Holding a photo of her imprisoned son, a Gaza City woman protests for the right to family visits outside of the Red Cross building on 12 April 2010. Prisoners in 13 Israeli facilities began a boycott of family visits, protesting what they called unequal treatment for prisoners, as the visits were used to punish inmates and harass family members, detainees said. [MaanImages/Wissam Nasser]
Bethlehem – Palestinian Minster of Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqe identified a Palestinian prisoner in Israel, announced dead Friday afternoon, as 26 year old Raed Muhammad Ahmad Hammad.
The death comes on the Day of the Palestinian Prisoner, marked by dozens of rallies across the West Bank and Gaza, commemorating the lives of more than 10,000 Palestinians currently held in Israel, and the hundreds of thousands of others who have spent years of their lives incarcerated by Israeli military courts.
Former prisoner Abed An-Naser Farawneh said Hamad’s death came as a result of “intentional medical negligence,” and noted that Hammad was the 198th Palestinian to die in Israeli custody since the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967.
According to a report from the Palestinian Authority, Hammad was moved into solitary confinement in Israel’s Eshel Prison, despite medical reports indicating the young man was not well.
An announcement by Israel’s prison authority said only that a 31 year old Palestinian died in a southern Israeli facility, and noted investigations into the reasons behind his death had been initiated.
Hammad was a member of the Hamas party, and was serving a prison term following his conviction in an Israeli military court on charges of attempting an attack on Israeli civilians.
We can already see how disastrously the US election turned out, not just for Americans but the rest of us also. “The US president is simply the voice of the Zionist parasite,” writes a friend in Norway. “It is sickening and frightening that Obama is seen toeing the Zionist line.
“Zionism has the US administration and other western governments by the balls.”
Well, that’s certainly the way it looks. Last month Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu slapped America in the face by approving more illegal settlements during vice-president Joe Biden’s visit. What did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton do? She repeated the pathetic mantra: “We have an absolute commitment to Israel’s security. We have a close unshakeable bond between the United States and Israel and between the American and Israeli people”.
Whereupon over half of America’s lawmakers topped Clinton’s performance by signing a letter committing to the US’s “unbreakable” bond with the racist regime.
Nine months earlier, speaking in a BBC interview, Obama said he believed the US was “able to get serious negotiations back on track” between Israel and the Palestinians. And when asked about Israel’s defiance when called on to halt construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, he urged patience. “Diplomacy is always a matter of a long hard slog. It’s never a matter of quick results.”
The fact is, diplomacy doesn’t work with the Israelis. Everyone knows the problem: Israel’s contempt for international law and UN resolutions. And now we see Obama’s contempt too. In this wobbly leader’s mind Israel is somehow exempt from the laws, conventions, codes of conduct and respect for the rights of others that apply to everyone else in the civilised world.
Forcing negotiations is immoral
And Obama should know better than to keep harping on about peace negotiations. It is absurd to put a weak party and a strong party together and expect fair results when the strong party is in permanent occupation and has its military boot on the weak party’s neck.
It is immoral to expect the weak party to negotiate while the strong party is in flagrant breach of international law, commits acts of piracy, maintains a crippling blockade, carries out daily air strikes on civilians and continues to steal the weak party’s land and resources.
It is immoral for sponsors of negotiations to be so partisan as to refuse to recognize the democratically elected representatives of the weak party or its right to self-determination and territorial integrity.
It is immoral to force negotiations without first establishing a level playing field and ensuring both sides are compliant with international law. The international community has shirked this responsibility for decades, not because the peoples of the community of nations lack the will but because their leaders are gutless and corrupt.
Then there’s the scandal of the US government’s aid to Israel which runs at nearly $3 billion annually and totals well over $100 billion since 1949. The money helps pay for Israel’s costly occupation of Palestinian territory, its F-16s, helicopter gun-ships, tanks, ordnance, Caterpillar bulldozers, and all the other tools of military oppression and territorial grand theft.
Israel gets more $billions in indirect aid – military support, loan write-offs, rich technology transfers and special grants. Before George W Bush left office he agreed an assistance package of $30 billion over the next ten years.
So the US taxpayer has been cheerfully funding Israeli operations to destroy Palestinian infrastructure (which in many cases has been paid for by British, EU and – yes – US taxpayers) and bring the whole civil society to its knees.
Most of this aid violates US laws that stipulate US-supplied weapons can only be used for “legitimate self-defense” and military assistance is prohibited to any country that engages in “a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights”. Military assistance is also banned to any government that refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or allow inspection of its nuclear facilities. But thanks to the “unbreakable” bond with Israel these inconvenient laws might as well not exist.
Israelis fiercely attack any attempt to ‘de-legitimise’ their ill-gotten gains while more and more people argue that the state of Israel had no legitimacy in the first place. Nevertheless the Zionist menace now has nuclear fangs and the capability to target most European cities… and, as we have seen, has no sense of restraint whatever.
Gee, thanks, America. Before you go accepting any more peace prizes, Obama, how about bringing to heel this monster the US has been nurturing?
Israel’s ‘Voices’ compete for British vote
Here in Britain we have our own version of AIPAC. The Foreign Office has been under Zionist influence for decades. Our most important security bodies – the Intelligence & Security Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Defence Committee – are headed by Israel flag-wavers. They have embedded themselves in nearly ever nook and cranny of parliamentary life.
Right now these stooges are battling for our votes in a general election.
Before the election campaign the main parties, Labour and the Conservatives, were so wedded to the Zionist cause that both wished to change our laws to protect Israeli leaders from arrest on war crimes charges and provide them with a safe haven in Britain.
Now they keep very quiet about their pro-Israel antics, no doubt hoping the question won’t be brought under the public spotlight or need explaining.
Labour has been in power 13 years and is now under Blair’s successor Gordon Brown, a Zionist sympathizer and patron of the Jewish National Fund. The party’s 115-page manifesto barely mentions the fate of the Holy Land except to say: “We support the creation of a viable Palestinian state that can live alongside a secure Israel.” Note that it’s a secure Israel but only a viable Palestine. Israel must remain comfortably secure while continuing its ethnic cleansing and thieving.
The Conservative Party is favourite to win the election – or was until its leader, David “I’m-a-Zionist” Cameron, flunked a televised leaders’ debate. Cameron too is a dutiful patron of the JNF. His party’s 118-page manifesto says nothing about Britain’s responsibility towards the Palestinians apart from promising support for a two state solution to the Middle East Peace Process. That’s all, full stop.
80% of Conservative MPs and MEPs, it is claimed, are passionate admirers of racist Israel. But they don’t shout it from the rooftops at election time. No, they are furtive because they know deep down that it is a grubby, indefensible position and the public would react with revulsion if the party’s allegiance to a foreign military power that makes war on Christian communities was exposed in the mainstream media.
Sad to say, then, there is no sign of Labour or the Conservatives deviating from the path of betrayal.
Thankfully a third party, the Liberal Democrats, is emerging strongly. Its leader, Nick Clegg, is no rabid Zionist though readers will remember he recently sacked Baroness Jenny Tonge to appease the Israel lobby. However, the Liberal Democrats at least believe Britain and the EU must put pressure on Israel and Egypt to end the blockade of Gaza and talk of borders “which are secure and based on the situation before the 1967 conflict”.
This party looks less corruptible than the others and less likely to worship at the altar of Zionism. Not being considered serious contenders till now, Clegg and his team probably haven’t been groomed by the US administration’s spivs and pimps. So we can expect big efforts to discredit them in the days ahead.
In my simple way I see a glimmer of hope here.
When a proper history comes to be written, Americans will struggle to explain how the most powerful nation on earth was so easily conned and mugged for countless billions of tax dollars to finance the ambitions of a bunch of extremists bent on defiling the Holy Land and spreading their tentacles into every crevice of the western world.
The British also will have some explaining to do.
Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk
On a beautiful March day, I was on the way to school in Jerusalem when the bus I was in was stopped at Ras Il-Amoud. The soldiers got into the bus, told everyone to get out and told the bus driver to turn and go back from where it came. Some passengers started arguing with the soldiers, explaining they had jobs or classes to go to, but the soldiers didn’t want to know about that and started shouting and beating those present with their clubs, including me. We were school children and were not a threat to armed soldiers, nevertheless a number of us were arrested for daring to tell the soldiers to stop beating us. We were handcuffed and loaded into military jeeps. On the way, we were forced to bend our heads down the whole trip and the only thing I could see were the boots of the soldiers.
When the jeep finally stopped, we were ordered by the soldiers to step down and as I looked around me I realized we were in a military camp. The soldiers told us then to stand in a certain place, turn our backs to them and kneel on the ground. We were still handcuffed. Opposite me I could see the mountains of Jerusalem and I realized we were in the Abu-Dees military camp which occupied one of the hills. We weren’t allowed to sit but half kneel which was very painful. And as we half-knelt there, near each other but not able to talk to each other, the soldiers started throwing small stones at us. They were laughing and talking in Hebrew while throwing the stones. I didn’t understand what they were talking about, but I figured they were betting who would hit which one of us and where. I don’t remember how long this “game” lasted, but I remember how painful the kneeling was, how painful the stones were when they hit my head and how I wondered what would happen to us, what they would do to us here alone in this military camp with no Palestinian around. Every now and then I would take a quick peek at the hills in front of us and I would think about my parents and what they were doing. We tried comforting each other silently by touching our feet. We didn’t talk for we weren’t allowed to do that, but whenever someone near me touched my foot with theirs, it was like telling me: don’t worry, we’ll get through this, and I would return the gesture.
After seemingly long hours, maybe in the afternoon, we were loaded back into the jeeps, ordered to lower our heads again and a new journey started. When this second journey ended, we were in one of the detention centres. The soldiers separated us from each other and I was taken to a small room where one female soldier searched me thoroughly several times. Then another male soldier came and took me to another room and told me to keep standing the whole time and if I sit I will be punished and that they will be watching me. While waiting I could hear shouting and a boy crying a room nearby. They were interrogating him and I knew my turn would be next. That day, I was a school pupil on my way to school, I got beaten by armed Israeli soldiers, was used as a “target” in their games and ended up in a detention centre. I was a child, a little girl, and was surrounded and beaten by no less that 5 or 6 fully armed soldiers to be then detained for “attacking the soldiers”. It didn’t matter that I was a child, it didn’t matter that I was a girl, to the Israeli soldiers I am a Palestinian, thus beating me and detaining me for no reason is allowed.
This is not an isolated case. Palestinian women and children are detained on almost a daily basis, and are physically and physiologically abused. They are beaten, humiliated and tortured during arrest, interrogation and detention. Their families are also harassed and sometimes other family members are arrested as well to extract a confession from the detainee. Palestinian children are interrogated by Israeli soldiers without the presence of a lawyer or a family member and later stand trial like adults. Families are often not allowed to see their children before or after trial.
Since 1967, Israel detained over 700,000 Palestinians including tens of thousands of children. Since the outbreak of Al-Aqsa Intifada in 09.2000, more than 8000 Palestinian children have been detained, of whom 337 are still in Israeli detention. According to “Defence for Children International/Palestine Section (DCI/PS)”, around 700 Palestinian children are detained yearly in Israeli jails. Of the over 8500 Palestinians currently detained in Israeli jails, at least 400 were children at the time of their arrest. Palestinian children are arrested from their homes, from schools, while playing in the streets or at checkpoints. They are blindfolded, shackled and taken into detention centers where they are separated from others. They are beaten, threatened and abused by the soldiers and interrogators, are not allowed to see a lawyer or a family member and are forced into singing papers in Hebrew which they don’t know. These children are prosecuted as adults in two military courts and by military officers who act both the prosecutor and the judge. Many of the children detained are subjected to administrative detention which means detention without charges or any trial. [...]
One recent incident is that of Mohammad Al-Qunbar, a 14 year old from Jerusalem. On 15.03.2010 Mohammad was first hit by a police car, then beaten by the occupation police and detained despite his injury. The Israeli occupation police first claimed that Mohammad was hit by an “Arab” car, but pictures taken during the incident proved otherwise. Later, the boy testified he was threatened by investigators in the Maskubiyyeh with prison in case he revealed that he was hit by a police car. Mohammad said that an Israeli car came towards him and his friend, hit him the first time, turned and hit him a second time. Then those inside the car came out, arrested him and started beating him in the car while he was crying.
Children are also arrested during midnight raids. In recent years, mass arrests of Palestinian children have been reported. On 10.02.2010, and during a nightly military raid on Al-Jalazoun refugee camp in Ramallah, 19 children were detained from their homes. These were beaten and harassed and the families report that the IOF used excessive force during the arrests. The children were then taken to a detention centre and interrogated without the presence of a lawyer or any family member. According to the “Defence for Children International/Palestine Section (DCI/PS)” five of them were aged 14, seven were aged 15, four were aged 16 and three were aged 17. At least seven of them (aged 15 or less) were transferred to jails inside Israel which is, in addition to the illegality of detaining children, another violation of international law. During another similar midnight raid, this time in Silwan in Jerusalem, several Palestinian children aged 12 to 15 were detained. These were taken from their beds, handcuffed and transported to interrogation cells in the Maskubiyyeh and their parents were not allowed to accompany them. The children later testified that they were threatened and beaten during the interrogation. Similar midnight raids with mass arrests of children occurred in Tura Al-Gharbiyyeh on 19.01.2009, Azzun on 14.07.2009 and in Haris on 26.03.2009 where over 90 children were detained, beaten and threatened.
According to the Defence for Children International/Palestine Section (DCI/PS): 
90 Day: the period of time a Palestinian detainee, including a child, can be denied access to a lawyer and held in incommunicado detention (Military Order 378)
20 Years: the maximum sentence that can be imposed on a Palestinian, including a child, for throwing stones (Military Order 378)
188 Day: the length of time a Palestinian detainee, including a child, can be held in detention without charge (Military Order 378)
2 Years: the period of time a Palestinian detainee, including a child, can be held between indictment and trial.
Since 1967 more than 12,000 Palestinian women were detained by the Zionist entity. During the First Intifada 3000 women were detained and during Al-Aqsa Intifada more than 900 women were locked up behind Israeli bars. Currently, there are 35 Palestinian women detainees in the Israeli prisons Damon and HaSharon: among them 3 administrative detainees, 8 await trial, 23 sentenced of whom 5 are serving life sentences. Palestinian female detainees, like their brothers in detention, suffer from the brutality of the Israeli Prison Authority. They are punished for the slightest thing with isolation, are beaten, harassed, tied up for hours under hot sun or under rain, deprived of sleep, their rooms raided at night, continuously denied family visits and calls back home and letters are sent and brought only once every 3 months. Water is very dirty and food is inedible, thus the detainees are forced to buy their food and water from the prison canteen for very high prices. Some political prisoners are also locked up with Israeli criminals who abuse them. Their cells are over-crowded, damp, lack hygiene and are infested with insects.
The detainees are also denied appropriate and much needed medical treatment and most medications are expired; 13 detainees are in need of medical treatment. Amal Faiz Jum’a from Askar refugee camp suffers from womb cancer while Raja’ Al-Ghoul from Jenin refugee camp suffers from heart and blood pressure diseases and both don’t get the need treatment. Female detainees are only allowed to see a general doctor and no specialists, and some were forced to give birth while hand and leg cuffed such as Mirvat Taha and Manal Ghanim. Currently, there are at least 6 Palestinian mothers in detention. Others have their husbands or their brothers in Israeli detention as well, but are not allowed to visit them. Abir Odeh for example has 3 brothers in Israeli detention and Fatin Al-Shafi’ Al-Sa’di has a brother in jail.
Despite several claims made to the contrary over the past several months, US commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal today conceded that there was no proof that the Iranian government has been sending fighters or weapons to Afghanistan.
At the same time McChrystal did note that some weapons and ammunition have crossed the border from Iran to Afghanistan and that some Taliban may have even trained inside Iran, but that they were not “operationally significant” amounts.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had last month accused Iran of supporting the Taliban behind the scenes, despite Iran’s formal ties with the Karzai government and long history of animosity [toward the Taliban].
Though the flow of arms back and forth across the long, largely unguarded border is perhaps unsurprising, the claims of training camps operating in the area around Zahedan suggest that the more reasonable explanation is that Taliban receiving training there could well be forging ties with the Sunni insurgency in the Sistan-Balochistan region as opposed to the Iranian government.
China’s plans to increase gasoline exports to Iran will effectively thwart US efforts to choke off the country’s energy sector, a recent report reveals.
Forbes reported on Friday that state-owned China National Petroleum Corp.’s trading unit, ChinaOil, has already sent 600,000 barrels of gasoline to Iran in two $55 million shipments. According to the article, the trading unit of China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec), Unipec, has also agreed to sell some 250,000 barrels to Iran through a third party in Singapore.
The report comes at a time when Washington is exerting pressure to halt Iran’s low-level nuclear activities by targeting the country’s gasoline trade.
A bipartisan slate of US senators and lawmakers, tabled a motion in April 2009 that advocated tough sanctions against countries that sell refined petroleum, including gasoline, to Iran. The Islamic Republic has been under US sanctions ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution toppled a US-backed monarch in Iran.
Tehran says Washington has long been using sanctions, which normally pressure ordinary people in a country, as a tool to force independent nations bow to its “illogical demands.”
On Friday, Iranian Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi warned that US-led sanctions against Iran will fail to achieve their desired results as the country has managed to become self-sufficient in oil production and products. Mirkazemi further added that Iran has become “quite the expert in tackling sanctions imposed by Western countries” over the past three decades.