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As Israel Vows Annexation, Palestinian Leaders Embark On Risky Form Of Protest

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Palestinians demonstrate against Israel’s annexation plans in Rafah, Gaza, on June 11. Palestinian leaders have begun refusing to coordinate with Israel on matters of daily Palestinian life, from tax collection to policing to medical treatments — a move some Palestinians see as self-defeating. Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images hide caption

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Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Palestinians demonstrate against Israel’s annexation plans in Rafah, Gaza, on June 11. Palestinian leaders have begun refusing to coordinate with Israel on matters of daily Palestinian life, from tax collection to policing to medical treatments — a move some Palestinians see as self-defeating.

Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vows to annex parts of the occupied West Bank next month, with support from the U.S., Palestinians find themselves with no recourse to stop Israel from grabbing the land they seek for a state. So Palestinian leaders are embracing a risky method of protest.

They declared last month they’re no longer bound by the 1990s-era peace accords that govern Israeli-Palestinian relations, and have begun refusing to coordinate with Israel on matters of daily Palestinian life, from tax collection to policing to cancer treatments — arrangements they’ve found humiliating.

As Palestinian leaders see it, Israel — by moving to annex territory instead of negotiating its fate — is not holding up its side of the peace agreements. So the Palestinians will stop holding up theirs.

“This is an issue in which we cannot be silent on,” Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said in a June 9 briefing with reporters. “Annexation is an existential threat for our future.”

Shtayyeh said the threat of annexation requires Palestinians to make sacrifices, but vowed not to resort to violence.

By disrupting the status quo, Palestinian leaders want to seize the world’s attention and scare Israel into abandoning annexation plans. But international donors have criticized the Palestinians for shirking their commitment to the peace accords, and ordinary Palestinians are paying the price for the disruptions in funds, policing and medical care.

“We put our finger in our mouth, bit ourselves, and are waiting for the Israelis to scream,” a Palestinian security official says, speaking on condition of anonymity to criticize government policy.

Hospital visits blocked

Palestinians who received transplants in Israeli hospitals say they now cannot get post-operative care because Palestinian bureaucrats refuse to arrange their travel permits to Israel or guarantee they’ll pay for the treatment. Palestinian authorities also refuse to coordinate with Israel to allow Palestinian patients to travel outside the impoverished Gaza Strip for life-saving treatments, according to Physicians for Human Rights-Israel.

Souad Abdel Hadi, 49, was diagnosed last month with leukemia but is unable to travel from Gaza to a West Bank hospital for a bone marrow transplant.

“This is a human situation. This is a medical situation. We are sick people who need treatment and should not be hostages to this political situation,” she tells NPR by telephone.

The Palestinian Authority called on the International Committee of the Red Cross to serve as an intermediary with Israel for medical and security matters now that the Palestinians are suspending their ties with Israel, but the organization said it does not have the resources to administer medical referrals.

“We got calls from families of patients, but basically, we had to sort of clarify that we are not in a position to take that on right now,” says Dan Waites, a spokesperson with the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Breakdown in taxes and policing

Palestinian officials are now refusing to accept any of the tax revenues Israel collects on their behalf, leaving tens of thousands of Palestinian civil servants unlikely to get full paychecks this month. The $145 million a month Israel transfers to the Palestinians is estimated to make up about 60% of the Palestinian Authority’s budget.

Officials have also stopped updating Israel when they’ve renewed a Palestinian’s car registration or driver’s license, so Israeli police have erroneously issued some drivers heavy fines on West Bank highways, the Palestinian security official says.

Palestinian security officers usually coordinate their movements with Israel, a joint security mechanism to keep the West Bank calm, but officers have been ordered not to speak to their Israeli counterparts.

Security officials claim the suspension of security coordination with Israel has prevented Palestinian police from intervening in deadly cases of domestic violence. In one case though, there are allegations police used that as an excuse for its failure to prevent a killing.

On May 31, three Palestinians were killed in a family dispute, apparently concerning gold rumored to be stored in a relative’s home. Ordinarily, Palestinian police would have needed to ask Israel’s permission to pass through Israeli-controlled areas to intervene in the village. Palestinian police claimed it was unable to dispatch officers to defuse the dispute, due to suspended security ties with Israel, and that officers living in the area unsuccessfully tried to intervene. A relative of the family, who spoke to NPR on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of discussing a killing in his family, disputed the police account, saying a police officer detained suspects but later freed them, leading to the shooting.

“We’re living annexation anyway”

Over the years, Palestinians have fought uprisings against Israel, and they’ve signed peace accords — but none of it has won them independence, and years of international condemnation have not stopped Israeli settlements from growing in the West Bank.

Some Palestinians are calling for a whole new approach — not to fight to preserve the possibility of an independent Palestinian state, but to acknowledge its impossibility.

“It’s a waste of time if we keep using the same tools and repeating the same statements and relying on the international community to put pressure on Israel,” says Dalal Iriqat, a professor of conflict resolution at the Arab American University in the West Bank. “The number of settlements, expansion, it left no space, geographically speaking, for our Palestinian state … we’re living annexation anyway, de facto. So why don’t we sit back, watch it happen, and have Netanyahu declare the end of the two-state solution?”

The growing consensus among Palestinian intellectuals is that Jewish settlement growth in the West Bank has left no room left for a viable Palestinian state, and that the only option is one state for Israelis and Palestinians, with equal rights for all. That would mean ending the idea of a Jewish state. Though Israel would oppose it, Iriqat is confident that in the distant future, it will prove to be the only realistic option for two peoples inextricably linked in the same small land.

“Universal values, universal human rights and civil rights will definitely prevail,” says Iriqat. “Even if it takes time.”

Source: https://www.npr.org/2020/06/14/875593140/as-israel-vows-annexation-palestinian-leaders-embark-on-risky-form-of-protest?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news

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Security and Sustainability Forum-With Hazel Henderson and Claudine Schneider. 10/22/2020

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Steering Societies Beyond GDP to the SDGs

With Hazel Henderson and Claudine Schneider

October 22, 2020

1:15 pm to 2:15 pm EDT

The next webinar in the SSF series, with ecological economist and futurist Hazel Henderson, will address how the UN SDGs can and should replace GDP as the basis for valuing society leading to an economy based on planet protection and human wellbeing. Claudine Schneider is Hazel’s guest.

GDP accounts for all the public expenditures as “debt” while ignoring the value of the assets they created. If GDP were to be corrected by including the missing asset account, these debt-to-GDP ratios would be cut by up to 50% — with a few keystrokes! Learn why money isn’t what you think it is and why that matters to life on Earth in the next two webinars with Hazel and guests.

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Claudine Schneider is a former Republican U.S. representative from Rhode Island. She was the first, and to date only, woman elected to Congress from Rhode Island. She is founder of Republicans for Integrity, which describes itself as a network of “Republican former Members of Congress who feel compelled to remind Republican voters about the fundamentals of our party and to provide the facts about incumbents’ voting records.”

October 22nd webinar with Claudine Schneider and Hazel

Sincerely,

Ed.

Edward Saltzberg, PhD

Executive Director

Security and Sustainability Forum

www.ssfonline.org

[email protected]

Sincerely,

Ed.

Edward Saltzberg, PhD

Executive Director

Security and Sustainability Forum

www.ssfonline.org

Source: https://www.ethicalmarkets.com/63564-2/

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The Briefing: RVShare raises over $100M, Google disputes charges, and more

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Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

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RVShare raises over $100M for RV rentals

RVShare, an online marketplace for RV rentals, reportedly raised over $100 million in a financing led by private equity firms KKR and Tritium Partners.

Akron, Ohio-based RVShare has seen sharp growth in demand amid the pandemic, as more would-be travelers seek socially distanced options for hitting the road. Founded in 2013, the company matches RV owners with prospective renters, filtering by location, price and vehicle types.

Previously, RVShare had raised $50 million in known funding, per Crunchbase data, from Tritium Partners. The company is one of several players in the RV rental space, and competes alongside Outdoorsy, a peer-to-peer RV marketplace that has raised $75 million in venture funding.

Funding news

  • BrightFarms closes on $100M: Indoor farming company BrightFarms said it secured more than $100 million in debt and new equity capital to support expansion plans. The Series E round of funding was led by Cox Enterprises, which now owns a majority stake in the company, and includes a follow-on investment from growth equity firm Catalyst Investors.
  • Anyscale inks $40MAnyscale, the Berkeley-based company behind the Ray open source project for building applications, announced $40 million in an oversubscribed Series B funding round. Existing investor NEA led the round and was joined by Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital and Foundation Capital. The new funding brings Anyscale’s total funding to more than $60 million.
  • Klar deposits $15M: Mexican fintech Klar closed on $15 million in Series A funding, led by Prosus Ventures, with participation from new investor International Finance Corporation and existing investors Quona Capital, Mouro Capital and Acrew. The round brings total funding raised to approximately $72 million since the company was founded in 2019. The funds are intended to grow Klar’s engineering capabilities in both its Berlin and Mexico hubs.
  • O(1) Labs rakes in $10.9M: O(1) Labs, the team behind the cryptocurrency Mina, announced $10.9 million in a strategic investment round. Co-leading the round are Bixin Ventures and Three Arrows Capital with participation from SNZ, HashKey Capital, Signum Capital, NGC Ventures, Fenbushi Capital and IOSG Ventures.
  • Blustream bags $3M: After-sale customer engagement company Blustream said it raised $3 million in seed funding for product usage data and digital transformation efforts for physical goods companies via the Blustream Product Experience Platform. York IE led the round of funding for the Worcester, Massachusetts-based company with additional support from existing investors.Pillar secures another $1.5M: Pillar, a startup that helps families protect and care for their loved ones, raised $1.5 million in a seed extension to close at $7 million, The round was led by Kleiner Perkins.

Other news

  • Google rejects DOJ antitrust arguments: In the wake of a widely anticipated U.S. Justice Department antitrust suit against Google, the search giant disputed the charges in a statement, maintaining that: “People use Google because they choose to, not because they’re forced to, or because they can’t find alternatives.”
  • Facebook said to test Nextdoor rival: Facebook is reportedly testing a service similar to popular neighborhood-focused social Nextdoor. Called Neighborhoods, the feature reportedly suggests local neighborhood groups to join on Facebook.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-10-21-20/

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Crunchbase

Syte Sees $30M Series C For Product Discovery

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Online shopping has become the norm for most people in 2020, even coaxing traditional retail brands to up their presence to stay competitive. However, now that shoppers can’t see and touch products like they used to, e-commerce discovery has become a crucial element for customer acquisition and retention.

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Enter Syte, an Israel-based company that touts creating the world’s first product discovery platform that utilizes the senses, such as visual, text and voice, and then leverages visual artificial intelligence and next-generation personalization to create individualized and memorable customer experiences, Syte co-founder and CEO Ofer Fryman told Crunchbase News.

To execute on this, the company raised $30 million in Series C funding and an additional $10 million in debt. Viola Ventures led the round and was joined by LG Technology Ventures, La Maison, MizMaa Ventures and Kreos Capital, as well as existing investors Magma, Naver Corporation, Commerce Ventures, Storm Ventures, Axess Ventures, Remagine Media Ventures and KDS Media Fund.

This brings the company’s total fundraising to $71 million since its inception in 2015. That includes a $21.5 million Series B, also led by Viola, in 2019, according to Crunchbase data.

Fryman intends for the new funding to be put to work on product enhancements and geographic expansion. Syte already has an established customer base in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and will now focus expansion in the U.S. and Asia-Pacific.

Meanwhile, Syte has grown 22 percent quarter over quarter, as well as experienced a 38 percent expansion of its customer base since the beginning of 2020.

“Since we crossed $1 million annual recurring revenue, we have been tripling revenue while also becoming more efficient,” Fryman said. “We can accelerate growth as well as build an amazing technology and solution for a business that needs it right now. We plan to grow further, and even though our SaaS metrics are excellent right now, our goal is to improve them.”

Anshul Agarwal, managing director at LG Technology Ventures, said Syte was an attractive investment due in part to its unique technology.

“They have a deep-learning system and have created a new category, product discovery that will enable online shopping in a way we never had the ability to do before,” Agarwal said. “The product market fit was also unique. We believe in the strong execution by the team and the rapid growth in SaaS. We looked at many different companies, and the SaaS metrics that Syte showed are the strongest we’ve seen in a while.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/syte-sees-30m-series-c-for-product-discovery/

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