Since 2002, the International Women’s Peace Service in Palestine (IWPS-Palestine) has been documenting and non-violently intervening in human rights abuses carried out by the Israeli military and Israeli settlers in the Occupied West Bank against the Palestinian civilian population. We are the only all women team of internationals working in the Occupied West Bank and we are currently looking for new volunteers to join us on the ground in Palestine.
IWPS – Palestine is located in the Salfit district, a rural area located close to Nablus. The district, as well as the nearby Nablus and Qalqilya districts, are affected by more than 20 illegal Israeli settlements located in the “Ariel settlement bloc”. We were established at the height of the Al Aqsa Intifada in response to a call from the village of Hares for an international presence in their village.
Hares, which is home to 3000 Palestinians (mainly farmers), is located in the heart of the Ariel settlement bloc and was under curfew and almost daily invasion from the Israeli military. During one of these invasions in 2001, our neighbour Issa was shot by an Israeli soldier and paralysed. At the time of the shooting, Issa was attempting to bring to safety a group of small children who had been playing outside when the Israeli military invaded the village.
After 7 years in Hares, we recently relocated to the neighbouring village of Deir Istyia, which like Hares and other Palestinian villages under the occupation, continues to suffer greatly. In the past months, Deir Istiya has been subject to semi-regular curfew and invasion. The village which is home to just over 3100 people has already lost much of its land to Israel’s occupation and is now struggling to keep more of its land being taken by the illegal settlements.
Since our establishment 8 years ago, hundreds of women from around the world have joined us in Hares and now Deir Istiya. They have played a vital role in not only documenting and non-violently intervening in human rights abuses carried out by the Israeli military and illegal Israeli settlers, they have also been active in supporting Palestinian non-violent resistance to end Israel’s occupation and to stop the building the apartheid wall. IWPS volunteers over the years have provided regular accompaniment to Palestinian civilians, including to farmers trying to reach their land and who have been prevented by the Israeli military and/or illegal settlers. We have also coordinated internationals teams to assist with accompaniment during olive harvest each year. Our team members have been part of the non-violent civil resistance which has attempted to stop the demolition of Palestinian homes and the construction of the apartheid wall.
In the last three years, our team members have been increasingly called on to try and intervene to stop and/or document the increasing number of Israeli settler attacks on Palestinian civilians and villages. While there has been a dramatic increase in the number of settler attacks on Palestinians across the Occupied West Bank, many of the worst attacks have occurred in the nearby Nablus district. These attacks by illegal settlers have included the poisoning of Palestinian livestock, the torching and burning of hundreds of dunums of Palestinian agricultural land, the invasion of Palestinian villages by armed settlers, the beating and stoning of unarmed Palestinian residents, the destruction of Palestinian property and the firing of homemade missiles at Palestinian villages on several occasions. In response to these attacks, our team members have regularly provided a temporary international presence in the villages under attack in order to try and stop the attacks, while also documenting the attacks in an attempt to bring them to the attention of the wider public, internationally.
In recent months, IWPS has been active in supporting the non-violent demonstrations in the village of Nabi Saleh. Since December 2009, the village has been holding non-violent demonstrations against the creeping settlement expansion and land confiscation by the illegal Israeli settlement of Hallamish (also known as Neve Tzuf) and each week the demonstrations are brutally attacked by Israel’s military.
IWPS-Palestine is run solely by volunteers from around the world and we have just issued a call for new volunteers to join us on the ground in Palestine. If you would like to find out more about IWPS, you can either visit our website at www.iwps.info or you can contact us as at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you details of our application process.
BRUSSELS — European Union subsidies earmarked for reducing air travel’s contribution to climate change may help develop deadlier warplanes than those already found in the world’s arsenals, Brussels officials have admitted.
Some 1.6 billion euros ($2 billion) has been allocated to the EU’s Clean Sky project, which aims to develop aircraft engines that emit half as much carbon dioxide as those now in use. With the funding being divided between industry and the European taxpayer, plane and engine manufacturers have stated that the project underscores their eagerness to be more ecologically responsible.
Yet a closer look at the glossy brochures promoting the scientific research initiative reveals that the list of participants reads like a who’s who of major arms producers from Europe and further afield. These include Dassault, EADS, Safran, Israel Aerospace Industries, Saab and Westland Helicopters.
Under the terms of their involvement, individual companies may apply for patents on innovations realized during the course of their research. The European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, says that there will be nothing to stop such firms from using the technology they develop for military purposes.
Rudolf Strohmeier, deputy head of the Commission’s scientific research department, said that having EU-funded engines inserted into warplanes is “something which you can’t really exclude from the outset” as such engines are “easily switched over” from civilian to military aircraft.
“If a military airplane uses this type of technology, then it will be greener,” he told IPS. “But to my knowledge, this [potential military applications] is definitely not the objective.”
The participation of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in the project has drawn criticism from some human rights advocates. This firm supplied many of the weapons used by Israel in its attacks on Gaza during late 2008 and early 2009. Even though it is not a fully-fledged member of the EU, Israel is a participant in its scientific research program and has proven more adept at drawing down grants than most of the Union’s own states.
An EU official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Israeli firms had recently asked the Commission to support a project explicitly focused on military aircraft but the request was turned down. While the source said that the EU’s research activities are nominally civilian, no guarantees can be given that their fruits will not have military applications. “The Israelis don’t play by the same rules as everybody else,” the source added.
Frank Slijper from the Dutch Campaign Against the Arms Trade said: “It is beyond my comprehension how Israeli arms companies get Brussels money for their research. This really is a very weird situation. As far as I know, IAI does very little civilian business, it is just an arms company. IAI has made a clear and direct contribution in the Middle East against the Palestinians and the Lebanese.”
As well as lowering their emissions of climate-changing gases, Clean Sky’s goals include the introduction of aircraft that consume less fuel and are less noisy. A project of this nature is bound to prove enticing for arms companies, Slijper added. “Mostly, they say it works the other way around: subsidies that go into European military aircraft research have a spin-off effect for civilian aircraft research work. But this could be an example where subsidies for environmental flying ultimately also benefit the military. The more silent aircraft are, the closer they can get to where they can pick their targets to bomb before anyone might notice.”
Eric Dautriat, who directs the team overseeing the implementation of Clean Sky, said “I don’t see what the problem is” with involving arms manufacturers, who will have “the same rules of participation” as the other firms and research institutes involved.
Due to be completed in 2017, Clean Sky is one of the largest research projects ever financed by the EU. Gareth Williams, a representative of Airbus, the French aviation firm, said that air traffic tends to double every 15 years and is likely to double once more in the coming 15 years. “With this growth in the sector, we must address the issues around emissions,” he told a conference held in Brussels 18 June… Full article
All rights reserved, IPS — Inter Press Service (2010).
GENEVA: The UN human rights council (UNHRC) approved with a comfortable majority a draft resolution to form an international inquiry commission to investigate Israel’s deadly attack on the Freedom Flotilla on May 31, which took place in international waters.
The European campaign to end the siege said in a press release that the UNHRC announced Monday the names of the commission’s members, which include prominent international human rights experts and jurists.
The campaign noted that the draft resolution was introduced by Pakistan (on behalf of the Arab group) at the request of Turkey in the aftermath of the Israeli massacre that claimed the lives of nine Turkish nationals aboard one of the flotilla’s ships.
The resolution stressed the need for submitting a comprehensive report on Israel’s violations in the upcoming meeting of the UNHRC next September.
According the resolution, if Israel refused to cooperate with the commission, the latter would have to go ahead with the investigation.
In a related context, the Dutch foreign ministry informed the coordinator of the European campaign to end the siege Amin Abu Rashed and Dutch citizen Anna Da Yong, who participated in the Freedom Flotilla, that it will take care of all expenses of the lawsuit filed by them against Israel.
Abu Rashed, who is also a Dutch citizen, said in a press release that he and Da Yong last Thursday filed a lawsuit against the Israeli government on a charge of kidnapping them at sea and detaining them without the presence of a lawyer and claimed compensation for all material and moral damage done to them during and after the attack.
Lebanese Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi confirmed that the ministry allowed organizers of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla to sail from the northern port city of Tripoli to Cyprus before heading to the Strip, Lebanese newspaper an-Nahar reported Monday morning.
The vessels will pass through Cyprus so as not to violate UN Security Council Resolution 1701.
The minister added that one of the vessels would undergo a technical checkup before it sails from Tripoli and that the Lebanese government was responsible for the decision.
Diplomatic sources in the United Nations said over the weekend that the UNIFIL headquarters in New York had warned Lebanon that UN naval forces would not allow any violation of Resolution 1701 and would prevent any such violation.
On Friday, Israel warned the UN that the security situation in the Middle East may be undermined as result of the Lebanese flotilla planning to head to the Gaza Strip.
In a letter relayed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev said the “provocative” sail may affect security in the entire region.
Two ships are expected to leave from Lebanon to Gaza: Naji al-Ali – which will be carrying 25 European activists, including parliament members, and some 5 journalists – and Maryam – which is said to carry female activists with chemotherapeutic medications for women and children and humanitarian aid. It is unclear when the vessels will set sail.
Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Sunday that Lebanese sources involved in organizing the flotilla said that their preparations were not yet complete but that activists were on their way to the country to take part in the latest attempt to break Israel’s maritime blockade on the Strip.
The participants, including several nuns, have yet to arrive in Lebanon from various European countries, but will be coming “very soon”, the sources said.
The London-based Al-Hayat reported on Sunday that two ships were in advanced stages of preparation for sailing to Gaza. Lebanese sources told the paper they had received the authorities’ approval for both the passenger list and the cargo.
By Sinan | Aletho News | June 22, 2010
On the 31st of May early in the morning, almost simultaneous with the Mavi Marmara attack, a navy logistics base in Iskenderun (SE Turkey) was also attacked by the PKK. Unfortunately 7 soldiers were killed in the attack.
This was a very complicated attack and perfect intelligence was needed to attack such a big base. This attack exceeds the capabilities of the PKK. Only specially trained units can execute such an operation.
The timing of such an attack raised many questions about a possible link between the PKK and Israel. Also, it is a widely known fact that the Israeli army has trained Kurdish terrorists since 2003.
There is an article by Seymour Hersh written in 2004 in the New Yorker describing Israelis training Kurdish forces for use in Iran and Syria for information gathering, sabotage and destabilization operations. Of course these terrorists would also be used in Turkey.
Hersh also wrote that the Israeli Mistaravim teams were training those terrorists. Mistaravim teams are one of the most secretive groups of the Israeli army. Mistaravim is the plural of “mista’arev”, the Hebrew slang for “being an Arab”.
These soldiers are trained to “be an Arab” and go into the occupied territories to capture (or kill) a wanted person. These are also commonly known as the ‘Arab Platoons’.
I don’t believe in coincidences.
This attack in Iskenderun was to distract the Turkish military’s attention from Mavi Marmara. Also this naval base was the nearest base to the incident. The same thoughts were addressed by high ranking officials and ministers in Turkey. Military commanders believe there was a connection.
Were Kurdish Mistaravim teams in action in Iskenderun? Probably YES!
Looking at some high profile terrorist attacks in big cities in the last few months you can see the fingerprints of highly specialized terrorist teams in Turkey.
The latest row with Israel, and saying “no” in the UN to Iran sanctions increases the risk of an terror wave in Turkey. Clashes with PKK terrorists have increased on a daily basis lately. The terrorist threat in large cities is growing.
As this article is being written we have news of a bombing in Istanbul. Two soldiers and 17 year old daughter of an army officer were killed at the scene, 6 others were injured. The death toll rose to five when two more soldiers died in the hospital.
We should not forget that US and Israel are working together as one in the area. As the whole of Iraq is occupied by US forces, we can assume that the US is also in this game. Through their proxy organization PKK, Israel and the US are playing a very dangerous game. The whole nation knows who the real terrorists are and who is behind these attacks.
Their terror escalation policy is backfiring and uniting the different fractions in Turkey. That’s the only positive aspect.
The message is clear:
Don’t think you can be a major player in the Middle East,
Don’t think you can screw with Israel/US schemes,
Sit still as you have done since WWI,
Open your air space to Israeli planes when attacking Iran,
Obey orders, you are already too big to swallow, don’t think you can get bigger,
If you do not cooperate, a lot of blood will spill.
Shall we surrender to the threats? No and no! We will fight till the end.
We have seen this before many times in history and we know how to deal with it. The real war is not with the PKK terrorists but with the US/Israel, everybody knows that.
The months ahead will be bloody, lot of struggle and fighting is expected. I guess that’s the price we must pay for being in the way and for impeding the incessant acts of aggression and subjugation against our neighbors.
Also by Sinan, June 18, 2010:
A forensic officer inspects a bus targeted by a roadside bomb in Istanbul June 22, 2010.
At least five people have been killed and a dozen injured in a bomb attack on a military convoy in the Turkish city of Istanbul as Ankara ups its crackdown on the country’s Kurdish militants.
The explosion came early on Tuesday when a roadside bomb ripped through a bus passing through the Halkali district, a suburb on the European side of the city where military housing complexes are located, AFP cited Turkish media as saying.
Two soldiers and a 17-year-old girl were killed on board the vehicle which was carrying a number of military personnel and their families.
The death toll rose to five when two more soldiers died in the hospital of the severe injuries they had sustained in the blast, according to Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu.
“This is a terrorist attack… According to initial information, it was a remote-control bomb planted at the roadside,” he said, adding 12 other people were injured in the attack and that two of them were in critical condition.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, but such attacks are usually blamed on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group.
On Monday, Turkish military forces began a major deployment of troops and elite forces along the border with northern Iraq, where the Kurd militants are holed up in their mountainous strongholds.
Amid intensifying clashes between Ankara troops and PKK guerillas, the militants threatened on the weekend to launch attacks in all Turkish cities.