Two dozen European doctors who had previously worked in Gaza expressed their dismay in a leading medical journal Tuesday at the plight of the wounded and ill in the conflict.
“Wounded and sick people cannot leave easily to get specialized treatment outside Gaza. Entries of food and medicines into Gaza have been restricted and many essential items for survival are prohibited,” the group of 24 doctors from Italy, Britain and Norway wrote in The Lancet.
“Before the present assault, medical stock items in Gaza were already at an all time low because of the blockade. They have run out now.”
Along with reports of hospitals being shelled, there were also allegations of “threats to the medical personnel in emergency services and denial of entry for international humanitarian convoys,” wrote the group.
“We as scientists and doctors cannot keep silent while this crime against humanity continues.”
They urged others in the medical fraternity to speak out, and expressed dismay that “only five percent of our Israeli academic colleagues signed an appeal to their government to stop the military operation against Gaza.
“We are tempted to conclude that with the exception of this five percent, the rest of the Israeli academics are complicit in the massacre and destruction of Gaza.”
The letter was signed by genetics professor Paola Manduca of the University of Genoa in Italy, Sir Iain Chalmers of the James Lind Library at Oxford, Derek Summerfield of Kings’ College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Mads Gilbert of the University Hospital of North Norway’s Clinic of Emergency Medicine, and Swee Ang, an orthopaedic surgeon at Barts and the Royal London Hospital, on behalf of 24 doctors.
TUNIS – Head of Tunisia’s al-Nahda party Rashid al-Ghannoushi revealed on Monday night that Egypt has refused to receive a Tunisian plane bound for Gaza loaded with medicines and medical supplies.
Al-Ghannoushi told Al-Jazeera TV network that the Egyptian authorities had refused to allow the plane to land at the airport nearest to the Gaza Strip, pointing out that it was carrying medical supplies badly needed in the beleaguered Strip.
The plane was supposed to fly back injured people who sustained serious wounds during the ongoing Israeli aggression on Gaza to receive treatment in Tunisia, he explained.
Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki had declared a week ago his country’s intention to send a plane carrying medicines and medical supplies for Gaza Strip.
Along the same line, the Egyptian authorities continued to prevent a team of European specialized surgeons from having access to Gaza despite possessing the needed papers for that.
Dr. Mohammed Abu Nada, coordinator for the Forum of Palestinian Doctors in Europe, told Quds Press on Tuesday that they have been prevented by Egyptian army from entering into Gaza for the fifth day despite having official permits allowing their access.
The FPDE delegation includes a number of general surgeons in addition to surgeons specialized in vascular surgery and pediatric surgery.
583 Palestinians were killed and 3640 injured in 15 days of Israeli ferocious pounding of the besieged enclave. Hundreds of homes, hospitals, mosques, and schools were demolished during the Israeli airstrikes, navy shelling, and artillery bombardment.
It’s the new “self defence”
Britain’s newly-minted foreign secretary Philip Hammond has lost his shine already. A few days ago he warmly welcomed Egypt’s bogus ceasefire proposal which hadn’t even been shown to Hamas.
Yesterday he was asked three times on the the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show whether Israel’s military operations in Gaza were a proportionate response and he ducked the question every time.
However he did say: “We will be looking very carefully at what is happening on the ground to make sure that it is proportionate, that civilian lives are being protected in a proper way.”
The continuing carnage suggests otherwise. Would Mr Hammond care to tell the world what action he has actually taken to “make sure”? Perhaps blood-letting doesn’t bother him. After all, he voted with the warmongers for the Iraq war.
Of course, he recited the obligatory mantra that Israel has the right to protect itself. The best way to avoid Palestinian loss of life in Gaza, he said, would be for Hamas to stop firing rockets from Gaza and “in those circumstances the world would not expect any kind of Israeli action against Gaza.”
He knows perfectly well that no rockets are fired from the West Bank, yet the West Bank is still under brutal occupation and blockade and Israeli repression there is unceasing. If rockets from Gaza were to stop, what difference would it make to the Palestinians there?
He’ll know too that Israel cannot claim right of self-defence against a people it has illegally occupied and humiliated for decades, and that the Palestinians are entitled to take up arms against their tormentor.
He finished by saying: “We need an immediate re-imposition of a ceasefire and then we need proper discussion about dealing with the underlying grievances.” Note the downgrading of war crimes and crimes against humanity to the level of mere grievances. I wonder if Hammond knows the first thing about the Palestinians’ “grievances”.
I commend to the new Foreign Secretary this video which shows how his attitude has rendered some people almost speechless.
In a statement to the House of Commons today the prime minister David Cameron issued what can only be described as a barrowload of propaganda horse manure on both the airliner tragedy in Ukraine and the Israeli blitzkrieg on Gaza
Eager to flog his plan for more sanctions he said the conflict in Ukraine could have been curtailed by Moscow but had been fermented by Moscow. It was a defining moment for Russia. “Those of us in Europe should not need to be reminded of the consequences of turning a blind eye when big countries bully smaller countries.” He didn’t see the irony. Perhaps he doesn’t realise that his beloved Israel’s defining moment has arrived.
Turning to Gaza, he came out with this: “The crisis was triggered by Hamas raining hundreds of rockets on Israeli cities indiscriminately targeting civilians in contravention of all humanitarian law and norms. We’ve been clear throughout this crisis that Israel has the right to defend itself. Those criticising Israel’s response must ask themselves how they would expect their own government to react if hundreds of rockets were raining down on British cities today.” Dear God, does no-one vet the drivel tossed out by Number 10′s speechwriters?
I mean, would a British government be mad enough to illegally occupy its next door neighbours for nearly 50 years, trash their heritage, steal their resources, move settlers into choice locations, cage the natives within the sealed remnants then bomb them all to hell and back for firing garden-shed rockets? Well yes, I guess a Cameron government might do exactly that if told to… and call it self-defence just like their Israeli buddies.
To assist in a crime makes one a criminal by any legal standard. And the biggest crimes of all are war crimes, since they kill en masse and showcase the cruelest form of human behavior.
The fact that Israel is actively committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip is not open to debate, since a cursory glance at the conflict obviously exposes them in practice.
The two most glaring war crimes Israel is committing — as defined by the Geneva Convention — are the concepts of “collective punishment” and “necessity and proportionality.”
Under collective punishment, a warring party cannot respond to an attack by waging war on the attacker’s community, as is clearly happening in Gaza. The clearest proof that collective punishment is being used is that a 1,000 Gaza homes have been destroyed and the majority of the casualties are civilians.
Under “necessity and proportionality” a warring party must only use the amount of force necessary to defeat the opponent; disproportional force is a crime. So, for example, if Hamas fires wimpy rockets that kill virtually no Israelis, then it is “disproportionate” for Israel to rain massive bombs, missiles, and artillery to reduce large sections of Gaza to rubble. Even Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg called the Israel attack a “deliberately disproportiate form of collective punishment.”
It is also a specific war crime to deliberately attack civilians, and especially to attack facilities treating the wounded. But Israel has attacked al-Aqsa hospital in Gaza four times, according to Reuters. The latest shelling of al-Aqsa killed 4 and wounded 70.
Even the pro-western Human Rights Watch has denounced Israel for committing war crimes:
“Israeli air attacks in Gaza investigated by Human Rights Watch have been targeting apparent civilian structures and killing civilians in violation of the laws of war.”
Obama’s aiding and abetting Israeli war crimes is also closed to debate, since his administration stands guilty from the very beginning of the conflict by shielding Israel from international political pressure, hiding its war crimes by deliberately misrepresenting what is happening, and giving political space for the war to continue by not intervening directly.
It was a blatantly laughable lie when Obama said that his government was “using all means” to achieve a ceasefire early in the conflict.
The U.S. influence over Israel is tremendous, and Obama could have ended the conflict in the first hour by simply declaring, “If Israel does not stop its attack on Gaza, the U.S. will refuse further military and financial assistance and sever all diplomatic and political ties.” War over.
Instead of taking this action, or any action for that matter, Obama sat on the sidelines. In fact, Obama deliberately waited until the end of the second week of the war to even send his Secretary of State John Kerry to broker a ceasefire deal. Of course, Obama could have come himself.
Obama further assisted in Israeli war crimes by repeatedly justifying Israel’s right to commit them, deceitfully placing all Israel’s actions under the big umbrella of “self-defense.” Again, war crimes are war crimes and were purposefully created to trump any excuse of self-defense.
After ten days of a brutal bombing campaign an Israeli ground invasion was announced, which everyone knew would intensify the bloodshed. This would have been a key moment for the U.S. government to finally intervene. But instead, as ABC News reports:
“President Barack Obama said Friday that he encouraged Israel’s leader to minimize civilian deaths in its ground push into Hamas-ruled Gaza, while letting him know that the U.S. supports Israel’s right to self defense.”
A statement like this can be interpreted to mean only one thing: a green light to continue the massacre.
When John Kerry was finally sent to the Middle East to broker a peace deal, he was still making excuses for Israeli’s war crimes. USA Today reports:
“Kerry also blamed the latest wave of violence on what he called Israel’s “legitimate” efforts to pursue and punish those who last month kidnapped and killed three Israeli teenagers whose bodies were found in the West Bank.”
Again, bombing a whole city because three Israeli teens were killed is disproportional collective punishment — war crimes. There is also no evidence that Hamas is responsible for the death of three Israeli teens, which it has denied since day one.
The colossally disproportionate aspect of the war has been continually smoothed over by the Obama administration, which consistently lumps Palestinian and Israeli civilian deaths evenly together, as if they were happening with equal frequency. But in reality the 550 Palestinians that have been killed and 3,500 wounded are mostly civilians, while the few dozen Israeli’s who’ve died have been mostly soldiers.
How dangerous are the Hamas rockets that the Obama administration endlessly talks about? CBS news recently reported:
“Hamas also fired 50 more rockets at Israel, including two at Tel Aviv, causing no injuries or damage.”
This has been the story of the conflict in which Obama has justified the complete destruction of the Gaza Strip by continually saying “no nation should accept rockets being fired into its borders.”
Obama’s muted language about Israel’s aggression can be compared to the recently shot down Malaysian jet, for which Obama summoned his “outrage” while instantly blaming the pro-Russian Ukrainians, though without a shred of evidence.
But most of the world believes Israel’s actions are outrageous, an opinion not allowed to be expressed at the United Nations, thanks again to the Obama administration, which used its clout to sterilize Israel’s actions by limiting the UN’s statement on the conflict.
Specifically, the Obama administration used its influence over the UN Security Council to limit its statement to “serious concern” about civilian casualties on “both sides” of the conflict, thus white washing the nature of events and providing the aggressor with invaluable political breathing space.
The Obama administration has also assisted Israeli War Crimes by continually blaming Hamas for not agreeing to the Egyptian brokered ceasefire agreement. Hamas is the elected government of the Gaza Strip, and thus has a right to not agree to a ceasefire agreement. But of course Hamas’ not agreeing to the Egyptian agreement does not justify a continual Israeli blitzkrieg of the Gaza Strip, though the Obama administration’s logic implies exactly this.
Lastly, the Obama administration has consistently lied about the origins of this bloodbath. The three dead Israeli teens were not the cause of this conflict, but the pretext, which the Israeli government consciously exploited to promote war among the Israeli population.
The real cause of the war was the recent alliance between the Palestinian Authority — which governs the West Bank — and Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip. This alliance gave the Palestinians their strongest hand in bargaining with Israel in perhaps decades, which was enough to spark a new round of massacres from the Israeli government in an effort to re-balance the bargaining table.
This ongoing bloody dynamic continues in large part because the U.S. government allows it. The vast majority of people across the world are denouncing Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinians, and so too must U.S. citizens denounce their government’s criminal actions in assisting Israeli war crimes.
Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action. He can be reached at email@example.com
Israeli forces on Tuesday fired “warning shots” at a building housing the offices of Al Jazeera and the Associated Press, one day after Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed to shut down the Qatari-based channel.
“Two warning shots straight into al jazeera office in #gaza.. We are evacuating,” Al Jazeera journalist Stefanie Dekker tweeted Tuesday.
She said the Gaza City building also houses several residential apartments and an AP office.
Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent Wael Dahdouh also reported on the attack. He said some of the staff were asleep during the attack when two explosions went off inside the bureau, causing panic.
He said the shots may have come from a tank or helicopters. Their office is located on the 11th floor of the Jalaa building.
He said the attack appeared deliberate, and noted that only their office was hit.
Al Jazeera aired footage of their staff standing outside the building.
“Al Jazeera network considers statements made against it by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman a direct incitement,” a statement posted to Al Jazeera’s website said.
Lieberman on Monday accused Al Jazeera of being a mouthpiece for Hamas, and said the ministry was taking steps to prevent it from broadcasting from the territory, according to an Israeli media report.
Channel 2 quoted Lieberman as saying that the channel promotes “antisemitism” and “encourages” terrorism.
Lieberman has also been calling in private meetings for Israel to assassinate Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal, who currently lives in Qatar, the Channel 2 report said.
Tuesdya’s attack is not the first time journalists have been targeted by Israel since the assault on Gaza began two weeks ago.
Journalist Khaled Hamad, 25, was killed by Israeli shelling early on Sunday while covering Israel’s attack on al-Shujayeh. A total of 74 people were killed in that massacre. Most of the victims were women, children and elders, medics said.
Hamad, who was reportedly wearing a vest marked “press,” was killed alongside medic Fouad Jaber, 28, according to Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra.
Gaza journalists condemned Hamad’s killing in a statement released Sunday. According to the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, Israeli fire injured a second journalist while Israeli shelling struck the home of a third.
On July 9 Hamid Shihab, a driver for a news agency, was killed when Israel bombed the car he was driving. Photographs posted to Twitter showed the car was marked “TV” with large, red letters.
Several other journalists have also been injured in other Israeli attacks widely viewed as deliberate.
Israeli occupation forces massacred overnight two Palestinian families, killing at least 35 people from these two families, paramedics said.
Occupation forces targeted the four-story building of the Abu-Jamei family in Bani-Suhaila City in the south of the Gaza Strip, killing 25 family members and wounding several others.
One of the family members, who survived the massacre, said that their relatives came to their house to stay with them after they had been pushed to leave their own homes for security.
He explained that not long afterwards, at the time of the Iftar, an Israeli F16 rocket hit their house without any warning.
In Rafah, in the far south of the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupation forces targeted another house at dawn, killing ten members of the same family. The number of wounded is still unknown.
According to an official medical source, the attacks against these two families bring the number of Palestinian families massacred during the on-going Israeli war on Gaza to 32.
The source said that the medical situation in the hospitals of the Gaza Strip is disastrous because of the strict Israeli siege. He said that the hospitals are suffering from severe shortages of spare parts for medical equipment and medicines.
Over the past two weeks, Israel has been waging a massive military campaign against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, killing more than 500 people and injuring thousands.
As we watch the horrifying slaughter unfold in Gaza, bear in mind the Israeli psychosis that fuels and justifies it. Here are comments from three rightwing Israelis – two leading politicians and a professor – who very much reflect a strain of mainstream thinking in Israel, one that the international media largely avoids noting.
Each, in their different ways, is advocating a genocide of the Palestinians.
Ayelet Shaked, of economics minister Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party, calls on her Facebook page for murdering the mothers of what she terms Palestinian “terrorists” (a very broad concept indeed in current Israeli thinking) so that they cannot give birth to more “little snakes”:
They have to die and their houses should be demolished so that they cannot bear any more terrorists. They are all our enemies and their blood should be on our hands. This also applies to the mothers of the dead terrorists. …
[The terrorists] are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.
Mordechai Kedar, a lecturer on Arabic literature at Bar Ilan University, believes the sisters and mothers of Palestinian “terrorists” should be raped:
A terrorist, like those who kidnapped the boys [in the West Bank on June 12] and killed them, the only thing that will deter them, is if they know that either their sister or mother will be raped if they are caught. What can we do? This is the culture that we live in.
Note that his university did not reprimand him. They defended his comments:
The purpose was to define the culture of death of the terrorist organizations. Dr Kedar illustrated in his words the bitter reality of the Middle East and the inability of a modern and law-abiding country to fight the terror of suicide bombers.
And finally we have Moshe Feiglin, a deputy speaker of the Israeli parliament and a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, urging the Israeli army to kill Palestinians in Gaza indiscriminately and use every means possible to get them to leave:
[Netanyahu] announces that Israel is about to attack military targets in their area and urges those who are not involved and do not wish to be harmed to leave immediately. Sinai is not far from Gaza and they can leave. This will be the limit of Israel’s humanitarian efforts. … All the military and infrastructural targets will be attacked with no consideration for ‘human shields’ or ‘environmental damage’. …
The IDF will conquer the entire Gaza, using all the means necessary to minimize any harm to our soldiers, with no other considerations. … The enemy population that is innocent of wrong-doing and separated itself from the armed terrorists will be treated in accordance with international law and will be allowed to leave. Israel will generously aid those who wish to leave.
This psychosis is not going to get better on its own. In fact, it’s going to get much worse. How much worse will depend entirely on the continuing inaction of western leaders.
A man is taken from his home by 20 armed, militarized police in fascist black uniforms. They break in through the doors and windows, rappel from the roof with ropes, storm the home where he lives with his wife and four children, in the dead of night.
They take him away, and no one hears from him for days, and then weeks, and then months. He isn’t charged with anything; for a long time he is simply disappeared. There is no official charge, but he is a known political activist, a writer, a lecturer.
This isn’t news, because the country is Jordan, the orders come from the US or from Israel, and the man is an Arab, a Palestinian.
I met Amer Jubran 13 years ago when he was living in the United States. He was arrested for the first time at a protest in Brookline, MA that he helped to organize against a yearly celebration of the colonization of Palestine called “Israel Day.” Police arrested him, broke up the demonstration, held him over night in jail with hand and leg shackles, and then charged him with assaulting a passerby. After a lengthy series of court hearings, the judge found the charges to be baseless. Information obtained in the course of the hearings revealed instead that the police had been in the pay of the Israel Day organizers, including the Israeli consulate. The police had been communicating with them about the protest–including details about individual protest organizers–and had more or less acted as agents of a foreign government.
At that time, I knew almost nothing about the history of Palestine. I attended Amer’s trial because the civil rights violations involved in his arrest were so egregious that his case required support from anyone who sincerely believed in basic political rights.
The bulk of Amer’s trial in Brookline took place in the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001. The US had just declared an open-ended “war against terrorism,” and already news had begun to trickle out about mass detentions of Arab and Muslim men who were being held beyond the reach of any legal authority, detained indefinitely without access to fundamental rights of due process, and stories were starting to come out about the extensive use of torture.
And at the same time the US passed the Patriot Act and reorganized its security apparatus to create a new “Department of Homeland Security.” With it came new types of federal agents with expanded powers over both citizens and non-citizens; federal, state, and local police were increasingly networked with private agencies in JTTFs; ‘fusion centers’ emerged as nodes of uncontrolled ‘information sharing’ about everyone.
Those of us who were politically active at the time could see what was coming. I remember friends circulating a famous quote from Hanna Arendt:
“The first essential step in the road to total domination is to kill the juridical person in man. This was done, on the one hand, by putting certain categories of people outside the protection of the law and forcing at the same time, through the instrument of denationalization, the nontotalitarian world into recognition of lawlessness; it was done, on the other, by placing the concentration camp outside the normal penal system, and by selecting its inmates outside the normal judicial procedure in which a definite crime entails a predictable penalty.” (Origins of Totalitarianism)
We could see what was coming and those of us who cared got involved however we could.
I got to know Amer in the course of his trial and began to learn about Palestine: the expulsion of Palestinians in 1948, the occupation of the remainder of Palestine in 1967, the continuing circumstances of racist oppression and land theft, not only in all of historic Palestine, but in the entire region surrounding it. To be Palestinian in Nazareth, or in Gaza, or in al Quds (also called Jerusalem), or Khalil (“Hebron”), is much the same as to be Palestinian in Amman (Jordan) or in Sabra and Shatila (Lebanon). The refugees fled murder on their land and it sought them out in the camps. To be Palestinian anywhere in historic Palestine is to be subject to arbitrary detention without trial (‘administrative detention’), and it’s the same in Amman or in Cairo.
I visited Khalil for the first time in 2003. What I saw there became for me an image of the entire region. Some 120,000 Palestinians live in the greater area of Khalil–the city and interconnected villages surrounding it. 400 zionist settlers live in a garrison called Kharsina. For their sake, a regime of total lockdown was imposed on all the Palestinians in the city and villages. All village entries and exits were blocked with boulders and other roadblocks. Curfew imposed. Children couldn’t attend school, elders couldn’t reach hospitals, no one could move goods. All this so that 400 settlers can feel ‘secure’ living on stolen land. This is the meaning of ‘security.’
And this is the image of the region. For the sake of less than 6 million highly privileged colonial-settlers, over 150 million Arabs in the surrounding region live under circumstances of political repression, foreign invasion, occupation, and poverty. No freedom of movement, no freedom of expression, no basic political rights. This is what it means when we say ‘for Israel’s security.’
I learned about Palestine and I became active along with Amer and others we knew in trying to speak for the cause of Palestine where we lived in the United States. Together with other Palestinians living in the area, Amer created an organization called the New England Committee to Defend Palestine.
We spoke of the unity of the Palestinian cause, of liberation for all of historic Palestine, for the rights of refugees to return to their homes.
Two days after the first demonstration of the NECDP, FBI and INS agents broke into Amer’s home in Rhode Island and demanded that he answer some questions. “Please the ears of this gentleman,” said the INS agent pointing to the FBI agent, “or you’ll rot in jail for fifty years.” Amer demanded his right to an attorney. They jailed him, at first without charges or access to a lawyer. We obtained a lawyer for Amer, but they refused to give any information to him when he called, and hung up on him. They held him that way for 17 days. It took an international campaign just to get him a bond hearing.
Eventually the INS (which became the ICE) manufactured immigration charges against Amer to justify–and at the same time conceal–the US government’s political persecution. They now claimed that the marriage through which he had obtained his green card had been fraudulent.
For over a year, we fought the case in hearings before the immigration court. The Department of Homeland Security devoted more than 12 FBI agents to “gathering information” on what was ostensibly an immigration matter. Agents visited members of Amer’s ex-wife’s family and tried to intimidate them into testifying against him. In some cases they showed pictures of Amer taken at demonstrations in the US and claimed that they were images from a “terrorist training camp” in Afghanistan. They tried to connect Amer with 9/11, and to suggest that people who didn’t fully cooperate might make themselves liable to prosecution in connection with “terrorism.”
We fought the case in the immigration court for more than a year. In the course of the proceedings, we submitted FOIA petitions that turned up evidence of widespread cooperation between local police and federal agents in monitoring us and other activists for political activities such as demonstrations, educational websites, and court solidarity. These included the following:
*Still photographs of Amer, his friends, witnesses and supporters taken inside the courtroom during his Brookline trial, and sent to the Boston Police
*A fax cover sheet documenting the communication of records between the Brookline Police and the FBI in July, 2003
*More than twelve video tapes made by the Boston police of pro-Palestine, anti-war, and civil liberties/immigrant rights rallies, which all found their way into a file concerning Amer Jubran
*A memo from the FBI refusing to grant the FOIA petition on the grounds that the subject was “under investigation.”
When it became clear that the immigration court was not a venue in which justice could be obtained, Amer took ‘voluntary departure’ and returned to Jordan in 2004.
Amer’s hearings were well attended by activists. The media closely followed his case, and there was considerable outrage that the government would use immigration proceedings to silence political speech.
A decade has passed. In that time, the arrest and prosecution of Arabs and Muslims for ‘terrorism’ based on speech–especially the defense of the rights of their peoples to resist invasion and occupation by the US or Israel–has been normalized in the framework of domestic security. There is openly a 1st Amendment exception for Arabs and Muslims. Torture and extrajudicial killing (assassination) are no longer dirty secrets, but official policy. Habeas corpus died with the Supreme Court decision in the Hamdi case; the body of policies and cases surrounding indefinite detention outside the reach of the law have now been codified in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, giving the US military the power to detain anyone without recourse to meaningful judicial oversight.
So that now, when 20 black-clad militarized police arrest a Palestinian in his home in Jordan for criticizing US and Israeli policies in the region–an arrest carried out almost certainly at the behest of the US–it just isn’t news. No journalist is interested in the story; no major media outlet will cover it.
Amer continues to be held in Jordan without charges, but has finally been allowed a visit by family, and his whereabouts are now known. His spirit remains strong.
Jordan recently passed legislation further criminalizing political speech as part of its “anti-terrorism” laws. The new amendments specifically criminalize activities that are harmful to Jordan’s relationship with foreign governments. Even before the passage of the new legislation, Jordan had already tried Mwaffaq Mahadin for “endangering relations with a foreign state” for speaking about Jordan’s security cooperation with the US on Al-Jazeera, so it isn’t hard to imagine how the new legislation will be applied. Over the past year, Amer has been sending out critical information and articles about Israeli, US and Jordanian cooperation in destabilizing Syria.
But at this point, it’s hardly even necessary to invent crimes and pass legislation. Jordan’s General Intelligence Directorate (GID)–the agency responsible for Amer’s arrest– is a black hole, accountable to no one, except possibly its paymaster, the US. One Jordanian lawyer told me, when I asked about the possibility of filing habeas corpus on Amer’s behalf, “There’s no such thing here. Our country is being maintained as a conduit to Guantanamo.”
Amer might sit indefinitely in detention without charges. Or he may be brought up at any time and charged with “terrorism” before the State Security Court, a rubber stamp court for the GID. If so, his lawyer might be told the charges a day or two before the sham trial, which then leads to inevitable conviction–a mere formality.
Only a concerted political campaign that gets widespread international attention can make any difference. It’s up to us to create enough visibility to make that possible.
Noah Cohen is active with the Amer Jubran Defense Campaign (freeamer.wordpress.com) and can be reached through the campaign at defense (at ) amerjubrandefense.org.
“The Israeli soldier Shaul Aaron is in the hands of the Qassam Brigades,” a spokesman using the nom-de-guerre Abu Obeida said in a televised address, as he announced that the soldier’s military number was 6092065.
The Brigades’ spokesman said that the Zionist enemy was not honest while talking about the number of the killed soldiers during the Israeli ground assault in Gaza.
“The shock of the operation had forced the enemy to announce some of its losses. However, the fact which the enemy has not announced yet, is the abduction of one of its soldiers,” Abu Obeida stated.
“If the enemy leadership could lie about the number of the killed and injured soldiers, it should now tell its people the fate of this Israeli soldier now,” al-Qassam Brigades’ spokesman added.
The announcement comes after the Israeli enemy announced the death of 13 occupation soldiers during the ground assault against Gaza.
It also comes hours after the Israeli enemy committed brutal massacre against the Palestinian civilians in the Shejaiya neighborhood, killing at least 80 people in the day 14 of the Israeli offensive against the besieged enclave.
Rina Andolini | International Solidarity Movement | July 20, 2014
Gaza, Occupied Palestine – There was a ceasefire today for 3 hours – so some of us internationals went to the area which I refer to as the ‘Death Zone’ – Shajiya, we went to see if we could help with the masses of injured amongst the rubble.
The Death Zone is unlike any destruction I have seen in my life – there is no place left without bombing, shelling or sniper shots. Total devastation.
We reached [Shajiya] and there was a beautiful brother who was looking for his family. Doing our job, we made the decision collectively to help find the brother’s family amongst the annihilation.
Unfortunately, the danger starts, there is constant bombing very very very close by, drones literally above our heads and sniper shooting. We are ducking and diving, and weaving in and out of the rubble and destruction.
We have so much to worry about – 1- to find this brothers family, 2- to not get struck on the head by falling debris from the tops of buildings/houses, 3 – to ensure our safety from the Israeli Occupational Forces.
This is not a joke, this is what happened. I was there and I was in the middle of it along with the five other members including the brother who lost his family.
We were pretty much in the line of fire. However, this was not expected as we were under the impression that we had a ceasefire window to go and do our work and come back safely.
There was cover as we were walking but then, there was a clear opening…. and we heard the first shot towards us. It missed us, but it split the group.
I was on the far side with Mohammed and the brother. And on the opposite side, there was Joe, Charlie and Fred. The brother was slightly near the opening and there was a second shot at 15.27 and he fell to the ground.
Nobody could help him, he was in two arms reach, and we could not go to him as the Israelis were shooting and there is no doubt in my mind that the rest of us would have died if we did try to go to him.
We could not even give him something to hold on to, we were just surrounded by rubble and cables that possibly were live. The mind was not at its most clearest of points right then.
Then there was a third shot at him, and a fourth that missed him. The second shot to the brother was what killed him. Yet, they shot him again. Four shots in total.
Our dear brother – dead, inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon [may he rest in peace]. The Israeli Occupational Forces murdered him. And what for?
Why, during a ceasefire were attacks being carried out against the Palestinian people?
I hear Charlie say, ‘ find something anything…” and Mohammed and I shouted, “he is already dead”.
There were four shots in total, miss, hit, hit, miss. Shrapnel flying everywhere.
THEY MURDERED OUR BROTHER.
We are all witnesses to this murder of an ordinary human being, a beautiful brother, who was merely looking for his family. He must have been about 20 years old, with piercing light eyes.
We still do not know his name but we are trying our best to find out.
My last words to him were “slow down, brother, slow down” – but he wanted his family. He wanted his lost family, and the Israelis killed him for that.
Who are the murderers here?
We are blessed that we made it out of the Death Zone alive. The brother will be a shaheed [martyr] and he died in the last 10 days of Ramadhan. May Allah grant him the highest ranks of jannah [heaven]. Ameen.
Image shows our brother, from the back, in Shajiya, in the green t shirt – a short while before his murder.