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Press Release

Date: Thursday November 29, 2012 To: All International and Kenyan Media Houses From: The Kenya Diaspora Alliance, Global Headquarters

Kenyans in the diaspora have expressed dismay and disbelief after the revelation by Hon. Eugene Wamalwa, Kenyas Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs that the Cabinet of President Mwai Kibakis and Prime Minister Raila Odingas Ruling Coalition has expressly decided that eligible voters outside of Kenya will not be able to vote in the General Election slated for March 2013.

In their response at a hastily convened emergency teleconference immediately following the Tuesday November 27, 2012 Cabinet announcement, leaders of the Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA), a transnational Federation comprising 28 Kenya Diaspora organizations, overwhelmingly condemned the decision terming it unilateral and unacceptable.

In an unprecedented show of commitment, the alliance members passed a raft of resolutions challenging the authorities to reverse the decision and ensure Diaspora Kenyans are not denied their right to vote. Said the session chairman, Mr. Robinson Gichuhi. Citizens right to choose leaders is an inalienable right. This right is enshrined in Kenyas new constitution under Article 83, sub-section 3. Diaspora Kenyans are within their right to demand for their full participation in the historic March 2013 elections, Mr. Gichuhi added.

The leaders dismissed the allegation by the cabinet that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEBC) lacked preparedness to handle the massive exercise of the registration of voters abroad. We have been trying to work hand-in-hand with the IEBC for over 3 years and even offered financial and technical support; but the IEBC, through its chairman, rejected our offer at a Kenya Embassy in Washington DC organized meeting in early 2012. Hence the citation by the government that it lacked logistical and financial resources was really an excuse to disenfranchise Kenyans abroad because they know the impact their participation will have on the outcome of the elections, said Mr. Hebron Mosomi.

We even offered and proceeded to build an online system that is secure, tested and elaborate enough to ensure that any Kenyan living outside of Kenya would be able to exercise their constitutional right per Section 83 Sub-section (3) of the Kenya Constitution, said Ms. Mkawasi Mcharo, one of the participants. . The site, https://www.kenyansabroadvote.com/ allows eligible Diaspora voters to sign-up via the Internet (and extensible to accept secure SMS), should IEBC accept to use online registration and voting for Diaspora. KDA aims to have 1 million eligible, potential Diaspora voters to sign-up by close of registration date.

The leaders could not come to terms with the statement from the Minister that it is not practical for the them to take part now. The leaders at the meeting were not impressed by the total lack of order demonstrated by the Cabinets statement and felt that it was an indication that there are forces within the Kenyan political system that are bent on stopping the Diaspora from becoming full participants in Kenyas political development, said Dr. Githua Kariuki, Mr. Alex Momanyi, Ms. Annette Ruah and Mr. Symon Ogeto. However, the alliance vowed to continue to fight for the Diasporas rightful place in Kenyas national affairs.

The leaders joined Kenyans in the Diaspora in condemning this decision overwhelmingly as an unwarranted retraction of a right entrenched in the new Kenyan constitution. They consider the grounds for the cabinet decision injudicious, frivolous and, without foundation in law and in fact, said Dr. William Yimbo. Indeed, the action seemed to confirm their fear that an invisible hand could have been behind the shocking, retrogressive ruling against a court petition KDA had filed to facilitate Diaspora voting and representation. It only fortified their resolve to proceed to expeditiously appeal and vigorously contest the court decision in the Appeal Court, added Dr. Shem Ochuodho while in the meeting via global link.

Shifting Goal Posts

The leaders at the meeting were of the opinion that authorities in Kenya are using conjecture, innuendo and subterfuge to hoodwink and disenfranchise them. For example, the shifting of goal posts by using controvertible rationalizations of their actions such as logistics, the un-researched numbers of Kenyans living overseas, and, resources, among others. It goes to show that the authorities are desperate for an excuse to deny the Diaspora their rights, said Mr. Benson Metho and Mr. Isaac Newton Kinity.

Legal Question

The legality of the Cabinet to make such a move came into question during this leaders meeting. It appears that the Cabinet has over-stepped its bounds for obvious reasons, The leaders declared that the Kenyan Cabinet does not have the authority to stop the Diaspora from voting. They felt that the announcement sounded like some decrees announced in some banana republics and had ill-intentions. The leaders asserted that the decision has no merit and no standing. The Cabinet ignored the legal and due process and in a meeting that was not publicized at all, they made a decision that they will stand to regret. came forth a general consensus among the attendees. What the Cabinet purported to do was illegal and unconstitutional. It usurped the authority of IEBC (which is the body constitutionally mandated to conduct elections) and issued a legally untenable decree, said one of KDAs legal counsel, Mr HenryOngeri.

Polling Stations & Online Voting

In the case of the United States, 3 polling stations as recommended by the IEBC was seen as impractical and not in line with a true effort to have full participation of Kenyans in the region.

To date, the diaspora is aware that some funds had already been allocated to voter registration and the voting process. This, the leaders said, was a step in the right direction. For an adverse statement, however, to come from a source that was not directly involved in the implementation of the constitution, demonstrates a total lack of political sensitivity and was seen as an affront to Kenyans abroad. The diaspora has been pushing for an elaborate system of voting that would not require travel to any polling station. KDA research associates indicate that several countries around the world, have effectively and successfully used online voting. . The research associates and computer experts within the diaspora are prepared to hand over and fine-tune the bank-standard secure system they have created that would reduce costs and make the work of IEBC easier.

Demonstrations

In light of the outrage within the Kenya Community, leaders at the meeting also endorsed a potential use of demonstrations around the world if the Kenyan Cabinet fails to rescind this decision including the adverse adjudication of the lawsuit that KDA filed in mid-2012. Kenyans are ready to bring attention to this disenfranchisement. We are not taking this lightly, Mr. Peter Keere said.

There are credible reports that Kenyans around the world are already planning demonstrations even prior to our press release. This shows the anger and aggravation that statements coming from Nairobi are producing.

On the Diaspora Voter Set-up

1. The Kenyan cabinet overstepped its authority in the announcement made to parliament Tuesday. The Diaspora, including legal experts, feel that the matter lies squarely within the realm of IEBC responsibility;

2. An elaborate online system should be sought and implemented to solve the issue of polling stations. IEBC should stop pretending that the Internet does not exist and take advantage of major security advancement to ensure a free and fair election. If it has to be a physical voting exercise, then there are no known or written parameters on the number of voters required to establish a voter registration center. BVR kits should be deployed or set up at polling stations recommended by a recent report that had been submitted by the Diaspora to Kenyas Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There are numerous voter registration/polling centers with less than 1000 eligible voters that have been readily supplied with BVR kits, staff and other logistics back in Kenya.

3. Proper diaspora headcount is being coordinated by several groups, businesses and individuals in the United States and in other parts of the world, and can be concluded with IEBC or GoK cooperation before mid-December. Figuring ranging from 26,000 to 150,000 Kenyans abroad is another example of attempts to bar the Diaspora from effective participation in a free and fair election.

4. The Kenyan Diaspora has been ready and still willing to use its technical knowhow and expertise to make the next general election a model exercise free of flaw and dispute. Failure to include Diaspora in the vote will be a sure recipe for protracted post-election law suits challenging validity of the vote, a situation that can be avoided NOW.

KDA Resolutions

In this extra-ordinary meeting within the Kenyan diaspora, the leaders discussed and ratified various resolutions and made pronouncements to counter the announcement from Nairobi. Resolutions were centered on the following:

The meeting was attended by the following: Mr. Robinson Gichuhi (DMK), Ms. Mkawasi Mcharo (KCA), Mr. Ben Metho (KDDF), Mr. Hebron Mosomi (K4C), Mr. Peter Keere (Atktive)., Ms. Annette Ruah (KIC), Dr. Githua Kariuki (IADDS), Mr. Isaac Newton Kinity (KIKIMO), Mr. Alex Momanyi (KINC), Dr. William Yimbo (KDDF), Mr. Henry Ongeri (KDA Legal Counsel) and Mr. Symon Ogeto (CKO), Dr. Shem Ochuodho (NVK), Mr. Anthony Lenaiyara (China), Mr. Anthony Mwaura (Finland), Mr. Thomas Musau (UK), Apologies from: Mr. Ngethe Mbiyu (KDMJ), Ms. Sharon Opuge (Iceland), Mr.Johvine.Wanyingo (Nigeria), Mr Francis Opondo, ), Mr. Shem Okore (Zimbabwe), Mr. Oscar OLawrence (KUDIMA, Dubai) and also other leaders worldwide who could not attend due to time difference.

PRESS CONTACT:

For more information and further details, please contact the Kenya Diaspora Alliance at press@kenyadiasporaalliance.org

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Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA) | The New Kenya Has Arrived

Written on August 30th, 2015 & filed under Diasphora Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Human face … A woman and her child walk in front of rabbles in the neighbourhood of Beit Hanoun. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: Supplied

The Israeli Defence Force has deployed its Iron Dome missile batteries to its southern border with Gaza with threats from Islamic militants on the one-year anniversary of the conflict on the Palestinian strip.

Today marks one year since the ceasefire of an intense seven-week conflict between the Hamas and IDF that left more than 2000 mostly Palestinian civilians killed, 11,000 injured and more than 100,000 people displaced with rocket fire levelling their homes.

As a precaution, the IDF has deployed Iron Dome defence systems on its borders to intercept any missiles should there be any attack on the anniversary or from the death of a Palestinian prisoner who has been on a hunger strike and on life support in Israeli detention for the past two months.

Destruction … a woman looks out of a dilapidated house in the town of Beit Hanoun. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: Supplied

Both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad Movements military arm al-Quds Brigades have threatened an attack on Israel.

It comes amid conflicting reports that Hamas has begun long-term truce talks, via mediator and former British PM Tony Blair, with the Israelis in a bid to lift a land, sea and air blockade over Gaza and its 1.8 million population.

Israel has denied there have been any talks with the militant movement but exiled Palestinian Hamas head Khaled Meshaal said there has been positive contact. We cannot say today that we have something in our hand, there are only discussions, Meshaal is reported as saying.

The continuing blockade of Gaza has hampered reconstruction of some 17,000 homes destroyed during the conflict on the Strip.

Innocent face … A child watches on in his heavy-shelled neighbourhood in north Gaza. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: Supplied

Save the Children Australia CEO Paul Ronalds has appealed to the Federal Government to pressure Israel to lift the blockade.

The charity group has a longstanding presence in Gaza and Australian donations has recently led to water tanks being procured and installed in worst affected areas.

Humanitarian effort … With Australian funds, Save the Children was able to install water tanks to households. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: Supplied

Mr Ronalds said the Australian Government had given $15 million in aid last year toward the humanitarian crisis but has now cut aid to Palestinian territories.

The situation for children and families in Gaza is still dire, and it is critical that sufficient funding levels be maintained.

A sign at the entry to Gaza city. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: Supplied

Save the Children is urging Australia and other nations to use their diplomatic influence to promote the lifting of the blockade to allow the entry of essential humanitarian aid and enable the rebuilding of homes and schools, and support a return to some level of normality for the many distressed children in Gaza.

About 455,000 tons of rubble from the conflict has been cleared but still 1.5 million tons remains rendering many families to simply live in the rubble that was their homes.

We need a new solution, one local, who asked not to be named, told News Ltd.

One year on … The Hamas side at the Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: Supplied

Many people have lost faith and trust in the (Hamas) political administration. They are not doing anything for us and we have nothing, not even a vote since there are no elections here like in your country or Britain and America.

Read more about the embattled Gaza strip one year on from the devastating conflict in News Corp Australia publications on Saturday.

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Life on the Gaza strip with NGO Save the Children on one …

Written on August 28th, 2015 & filed under Gaza Strip Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Published August 24, 2015

Palestinian United Nations workers hold up a banner as they demonstrate against measures the organization has taken to overcome an acute financial crisis, in Gaza City, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. The protest today outside the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Gaza headquarter was the largest in a series of demonstrations in recent weeks, called up by the agencys Local Staff Union. The protesters say they want the UNRWAs Commissioner-General Pierre Krhenbhl to cancel amendments that allow him to impose a one-year unpaid leave on staff when needed and increase the number of students in classrooms. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)(The Associated Press)

Thousands of Palestinian United Nations workers demonstrate against measures the organization has taken to overcome an acute financial crisis in Gaza City, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. The protest today outside the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Gaza headquarter was the largest in a series of demonstrations in recent weeks, called up by the agencys Local Staff Union. The protesters say they want the UNRWAs Commissioner-General Pierre Krhenbhl to cancel amendments that allow him to impose a one-year unpaid leave on staff when needed and increase the number of students in classrooms. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)(The Associated Press)

A Palestinian woman holds up a sign as thousands of United Nations workers demonstrate against measures the organization has taken to overcome an acute financial crisis in Gaza City, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. The protest today outside the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Gaza headquarter was the largest in a series of demonstrations in recent weeks, called up by the agencys Local Staff Union. The protesters say they want the UNRWAs Commissioner-General Pierre Krhenbhl to cancel amendments that allow him to impose a one-year unpaid leave on staff when needed and increase the number of students in classrooms. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)(The Associated Press)

Thousands of Palestinian United Nations workers demonstrate against measures the organization has taken to overcome an acute financial crisis in Gaza City, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. The protest today outside the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Gaza headquarter was the largest in a series of demonstrations in recent weeks, called up by the agencys Local Staff Union. The protesters say they want the UNRWAs Commissioner-General Pierre Krhenbhl to cancel amendments that allow him to impose a one-year unpaid leave on staff when needed and increase the number of students in classrooms. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)(The Associated Press)

Thousands of Palestinian United Nations workers demonstrate against measures the organization has taken to overcome an acute financial crisis in Gaza City, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. The protest today outside the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Gaza headquarter was the largest in a series of demonstrations in recent weeks, called up by the agencys Local Staff Union. The protesters say they want the UNRWAs Commissioner-General Pierre Krhenbhl to cancel amendments that allow him to impose a one-year unpaid leave on staff when needed and increase the number of students in classrooms. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)(The Associated Press)

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip Thousands of employees of the United Nations’ Palestinian refugee agency in the Gaza Strip are striking against cost-cutting measures the agency is imposing to overcome a financial crisis.

The protesters say they want the commissioner-general of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency to cancel measures that would allow the agency to impose one-year unpaid leave on staff and increase the number of students in U.N.-run classrooms.

Some 13,000 teachers, health workers and other employees are on strike. A demonstration Monday outside the agency’s Gaza headquarters was the largest of a series of demonstrations in recent weeks.

Hamas-run schools in the Palestinian territory began the school year, but U.N.-run schools remain closed because of the strike.

UNRWA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said the unpaid leave measure has been frozen.

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Some 13,000 UN employees in Gaza Strip strike to protest …


“Can you live as we do?” Sayeed asked me.

We were standing on the rooftop of his family home in Hebron, the largest city in the West Bank. The house, in the Old City, is several stories of lovely stone, its narrow rooms tucked away up spiral staircases. Less picturesque is the watchtower installed by the Israel Defense Forces on an adjoining section of roof.

The army does not permit the 25-year-old to lock his doors, and when soldiers use the watchtower during the day, they lock Sayeed’s family in their rooms. His home, like many others in the area, is subject to frequent night raids in the name of securityin other words, investigation accusations of rock-throwing or other terroristic actions. (Throwing a stone at a moving vehicle is now punishable by up to 20 years in prison thanks to a new law that has been derided by its critics as racist against Palestinians.) Sayeed told me he’d been arrested many times; he lifted up his pant leg to show me scars he said came form beatings at the hands of the authorities.

Then there are the settlers, Jews who have moved onto land in the West BankPalestinian land, land that Israel does not have a recognized right to. These settlers have been consistently supported by the Israeli government, despite condemnations from other nations, and despite the settlers frequently committing acts of violence against the Palestinians whose land they occupy. Some settlers are drawn by the lower tax rates and government subsidies enjoyed by those living outside of Israel’s 1967 borders. But others, like many of those in Hebron, subscribe to a belief that God granted all of Eretz Israela geographic area including the West Bankto the Jews.

The Israelis who have encamped in the Old City have gone so far to build atop existing structures, so that the modern architecture crushes the past. In Sayeed’s case, settlers built a new wing fused onto his home. According to Sayeed, they cross over the adjoined rooftop and sometimes throw trash in his water tanks. In 2007, he claimed, they broke into one of his rooms and threw in a Molotov cocktail, an apparent attempt to drive the family from their home. Sayeed’s kid brother took me down to the room, where the floor and walls were still scorched black.

On the roof I paused, considering Sayeed’s question. “No,” I answered, honestly.

I visited Hebron in early June, two months before yet another alleged arson attack by settlers burned alive an 18-month-old infant named Ali Dawabsheh in the West Bank village of Duma. Days later, Ali’s father Saad succumbed to the burns that covered 80 percent of his body.

Following Ali’s murder, Israeli politicians, like Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu, have scrambled to separate the extraordinary violence committed by settlers from the daily violence of the occupation. But the distinction is impossible to make. Settlers are an intrinsic, state-supported part of Israel’s occupation. In their attacks, settlers serve as the occupation’s shock troops. Their security serves as its excuse.

Nowhere is this more visually apparent than in Hebron’s Old City.

The Oslo Accords divides Hebron into two zonesH2, run by the Israeli military, and H1, run by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Old Hebron lies in H2, which is home to 30,000 Palestinians and approximately 500 Israeli settlers.

Old Hebron is honey-stoned and blue-dooredthe sort of charming Mediterranean labyrinth that, in another universe, would be full of obnoxious tour groups. But thanks to the occupation, it’s scarred by gates, concrete barriers, barbed wire, and checkpoints. A souk where gold was once sold lies empty, the doors of its many shops welded shut by the IDF, its merchandise still inside.

In Hebron, apartheid is imposed upon the architecture. Palestinians navigate a maze of barriers, fences, and settler-only roads, trapped in discursive loops that can take them kilometers out of their way. Soldiers, most of them bored Mizrahi teenagers, often leave Palestinians languishing at Hebron’s checkpoints for hours. Long waits are the least of the problems created by this network of restrictionsevery interaction between soldier and Palestinian civilian can lead to a beating, an arrest, or even a shooting at the hands of the army.

Of course, no such restrictions on movement apply to settlers.

The former main drag, Shuhada Street, is as silent as a corpse. Most Palestinian families have been driven out of Shuhada, either by the settlers or the army. Obscene graffiti joins the stars of David settlers have scrawled across its abandoned storefront.

Checkpoints on either end warn in misspelled Arabic that this road is pedestrian-onlyfor Palestinians, who can only walk until the last 600 feet. Israelis are welcome to drive.

Settlers have moved into apartments overlooking the shop-lined streets of Hebron’s Old City. From their windows, they habitually throw down rocks, glass, piss, and dirty diapers at the Palestinian merchants beneath them. Merchants have hung nets to catch some of the refuse, but liquids still get through. One vendor showed me his shawls, which have been ruined by rotten eggs. Business is slow here, but shopkeepers persist, out of stubbornness, or pride, or just a desire for something to do.

Watch: Israel’s Radical Left

Many stores are bolted shut. Others are without doors, filled with trash, hidden and closed behind barricades. A playground for Arab kids has been turned into a settlers-only parking lot. According to a 2013 report the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, more than 1,000 Palestinian homes adjacent to settlements have been abandoned, and 512 Palestinian businesses have been closed on Israeli military orders. An additional 1,100 businesses have have shut down due to restricted access for customers and suppliers.

Israel rationalizes its policy of separating Palestinians and settlers as a way to keep the peace between the two groups. However, the policy penalizes Palestinians alone, displacing them and restricting their freedom of movement in the name of counteracting “terrorism.”

“We are not the terrorists that they are calling us. We just want nobody to kill us, and to live like anyone else,” Ghassan Jabari, 19, told me.

A year ago Ghassan opened a small pottery shop across from the Ibrahimi Mosque. Despite the tour buses, business is slow. Ghassan, who has no allegiance to any political faction, told me that many Israeli tour operators warn their charges against shopping with him, claiming the money goes to Hamas.

The authorities also harass him. One YouTube video from November 2014 shows soldiers stopping Ghassan at a checkpoint just outside his shop. He did not have his ID, which was inside the shop. Rather than letting his retrieve it, the soldiers detained him, shoving him and twisting his arm behind his back. Another time, Ghassan said, four soldiers entered his shop and began throwing merchandise into the street. They handcuffed and blindfolded him, took his ID, and warned him to say goodbye to his shop, only releasing him when his family paid a 1,500-shekel (almost $400) fine. According to Ghassan, the soldiers dislike him having a shop in such a viable location. But these instances were also power trips, the mundane and humiliating fabric of life under military occupation.

About 650,000 Israelis live in West Bank settlements, including 300,000 who live in East Jerusalem. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, they attacked Palestinians and their property 399 times in 2013. Hebron settlers account for a disproportionate amount of violence. In one week in February 2015, settlers in Hebron governorate committed four out of five of the assaults logged by the UNbeating a ten-year-old boy with an iron bar, cutting down 40 olive trees, uprooting 550 saplings, and beating a 55-year-old shepherd while he was grazing his sheep.

The violence might be traced to the the man behind Hebron’s settlement. A believer in the divine right of Jews to rule “Greater Israel,” Rabbi Moshe Levinger rented rooms at a Hebron hotel under false pretenses in 1968. He and his followers then refused to leave. The Israeli army eventually moved the squatters to the base of Kiryat Arba, overlooking Hebron, where they established a settlement. In 1979, Levinger’s wife Miriam led the illegal takeover of a Shuhada Street building she renamed Beit Hadassah. It is still occupied by Levinger’s followers today, and its wall bears a plaque commemorating the 1929 massacre of 69 Jews in Hebron by Arabs from surrounding villages. The plaque also claims, falsely, that no Jews are allowed to enter the Arab part of Hebron.

Over the years, Levinger has been accused multiple times of committing violence against the Palestinians he lives alongside. In 1988, angry that his car had been stoned, he randomly fired bullets into a crowded marketplace, killing a Palestinian shopkeeper, an act for which he served 92 days in jail.

In 1994, American-born settler Baruch Goldstein opened fire in Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque, killing 29 Palestinians before survivors were able to beat him to death. Al Jazeera reported that, according to locals, the IDF killed an additional Palestinians protesting the massacre outside the mosque.

The settlers turned Goldstein’s grave into a shrine. Though Palestinians were the victims, the Israeli army responded by issuing a 30-day curfew (that did not apply to settlers), partitioning the Ibrahimi Mosque, and closing Shuhada Street to Palestinian traffic. Later, during the Second Intifada, the army welded shut the doors of shops and homes.

The street remains closed today. Some families can only enter their homes by crossing over rooftops. Grates cover windows, to guard against tear gas canisters and rocks.

Under the occupation, an Arab can be arrested for carrying a knife. Israeli settlers, including teenagers, swagger around with assault rifles.

Outside Ghassan’s shop, local kids slouch around, trading quips and selling the occasional Palestine flag bracelet to foreigners. One boy, a 14-year-old with a scarred face, told me about attacks by both IDF soldiers and gangs of settler teens; often, Palestinian kids are arrested on accusations of of rock-throwing. Soldiers then threaten to keep them locked up for months if they don’t sign confessions. According to multiple Palestinians I spoke to in Hebron, to secure their children’s release parents must pay 2,000 shekels (about $500) in fines, even though their children had never been brought before a judge.

Palestinians in the West Bank are usually tried in military court, where, according to human rights NGO B’Tselem, they are “as good as convicted”; settlers, meanwhile, are tried in civilian courts inside Israel. According to a report by human rights organization Yesh Din, only 7.4 percent of felony complaints from Palestinians against Israelis turn into indictmentsand in nearly a quarter of those cases, the Israeli defendant is not convicted of any crime despite being found guilty.

I only witnessed the aftermath of one incidence of stone-throwing in Hebron. Every Friday, settlers, under heavy military escort, visit Ibrahimi Mosque (which Jews call the Cave of the Patriarchs) to pray. When I left the Old City, I saw settlers gathered, preparing to enter. Rows of identically dressed young Orthodox men stood behind Israeli soldiers, who were weighted with body armor and assault rifles. Meanwhile, Palestinians vendors manned stalls selling fruit. Kids ran back and forth. Volunteers from different violence-prevention NGOs stood around, some taking photos, others making notes, others just serving as physical barriers between the settlers and the Palestinians.

By the time I came upon the crowd, it was electric with tension. The settlers, behind their military guard, pointed at the Palestinians, shouting angrily in Hebrew. A man wearing a T-shirt bearing the logo of the faith-based organization Christian Peacemaker Team gestured me over and showed me his camera. On the viewer, he pointed to a picture of one his colleagues holding his bleeding head and being loaded into an ambulance.

In English, the man told me that the photo had been taken moments ago. As for the wound, that was courtesy of a stone hurled by a settler at his colleague’s head.

Though rock-throwing is often treated as a serious crime when done by Palestinians, no settlers had been arrested. The soldiers stood idly by until, jostling the crowd aside, they cleared the settlers’ path into the Old City.

The closed streets, the abandoned homes, the cut-up citythis is all for the safety of 600 settlers who live there in defiance of international law.

That moment shows how impossible it is to untangle the violence committed by settlers from the mechanisms of the state: The settler throws a rock; the army protects him. The closed streets, the abandoned homes, the cut-up citythis is all for the safety of 600 settlers who live there in defiance of international law. So it is that Sayeed’s house has been taken over by both the settlers and the IDF; so it is that Ghassan’s shop struggles, that Ali Dawabsheh burned to death.

The most extreme expressions of this system make headlines, but it permeates every moment of existence in the West Bank. Near the end of my stay in Hebron, I had to go to the government press office in Jerusalem’s Malha neighborhood, to get the accreditation that would let me visit Gaza. A Palestinian friend offered to get me on the right bus. We walked down the Palestinian side of one of Hebron’s divided streets, a downhill scramble made sharp by rocks (the Jewish side, of course, was neatly paved). In the distance hills shone green, topped by Rabbi Levinger’s settlement of Kiryat Arba.

We walked farther downhill, beneath Beit Shalom, a cultural center for settlers with banners touting its warm welcome of the IDF. “We call that the terrorist house,” smirked my friend.

He pointed out my bus, on the schedule at the Jewish-only bus stop. But he had stood too close. The soldiers manning a nearby checkpoint came over, shouted at us, and took his ID. We waited, sweating in the sun. They called him over to tell him he was a terrorist, waiting for his terrorist friends. Then they called me.

“What are you doing here?” one demanded.

“You took my friend’s ID for no reason. Give it back,” I said. “I’m a journalist.”

As soon as he heard this, one solider began to justify his actions. He grinned, falsely, and told me that he treated all people equally. That he said hello to my friend every day. That he didn’t start trouble. That he never wanted this. His partner snickered. The settlers laughed at us from the shade of their bus stop. I demanded my friend’s ID again.

He finally handed it back. I gave it to my friend, who looked at me with the sort of pure anger that conceals a deep humiliation.

“Why did he give it to you?” he demanded. “Why did you take it?”

“I’m so sorry,” I told him, not knowing what I had done wrong.

It was only later, on the luxurious, empty, Isreali-only bus back to Jerusalem that I realized the source of his shame and rage. I had been in Hebron for two days, yet as an American journalist, I could get his ID back in five minutes. I’d underscored how helpless he was in the city where he was born.

Update: An earlier version of this article referred to Israel’s 1987 borders rather than its 1967 borders.

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The Oppressive Architecture of the West Bank | VICE | United …

Written on August 27th, 2015 & filed under West Bank Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Israeli security services issued restraining orders to at least seven right-wing Jewish activists overnight Saturday, bringing the total number of alleged extremists temporarily banned from entering the West Bank or Jerusalem in recent days to 10.

The wave of restraining orders came as authorities attempted to crack down on Jewish extremists in the wake of the July killing of Saad Dawabsha and his 18-month-old son, Ali, in a firebombing attack on their home in the Palestinian village of Duma in the West Bank. The attack, coupled with a fatal stabbing spree by an extremist Jew at Jerusalems gay pride parade a day earlier, sparked an international and domestic outcry over Israels failure to come to grips with violence by Jewish terrorists and extremists.

In a statement, the Shin Bet said the measures were taken against individuals in the agencys uncompromising effort to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure that carried out the attacks, and prevent additional activity that endangers public security.

Shin Bet and police early Sunday morning issued restraining orders to two students enrolled at the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva in the hardline West Bank settlement of Yitzhar. The students were banned from the West Bank for six months and ordered to remain under house arrest at night. In addition, one of the students was banned from Jerusalem and was told to refrain from making contact with a number of his friends.

Police also issued issued restraining orders barring two minors from entering Jerusalem for a six-month period. Both teens, one from Maale Adumim and one from central Israel, were ordered to remain under house arrest at night. A third minor from the settlement of Amona, north of Jerusalem, was sentenced to full house arrest for the next six months.

Similar orders were distributed by police to right-wing activists in the Hebron-area settlement of Kiryat Arba, as well the northern West Bank outposts of Givat Habaladim and Geulat Zion.

The Shin Bet statement described the illegal outpost of Givat Habaladim as a hotbed of extremist activity, and said a number of known attackers had fled there in the past.

Right-wing activist and attorney Itamar Ben Gvir, who is representing a number of the detained, said his clients intend to appeal the orders.

The defense minister is behaving like a bull in a china shop. His actions send the message to young people that there is no democratic process and encourages them to break the law since no indictment was given or due process was followed, Ben Gvir said, according to the Hebrew-language news site NRG.

Meir Ettinger, the head of a Jewish extremist group, stands at the Israeli justice court in Nazareth Illit on August 4, 2015, a day after his arrest (AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ)

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon approved the use of detention without charges known as administrative detention and other means in an effort to track down the killers of the Dawabshas earlier this month.

Meir Ettinger, the 23-year-old grandson of assassinated extremist rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the outlawed anti-Arab Kach organization, was arrested earlier this month in connection with alleged extremist activity. Yaalon approved the order authorizing for Ettinger to be held in administrative detention.

Yaalon said the use of administrative detention for a number of Jewish terror suspects has proved effective in preventing additional violence against Arabs by hardline Jews.

Continue reading here:
Alleged Jewish extremists banned from West Bank, Jerusalem …


Ochsner Medical Center on the West Bank is a 180-bed general medical and surgical acute care facility, located on the mighty Mississippi River.

The Medical Center offers comprehensive medical services provided by a multi-disciplinary team including more than 500 board-certified or board-eligible physicians, a highly-trained nursing staff and other skilled allied-health professionals.

Since becoming a member of the Ochsner family in October 2006, the Medical Center has made great strides in bringing more comprehensive and technologically-advanced services to the community. A robust electronic Medical record was implemented, which can follow a patient anywhere in the Ochsner System. It also gives the patient access to their own records at their leisure. A six-bed outpatient chemotherapy administration area was likewise outfitted to meet the needs of West Bank residents requiring chemotherapy, blood transfusions, injections and other cancer-related drug therapy. Advanced Wound Care services with a multi-discplinary approach to healing is a unique service for the West Bank.

Additionally, several established services such as the Family Unit, NICU, Bariatrics and Emergency Department are continuing to grow, becoming leaders for the West Bank.

Each day, Ochsner Medical Center’s West Bank campus is opening doors to new West Bank residents and others from the wider region. We are a community resource for the West Bank and beyond, promoting health and wellness for all of our citizens.

As a nationally recognized top 100 hospital through U.S. News and World Report, Ochsner Medical Center is working to improve patient care, patient outcomes and safety in ways that can be documented and adopted as daily practice. As the metropolitan area continues to feel the impact from the shortage of acute care hospital beds, we are proud to be able to offer the advanced care so many seek.

Whether you come to Ochsner Medical Center on the West Bank to receive emergency care, deliver a baby, take an outpatient test or attend a seminar, rest assured that health care with peace of mind can be yours.

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Ochsner Medical Center – West Bank Campus


West Bank Country Facts

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Background: The Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (“the DOP”), signed in Washington on 13 September 1993, provides for a transitional period not exceeding five years of Palestinian interim self-government in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Permanent status negotiations began on 5 May 1996, but have not resumed since the initial meeting. Under the DOP, Israel agreed to transfer certain powers and responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority, which includes a Palestinian Legislative Council elected in January 1996, as part of interim self-governing arrangements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A transfer of powers and responsibilities for the Gaza Strip and Jericho took place pursuant to the Israel-PLO 4 May 1994 Cairo Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area and in additional areas of the West Bank pursuant to the Israel-PLO 28 September 1995 Interim Agreement, the Israel-PLO 15 January 1997 Protocol Concerning Redeployment in Hebron, and the Israel-PLO 23 October 1998 Wye River Memorandum. The DOP provides that Israel will retain responsibility during the transitional period for external security and for internal security and public order of settlements and Israelis. Permanent status is to be determined through direct negotiations.

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Location: Middle East, west of Jordan

Geographic coordinates: 32 00 N, 35 15 E

Map references: Middle East

Area: total: 5,860 sq km land: 5,640 sq km water: 220 sq km note: includes West Bank, Latrun Salient, and the northwest quarter of the Dead Sea, but excludes Mt. Scopus; East Jerusalem and Jerusalem No Man’s Land are also included only as a means of depicting the entire area occupied by Israel in 1967

Area – comparative: slightly smaller than Delaware

Land boundaries: total: 404 km border countries: Israel 307 km, Jordan 97 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: temperate, temperature and precipitation vary with altitude, warm to hot summers, cool to mild winters

Terrain: mostly rugged dissected upland, some vegetation in west, but barren in east

Elevation extremes: lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m highest point: Tall Asur 1,022 m

Natural resources: NEGL

Land use: arable land: 27% permanent crops: 0% permanent pastures: 32% forests and woodland: 1% other: 40%

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: NA

Environment – current issues: adequacy of fresh water supply; sewage treatment

Environment – international agreements: party to: none of the selected agreements signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography – note: landlocked; highlands are main recharge area for Israel’s coastal aquifers; there are 216 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the West Bank and 29 in East Jerusalem (August 1998 est.)

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Population: 1,611,109 (July 1999 est.) note: in addition, there are some 166,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and about 176,000 in East Jerusalem (August 1998 est.)

Age structure: 0-14 years: 45% (male 370,770; female 352,803) 15-64 years: 52% (male 422,209; female 411,597) 65 years and over: 3% (male 22,376; female 31,354) (1999 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.14% (1999 est.)

Birth rate: 35.59 births/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Death rate: 4.2 deaths/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (1999 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 25.22 deaths/1,000 live births (1999 est.)

Life expectancy at birth: total population: 72.83 years male: 70.96 years female: 74.79 years (1999 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.78 children born/woman (1999 est.)

Nationality: noun: NA adjective: NA

Ethnic groups: Palestinian Arab and other 83%, Jewish 17%

Religions: Muslim 75% (predominantly Sunni), Jewish 17%, Christian and other 8%

Languages: Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by Israeli settlers and many Palestinians), English (widely understood)

Literacy: NA

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Country name: conventional long form: none conventional short form: West Bank

Data code: WE

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Economy – overview: Economic conditions in the West Bank – where economic activity is governed by the Paris Economic Protocol of April 1994 between Israel and the Palestinian Authority – have deteriorated since the early 1990s. Real per capita GDP for the West Bank and Gaza Strip (WBGS) declined 36.1% between 1992 and 1996 owing to the combined effect of falling aggregate incomes and robust population growth. The downturn in economic activity was largely the result of Israeli closure policies – the imposition of generalized border closures in response to security incidents in Israel – which disrupted previously established labor and commodity market relationships between Israel and the WBGS. The most serious negative social effect of this downturn has been the emergence of chronic unemployment; average unemployment rates in the WBGS during the 1980s were generally under 5%, by the mid-1990s this level had risen to over 20%. Since 1997 Israel’s use of comprehensive closures has decreased and, in 1998, Israel implemented new policies to reduce the impact of closures and other security procedures on the movement of Palestinian goods and labor. These positive changes to the conduct of economic activity, combined with international donor pledges of over $3 billion made to the Palestinian Authority in November, may fuel a moderate economic recovery in 1999.

GDP: purchasing power parity – $3.1 billion (1998 est.)

GDP – real growth rate: 2.2% (1998 est.)

GDP – per capita: purchasing power parity – $2,000 (1998 est.)

GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: 33% industry: 25% services: 42% (1995 est., includes Gaza Strip)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA% highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7.6% (1997 est.)

Labor force: NA note: excluding Israeli settlers

Labor force – by occupation: agriculture 13%, industry 13%, commerce, restaurants, and hotels 12%, construction 8%, other services 54% (1996)

Unemployment rate: 17.3% (1997 est.)

Budget: revenues: $816 million expenditures: $866 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997 est.) note: includes Gaza Strip

Industries: generally small family businesses that produce cement, textiles, soap, olive-wood carvings, and mother-of-pearl souvenirs; the Israelis have established some small-scale, modern industries in the settlements and industrial centers

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity – production: NA kWh note: most electricity imported from Israel; East Jerusalem Electric Company buys and distributes electricity to Palestinians in East Jerusalem and its concession in the West Bank; the Israel Electric Company directly supplies electricity to most Jewish residents and military facilities; at the same time, some Palestinian municipalities, such as Nabulus and Janin, generate their own electricity from small power plants

Electricity – production by source: fossil fuel: NA% hydro: NA% nuclear: NA% other: NA%

Electricity – consumption: NA kWh

Electricity – exports: NA kWh

Electricity – imports: NA kWh

Agriculture – products: olives, citrus, vegetables; beef, dairy products

Exports: $781 million (f.o.b., 1997 est.) (includes Gaza Strip)

Exports – commodities: olives, fruit, vegetables, limestone

Exports – partners: Israel, Jordan

Imports: $2.1 billion (c.i.f., 1997 est.) (includes Gaza Strip)

Imports – commodities: food, consumer goods, construction materials

Imports – partners: Israel, Jordan

Debt – external: $108 million (1997 est.)

Economic aid – recipient: $NA

Currency: 1 new Israeli shekel (NIS) = 100 new agorot; 1 Jordanian dinar (JD) = 1,000 fils

Exchange rates: new Israeli shekels (NIS) per US$1 – 4.2260 (November 1998), 3.4494 (1997), 3.1917 (1996), 3.0113 (1995), 3.0111 (1994); Jordanian dinars (JD) per US$1 – 0.7090 (January 1999), 0.7090 (1998), 0.7090 (1997), 0.7090 (1996), 0.7005 (1995), 0.6987 (1994)

Fiscal year: calendar year (since 1 January 1992)

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Telephones: NA; 3.1% of Palestinian households have telephones

Telephone system: domestic: NA international: NA note: Israeli company BEZEK and the Palestinian company PALTEL are responsible for communication services in the West Bank

Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0

Radios: NA; note – 82% of Palestinian households have radios (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: NA

Televisions: NA; note – 54% of Palestinian households have televisions (1992 est.)

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Railways: 0 km

Highways: total: 4,500 km paved: 2,700 km unpaved: 1,800 km (1997 est.) note: Israelis have developed many highways to service Jewish settlements

Ports and harbors: none

Airports: 2 (1998 est.)

Airports – with paved runways: total: 2 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 under 914 m: 1 (1998 est.)

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Military branches: NA

Military expenditures – dollar figure: $NA

Military expenditures – percent of GDP: NA%

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Disputes – international: West Bank and Gaza Strip are Israeli-occupied with current status subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement – permanent status to be determined through further negotiation

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West Bank – Country Facts

Written on August 27th, 2015 & filed under West Bank Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

InternationallyEdit

Article 17 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states

In Azerbaijan, the crime of defamation (Article 147) may result in a fine up to “500 times the amount of minimum salaries”, public work for up to 240 hours, correctional work for up to one year, or imprisonment of up to six months. Penalties are aggravated to up to three years of prison if the victim is falsely accused of having committed a crime “of grave or very grave nature” (Article 147.2). The crime of insult (Article 148) can lead to a fine of up to 1000 times the minimum wage, or to the same penalties of defamation for public work, correctional work or imprisonment. [37][38]

According to the OSCE report on defamation laws, “Azerbaijan intends to remove articles on defamation and insult from criminal legislation and preserve them in the Civil Code”.[39]

Article 246 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China () criminalizes defamation.[40]

Article 310 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of China () criminalizes defamation, held constitutional on 7 July 2000 by the Justices of the Constitutional Court, Judicial Yuan ().[41]

According to the Constitution of India, the fundamental right to free speech (Article 19) is subject to “reasonable restrictions”. Accordingly, for the purpose of criminal defamation, “reasonable restrictions” are defined in Section 499[42] of Indian Penal Code, 1860.[43] This section defines Defamation and provides valid exceptions when a statement is not considered to be Defamation. It says that Defamation takes place “by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, to make or publish any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation, of such person.”[44] In India, a defamation case can be filed under either criminal law or civil law or Cyber Crime Law, together or in sequence.[43]

The punishment for Defamation is a simple imprisonment for up to two years or with fine or with both.[44][45]

In Korea true and false statements are punishable criminally and civilly with defamation; any words harming another can be considered illegal and may be punishable with fines and imprisonment up to seven years.[46] Defamation is covered by several laws in Korea, civil law, traditional criminal law and modern internet criminal law-under the “Act on Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and Data Protection, etc.” (Internet and email related laws) 2005 CHAPTER IX Article 61 (Penal Provisions). Korean defamation varies significantly from Western laws and in general by country and by case. As image and “public face” are very important in East Asia, it is not difficult to sue for “loss of face” (defamation) in Korea. Even middle school students are active with cases.

As of June 2010, Korean courts were still hearing cases and individuals frequently fined a few thousand dollars for true facts. International “comity” procedure or “intent” appear not key in Korea.[47][citation needed]

In the former Soviet Union, defamatory insults “could only constitute a criminal offense, not a civil wrong”.[48]

Defamation Act, 1859

Title thirteen of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines addresses Crimes Against Honor. Chapter one of that title addresses libel and slander. Libel is defined as “public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.” Slander is defined as oral defamation. Slander by deed is defined as “any act not included and punished in this title, which shall cast dishonor, discredit or contempt upon another person.” Penalties of fine or imprisonment are specified for these crimes and for the threat of libel.[23] A notable characteristic of these crimes under Philippine law is the specification that they apply to imputations both real and imaginary.

In 2012, the Philippines enacted Republic Act 10175, titled The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. Essentially, this Act provides that libel is criminally punishable and describes it as: “Libel the unlawful or prohibited act as defined in Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the future.” Professor Harry Roque of the University of the Philippines has written that under this law, electronic libel is punished with imprisonment from 6 years and one day to up to 12 years.[49][50][51] As of 30 September 2012[update], five petitions claiming the law to be unconstitutional had been filed with the Philippine Supreme Court, one by Senator Teofisto Guingona III. The petitions all claim that the law infringes on freedom of expression, due process, equal protection and privacy of communication.[52]

“A person who, contrary to the truth, asserts or circulates as a fact that which injurious to the reputation or the credit of another or his earnings or prosperity in any other manner, shall compensate the other for any damage arising therefrom, even if he does not know of its untruth, provided he ought to know it.

A person who makes a communication the untruth of which is unknown to him, does not thereby render himself liable to make compensation, if he or the receiver of the communication has a rightful interest in it.

The Court, when given judgment as to the liability for wrongful act and the amount of compensation, shall not be bound by the provisions of the criminal law concerning liability to punishment or by the conviction or non-conviction of the wrongdoer for a criminal offence.”[53]

“Section 326. Defamation

Whoever, imputes anything to the other person before a third person in a manner likely to impair the reputation of such other person or to expose such other person to be hated or scorned, is said to commit defamation, and shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding one year or fined not exceeding twenty thousand Baht, or both. Section 327. Defamation to the Family

Whoever, imputing anything the deceased person before the third person, and that imputation to be likely to impair the reputation of the father, mother, spouse or child of the deceased or to expose that person hated or scammed to be said to commit defamation, and shall be punished as prescribed by Section 326.” [54]

According to the Criminal Code of Albania, defamation is a crime. Insulting (Article 119) can lead to a fine or up to six months of imprisonment (if in public, up to a year), while libel (Article 120) may result in a fine or up to a year of prison (up to 2 years when in public). In addition, defamation of authorities, public officials or foreign representatives (Articles 227, 239 to 241) are separate crimes with maximum penalties varying from 1 to 3 years of imprisonment.[55][56]

In Austria, the crime of defamation is foreseen by Article 111 of the Criminal Code. Related criminal offenses include “slander and assault” (Article 115), that happens “if a person insults, mocks, mistreats or threatens will ill-treatment another one in public”, and yet “malicious falsehood” (Article 297), defined as a false accusation that exposes someone to the risk of prosecution.[57]

In Belgium, crimes against honour are foreseen in Chapter V of the Belgian Penal Code, Articles 443 to 453-bis. Someone is guilty of calumny when law admits proof of the alleged fact and of defamation “when law does not admit this evidence” (Article 443). The penalty is 8 days to one year of imprisonment, plus a fine (Article 444). In addition, the crime of “calumnious denunciation” (Article 445) is punished with 15 days to six months in prison, plus a fine. In any of the crimes covered by Chapter V of the Penal Code, the minimum penalty may be doubled (Article 453-bis) when one of the motivations of the crime is hatred, contempt or hostility of a person due to his or her intended race, color of the skin, ancestry, national origin or ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, place of birth, age, patrimony, philosophical or religious belief, present or future health condition, disability, native language, political beliefs, physical or genetical characteristic, or social origin.”[58][59]

In Bulgaria, defamation is formally a criminal offense, but the penalty of imprisonment has been abolished in 1999. Articles 146 (insult), 147 (criminal defamation) and 148 (public insult) of the Criminal Code prescribe a penalty of fine.[60]

In Croatia, the crime of insult prescribes a penalty of up to three months in prison, or a fine of “up to 100 daily incomes” (Criminal Code, Article 199). If the crime is committed in public, penalties are aggravated to up to six months of imprisonment, or a fine of “up to 150 daily incomes” (Article 199-2). Moreover, the crime of defamation occurs when someone affirms or disseminates false facts about other person that can damage his reputation. The maximum penalty is one year in prison, or a fine of up to 150 daily incomes (Article 200-1). If the crime is committed in public, the prison term can reach one year (Article 200-2). On the other hand, according to Article 203, there is an exemption for the application of the aforementioned articles (insult and defamation) when the specific context is that of a scientific work, literary work, work of art, public information conducted by a politician or a government official, journalistic work, or the defense of a right or the protection of justifiable interests, in all cases provided that the conduct was not aimed at damaging someone’s reputation.[61]

According to the Czech Criminal Code, Article 184, defamation is a crime. Penalties may reach a maximum prison term of one year (Article 184-1) or, if the crime is committed through the press, film, radio, TV, publicly accessible computer network, or by “similarly effective” methods, the offender may stay in prison for up to two years or be prohibited of exercising a specific activity.[62] However, only the most severe cases will be subjets to criminal liability. The less severe cases can be solved by an action for apology, damages or injunctions.

In Denmark, libel is a crime, as defined by Article 267 of the Danish Criminal Code, with a penalty of up to six months in prison or a fine, with proceedings initiated by the victim. In addition, Article 266-b prescribes a maximum prison term of two years in the case of public defamation aimed at a group of persons because of their race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion or “sexual inclination”.[63][64]

In Finland, defamation is a crime, according to the Criminal Code (Chapter 24, Section 9), with a penalty of imprisonment of up to six months or a fine. When the defamation occurs in public, the crime is “aggravated defamation” (Chapter 24, Section 10), with a maximum punishment of two years in prison or a fine. In addition, there’s also a crime called “dissemination of information violating personal privacy” (Chapter 24, Section 8), that deals with the public dissemination of information that can harm one’s private life. However, personalities involved in the fields of politics, business, public office or public position, “or in a comparable position”, are specifically not protected by this article.[65][66]

In German law, there is no distinction between libel and slander. German defamation lawsuits are increasing.[67] The relevant offences of Germany’s Criminal Code are 90 (Denigration of the President of State), 90a (Denigration of the State and its Symbols), 90b (Unconstitutional denigration of the Organs of the Constitution), 185 (“insult”), 186 (Defamation of character), 187 (Defamation with deliberate untruths), 188 (Political defamation with increased penalties for offending against paras 186 and 187), 189 (Denigration of a deceased person), 192 (“insult” with true statements). Other sections relevant to prosecution of these offences are 190 (Criminal conviction as proof of truth), 193 (No defamation in the pursuit of rightful interests), 194 (The Application for a criminal prosecution under these paragraphs), 199 (Mutual insult allowed to be left unpunished), and 200 (Method of proclamation). Paragraph 188 has been criticized[by whom?] for allowing certain public figures additional protection against criticism.

In Greece, the maximum prison term for defamation, libel or insult is five years, while the maximum fine is 15,000.[68]

The crime of insult (Article 361, 1, of the Penal Code) may lead to up to one year of imprisonment and/or a fine, while unprovoked insult (Article 361-A, 1) is punished with at least three months in prison. In addition, defamation may result in up to two months in prison and/or a fine, while aggravated defamation can lead to at least 3 months of prison, plus a possible fine (Article 363) and deprivation of the offender’s civil rights. Finally, disparaging the memory of a deceased person is punished with imprisonment of up to 6 months (Penal Code, Article 365). [69]

Individuals are protected under the Defamation Act 2009 which came into force on the first of January 2010. This 2009 Act repeals the Defamation Act 1961, which had, together with the underlying principles of the common law of tort, governed Irish defamation law for almost half a century. The 2009 Act represents significant changes in Irish law, as many believe that it previously attached insufficient importance to the media’s freedom of expression and weighed too heavily in favour of the individual’s right to a good name.[70] The Act has a one-year limitation period which can be extended to two years in exceptional circumstances.

In Italy, there are different crimes against honor. The crime of injury (Article 594 of the Penal Code) refers to offending one’s honor and is punished with up to six months in prison or up to 516 Euros in fine. If the offense refers to the attribution of a determined fact and is committed before many persons, penalties are doubled to up to a year in prison or up to 1032 Euros in fine. In addition, the crime of defamation (Article 595, Penal Code) refers to any other situation involving offending one’s reputation before many persons, and has a penalty of up to a year in prison or up to 1032 Euros in fine, doubled to up to two years in prison or a fine of 2065 Euros if the offense consists of the attribution of a determined fact. When the offense happens by the means of the press or by any other means of publicity, or in a public demonstration, the penalty is of imprisonment from six months to three years, or a fine of at least 516 Euros.[71]

Finally, Article 31 of the Penal Code establishes that crimes committed with abuse of power or with abuse of a profession or art, or with the violation of a duty inherent to that profession or art, lead to the additional penalty of a temporary ban in the exercise of that profession or art.[72][73]

In the Netherlands, defamation is mostly dealt with by lodging a civil complaint at the District Court. Article 167 of book 6 of the Civil Code holds: “When someone is liable towards another person under this Section because of an incorrect or, by its incompleteness, misleading publication of information of factual nature, the court may, upon a right of action (legal claim) of this other person, order the tortfeasor to publish a correction in a way to be set by court.” If the court grants an injunction, the defendant is usually ordered to delete the publication or to publish a rectification statement.

In Norway, defamation is a crime punished with imprisonment of up to 6 months or a fine (Penal Code, Chapter 23, 246). When the offense is likely to harm one’s “good name” and reputation, or exposes him to hatred, contempt or loss of confidence, the maximum prison term goes up to one year, and if the defamation happens in print, in broadcasting or through an especially aggravating circumstance, imprisonment may reach two years ( 247). When the offender acts “against his better judgment”, he is liable to a maximum prison term of three years ( 248). According to 251, defamation lawsuits must be initiated by the offended person, unless the defamatory act was directed to an indefinite group or a large number of persons, when it may also be prosecuted by public authorities.[74][75]

Under the new Penal Code, decided upon by the Parliament in 2005, defamation will cease to exist as a crime. Rather, any person who believes he or she has been subject to defamation will have to press civil lawsuits. The Penal Code has not taken effect as of 2010, and there are no set date for this.

In Poland, defamation is a crime that consists of accusing someone of a conduct that may degrade him in public opinion or expose him “to the loss of confidence necessary for a given position, occupation or type of activity”. Penalties include fine, limitation of liberty and imprisonment for up to a year (Article 212.1 of the Criminal Code). The penalty is more severe when the offense happens through the media (Article 212.2).[76] When the insult is public and aims at offending a group of people or an individual because of his or their nationality, ethnicity, race, religion or lack of religion, the maximum prison term is 3 years.[77]

In Portugal, defamation crimes are: “defamation” (article 180 of the Penal Code; up to six months in prison, or a fine of up to 240 days), “injuries” (art. 181; up to 3 months in prison, or a fine up to 120 days), and “offense to the memory of a deceased person” (art. 185; up to 6 months in prison or a fine of up 240 days). Penalties are aggravated in cases with publicity (art. 183; up to two years in prison or at least 120 days of fine) and when the victim is an authority (art.184; all other penalties aggravated by an extra half). There is yet the extra penalty of “public knowledge of the court decision” (costs paid by the defamer) (art. 189 of Penal Code) and also the crime of “incitation of a crime” (article 297; up to 3 years in prison, or fine).[78][79]

In Spain, the crime of calumny (Article 205 of the Penal Code) consists of offending one’s reputation knowing the falsity of the offense, or with a reckless contempt for truth. Penalties for cases with publicity are imprisonment from six months to two years or a fine of 12 to 24 months-fine, and for other cases only a fine of 6 to 12 months-fine (Article 206). Additionally, the crime of injury (Article 208 of the Penal Code) consists of hurting someone’s dignity, depreciating his reputation or injuring his self-esteem, and is only applicable if the offense, by its nature, effects and circumstances, is considered by the general public as strong. Injury has a penalty of fine from 3 to 7 months-fine, or from 6 to 14 months-fine when it’s strong and with publicity. According to Article 216, an additional penalty to calumny or injury may be imposed by the judge, determining the publication of the judicial decision (in a newspaper) at the expenses of the defamer.[80][81]

In Sweden, the criminal offense of denigration (rekrnkning) is regulated in Chapter 5 of the Criminal Code. Article 1 regulates defamation (frtal) and consists of pointing out someone as a criminal or as “having a reprehensible way of living”, or of providing information about him “intended to cause exposure to the disrespect of others”. The penalty is a fine.[82] It is generally not a requirement that the statements are untrue, it is enough if they statements are meant to be vilifying.[83][84]

Article 2 regulates gross defamation (grovt frtal) and has a penalty of up to 2 years in prison or a fine. In judging if the crime is gross, the court should consider whether the information, because of its content or the scope of its dissemination, is calculated to produce “serious damage”.[82] For example, if it can be established that the defendant knowingly conveyed untruths.[83] Article 4 makes it a crime to defame a deceased person according to Article 1 or 2.[82] Most obviously, the paragraph is meant to make it illegal to defame someones parents as a way to bypass the law.[83]

Article 3 regulates other insulting behavior (frolmpning), not characterized under Article 1 or 2 and is punishable with a fine or, if it’s gross, with up to six months of prison or a fine.[82] While an act of defamation involves a third person, it is not a requirement for insulting behavior.[83]

Under exemptions in the Freedom of the Press Act, Chapter 7, both criminal and civil lawsuits may be brought to court under the laws on denigration.[85]

In Switzerland, the crime of “calumny” is punished with a maximum term of three years in prison, or with a fine of at least 30 days-fine, according to Article 174-2 of the Swiss Criminal Code. There is calumny when the offender knows the falsity of his/her allegations and intentionally looks to ruin the reputation of one’s victim (see Articles 174-1 and 174-2).[86]

On the other hand, “difamation” is punished only with a maximum fine of 180 days-fine (Article 173-1).[87] When it comes to a deceased or absent person, there is a limitation to enforce the law up to 30 years (after the death).[88]

Constitutionally under 18 and individuals without prior knowledge to laws or actions leading to deformation of a group or individual are protected until they are made aware. (Reference needed)

With the rise of the internet, and also intranets (closed computer networks), defamatory and calumnus statements may be communicated on webpages or internal memos, without reaching the attention of the courts. Such “closet defamy” may be used to conceal other criminal or negligent acts.

Modern libel and slander laws (as implemented in many but not all Commonwealth nations) in the United Kingdom, and in the Republic of Ireland are originally descended from English defamation law. The history of defamation law in England is somewhat obscure. Civil actions for damages seem to have been relatively frequent so far back as the reign of Edward I (12721307),[citation needed] though it is unknown whether any generally applicable criminal process was in use. The first fully reported case in which libel is affirmed generally to be punishable at common law was tried during the reign of James I.[citation needed] From that time, both the criminal and civil remedies have been in full operation.

English law allows actions for libel to be brought in the High Court for any published statements alleged to defame a named or identifiable individual or individuals (under English law companies are legal persons, and allowed to bring suit for defamation[89][90][91]) in a manner that causes them loss in their trade or profession, or causes a reasonable person to think worse of them. Allowable defences are justification (the truth of the statement), fair comment (whether the statement was a view that a reasonable person could have held), absolute privilege (whether the statements were made in Parliament or in court, or whether they were fair reports of allegations in the public interest) and qualified privilege (where it is thought that the freedom of expression outweighs the protection of reputation, but not to the degree of granting absolute immunity).[92] An offer of amends is a barrier to litigation. A defamatory statement is presumed to be false unless the defendant can prove its truth. Furthermore, to collect compensatory damages, a public official or public figure must prove actual malice (knowing falsity or reckless disregard for the truth).[citation needed] A private individual must only prove negligence (not using due care) to collect compensatory damages.[citation needed] To collect punitive damages, all individuals must prove actual malice.

Criminal libel was abolished on 12 January 2010 by section 73 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.[93] There were only a few instances of the criminal libel law being applied. Notably, the Italian anarchist Errico Malatesta was convicted of criminal libel for denouncing the Italian state agent Ennio Belelli in 1912.

In Scots law, as in other jurisdictions that base themselves on the civil law tradition, there is no distinction between libel and slander, and all cases are simply defamation. The equivalent of the defence of justification is “veritas”.

In Argentina, the crimes of calumny and injury are foreseen in the chapter “Crimes Against Honor” (Articles 109 to 117-bis) of the Penal Code. Calumny is defined as “the false imputation to a determined person of a concrete crime that leads to a lawsuit” (Article 109). However, expressions referring to subjects of public interest or that are not assertive don’t constitute calumny. Penalty is a fine from 3,000 to 30,000 pesos. He who intentionally dishonor or discredit a determined person is punished with a penalty from 1,500 to 20,000 pesos (Article 110).

He who publishes or reproduces, by any means, calumnies and injuries made by others, will be punished as responsible himself for the calumnies and injuries whenever its content is not correctly attributed to the corresponding source. Exceptions are expressions referring to subjects of public interest or that are not assertive (see Article 113). When calumny or injury are committed through the press, a possible extra penalty is the publication of the judicial decision at the expenses of the guilty (Article 114). He who passes to someone else information about a person that is included in a personal database and that one knows to be false, is punished with six months to 3 years in prison. When there is harm to somebody, penalties are aggravated by an extra half (Article 117 bis, 2nd and 3rd).[94]

In Brazil, defamation is a crime, which is prosecuted either as “defamation” (three months to a year in prison, plus fine; Article 139 of the Penal Code), “calumny” (six months to two years in prison, plus fine; Article 138 of the PC) and/or “injury” (one to six months in prison, or fine; Article 140), with aggravating penalties when the crime is practiced in public (Article 141, item III) or against a state employee because of his regular duties. Incitation to hatred and violence is also foreseen in the Penal Code (incitation to a crime, Article 286). Moreover, in situations like bullying or moral constraint, defamation acts are also covered by the crimes of “illegal constraint” (Article 146 of the Penal Code) and “arbitrary exercise of discretion” (Article 345 of PC), defined as breaking the law as a vigilante.[95]

In Chile, the crimes of calumny and slanderous allegation (injurias) are covered by Articles 412 to 431 of the Penal Code. Calumny is defined as “the false imputation of a determined crime and that can lead to a public prosecution” (Article 412). If the calumny is written and with publicity, penalty is “lower imprisonment” in its medium degree plus a fine of 11 to 20 “vital wages” when it refers to a crime, or “lower imprisonment” in its minimum degree plus a fine of 6 to 10 “vital wages” when it refers to a misdemeanor (Article 413). If it’s not written or with publicity, penalty is “lower imprisonment” in its minimum degree plus a fine of 6 to 15 “vital wages” when it’s about a crime, or plus a fine of 6 to 10 “vital wages” when it’s about a misdemeanor (Article 414).[96][97]

According to Article 25 of the Penal Code, “lower imprisonment” is defined as a prison term between 61 days and five years. According to Article 30, the penalty of “lower imprisonment” in its medium or minimum degrees carries with it also the suspension of the exercise of a public position during the prison term.[98]

Article 416 defines injuria as “all expression said or action performed that dishonors, discredits or causes contempt”. Article 417 defines broadly “injurias graves” (grave slander), including the imputation of a crime or misdemeanor that cannot lead to public prosecution, and the imputation of a vice or lack of morality, which are capable of harming considerably the reputation, credit or interests of the offended person. “Grave slander” in written form or with publicity are punished with “lower imprisonment” in its minimum to medium degrees plus a fine of 11 to 20 “vital wages”. Calumny or slander of a deceased person (Article 424) can be prosecuted by the spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, siblings and heirs of the offended person. Finally, according to Article 425, in the case of calumnies and slander published in foreign newspapers, are considered liable all those who from Chilean territory sent articles or gave orders for publication abroad, or contributed to the introduction of such newspapers in Chile with the intention of propagating the calumny and slander.[99]

As is the case for most Commonwealth jurisdictions, Canada follows English law on defamation issues (although the law in the province of Quebec has roots in both the English and the French tradition). In common law, defamation covers any communication that tends to lower the esteem of the subject in the minds of ordinary members of the public.[100] Probably true statements are not excluded, nor are political opinions. Intent is always presumed, and it is not necessary to prove that the defendant intended to defame. In Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto (1995), the Supreme Court of Canada rejected the actual malice test adopted in the US case New York Times Co. v. Sullivan. Once a claim has been made, the defendant may avail themselves of a defense of justification (the truth), fair comment, responsible communication,[101] or privilege. Publishers of defamatory comments may also use the defense of innocent dissemination where they had no knowledge of the nature of the statement, it was not brought to their attention, and they were not negligent. [102][103]

In Quebec, defamation was originally grounded in the law inherited from France. To establish civil liability for defamation, the plaintiff must establish, on a balance of probabilities, the existence of an injury (fault), a wrongful act (damage), and of a causal connection (link of causality) between the two. A person who has made defamatory remarks will not necessarily be civilly liable for them. The plaintiff must further demonstrate that the person who made the remarks committed a wrongful act. Defamation in Quebec is governed by a reasonableness standard, as opposed to strict liability; a defendant who made a false statement would not be held liable if it was reasonable to believe the statement was true.[104]

Regarding defamation on the internet, in 2011 the Supreme Court of Canada held that a person who posts hyperlinks on a website which lead to another site with defamatory content is not publishing that defamatory material for the purposes of libel and defamation law.[105][106]

In Canada, the so-called “blasphemous libel” is a crime punished with a maximum term of two years in prison, according to Article 296-1 of the Canadian Criminal Code, as well as the crime of “defamatory libel” (Article 298), which receives the same penalty (see Article 301). In the specific case of a “libel known to be false” (Article 300), the prison term increases to a maximum of five years. According to Article 298, a defamatory libel “is matter published, without lawful justification or excuse, that is likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or that is designed to insult the person of or concerning whom it is published”.[107]

The criminal portion of the law has been rarely applied. In the most recent case, in 1994 Bradley Waugh and Ravin Gill were charged with criminal libel for publicly accusing six prison guards of the racially motivated murder of a black inmate.[108]

According to an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe official report on defamation laws issued in 2005, 57 persons in Canada were accused of defamation, libel and insult, among which 23 were convicted 9 to prison sentences, 19 to probation and one to a fine. The average period in prison was 270 days, and the maximum sentence was 1460 days of imprisonment.[109]

The origins of US defamation law pre-date the American Revolution; one famous 1734 case involving John Peter Zenger sowed the seed for the later establishment of truth as an absolute defense against libel charges. The outcome of the case is one of jury nullification, and not a case where the defense acquitted itself as a matter of law. (Previous English defamation law had not provided the defense of truth.) Though the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was designed to protect freedom of the press, for most of the history of the United States, the Supreme Court neglected to use it to rule on libel cases. This left libel laws, based upon the traditional common law of defamation inherited from the English legal system, mixed across the states. The 1964 case New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, however, dramatically altered the nature of libel law in the United States by elevating the fault element for public officials to actual malicethat is, public figures could win a libel suit only if they could demonstrate the publisher’s “knowledge that the information was false” or that the information was published “with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not”. Later Supreme Court cases dismissed the claim for libel and forbade libel claims for statements that are so ridiculous to be clearly not true, or that involve opinionated subjects such as one’s physical state of being.[clarification needed] Recent[when?] cases[which?] have addressed defamation law and the Internet.

Defamation law in the United States is much less plaintiff-friendly than its counterparts in European and the Commonwealth countries. In the United States, a comprehensive discussion of what is and is not libel or slander is difficult, because the definition differs between different states, and under federal law. Some states codify what constitutes slander and libel together into the same set of laws. Criminal libel is rare or nonexistent, depending on the state. Defenses to libel that can result in dismissal before trial include the statement being one of opinion rather than fact or being “fair comment and criticism”. Truth is always a defense.

However, American writers and publishers are protected[clarification needed] from foreign libel judgments not compliant with the US First Amendment, or libel tourism, by the SPEECH Act, which was passed by the 111th United States Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010. It is based on the New York State 2008 Libel Terrorism Protection Act (also known as “Rachels Law,” after Rachel Ehrenfeld who initiated the state and federal laws). Both the New York state law and the federal law were passed unanimously.

Most states recognize that some categories of statements are considered to be defamatory per se, such that people making a defamation claim for these statements do not need to prove that the statement was defamatory.[110]

The record libel verdict in the United States was rendered in 1997 against Dow Jones in favor of MMAR Group Inc., awarding $222.7 million.[111] However, the verdict was dismissed in 1999 amid allegations that MMAR failed to disclose audiotapes made by its employees.[112]

The record verdict rendered in favour of an individual was the award of $35.5 million against the Russian newspaper Izvestia[113] in favor of entrepreneur Alex Konanykhin, who also won a $3 million judgment against Kommersant, another Russian newspaper.[114]

The four (4) categories of slander that are actionable per se are (i) accusing someone of a crime; (ii) alleging that someone has a foul or loathsome disease; (iii) adversely reflecting on a person’s fitness to conduct their business or trade; and (iv) imputing serious sexual misconduct. Here again, the plaintiff need only prove that someone had published the statement to any third party. No proof of special damages is required. In May 2012 an appeals court in New York, citing changes in public policy with regard to homosexuality, ruled that describing someone as gay is not defamation.[115]

At the federal level, there are no criminal defamation or insult laws in the United States. However, on the state level, 19 states and 2 territories as of 2005 had criminal defamation laws on the books: Colorado (Colorado Revised Statutes, 18-13-105 – repealed in 2012), Florida (Florida Statutes, 836.01836.11), Georgia, (O.C.G.A. 16-11-40), Idaho (Idaho Code, 18-4801-18-4809), Kansas (Kansas Statute Annotated, 21-4004), Louisiana (Louisiana R.S., 14:47), Michigan (Michigan Compiled Laws, 750.370), Minnesota (Minnesota Statutes. 609.765), Montana (Montana Code Annotated, 13-35-234), Nevada (Nevada Revised Statutes 200.510200.560), New Hampshire (New Hampshire Revised Statute Annotated, 644:11), New Mexico (New Mexico Statute Annotated, 30-11-1), North Carolina (North Carolina General Statutes, 1447), North Dakota (North Dakota Century Code, 12.1-15-01), Oklahoma (Oklahoma Statutes, tit. 27 771781), Utah (Utah Code Annotated, 76-9-404), Virginia (Virginia Code Annotated, 18.2-417), Washington (Washington Revised Code, 9.58.010) (This appears to have been repealed: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/dispo.aspx?cite=9.58.010 ), Wisconsin (Wisconsin Statutes, 942.01), Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico Laws, tit. 33, 41014104) and Virgin Islands (Virgin Islands Code, Title 14, 1172).[116]

Crimes of calumny, defamation and slanderous allegation (injurias) have been abolished in the Federal Penal Code as well as in 15 states. These crimes remain in the penal codes of 17 states, where penalty is, in average, from 1.1 years (for ones convicted for slanderous allegation) to 3.8 years in jail (for those convicted for calumny).[117]

Australian law tends to follow English law on defamation issues, although there are differences introduced by statute and by the implied constitutional limitation on governmental powers to limit speech of a political nature established in Lange v Australian Broadcasting Association (1997). It is interesting to note that in Common Law, not all statements that are injurious to a person are necessarily defamatory. The statement must be about that particular person for it to be categorised as defamatory. [118]

Since the introduction of the uniform defamation laws in 2005 the distinction between slander and libel has been abolished.[119]

A recent judgment of the High Court of Australia has significant consequences on interpretation of the law. On 10 December 2002, the High Court of Australia handed down its judgment in the Internet defamation dispute in the case of Gutnick v Dow Jones. The judgment established that Internet-published foreign publications that defamed an Australian in their Australian reputation could be held accountable under Australian libel law. The case gained worldwide attention and is often said, inaccurately, to be the first of its kind. A similar case that predates Gutnick v Dow Jones is Berezovsky v Forbes in England.[120]

Slander has been occasionally used to justify (and with some success) physical reaction, however usually the punishment for assault is only slightly reduced when there is evidence of provocation.

Among the various common law jurisdictions, some Americans have presented a visceral and vocal reaction to the Gutnick decision.[121] On the other hand, the decision mirrors similar decisions in many other jurisdictions such as England, Scotland, France, Canada and Italy.

Uniform legislation was passed in Australia in 2005 severely restricting the right of corporations to sue for defamation (see, e.g., Defamation Act 2005 (Vic), s 9). The only corporations excluded from the general ban are those not for profit[122] or those with less than 10 employees and not affiliated with another company. Corporations may, however, still sue for the tort of injurious falsehood, where the burden of proof is greater than for mere defamation, because the plaintiff must show that the defamation was made with malice and resulted in economic loss.[123]

The 2005 reforms also established across all Australian states the availability of truth as an unqualified defense; previously a number of states only allowed a defense of truth with the condition that a public benefit existed.[124]

The Hebrew term lashon hara is the halakhic term for derogatory speech about another person.[125]Lashon hara differs from defamation in that its focus is on the use of true speech for a wrongful purpose, rather than falsehood and harm arising. By contrast, hotzaat shem ra (“spreading a bad name”), also called hotzaat diba, consists of untrue remarks, and is best translated as “slander” or “defamation”. Hotzaat shem ra is worse, and consequently a graver sin, than lashon hara.[125]

In Roman Catholic theology there are seen to be two sins, that of lying and that of impinging on a person’s right to a reputation.[126] It is considered to be closed to detraction, the sin of revealing previously unknown faults or sins of another person to a third person.[127]

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Defamation – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


zrl, officially State of Israel, republic (2005 est. pop. 6,277,000, including Israelis in occupied Arab territories), 7,992 sq mi (20,700 sq km), SW Asia, on the Mediterranean Sea. (The area figure used above does not include the Golan Heights or the West Bank, which are occupied by Israel.) It is bordered by Lebanon in the north, Syria and Jordan in the east, the Mediterranean Sea on the west, Egypt on the southwest, and the Gulf of Aqaba (an arm of the Red Sea) on the south. The capital and largest city of Israel is Jerusalem. This article deals primarily with the events in Israel from 1948 to the present. For the earlier history of the region, see Palestine.

The country is a narrow, irregularly shaped strip of land with four principal regions: the plain along the Mediterranean coast; the mountains, which are east of this coastal plain; the Negev, which comprises the southern half of the country; and the portion of Israel that forms part of the Jordan Valley, in turn a part of the Great Rift Valley. North of the Negev, Israel enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with long, hot, dry summers and short, cool, rainy winters. This northern half of the country has a limited but adequate supply of water, except in times of drought. The Negev, however, is a semiarid desert region, having less than 10 in. (25 cm) of rainfall a year.

The most important river in Israel is the Jordan. Other smaller rivers are the Yarkon, the Kishon, and the Yarmuk, a tributary of the Jordan. Other bodies of water include the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea (part of which belongs to neighboring Jordan). Owing to interior drainage and a high rate of evaporation, the waters of the Dead Sea have about eight times as much salt as the ocean.

The highest point in Israel is Mt. Meron (3,692 ft/1,125 m) near Zefat. The lowest point is the shore of the Dead Sea, which is 1,345 ft (410 m) below sea level, the lowest point on the surface of the earth. In addition to Jerusalem, other important cities include Tel AvivJaffa (see separate entries on Tel Aviv, Jaffa), Haifa, Beersheba, and Netanya).

Israel proper is made up of about 82% Jews, about 16% Arabs, and 2% Druze and others. While the Jewish population as of 1948 consisted mostly of those from central and E Europe (not including Russia), Jews from African and Asian countries came in increasing numbers after 1948 and now constitute a majority of the Jewish population. Around 500,000 Russian Jews have arrived in recent years, as have most of the small population of Ethiopian Jews (see Falashas). The Arab population is primarily Sunni Muslim; a smaller proportion are Christians. Hebrew is the official language. Arabic is spoken by the Arab minority and English is widely used. Israel has major universities in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beersheba, and Rehovot, as well as many smaller institutes of higher education located throughout the country.

The economy of Israel is based on both state and private ownership and operation. Despite adverse conditions, agriculture in Israel has been developed successfully, largely by extensive irrigation to compensate for the shortage of rainfall. Agricultural exports include citrus fruits, cut flowers, non-citrus fruits, and vegetables. Other sizable crops are cotton, wheat, barley, peanuts, sunflowers, grapes, and olives. Poultry and livestock are raised. Agricultural production adds up to roughly 5% of Israel’s gross national product and of its exports.

Most of the land (apart from the land belonging to non-Jews) is held in trust for the people of Israel by the state and the Jewish National Fund. The latter was set up in 1901 to buy land in Palestine for Jews to cultivate, and now implements a wide range of forest and land development activities. The Israel Land Authority leases the land to kibbutzim, which are communal agricultural settlements; to moshavim, which are cooperative agricultural communities; and to other agricultural or rural villages.

The major industries include the cutting and polishing of diamonds and the manufacture of chemical fertilizers, apparel, and military and electronic equipment. High-technology industries are Israel’s fastest-growing businesses, with emphasis on computers, software, telecommunications, biotechnology, and medical electronics. A number of light industries produce processed foods, precision instruments, and plastic goods. The Dead Sea has minerals of commercial value, such as potash, magnesium, bromine, and salt.

Another major industry is tourism, which is one of Israel’s largest sources of revenue. The government decided to privatize El Al, Israel’s international airline, in 1998. Two nuclear reactors exist: one near Tel Aviv, and another near Dimona in the Negev, the site of research on using atomic energy for the production of electricity and the desalination of seawater. Dimona has also been credited with nuclear weapons capacities.

Processed diamonds, high-technology and military products, and agricultural products are the major exports, followed by chemicals, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and apparel. The leading imports are military equipment, machinery, rough diamonds, crude oil, chemicals, transport equipment, iron and steel, and cereals. Although Israel imports more than it exports, the balance of trade is far more favorable now than it was in the early years of the state. Israel’s chief trading partners are the United States and nations in the European Union, especially Britain and Germany.

Israel has no constitution; it is governed under the 1948 Declaration of Establishment as well as parliamentary and citizenship laws. The government consists of a legislature (the Knesset), a president, a prime minister, and the cabinet. The Knesset has a single chamber with 120 seats. The president is elected by the Knesset. The prime minister appoints a cabinet that must be approved by the Knesset; both are responsible to the Knesset. The country is divided into six administrative districts ( mezoh ).

Israel has an intricate party system with a large number of small parties. The two largest are left-of center Labor party, formed in 1968 by the merger of Mapai (founded 1930), Achdut Avoda (1944), and Rafi (1965), and the center-right Likud bloc, consisting of Gahal (the Herut Movement and the Israel Liberal party), the former Free Center party, and other factions.

The state of Israel is the culmination of nearly a century of activity in Zionism. Following World War I, Great Britain received (1922) Palestine as a mandate from the League of Nations. The struggle by Jews for a Jewish state in Palestine had begun in the late 19th cent. and had become quite active by the 1930s and 40s. The militant opposition of the Arabs to such a state and the inability of the British to solve the problem eventually led to the establishment (1947) of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, which devised a plan to divide Palestine into a Jewish state, an Arab state, and a small internationally administered zone including Jerusalem. The General Assembly adopted the recommendations on Nov. 29, 1947. The Jews accepted the plan; the Arabs rejected it. As the British began to withdraw early in 1948, Arabs and Jews prepared for war.

On May 14, 1948, when the British high commissioner for Palestine departed, the state of Israel was proclaimed at Tel Aviv. Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq invaded Israel, as most Palestinian Arabs were driven from Jewish territory. By the time armistice agreements were reached (Jan., 1949), Israel had increased its holdings by about one-half. Jordan annexed the Arab-held area adjoining its territory, and Egypt occupied the coastal Gaza Strip in the southwest.

A government was formed at Tel Aviv, with Chaim Weizmann as president and David Ben-Gurion as prime minister. The capital was moved (Dec., 1949) to Jerusalem to strengthen Israel’s claim to that city. Following the Lausanne Conference of 1949, Israel allowed the return of 150,000 Arab refugees, mostly to reunite families. One major aim of the government was to gather in all Jews who wished to immigrate to Israel. This led to the 1950 Law of the Return, which provided for free and automatic citizenship for all immigrant Jews. Border incidents with Egypt, Syria, and Jordan continued.

Trouble in the Gaza area reached new heights in the mid-1950s despite UN intervention, and in 1956, Egyptian President Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal. On Oct. 29, 1956, Israel made a preemptive attack on Egyptian territory and within a few days had conquered the Gaza Strip and the Sinai peninsula, while Britain and France invaded the area of the Suez Canal. Israel eventually yielded to strong pressure from the United States, the USSR, and the United Nations and removed its troops from Sinai in Nov., 1956, and from Gaza by Mar., 1957, as UN forces were sent to the Sinai and Gaza to keep peace between Egypt and Israel. Through this war, Israel succeeded in keeping open its shipping lanes via Elat and the Gulf of Aqaba to the Red Sea.

In 1962, Israel became the scene of the celebrated trial of Adolf Eichmann. In 1963, Ben-Gurion resigned as prime minister and was succeeded in that office by Levi Eshkol. Eshkol had to cope with increased guerrilla incursions into Israel from Syria and the shelling of Israeli villages by the Syrian army from the Golan Heights.

In May, 1967, Nasser mobilized the Egyptian army in Sinai. The UN then acceded to his demand to withdraw from the Israeli-Egyptian border, where it had been stationed since 1956. Egypt next blockaded the Israeli port of Elat (on the Gulf of Aqaba) by closing the Strait of Tiran.

On June 5, 1967, Israel struck against Egypt and Syria; Jordan subsequently attacked Israel. In six days, Israel occupied the Gaza Strip and the Sinai peninsula of Egypt, the Golan Heights of Syria, and the West Bank and Arab sector of E Jerusalem (both under Jordanian rule), thereby giving the conflict the name of the Six-Day War. Israel unified the Arab and Israeli sectors of Jerusalem, and Arab guerrillas stepped up their incursions, operating largely from Jordan. After Eshkol’s death in 1969, Golda Meir became prime minister. There followed an inconclusive period when there was neither peace nor war in the area.

On Oct. 6, 1973, on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur, Egypt and Syria attacked Israeli positions in the Sinai and the Golan Heights. Other Arab states sent contingents of soldiers to aid in the attack on Israel. Egypt succeeded in sending troops in force across the Suez Canal to the east bank before being halted by Israeli troops. Toward the end of the fighting, the Israelis managed to send their own troops across the Suez Canal to the west bank, encircling Egypt’s Third Army on the east bank and clearing a path to Cairo. They also drove the Syrians even further back toward Damascus. A cease-fire called for by the UN Security Council on Oct. 22 and 23 went into effect shortly thereafter.

In Dec., 1973, the first Arab-Israeli peace conference opened in Geneva, Switzerland, under UN auspices. An agreement to disengage Israeli and Egyptian forces was reached in Jan., 1974, largely through the shuttle diplomacy mediation of U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Israeli troops withdrew several miles into the Sinai, a UN buffer zone was established, and Egyptian forces reoccupied the east bank of the Suez Canal and a small, adjoining strip of land in the Sinai. A similar agreement between Israel and Syria was achieved in May, 1974, again through the efforts of Kissinger. Under its terms, Israeli forces evacuated the Syrian lands captured in the 1973 war (while continuing to hold most of the territory conquered in 1967, such as the Golan Heights) and a UN buffer zone was created.

Golda Meir resigned and was succeeded (1974) by Yitzhak Rabin, who formed a coalition government. In 1977, the Likud party under the leadership of Menachem Begin defeated the Labor party for the first time in Israeli elections. As prime minister, Begin strongly supported the development of Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied territories and opposed Palestinian sovereignty.

Egypt began peace initiatives with Israel in late 1977, when Egyptian President Sadat visited Jerusalem. A year later, with the help of U.S. President Jimmy Carter, terms of peace between Egypt and Israel were negotiated at Camp David, Md. (see Camp David accords). A formal treaty, signed on Mar. 26, 1979, in Washington, D.C., granted full recognition of Israel by Egypt, opened trade relations between the two countries, returned the Sinai to Egyptian control (completed in 1982), and limited Egyptian military buildup in the Sinai.

Israeli troops briefly invaded (1979) Lebanon in an unsuccessful attempt to eliminate Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) bases and forces used in raids on N Israel. On June 6, 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon in a second attempt. Israeli troops advanced to Beirut and surrounded the western part of the city, which housed PLO headquarters, and a siege ensued. Israeli troops began a gradual move out of Lebanon (completed in 1985) after PLO forces withdrew from Beirut. A 6-mi (10-km) deep security zone within S Lebanon was established to protect N Israeli settlements.

Begin had been returned to office in 1981, but he resigned in 1983 and was replaced by Likud’s Yitzhak Shamir. Undecisive majorities in the 1984 elections led to a sharing of the prime ministership by Shamir and Shimon Peres of the Labor party. Shamir, who regained sole prime ministership after the 1988 elections, strongly upheld the policy of increased Jewish settlement in the occupied territories. Large numbers of emigrants from Ethiopia and, primarily, the Soviet Union increased Israel’s population by nearly 10% in three years (198992), leading to increased unemployment and a lack of housing.

In Dec., 1987, a popular Arab uprising (Intifada) began against Israeli rule in the occupied territories. During the Persian Gulf War in early 1991, Israel suffered Iraqi missile attacks, as Iraq unsuccessfully attempted to disrupt the allied coalition and widen the war. Peace talks between Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation began in Aug., 1991.

Rabin reentered the political scene in 1992, becoming prime minister after the defeat of the Likud party and the establishment of a Labor-led coalition. He pursued Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, in which significant progress was made. In 1993, Israel and the PLO signed an accord providing for joint recognition and for limited Palestinian self-rule in the Gaza Strip and Jericho. In 1995, Israel and the PLO agreed on a transition to Palestinian self-rule in most of the West Bank, although acts of terrorism continued to darken Israeli-Palestinian relations. In 1994 a treaty with Jordan ended the 46-year-old state of war between the two nations.

In Nov., 1995, Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli extremist who opposed the West Bank peace accord with the PLO; Peres, who was foreign minister, became prime minister. In early 1996, Israel was hit by a series of suicide bombs, and Shiite Muslims launched rocket attacks into Israel from Lebanon. Retaliating, Israel blockaded the port of Beirut and launched a series of attacks on targets in S Lebanon.

The 1996 elections, in which the prime minister was elected directly for the first time, resulted in a narrow victory for Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu, who opposed Labor’s land-for-peace deals. In an attempt to allay fears about Israel’s future policies, Netanyahu pledged to continue the peace process. After setbacks and delays, most of Hebron was handed over to Palestinian control in Jan., 1997, and, under an accord signed in 1998, Israel agreed to withdraw from additional West Bank territory, while the Palestinian Authority pledged to take stronger measures to fight terrorism. Further negotiations over territory, however, were essentially stalled.

In the May, 1999, elections, Labor returned to power under Ehud Barak, a former army chief of staff. He formed a broad-based coalition government, promising to ease tensions between secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel, as well as to move the peace process forward. In September, Barak and Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, signed an agreement to finalize their borders and determine the status of Jerusalem within a year; Israel also began implementation of a plan to hand over additional West Bank territory, which was completed in Mar., 2000.

Barak’s coalition was weakened in May, 2000, when three right-of-center parties pulled out of the government. In the same month, Israeli forces withdrew from the buffer zone that had long been maintained in S Lebanon. In July, negotiations in the United States between Israel and the Palestinians ended without success, and Israeli-Palestinian relations turned extremely acrimonious when a September visit by Ariel Sharon to the Haram esh-Sherif (the Temple Mount to Jews) in Jerusalem sparked riots that escalated into a new, ongoing cycle of violence in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Israel itself. Barak resigned in Dec., 2000, in an attempt to reestablish a electoral mandate, but he was trounced in the Feb., 2001, election by Ariel Sharon, who formed a national unity government.

Despite Israeli military incursions into Palestinian territory and attacks on Palestinian authorities and forces, Palestinian attacks on Israelis in Israel and the occupied territories did not end, and in 2002 Sharon’s government ordered the reoccupation of West Bank towns in a new attempt to stop those attacks. In Oct., 2002, Labor members of the government accused Sharon of favoring Israeli settlers in the occupied territories over the poor, and withdrew their support. Left with a minority government, Sharon called for parliamentary elections in early 2003, and in January Likud won a substantial victory at the polls. The following month Sharon formed a four-party, mainly right-wing coalition government.

In May, 2003, Sharon’s government accepted the internationally supported road map for peace with some limitations; the plan envisioned the establishment of a Palestinian state in three years. Talks resumed with Palestinian authorities, who also negotiated a three-month cease-fire with Palestinian militants, and Israel made some conciliatory moves in Gaza and the West Bank. Suicide bombings and Israeli revenge attacks resumed, however, in August, and in October Israel attacked Syria for the first time in 20 years, bombing what it termed a terrorist training camp in retaliation for suicide bombings.

Israel’s ongoing construction of a 400-mi (640-km) fence and wall security barrier in the West Bank, potentially enclosing some 15% of that territory, brought widespread international condemnation in late 2003, and a July, 2004, advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice (requested by Palestinians and the UN General Assembly) termed its construction illegal under international law because it was being constructed on Palestinian lands. Meanwhile, an Israeli court ruling (June) ordered the wall to be rerouted in certain areas because of the hardship it would cause Palestinians.

In March the killing of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin heightened tensions in the occupied territories, especially the Gaza Strip. Sharon’s plan to withdraw from the latter, while supported by most Israelis, was rejected in a nonbinding vote (May, 2004) by Likud party members. The plan then resulted in defections from his coalition, but Sharon vowed to complete the withdrawal, which was being undertaken for security reasons, by the end of 2005. In Oct., 2004, he secured parliamentary approval for the plan. The plan also called for abandoning a few settlements in the West Bank while expanding others there. Sharon formed a new coalition that included the Labor party, which supported the Gaza withdrawal, in Jan., 2005. He subsequently agreed to a truce with Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, and in Mar., 2005, Israeli forces began withdrawing from Jericho and other West Bank towns. The planned Gaza withdrawal sparked protests by settlers and their allies beginning in June, but in August the evacuation of the settlements proceeded relatively straightforwardly. Israeli troops withdrew from Gaza the following month.

In Nov., 2005, Shimon Peres lost his Labor party leadership post to Amir Peretz, a trade union leader. Peretz pulled Labor from the government, prompting new elections, and Sharon withdrew from Likud to form the centrist Kadima [Forward] party, in an attempt to force a realignment of Israeli politics and retain the prime ministership. In Jan., 2006, however, Sharon suffered an incapacitating stroke and was hospitalized. Ehud Olmert, the deputy prime minister, became acting prime minister and leader of the new party.

The Kadima party won a plurality in the Mar., 2006, elections, with Labor placing second. In April, Sharon was declared permanently incapacitated; Olmert became prime minister, and in May formed a new coalition government. Escalating rocket attacks from Gaza and the capture by Hamas guerrillas of an Israeli soldier led to an Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip in June, 2006, as well as other actions against Hamas and the Palestinians. Israel continue to mount attacks into Gaza in the succeeding months.

In July, Lebanese Hezbollah forces captured two Israeli soldiers, and Israel launched air attacks against targets throughout Lebanon and sent troops as far as 18.5 mi (30 km) into S Lebanon; Hezbollah responded mainly with rocket attacks against N Israel, including Haifa and Tiberias, but also offered resistance on the ground against Israeli forces. A UN-mediated cease-fire took effect in mid-August, and by early October Israel had essentially withdrawn from Lebanon. The invasion’s aim of disarming Hezbollah and winning the release of the captured Israeli soldiers was in the main unattained, and Hezbollah’s sustained resistance to Israeli forces enhanced the group’s prestige in the Arab world. Amnesty International accused both sides of war crimes in the fighting, mainly because of their attacks on civilians.

As a result of the fighting in Gaza and Lebanon and the rise of Hamas in the Palestinian Authority, Olmert suspended his planned unilateral withdrawal from parts of the West Bank, and brought (Oct,. 2006) a far-right party into his government to strengthen the coalition in the Knesset. Also in October, Israeli police accused Israeli President Moshe Katsav of sexual assault and other crimes, prompting an investigation and leading to calls for Katsav to resign (which he refused to do). The Israeli group Peace Now asserted in November that, according to government documents, nearly 40% (and perhaps more) of the land on which Israel’s West Bank settlements were built was privately owned Palestinian land, in violation of Israeli law. More current information given by the government to the group in Mar., 2007, indicated that private land made up more than 30% of the settlements but did not indicate how much was Palestinian-owned (the vast bulk of the private land in the first set of documents was Palestinian).

In Jan., 2007, the head of the Israeli armed forces resigned, taking responsibility for the unsuccessful anti-Hezbollah campaign of 2006; his resignation led the opposition to call for the prime minister and defense minister to resign as well. (An independent report, released in Apr., 2007, was critical of the prime minister’s and defense minister’s handling of the invasion.) Late in Jan., 2007, Katsav secured a suspension of his duties as president after Israel’s attorney general said he was considering charging Katsav with rape and other crimes; a plea deal in June allowed him to plead guilty to lesser charges and avoid prison but forced him to resign. Shimon Peres was elected president earlier the same month.

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Israel – The Washington Post

Written on August 27th, 2015 & filed under Israel Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

C. 17th Century BCE

Documents unearthed in Mesopotamia, dating back to 2000- 1500 BCE, corroborate aspects of their nomadic way of life as described in the Bible. The Book of Genesis relates how Abraham was summoned from Ur of the Chaldeans to Canaan to bring about the formation of a people with belief in the One God. When a famine spread through Canaan, Jacob (Israel), his twelve sons and their families settled in Egypt, where their descendants were reduced to slavery and pressed into forced labor.

C. 13th Century BCE

Moses was chosen by God to take his people out of Egypt and back to the Land of Israel promised to their forefathers. They wandered for 40 years in the Sinai desert, where they were forged into a nation and received the Torah (Pentateuch), which included the Ten Commandments and gave form and content to their monotheistic faith.

During the next two centuries, the Israelites conquered most of the Land of Israel and relinquished their nomadic ways to become farmers and craftsmen; a degree of economic and social consolidation followed. Periods of relative peace alternated with times of war during which the people rallied behind leaders known as ‘judges,’ chosen for their political and military skills as well as for their leadership qualities.

C. 13th – 12th Centuries BCE

The Israelites settle the Land of Israel.

C. 1020

The first king, Saul (c. 1020 BCE), bridged the period between loose tribal organization and the setting up of a full monarchy under his successor, David. King David (c.1004-965 BCE) established Israel as a major power in the region by successful military expeditions, including the final defeat of the Philistines, as well as by constructing a network of friendly alliances with nearby kingdoms. David was succeeded by his son Solomon (c.965-930 BCE) who further strengthened the kingdom. Crowning his achievements was the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, which became the center of the Jewish people’s national and religious life.

C. 1000

C. 960

First Temple, the national and spiritual center of the Jewish people, built in Jerusalem by King Solomon.

C. 930

After Solomon’s death (930 BCE), open insurrection led to the breaking away of the ten northern tribes and division of the country into a northern kingdom, Israel, and a southern kingdom, Judah, on the territory of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

The Kingdom of Israel, with its capital Samaria, lasted more than 200 years under 19 kings, while the Kingdom of Judah was ruled from Jerusalem for 350 years by an equal number of kings of the lineage of David. The expansion of the Assyrian and Babylonian empires brought first Israel and later Judah under foreign control.

722 – 720

586

The Babylonian conquest brought an end to the First Jewish Commonwealth (First Temple period) but did not sever the Jewish people’s connection to the Land of Israel. The exile to Babylonia, which followed the destruction of the First Temple (586 BCE), marked the beginning of the Jewish Diaspora. There, Judaism began to develop a religious framework and way of life outside the Land, ultimately ensuring the people’s national survival and spiritual identity and imbuing it with sufficient vitality to safeguard its future as a nation.

536-142

538-515

Following a decree by the Persian King Cyrus, conqueror of the Babylonian empire (538 BCE), some 50,000 Jews set out on the First Return to the Land of Israel, led by Zerubabel, a descendant of the House of David. Less than a century later, the Second Return was led by Ezra the Scribe.

The repatriation of the Jews under Ezra’s inspired leadership, construction of the Second Temple on the site of the First Temple, refortification of Jerusalem’s walls and establishment of the Knesset Hagedolah (Great Assembly) as the supreme religious and judicial body of the Jewish people marked the beginning of the Second Jewish Commonwealth (Second Temple period).

332

As part of the ancient world conquered by Alexander the Great of Greece (332 BCE), the Land remained a Jewish theocracy under Syrian-based Seleucid rulers.

166-160

When the Jews were prohibited from practicing Judaism and their Temple was desecrated as part of an effort to impose Greek-oriented culture and customs on the entire population, the Jews rose in revolt (166 BCE). First led by Mattathias of the priestly Hasmonean family and then by his son Judah the Maccabee, the Jews subsequently entered Jerusalem and purified the Temple (164 BCE).

142-129

Following further Hasmonean victories (147 BCE), the Seleucids restored autonomy to Judea, as the Land of Israel was now called, and, with the collapse of the Seleucid kingdom (129 BCE), Jewish independence was again achieved.

129-63

Under the Hasmonean dynasty, which lasted about 80 years, the kingdom regained boundaries not far short of Solomon’s realm, political consolidation under Jewish rule was attained and Jewish life flourished.

63

63 BCE-313 CE

37BCE – 4CE

20-23

66

70

132-135

210

313-636

By the end of the 4th century, following Emperor Constantine’s adoption of Christianity (313) and the founding of the Byzantine Empire, the Land of Israel had become a predominantly Christian country. Churches were built on Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Galilee, and monasteries were established in many parts of the country. The Jews were deprived of their former relative autonomy, as well as of their right to hold public positions, and were forbidden to enter Jerusalem except on one day of the year (Tisha b’Av – ninth of Av)to mourn the destruction of the Temple.

614

The Persian invasion of 614 was welcomed and aided by the Jews, who were inspired by messianic hopes of deliverance. In gratitude for their help, they were granted the administration of Jerusalem, an interlude which lasted about three years. Subsequently, the Byzantine army regained the city (629) and again expelled its Jewish population.

636-1099

The Arab conquest of the Land came four years after the death of Muhammad (632) and lasted more than four centuries, with caliphs ruling first from Damascus, then from Baghdad and Egypt. At the outset of Islamic rule, Jewish settlement in Jerusalem was resumed, and the Jewish community was granted permission to live under “protection,” the customary status of non-Muslims under Islamic rule, which safeguarded their lives, property and freedom of worship in return for payment of special poll and land taxes.

However, the subsequent introduction of restrictions against non-Muslims (717) affected the Jews’ public conduct as well as their religious observances and legal status. The imposition of heavy taxes on agricultural land compelled many to move from rural areas to towns, where their circumstances hardly improved, while increasing social and economic discrimination forced many Jews to leave the country. By the end of the 11th century, the Jewish community in the Land had diminished considerably and had lost some of its organizational and religious cohesiveness.

691

1099-1291

For the next 200 years, the country was dominated by the Crusaders, who, following an appeal by Pope Urban II, came from Europe to recover the Holy Land from the infidels. In July 1099, after a five-week siege, the knights of the First Crusade and their rabble army captured Jerusalem, massacring most of the city’s non-Christian inhabitants. Barricaded in their synagogues, the Jews defended their quarter, only to be burnt to death or sold into slavery. During the next few decades, the Crusaders extended their power over the rest of the country, through treaties and agreements, but mostly by bloody military victories. The Latin Kingdom of the Crusaders was that of a conquering minority confined mainly to fortified cities and castles.

When the Crusaders opened up transportation routes from Europe, pilgrimages to the Holy Land became popular and, at the same time, increasing numbers of Jews sought to return to their homeland. Documents of the period indicate that 300 rabbis from France and England arrived in a group, with some settling in Acro (Akko), others in Jerusalem.

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A Timeline of the History of Israel – Contender Ministries


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