The Israeli Air Force fired a missile into a Beit Hanoun residential neighborhood in north Gaza early Sunday morning. The missile landed in a grove surrounded by homes, creating a crater the size of a tennis court and destroying over forty orange and olive trees. Chunks of shrapnel and oranges lay scattered about the grove.
Local children and area residents interviewed appeared to be in shock. Ayman Ismail Hamad explained that “[a]t 3 a.m. we heard a huge boom. It was so scary for the children and women here and they started to shout and cry – such a scary thing for them. When we looked out to see what happened we found everything there totally destroyed … and the windows from the houses in this area – totally nothing. The [Israeli] F-16 didn’t leave anything behind.”
The owner of the farmland, Sufyan Musa Muhammad, reported losing approximately 40 orange and olive trees, not including the uprooted trees at the periphery of the crater, valued at approximately $200 a tree. “It’s not just the price,” he added, gazing sadly at the upturned alien landscape. “It’s that there’s no more fruit.” According to Muhammad, no journalists had approached him regarding the Israeli missile attack, which went unreported.
Thirteen-year-old Amer Ayman Hamad, whose house is about 50 meters away from the impacted area said, “There was boom … I didn’t scream, I just woke up … it was during the night we didn’t hear any plane except for the sound of the drones … after that I went to the bathroom.”
Israel has not claimed responsibility for the attack which terrorized local residents. No one was injured. Palestinians in the area believe that Israel used an F-16 to bomb the residential neighborhood due to the size of the crater and the thickness of the shrapnel.
When asked if he believed Israel should compensate him for his loss Muhammad replied, ”I don’t want money from the Israelis. Whatever they do to us we are steadfast and strong and we won’t leave our land.”
1 Nov. ’11: Settler violence against Palestinian farmers and their property, Beitillu, Ramallah District
Over the course of three days, from 24 to 26 October 2011, B’Tselem documented four cases of attacks on farmers from Beitillu, a Palestinian village near Ramallah, and their property. In three of the cases, the perpetrators, apparently settlers, damaged olive trees on privately-owned Palestinian land adjacent to the settlements Nahli’el and Talmon. In one case, settlers assaulted farmers who had come to their land to pick olives. The documented cases are the following:
1) On 24 October, Faiz Abu Ziyada, a resident of Beitillu, noticed that signs had been posted on trees in his olive grove that lie about a hundred meters from the gate of the Nahli’el settlement. The signs said, in Arabic, “This tree is now Jewish property. It is forbidden to go close to it.” Abu Ziyada filed a complaint with the police.
One of the signs hung on the trees. Photo: Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 24 Oct. ’11.
2) The same day, Hassan Tabal, a resident of Beitillu, noticed that some 30 of his olive trees had been burned, 20 of them completely. Tabal filed a complaint with the police.
The torched trees. Photo: Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 24 Oct. ’11.
3) On 25 October, members of the Abu Ziyada family (see case #1) went to pick olives in their grove. According to testimonies that family members gave to B’Tselem, while waiting next to the Nahli’el settlement’for soldiers who were supposed accompany them, a group of settlers arrived and began throwing stones at them. Two soldiers who were already present at the site did not detain the assailants; rather, they made the Palestinians leave. The family had no choice but to watch from a distance as the settlers hurled stones at their car, shattering the windows, while the two soldiers did nothing but call out to the settlers, asking them to stop.
The car whose windows were shattered near the Nahli’el settlement. Photo: Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 25 Oct. ’11.
The soldiers summoned the police, who came to the site and opened an investigation. While they were questioning members of the family, the owner of the land, Sa’il Abu Ziyada, noticed that branches of his olive trees had been broken. He reported that the day before, when he had visited the spot with soldiers to coordinate the harvest, the trees had been unharmed.
The olives trees that were damaged near the settlement fence. Photo: Sarit Michaeli, B’Tselem, 26 Oct. ’11.
4) On 26 October, around 8:00 A.M., farmers from the Bazar family from Beitillu went to their land, which lies adjacent to the Nahli’el settlement. They noticed that the branches of some 10 trees had been broken. Later, when a jeep belonging to the al-Jazeera broadcasting company came to the site to document the damage to the trees, settlers stoned the jeep. A B’Tselem volunteer who accompanied the al-Jazeera crew was lightly wounded in the neck from a stone that struck him.
Damaged olive trees in Beitillu. Photo: Sarit Michaeli, B’Tselem, 26 Oct. ’11.
In last year’s olive harvest (2010), B’Tselem documented six incidents in which settlers harmed Palestinians and their property in the area of the Talmon, Dolev, and Nahli’el settlements. The settler’s actions included assault, threats, damage to trees, and theft of olives. The farmers filed complaints with the police. As far as B’Tselem knows, of the six files that were opened by the police, four were closed (three on grounds of “offender unknown,” the other for a reason unknown to B’Tselem). In one file, the investigation has ended and further legal proceedings have not yet been decided, and in one file, the investigation has not yet ended.
The Supreme Court held in 2006 (HCJ 9593/04) that, “protection of the safety and property of the local residents is one of the most fundamental obligations imposed on the military commander in the field.” The court held that, therefore, four principles must be maintained: ensuring the safety of Palestinian farmers during the olive harvest, giving clear directives so that landowners are able to access their land, allotting forces to protect the Palestinian farmers’ property, and thoroughly investigating complaints filed by Palestinians.
The army prevents residents of Beitillu free access to the land they own, and requires them to coordinate the timing of the olive harvest. The army contends that the coordination is done with the objective of protecting the residents from settler attacks. The cases described above show that, contrary to the army’s contention, and despite the army’s obligations, the soldiers did not provide proper protection to the Palestinian farmers. In addition, B’Tselem’s phone call to the Binyamin brigade on 25 Oct. regarding the first three cases was answered with the response that the cases were known and were being handled, and that the army was preparing to prevent future incidents of the kind. The next day, B’Tselem received a similar response regarding the fourth case.
The soldiers who were present during the assault on the Abu Ziyada family (case #3) also breached military commands requiring them to detain the assailants until the police arrive.
B’Tselem calls on the Israel Police to investigate the four incidents and prosecute the perpetrators. Regarding investigation of the case involving assault, the investigators must question the soldiers who were present and witnessed the assault.
For more see sayyestocolonialism.org, which says it’s “helping zionism say what it really means.”
Huge, enthusiastic, crowds swarmed through downtown Oakland with half a dozen major marches on banks and corporations that shut down Wells Fargo, Chase, Citibank, Bank Of America and many others. Police stayed clear of the strikers who ranged free from Broadway to Grand Avenue and around the Lake. By late afternoon the crowds had swelled to over 10,000. Waves of feeder marches continued to pour into the Oscar Grant Plaza, including 800 children, parents and teachers who had gathered at the Oakland Main Library.
The evening march to the Port stretched from downtown to the freeway overcrossing in West Oakland and thousands more protestors kept arriving as the third convergence of the day reached its peak. Over 20,000 people joined the march which made its way to the main entrance of the port and shut it down completely. Port officials confirmed that the workforce was sent home.
Back at Oscar Grant Plaza a festive atmosphere continued as the Alameda Labor Council and dozens of representatives from a cross section of unions served barbecue to thousands. Day of the dead altars, a 99% story telling tent, string sculptures and hundreds of posters surrounded the tent encampment of the occupiers. Speeches, impromptu music jam sessions, and rock and roll echoed off the office towers as Oaklanders and Bay Area workers celebrated a hard won victory of the 99%.
As of 8 pm the police remained hidden out of sight.
Seize the Time!
BBC journalism hit a new low today. The BBC News channel devoted only a single sentence to Palestine’s diplomatic coup in gaining full membership of Unesco. It used that single sentence once at 18.23 and once during the following hour. And this is that single sentence:
“Israel says that Unesco’s decision to admit Palestine to full membership will damage the prospects for peace in the Middle East.”
No other view was given, We did not hear what Palestine says, or what Unesco says, or what any of the huge majority of 107 countries which voted for Palestine say. The only view we were given was the Israeli view, and there was no questioning or discussion of that view.
“Israel says” – what an astonishing opening two words to a report on a great day for Palestinian diplomacy. Everyone connected with BBC News should be utterly ashamed. Why don’t we just save the license fee and let Netanyahu’s office broadcast the news instead?
The vote incidentally was 107 to 14. It was a humiliating defeat for US diplomacy. Latvia, Tuvalu and Uzbekistan are among the states which did not follow the US lead against Palestine but which always have done in the past. The USA was also unable to coerce a single African state – I am proud of Africa, and Ghana in particluar.
Here is the list of the pathetic 14, the overwhelmingly defeated states which tried to block Palestine and which either have extreme neo-con governments or are completely susceptible to US aid blackmail – you can decide which are which:
Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sweden, United States of America, Vanuatu.