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Hate attacks in Jerusalem and Israel include one by settler girls

11/22/14

Violence – Jerusalem and Israel

Anti-Palestinian hate attacks in Jerusalem, northern Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 Nov — A spate of anti-Palestinian hate attacks have been reported since late Thursday in Jerusalem and northern Israel, police and Israeli media said. In Jerusalem, four Israeli girls attacked a Palestinian taxi driver with pepper spray in King George Street late Thursday, Israeli police said. Another Palestinian claimed he was also attacked by a group of Israeli girls in the center of the city. Police said they arrested four girls, settlers from the occupied West Bank, and a court ordered that they be banned from Jerusalem for 15 days. In northern Israel, unknown assailants threw acid on the car of an imam in Acre late Thursday. An Israeli police spokesman said they are looking into the background of the incident. Israeli news site Ynet reported that a 53-year-old man was arrested near Haifa after threatening Palestinian workers with a knife. The man was disarmed by one of the workers at the restaurant and police arrested the suspect. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Friday that Palestinian taxi drivers in Jerusalem have stopped working at night due to verbal and physical assaults … In Jerusalem, where tensions have been rising since the summer, both Israelis and Palestinians say they are increasingly scared about violence in the city. “I now avoid driving into religious Jewish areas, because I’m afraid I’ll pay the price,” Palestinian taxi driver Shadi told AFP. “If I see a Jewish couple, I’ll pick them up — they’re less likely to be a threat. But if it’s three young guys, especially hardline religious men, I don’t take them,” he added. East Jerusalem bookshop owner Imad Muna said he felt more of a target for both Jewish extremists and Israeli security forces.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741612

Palestinian woman run over by Israeli near Shu‘fat
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 21 Nov — A Palestinian was run over by a Jewish settler near the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shu‘fat while she was walking to prayers at a local mosque on Friday, her family told Ma‘an. Suzanne al-Kurd, 29, was struck by a car driven by an Israeli individual and left with bruises all over her legs as she walked in front of the Shu‘fat Mosque, her mother said. The vehicle reportedly accelerated suddenly as al-Kurd crossed the street and hit her directly before speeding off, leaving her lying on the street in pain. Palestinian passersby who were nearby at the time of the incident rushed to her aid after the attack, her mother said, adding that she had been taken to the hospital where she was being treated for bruises and pain in her legs, waist, and arms as well as dizziness and headache. Her mother said her daughter recognized the driver of the vehicle as a Jewish settler because he was wearing a kippah, a skullcap often worn by religious Jews. “The incident was carried out in a deliberate manner because he ran her over and fled at high speed, all because my daughter was wearing an abaya and hijab,” she said, referring to clothes often worn by religious Muslim women.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741632

2 Israelis stabbed in fight with Palestinians in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 21 Nov — Two Israeli Jews were attacked and lightly injured Friday evening in East Jerusalem after “provoking” local residents in the Palestinian neighborhood of al-Tur, witnesses said. Witnesses said that three Israeli settlers were driving in their car in al-Tur, near the Mount of Olives, before suddenly stopping, exiting the car, and “provoking” residents. Clashes then erupted between them and local residents in which two of the three Israelis were stabbed, before they fled in their car. After the incident, witnesses said Jewish settlers attacked several shops in al-Tur and attempted to assault people before they were stopped by locals, which caused further clashes in the area. The two victims, aged 24 and 21, were reportedly walking to a yeshiva in the settlement of Beit Orot, near the Mount of Olives in the middle of a Palestinian neighborhood, when they were targeted. Ynet reported that the two Israeli settlers were injured with “stones, metal rods, and nails” and were treated by paramedics. Police told the site that the two were attacked while walking from the nearby al-Tur neighborhood of East Jerusalem, and that police were searching for the assailants. The incident comes just hours after an Israeli settler ran a Palestinian woman over near Shufat in East Jerusalem as she was walking to prayer. At least four anti-Palestinian hate crimes were reported overnight across Israel and in Jerusalem
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741646

Child seriously injured during interrogation in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 19 Nov — Palestinian human rights groups have reported that a detained Palestinian child from Jerusalem was seriously injured during interrogation at an Israeli interrogation center in Salah Ed-Deen Street, in the occupied city. The WAFA News Agency said the child, Khader al-‘Ajlouni, 16 years of age, was pushed down a flight of stairs at the police station, and suffered serious injuries to his neck, arms and back. It added that the child was transferred to a hospital in the city after becoming unable to move one of his arms and one of his legs.
http://www.imemc.org/article/69766

Vandals deface car of Acre imam who called for tolerance after J’lem attack
Haaretz 21 Nov by Noa Shpigel and the AP — Vandals defaced the car of Sheikh Samir Assi, the imam of the Al-Jazaar mosque in Acre, overnight Thursday, in what the city’s mayor called an unfortunate incident. Police suspect the vandals poured acid on the car, which was parked outside the religious leader’s home. Acre Mayor Shimon Lankri denounced the crime and said he hoped its perpetrators would be apprehended and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. “The residents of Acre, Jews and Arabs alike, have proven they know how to respect one another and to coexist with mutual respect and understanding,” he said. The imam was among clergy representing Christians, Jews and Muslims who met Wednesday near the Jerusalem synagogue where five people were killed in a grisly Palestinian attack to plead for tolerance amid spiking regional tensions.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.627764

Amid Jerusalem violence, Arab workers pay with their livelihoods
Haaretz 21 Nov by Nir Hasson — Twenty-seven East Jerusalem bus drivers quit their jobs, other go on strike, after fellow driver found hanged in bus; ‘people are frightened.’ -- Taxi driver Riyad Jatt of the Silwan neighborhood says he stopped to pick up two female passengers near the entrance to Jerusalem Thursday morning. “They asked me, are you Jewish or Arab? When I told them I was an Arab they didn’t get in,” he says, adding that after 20 similar incidents he stopped counting. “One man stopped me outside the municipality, looked at me and said no and got out. In [ultra-Orthodox neighborhood] Mea She’arim two women wanted to get in, saw I was an Arab and walked away.” Palestinian taxi drivers make up at least half the city’s taxi drivers; in a sense, they’re on the very frontline of the confrontation tearing the city apart. It’s hard to find a driver who says he hasn’t been cursed at or beaten up. Since the attack on a synagogue Tuesday, cruising for passengers in West Jerusalem has become a humiliating and even dangerous experience. Many drivers say they’ve stopped working or have given up working at night…
Meanwhile, parents in the religious state school Harel in the Ramot neighborhood demanded that a Palestinian janitor be replaced. “It’s not because he’s an Arab, but he’s a young man — we don’t know what he’s done or where he comes from. I’m not judging; he could be a good person, but he could also be a terrorist,” says Gilad Cohen, head of the school’s parents’ committee. “We’re demanding that he be replaced by a woman so that if something happens, heaven forbid, the school staff — all female teachers but two — can at least react. I get text messages and calls all day from worried parents. One mother wrote: ‘What if he decides to slaughter an entire class? Ten kids will die by the time the security guard shows up.’ On the other hand, some parents are urging us to stop the ranting and raving.”
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.627679

US media erase Israeli state and settler violence / Rania Khalek
Electronic Intifada 20 Nov — As Tuesday’s grisly murder of five Israelis in a Jerusalem synagogue by two Palestinian assailants continues to dominate headlines, major media outlets are actively erasing the Israeli violence that preceded the attack and the surging anti-Palestinian assaults that have followed. In typical fashion, The New York Times buried information alluding to Palestinian death and suffering in the fourteenth paragraph, while CNN disappeared Palestinians from the discussion entirely. The Washington Post went even further, using the synagogue attack as an opportunity to erase Israeli violence against Palestinians both past and present. Noting that the attack site is located in what used to be Deir Yassin — a Palestinian village destroyed in 1948 after Zionist militias deliberately executed more than one hundred of its inhabitants, including children — the Post rendered the massacre an unproven accusation against Israel. Following an uproar on social media, the Post quietly removed the reference to Deir Yassin from the piece without issuing an explanation or correction. These same media outlets are gleefully painting Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip as heartless monsters based on a marginal celebration that took place in Gaza City … Speaking from Gaza where he is currently stationed, journalist and Mondoweiss contributor Dan Cohen told The Electronic Intifada that there was indeed a celebratory rally organized by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Gaza City but the celebrations were far from widespread. “A small minority celebrated. That’s what being besieged and bombed does to people,” said Cohen
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/us-media-erase-israeli-state-and-settler-violence

In Israel, only Jewish blood shocks anyone / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 20 Nov — There was a massacre in Jerusalem on Tuesday in which five Israelis were killed. There was a war in Gaza over the summer in which 2,200 Palestinians were killed, most of them civilians. A massacre shocks us; a war, less so. Massacres have culprits; wars don’t. Murder by ax is more appalling than murder by rifle, and far more horrendous than bombing helpless people trying to take shelter. Terror is always Palestinian, even when hundreds of Palestinian civilians are killed. The name and face of Daniel Tragerman, the Israeli boy killed by mortar fire during Operation Protective Edge, were known throughout the world; even U.S. President Barack Obama knew his name. Can anyone name one child from Gaza among the hundreds killed? A few hours after the attack in Jerusalem, journalist Emily Amrousi said at a conference in Eilat that the life of a single Jewish child was more important to her than the lives of thousands of Palestinian children. The audience’s response was clearly favorable; I think there was even some applause … How many Israelis are willing to give a thought to the parents of Yousef Shawamreh, the boy who went out to pick wild greens and was killed by an army sniper? Why is it exaggerating to be upset by, or at least give some attention to, the killing of Khalil Anati, a 10-year-old boy from the Al-Fawar refugee camp? Why can’t we identify with the pain of bereaved father Abd al-Wahab Hammad, whose son was killed in Silwad, or with the Al-Qatari family from the Al-Amari refugee camp, two members of which were killed by soldiers within a month? Why do we reserve our horror for the synagogue and not consider these killings disturbing?
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.627369

VIDEO: Why is Jerusalem always on edge?
Redress Information & Analysis 17 Nov 3-minute video — It seems like every violent incident in Jerusalem could spark another massive flare-up in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. But what are the policies keeping the city on edge? Aj+Lab’s Dena Takruri explains
http://www.redressonline.com/2014/11/watch-why-is-jerusalem-always-on-edge/

Israeli forces storm Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 20 Nov — Israeli forces on Wednesday night broke into the mourners’ tents of the family of Ghassan and Udayy Abu Jamal from Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood who were shot dead after they attacked a synagogue and killed five in West Jerusalem on Tuesday. Witnesses told Ma‘an that the soldiers broke into both the men’s and women’s tents as well as the home of Mahmoud Abu al-Jamal and removed all posters of Ghassan and Udayy. Meanwhile, clashes broke out in the Jabal al-Mukabbir, Sur Bahir, and al-Tur neighborhoods in protest against Israel’s refusal to deliver the bodies of Ghassan and Udayy Abu Jamal to their families for burial. Medical sources said 12 young men were injured by rubber-coated bullets including one seriously injured in Sur Bahir after he was hit in the head. Dozens of others were hurt by tear-gas inhalation. An official in the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service in Jerusalem Dr Amin Abu Ghazala said four out of the 12 injured in Sur Bahir and Jabal al-Mukabbir needed hospitalization because they were hit in the head and face.
Local sources in Sur Bahir told Ma‘an that undercover Israeli forces raided the homes of the Nimir and Hammad families and detained three young men after assaulting them and other family members. Ahmad Khader Nimir said Israeli forces broke into his home with police dogs and attacked all his family members including his blind 52-year-old wife causing bruises in her head and arm. She was evacuated to hospital. The soldiers also attacked a young man who suffers from cancer before they detained Tariq Ahmad Khadir Nimir, 30, and his brother Rashid, 24. Israeli forces also ransacked the home of Munir Mousa Hamamd, 33, in Zaquqa neighborhood of Sur Bahir and detained him after beating him.
In al-Tur, young Palestinian men hurled four fire bombs at an Israeli military jeep during clashes near al-Maqasid hospital. Witnesses said Israeli troops stationed themselves on rooftops and showered the area with tear gas. Clashes were also reported in the Silwan and al-‘Isawiya neighborhoods. Residents of Wadi Qaddum area in Silwan told Ma‘an that special Israeli forces carried out a sudden raid in the area firing rubber-coated bullets. As a result, a young man was hit in the abdomen and another in the foot.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741326

PFLP: Israelis will not be safe before Palestinians
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Nov — The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine on Thursday officially mourned two of its members Ghassan and Udayy Abu Jamal who were killed Tuesday after carrying out an attack on an Israeli synagogue, saying that the attack shows that Israelis will not be safe until Palestinians are. In a statement released by the leftist militant group, Khalil Maqdesi, a member of the central committee, called the attack “a natural response to the ongoing racist policies and crimes of the occupation, and it is the occupation that is responsible for the escalation in Jerusalem and throughout Palestine.” “The PFLP will continue to target every institution of the occupation. No place in Jerusalem should be safe so long as the Palestinian people are not safe. ‘Security’ cannot be built on the backs of the Palestinian people. The only result of the occupation attacks on Jerusalem will be continued and escalating resistance among the Palestinian masses.” Although the statement stopped short of claiming the attack, which left five Israelis dead, it clarified PFLP’s position that “resistance” to Israeli occupation was necessary by any means necessary.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741272

Israel issues demolition order for home of synagogue attackers
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 20 Nov – Israeli police on Thursday issued demolition orders for the home of two Palestinian suspects who killed five Israelis this week in a Jerusalem synagogue. Ghassan Abu Jamal and his cousin Uday, from the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood of East Jerusalem, entered a synagogue armed with a gun, meat cleavers, and knives and killed five Israelis on Nov. 18. The Abu Jamal family said that police summoned Ghassan’s wife and the parents of Uday to an Israeli police station in the neighborhood and issued demolition orders to the families. They have 48 hours to appeal the decision in Israeli courts. Uday’s father passed out after a heated argument with Israeli police officers and was taken to hospital for treatment. The bodies of Ghassan and Uday are still in Israeli custody.
On Wednesday, Israeli forces demolished the Silwan home of Abd al-Rahman al-Shaludi, who killed two Israelis after driving into civilians in Jerusalem last month. The demolition is one of at least six orders issued by the Israeli government to destroy the homes of the families’ of Palestinians who attacked Israelis. On Sunday, Israeli rights group B’Tselem said that punitive house demolitions are “fundamentally wrong” and contravene “basic moral standards by punishing people for the misdeeds of others.”
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741443

Israel to demolish homes of 3 Jerusalem attack suspects
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Nov — The families of three Palestinians who are suspected of recently carrying out attacks in Jerusalem received notices on Wednesday that their homes will be demolished. The families of Ibrahim al-Akkari and Muhammad Jaabis — both of whom ran over Israeli pedestrians — as well as Mutaz Hijazi, who shot and injured right-wing Jewish extremist leader Yehuda Glick — all received demolition notices. A Ma’an reporter said that the Jaabis family has said they will appeal the demolition decision, although Israeli authorities’ signaled earlier in November that the homes of any Palestinian who attacked Israelis would have their homes demolished. The news came only hours after the home of Abd al-Rahman al-Shaludi in Silwan was demolished by Israeli authorities, who carried out the demolition as punishment for him driving his car into a group of civilians and killing 2 Israelis in late October. “The Israeli occupation wants to break up our family and displace us. They think that by demolishing the houses of martyrs they will deter the people of Jerusalem and Palestine, but violence begets violence,” his mother told Ma’an earlier on Wednesday.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741265

Israeli forces deliver demolition warrant to Akkari family in Shu‘fat
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 20 Nov – Israeli forces on Thursday morning stormed the home of Ibrahim al-Akkari in Shu‘fat refugee camp in northern Jerusalem and informed the family that their house would be demolished after 48 hours. Al-Akkar, 47 was shot dead after he ran into Israeli pedestrian at a tram stop in Jerusalem on Nov. 5 killing one and injuring 13. His widow told Ma‘an that Israeli troops broke into her home at dawn and handed over an official military demolition warrant. The warrant reads that the family could appeal against the decision within 48 hours. Army engineers drew a map after they measured the area. Fierce clashes broke out after Israeli soldiers raided Shufat camp, according to locals. “Allahu Akbar” was heard through loudspeakers of mosques in the camp as young men clashed with Israeli troops in the streets. Several were hurt by inhaling tear gas which Israeli soldiers fired in all directions.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741347

Israeli spokesman Mark Regev: punitive home demolitions are price to be paid
Middle East Monitor 20 Nov by Ben White — The Israeli Prime Minister’s spokesman Mark Regev has defended the internationally-condemned policy of punitive home demolitions as an appropriate “price to be paid”. Regev’s remarks appeared in an article in The New York Times by the paper’s Jerusalem correspondent Jodi Rudoren, but were subsequently heavily edited. In the original article, Rudoren reported Regev as explaining that “Jewish extremists were not treated similarly because Israeli society does not celebrate such attacks in the way that Palestinians often do.” The full quotation from Regev was as follows: “There is a culture of support within Palestinian society — these people are put up on a pedestal, they become martyrs, they become heroes, they are praised by the Palestinian leadership, their families are embraced, there are also very practical benefits for the family vis-à-vis financial support. In many ways, an action against the house is evening of the playing field. One is saying that by committing a heinous crime, in this case by murdering a baby, there will be a price to be paid.”  The updated version of the piece has Regev justifying the practice on the grounds that “demolitions were a necessary deterrent to offset ‘a culture of support within Palestinian society,’ citing a report showing that the Palestinian Authority paid families of what it calls martyrs nearly $7 million in 2011.” It is unclear why the original remarks were changed by The New York Times.
https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/15382-israeli-spokesman-mark-regev-punitive-home-demolitions-are-price-to-be-paid

Jerusalem mayor: Revoke citizenship of terrorists’ families
Haaretz 21 Nov — Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on Friday called for Israel to revoke the citizenship of terrorists’ families who support attacks against Israelis. “We must be extremely focused [in or efforts] against evil people, to locate them and deal with them firmly,” Barkat told Army Radio. “I discussed the matter with the prime minister and the cabinet,” he said, “and I think they understand it, and will examine how to revoke the citizenship of terrorists’ families, as well as how to act more decisively against those who incite, cause disturbances and throw stones.”
Barkat also addressed the recent decision by Ashkelon’s mayor to impose a partial ban on Arab construction workers in local schools, saying it reminded him of dark days in Europe during the World War II era. “We cannot generalize in the same way that was done to the Jews 70 years ago,” Barkat said. “Here, in Jerusalem, we have tens of thousands of Arab laborers. We must make a very clear distinction” between terrorists and law-abiding citizens. Barkat urged Jerusalemites to continue employing Arabs, and commended the synagogue where this week’s deadly terror attack occurred for choosing to keep on its Arab workers. Meanwhile, it was revealed that the sister of one of the synagogue attackers works for the Jerusalem municipality, in its social services department. Barkat said she is a “valued, excellent employee” who has worked for the city for more than a decade.
Also on Friday, the head of the Silwan residents’ committee, Fakhri Abu Diab, told Army Radio that demolishing terrorists’ homes, which is meant to be a deterrent, only encourages more terror.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/1.627759

No age bar for Friday prayers at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa
JERUSALEM (AFP) 21 Nov — Israeli police said they do not plan to bar young Muslim worshippers from Friday prayers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque, for the second week running after months of restrictions.  “So far, restrictions on entry of worshippers will not be imposed,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement late Thursday. She said the situation would be kept under review during the night in case a change became necessary. Israel eased restrictions at the flashpoint mosque compound last week after US Secretary of State John Kerry announced agreement on steps to reduce tensions in the city. For months, it had allowed in only older male worshippers, keeping out the age range it identified as more likely to cause disturbances.  The site, which is holy to Jews as well as Muslims, has been the focus of months of unrest in annexed Arab east Jerusalem.  The Palestinians have been infuriated by a far-right Jewish campaign for prayer rights at compound that threatens an ultra-sensitive, decades-old status quo under which Jews can visit but not pray. The violence prompted Kerry to holds a flurry of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in neighbouring Jordan, after which he announced unspecified confidence-building measures to ease the underlying tensions.
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/11/21/No-age-bar-for-Friday-prayers-at-Jerusalem-s-Al-Aqsa.html

Thousands of Israeli Druze and Jews grieve at funeral for policeman slain in terror attack
Ynet 19 Nov by Kobi Nachshoni —  The Druze police officer who lost his life in Tuesday’s terror attack is being honored by the ultra-Orthodox community, which was hit the hardest in the deadly terror attack on a synagogue, and the community is urging Haredi youths to attend the young officer’s funeral service. The ultra–Orthodox community determined Wednesday that Master-Sergeant Zidan Saif, the Druze policeman who died from wounds sustained in Tuesday morning’s synagogue terror attack was a “Righteous Among the Nations”, and many urged their public to attend his funeral, even arranging free transportation from the Jerusalem International Convention Center. Unlike their Muslim brethren, Israel’s Druze population, also ethnic Arabs, who emerged 1,000 years ago as a sect of Islam with a distinct identity, serve in the army and are in a sense more integrated into mainstream Israeli society. Nonetheless, the gesture is rare for the closed ultra-Orthodox society.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4593823,00.html

New video shows Druze cop’s key role in halting Har Nof terror attack
Times of Israel 21 Nov by Marissa Newman — Footage of the fatal Tuesday Har Nof synagogue terror attack, broadcast on Israeli television Thursday, documents the death of Druze policeman Zidan Saif as well as the final moments of the shootout, when the two terrorists were killed by Israeli fire. It indicates that Saif played a key role in ending the attack, firing from outside the synagogue at the terrorists inside, before one of them runs out and shoots him at close range. The video, aired on Channel 2 on Thursday evening, was filmed by a neighbor across the street in the West Jerusalem neighborhood. In it, Saif — a traffic cop who was among the first policeman at the scene — is seen outside the synagogue, shooting into the building at the terrorists.
http://www.timesofisrael.com/new-video-of-har-nof-attack-sheds-light-on-policemans-death

Israel summons Palestinian pathologist for questioning
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Nov — Israeli police on Thursday issued a summons order to a Palestinian pathologist who attended the autopsy of a bus driver found dead earlier this week. Dr. Saber al-Aloul received an order to go to the Russian Compound detention center for questioning at 10 a.m. on Sunday, he told Ma‘an. The pathologist said that the order was illegal and only a court or the general prosecutor could issued such a demand for a court session, and not a closed interrogation. Al-Aloul attended the autopsy of Yousuf Hasan al-Ramouni, 32, who was found hanged inside his bus at the Har Hotzvim terminal near Jerusalem. Yoav Mordechai, Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said Tuesday that an autopsy report on the death of al-Ramouni proves it was a suicide and there was “no suspicion of criminal activity.” The victim’s brother, Osama al-Ramouni said the family did not accept the verdict of suicide, saying his body “had bruises on it,” suggesting he had been “tortured” before his death. “My brother had children and was a happy man. It is impossible that he killed himself,” he told AFP.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741482

Violence — West Bank

The Ibrahimi Mosque massacre: 20 years later
Institute for Middle East Understanding – from 27 Feb 2014 — … Early on the morning of February 25, 1994, Goldstein, wearing his army uniform and carrying his army-issued assault rifle, walked past Israeli soldiers manning a checkpoint and into the Ibrahimi Mosque. It was the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims and there were 400 or 500 Palestinian men worshipping. According to reports, once inside, Goldstein observed the scene and waited until those present turned towards Mecca and knelt to pray before opening fire. Twenty-nine Palestinians were killed and some 150 wounded before Goldstein’s victims subdued and beat him to death. According to a report in The New York Times, at least one Palestinian was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers stationed outside the mosque as panicked survivors attempted to flee to safety and others may have died as a result of being repeatedly stopped en route to hospital by soldiers wanting to search the vehicles they were being transported in. In the civil unrest that erupted across the occupied territories, Israeli soldiers killed more than 20 Palestinians and wounded hundreds of others…
Israel clamped down on Palestinian residents of Hebron with severe restrictions on their movements and other measures. Israeli measures taken in Hebron following the massacre include: A round-the-clock curfew was imposed on Palestinian residents.
Israel forcibly divided the Ibrahimi Mosque to create a separate prayer space for Jews with a separate entrance. In addition, the mosque would be opened exclusively for Jews 10 days a year, and Muslims 10 days a year. Palestinian shopkeepers on Shuhada Street in the heart of Hebron were forced to close their businesses, which were welded shut by the Israeli army, under the pretext of securing settlers living on the busy commercial artery. Palestinians were restricted, at first from driving and later from walking as well, on a large section of Shuhada Street, prompting its nickname of “Apartheid Street.” The US government spent millions of dollars through USAID renovating Shuhada Street prior to its segregation, most of which is now reserved for the exclusive use of Jewish settlers. Numerous new Israeli military checkpoints and obstacles to movement were put in place making it difficult for Palestinians to move around the city, including children who must pass through checkpoints to get to school…
Following the massacre, hundreds of Israelis attended a memorial for Goldstein at his gravesite. He was buried in Kiryat Arba, where a shrine to the mass killer was erected, quickly becoming a pilgrimage site for Jewish extremists. In 1999, the Israeli army demolished the shrine, however Goldstein’s grave remains a destination of pilgrimage for his admirers. The marker on his grave, which sits near the Meir Kahane Memorial Park, reads in part: “The revered Dr. Baruch Kapel Goldstein… Son of Israel. He gave his soul for the sake of the people of Israel, The Torah, and the Land. His hands are clean and his heart good… He was assassinated for the Sanctity of God.” At his funeral, Goldstein was eulogized as a hero, with one speaker, Rabbi Yaacov Perrin, declaring that even 1 million Arabs “are not worth a Jewish fingernail, “while attendees shouted, “We are all Goldsteins!” and “Arabs out of Israel!” Following the slaughter, Goldstein was also lauded by Rabbi Dov Lior, who was and continues to be the chief rabbi of Kiryat Arba and one of the most influential figures in the religious Zionism movement, who called Goldstein, “holier than all the martyrs of the Holocaust.”
http://imeu.org/article/the-ibrahimi-mosque-massacre-20-years-later

Israeli forces raid homes in Hebron, look for man they killed in June
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 20 Nov – Large numbers of Israeli military vehicles stormed Hebron city in the southern West Bank on Wednesday evening where troops broke into homes of Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisha. The two were killed by Israeli forces on Sept. 23 on suspicion that they were behind the killing of three Israeli teenagers in the occupied West Bank in June. Father of Amer Abu Aisha told Ma‘an that the Israeli soldiers stole 50,000 shekels ($13,000) and 2,000 Jordanian dinars ($2,800) from his home. He explained that soldiers broke into his home and locked all his family members in one room. The soldiers, he said, damaged the interior of the house while female soldiers inspected his female family members “in a savage manner.”
At the home of Marwan Qawasmeh, Israeli soldiers, surprisingly, questioned Marwan’s widow about his hideout. “I was surprised when the soldiers asked me about the hideout of my husband who they killed in cold blood,” she told Ma‘an. She added that Israeli soldiers locked all her family in one room while they inspected the house damaging parts of its interior.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741335

Israeli settler opens fire on Palestinian near Hebron
HEBRON (Ma’an) 21 Nov — An Israeli settler on Friday evening opened fire at a vehicle being driven by a Palestinian near the village of Beit Ummar north of Hebron. Spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committee in Beit Ummar Mohammad Ayyad Awad said that an Israeli settler driving a white Citroen vehicle heading south towards Hebron opened fire at a taxi driven by a Palestinian as it sat on the side of the road. The settler’s fire hit the body of the car, he said, and the passengers in the car at the time ran to a nearby gas station as the settler sped away. No injuries were reported. Awad added that a group of Israeli soldiers were standing a few meters away from the incident but did not react or try to stop the perpetrator.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741668

Armed settler invades schoolyard in Hebron
HEBRON, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Khalil Team) 20 Nov — Yesterday, at approximately 11:00 in al-Khalil (Hebron) a settler from a nearby illegal settlement approached the Qurtuba school in H2 with a gun [H2 is the area of Hebron under Israeli military civil and security control]. The settler entered the school grounds, terrifying the children with his loaded gun. After some time the settler left but the children were forced to evacuate a building and move to another area of the school. The teachers asked for international presence until school was finished that day. The children were rushed out of school early and internationals and Palestinians stood at a prominent place to ensure the children were safe. Not long after this, a settler attacked a Palestinian and threatened another. The settler threatened to stab a 16-year-old boy and another local Palestinian who tried to film the incident. 40-year-old Jawad Abu Aisha stated, “The settler told Awne (the 16-year-old) that he would bring a knife to stab him. Awne told me and I tried to tell the soldier so he would do something but he did not do anything. When I tried to film the settler he attacked me and tried to break my mobile but did not manage to do so.” Eventually, and after much prompting by the Palestinians, the soldier stepped in and pulled the settler away. Both Palestinians were left badly shaken by the attack
http://palsolidarity.org/2014/11/armed-settler-invades-schoolyard-in-hebron/

Israeli military post in central Hebron attacked, destroyed
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 21 Nov — Israeli military authorities in the southern West Bank city of Hebron closed a major checkpoint in the city center after it was targeted and burnt by assailants. Israeli authorities said that the military post was set alight by two Palestinian youths despite the fact that it had been surrounded by cement blocks in order to protect it against Molotov cocktails and broken bottles. Emad al-Atrash, a spokesman for the local activist group Coalition of Human Rights Defenders, said that this was the second time locals had burned down the checkpoint, which prevents Palestinians from accessing their homes and shops on Shuhada Street in order to “secure” the area for Jewish settlers. Al-Atrash said that the last time the checkpoint had been attacked, Israeli authorities closed it to Palestinian traffic entirely, forcing hundreds of local residents who are given permission to pass on the street to travel kilometers to go around the thoroughfare.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741641

Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian protests across West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 Nov — Israeli forces opened fire and injured dozens of Palestinians across the West Bank on Friday, as hundreds marched in a number of cities and villages in protest against the Israeli occupation and recent Israeli violence in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli soldiers opened fire on rallies in Nabi Saleh, central Hebron, at Qalandia checkpoint and in al-Bireh near Ramallah, in Kafr Qaddum, al-Ma‘sara, Jalazun refugee camp, ‘Aida refugee camp, and in other villages across the West Bank, injuring dozens. Two Israeli soldiers were also reported injured in clashes that erupted following the protests. The protests came after a night of violence in Jerusalem, where two different hate attacks were reported against Palestinians on the basis of their ethnicity, in addition to two other such incidents inside Israel.
‘Day of Rage’ Hundreds of Palestinians marched in a Day of Rage in solidarity with the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the people of Jerusalem in Hebron, where assailants attacked an Israeli military post with a Molotov cocktail earlier in the day. Two Palestinians were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets in clashes with soldiers that followed the protest. An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma‘n at least 350 Palestinians marched in the rally. [Details of protests follow]
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741671

Palestinians briefly detain 2 settlers who planned attacks in Qusra
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 20 Nov – A group of young Palestinian men managed to capture two Israeli settlers on Thursday morning after they entered the northern West Bank village of Qusra. A Palestinian official, who monitors settlement-related activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that the settlers came from the nearby illegal Israeli outpost Yesh Kodish. He added that dozens of young men from Qusra detained the two for more than half an hour before officers of the Palestinian liaison department took the settlers and handed them to the Israeli liaison department.
The official, Ghasan Daghlas, said that earlier on Thursday Israeli forces delivered warrants to Palestinian citizens in the southern outskirt of Qusra notifying them that six water wells were slated for demolition.He added that clashes broke out in the area between Israeli troops and local young men. No injuries have been reported.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741389

3-month-old baby hospitalized for tear gas inhalation
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 21 Nov — A three-month-old Palestinian baby was treated for tear gas inhalation late Thursday after Israeli forces fired multiple canisters in the village of Beit Liqya west of Ramallah. Hanan Dar Moussa was hospitalized during clashes in the village following an Israeli arrest raid. Tear gas, which is fired routinely by Israeli forces in densely populated Palestinian areas, is potentially deadly for children and the elderly.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741574

Israeli forces shoot, injure 3 Palestinians during clashes in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 20 Nov – Israeli forces shot and injured three young Palestinian men during raids on different neighborhoods in Nablus in the northern West Bank, Palestinian security sources said Thursday. They told Ma‘an that six military vehicles stormed the eastern neighborhood of Nablus where they clashed with dozens of young Palestinian men. The sources said clashes were fierce as young men pelted Israeli troops with stones and the soldiers fired back tear gas and live ammunition injuring three young men. The sources identified the injured as Tamir al-Masimi, Hasan al-Masimi and Yusuf al-Adawi. They were all evacuated to Rafedia public hospital in Nablus where medics said their injuries were moderate to light.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741296

Video analysis pinpoints Israeli killer of Palestinian teen
Electronic Intifada 21 Nov by Ali Abunimah — A sophisticated and compelling analysis of video and other evidence has pinpointed the Israeli occupation soldier who shot and killed seventeen-year-old Nadim Siam Nuwara six months ago. Meanwhile, an occupation soldier arrested in Nuwara’s killing is being treated as a hero by thousands of Israelis. Nuwara was shot dead in cold blood by an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank village of Beitunia on 15 May during protests marking Nakba Day, the commemoration of the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Another teen, Muhammad Abu al-Thahir, sixteen years old, was shot dead at almost the same spot, the same day, in the same manner. The analysis, explained in the brief video above, was conducted by the UK-based research group Forensic Architecture at the request of Defence for Children International–Palestine (DCI-Palestine). It combines analysis of security camera and CNN footage of the shooting, sound analysis and computer modeling as well as physical evidence and information from the pathology report on Nuwara. “Using spatial and video analysis we have identified the border policeman that shot and killed the unarmed Nadim Nuwara,” said Eyal Weizman, principal investigator at Forensic Architecture, in a statement sent to The Electronic Intifada by DCI-Palestine. “Using sound analysis we found that the border policeman fired live ammunition through a rubber bullet extension installed on his gun, perhaps in an attempt to hide his action,” Weizman added.
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/video-analysis-pinpoints-israeli-killer-palestinian-teen

Palestinian confesses to Nov 5 car attack on troops
AFP 20 Nov — A Palestinian has confessed to deliberately running down three soldiers outside a West Bank refugee camp [al-‘Arroub], which he initially claimed was an accident, police said in a statement on Thursday. “During interrogation by the Shin Bet (security service), Hamam Masalmeh confessed to running down the soldiers as part of a planned attack,” the statement said of the November 5 incident in which the soldiers were injured. It added that the accused was an activist in Islamist militant group Hamas. Masalmeh turned himself in the day after the nighttime attack insisting it had been a road accident. Police said the 23-year-old driver, from a village [Beit ‘Awwa] near Hebron was expected to be charged “within the next few days.” They said he told interrogators he was influenced by a hit-and-run attack earlier on November 5 in which a Palestinian from east Jerusalem ran down a group of pedestrians in the city killing a policeman. In that incident, the driver was shot dead by police at the scene. Masalmeh claimed he was also angered by images from Israel’s bloody summer war in Gaza, police said.
https://uk.news.yahoo.com/palestinian-confesses-nov-5-car-attack-troops-183325616.html#8Z0nl2m

Arrests / Prisoners / Court actions

380 Palestinians arrested by Israeli forces in last 20 days
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 20 Nov — Israeli forces have detained at least 380 Palestinians in raids across the West Bank and East Jerusalem over the last three weeks, including 21 early Thursday alone. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said in a statement on Thursday that Israeli authorities have engaged in a wide-ranging crackdown on Palestinians that has led to the arrests of nearly 200 in East Jerusalem since the beginning of November. The startling figures come amid growing instability in Jerusalem, while daily protest marches by Palestinians have been held across the city and Israeli authorities have been accused of “collective punishment” in their response to a series of attacks by individual Jerusalem Palestinians on Israelis. In addition to the 190 Palestinians detained in East Jerusalem, the PPS said that 70 were from Hebron, 32 from Ramallah, 24 from Bethlehem, 18 from Jenin, 14 from Tulkarem, 14 from Nablus, nine from Tubas, five from Salfit, and four from Qalqiliya. The arrests add to the more than 5,000 Palestinians who are already being held in Israeli prisons, including hundreds without charge or trial under a procedure known as “administrative detention.” On Thursday morning, Israeli forces reportedly detained dozens more across East Jerusalem and the West Bank, which have both been under military occupation since 1967….
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741402

2 Palestinians freed in Shalit deal re-sentenced to life in jail
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 Nov — Israeli authorities have re-sentenced two former Palestinian prisoners to life sentences in a potential violation of a 2011 prisoner release deal that guaranteed their freedom. Director of the Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies Fouad al-Khafsh said in a statement that Israeli authorities re-sentenced Ashraf al-Wawi from Tulkarem and Hamza Abu Arqoub from Nablus to life sentences. The two, along with dozens of other ex-prisoners who were released during the Shalit deal in 2011, were re-detained in an Israeli arrest campaign in June following the kidnapping and death of three Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank. The 2011 deal traded Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas militants on the Gaza border in 2006, for 1,027 Palestinians and Palestinian-Israelis being held in Israeli jails. Despite the deal, at least 63 prisoners had been re-arrested by Israeli authorities as of September as part of the wider crackdown on Palestinians that began in early summer.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741576

Israeli court bans detainees from entering Aqsa compound
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 19 Nov  — An Israeli court in Jerusalem on Wednesday banned three Palestinians from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a lawyer said. Palestinian Prisoner’s Society lawyer, Mufid al-Hajj, said that an Israeli court banned Taha Shawahneh from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for 90 days in addition to a 1,500-shekel ($390) fine. The court also banned Azhar Othman from entering al-Aqsa for 60 days. Mahdi Burqan and Omar Abu al-Hawa were released after paying a third-party bail in addition to Akram al-Shurafaa who also paid a 1,000-shekel ($260) bail. Al-Hajj added that Raeda Abu Hadwan, Azziya al-Salaymeh and Hiba al-Tawil were also released after paying bails of 500-1,000 ($130-260) shekels.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741099

Photo: Meet Muhmad Sultan Abassi, a Palestinian child from Jerusalem
21 Nov — He was arrested by Israel at the age of 12 and recently released at the age of 15. He is crying in this picture while hugging his sister. His main charge against him was that he was threatening the settlers who took his family’s land.
http://frompalestinewithlove.tumblr.com/post/103214848963/meet-muhamad-sultan-abassi-a-palestinian-child

Palestinian MP freed after 2 years in administrative detention
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 21 Nov — Israeli authorities released a member of the Palestinian parliament on Thursday after two years of imprisonment without trial. Yasser Mansour, 45, who is affiliated with Hamas, was detained by Israeli soldiers during a raid in Nablus in 2012. He was transferred to administrative detention along with several other parliament members and held for two years without due process. As of mid-September, 33 Palestinian MPs were being held in detention by Israel, 23 of whom had been arrested in a large-scale detention campaign in the West Bank following the kidnapping of three Israeli youths in June.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741575

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement

Report: Israel approves 78 settler units in East Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Nov — Israel has approved the construction of 78 new settlement units in East Jerusalem, the Israeli news site Walla reported Wednesday. The report said 50 houses would be built in the Har Homa settlement, which is built illegally on Jabal Abu Ghneim, a private Palestinian property between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The other 28 settlement houses will be built in the illegal Ramot settlement which is built on private Palestinian land between Jerusalem and Ramallah. The decision was okayed by all the members of a planning and construction committee of the Jerusalem municipality, aside from one left-wing Meretz member, according to the report.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741065

Israel seizes thousands of dunams in new W. Bank land grab
World Bulletin 19 Nov — The Israeli army has notified a number of Palestinian farmers in the northern West Bank provinces of Jenin and Tulkarm that it had seized thousands of dunams of their agricultural land for “security reasons,” a Palestinian official said Wednesday.  “The Israeli army gave farmers orders not to work or build on their farmland,” Saleh Amarneh, head of a local council in Jenin, told Anadolu Agency. “The orders came along with maps indicating the seizure by Israel of thousands of dunams of land stretching from western Jenin to northern Tulkarm,” he said, adding that the area in question was located near Israel’s separation barrier. One dunum of land is roughly equivalent to a quarter of an acre … “This move is unjustified as the Palestinian farmers have documents proving their ownership of this land,” Amarneh said. “Seizing this land means denying them their only source of income.”
http://www.worldbulletin.net/world/148755/israel-seizes-thousands-of-dunams-in-new-w-bank-land-grab

Israeli forces demolish 2 mobile homes near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 20 Nov — Israeli forces demolished two steel housing structures in the village of Taybeh near Ramallah on Thursday, witnesses said. The family of Yousef Kaayneh had been living in the semi-permanent structures since August, after Israeli forces demolished their home. Locals were prevented from reaching the area during the demolition and Israeli forces confiscated all of the family’s possessions.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741497

Israeli settlers attempt to torch home in Ramallah-area village
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 19 Nov — Israeli settlers on Wednesday evening attempted to burn down a house in the village of al-Mughayyir east of Ramallah, but were prevented by doing so by local villagers.The attempted arson comes only a week after settlers attacked the village and burned down a mosque, in an incident that sparked widespread Palestinian fury. On Wednesday, dozens of settlers approached a house on the outskirts of the village when they were spotted by villagers who started throwing rocks at them. Settlers were forced to retreat to their nearby settlement under the protection of Israeli soldiers as a result, and no injuries were reported. Al-Mughayyir, also known as Maghayer al-Dir, is located in a zone surrounded by areas under Israeli military control near the twin Jewish settlements of Maale Mikhmas and Mitzpe Danny.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741279

IDF freezes plan to reopen some West Bank roads to Palestinian cars
Haaretz 19 Nov by Jonathan Lis — Plans to reopen some West Bank roads for Palestinian vehicles have been put on hold due to the escalating violence, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Wednesday. Ya’alon did not specify which roads were included in the now-shelved plan, which was being devised by the Israel Defense Forces’ Central Command.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.627313

Gaza

Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian on Gaza border
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 21 Nov — A Palestinian was shot and injured by Israeli forces on Friday evening east of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip. Ibrahim al-Nimnim, 22, was shot in the right foot in the vicinity of al-Shuhada graveyard east of Jabaliya.He was taken to Kamal Adwan Hospital for treatment, where he was said to be in moderate condition. Al-Nimnim was shot after he and a group of others approached the border and set tires on fire and threw rocks toward the border.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741664

Gunshots fired near Erez crossing in north Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Nov — Gunshots were fired near Erez crossing between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, Israeli media and the Israeli army said. Israeli Channel 7 reported that gunshots were fired at Israeli forces at the crossing, without causing injuries. An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma‘an “fire was opened” at Israeli forces near the separation barrier in the area. Israeli forces responded by using a “harmless” smoke screen and left the area, she said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741071

Ministry: 36,000 Palestinians stranded amid month-long Rafah closure
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Nov — The Gaza Ministry of Internal Affairs said on Thursday that tens of thousands of Palestinians are currently unable to cross the Rafah crossing with Egypt despite an urgent need, as a closure of the border by Egyptian authorities enters its fifth week. Ministry spokesman Iyad al-Buzm said during a press conference in Gaza City that 6,000 Palestinians are stuck on the Egyptian side of the crossing unable to return home, while 30,000 humanitarian cases — including sick people seeking treatment abroad, students, and foreign-passport holders — are stuck on the Gaza side, unable to leave. Al-Buzm called the closure of the Rafah crossing for four weeks a “humanitarian disaster” for the Gaza Strip, adding that Egyptian authorities are currently closing the crossing “for no logical reason.” Al-Buzm pointed out that the Rafah crossing has been closed for 208 days this year so far, severely limiting the movement of people and goods. He requested the Egyptian authorities to open the crossing to traffic in both ways, noting that the crossing “has never been a burden on Egyptian security and there had never been any security violations on the crossing.”
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741378

Ministry: 28,000 homes damaged during Gaza war
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Nov — The minister of public works and housing in Gaza on Thursday released new statistics about damage caused by Israel’s military offensive during the summer, as the reconstruction process slowly begins. Mufid al-Hasayneh said that 28,000 homes were damaged during Israel’s offensive, with 3,000 completely destroyed. Over 88,000 affected families have registered with the UN refugee agency, he added, while over 13,000 families are receiving financial aid. Repair work has begun on the homes of over 11,000 families while 900 have received financial assistance for rent, plus $500 each family. Over 100 mobile homes have been built in the devastated Khuza‘a neighborhood while another 1,000 are being prepared for installation in the al-Shuja‘iyeh neighborhood and 1,000 more throughout the Gaza Strip. So far, Israel has only allowed in five percent of the required material needed for reconstruction, al-Hasayneh said. The removal of rubble will begin on Friday.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=741527

Israel says rockets test-fired from Gaza
Al Jazeera America 20 Nov — Israel’s military said fighters in the Gaza Strip test-fired rockets into the Mediterranean Sea, hours after the government approved the construction of 78 new homes in two settlements in the occupied West Bank. Four rockets were fired in the past 24 hours, the military said, without elaborating on the test or type of rockets fired. There was no immediate confirmation from Palestinian officials in Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas.
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/11/20/israel-rockets-palestinians.html

Other news

Uproar as Israeli mayor bans Arab workers
Christian Science Monitor 21 Nov by Josef Federman — The mayor of a southern Israeli city sparked a national uproar Thursday by barring Israeli Arab construction workers from jobs in local preschools, citing security concerns after a rash of attacks by Palestinian assailants elsewhere in the country.  The proposal was condemned as racist by Israeli leaders, but it reflected the tense mood in the country and deepened longstanding divisions between the nation’s Jewish majority and Arab minority. An opinion poll showed solid public support for the measure.  Israel has been on edge following a wave of Palestinian attacks that has killed 11 people over the past month, including five this week in a bloody assault on a Jerusalem synagogue. Most of the attacks have occurred in Jerusalem — whose population is roughly one-third Palestinian — with deadly stabbings in Tel Aviv and the West Bank as well. Responding to the unrest, the mayor of Ashkelon, Itamar Shimoni, announced that Israeli Arab laborers renovating bomb shelters in local kindergartens would be barred from their jobs. He also ordered security stepped up at construction sites where Arab laborers are employed. He said the order was a response to the synagogue attack Tuesday, in which Palestinian assailants killed four rabbis and a DruseArab policeman with meat cleavers and gunfire.  “Anyone who thinks this is illegal can take me to court,” Shimoni said. “At this time, I prefer to be taken to court and not, God forbid, to attend the funeral of one of the children from kindergartens.”  The workers in Ashkelon are Arab citizens of Israel, in contrast to the Palestinian attackers from the West Bank and east Jerusalem, and it appeared unlikely the order would last for long. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni called it illegal and ordered the attorney general to take action. “We must not generalize about an entire public due to a small and violent minority,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “The vast majority of Israel’s Arab citizens are law abiding and whoever breaks the law — we will take determined and vigorous action against him.”
https://uk.news.yahoo.com/uproar-israeli-mayor-bans-arab-workers-194049361.html#qmJow4L

Israelis demand Palestinian workers be fired
Electronic Intifada 22 Nov by Patrick Strickland — .The Israeli mayor of Ashkelon announced yesterday that Palestinian citizens of Israel are banned from working on construction projects in bomb shelters at local kindergartens during school hours. This comes amid a new wave of Israeli popular racism calling for Arabs to be fired. In a video posted on Facebook on 18 November, a group of Israeli customers in a supermarket arrive to the checkout lane with full grocery carts. They ask the cashiers whether or not the establishment employs Palestinians — and storm out in synchronized protest when the cashiers answered yes (the video has been translated by The Electronic Intifada in the copy above -press the “CC” button to activate subtitles). Mani Krois, the Facebook user who posted the video, encourages Israelis to join them in boycotting businesses that “employ the enemy.” At the time of writing, the video has received more than 4,400 “likes” and hundreds of supportive comments … Israel’s Channel 10 reported on Thursday night that 58 percent of Israelis supported Shimoni’s ban. A screenshot of that survey was posted on the social media website Twitter by Israeli journalist Ami Kaufman.
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/patrick-strickland/israelis-demand-palestinian-workers-be-fired

PA arrests 30 for planning attacks, in bid to calm West Bank
Times of Israel 20 Nov by Avi Issacharoff — The Palestinian Authority has arrested some 30 suspects over the last 72 hours thought to be planning terror attacks, primarily against settlers, as well as operatives involved in incitement against Israelis, senior Palestinian sources told The Times of Israel on Thursday. The wave of arrests was primarily focused in Hebron, where some 20 Palestinians were detained, most of them Hamas operatives. Additional arrests were made in Nablus and Ramallah. According to the sources, several of the detainees sought to perpetrate attacks similar to those of the past few days, with weapons other than firearms for example, while others planned more complex attacks. The arrests thwarted the attacks, the sources said, most of which were in the preliminary stages of planning. The sources stressed that the arrests are part of the PA’s larger goal to restore calm in the area, and were done under the general directive of PA President Mahmoud Abbas to prevent bloodshed and violence. They added that Abbas clarified at every opportunity his opposition to violence and killing. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and several other high-level politicians have repeatedly accused Abbas of fanning tensions in the capital and encouraging terror … The source added that it is clear that the defense establishment in Israel knows that Abbas seeks to quiet tensions, rather than incite.
http://www.timesofisrael.com/pa-arrests-30-planning-attacks-in-bid-to-calm-west-bank/

Hamas plan to kill Israel’s Lieberman foiled: Shin Bet
AFP 20 Nov — Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security service said Thursday that security forces had caught a Hamas group in the West Bank planning to assassinate hawkish Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. It said three suspects in custody “collected advance intelligence on the minister’s convoy,” on its journeys to and from his home in the West Bank settlement of Nokdim and sought to procure an RPG launcher with which to target his vehicle. A Shin Bet statement said Ibrahim el-Zir, Ziad el-Zir and Adnas Tzabih, all from the West Bank village of Harmala, near Nokdim, were arrested in operations by the agency, the army and the police. The statement did not specify when the arrests happened. It said that during Israel’s July-August war in Gaza Ibrahim el-Zir “began to formulate a plan to carry out an attack on the motorcade of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, with the intention that the attack would send a message to Israel and bring a stop to the war in Gaza.”  It said that “in recent days” the suspects were charged in a West Bank military court with conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to traffic in weapons.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/afp/2014/11/israel-palestinians-conflict-hamas.html

Israel lifts ban on Arab-Jewish football clash
AFP 20 Nov — Israeli police said Friday they had overturned a ban on a football match between the premier league’s only Arab club and predominantly Jewish Beitar Jerusalem despite a wave of unrest. Sunday evening’s game between Bnei Sakhnin and Beitar had been banned due to safety concerns after a series of deadly attacks in east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. There is a history of racist violence by some Beitar supporters who have clashed with Sakhnin fans in the past. Last year some Beitar supporters, angered by the signing of two Muslim players from Chechnya, torched their own club offices. Police said that Friday’s decision was made when they saw that security had been “significantly” improved at Bnei Sakhnin’s stadium, which was built with millions of dollars in donations from Qatar. The Israel Football Association welcomed the decision, and called on supporters to “act decently, (and) maintain sportsmanlike conduct and fair-play”. Police had previously refused to let the game go ahead before Sakhnin could prove it would be able to provide an emergency exit route for fans and organise a way for away supporters to arrive at the ground without creating “friction”. According to Beitar’s fan website, police will allow only 400 away supporters to attend the match.
https://uk.news.yahoo.com/israel-lifts-ban-arab-jewish-football-clash-171103787.html

Palestinian author, translator win Arabic literature prize
Electronic Intifada 21 Nov by Sarah Irving — An author and translator from Palestine are among four literary figures honored in the 2014 King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies Translation of Arabic Literature Award.  The award, which is co-sponsored by the King Fahd Center at the University of Arkansas and Syracuse University Press, includes a cash prize for the writers and translators but – perhaps more importantly – publication for the translated titles. This year’s first winner was All Faces but Mine, a collection of poetry by Samih al-Qasim, which sadly comes just months after the great man’s death. A press release from Syracuse UP, which announced the awards, described al-Qasim as: part of the flourishing of Palestinian “resistance literature,” along with Mahmoud Darwish, Tawfiq Zayyad, and later Taha Muhammad Ali.
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/sarah-irving/palestinian-author-translator-win-arabic-literature-prize

Israel’s bridge to Arab world: Palestinian natural gas?
Haaretz 21 Nov by Avi Bar-Eli — Ariel Ezrahi, the energy adviser to Quartet representative Tony Blair, is no politician, but he can’t help but provide some of the Quartet’s political thinking on Israel’s recent natural gas export agreements with its neighbors. “We asked the Egyptians about their [natural] gas contract with the partners in the Leviathan field, and they claimed that it was only a nonbinding agreement in principle. In their press release, the Jordanians also noted that alongside the agreement in principle with Leviathan, they intend to buy gas from the reservoir near Gaza — and that’s not by chance,” Ezrahi says. “You have to put yourself in the shoes of the foreign governments and understand that it’s very hard for them to sign a gas contract with Israel despite their desperate need. They’re between a hammer and an anvil in light of the TV pictures of Jerusalem burning. If I were Israel’s prime minister, I’d think how I could help the neighboring countries extricate themselves from the jam, and if Israel closes the Palestinian gas market, that’s not a smart thing.” Surprisingly, the Quartet — the contact group of the United Nations, European Union, United States and Russia — is concerned about the export agreements. The Quartet is worried that these contracts will block the development of the offshore Gaza Marine field. In the end, the Palestinians could be prevented from selling gas to Jordan and Egypt … “The amount of Palestinian gas is 30 times smaller than Israel’s. Israel will not lose large royalties if the gas off the Gaza coast is sold to Egypt. Israel has a golden opportunity to exploit its neighbors’ need for Israeli gas — like its electricity.
http://www.haaretz.com/business/.premium-1.627655

In landslide, UCLA student govt votes to divest from Israeli occupation
Mondoweiss 19 Nov by Adam Horowitz — Last night the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) undergraduate student government voted 8-2-2 to pass a resolution calling on the university to divest from companies profiting from Israeli human rights abuses and occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. According to a UCLA Students for Justice in Palestine press release, UCLA’s vote marks the sixth undergraduate University of California campus to support divestment from the Israeli occupation. The full divestment resolution can be found here and it calls for the school to divest from Boeing, Caterpillar, Cement Roadstone Holdings, Cemex, General Dynamics, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and United Technologies.  It ends with this call to justice:
http://mondoweiss.net/2014/11/landslide-divestment-resolution

groups.yahoo.com/group/f_shadi (listserv)
www.theheadlines.org (archive)

Rethinking Whole Foods in Detroit: Best #Cityreads of the Week

11/21/14
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Shutterstock.com

Tweet us your favorites with #CityReads.

A couple of years ago, as winter gave way to spring, Toyoda Ruff began to think about changing how she ate. Ruff had always been heavy, but her son, Tarik, a freshman honor student, had recently crossed the 300-pound mark, prompting Ruff to ferry him to appointments at a children’s weight loss clinic, 11 miles away in Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood, and to document everything he ate for two months. At 270 pounds, her husband, Jermaine Harris, wanted to slim down, too. Ruff was beginning to see her family’s weekly fast-food habit and visits to Golden Corral’s all-you-can-eat buffet as a problem.

As Ruff mulled over these changes, a friend cajoled her into joining a healthy cooking class at their church. Ruff was on medical leave from her job as a probation officer due to an injury, and the break gave her time to consider her meals. The more she thought about eating healthy, the more intrigued she was by a new store: Whole Foods, which had just opened in Detroit. “It was on the news. People were talking about it at church,” Ruff said. “Everybody was talking about it.”

That included people outside of Detroit, too. As the city neared bankruptcy, national media questionedwhy a grocer derided as “Whole Paycheck”—a nod to the chain’s longstanding strategy of charging a premium for organic, local, and sustainable food—would open a store there. Whole Foods’ answer was even more surprising: The store, said company leaders, was about social equity as much as profit.

"How to Draw People on the Subway," Hallie Bateman, The Awl

In this rad comic, an expert gives you the hard facts about what to do ("Mask your natural scent") and what not to do ("Don't let them see you").

A subway sketch by Alexander Lyubavin in the Urban Sketchers Flickr group. (CC Commons)

"Aftermath of a Shooting," Wilson Dizard, Al Jazeera America

A bullet fired through the screen of a front door entered Darius Sept’s gut just after midnight on Saturday, Aug. 30. The 34-year-old staggered and then fell. He lay bleeding between the two-story buildings arranged in a U shape, closed in on three sides.

Neighbors and onlookers pulled out their cellphones, dialing 911 for an ambulance and calling friends to spread the word of what happened to Darius, still awake as the ambulance made its way to him on Racine Avenue, on Chicago’s South Side. Within minutes, texts, phone calls and social media posts cascaded through the community, until almost everyone in his life knew what happened.

One person who received a call in the confused aftermath of the shooting was Darius’ girlfriend of six years, Victoria Mayweathers, a 30-year-old mother of nine. Darius was father to three of them — 3-year-old Addarius; Corderius, not yet 2; and 9-month-old Kaiden.

The couple’s fourth child was on the way, with Victoria four months pregnant. Just prior to the shooting, Darius had been texting her about baby clothes.

“I’ll always love u me and da kids will see u soon my love no matter wat IMA be here forever lord why I love u,” read the last text he sent her before the shooting.

"How the Loft Lost Its Soul," Kyle Chayka, Re:form

I live in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick, which remains one of the grungier spots in the gentrifying borough. The post-industrial blocks around my apartment are populated by coffee shops, underground clubs, and artist studio spaces that haven’t seen renovations in decades, not to mention fortune-cookie factories and chicken-slaughtering plants. But even amidst this creative-destructive cacophony, it feels like something has gone missing.

I’m talking about lofts. Once the habitat of New York’s original bohemian hipsters, known only for their lack of privacy and bad plumbing, lofts are now the privileged domain of the wealthy, a fetishized commodity marketed on New Girl. Instead of do-it-yourself renovated factories, we have pre-made townhouses with “loft-syle” floor-to-ceiling windows. Where there was once graffiti-covered brick, we have only flat gray paint.

Renters and buyers love the trendy, open-plan aesthetics of a loft, but rather than embracing its native industrial authenticity, they want it with the comfort of a luxury home. The resulting industrial Frankenstein — the condo —is killing the old-school loft by pale imitation in Bushwick and beyond.

A Brooklyn loft. (Waywuwei on Flickr/CC License)

"Needles and the Damage Done," Michael Andrews, The New Inquiry

When the first major business closed in Needles, California, local residents didn’t see it as the beginning of the end; they thought it was just a freak occurrence. In retrospect, however, the closing of Claypool’s Hardware in 2002 was an omen. Claypool’s occupied the largest building on the main drag of downtown Needles, where it has been in business for 80 years. It was a local institution. The Claypool family, which had owned and operated the store from the very beginning, didn’t publicly reveal why they decided to close; some people speculated that they simply wanted to retire. If this wasn’t the real reason, a faltering local economy didn’t seem like a plausible culprit either. The rest of Needles—a mix of locally owned businesses and national chains like McDonald’s and ­Motel 6—was humming along as it had for decades.

At the time, the fortunes of Needles—the town where I grew up—were the furthest thing from my mind. I was far away, though still in California, in my junior year at Berkeley. For me, college had been the longed-for escape from what I regarded as Needles’s suffocating boredom and closed-mindedness. In high school I wore combat boots and listened to heavy metal. I brooded, burned junk in the desert, and fantasized about living in the big city. When I went off to college, I tried to erase all trace of my small-town upbringing. I thought about Needles as little as possible, and only went back for brief visits at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Although it wasn’t clear exactly why Claypool’s went out of business, the closure roughly coincided with the opening of a Home Depot in nearby Bullhead City, Arizona, a 20-minute drive from Needles. This added to Bullhead City’s considerable stock of big-box stores, which already included a Wal-Mart and a Kmart. Needles, meanwhile, had none, even though it had just as much cheap, empty desert land. This was the result of differing regulatory regimes: California has relatively high corporate tax rates and building regulations, while Arizona has neither. So when big-box stores want to expand into the region, they always build in Bullhead City, never in Needles. What used to be the source of Needles’s fortune—its location as “the gateway to California”—has become an inexorable part of its undoing.

Welcome to Needles. (Wikimedia Commons)

(Top image via 06photo / Shutterstock.com)








Rethinking Whole Foods in Detroit: Best #Cityreads of the Week

11/21/14
Image
Shutterstock.com

Tweet us your favorites with #CityReads.

A couple of years ago, as winter gave way to spring, Toyoda Ruff began to think about changing how she ate. Ruff had always been heavy, but her son, Tarik, a freshman honor student, had recently crossed the 300-pound mark, prompting Ruff to ferry him to appointments at a children’s weight loss clinic, 11 miles away in Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood, and to document everything he ate for two months. At 270 pounds, her husband, Jermaine Harris, wanted to slim down, too. Ruff was beginning to see her family’s weekly fast-food habit and visits to Golden Corral’s all-you-can-eat buffet as a problem.

As Ruff mulled over these changes, a friend cajoled her into joining a healthy cooking class at their church. Ruff was on medical leave from her job as a probation officer due to an injury, and the break gave her time to consider her meals. The more she thought about eating healthy, the more intrigued she was by a new store: Whole Foods, which had just opened in Detroit. “It was on the news. People were talking about it at church,” Ruff said. “Everybody was talking about it.”

That included people outside of Detroit, too. As the city neared bankruptcy, national media questionedwhy a grocer derided as “Whole Paycheck”—a nod to the chain’s longstanding strategy of charging a premium for organic, local, and sustainable food—would open a store there. Whole Foods’ answer was even more surprising: The store, said company leaders, was about social equity as much as profit.

"How to Draw People on the Subway," Hallie Bateman, The Awl

In this rad comic, an expert gives you the hard facts about what to do ("Mask your natural scent") and what not to do ("Don't let them see you").

A subway sketch by Alexander Lyubavin in the Urban Sketchers Flickr group. (CC Commons)

"Aftermath of a Shooting," Wilson Dizard, Al Jazeera America

A bullet fired through the screen of a front door entered Darius Sept’s gut just after midnight on Saturday, Aug. 30. The 34-year-old staggered and then fell. He lay bleeding between the two-story buildings arranged in a U shape, closed in on three sides.

Neighbors and onlookers pulled out their cellphones, dialing 911 for an ambulance and calling friends to spread the word of what happened to Darius, still awake as the ambulance made its way to him on Racine Avenue, on Chicago’s South Side. Within minutes, texts, phone calls and social media posts cascaded through the community, until almost everyone in his life knew what happened.

One person who received a call in the confused aftermath of the shooting was Darius’ girlfriend of six years, Victoria Mayweathers, a 30-year-old mother of nine. Darius was father to three of them — 3-year-old Addarius; Corderius, not yet 2; and 9-month-old Kaiden.

The couple’s fourth child was on the way, with Victoria four months pregnant. Just prior to the shooting, Darius had been texting her about baby clothes.

“I’ll always love u me and da kids will see u soon my love no matter wat IMA be here forever lord why I love u,” read the last text he sent her before the shooting.

"How the Loft Lost Its Soul," Kyle Chayka, Re:form

I live in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick, which remains one of the grungier spots in the gentrifying borough. The post-industrial blocks around my apartment are populated by coffee shops, underground clubs, and artist studio spaces that haven’t seen renovations in decades, not to mention fortune-cookie factories and chicken-slaughtering plants. But even amidst this creative-destructive cacophony, it feels like something has gone missing.

I’m talking about lofts. Once the habitat of New York’s original bohemian hipsters, known only for their lack of privacy and bad plumbing, lofts are now the privileged domain of the wealthy, a fetishized commodity marketed on New Girl. Instead of do-it-yourself renovated factories, we have pre-made townhouses with “loft-syle” floor-to-ceiling windows. Where there was once graffiti-covered brick, we have only flat gray paint.

Renters and buyers love the trendy, open-plan aesthetics of a loft, but rather than embracing its native industrial authenticity, they want it with the comfort of a luxury home. The resulting industrial Frankenstein — the condo —is killing the old-school loft by pale imitation in Bushwick and beyond.

A Brooklyn loft. (Waywuwei on Flickr/CC License)

"Needles and the Damage Done," Michael Andrews, The New Inquiry

When the first major business closed in Needles, California, local residents didn’t see it as the beginning of the end; they thought it was just a freak occurrence. In retrospect, however, the closing of Claypool’s Hardware in 2002 was an omen. Claypool’s occupied the largest building on the main drag of downtown Needles, where it has been in business for 80 years. It was a local institution. The Claypool family, which had owned and operated the store from the very beginning, didn’t publicly reveal why they decided to close; some people speculated that they simply wanted to retire. If this wasn’t the real reason, a faltering local economy didn’t seem like a plausible culprit either. The rest of Needles—a mix of locally owned businesses and national chains like McDonald’s and ­Motel 6—was humming along as it had for decades.

At the time, the fortunes of Needles—the town where I grew up—were the furthest thing from my mind. I was far away, though still in California, in my junior year at Berkeley. For me, college had been the longed-for escape from what I regarded as Needles’s suffocating boredom and closed-mindedness. In high school I wore combat boots and listened to heavy metal. I brooded, burned junk in the desert, and fantasized about living in the big city. When I went off to college, I tried to erase all trace of my small-town upbringing. I thought about Needles as little as possible, and only went back for brief visits at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Although it wasn’t clear exactly why Claypool’s went out of business, the closure roughly coincided with the opening of a Home Depot in nearby Bullhead City, Arizona, a 20-minute drive from Needles. This added to Bullhead City’s considerable stock of big-box stores, which already included a Wal-Mart and a Kmart. Needles, meanwhile, had none, even though it had just as much cheap, empty desert land. This was the result of differing regulatory regimes: California has relatively high corporate tax rates and building regulations, while Arizona has neither. So when big-box stores want to expand into the region, they always build in Bullhead City, never in Needles. What used to be the source of Needles’s fortune—its location as “the gateway to California”—has become an inexorable part of its undoing.

Welcome to Needles. (Wikimedia Commons)

(Top image via 06photo / Shutterstock.com)








Why the Future of Major League Soccer Is Downtown

11/20/14
Image
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Four years after its inaugural season and with the new millennium approaching, Major League Soccer looked deflated. Attendance in major urban markets was plummeting. Los Angeles was averaging 11,000 fewer fans in 1999 compared to its opening season. Attendance dropped similarly in New York by about 10,000 people. Maybe the pessimists were right? Americans enjoyed watching their kids play soccer. They just didn't want to pay to see the pros do it.

The fledgling league would be revolutionized that season, however, by an unlikely source. It wasn't the slick hair and status of David Beckham—it was a new stadium design, built specifically for soccer and mirrored after many of the boxy arenas that litter soccer-crazed Europe. And it happened in Columbus, Ohio.

Crew Stadium (named after the local team, the Columbus Crew) was the first soccer-specific stadium built for Major League Soccer when it opened in 1999. In many ways, this type of stadium is antithetical to American sports culture. The arenas are comparatively small, usually seating around 20,000. They're compact, allowing fans to sit a few feet from the sidelines. While modern football and baseball stadiums compete for garishness, soccer-specific stadiums seek intimacy. More Fenway Park, less Cowboys Stadium.

Columbus' attendance rates jumped by 5,000 fans after unveiling the soccer-centric facility. Others quickly followed: Teams based in Dallas, Kansas City, Colorado, New York, Salt Lake, and Philadelphia all built similar stadiums over the next decade and a half. The difference was that these were often set in suburban enclaves. Real Salt Lake built their new stadium 14 miles outside the downtown area in neighboring Sandy, Utah. Chester, Pennsylvania, (nearly 20 miles from Philly) is home to PPL Park, the Philadelphia Union's glitzy new soccer-specific arena. MLS' popularity skyrocketed during this period of stadium makeovers, and a case can be made that the initiative saved the league. But now Major League Soccer is at a demographic and geographic crossroads—one that can't be solved by innovative infrastructure alone.

Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, is state of the art. But will its suburban location be an issue going forward? (Flickr/Idibri)

Young urbanites appears to be driving Major League Soccer's resurgent growth. As of 2010, the largest proportion of MLS fans were estimated to be between the ages of 18 and 34. No other North American professional sports league is rooted as deeply with young Americans (most fans who watched Major League Baseball, the NFL, and the NBA on TV in 2010 were aged 50 or older). But beyond their love for pro soccer, this demographic also loves the urban core and the lifestyle that comes with it. According to a 2014 report by Nielsen, more Milliennials live in urban areas than any previous generation. As a whole, 40 percent of Millennials want to live in cities, according to Nielsen. It's likely, therefore, that more young, dedicated soccer fans will flood America's urban centers in the years to come—and it's imperative that the MLS follows them there.

"The bigger backbone of their fan base in most cases is going to be that young adult consumer," says Mark S. Nagel, a sport and entertainment management professor at the University of South Carolina. "That 21 to 34 demographic is in the area of success for some of these soccer clubs," he adds.

Nagel has studied the relationship between MLS stadium locations and attendance extensively, co-authoring a report on the topic that was published last year. Fifteen years ago, he says, as the league doubled down on soccer-specific stadiums, the suburbs seemed like a good fit. Parking capacity was robust. Land was affordable. Suburban families with young kids enthusiastic about soccer could easily access the arenas. But a suburban-centric fan base—despite attendance increases—may ultimately have a low ceiling for the league.

As the figure above shows, many new pro soccer facilities were built upwards of 30 miles outside downtown areas. (Journal of Venue & Event Management)

In fact, an MLS match loses 260 potential fans for every mile the stadium is located outside its nearest urban core, according to Nagel's study. An MLS stadium's "distance from the city center has a magnified effect," on attendance, he and his co-author concluded. (Their findings were based on a regression, which combined average attendance of MLS games between 1999 and 2011 with the amenities offered in each stadium based on a number of arena quality-rating services.) Recent announcements by the MLS seem to indicate that the league is aware of the limitations of the suburbs and exurbs. The league's next revolution is likely to take place downtown.

Located 28 miles outside Boston, Gillette Stadium is a difficult commute for many young, urban-based fans. (Journal of Venue & Event Management)

Plans for the Los Angeles Football Club, or LAFC (a working name), were announced last month. The team is scheduled to begin play in 2017. And LAFC's cast of star-studded co-owners, which includes Magic Johnson and Mia Hamm, have indicated they want a downtown arena. A parcel of land in Hollywood Park was cited by the AP as a potential landing spot. Sports Illustrated, quoting MLS, reported that the team could end up playing at the L.A. Sports Arena, near the L.A. Coliseum. If carried out, this would mark a major shift for southern California's soccer landscape—a historically suburban affair.

The L.A. Galaxy, one of the league's most successful clubs, has never truly been based in Los Angeles. Their first six seasons were played in Pasadena, followed by a move to equally suburban Carson, California, in 2003. Another L.A. team—Chivas U.S.A.—also played their home games in Carson beginning in 2005. Chivas dissolved earlier this year, however, in part because of low attendance.

On the other side of the country, owners of the New England Revolution are actively planning to build a new stadium near downtown Boston. Initial plans are focused on South Boston, the Boston Globe reported Tuesday, a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood with reliable public transit that is popular among young professionals. It's a far cry from the Revolution's current housing situation. Games are held 30 miles outside Boston, at Gillette Stadium in exurban Foxborough, Massachusetts (home of the New England Patriots). Attendance has been on the upswing lately, but Revolution matches can still feel desolate. Around 40,000 seats are usually unoccupied in the cavernous football stadium during games. Team owners Bob Kraft and Jonathan Kraft were scorched in an April story in Boston Magazine. The Krafts were labeled "the worst owners" in the MLS by the author, in part because of the team's inability to attract young Bostonians.

"[T]he city’s population of hip young urbanites, immigrants, college students, and soccer-crazed kids would seem ideally suited to ride the MLS wave," author Kevin Alexander wrote. But "the Revolution toil in obscurity," Alexander explains, because Millennials are unable, or unwilling, to trek to the 'burbs.

That's not to say the future of the MLS will hinge entirely on a "go urban or go home" mentality. Moreover, developing a professional sports team in an urban core is expensive, and land won't always be ideal for the project. Some MLS teams have even thrived by doing the exact opposite, going from urban to suburban: Earlier this year, I wrote about the relocation of Sporting KC. The franchise's financial and performance turnaround is owed largely to its decision to ditch Kansas City, Missouri for its more suburban and smaller neighbor, Kansas City, Kansas.

Downtown locations like CenturyLink Field in Seattle are the likely future for MLS arenas. (Flickr/Tiffany Von Arnim)

Still, as long as the MLS fanbase is tilted towards a younger demographic, the urban core will be an ideal market. Especially downtowns accessible by public transit and those that encourage foot traffic. Areas with vibrant culinary and music scenes. Essentially, cultural hubs where a pro soccer game becomes part of the experience there for a young fan, not the sole experience. On Thursday, the MLS will meet with city officials from Las Vegas, Minneapolis, and Sacramento to discuss possible expansion opportunities. These cities would be wise to present a plan that envisions a downtown soccer culture, a soccer culture that a Millennial fanbase can get behind. They should emulate Seattle.

Watch Seattle's soccer-crazed fans march to their downtown stadium.

43,000 Seattle Sounders fans packed CenturyLink Field for every regular season game this year. Sounders games in 2014 had roughly twice as many fans as any other team. It's not a state-of-the-art, soccer-specific stadium. It's not even a brand-new stadium. But it's downtown. And before every game, thousands of Seattle residents march for an hour through the city center en route to the match.

Hard to imagine that happening in Sandy, Utah.








Why the Future of Major League Soccer Is Downtown

11/20/14
Image
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Four years after its inaugural season and with the new millennium approaching, Major League Soccer looked deflated. Attendance in major urban markets was plummeting. Los Angeles was averaging 11,000 fewer fans in 1999 compared to its opening season. Attendance dropped similarly in New York by about 10,000 people. Maybe the pessimists were right? Americans enjoyed watching their kids play soccer. They just didn't want to pay to see the pros do it.

The fledgling league would be revolutionized that season, however, by an unlikely source. It wasn't the slick hair and status of David Beckham—it was a new stadium design, built specifically for soccer and mirrored after many of the boxy arenas that litter soccer-crazed Europe. And it happened in Columbus, Ohio.

Crew Stadium (named after the local team, the Columbus Crew) was the first soccer-specific stadium built for Major League Soccer when it opened in 1999. In many ways, this type of stadium is antithetical to American sports culture. The arenas are comparatively small, usually seating around 20,000. They're compact, allowing fans to sit a few feet from the sidelines. While modern football and baseball stadiums compete for garishness, soccer-specific stadiums seek intimacy. More Fenway Park, less Cowboys Stadium.

Columbus' attendance rates jumped by 5,000 fans after unveiling the soccer-centric facility. Others quickly followed: Teams based in Dallas, Kansas City, Colorado, New York, Salt Lake, and Philadelphia all built similar stadiums over the next decade and a half. The difference was that these were often set in suburban enclaves. Real Salt Lake built their new stadium 14 miles outside the downtown area in neighboring Sandy, Utah. Chester, Pennsylvania, (nearly 20 miles from Philly) is home to PPL Park, the Philadelphia Union's glitzy new soccer-specific arena. MLS' popularity skyrocketed during this period of stadium makeovers, and a case can be made that the initiative saved the league. But now Major League Soccer is at a demographic and geographic crossroads—one that can't be solved by innovative infrastructure alone.

Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, is state of the art. But will its suburban location be an issue going forward? (Flickr/Idibri)

Young urbanites appears to be driving Major League Soccer's resurgent growth. As of 2010, the largest proportion of MLS fans were estimated to be between the ages of 18 and 34. No other North American professional sports league is rooted as deeply with young Americans (most fans who watched Major League Baseball, the NFL, and the NBA on TV in 2010 were aged 50 or older). But beyond their love for pro soccer, this demographic also loves the urban core and the lifestyle that comes with it. According to a 2014 report by Nielsen, more Milliennials live in urban areas than any previous generation. As a whole, 40 percent of Millennials want to live in cities, according to Nielsen. It's likely, therefore, that more young, dedicated soccer fans will flood America's urban centers in the years to come—and it's imperative that the MLS follows them there.

"The bigger backbone of their fan base in most cases is going to be that young adult consumer," says Mark S. Nagel, a sport and entertainment management professor at the University of South Carolina. "That 21 to 34 demographic is in the area of success for some of these soccer clubs," he adds.

Nagel has studied the relationship between MLS stadium locations and attendance extensively, co-authoring a report on the topic that was published last year. Fifteen years ago, he says, as the league doubled down on soccer-specific stadiums, the suburbs seemed like a good fit. Parking capacity was robust. Land was affordable. Suburban families with young kids enthusiastic about soccer could easily access the arenas. But a suburban-centric fan base—despite attendance increases—may ultimately have a low ceiling for the league.

As the figure above shows, many new pro soccer facilities were built upwards of 30 miles outside downtown areas. (Journal of Venue & Event Management)

In fact, an MLS match loses 260 potential fans for every mile the stadium is located outside its nearest urban core, according to Nagel's study. An MLS stadium's "distance from the city center has a magnified effect," on attendance, he and his co-author concluded. (Their findings were based on a regression, which combined average attendance of MLS games between 1999 and 2011 with the amenities offered in each stadium based on a number of arena quality-rating services.) Recent announcements by the MLS seem to indicate that the league is aware of the limitations of the suburbs and exurbs. The league's next revolution is likely to take place downtown.

Located 28 miles outside Boston, Gillette Stadium is a difficult commute for many young, urban-based fans. (Journal of Venue & Event Management)

Plans for the Los Angeles Football Club, or LAFC (a working name), were announced last month. The team is scheduled to begin play in 2017. And LAFC's cast of star-studded co-owners, which includes Magic Johnson and Mia Hamm, have indicated they want a downtown arena. A parcel of land in Hollywood Park was cited by the AP as a potential landing spot. Sports Illustrated, quoting MLS, reported that the team could end up playing at the L.A. Sports Arena, near the L.A. Coliseum. If carried out, this would mark a major shift for southern California's soccer landscape—a historically suburban affair.

The L.A. Galaxy, one of the league's most successful clubs, has never truly been based in Los Angeles. Their first six seasons were played in Pasadena, followed by a move to equally suburban Carson, California, in 2003. Another L.A. team—Chivas U.S.A.—also played their home games in Carson beginning in 2005. Chivas dissolved earlier this year, however, in part because of low attendance.

On the other side of the country, owners of the New England Revolution are actively planning to build a new stadium near downtown Boston. Initial plans are focused on South Boston, the Boston Globe reported Tuesday, a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood with reliable public transit that is popular among young professionals. It's a far cry from the Revolution's current housing situation. Games are held 30 miles outside Boston, at Gillette Stadium in exurban Foxborough, Massachusetts (home of the New England Patriots). Attendance has been on the upswing lately, but Revolution matches can still feel desolate. Around 40,000 seats are usually unoccupied in the cavernous football stadium during games. Team owners Bob Kraft and Jonathan Kraft were scorched in an April story in Boston Magazine. The Krafts were labeled "the worst owners" in the MLS by the author, in part because of the team's inability to attract young Bostonians.

"[T]he city’s population of hip young urbanites, immigrants, college students, and soccer-crazed kids would seem ideally suited to ride the MLS wave," author Kevin Alexander wrote. But "the Revolution toil in obscurity," Alexander explains, because Millennials are unable, or unwilling, to trek to the 'burbs.

That's not to say the future of the MLS will hinge entirely on a "go urban or go home" mentality. Moreover, developing a professional sports team in an urban core is expensive, and land won't always be ideal for the project. Some MLS teams have even thrived by doing the exact opposite, going from urban to suburban: Earlier this year, I wrote about the relocation of Sporting KC. The franchise's financial and performance turnaround is owed largely to its decision to ditch Kansas City, Missouri for its more suburban and smaller neighbor, Kansas City, Kansas.

Downtown locations like CenturyLink Field in Seattle are the likely future for MLS arenas. (Flickr/Tiffany Von Arnim)

Still, as long as the MLS fanbase is tilted towards a younger demographic, the urban core will be an ideal market. Especially downtowns accessible by public transit and those that encourage foot traffic. Areas with vibrant culinary and music scenes. Essentially, cultural hubs where a pro soccer game becomes part of the experience there for a young fan, not the sole experience. On Thursday, the MLS will meet with city officials from Las Vegas, Minneapolis, and Sacramento to discuss possible expansion opportunities. These cities would be wise to present a plan that envisions a downtown soccer culture, a soccer culture that a Millennial fanbase can get behind. They should emulate Seattle.

Watch Seattle's soccer-crazed fans march to their downtown stadium.

43,000 Seattle Sounders fans packed CenturyLink Field for every regular season game this year. Sounders games in 2014 had roughly twice as many fans as any other team. It's not a state-of-the-art, soccer-specific stadium. It's not even a brand-new stadium. But it's downtown. And before every game, thousands of Seattle residents march for an hour through the city center en route to the match.

Hard to imagine that happening in Sandy, Utah.








It's Not Easy Being Green Czar

11/20/14
Image
Matt Petersen (right) with Eric Garcetti in June 2013, shortly before Garcetti took office (Global Green USA )

Matt Petersen, the first Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Los Angeles, has been dealt a tough hand.

He likes to start presentations by reminding his audience that L.A. has the worst air quality of any region in the United States. "We still are defined as a community by traffic, and, of course, made fun of on Saturday Night Live because of it," he says. The city experiences more extreme heat days every year, and with them, record energy use and an increased risk of wildfires. The possibility of an earthquake looms over every major planning decision.

And then there's the water thing. "The apparent ease of California life is an illusion," wrote Joan Didion in a 1977 essay on the precarious nature of the state's water supply. "Those who believe the illusion real live here in only the most temporary way."

Petersen, a California native and the former CEO of the environmental organization Global Green USA, has no doubts on that score. But the recent drought has made the case clear. "Unlike climate change, which is tough for people to see, drought is very evident. It's real," Petersen says.

In his hiring announcement last year, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti described Petersen's extensive purview: He helms "a citywide effort to make every neighborhood healthier, create green jobs, and hold every city department responsible for cleaner air and water." The press has labeled Petersen a "sustainability czar."

His job, in his words, is to be "a catalyst, a cheerleader, and a driver of change."

Pom-poms aside, Petersen's immediate, concrete task is drafting Los Angeles' first-ever sustainability plan. The document, which is expected to come out this winter, will make recommendations for how the city can accommodate the coming decades of growth in a landscape that looks less amenable with each passing year. The agenda will likely span goals from transit to air quality, renewable energy to healthy-food access.

Mayor Garcetti and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy touring the L.A. River last year (Damian Dovarganes/AP)

It's modeled after New York's much-lauded PlaNYC, released by Michael Bloomberg in 2007; Bloomberg Associates, the consultancy staffed by members of the former New York mayor's brain trust, is one of the consultants on the L.A. project. By now, many other U.S. cities have rolled out their own sustainability plans, including Philadelphia, Denver, and Santa Monica, next door to L.A.

Supervising this comprehensive effort has been made more feasible, Petersen says, by a consolidation of authority under Garcetti. Where the previous mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, delegated to 13 deputy mayors, Garcetti has only four. ("Certainly reduces the number of people you have to go talk to," Petersen notes.)

Nevertheless, Los Angeles has a lot of ground to make up. In 2010, faced with recession-era budget shortfalls, Villaraigosa and the L.A. City Council eliminated the city's Department of Environmental Affairs and 27 positions therein. Petersen, who represents the renewal of a centralized environmental policy, has a staff of four.

"He's got a giant boulder to move here, and not a lot of money or staff to do it," says Daniel Freedman, the board chair of the non-profit Los Angeles Sustainability Collaborative. "There was no broader vision for a sustainable Los Angeles coming from City Hall, and that's the setting that Matt Petersen stepped into." Still, Freedman maintains that he's optimistic about what the Garcetti administration can achieve.

A Californian tends to her drought-resistant plants. (Gregory Bull/AP)

The current crisis may offer an opportunity to reform this vast and unwieldy metropolis. Just as Hurricane Sandy reinforced the necessity of adapting New York to a more volatile future, the drought has emphasized the essential vulnerability of life in Southern California.

"It's unfortunate that it took a crisis to mobilize that kind of support, but I think people are responding," Petersen told me. (The state's $7.1 billion water bond proposal, the first such measure since 2006, passed a referendum on Election Day by more than two to one.)

For example, he says, the single biggest opportunity for reducing Los Angeles' water consumption by 20 percent over the next few years—a step that Garcetti promised last month—is in replacing lawns. It's exactly the kind of situation where sustainability advocates have been perceived, in the past, as opponents of not just pollution and waste but of the American lifestyle itself. (Lawn grass is the nation's biggest irrigated crop, after all.)

As the city offers a $3.75-per-square-foot Cash in Your Lawn incentive, Petersen thinks the culture is changing. "Now people are really saying, 'You know what, I'm going to replace my lawn.'" Perhaps, instead of drought-resistant cacti and sunflowers, they’re installing Astroturf—but it's a start. "Just getting them to that place is something that wouldn't have happened before," Petersen says.








It's Not Easy Being Green Czar

11/20/14
Image
Matt Petersen (right) with Eric Garcetti in June 2013, shortly before Garcetti took office (Global Green USA )

Matt Petersen, the first Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Los Angeles, has been dealt a tough hand.

He likes to start presentations by reminding his audience that L.A. has the worst air quality of any region in the United States. "We still are defined as a community by traffic, and, of course, made fun of on Saturday Night Live because of it," he says. The city experiences more extreme heat days every year, and with them, record energy use and an increased risk of wildfires. The possibility of an earthquake looms over every major planning decision.

And then there's the water thing. "The apparent ease of California life is an illusion," wrote Joan Didion in a 1977 essay on the precarious nature of the state's water supply. "Those who believe the illusion real live here in only the most temporary way."

Petersen, a California native and the former CEO of the environmental organization Global Green USA, has no doubts on that score. But the recent drought has made the case clear. "Unlike climate change, which is tough for people to see, drought is very evident. It's real," Petersen says.

In his hiring announcement last year, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti described Petersen's extensive purview: He helms "a citywide effort to make every neighborhood healthier, create green jobs, and hold every city department responsible for cleaner air and water." The press has labeled Petersen a "sustainability czar."

His job, in his words, is to be "a catalyst, a cheerleader, and a driver of change."

Pom-poms aside, Petersen's immediate, concrete task is drafting Los Angeles' first-ever sustainability plan. The document, which is expected to come out this winter, will make recommendations for how the city can accommodate the coming decades of growth in a landscape that looks less amenable with each passing year. The agenda will likely span goals from transit to air quality, renewable energy to healthy-food access.

Mayor Garcetti and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy touring the L.A. River last year (Damian Dovarganes/AP)

It's modeled after New York's much-lauded PlaNYC, released by Michael Bloomberg in 2007; Bloomberg Associates, the consultancy staffed by members of the former New York mayor's brain trust, is one of the consultants on the L.A. project. By now, many other U.S. cities have rolled out their own sustainability plans, including Philadelphia, Denver, and Santa Monica, next door to L.A.

Supervising this comprehensive effort has been made more feasible, Petersen says, by a consolidation of authority under Garcetti. Where the previous mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, delegated to 13 deputy mayors, Garcetti has only four. ("Certainly reduces the number of people you have to go talk to," Petersen notes.)

Nevertheless, Los Angeles has a lot of ground to make up. In 2010, faced with recession-era budget shortfalls, Villaraigosa and the L.A. City Council eliminated the city's Department of Environmental Affairs and 27 positions therein. Petersen, who represents the renewal of a centralized environmental policy, has a staff of four.

"He's got a giant boulder to move here, and not a lot of money or staff to do it," says Daniel Freedman, the board chair of the non-profit Los Angeles Sustainability Collaborative. "There was no broader vision for a sustainable Los Angeles coming from City Hall, and that's the setting that Matt Petersen stepped into." Still, Freedman maintains that he's optimistic about what the Garcetti administration can achieve.

A Californian tends to her drought-resistant plants. (Gregory Bull/AP)

The current crisis may offer an opportunity to reform this vast and unwieldy metropolis. Just as Hurricane Sandy reinforced the necessity of adapting New York to a more volatile future, the drought has emphasized the essential vulnerability of life in Southern California.

"It's unfortunate that it took a crisis to mobilize that kind of support, but I think people are responding," Petersen told me. (The state's $7.1 billion water bond proposal, the first such measure since 2006, passed a referendum on Election Day by more than two to one.)

For example, he says, the single biggest opportunity for reducing Los Angeles' water consumption by 20 percent over the next few years—a step that Garcetti promised last month—is in replacing lawns. It's exactly the kind of situation where sustainability advocates have been perceived, in the past, as opponents of not just pollution and waste but of the American lifestyle itself. (Lawn grass is the nation's biggest irrigated crop, after all.)

As the city offers a $3.75-per-square-foot Cash in Your Lawn incentive, Petersen thinks the culture is changing. "Now people are really saying, 'You know what, I'm going to replace my lawn.'" Perhaps, instead of drought-resistant cacti and sunflowers, they’re installing Astroturf—but it's a start. "Just getting them to that place is something that wouldn't have happened before," Petersen says.








Choose One, Millennials: Upward Mobility or Affordable Housing

11/19/14
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Salt Lake City, pictured, is the one of the rare cities that scores highly on two separate measures of housing affordability and upward mobility. (Wkimedia Commons)

So what'll it be: Dayton or San Francisco?

Alright, so that's not the most common choice for young people getting ready to start their lives. But it's an instructive question.

Dayton is the most affordable housing market in the United States, according to Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko, while San Francisco is the least affordable place to live in America. But the San Francisco-San Jose area has a better record of social mobility than just about any region in the country, according to Harvard economist Raj Chetty. In other words, a variety of factors make it the best place for young person to work his or her way into the middle class and beyond. As for Dayton and other Ohio cities, they account for four of the 12 worst cities for that same measure of upward mobility.

The Dayton-SF dilemma isn't about Ohio vs. California. It's about a broader dilemma for young workers and, in particular, young couples looking to buy a home, raise children, and achieve the American Dream. The cities with the least affordable housing often have the best social mobility. And the cities with the worst social mobility often have the most affordable housing. When good jobs for the middle class and affordable homes are living in different cities, it represents a slow-motion splintering of the American Dream.

In 2013, Chetty and a phalanx of economists produced a one-of-a-kind study on intergenerational mobility—that is, the odds that low-income households can work their way into the middle class and above. Comparing social mobility by metro area, they discovered that the American Dream is alive in many cities, such as Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, and San Jose. But it's dying in others, particularly across the southeast and the Rust Belt, where cities are spread out, segregated, and blighted by bad schools and broken families.

But most young people aren't choosing to move to a city because they've heard that a Harvard economist said it was really good for intergenerational mobility. They move for more short-term financial reasons. They want to live affordably. As Kolko explains, "the five most affordable markets are in Ohio, Indiana, and upstate New York... the South is relatively affordable, too."*

But now look what happens when you compare Chetty's map of economic opportunity (red is bad) ...


Economic Opportunity, by Location

(Chetty)

with Kolko's map of affordable housing by city (red is still bad).


Percent of For-Sale Homes That Are Affordable With a Median Household Income

(Kolko/Trulia)

Climbing the income ladder is easiest in the West and Northeast. But finding an affordable home is easiest in the South and the Great Lakes/Appalachian region. California, home to six of the seven least-affordable housing markets, has four of the 11 best cities for upward mobility.

If you plot the 50 largest metro areas by Kolko's affordability metric and Chetty's absolute mobility metric, the inverse relationship is unavoidably clear. Upwardly mobile cities have more expensive homes.


Percent of Homes Millennials Can Afford vs. Social Mobility

The X-axis includes the names of only some of the cities recorded here. The graph does not include the three outliers discussed in the next paragraph: Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, or Minneapolis. (Kolko/Chetty)

There are the only three cities in the United States with (a) at least 50 percent of houses affordable to middle-class Millennials and (b) a top-10 finish in Chetty's mobility calculations. These are the outliers: Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, and Salt Lake City.

In the graph below, I've isolated the 10 best cities for upward mobility and arranged them by affordability to give you a sense of how steep the drop-off is after our trio of outliers. Less than half of all homes are affordable to middle-class Millennials in Boston, NYC, and across California's major metros, all of which are sterling cities for working your way into and past the middle class.


Top 10 Cities for Social Mobility, Ranked by Affordability

(Chetty/Kolko)

Here are the 10 major U.S. cities with the worst upward mobility by Chetty's measure. I've arranged them by Kolko's affordability metric again. What stands out immediately: More than half of the houses in all of these cities are affordable for young families. (These are all major metros, and the worst places for upwardly mobility could well be in exurban and rural America.)


Bottom 10 Cities for Social Mobility, Ranked by Affordability

(Chetty/Kolko)

Lots of graphs, lots of colors, but this is a pretty simple conclusion. The American Dream begins with a good job and place to live that you can afford. But today, those two halves of the American Dream are living apart. The good jobs and high wages are in unaffordable cities. The affordable homes cluster in the cities with lower wages and less upwardly mobile families.

Kolko offers a sensible explanation:

High-income households bid up home prices, and high prices push out lower-income households. In addition, higher-income metros tend to have less new construction than lower-income metros do. As a result, high-income metros such as San Francisco and San Jose are among the least affordable, even after taking income into account ... Bucking the trend are Washington, D.C., and the Bethesda metro next door, where incomes are high and more than 60% of homes are within reach of the middle class.

Until more rich coastal cities find ways match the income growth of their residents with more housing development, the best advice for young people seeking the American Dream isn't "Go West, young man" or "Go East, young woman." It's "Check out Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, and Salt Lake City."


*Kolko calls a house affordable when "total monthly payment, including mortgage, insurance, and property taxes, is less than 31 percent of the metro area’s median household income" for Millennial-headed households. Millennials is defined as adults under 35.

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.