Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mexican Drug Cartels hiding behind every bush?

Illegal Grow from "Save Our Sierra" anti-marijuana campaign, Fresno County, July 22, 2009 __Fresno County Sheriffs Association photo

"It inevitably leads to the big pharmaceutical companies. It leads to

the private prisons industry. No matter what, it leads to

anti-American politicians who want to lock up Americans

for something that is nobody's business in the first place.

The wasteful, needless and sometimes comedic campaign against

pot will some day be the butt of jokes, but right now the jokers

still have the stage and are in office."

--- Tim King Aug 3, 2009

by Becky Johnson
August 30, 2009

Santa Cruz, Ca. -- What happens in a world where the majority of the population in California no longer believes that marijuana is a dangerous, addictive drug? Where the majority are convinced that some people do benefit from using the herb medicinally? And what happens when the general public starts to doubt the need for helicopter surveillance, SWAT-like teams involving local, state and federal agencies , hundreds of personnel and long, expensive incarcerations to wage war on tiny, scattered gardens in the woods?

You hold a press conference and blame it on violent, armed, illegal, Mexican, foreigners who are polluting our forests with pesticides, fertilizers, diverting streams, leaving human waste, mountains of litter, on our public lands, and threatening hikers as part of a criminal conspiracy directed by Mexican Drug Cartels.

Case in point: The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, California National Guard, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and other law enforcement and land management agencies on July 22 held a press conference to report on Operation S.O.S. (Save our Sierra). Operation S.O.S. was an effort conducted throughout Fresno County including the Sierra National Forest which, they say, led to eradication of over 400,000 marijuana plants totaling a value of over $1.1 billion dollars. 88 arrests were made and 32 weapons seized. 87 of the 88 individuals charged were Mexican nationals.

Mike Rhodes, editor of the Community Alliance Newspaper in Fresno, California attended the July 22nd press conference held by Fresno County Sheriff Margret Mims featuring a visit from Federal Office of National Drug Control Policy head, Gil Kerlikowske. Here is his report which can be found online at:

The Economy Goes "Up in Smoke": What's Really Behind Fresno's Drug Wars?
By Mike Rhodes July 25 2009

"Marijuana is dangerous, it has no medicinal benefit and that is why it is a Schedule 1 drug in the Controlled Substances Act. If you look at the number of people that call hotlines across the country, not just here in California, for help because of addiction, you clearly see that marijuana is, if not at the top depending on location, very close to the top."
--Gil Kerlikowske, July 22, 2009

Fresno, CA. -- Fresno County has been a war zone this summer as multiple government agencies work to eradicate marijuana in the Sierra Mountains and shut down a medical marijuana dispensary in the City of Fresno. Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (aka the drug czar), even came to town to observe the large-scale operations in the mountains. Kerlikowske and Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims held a press conference in July to announce Operation Save Our Sierra, which has now resulted in 91 arrests and approximately $1.6 billion worth of marijuana plants seized.

According to the Fresno County Farm Bureau, grapes are listed as the No. 1 agricultural crop in this county, with an annual value of $723 million. Almonds are second at $591 million. Marijuana, if legal, would be listed on the Farm Bureau Web site as the No. 1 agricultural crop in Fresno County, far exceeding the value of grapes and almonds combined.

Sheriff's officials said they have confiscated more than 400,000 plants in Fresno County this year. Last year, 137,409 plants were destroyed. That makes Fresno County one of the top marijuana producing counties in the state (or at least a county where a lot of marijuana plants have been confiscated). Last year, Lake County was No. 1 with 499,508 plants seized and Tulare County (just south of Fresno) was No. 2 with 395,489 plants confiscated.

Mims said Mexican drug cartels are behind most of the marijuana being grown in the Sierras, east of Fresno. But when asked to name any of the cartels involved, she said that she did not want to talk about it. The overwhelming majority of the people arrested in the raids were Mexicans. Mims also emphasized the damage done to the environment by marijuana growers, displaying fertilizers, pesticides and trash left behind at the camps.

Nancy Botwin (not her real name), a marijuana grower at the 3,000-foot elevation in eastern Fresno County with more than 10 years of experience in the business, said she has never seen any sign of the Mexican mafia in the Sierras. Botwin says she has, however, seen plenty of evidence of the SOS campaign. "They have been flying back and forth in their military helicopters for a couple of weeks now," Botwin said. "A couple of days ago, they hovered over a garden a few hundred yards from here. What that did was tell the locals where the pot is at. Sure enough, a local teenager went down and harvested the pot and he was busted later in the day."

In a media advisory sent July 22, it was announced that more than 300 personnel from 17 local, state and federal agencies were involved in the operation.

Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (aka the drug czar). The new drug czar has promised to end the war on drugs, but this year’s budget actually increases spending for interdiction.

Botwin says most of the people she knows are growing "legal" medical marijuana. Kerlikowske, when questioned if he considered marijuana a dangerous drug that should demand the level of resources in this campaign, said that "marijuana is dangerous, it has no medicinal benefit and that is why it is a Schedule 1 drug in the Controlled Substances Act. If you look at the number of people that call hotlines across the country, not just here in California, for help because of addiction, you clearly see that marijuana is, if not at the top depending on location, very close to the top."

Botwin thinks we are all losers in the "War on Drugs." She said that "they are cutting back resources to our schools, reducing county employees' hours, our healthcare system is going to hell in a hand basket and they have the audacity to waste taxpayer money on this so-called SOS campaign. Why is preventing a cancer patient from getting medicine to stop his or her suffering so important to these people? I think they are just trying to justify their bloated budgets by blaming it on Mexican drug cartels."

The argument about environmental degradation to public lands did not impress Botwin either. "I think that is just BS. They are crying crocodile tears over a minor problem. They [?] spread pesticides from one side of the San Joaquin Valley to the other, it drifts into schools, it causes birth defects, and where is Sheriff Mims and the drug czar when that is happening? In fact, it is right-wing zealots like those behind Operation SOS who are screaming to 'Turn on the Pumps,' which would probably bring about the loss of an entire species of fish. It is just all so hypocritical."

The drug wars are also playing out on another front. The City of Fresno filed a lawsuit against a Tower District medical marijuana dispensary. In the complaint, the city claims we will "suffer irreparable harm and injury by the maintenance of conditions with the City that violate the FMC [Fresno Municipal Code]." The City of Fresno does have a provision for legal medical marijuana dispensaries. The ordinance says the facilities will be allowed only if they are "consistent with state and federal law."

When in Fresno, I asked Kerlikowske if a medical marijuana dispensary would violate federal law. He said that he expected the attorney general to issue new guidelines soon that will clarify the situation. In February 2009, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that states should be allowed to make their own rules on medical marijuana and that they would end raids on pot dispensaries in California. "What the president said during the campaign, you'll be surprised to know, will be consistent with what we'll be doing here in law enforcement," he said. "What he said during the campaign is now American policy."

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims held a press conference to announce operation Save our Sierra, which has now resulted in 91 arrests and approximately $1.6 billion worth of marijuana plants seized.

The Los Angeles Times announced in March "that the Justice Department has no plans to prosecute pot dispensaries that are operating legally under state laws in California and a dozen other states-a development that medical marijuana advocates and civil libertarians hailed as a sweeping change in federal drug policy."

Somehow, Fresno did not get the memo and instead filed a lawsuit against the dispensary at 210 E. Olive Ave. saying it is "a public nuisance and threat to public health and safety." The City of Oakland, on the other hand, passed Measure F in July 2009 that authorizes the city to impose a 1.8% tax on the gross receipts of "cannabis businesses" located in the city. The city estimates that it will raise $294,000 in additional tax revenue in 2010 as a result of Measure F passing. It passed by an 80%-20% vote.

When asked why Fresno is taking such a hostile approach to medical marijuana, nobody at City Hall would comment.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sharon Paight Sleeping Ban trial ends in abrupt dismissal

Video of Ed Frey after winning a dismissal for his client, Sharon Paight.

"She's the Red Queen. She does whatever she wants."
--- Attorney Ed Frey Aug 21, 2009

by Becky Johnson
Aug 22 2009

Santa Cruz, Ca. -- About eight years ago, Sharon Paight was working as a CNC machine operator when the business ended its local operations and moved to Guadalajara, Mexico. Sharon was not offered a job in Mexico, and due to an economic downturn, could not find another job in her field.

She received severance pay and unemployment insurance for a year, but eventually that ran out. Around this time, her housing situation ended and she moved into her car. She considered this to be a highly temporary situation, to be rectified as soon as she was able to get another job. However, there was such a general economic downturn that no job was forthcoming. The only job she was able to get was through Labor Ready. She worked full time for Goodwill Industries at a rate slightly greater than half of her former wages. At this rate of pay, she remained unable to afford housing near her work.

In 2005, Sharon was found guilty of sleeping at night within the City of Santa Cruz.

"I could not use the National Guard Armory shelter program," Sharon explained. " In order for me to be up in time to get ready for work, I had to start my day at 4AM. You are not allowed to drive your car to the shelter, or to leave by using any other means than their bus. The earliest I could count on being free would be three hours after the time I need to be in order for me to keep my job."


Sharon worked for Goodwill Industries. This non-profit was at the forefront of defeating an initiative which would have raised the minimum wage in Santa Cruz, in three steps to $9.25/hr. The CEO of Goodwill Industries threatened to move the non-profit outside of the City limits if the ordinance were to pass. It was defeated. But it's precisely because of the low wages, that Sharon could not afford housing. Then to make matters worse, Sharon's hours were cut down to part time, and then finally she was laid off completely. Today, her sole source of income is her unemployment insurance.

Sharon has been a member of the 24-HOUR Fitness on Soquel Ave. in Santa Cruz, Ca. since 1998. When she became vehicularly housed, she found the showers, bathrooms, and lockers at the facility to be a great help to her in order to stay functional and employed. At no time did anyone in charge ever express any concern about her parking her vehicle on the lot of the facility where she had a paid membership. However the neighbors complained.

On March 19th of 2009, SCPD Officer #139, Rodney Dugolow, cited Paight in the early morning hours in the parking lot of the spa. The private parking lot allows members to park there for up to three hours. Sharon, had in fact, been there for over three hours when the officer arrived. She knew she could be cited in the lot because she had been cited in 2005 in the same lot.

"That one I was found guilty. In 2005, the officer did catch me sleeping. But in 2009 I was wide awake. I watched as he circled the parking lot, before he parked and came over to my vehicle," Sharon said on a Free Radio Santa Cruz following the "trial."

"I was sitting up, wide awake in the back of my van with the light on sorting through my laundry looking for something to change into before going into the spa."


Ed Frey appeared in June before Judge Timothy Volkman (Symons was absent that day).

"I told Judge Volkman that we wanted to challenge the constitutionality of the law. We needed to determine if the law as applied to this defendant was constitutional. Does it violate the State or National Constitution?" The law in Santa Cruz Paight was cited under, MC 6.36.010 section a outlaws the ACT of sleeping out of doors or in a vehicle between the hours of 11PM and 8:30AM anywhere in the City Limits on both public and private property.

"If you can't sleep you can't live. You've got to have sleep. It's like you've got to breathe," Ed explained. And although years ago Judge Thomas Kelly ruled the Sleeping Ban is constitutional because "they can sleep in the daytime," Frey disagreed. "Sharon can't sleep in the daytime. Her only income is her unemployment benefits. If she doesn't go out and look for jobs she loses her unemployment benefits."

Volkman set a motion to dismiss for August 21st in Judge Ariadne Symons court.

"Late in June I set out to contact the city attorney so that we could voluntarily work out a set of facts. John Barisone was less then cooperative. He told me " We'll dismiss it if you go and get written statements from the owners of the property and the lessee."

Ed contacted the manager of the spa. She told Ed that they don't allow nighttime sleeping in their parking lot "because it's illegal in the City." They were not going to write a letter for Sharon. Furthermore, the owner of the property was completely unavailable living out of town and without contact information.

"Their reasoning was 'we only oppose it because it's illegal. So we don't allow it.' We were caught in a catch 22," Ed said.


Yet when Sharon and Ed arrived in court, they were surprised to see that the officer was there and so was Kelly Walker of the City Attorney's office. Frey reminded Symons that they were there to hear a motion to dismiss.

Judge Ariadne Symons said "The City Attorney is here, the officer is here, so we are having a trial."

In Symon's court, on August 21, 2009, SCPD Officer Rodney Dugolow testified under oath that when he looked into the rear of Sharon's van, he witnessed Sharon sleeping underneath some blankets. Dugolow was the only witness for the prosecution. The only evidence presented was his testimony. When Ed asked him if Sharon had permission to be on the property, he testified that he didn't know.

After presenting the officer's testimony, the Prosecution rested.


Ed immediately moved to have the case dismissed since the officer didn't know if she had permission to sleep in her vehicle (the ordinance allows an exception for up to two vehicles per business if they have the written permission of the owner and the lessee.)

"I'm not going to grant that motion,"Symons said. “I'm persuaded she was sleeping.”

Ed Frey responded by telling her that his client's testimony differed from that of the officer and that he would then be forced to swear in Sharon Paight and put her on the stand in order to rebut Officer Dugolow's testimony.

"I don't think that's necessary," replied Judge Symons. "What else do you have?"

"I do have a statement from Karen Yen, a Harvard-educated psychiatrist with a practice in Scotts Valley. I have a statement here that to deprive someone of sleep cuts down the effectiveness of their immune system, it leads to depression, and is very bad for the health of the person"

Ed told the Judge that Sharon was prepared to testify that she was sitting up, wide awake with a light on at the time the officer knocked on her van. Sharon has said that she was in the back of the van sorting clothing at the time the officer contacted her. She was preparing to change her clothing prior to going into the Fitness center to take a shower. But she never got to testify to any of that.

“I'm persuaded she was sleeping,” Symons said. "And I believe the officer was being honest” she said. She recognized that police officers have a “difficult task.” But that “the way the windows were blocked off” and the question of whether she was legally parked there, in addition to the officer's testimony had convinced her that Paight had been sleeping and was properly cited. “I'm persuaded that she was sleeping.”

Sharon Paight shouted out “I wasn't. He's lying! I was wide awake.”

Symons did not admonish Paight for her outburst or cite her for contempt of court. Instead, she asked Sharon to be patient while she explained.

“She said she was a member of the 24 Fitness Spa but seeing the absence of a representative of 24-hour Fitness, we can't determine if she really was a member." Paight was NOT cited for trespassing and was never given the opportunity to show her membership card, yet Symons continued at some length about how difficult it was to determine if Sharon REALLY was a member of the spa.

Again Ed Frey tried to have his client testify on her own behalf but was incredulous when Symons again rebuffed him.

“I would never prevent you from allowing your defendant to testify. But the reason I stopped you, is that this case is going to be dismissed.”

She just told Sharon Paight “The reason I'm not going to have you testify is because I'm going to drop all charges against you.” Symons did not say she was dropping the case in the interest of justice. She didn't say it was because of insufficient evidence. In fact, she said the opposite. She SAID that there WAS sufficient evidence for a conviction, yet was dismissing the case. She announced "case dismissed" and the bailiff quickly urged the few supporters there to leave. Then Symons gratuitously thanked the City Attorney who was there to prosecute the case, but made no objection to her sudden and abrupt dismissal.

“And Mr. Walker, I thank you for appearing today. I know you don't normally do so in these instances.” Symons was referring to the odd practice in Santa Cruz County courts in which infraction cases charged by the City of Santa Cruz are not prosecuted by either a DA nor a City Attorney. Instead, only the officer testifies and the Judge (there is never a jury trial) serves as both the prosecutor and as the Judge. Despite the obvious conflict of interest between prosecuting a case AND being responsible for judging the merits of the case, this is the usual procedure in Santa Cruz for infraction crimes.


When asked why Symons had abruptly ruled to dismiss the case despite her declaration that she had been convinced that the City had proved its case against Paight, Ed Frey was direct.

"She did it in order to sweep it under the rug."

When interviewed outside of the courtroom after his victory, Ed Frey described Symons behavior as arbitrary and regal. "In the first part of the hearing I requested that we set up some sore of discovery procedure: some procedure by which you establish facts in order to create a record, and where you make an argument based on that record. But she wouldn't have it. She wouldn't hear it. She wanted to rush the thing through. Just shove it under the rug and dismiss it. When I attempted to establish facts on which we could make a foundational record, she wouldn't hear it, she wouldn't have it. She wanted no record of that."

"She's the Red Queen. She does whatever she wants," he concluded.

Sharon, however, couldn't believe that the police officer had lied under oath on the witness stand. She explained her outburst.

"I wanted to let her know that the officer was lying. That upset me more than getting the ticket, that an officer of the court was up there lying."

While Ed Frey and Sharon Paight cannot challenge the constitutionality of Santa Cruz' Sleeping Ban due to Symons unexplained dismissal of the case, they plan to file a complaint against the officer with the DA.

"Sharon and I are going to challenge this---we are going to ask the DA to prosecute the officer for perjury which is a felony," Ed promised.

Monday, August 10, 2009

AIPAC "Spy" case FBI Jew hunt?

Photo: Larry Franklin, former Pentagon Analyst in July 2009 interview in the Forward

“I was asked about every Jew I knew in OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense], and that bothered me,” Franklin said. His superiors at the time were both Jewish: Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense, and Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy, whom Franklin believes was a target of the investigation. “One agent asked me, ‘How can a Bronx Irish Catholic get mixed up with…’ and I finished the phrase for him: ‘with these Jews.’” Franklin answered, “Christ was Jewish, too, and all the apostles.” “Later I felt dirty,” he added." ---Larry Franklin, interview in The Forward, July 1, 2009

NOTE TO READER: I've been following the AIPAC "spy" case for a long time. I always thought it was bunk. The two members of AIPAC who were arrested and accused of "spying" were given information from a Pentagon official. They were not part of the United States government, but US citizens and openly members of AIPAC. The law used to prosecute them was a little-used provision which hadn't been utilized in 100 years and had never been used to prosecute private citizens. Finally, there was no evidence that the information passed on to allied government officials
in Israel and more generally to members of the press in the US did any harm to the United States. I've suspected that anti-semites launched this inquiry and made the charges in the first place. Here is a Washington Post editorial which raises the same question. ----Becky Johnson, Editor

The AIPAC Case and Prejudice

By Gary Wasserman

Monday, August 10, 2009

found at:

The conspiracy case against two former AIPAC lobbyists came to an inglorious end in May when the government dropped all charges after 3 1/2 years of pre-trial maneuvers.

It was a curious case: First, the lobbyists, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, were charged under an obscure section of the Espionage Act of 1917, a law that had been used only once before -- unsuccessfully and never against private citizens for disclosing classified information. Second, they were targets of a bizarre sting in which they were fed false information suggesting that the lives of U.S. and Israeli operatives in Iraq were at risk and that American officials were refusing to take steps to protect them. The accusation was not that they brokered this information to some foreign enemy but that they offered it to everybody they could, hoping, among other things, to get a reporter from The Post to publish it so that it might draw the attention of the right U.S. officials and save U.S. lives. In short, even if the two were guilty as charged, they look more like whistle-blowers than spies.

But the most curious element of the case is why it was ever brought. Why set up a sting unless you believe there's some underlying pattern of wrongdoing to be exposed? What were the counterespionage people after?

After three years of working on a book on this case, I am still not sure. But now the wired informant in the middle of the affair, Larry Franklin, has raised the specter of bias. The former Pentagon analyst who leaked the bogus tip to the lobbyists told the Washington Times last month that investigators "asked about every Jew I knew" in his office. Anti-Semitism was "part of this investigation and may have been an initial incitement of this investigation."

If so, Ground Zero would be the 23-year-old case of Jonathan Pollard. Here one had a real spy, an American Jew working for the Navy who, out of concern for Israel as well as cash, copied and delivered thousands of classified documents. After his arrest in the 1980s, the belief took hold within counterintelligence circles that he was part of a larger spy ring. This led to the search for a "Mr. X," a high-ranking national security official who had helped direct Pollard to needed documents and continued to operate within the government. So the creation myth was born.

That no Mr. X was ever found is beside the point. More relevant is that Pollard could support an operational frame for organizing and understanding a murky, dangerous world. This anti-Zionist concept holds that Israeli objectives run contrary to U.S. national interests; that many American Jews, including those in senior policymaking positions, suffer from divided loyalties; and that pro-Israel political influence holds sway over U.S. government decisions.

While this politically incorrect frame is not going to be discussed in public speeches, its outline appears with a vengeance in the Rosen-Weissman case.

Franklin was apparently sent out by his FBI handlers to tempt Jews. He tried Adam Ciralsky at CBS News, who had once sued the CIA for anti-Semitism, and Richard Perle, who was on his way to vacation in France, as well as Pentagon employees who had done nothing more than work with Franklin. All turned down the offer of information.

But the bait tempting the AIPAC lobbyists was tastier. After not seeing them for a year, Franklin asked for a meeting, and in an Arlington coffee shop he told Weissman that both American and Israeli agents in Iraq were being targeted by Iran. Could they please use their contacts to tell our White House to stop this plot, he asked, because no one was listening to him? And by the way, this is secret. The lobbyists fell for the plea to save lives. They told the Israelis, they told The Post and they tried to tell the National Security Council. And they were charged with conspiracy.

Ironically, the Rosen-Weissman prosecution makes a botch of the anti-Zionist frame. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the mightiest of the Zionist organizations, looks pathetically vulnerable. Its stature wasn't enough to keep the most pro-Israel administration in recent history from pursuing for four years a ramshackle conspiracy case. Seemingly untouchable AIPAC was touched hard by wiretaps, raids on its offices and subpoenas. Under government pressure, intimidated AIPAC leaders fired the two lobbyists, cut off their legal fees at times and distanced themselves, and their allies on the Hill, from even verbal support.

After years and millions of dollars spent investigating the nefarious "Israel Lobby," the case produced no stolen secrets, no money changing hands, no covert meetings, no high-level, dual-loyal officials, no harm to the national interest and no spies. Pardon me, but where's the corned beef?

If a powerful lobby threatens national security, shouldn't the patriotic supporters of that organization be informed of the evidence? Or if government officials have allowed prejudice to covertly victimize innocent people shouldn't that behavior be made transparent? Or, if an important ally is using ethnic ties to turn supporters into spies, shouldn't the public know?

Of course the case hasn't been all bad for conspirators. The same year AIPAC fired its lobbyists, it used the troubles to raise a record $45 million. And having opponents exaggerate a lobby's power ends up enhancing that power.

Both the FBI and AIPAC have to be pleased to see this case go away; one to conceal mistakes and biases, the other to hide weakness and disloyalty to its own.

The writer is a professor of government at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Jewish Occupation or Roots in Judea and Samaria?

Photo: 8th century B.C.E. Hebrew inscription

NOTE TO READER: This post came from Israel's Women in Green. WIG is a pro-Israel group, so named to be a response to Women in Black, an anti-Israel group. WIG is very activist, supports Jewish life on the West Bank and Gaza due to historical and Biblical text. Here, WIG member,
Yoram Ettinger writes about the historical connection the Jewish people have with the West Bank, which, up until the illegal Jordanian occupation (1948 - 1967) had been called for millenium Judea and Samaria. ---- Becky Johnson, editor

Jewish Occupation or Roots in Judea and Samaria?
Straight from the Jerusalem Cloakroom #226,

July 31, 2009

by Yoram Ettinger, Jerusalem

1. President Obama's claim ­ enunciated during his June 4, 2009 speech at Cairo University ­ that "the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history [The Holocaust] that cannot be denied," ignores thoroughly-documented Jewish roots in the Land of Israel in general and in Judea & Samaria in particular.

2. World renowned travelers, historians and archeologists of earlier centuries, such as H. B. Tristram (The Land of Israel, 1865), Mark Twain (Innocents Abroad, 1867), R.A. MacAlister and Masterman ("Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly"), A.P. Stanley (Sinai and Palestine, 1887), E. Robinson and E. Smith (Biblical Researches in Palestine, 1841)), C.W. Van de Velde (Peise durch Syrien und Paletsinea, 1861), Felix Bovet (Voyage en Taire Sainte, 1864) ­ as well as Encyclopedia Britannica and official British and Ottoman records (until 1950) refer to "Judea and Samaria" and not to the "West Bank." The latter term was coined by the Jordanian occupation of Judea and Samaria following the 1948/9 War.

3. The term "Palestine" was established by Greek Historian Herodotus, and adopted by the Roman Empire, in an attempt to erase "Judea" from human memory. "Palestine" was a derivative of the biblical Philistines, arch rivals of the Jewish nation, non-Semites who migrated to the area from the Greek islands and from Phoenicia in the 12th century BCE ("Plishtim" ­ the invaders - is the Hebrew word for "Philistines").

4. Most Arabs (Semites from the Arabian Peninsula), who reside between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, have their origin in a massive 19th-20th century migration from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and other Moslem countries.

5. Almost all Arab towns and villages in Judea and Samaria have retained biblical Jewish names, thus reaffirming Jewish roots there. For example:

*A-Dura is biblical (and contemporary) Adora'yim, site of King Rehoboam's and a Maccabees' fortress.
*A-Ram is biblical Haramah, Prophet Samuel's birth and burial site.
*Anata is biblical (and contemporary) Anatot, the dwelling of the Prophet Jeremiah.
*Batir is biblical (and contemporary) Beitar, the headquarters of Bar Kochba, the leader of the Great Rebellion against the Roman Empire, which was crashed in 135CE.
*Beit-hur is the biblical (and contemporary) Beit Horon, site of Judah the Maccabee's victory over the Assyrians.
*Beitin is biblical (and contemporary) Bethel, a site of the Holy Ark and Prophet Samuel's court.
*Bethlehem is mentioned 44 times in the Bible and is the birth place of King David.
*Beit Jalla is biblical (and contemporary) Gilo, where Sennacherib set his camp, while besieging Jerusalem.
*El-Jib is biblical (and contemporary) Gibeon, Joshua's battleground known for "Sun, stop thou in Gibeon and the moon in the valley of Ayalon," Joshua 10:12.
*Hebron - named after Hevron, Moses' uncle and Levy's grandson ­ was King David's first capital for 7 years, the burial site of the 3 Jewish Patriarchs and 3 Jewish Matriarchs.
*Jaba' is the biblical (and contemporary Geva, site of Jonathan's (son of King Saul) victory over the Philistines.
*Jenin is the biblical (and contemporary) Ein Ganim, a Levite town within the tribe of Issachar.
*Mukhmas is biblical (and contemporary) Mikhmash, residence of Jonathan the Maccabee and site of King Saul's fortress.
*Seilun is biblical (and contemporary) Shilo, a site of Joshua's tabernacle and the Holy Ark and Samuel's youth.
*Tequa' is biblical (and contemporary) Teqoah, hometown of the Prophet Amos and currently known for its home grown Ginger.

Are these sites "occupied" by the Jewish State or are they the epitome of Jewish moral high-ground and Statehood?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Eviction of Two Palestinian Families legal and avoidable

Israeli Police forcibly evict Palestinian man from his home --photo by Alarabiya

NOTE TO READER: With international reports of two Palestinian families evicted from their homes by the Jerusalem police, I've been reading a lot of different reports. Most begin the history of the property at 1953, when the United Nations build some apartments for Palestinian refugees on land Jordan had illegally occupied. But there was a history of land ownership prior to Israel's War of Independence in 1948. The families in question have had lots of opportunities. They had the opportunity to pay rent. They had the opportunity to go to court and present their deeds from the Jordanian Authority (Jordan no longer claims E. Jerusalem). And they had the opportunity to move out prior to a forcible eviction. ---Becky Johnson


Published July 2009

found at:

This is a joint publication with the Global Law Forum at the Jerusalem Center.

Vol. 9, No. 4 27 July 2009

The U.S.-Israeli Dispute over Building in Jerusalem:
The Sheikh Jarrah-Shimon HaTzadik Neighborhood

Nadav Shragai

  • The Sheikh Jarrah-Mt. Scopus area - the focus of a dispute between the Obama administration and Israel over building housing units in the Shepherd Hotel compound - has been a mixed Jewish-Arab area for many years. The Jewish population is currently centered in three places: around the tomb of Shimon HaTzadik (a fourth century BCE high priest), the Israeli government compound in Sheikh Jarrah, and Hadassah Hospital-Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus.
  • During Israel's War of Independence in 1948, 78 doctors, nurses and other Jews were murdered on their way to Hadassah Hospital when their convoy was attacked by Arabs as it passed through Sheikh Jarrah. Mt. Scopus was cut off from western Jerusalem and remained a demilitarized Israeli enclave under UN aegis until it was returned to Israel in 1967. The area discussed here has for decades been a vital corridor to Mt. Scopus.
  • To ensure the continued unity of Jerusalem and to prevent Mt. Scopus from being cut off again, a chain of Israeli neighborhoods were built to link western Jerusalem with Mt. Scopus, and Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital were repaired and enlarged. Today both institutions serve hundreds of thousands of Jewish and Arab residents of the city.
  • Many observers incorrectly assume that Jerusalem is comprised of two ethnically homogenous halves: Jewish western Jerusalem and Arab eastern Jerusalem. Yet in some areas such as Sheikh Jarrah-Shimon HaTzadik, Jerusalem is a mosaic of peoples who are mixed and cannot be separated or divided according to the old 1949 armistice line.
  • In the eastern part of Jerusalem, i.e., north, south and east of the city's 1967 borders, there are today some 200,000 Jews and 270,000 Arabs living in intertwined neighborhoods. In short, as certain parts of eastern Jerusalem have become ethnically diverse, it has become impossible to characterize it as a wholly Palestinian area that can easily be split off from the rest of Jerusalem.
  • Private Jewish groups are operating in Sheikh Jarrah seeking to regain possession of property once held by Jews, and to purchase new property. Their objective is to facilitate private Jewish residence in the area in addition to the presence of Israeli governmental institutions. The main points of such activity include the Shepherd Hotel compound, the Mufti's Vineyard, the building of the el-Ma'amuniya school, the Shimon HaTzadik compound, and the Nahlat Shimon neighborhood. In the meantime, foreign investors from Arab states, particularly in the Persian Gulf, are actively seeking to purchase Jerusalem properties on behalf of Palestinian interests.

Israel's Right to Build in Its Capital

An Israeli plan to build 20 housing units in the Shepherd Hotel compound in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem has added a new dimension to an already complex dispute between the Obama administration and Israel over continued construction in eastern Jerusalem.1 Washington is insisting that Israel freeze all building in Sheikh Jarrah, as it occasionally has done in the past regarding other areas in the eastern part of the city. Israel, however, refuses to waive the Jewish people's historical and legal right to live in all parts of Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel.2 In eastern Jerusalem, i.e., north, south and east of the city's 1967 borders, there are today some 200,000 Jews and 270,000 Arabs living in a mosaic of intertwined neighborhoods.3

Disagreements between the U.S. and Israel over building in eastern Jerusalem are not new. In the 1970s, the U.S. expressed dissatisfaction with the construction of the Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood, and in the 1990s it opposed the construction of a large neighborhood on Har Homa and a smaller one in Ma'ale Hazeitim near Ras el-Amud.

This time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear that Israel's right to continue building in its capital is not a matter for negotiation, and is separate from the debate with the U.S. about the extent of building in the West Bank.4 On June 22, 2009, State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly had stated, in answer to a question, that the Obama administration's demand that all settlement activity - including natural growth - come to a halt also applied to Jerusalem neighborhoods over the 1949 armistice line.5

The Tomb and Neighborhood of Shimon HaTzadik6

The mixed Jewish-Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah-Shimon HaTzadik has for decades been a vital corridor to Mt. Scopus, home for 80 years of Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital. For hundreds of years the Jewish presence in the area centered around the tomb of Shimon HaTzadik (Simon the Righteous), one of the last members of the Great Assembly (HaKnesset HaGedolah), the governing body of the Jewish people during the Second Jewish Commonwealth, after the Babylonian Exile. His full name was Shimon ben Yohanan, the High Priest, who lived during the fourth century BCE, during the time of the Second Temple.7

According to the Babylonian Talmud, he met with Alexander the Great when the Macedonian Army moved through the Land of Israel during its war with the Persian Empire.8 In that account, Shimon HaTzadik successfully persuades Alexander to not destroy the Second Temple and leave it standing. According to tradition, Shimon HaTzadik and his pupils are buried in a cave near the road that goes from Sheikh Jarrah to Mt. Scopus. He appears as the author of one of the famous verses in Pirkei Avot (Sayings of the Fathers) which has been incorporated into the Jewish morning prayers: "Shimon the Righteous was among the last surviving members of the Great Assembly. He would say: ‘The world stands on three things: Torah, the service of G-d, and deeds of kindness.'"9

For years Jews have made pilgrimages to his grave to light candles and pray, as documented in many reports by pilgrims and travelers. While the property was owned by Arabs for many years, in 1876 the cave and the nearby field were purchased by Jews, involving a plot of 18 dunams (about 4.5 acres) that included 80 ancient olive trees.10 The property was purchased for 15,000 francs and was transferred to the owner through the Majlis al-Idara, the seat of the Turkish Pasha and the chief justice. According to the contract, the buyers (the committee of the Sephardic community and the Ashkenazi Assembly of Israel) divided the area between them equally, including the cave on the edge of the plot.

Dozens of Jewish families built homes on the property. On the eve of the Arab Revolt in 1936 there were hundreds of Jews living there. When the disturbances began they fled, but returned a few months later and lived there until 1948. When the Jordanians captured the area, the Jews were evacuated and for nineteen years were barred from visiting either their former homes or the cave of Shimon HaTzadik.

Mt. Scopus11

In 1918 the cornerstone of Hebrew University was laid on Mt. Scopus, north of Sheikh Jarrah, and on April 1, 1925, the opening ceremony was held.12 In 1938 Hadassah Hospital was opened adjacent to the university on Mt. Scopus, with a nursing school and research facilities as well as wards. During the War of Independence, both institutions, which were a source of pride for the Jewish state in the making, were cut off because the access route passed through Sheikh Jarrah. Following the UN partition vote on November 29, 1947, Jewish transportation to Mt. Scopus became a target for attacks by Palestinian Arabs who shot passengers and mined the road.

On April 13, 1948, a convoy of ambulances, armored buses, trucks loaded with food and medical equipment, and 105 doctors, nurses, medical students, Hebrew University personnel, and guards headed for Mt. Scopus. The convoy was ambushed in the middle of Sheikh Jarrah, the lead vehicle hit a mine, and gangs of armed Arabs attacked. Seventy-eight Jews were murdered, among them 20 women and Dr. Haim Yaski, the hospital director. In the following months the hospital and university ceased to function. After the Six-Day War, when the area was returned to Israel, a memorial was built in their honor in Sheikh Jarrah on the road leading to Mt. Scopus.

Nahlat Shimon13

Until 1948, west of the road linking Sheikh Jarrah, the American Colony and Mt. Scopus, was Nahlat Shimon, its name a reminder of its proximity to the cave of Shimon HaTzadik. The neighborhood was founded in 1891 and was home to hundreds of Jewish families. Just before the British Mandate ended in 1948, security in Nahlat Shimon deteriorated drastically and its residents were evacuated to the Israeli side of Jerusalem. The Jordanians took control of the neighborhood and settled Palestinian refugees there.

Sheikh Jarrah-Shimon HaTzadik and Mt. Scopus, 1948-1967

Until 1948 Sheikh Jarrah was an aristocratic neighborhood for Jerusalem Arabs and members of the two most important Palestinian families: Nashashibi and Husseini. Among its most famous residents before 1948 was the Grand Mufti, Sheikh Haj Amin al-Husseini, and his family, who lived in the eastern part of Sheikh Jarrah, called the Mufti's Vineyard. He began building himself a large house but was deported by the British and left for Lebanon in October 1937. During the Second World War he supported the Nazis and later lived in Beirut and Cairo.14 His family rented out the house, which was further enlarged and became the Shepherd Hotel.

After 1948 the neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Shimon HaTzadik came under Jordanian control and the Jewish-owned land was handed over to the Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property. In the mid-1950s the Jordanian government settled Arabs there. They took over the homes of the Jews and paid rent to the Jordanian Custodian.

During the nineteen years between the War of Independence and the Six-Day War, Israeli access to Mt. Scopus - which remained an Israeli enclave surrounded by territory under Jordanian control - was governed by a special arrangement which went into effect on July 7, 1948, and by other arrangements made later.15 Once every two weeks a convoy was allowed through from the Israeli side of the Mandelbaum gate with a UN escort, to rotate the Israeli policemen who served on Mt. Scopus. The area was a demilitarized zone containing Hebrew University, Hadassah Hospital, and the village of Isawiya. However, the arrangement was plagued by friction and arguments, diplomatic incidents and bloody events, and it had to be continually bolstered by various mediators and negotiations.16

After the Six-Day War (June 1967)

Immediately after Israel defeated the Jordanian army in Jerusalem, the Israeli government began to restore those parts of the city which had been wrested from it nineteen years previously. The city's municipal borders were extended and its area grew to 110,000 dunams (about 27,000 acres), and a Knesset decision brought the entire area under Israeli law. The main considerations of the decision-makers were to take control of the largest possible area with the smallest possible Arab population, to make it impossible to divide the city in the future, and to provide for the security of the city.17 Building Jewish neighborhoods in areas annexed to the city was done in stages, beginning with a bloc of northern neighborhoods to close the gap between Mt. Scopus and the western part of the city as far as the neighborhood of Shmuel HaNavi.18

On January 11, 1968, an area of 3,345 dunams, or about 830 acres, was expropriated. It included the no man's land which before the war had separated Israel from Jordan, a strip of land on both sides of the road to Ramallah as far as the houses of Sheikh Jarrah, Hadassah Hospital and Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus, the slopes of Mt. Scopus, and the northern slope of the Mt. of Olives. The territory included 326 plots with 1,500 owners, most of them Arab and a few of them Jews.19 During the following years, Israeli neighborhoods were built in the space between Mt. Scopus and the former border, including Ramat Eshkol, Sanhedria, French Hill, and Maalot Dafna. The Hebrew University campus on Mt. Scopus came alive and was considerably enlarged. Hadassah Hospital was rebuilt and enlarged as well. Today, the two institutions serve hundreds of thousands of Jews and Arabs living in Jerusalem, especially in the northern parts of the city.

To ensure that Mt. Scopus would never again be separated from the rest of Jerusalem, many Israeli government institutions were built in Sheikh Jarrah, where thousands of Israelis work every day, including the national headquarters of the Israel Police. In addition, the Arab population of Jerusalem is served by a major office of the Israel Ministry of Interior as well as by a large medical clinic at this location.

The Jewish people also returned to the tomb of Shimon HaTzadik, which the Israel Ministry of Religious Affairs officially designated as a site holy to Judaism.20 Prayers are said there every day, and on special occasions (such as Lag B'Omer) great celebrations are held in honor of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Religious leaders attend, as do tens of thousands of Jews, who come with their rabbis.

Three large hotels have been built along the road leading to Sheikh Jarrah, and to the north there is a Hyatt Hotel, all part of the Israeli presence in the area. Many of the hotel and Hadassah Hospital employees are Palestinian Arabs who live in and around Sheikh Jarrah, and many Palestinian Arab students study at Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus.

Private Jewish Activity in the Sheikh Jarrah-Shimon HaTzadik Area Since the Six-Day War

Although a Jewish institutional presence has been established in the area in the form of Israeli governmental offices and services, Jewish groups have sought to establish a residential presence as well. This is being done through property and land acquisitions, and by judicial means. To date, this activity has achieved a residential presence of no more than ten families who are living in a small part of the Shimon HaTzadik neighborhood from which Jews had been evicted in 1948.

There are dozens of pending court cases and legal proceedings seeking to remove Arab tenants on the grounds that they have not been paying rent to the rightful owners - the Committee of the Sephardic Community and the Ashkenazi Assembly of Israel, who purchased the land in the second part of the nineteenth century. In some of these cases, eviction notices have been issued, although the Israel Police has delayed the actual evictions due to international pressure.21

Private Jewish activity in this area focuses on several points: the el-Ma'amuniya school, which after prolonged discussions eventually became the offices of the Israel Ministry of Interior; the Nahlat Shimon neighborhood, whose Jewish residents were driven out in 1948 and where Jews are now seeking to purchase property from Arab residents; the Mufti's Vineyard (expropriated in 1969), which the Israel Lands Administration has handed over to Jewish custody with authorization for agricultural activity; and the Shimon HaTzadik neighborhood north of the American Colony Hotel.

After 1967, control over Jewish-owned property in the Shimon HaTzadik neighborhood that had been seized by Arabs was transferred from the Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property to the Israeli Custodian of Absentee Property. In 1972 the Israeli Custodian released the land back to its owners (the Committee of the Sephardic Community and the Ashkenazi Assembly of Israel). In 1988 the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the 28 Arab families living on the premises enjoy the status of "Protected Residents," but that the ownership of the land belongs to the two Jewish organizations.

Ten years later, in 1998, Jews entered deserted houses in the neighborhood. At the same time, a slow process of evicting Arab families who apparently refused to pay rent to the two Jewish organizations was begun. The Jewish groups involved in the area presented a power of attorney from former Knesset Member Yehezkel Zackay (Labor) and from the heads of the Sephardic Committee permitting them to remain on the site and to rebuild it. Zackay explained that the Arabs there had treated the premises as if it were their own private property, building without authorization, entering houses which were not theirs, and had even tried to destroy the abandoned synagogue located in the middle of the neighborhood. Ehud Olmert, then mayor of Jerusalem, assisted the Jewish activity from behind the scenes. Members of the Shas Sephardic religious political party also sanctioned the Jewish activity. A son of Shas leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef began giving lessons at the small, newly built yeshiva that had begun to operate in the abandoned synagogue.

In the months that followed, several Arab families were evicted from the neighborhood and were replaced by seven Jewish families. Eviction notices have been issued for dozens of other Arab families in the area, but they have not been implemented due to international pressure.

An overall plan for the rehabilitation of the Shimon HaTzadik neighborhood that had been taken over by the Arabs in 1948 has been filed with the Jerusalem Municipality Planning Committee.

The Shepherd Hotel Compound22

The Shepherd Hotel lies just to the east of the British Consulate in eastern Jerusalem, and British diplomats were instrumental in inflaming the controversy between the U.S. and Israel over the future of the property. The building, originally built by the Grand Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, was confiscated by the British Mandatory Government after it deported him in the 1930s and was made into a British military outpost. The Jordanians took possession of the structure after 1948 and expanded it.

After the 1967 Six-Day War, when Israel took over the compound, no one from the Husseini family still lived there, and it had been rented by two Christian brothers. At the beginning of the 1970s, Israel revoked the right of the Husseini family's representative to charge the brothers rent and transfer the money to the family abroad. The brothers received the status of protected tenants and paid rent to the Israeli Executor of Absentee Property. In the mid-1980s, the brothers' widows sold the hotel to a Swiss company backed by Jewish groups.

Two years later, the compound was bought by American businessman Irving Moskowitz, who has worked for years to redeem property in Jerusalem for Jewish settlement. He leased the hotel to the state, and in the 1990s Israeli Border Police units were stationed there. In recent years the building has stood empty and, using the power of attorney of the owners, on July 2, 2009, the Jerusalem Municipality approved a plan to build 20 housing units at the site and at the same time to preserve part of the compound. A more ambitious plan to build 122 units has been prepared but has not yet been approved.

The Growth of Mixed Neighborhoods in Jerusalem

The dispute between the U.S. and Israel over 20 housing units in Sheikh Jarrah has turned the spotlight on the Sheikh Jarrah-Shimon HaTzadik-Mt. Scopus area, which has long been home to a mix of populations and where Jews and Arabs live side by side. However, parallel Arab migration to Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem has received no similar attention.

In Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem such as Armon HaNatziv, Neve Yaakov, Tzameret HaBira, and Pisgat Zeev, the fringes of the neighborhoods have many Palestinian Arab residents, either through purchase or rental of apartments. In some of the buildings along Rehov HaHavatzelet in the center of the city, a similar change is taking place. Jews and Arabs also live together in the neighborhood of Abu Tor, and there are several streets in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, such as Rehov HaGai, where a similar situation is gradually developing. In short, as certain parts of eastern Jerusalem have become ethnically diverse, it has become impossible to characterize it as a wholly Palestinian area that can easily be split off from the rest of Jerusalem.

Foreign Investment in Jerusalem: Both Jewish and Arab

Jews from abroad are not the only ones buying property in Jerusalem. Munib al-Masri, a Palestinian millionaire from Nablus who holds American citizenship, is planning to purchase property 900 meters from the Teddy Kollek Stadium, not far from Jerusalem's Malha shopping mall. His investment company is planning to build 150 housing units next to Beit Safafa, according to company chairman Samir Halayla. Until 1967, Beit Safafa was an Arab village south of Jerusalem divided between Israel and Jordan. After the war it became an area where Jews and Arabs lived together, generally as good neighbors.

The Gulf States, the PLO, and Palestinian millionaires such as al-Masri and the late Abd al-Majid Shuman have all invested funds to purchase property and support construction for Palestinian Arabs. The Jerusalem Treasury Fund affiliated with the Jerusalem Committee headed by King Hassan of Morocco is also active. The Jerusalem Foundation for Development and Investment was founded in Jordan, and there are several similar funds and foundations in Saudi Arabia.23 Foreign donations from Qatar were also involved in the construction of 58 housing units recently completed in Beit Hanina under the auspices of the Arab teachers' association.

On July 19, 2009, Yuval Diskin, head of the Israel Security Agency, reported to the Israeli government on the extensive efforts of the Palestinian Authority and its security apparatuses to prevent Palestinian land from being sold to Jews, especially in eastern Jerusalem.

Regardless of these ongoing struggles, the State of Israel does not limit or forbid the purchase or sale of property or land within Jerusalem, which is under Israeli law, whether the individuals involved are Jews or Arabs.

* * *


1. Eastern Jerusalem refers to the areas annexed to the east, north and south of the city that were not under Israeli control prior to the Six-Day War in 1967. For further information, see Nadav Shragai, Jerusalem: The Dangers of Division (Jerusalem Canter for Public Affairs, 2008), p. 12 (Hebrew).

2. For the arguments on which Israel bases its position, see Dore Gold, "The Diplomatic Battle for Jerusalem," Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2001, pp. 5-10 (Hebrew).

3. Shragai, pp. 49-53.

4. Information based on conversations with sources within the Israeli government.

5. Ian Kelley, U.S. Department of State, "Daily Press Briefing," June 22, 2009,

6. Nadav Shragai, "Simon HaTzadik's New Neighbor," Ha'aretz, April 26, 1999 (Hebrew); conversations with people who were evicted that year. See articles in Ha'aretz about population issues and history during the relevant years.

7. Mishnah Avot, 1:2. See exigesis.

8. Babylonian Talmud, Tract Yomah, 69a.

9. Mishnah Avot, 1:2.

10. Shmuel Shamir, in an article about the property of the Sephardic community (Bamaarekhet, August 1968, Hebrew), and A. Yaari, in Shluhi Eretz Israel, enlarged on the history of the purchase.

11. For further information, see Mordechai Gilat, Mt. Scopus (Smadar Publishers, 1969) (Hebrew).

12. For further information, see "The University," publication of Hebrew University, the 50th anniversary volume, V. 21, 1975 (Hebrew).

13. For further information, see Yona Cohen, Gershon the Wise from Nahlat Shimon, (Reuven Maas, 1968) (Hebrew).

14. For further information about al-Husseini and his support for the Nazis, see Haviv Cnaan, "Who Is Haj Amin al-Husseini?," which appeared in Ha'aretz in March 1970 and was reissued by the information services of the Prime Minister's Office.

15. For further information, see Gilat, and a summary in Amnon Ramon, ed., The Lexicon of Contemporary Jerusalem (Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, 2003), p. 235.

16. Meron Benvenisti, Jerusalem, the Torn City, (Weinfeld and Nicholson, 1972), pp. 35-41.

17. David Kroyanker, Jerusalem, the Struggle for the Structure and Face of the City (Zmora Bitan and Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, 1988), p. 58 (Hebrew).

18. Ibid.

19. Benvenisti, p. 290.

20. Shmuel Berkowitz, How Awesome Is This Place (Carta, 2006), p. 73 (Hebrew).

21. The information on this matter comes from conversations with Jewish activists who resettle Jews in the Shimon HaTzadik area, from visiting the neighborhood, and from following ongoing court cases on this matter.

22. Danny Rubenstein, "As Long as Nothing Bothers the Hyatt," Ha'aretz, November 18, 1991; Danny Rubenstein, "The Palestinian Economy: a Hotel at the Crossroads," Calcalist, July 20, 2009; personal knowledge of the area.

23. For further information, see Nadav Shragai, "Jerusalem Is the Solution, Not the Problem," in His Honor the Prime Minister Jerusalem, Moshe Amirav, ed. (Carmel, 2005), p. 57 (Hebrew) (based on Israeli defense documents).

* * *

Nadav Shragai is the author of Jerusalem: The Dangers of Division - An Alternative to Separation from the Arab Neighborhoods (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2008); At the Crossroads, the Story of the Tomb of Rachel (Jerusalem Studies, 2005); and The Mount of Contention, the Struggle for the Temple Mount, Jews and Muslims, Religion and Politics since 1967 (Keter, 1995). He has been writing for the Israeli daily newspaper Ha'aretz since 1983.

Somewhere between 328 and 3,500 were killed

Photo of an anti-Israel protester in Los Angeles Aug 13, 2006 carrying a "bloody" doll


NOTE TO READERS: In my long running battle between Santa Cruz Indymedia and later, many posts of mine have been deleted. If you follow the link below, it will take you to the article to which I was responding. Readers can note that my post, which was censored, violated no editorial guideline at In fact, my post added important sources for readers to consider regarding the Lebanese Christian Phalanx massacre in Lebanon at Sabra and Shatilla in 1982. This is the so-called "Israeli" massacre in which no Israeli soldier participated. Ariel Sharon, a general at the time, was held responsible by the Israeli Knesset because they ruled he could have stopped it from happening and didn't. He was forced to resign as a result. Below is my banned post. --Becky Johnson Aug 3 2009

posted at and then banned from :

Somewhere between 328 and 3,500 people were killed
by Becky Johnson Wednesday, Nov. 02, 2005 at 9:51 AM
Santa Cruz, Ca.

The number of people killed at Sabra and Shatila is disputed. Here are a few wide ranging sources from Al Jazeera to the Kahane Commission and some NGO reports. Since there is so much dispute, beware of anyone who claims that they are the ultimate authority on the death toll. ---Becky Johnson


"Estimates of the number killed range from 460 according to the Lebanese police, to 700-800 calculated by Israeli intelligence. Palestinians claim 3,000 to 3,500 dead and call the action "genocide".

The International Committee for the Red Cross initially counted 1500 bodies at the time, but by 22 September this count had risen to 2400. The next day, another 350 corpses were uncovered, raising the total to 2750.

The Lebanese Red Cross personnel counted over 3,000 bodies not including those buried under rubble placed over them by the bulldozers on Saturday morning.