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Ben Lynfield, Zachary Davies Boren: Israel claims 400 hectares in West Bank for ‘state use’ just days after the Gaza ceasefire agreed (Belfast Telegraph)
Chaim Levinson, Jack Khoury: Israel appropriates massive tract of West Bank land (Haaretz; via Google News)

Israel’s Civil Administration [Israeli newspeak for the military administration of civilians in the occupied territories] in the West Bank yesterday announced the takeover of 988 acres (3,799 dunams) belonging to five Palestinian villages between the Etzion settlement bloc and Jerusalem. The move clears the way for construction of a new settlement named Gvaot.
The announcement follows the cabinet’s decision last week to take over the land in response to the June kidnapping and killing of three teenage Jewish boys by Hamas militants in the area.
Peace Now, which monitors settlement construction, said it was the largest Israeli appropriation of West Bank land in 30 years.

Elie Hanna: Palestinian Authority President Abbas to Qatari Emir Tamim: Meshaal is lying / Meshaal: Full partnership in the Palestinian Authority and a Palestinian state within pre-1967 borders (al-Akhbar)
Ibrahim al-Amin, Wafic Qanso, Hassan Ileik, Maha Zureikat: Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah: The Resistance in Gaza is on quest for tangible victory (al-Akhbar)

It is obvious that the Resistance is not looking for a symbolic victory to lift morale or for a face-saving way out, rather it is looking for a real achievement, namely, lifting the siege, even if it is costly. This is a point of strength for the Resistance, first, because it is the wish of all the Resistance factions in Gaza and secondly, because there is a real popular will on the issue of lifting the siege. Perhaps people disagree with Hamas on issues like running the Gaza Strip, power and government, and the factions may disagree in their positions regarding regional events but the question of lifting the siege is a unanimous, popular demand for all Gazans.

Nima Shirazi: Defending Apartheid: Then in South Africa, Now in Palestine (Wide Asleep in America)

In October 1964, Foreign Affairs published the lengthy essay, “In Defense of Apartheid,” by Charles A. W. Manning. Not only did Manning accuse outside meddlers and finger-waggers of refusing to acknowledge South Africa’s right to exist as an apartheid state, he also justified its racist policies as “a heritage from a complicated past.”…
The notion that advocating and legislating in favor of “human rights” and equality would be the death knell of the Israeli state – “national suicide” – perfectly articulates that inherent injustice of Zionism; indeed, it is a self-indicting statement…
In April 1953, on the eve of assembly elections in South Africa, Prime Minister D.F. Malan warned that outside forces – including “the United Nations, Communist Russia… as well as a hostile press” – were “trying to force upon us equality, which must inevitably mean to white South Africa nothing less than national suicide.”…
This sentiment was similarly articulated by Ehud Olmert, then the Israeli Prime Minister, in a 2007 interview with Ha’aretz. “If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories),” he said “then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished.”
Israel and its defenders go to great lengths to insist the “Jewish state” is not an apartheid one. Curious, then, that the only arguments they can muster in their favor are precisely those that were used to apologize for South Africa’s decades of indefensible discrimination and violence.

Lior Dattel: Poll: One-third of Israelis think about leaving (Haaretz)

Some 30 percent of Israelis would seriously consider leaving if they could, according to a poll commissioned by Israel’s Chanel 2, Israeli website Globes reported Sunday.

Adam Hudson: Perpetual war, indefinite detention, and torture: The U.S. and Israel’s shared values (al-Akhbar)

There is a free e-book by Prof Löwstedt, who teaches in Vienna:
Anthony Löwstedt: Apartheid Ancient, Past, and Present. Gross Racist Human Rights Violations in Græco-Roman Egypt, South Africa, Israel/Palestine and Beyond (PDF). With a Foreword by Ilan Pappe, and a Postscript by Richard A. Falk. Wien: Gesellschaft für Phänomenologie und kritische Anthropologie, 2014.

Tariq Ali: Scots, undo this union of rogues. Independence is the only way to fulfil your potential (Guardian)
Scottish independence backed by Plaid Cymru leader (Scotsman)

Ford Sypher: Are American Troops Already Fighting on the Front Lines in Iraq? (Daily Beast)

Lauren Gambino: Huge family detention centre to open in Texas for undocumented migrants (Guardian)

Federal officials are due to open a huge family detention centre in southern Texas that will house immigrant adults with children while they await deportation… Family detention centres operated by private prison companies have a poor track record, especially in Texas…
An obscure provision tucked into the Department of Homeland Security’s spending plan, known as the “bed mandate”, requires law enforcement officials to hold an average of 34,000 immigrants in detention each day. The quota keeps detention centres full, a huge boon for the for-profit corrections companies that get paid per bed. In 2013, … revenue [of the Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America (CAA)] nearly topped $1.7bn (£1bn).

Dan Roberts: Trial of four Blackwater security guards hinges on belief, not reality, of a threat (Guardian)

The civilian vehicles caught up in the incident were so riddled with bullets and explosives that their contents could barely be identified, yet the convoy of four armoured vehicles in which the guards were riding was marked only by a handful of tiny dents and scratches of indeterminate origin.
And while the four Blackwater guards on trial for the deaths of 14 of the victims claimed they believed they were under attack by an insurgent car-bombing attempt, no weapons or explosives were found on any of the dead Iraqis, despite an extensive FBI investigation. Instead, the official US investigation led to three men facing manslaughter charges, one accused of murder, and a fifth admitting manslaughter of other victims and testifying against his former colleagues.
But the 12 jurors who sat through harrowing evidence from victims and their relatives were not asked to assess the proportionality of the response. Like so many controversial encounters with security forces the world over, the crux of case is not whether the dead Iraqis posed a threat to the Blackwater convoy, but whether the guards’ belief that they did was a reasonable one.

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