very different ideas among the protestors about what their demands should be.

    When a dozen disgruntled young Tel Avivans set up the first protest tents on July 14, 2011, they initially called for affordable housing and lower cost of living. But within days, there developed an ever-growing number of interpretations as to what should fall under the banner of “social justice.” The excitement of a successful movement, one capable of bringing nearly half a million people to the streets, overwhelmed any fine parsing of the differences between these various visions.

    But that was then.

    More than a year has passed and the government has offered a few concessions to improve social welfare — though far fewer than protestors hoped for — and the cause, which today is promoted by numerous different activist groups all claiming the legacy of the original movement, is even more fractured.

    For many, the struggle has taken a patriotic turn, and the rallying cry has become not just equal rights but also equal responsibility, in the form of national service for all men, including Haredim and Arabs who are currently exempt. On July 7, with the government deliberating over what to do when the law exempting Haredi men from army service expires later this summer, some 25,000 people staged a social protest in Tel Aviv where the key demand was a universal male draft. “Frustration about lots of Israelis not doing national service is part of what brought people out onto the streets last year — it just wasn’t translated as a clear demand, so we’re doing so this year as an important part of the social protest,” said Idan Miller, head of Common Denominator, the activist group that organized the event.

    Others say that the movement must expand in a different direction — by calling for an end to the occupation. Just as Saturday demonstrations were being revived in early June, a group of activists staged a rally entitled “No Social Justice Without Ending the Occupation.” It attracted 2,000 people, and since then a schism has emerged between protestors on this issue.

    “You can’t have social justice for just 7 million people who are Israeli citizens — you have to take everyone under Israeli rule into consideration,” Nir Nader, a leader of the anti-occupation protesters, told the Forward.

    The schism between protestors has become most acute in the weeks since June 30, when, during a 10,000-strong Tel Aviv demonstration, 2,000 of the more radical protestors split off from the rest. The breakaway group accused the demonstration’s organizers of placing too much faith in the establishment. At the renegade demonstration, protestors chanted slogans calling for an end to the occupation, and the most common chant was “peace, equality and

    Occupation Divides Israeli Protest Movement

    More to come
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    Jul 16, 2012 2:46 PM GMT
    Protests in Israel? So what? Try that in Gaza or the PLO portion of the west bank. Hell, Hamas killed off Fatah in Gaza. And we see how it goes in Syria. Want to demonstrate in the Hezoballah portion of Lebanon, you'd be knocked down flatter than cow piss on a rock.
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    Jul 16, 2012 3:05 PM GMT
    The dude is always bashing Israel. It is not perfect by any means, but take a look at the alternatives in the region.
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    Jul 16, 2012 4:27 PM GMT
    mrrumples saidThe dude is always bashing Israel. It is not perfect by any means, but take a look at the alternatives in the region.

    Is it bashing Israel to point out that our tax dollars are being used to forward attrocities against an occupied people, to maintain the status quo of settlement theft of land meant for the Palestinian People ?

    Is it bashing Israel to point out facts ?

    I don't read of many like you complaining about the constant barage of AIPAC and associates efforts at forwarding Propaganda to cover up Israeli atrocities involving the occupation and settlement building.

    Israel isn't going anywhere, Its great that they have a "HOMELAND FOR JEWISH POEPLE", PALESTINIANS DESERVE THEIR HOMELAND TOO !! are you apologists so insecure about that homeland that you have to shout down any and all criticism with Jew Hater, Anti Semite and etc. charges. Americans have to face reality of what is being done with our US tax dollars that in the end prefers one state over the others chances for peace. The only way to do it is to have these conversations.
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    Jul 23, 2012 3:14 PM GMT
    Palestinian pride: Israel protests influenced by Arab world
    Palestinian social leaders believe Israel is 'inadvertantly becoming part of the Middle East', however, there is little Palestinian interest in the protests that have erupted throughout Israel in recent weeks.
    By Amira Hass | Aug.06, 2011 | 7:54 AM | 49

    Palestinian social leaders believe the social protests that have erupted throughout Israel are largely influenced by the Arab Spring, contending Israelis must realize they too are suffering due to the occupation and money spent on settlements in the West Bank.

    Israelis are imitating the Arab world, and West Bank Palestinians believe this to be a good thing. According to the Ma’an news agency, 14,032 (nearly 75%) of the 18,722 readers who responded to their online survey, believe that what is happening in Israel’s streets is influenced by and imitating the “Arab Spring”.

    “Israel is inadvertantly becoming a part of the Middle East,” said sociologist Honaida Ghanim, who researches Israeli society, adding that“this is the power of bottom-up activity, when the country’s ideologists aren’t consulted.”

    Ghanim wasn’t surprised when the protests began. As an Israeli citizen, born in Marja and General Director of “MADAR” the Palestinian Forum for Israeli Studies, the sociologist is well acquainted with Israeli polarization. However, she is certain that the recent events in Egypt and Tunisia had a large impact on the Israeli protest movement.

    Sufian Abu Zaida is a member of Fatah and former prisoner, who currently teaches about Israeli society in the Birzeit University and the Al-Quds Open University. He was born in Jabaliya, a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, to a family of refugees from the town Burayr (today Bror Hayil).

    The Palestinian teacher promises to remind his students next year that “this might be the first thing Israelis learnt from Arabs. They have always presented themselves as the only positive ray of light in a pitch black Middle East. Suddenly there is something to learn from these retards."

    Ghanim cited additional sociological factors as part of the impetus for change in Israel, saying "on the one hand, there is neo-liberalism and globalization that have resulted in an unacceptable gap between the wealth of the state and individuals and the harshness of life for the masses. On the other hand, these are similar tools – online social networks, with Facebook heading the list, which had a far-reaching effect on the media.”

    Despite this, there isn’t much interest among the Palestinians in the protest occupying Israel for over three weeks. “We are a people in perpetual struggle with the government, three weeks of protest are not long enough to seriously catch our attention,” said Nariman al-Tamimi, from Nabi Salih, and Afaf Ghatasha, a feminist activist and member of the Palestinian People’s Party.

    However, they are both impressed – as are other Palestinians –that the Israeli movement is geared toward improving the already high level standard of living in Israel in comparison to that of most Palestinians. Israelis are making “demands that are luxuries,” according to Ghatasha.

    “I know something about the housing crisis,” said Tamimi, who was wrongfully placed under arrest for eight days a year and six months ago, for the attack of a policeman with a sharp object. She was eventually convicted of “obstructing a police officer in the performance of his duties,” during a demonstration against the appropriation of town land and a well.

    Her husband Bassam was arrested four months ago and is charged with organizing the demonstrations in their town. “For us Palestinians, it isn’t a housing crisis we are facing but a housing ban. Though the Israeli government being at fault is a common denominator,” she said.

    The Civil Administration issued a demolition order for her house built in
    Area C. The original house, built in 1963, wasn’t large enough for the entire family, and they were forced to expand their house without a permit; a permit Israel doesn’t issue.

    From their home, which could be destroyed any day, the family members can see the settlement of Halamish growing. “A few days ago, my daughter saw the Israeli protests with me as I was surfing the web,” Tamimi said, when we met at the al-Bireh Popular Resistance Committees offices.

    “She asked me, are they also dispersed with tear gas, are they hit? I told her they weren’t. She couldn’t understand the difference; we are also fighting for social justice, are we not?” Tamimi said.

    The main element missing in the Israeli wave of protests, according to Tamimi, is the disconnect between social struggle and the Israeli occupation.

    Abu Zaida is the only who seems optimistic about the protests, saying“the public will start reckoning with its government on what it is spending on the settlements and settlers. It’s about to happen. Social justice means an equal distribution of the country’s resources. Everyone knows that this isn’t the case due to political and ideological reasons.”

    Ghanim, however, believes the Israeli protest movement will fail because political correctness will prevent people from seeing the natural link to the occupation, with the government continuing to make settlements the highest priority and depriving the Palestinian people of their freedom.

    “The movement is headed by the middle class and many intellectuals, as a social class that generates much knowledge in the sociological sense but not in the spiritual sense, Ghanim said, adding "they will eventually make the connection to the occupation. However, strategic processes take a long time historically, while the leadership will have the short-term in mind, not treating the root of the problem. And then the movement will collapse. Netanyahu will bring the West Bank to Tel Aviv, meaning he will upgrade apartheid, and that’s all.”

    Tamimi and Ghatasha believe this is an opportunity for Israelis to understand that they too are victims of the occupation. “All the tear gas grenades thrown at us in demonstrations cost money which cannot be spent on improving social conditions for Israelis,” Tamimi said. However, said she heard that one of the protest leaders spoke out against the anarchists, because they demonstrate against soldiers.

    These are the activists standing by our side in recent years,” she said, “How can you demand social justice for only one group?”

    Ghatasha , who was born in the al-Fawwar refugee camp, to a family from the depopulated Palestinian town Bayt Jibrin, also found herself hard pressed to see any difference made by the protests that have swept up the country.

    This May she met with Israeli leftist activists, who came to a conference for Palestinian leftist parties in Hebron. At the conference she talked about two processes hindering feminist Palestinian activities and female participation in the struggle against the occupation.

    On one hand, she claimed, NGO-ation (the channeling of activities to NGOs funded by different countries), reduces the influence of women groups. On the other hand, militarization of the second intifada pushed most of the population, including women, out of the struggle’s public sphere.

    “What is it that makes some Israelis get it and others not?” she mused in her party’s Hebron offices. “I’d like to understand the rationality of the Israeli people,” she added.

    “On one hand there’s this selfishness, of a people living off another people’s misery, with no regret. On the other hand, it is obvious that they would be better off were they to live like a normal country, not squandering their money on upholding the occupation, Ghatasha said.

    Despite their misgivings, all four agree the protest will allow the Palestinians – most of whom know Israelis only in the form of settlers and soldiers – to see that “Israeli society isn’t one-dimensional, that it is complex, that it shouldn’t be flattened, that i
  • Webster666

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    Jul 23, 2012 10:24 PM GMT
    500,000 thousand ?
    That's a lot.
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    Sep 09, 2012 2:18 AM GMT
    sxydrkhair saidThat is nothing new. They have been protesting since the beginning of January for the affordable housing and lower cost of living. Palestinians on other hand complaining about taxes lol

    I am not kidding, this is a Palestinian home in the West Bank
    This is a picture of a house built on stilts in Palestine to avoid paying taxes. Palestinians pay a property tax according to square footage of their house on the ground only.

    Dude that is hilarious!

    There was a protest today about the high cost of living in the West Bank.

    Palestinians join protests across the West Bank and Gaza to voice demands that something be done about the rising cost of living in the occupied territories. PA is control under the Israeli military and they are not free.

    In Ramallah