In memory of Razan al-Najjar | +972 Magazine

I then returned to the comments that had accumulated under the picture of the young woman who went to care for wounded protesters and came back in a shroud. My heart struggled to contain the sadness. I apologize to my well-intentioned friend. The bitter truth is that the Israeli collective consciousness is light-years away from a place where it can even begin speak about the basic concepts of justice, human rights, and human equality before God. I doubt that years of occupation and moral corruption can be corrected. I also apologize to Razan, the young Gazan woman who lived her whole life under occupation, more than half under the brutal siege. She did not taste a single day of freedom in her short life. She went out into the Valley of Death by the separation barrier to care for her wounded countrymen and never came back. With shame beyond words, I apologize. Rest in peace Razan, may your memory bring freedom and justice to your people.

Source: In memory of Razan al-Najjar | +972 Magazine

On Naksa Anniversary: 750,000 Palestinians have been replaced with settlers

No shame, no morals, losers!

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June 5th, 2018 marks the 51st anniversary of the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian land in West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. Since June 5th, 1967, Israel’s unlawful practices and blatant violations have been targeting Palestinian rights of freedom and independence. Military restrictions have been placed on millions of Palestinian citizens as Israel continues to confiscate Palestinian land, and to plunder Palestinian natural resources.

For fifty-one years the Israeli settlement’s unlawful program has become entrenched heavily through the demolitions of 50,000 Palestinian homes and structures, the confiscation of 6,241km2and the displacement of 750,000 Palestinian citizens who have been replaced with 636,452 illegal settlers living in 425 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

In December 2017, the US President recognized the Occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel which is considered by international law an occupying power. This recognition divides the State of Palestine and greatly harms the Palestinian legitimate aspirations for an independent and sovereign state along with the 1967 borders. Moreover, this recognition severely ruins the actualization of the two-state solution and the building of peace in the region. Above all this, the Trump administration had denied our citizens their rights to international protection.

The Israeli occupation has been imposing severe restrictions on the geopolitical and economic foundations of the future Palestinian state. Such restrictions significantly limit the potentials and the future growth of Palestinian institutions. Israel, for example, restricts Palestinian access to natural resources and controls Palestinian imports and exports. It also hinders the growth of Palestinian industries and other economic sectors, thus leading to one of the highest unemployment rates in the world (46.6% in the Gaza Strip and 20% in West Bank). Worse still, Israel continues to impose restrictions on the development of Palestinian infrastructure and other major human development activities, especially in Area C of West Bank.

Prime Minister Dr. Rami Hamdallah said at the launching of the 2017-2022 Palestine National Policy Agenda that if Israel allows the Palestinians to benefit from Area C, which comprises about 63% of the West Bank, this would bring in $3.5 billion annually to the Palestinians. This is confirmed by other World Bank reports.

Facing the Israeli unlawful actions and the decrease in international funding by70%, the Palestinian government works diligently with its partners to shift from merely building state institutions to ensuring that those institutions optimally support and put our citizens first. This is done through supporting resilience and providing humanitarian and developmental assistance to Palestinian citizens who suffer from the actions of Israeli occupation. The government has been successful in maintaining salary payment regularly for the past years, and has also reduced its deficit by 21.8%, thus contributing to the stability of both public and private institutions.

The Palestinian government has created the necessary political, economic, and legal environments, thus asserting its firm commitment for the realization of the two-state solution. International donors and organizations have affirmed the Palestinian readiness for statehood. However, the Palestinian government cannot become a free state while the Israeli military occupation is harshly blocking the Palestinian national aspirations of self-determination, and hindering the transformation of Palestinian institutions into those of an independent state.

Marking the 51st anniversary of the Israeli military occupation, many Palestinian generations have experienced the illegal occupation with all its harsh actions and practices. This injustice violates the UN resolutions of 242, 253, 267, 194, 298, 476, 478, and 2334 and denies the Palestinian right of statehood along the 1967 borders. The time has come for the international community to support President Abbas’s peace initiative for holding an International Peace Conference so that the longest military occupation in modern history with its denial of human rights comes to an end.

Showing Palestinian determination for statehood, peace, and freedom, Prime Minister Dr. Hamdallah says that we will continue to create ways to engage our citizens until the establishment of a viable, united, and independent Palestinian state. This anniversary is an opportunity to assert that the Palestinian people and government are very determined and resolute to fulfill their national aspirations, and join the community of free and democratic nations.

Indigenous land defender killed in Mexico

Malditos Last week, May 14, Manuel Gaspar Rodríguez was taken from the offices of the MIOCUP (Movimiento Independiente Obrero, Campesino Urbano y Popular) and brutally stabbed to death by unknown assailants. He had been the subject of repeated death threats for his work against large-scale mining and hydroelectric projects in the Sierra Norte de Puebla in […]

Iran to unleash refugee wave, Netanyahu warns Germany

The “naked” emperor claims the sky is falling to get free pass for stealing and selling out democracy in Israel!

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Germany’s Angela Merkel Monday that Iranian meddling in the Middle East could touch off massive new refugee flows to Europe, as they clashed about the future of the nuclear deal with Tehran.

Trump’s lawyers want legal immunity for the president. Who will stop them? | Jill Abramson

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The memo drafted by Trump’s lawyers outlines unbridled powers and essentially claims the president is above the law

Donald Trump’s vision of executive power is so expansive that it would make Richard Nixon blush. The memo outlining unbridled presidential powers drafted by his lawyers for Robert Mueller goes far beyond what even the biggest fans of strong, unitary executive power, like the late US supreme court justice Antonin Scalia, ever dreamed. It essentially puts the president above the law.

Trump’s legal claim of limitless power would mean that he can defy any subpoena from Robert Mueller and his lawyers also say he has immunity from obstruction of justice charges related to his firing of the former FBI director James Comey.

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Waitresses Deserve Better Than a Sub-Minimum Wage

Ashley Lewis, a waitress in Minnesota, regularly experiences racialized sexual harassment from customers. Customers make comments to her like, “I’ve never been with a black girl,” “You’re hot for a black chick,” and “Ooh Hot Chocolate is working tonight.” But when you’re a waitress whose entire income depends on tips — or, as Ashley puts it, “a significant portion of my income is how men feel about me that day” — you literally can’t afford to anger a customer. 

Tipped workers are put in situations like Ashley’s every day, in part due to a gaping loophole in minimum wage laws. In most states, the legal minimum wage is much lower for workers who earn tips (often as little as two to three dollars an hour) than for non-tipped workers. If a server’s $2.50 an hour plus tips doesn’t add up to the minimum wage, restaurants are supposed to supplement servers’ wages to match the regular minimum wage. But restaurants frequently violate this rule, stiffing workers who can’t bring in enough tips on a slow night. A staggering four out of five full-service restaurants investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor from 2009 to 2015 caught violating wage rules, with underpaying tipped workers was one of the most common violations.

Women are the majority of low-wage workers and no less than two-thirds of tipped workers, so women in particular have a lot to gain from D.C. Initiative 77, a ballot initiative that would equalize the minimum wage in Washington, D.C., creating one fair standard for everyone by 2026.

The standard minimum wage in D.C. is $12.50 an hour (and will rise to $15.00 by 2020). But under D.C. law, tipped workers’ minimum wage is a dismal $3.33 an hour ($5 by 2020). In other words, D.C. law gives restaurants extra leeway to underpay a largely female workforce. If Initiative 77 passes, tipped workers in D.C. will finally have the right to full, regular minimum wage that will rise to $15 an hour, plus any tips they earn. 

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Today, D.C has the widest gap between tipped and non-tipped workers in the country, leaving tipped workers, especially women of color, vulnerable. According to the Economic Policy Institute, wait staff, bartenders, and other tipped workers are significantly more likely to live in poverty that  non-tipped workers. But those numbers improve dramatically in the eight states that maintain an equal minimum wage for tipped workers. Not only does the two-tier system enable paying tipped workers less, it creates tremendous economic instability for workers who simply can’t predict whether any given customer will be stingy or a night will be slow.

Even worse, the two-tiered system fosters discrimination and harassment in service industries. Research suggests that customers (of all races) tip black workers less than white workers, even when controlling for quality of service and dining party size. That means that a black waitress may receive smaller tips than a white waitress, sometimes not enough to earn minimum wage for the night. If her restaurant is one of the many that fail to adequately compensate tipped workers, she may go home with far less than fair pay at the end of the night.

Raising the tipped minimum wage could also ameliorate another pervasive form of discrimination in the restaurant industry: sexual harassment. This year, more than sixty women have filed sexual harassment complaints against IHOP and Applebee’s. Those headlines only scratch the surface of the restaurant industry’s harassment problem. Thirty-seven percent of all sexual harassment complaints made to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) involve restaurants. A 2014 study by Restaurant Opportunities Centers United found that staggering 78 percent of female restaurant workers reported being sexually harassed on the job by management, co-workers, and customers. If a waitress can’t make her rent without tips, she may not be able to afford to object to sexual harassment. Raising the tipped minimum wage would help, by providing tipped workers with enough of a baseline wage that they don’t have to choose between harassment and homelessness.

Raising the tipped minimum wage should be a no-brainer, but under pressure from the restaurant industry, D.C. lawmakers left tipped workers behind when it voted to slowly increase the city’s minimum wage to $15. The District now has a chance to do better by the service workers who keep the city alive.

Image via The Washington Blade.