URGENT: At least 60 journalists were aboard flotilla, most still held (keeping the Israeli Hasbara going for awhile more)

Reporters Without Borders reiterates its urgent appeal to the Israeli authorities to release the journalists who were accompanying the Gaza-bound humanitarian flotilla that was intercepted on 31 May. According to the latest information available to the press freedom organisation, at least 60 journalists were aboard.

“We point out that the journalists were there to do their job, which was to cover what happened,” Reporters Without Borders said. “They should not be confused with the activists. Three hundred of the flotilla’s passengers are about to be deported but journalists are still being held. We call on the Israeli authorities to free all the detained journalists and return their equipment, which was seized by the military.”

Three hundred passengers are currently at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, from where they are to be deported today. Some journalists are among them.

Reporters Without Borders has also learned that the Al Jazeera crew that was aboard the flotilla, including correspondent Abbas Nasser and cameraman Isaam Zaatar, was expelled yesterday.

Reporters Without Borders is aware of 16 journalists being held at Be’er Scheva detention centre. They are Svetoslav Ivanov and Valentin Vassilev of Bulgaria’s BTV, Muna Shester of the Kuwait News Agency, Talat Hussain of Aaj TV, Paul McGeough and Kate Geraghty of the Sydney Morning Herald, Mario Damolin of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, David Segarra of teleSUR, Ayse Sarioglu of Taraf, Murat Palavar and Hakan Albayrak of Yeni Safak, Sümeyye Ertekin, Ümit Sönmez and Ersin Esen of TVNET and Ashwad Ismail and Samsul Kamal Abdul Latip of Astro Awani.

Reporters Without Borders has tried repeatedly to get in touch with them, so far without success.

Ref: Reporters without borders

The truth about the war in “Gaza, the Black

Book”

What really happened between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009 in the Gaza Strip during the Israeli military offensive called Operation Cast Lead? Did the Israeli armed forces use weapons banned by international treaties? Did they deliberately target civilians? Did Hamas use Gaza’s civilian population as human shields?

Valuable information has been published by Israeli and Palestinian human rights organisations and by international NGOs. The media have investigated and so have the United Nations.

The most important extracts from these publications, some of them not previously published in French, have been brought together by Reporters Without Borders in “Gaza, the Black Book.”

Foreign press criticizes Israel for using captured videos

JERUSALEM — The Foreign Press Association attacked Israel’s army on Thursday for using confiscated videos to justify its deadly raid against a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

The organization, which represents hundreds of journalists in Israel and the Palestinian territories, said the military seized video and equipment from dozens of reporters on board the main ship.

The FPA demanded Thursday that the military stop using the captured material without permission and identify the source of the video already released. The material appeared Wednesday on the army’s YouTube site labeled as “captured.”

The FPA said the military is now selectively using footage to bolster its claims that commandos opened fire only after being attacked.

Ref: Al Jazeera

ISRAELI “DEMOCRACY”: Israel stops US academic at border (democracy for the few white zionist)

Quiz Yourself on ‘Israeli Democracy’

  • For Israel to become a “Jewish majority” it opted to expel and dispossess the two-third Palestinian majority?
  • 80% of the Palestinian people were dispossessed from their homes, farms, and businesses and have been kept out for the past 54 years?
  • 95% of Israel’s lands (which is mostly owned by Palestinian refugees) is open for development to Jews only?
  • Only one of the 45 Zionist Jews who sign the Israeli “declaration of independence” on May 14th, 1948 was born in Palestine. The other 44 were mostly Jewish refugees who escaped their anti-Semitic Europe countries, such as Tsarist Russia, Germany, and Poland.
  • Israeli-Palestinian citizens live almost in segregated communities (or ghettos) because development is strictly limited outside their villages? Ironically, the word “ghetto” was invented to describe the living conditions of Eastern European Jews in Tsarist Russia!
  • For just being “Jewish” you gain an automatic citizenship in Israel? Plus tens of thousands of dollars in subsidies too.
  • Palestinian Muslims or Christians refugees, who were born in the country and later expelled, cannot gain Israeli citizenship? Of course, unless they convert to Judaism first!
  • Pretending to be Jewish in Israel is punishable by law with up to one year’s imprisonment? On the other hand, if you pretend to be a Muslim or Christian the law does you no harm!
  • When the Palestine problem was created by Britain in 1917, more than 92% of the population of Palestine were Arabs and there were at that time no more than 56,000 Jews in Palestine? That Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Palestinians at that time lived in peace with each other?
  • Palestinians in the early 20th century owned 97.5% of the land, while Jews (native Palestinians and recent immigrants together) owned only 2.5% of the land?
  • Close to 4 million Palestinian Muslims and Christians are being subjected to Israeli laws that are different than the laws governing the 4.5 million Israeli Jews? Is this a “democratically” elected apartheid, or not, that is the question?
  • In the occupied West Bank there are “Jewish Roads” and “Non-Jewish Roads”?
  • Israel issues national identify cards where the religion of the card holder is clearly shown in bold type?
  • Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza drive vehicles with license plates that have different coloring than the cars driven by Israeli settlers?
  • Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza hold ID cards that are of different colors than the cards held by Israeli settlers?
  • The only form of Judaism recognized by the “Jewish state” is Orthodox Judaism, so most US Jews could not get married in Israel. Furthermore, the only conversion to Judaism recognized is Orthodox, so most US converts aren’t Jewish enough.
  • The U.S. funneled into the Israeli economy over 130 billion dollars, which is almost twice the amount devoted to rebuilding Western Europe after WW II!
  • Israeli democracy is a facade for “Jewish Democracy?”
  • Israel has nuclear weapons, and it was close to dropping one on Cairo in 1973?
  • Israeli soldiers use human shields in battle to minimize their casualties?
  • Israel killed over 20,000 Lebanese and Muslims (90% of whom are civilians) with American made and paid for weapons?

Israeli Democracy Or Hypocrisy

Throughout history, regimes rhetorically embraced democracy as cover for more despotic policies, no different today throughout the world in countries like India, Pakistan, America and Israel practicing what Michael Parenti calls “democracy for the few,” (the) “shadier sides of US political life (in which) proponents of the existing social order have tried to transform practically every deficiency into a strength.

Israeli Democracy – Fact or Fiction?

Israel’s bulldozing of 62 shops in the village of Nazkt Issa, north of Tulkarem next to the West Bank line with Israel on Tuesday and its refusal to allow International and Israeli peace activists to witness the devastation illustrates the total control of the military in what is supposed to be a democratic state. Americans saw and heard little of this action except that it was caused by the illegal establishment of the shops by Palestinians. In a democratic state, the alleged “illegality” would be dealt with in a court of law, not by an army protecting bulldozers from citizens throwing stones. But Americans hear only what Sharon allows the corporate media in America to receive from his minions as he prevents outsiders from witnessing the demolition.


William Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. His new book, Psalms for the 21st Century, will be published by Mellen Press in January. He can be reached at: cookb@ULV.EDU

REf: counterpunch

Isn’t true that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East? Maybe if more countries as democratic as Israel, peace might happen in no time

There is no denying of the fact that the Middle East is mostly ruled by autocratic, oppressive, and undemocratic regimes. On the other hand, the majority of these repressive regimes were mostly founded and funded based on Israeli and American wishes. It should be noted that the most popular revolts in the Middle East have been ruthlessly crushed by American puppet regimes (whom the West often refer to by “Moderate regimes”) in the area. The regimes in Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Hashemite Kingdom, Lebanon (before the civil war), Arab Gulf States, Morocco, Iran (prior to the Islamic revolution), Turkey, … etc., were all funded and directed by the United States of America; the land of the free and the home of the brave. Sadly, many of the so called “moderate regimes” are ten times more accountable to Uncle Sam than to their own public. Ironically, if democracy truly shall serve Israel’s national interests in the region, then maybe it should direct its powerful lobby in Washington, AIPAC, to start lobbying on behalf of the oppressed in the Middle East; after all promoting “democracy is the key” to a lasting peace in the Middle East?

ISRAHELL UPDATE: Israel’s War on Protest (A MUST READ)

The Israeli courts ordered the release this week of two foreign women arrested by the army in the West Bank in what human-rights lawyers warn has become a wide-ranging clampdown by Israel on non-violent protest from international, Israeli and Palestinian activists.

The arrest of the two women during a nighttime raid on the Palestinian city of Ramallah has highlighted a new tactic by Israeli officials: using immigration police to try to deport foreign supporters of the Palestinian cause.

A Czech woman was deported last month after she was seized from Ramallah by a special unit known as Oz, originally established to arrest migrant labourers working illegally inside Israel.

Human rights lawyers say Israel’s new offensive is intended to undermine a joint non-violent struggle by international activists and Palestinian villagers challenging a land grab by Israel as it builds the separation wall on farmland in the West Bank.

In what Israel’s daily Haaretz newspaper recently called a “war on protest”, Israeli security forces have launched a series of raids in the West Bank over the past two months to detain Palestinian community leaders organising protests against the wall.

“Israel knows that the non-violence struggle is spreading and that it’s a powerful weapon against the occupation,” said Neta Golan, an Israeli activist based in Ramallah. “Israel has no answer to it, which is why the security forces are panicking and have started making lots of arrests.”

The detention this week of Ariadna Marti, 25, of Spain, and Bridgette Chappell, 22, of Australia, suggests a revival of a long-running cat-and-mouse struggle between Israel and the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a group of activists who have joined Palestinians in non-violently opposing the Israeli occupation.

The last major confrontation, a few years into the second intifada, resulted in a brief surge of deaths and injuries of international activists at the hands of the Israeli army. Most controversially, Rachel Corrie, from the US, was run down and killed by an army bulldozer in 2003 as she stood by a home in Gaza threatened with demolition.

Ms Golan, a co-founder of the ISM, said Israel had sought to demonise the group’s activists in the Israeli and international media. “Instead of representing our struggle as one of non-violence, we are portrayed as ‘accomplices to terror’.”

The first entry of Israeli immigration police into a Palestinian-controlled area of the West Bank, the so-called “Area A”, occurred last month when a Czech woman was arrested in Ramallah. Eva Novakova, 28, who had recently been appointed the ISM’s media co-ordinator, was accused of overstaying her visa and was deported before she could appeal to the courts.

Human rights lawyers say such actions are illegal.

Omer Shatz, the lawyer representing Ms Marti and Ms Chappell, said a military operation into an area like Ramallah could not be justified to round up activists with expired visas. “The activists are not breaking any laws in Ramallah,” he said. “The army and immigration police are effectively criminalising them by bringing them into Israel, where they need such a visa.”

Officials in the Palestinian Authority (PA) have grown increasingly unhappy at Israeli abuses of security arrangements dating from the Oslo era. The PA’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, recently described the Israeli operations into Area A as “incursions and provocations”.

Although the supreme court released the two women on bail on Monday, while their deportation was considered, it banned them from entering the West Bank and ordered each pay a $800 bond.

The judges questioned the right of the army to hand over the women to immigration police from a military prison in the West Bank, but left open the issue of whether the operation would have been legal had the transfer occurred in Israeli territory.

The Spanish government is reported to have asked the Israeli ambassador in Spain to promise that Ms Marti would not be deported.

Ms Marti said they had been woken at 3am on Sunday by “15 to 20 soldiers who aimed their guns at us”. The pair were asked for their passports and then handcuffed. Later, she said, they had been offered the choice that “either we agree to immediate expulsion or that we will be jailed for six months”.

On Wednesday, shortly after the court ruling, the army raided the ISM’s office in Ramallah again, seizing computers, T-shirts and bracelets inscribed with “Palestine”.

“Israel has managed to stop most international activists from getting here by denying them entry at the borders,” said Ms Golan. “But those who do get in then face deportation if they are arrested or try to renew their visa.”

The ISM has been working closely with a number of local Palestinian popular committees in organising weekly demonstrations against Israel’s theft of Palestinian land under cover of the building of the wall.

The protests have made headlines only intermittently, usually when international or Israeli activists have been hurt or killed by Israeli soldiers. Palestinian injuries have mostly gone unnoticed.

In one incident that threatened to embarrass Israel, Tristan Anderson, 38, an American ISM member, was left brain-damaged last March after a soldier fired a tear-gas cannister at his head during a demonstration against the wall in the Palestinian village of Nilin.

In addition to regular arrests of Palestinian protesters, Israel has recently adopted a new tactic of rounding up community leaders and holding them in long-term administrative detention. A Haaretz editorial has called these practices “familiar from the darkest regimes”.

Abdallah Abu Rahman, a schoolteacher and head of the popular committee in the village of Bilin, has been in jail since December for arms possession. The charge refers to a display he created at his home of used tear gas cannisters fired by the Israeli army at demonstrators.

On Monday, the offices of Stop the Wall, an umbrella organisation for the popular committees, was raided, and its computers and documents taken. Two co-ordinators of the group, Jamal Juma and Mohammed Othman, were released from jail last month after mounting international pressure.

The Israeli police also have been harshly criticised by the courts for beating and jailing dozens of Israeli and Palestinian activists protesting against the takeover of homes by settlers in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Last month, Hagai Elad, the head of Israel’s largest human rights law centre, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, was among 17 freed by a judge after demonstrators were detained for two days by police, who accused them of being “dangerous”.

Ref: Counterpunch

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jkcook.net.

A version of this article originally appeared in The National (www.thenational.ae), published in Abu Dhabi.

ISRAELI APARTHEID: Jerusalem mayor cuts health funds for Arab children

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on Thursday rejected municipal recommendations and cut funding for a toddler health-care center in East Jerusalem, while approving aid to a similar center in a Jewish neighborhood.

The funds would have gone to opening a branch of the “Drop of Milk” (Tipat Halav) program, which provides prenatal and toddler health-care services in Silwan, an Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

Last year, authorities from the Jerusalem municipal offices recommended to the mayor to open the aid center in Silwan, which would service around 100,000 residents.

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Authorities also recommended opening a similar center in a Jewish neighborhood that is home to around 7,000 residents.

During discussions on the 2010 budget, Barkat decided to cut the aid that would open the center in Silwan while simultaneously approving the aid to open the same center in a Jewish neighborhood – a move that outraged residents of Silwan.

“I don’t understand why there is a ‘Drop of Milk’ center in the mayor’s neighborhood while there is none in ours?” asked Silwan resident Fakhri Abu Diab. “Why does he deserve one and we don’t? Are my children different from his children?

“Soon, Hamas will open a ‘Drop of Milk’ center and we will go there,” Abu Diab added.

Jerusalem city councilwoman Laura Wharton condemned the decision.

“This decision is caused by discrimination against the Arab population and I hope that we will succeed to reverse it,” Wharton said.

As opposed to most of Israel, the ‘Drop of Milk’ program in Jerusalem is under municipal authority.

Like other health services in Jerusalem, including toddler care, there is a wide gap in services provided to residents in East and West Jerusalem.

Other Jerusalem areas under public jurisdiction contain a total of 25 ‘Drop of Milk’ centers, while East Jerusalem, with its 250,000 residents, is home to just four Drop of Milk centers.

Many residents of East Jerusalem have difficulty taking their children long distances in order to receive care. This results in many children not receiving vaccinations as well as a delay in services for sick children living in East Jerusalem.

In response, the Jerusalem municipality said that they are working to improve services provided to the residents of Silwan and they still intend to build a ‘Drop of Milk’ center in the Arab neighborhood in the future.

REf: Haartez

Mind you,  they will scream that Israel is the beacon of light, the only democracy in the ME aso. They all know that this “democracy” is thin as cheap make-up. Truth is not their cause, while promoting and justifying apartheid is. Israel is new-South Africa! These are OLD NEWS! If you didn´t know, you need to ask yourself why!!!

Welcome to Israhell!

/Aa

Latest from the “only” democracy in M.E.; Israel bans Arab parties from running in upcoming elections

The Central Elections Committee on Monday banned Arab political parties from running in next month’s parliamentary elections, drawing accusations of racism by an Arab lawmaker who said he would challenge the decision in the country’s Supreme Court.

The ruling, made by the body that oversees the elections, reflected the heightened tensions between Israel’s Jewish majority and Arab minority caused by Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip. Israeli Arabs have held a series of demonstrations against the offensive.

Knesset spokesman Giora Pordes said the election committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of the motion, accusing the country’s Arab parties of incitement, supporting terrorist groups and refusing to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Arab lawmakers have traveled to countries listed among Israel’s staunchest enemies, including Lebanon and Syria.
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The 37-member committee is composed of representatives from Israel’s major political parties. The measure was proposed by two ultranationalist parties but received widespread support.

The decision does not affect Arab lawmakers in predominantly Jewish parties or the country’s communist party, which has a mixed list of Arab and Jewish candidates. Roughly one-fifth of Israel’s 7 million citizens are Arabs, and enjoy full citizenship rights.

Arab lawmakers Ahmed Tibi and Jamal Zahalka, political rivals who head the two Arab blocs in the Knesset, joined together in condemning Monday’s decision.

“It was a political trial led by a group of Fascists and racists who are willing to see the Knesset without Arabs and want to see the country without Arabs,” said Tibi.

Together, the Arab lists hold seven of the 120 seats in the Knesset.

Tibi said he would appeal to the high court, while Zahalka said his party was still deciding how to proceed.

Pordes remarked that the last time a party was banned it was the late Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Kach Party, a list from the 1980s that advocated the expulsion of Arabs from Israel.

Ref: Haaretz

Also MUST READs Israeli Democracy – Fact or Fiction? Quiz Yourself on ‘Israeli Democracy’

Israeli Democracy – For Jews Only?


Just when you think that Israel can´t get more racist and NAZI-like while
committing genocide in Gaza they go and ban all arab parties from the election.
It´s like they can´t help screaming “victimhoood” and kill arabs at the same time.
Now they can´t even to got the election polls without killing the voices of arabs.

That´s colonialism internalised.
Welcome to the land of zionism!
Welcome to Israel!

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Wounded Gaza family lay bleeding for 20 hours

Three hours after the Israel Defense Forces began their ground operation in the Gaza Strip, at about 10:30 P.M. Saturday night, a shell or missile hit the house owned by Hussein al A’aiedy and his brothers. Twenty-one people live in the isolated house, located in an agricultural area east of Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood. Five of them were wounded in the strike: Two women in their eighties (his mother and aunt), his 14-year-old son, his 13-year-old niece and his 10-year-old nephew.

Twenty hours later, the wounded were still bleeding in a shed in the courtyard of the house. There was no electricity, no heat, no water. Their relatives were with them, but every time they tried to leave the courtyard to fetch water, the army shot at them.

Al A’aiedy tried to summon help on his cell phone, but Gaza’s cell phone network is collapsing. Shells have hit transponders, there is no electricity and no diesel fuel to run the generators. Every time the telephone works, it is a minor miracle.

At about noon Sunday, Al A’aiedy finally managed to reach S., who called me. There was nothing else that S., who lives nearby, could do.

I had known Al A’aiedy for eight years, and I called Physicians for Human Rights. They called the IDF’s liaison office to ask it to arrange to have the wounded evacuated. That was shortly after noon – and as of press time, the liaison office had still not called PHR back.

Meanwhile, someone else had managed to reach the Red Crescent Society. It called the Red Cross and asked it to coordinate the evacuation of the wounded with the IDF. That was at 10:30 A.M. – and as of press time Sunday night, the Red Cross had still not been able to do so.

While I was on the phone with PHR, at about noon, H. called. He just wanted to report: Two children, Ahmed Sabih and Mohammed al-Mashharawi, aged 10 and 11, had gone up on the roof of their Gaza City house to heat water over a fire. There is no electricity or gas, so fire is all that remains.

Tanks are spitting shells, helicopters are raining fire, warplanes are causing earthquakes. But it is still hard for people to grasp that heating water has become no less dangerous than joining Hamas’ military wing.

An IDF missile hit the two boys, killing Ahmed and seriously wounding Mohammed. Later Sunday, an Internet news site reported that both had died. But H.’s cell phone was not answering, so I could not verify that report.

And there was no point in trying H.’s land line: A bomb destroyed his neighborhood’s entire phone system on Saturday. The target was a print shop (yet another of the IDF’s “military” targets). Its owner, a retired UNRWA employee, had invested his entire pension in the shop.

In B.’s neighborhood, the bombs hit the water mains, so she has had no water since yesterday morning. “I’m already used to coping without electricity,” she said. “There’s no television, but I hear what happens from friends who call. One friend called from Lebanon, another from Haifa. And Ramallah. But without water, how will we manage?”

A. offered his own take on the situation: “I keep the children away from the windows because the F-16s are in the air; I forbid them to play below because it’s dangerous. They’re bombing us from the sea and from the east, they’re bombing us from the air. When the telephone works, people tell us about relatives or friends who were killed. My wife cries all the time. At night she hugs the children and cries. It’s cold and the windows are open; there’s fire and smoke in open areas; at home there’s no water, no electricity, no heating gas. And you [the Israelis] say there’s no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Tell me, are you normal?”

Red: Haaretz


No that is not normal.
But that is Israel for you; hatred, racism, aggression, aparthied, militarism, colonialism aso.
That is israeli banality for you.
What a wounderful thing zionism is…

: a

Let Israeli Arabs protest against Gaza offensive! – (The apartheid policies that never stop!)

In the last few days, the Shin Bet security service questioned dozens of Arab Israelis, while others were subjected to warnings aimed at deterring them from participating in demonstrations against the Israel Defense Forces operation in the Gaza Strip. Those taking part in demonstrations in Jaffa, Sakhnin and Shfaram were brought in for “clarification talks” even in cases when the demonstrations had been authorized.

The Shin Bet approved the questioning and explained that, “In recent days a number of violent incidents, with nationalist character, have taken place in Israel. These incidents included arson, stone-throwing and firebombs. As a result of these incidents, arrests were made.”

In parallel, charges were brought in the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court against left-wing activists who blocked the entrance to the Sde Dov airbase on Friday, in protest of Operation Cast Lead. The activists were charged with unlawful entry into a military area, participation in a forbidden gathering and interfering with a police officer as he tried to carry out his duty. The judge rejected the prosecution’s request to keep the defendants in custody until the end of the legal proceedings, something normally done when the court believes that releasing the suspects poses a threat to the public.

A democratic society must differentiate, even in wartime, between activities that raise genuine fears of violence or that really incite to violence, like those from October 2000, and the right of every citizen to take part in demonstrations that do not involve serious violence.

In a long series of decisions, the Supreme Court has established the freedom to demonstrate as a right “at the highest level of human rights.” The right to demonstrate and to protest is part of the freedom of expression and is “one of the loftiest expressions of the idea of human dignity and freedom.” This right is not revoked even during war. Today, gatherings and demonstrations are regarded in the democratic world as an acceptable and natural means of manifesting the constitutional right to protest that stems from the freedom of expression. Demonstrations during war are known phenomena even as soldiers are risking their lives.

The freedom to demonstrate, like every other constitutional right, is not absolute. It is subordinate to the obligation to obey the law and to act in line with its rules and guidelines. Considerations of public order and public safety are relevant and could justify limits on demonstrations, but not their banning.

According to reports, the security services are using intimidation tactics to prevent legitimate protest against the current campaign. Such means are not only excessive but have also been demonstrated as counterproductive. Repressing the freedom of expression normally transforms dialogue into acts of violence that could have been prevented, and it is imperative to prevent this from happening, especially during times of war.

Ref: Haaretz


Israel is a “THIN” democracy.
First of all its a ETHNOCRACY.
And has the only APARTHEID system in the world in place.
It has never EVER done something else than killed or suppresed
the palestininans. So even when they are killing some palestinians
they totally refuse others to demonstrate that´s just israeli banality.

ZIONISM IS RACISM.
ISRAEL IS BUILD ON HATRED AND AGGRESSION.
VIVA PALESTINE!

:a