Hebron, Occupied Palestine – In Qaitun, a Palestinian Neighborhood of Hebron, situated in Oslo-defined Area H2, Israel has the authority for administrative and security control.
Israeli administrative control results in Apartheid: Palestinians will never get permission for doing anything, as building, extending or repairing their houses, and all other sort of things. Israeli citizens get permission for almost everything they want in occupied Hebron H2.
Israeli security control results in the abuse of many human rights including extrajudicial executions and using the Palestinian neighborhoods for military training – as today.
Three teams of at least seventeen soldiers each, invaded several Palestinian homes on a random basis, and detaining the family. They went inside the house to the rooftop and tried observation and shooing possibilities from there. After some 15 minutes they went down again for raiding another home.
Most of these soldiers looked very young as if they were barely out of high school. They were heavily armed and many appeared to be nervous. This could have led to an extremely dangerous risk to Palestinians and anyone else near their training exercise.
A trainer, sided by a personal bodyguard, instructed them how to invade houses and do other military things as stopping civilians and cars in this Palestinian neighborhood.
In the three hour training they invaded more than 20 homes.
As Thanksgiving approaches, many schools throughout the U.S. are making preparations for the standard, and all too cliché, Thanksgiving Day lessons, and fairy tale-esque Thanksgiving plays.
And more often than not, the school Thanksgiving activities are largely based on what ultimately amounts to myth, created to serve the imaginations of the dominant society, and simultaneously functioning to erase the tragedies of Indigenous nations.
The myth usually goes a little something like this:
Pilgrims came to America, in order to escape religious persecution in England. Living conditions proved difficult in the New World, but thanks to the friendly Indian, Squanto, the pilgrims learned to grow corn, and survive in unfamiliar lands. It wasn’t long before the Indians and the pilgrims became good friends. To celebrate their friendship and abundant harvest, Indians in feathered headbands joined together with the pilgrims and shared in a friendly feast of turkey and togetherness. Happy Thanksgiving. The End.
From this account, the unsuspecting child might assume a number of things. Firstly, they may assume that pilgrims merely settled the New World, innocently, and as a persecuted people, they arrived to America with pure and altruistic intentions. Secondly, children might assume, and rightfully so, that Indians and pilgrims were friends, and that this friendship must have laid the framework for this “great American nation.”
So, what exactly is the harm in this school-sanctioned account of history? Understandably, the untrained eye may not notice the harm in such a myth, as most Americans are victim to the same whitewashed lie as the rest, and dismantling a centuries-old myth certainly does prove challenging.
But the first lesson for educators and adults to digest is the fact that this narrative is egregiously whitewashed and Eurocentric on many levels. Moreover, it is a lie, which serves to rob American children of valuable historical lessons.
Truth be told, this beloved lie was packaged solely for nationalistic consumption when, following the bloody Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863. Back then, Americans were desperately in need of unity and inspiration. Hence, the myth of the first Thanksgiving was born to inspire and unite.
Beyond the myth, and the seemingly good intentions of Abraham Lincoln (who actually despised Indians) the actual story of pilgrims and indigenous people went down much differently.
As a social science educator, I strongly advocate for the unabridged study of human history; for the many valuable lessons imbedded in the stories of our past. Changing any story, essentially, means short-changing American society from some extremely valuable lessons – lessons that function to plant the seeds of social consciousness and humanitarian evolution.
So let’s take a look at a different version of history; a fuller version, and hopefully, extract some meaningful lessons from our shared past:
One day, the Wampanoag people of the Eastern coast of the Americas noticed unfamiliar people in their homelands. These unfamiliar people were English pilgrims, coming to a new land which they dubbed “America,” in order to settle and create a new life.
The Wampanoag were initially uneasy with the settlers, but they eventually engaged in a shaky relationship of commerce and exchange. Also, in observing that the pilgrims nearly died from a harsh winter, the Wampanoag stepped in to help.
The Wampanoag chief, Massasoit, eventually entered into agreements with the pilgrims, and, on behalf of the Wampanoag Nation, decided to be allies while each nation coexisted in the same space together. At one time, the Wampanoag and pilgrims shared in a meal of wildfowl, deer, and shellfish.
After Massasoit’s death, the Wampanoag nation became weakened as a result of disease contracted from the English. It wasn’t long before the pilgrims began tormenting surrounding tribes, burning entire villages to the ground, while indigenous men, women, and children lie sleeping.
Uneasy with the growing cruelty, greed, and arrogance of the new people in their homelands, the Wampanoag began to distrust the pilgrims. The pilgrims soon demanded that the Wampanoag submit to them, and give up all their weapons.
Shortly after, the pilgrims and Wampanoag were at war, and in the end, the pilgrims rose victorious. At the close of the war, the Wampanoag were nearly decimated, and the son of Chief Massasoit, Metacom, was killed by the pilgrims, dismembered, beheaded, and his head impaled on a spear outside of Plymouth. Metacom’s young son was sent to the West Indies as a slave, along with numerous other Wampanoag and surrounding tribes.
A day of Thanksgiving was declared, and to celebrate, the pilgrims kicked the heads of dead Indigenous peoples around like soccer balls. (This was not the end … )
As indigenous nations throughout America were continually betrayed by European settlers, killed by disease, germ warfare, hunted for bounties, sent overseas as slaves, and ultimately pushed out of their homelands and onto prison camps (now commonly known as reservations), few survived the depressing conditions. As a result of centuries of historical trauma, indigenous nations today have staggering rates of depression, mental health disparities, suicide, and deaths due to alcohol and drugs. Indigenous people continue to struggle to cope with historical trauma, and heal deeply embedded wounds which stem directly from colonialism. This, still, is not the end.
The lessons to be gained from the truths of history are many, and conversely, those lessons are lost in whitewashed myths.
While glossing over the very real consequences of colonialism, the mythical version of Thanksgiving creates a fairy tale of land theft, betrayal, brutality, and genocide, virtually functioning to erase the very real and traumatic experiences of entire indigenous nations. This phenomena of whitewashing and outright erasure of indigenous history, in many instances, is not only inhumane and oppressive to the indigenous people, but it is also unfair to all Americans who stand to learn from rich and equally tragic history.
Without question, colonialism is great for the colonizer, and disastrous for the colonized. Colonization reduces entire populations, and leaves generational wounds that linger stubbornly for centuries. This is a lesson that all Americans must heed.
As a result of propagating the mythical version of Thanksgiving, American children and adults alike, become confused about history, and moreover the Thanksgiving lie outright prevents a collective American understanding of the contemporary struggles of Native American people today.
Without understanding the 500 years of colonial impact on indigenous people, scores of bigoted attitudes have emerged, as Americans cannot seem to wrap their heads around the many struggles of tribal communities today that stem directly from colonization.
To be sure, the Thanksgiving myth has many consequences, and aside from breeding ignorance and reinforcing bigotry, the myth silences the already marginalized indigenous people, who desperately need to hear, share, and tell our story as a part of the healing process.
It is time to let go of the myth and embrace truth, and we must start in schools, where young children look to their teachers with inquisitive eyes as the all-knowing authorities.
As educational institutions, schools must be progressive in bravely moving toward truth, while moving away from any semblance of ongoing myth-sanctioning.
This change is long overdue, and all of our children deserve truth, meaningful lessons, and a robust dose of humanitarian development. And the great news is: our entire world stands to benefit from it.
Depending on the age of students, different degrees of the story can and should be told. Educators can find ideas here.
And conversely, the myth, the school plays, and the story of happy Indians and friendly pilgrims needs to be abandoned, wholesale. This leveling out of myth creates space for new conversations and lessons of unity, and deeper understandings of what it truly means to be a good human being, and that is something to be thankful for.
Sarah Sunshine Manning (Shoshone-Paiute, Chippewa-Cree) is a mother, educator, activist, and an advocate for youth. Follow her at @SarahSunshineM.
With dismaying predictability, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu lost no time in exploiting the massacre in Paris. As he has done many times before, he claimed Europe’s trauma was just a taste of the suffering Israelis have long known.
Discounting decades of a brutal Israeli occupation as the cause of the recent wave of Palestinian attacks, he said: “It is the terrorists who are to blame for terrorism, not the territories, not the settlements and not any other thing.”
Rather than criticising the occupation, he added, the world should learn from Israel’s “aggressive policy” how to defeat its enemies. Last week, he unveiled the latest measure, outlawing the northern wing of the Islamic Movement, a popular party among Israel’s Palestinian citizens, one in five of the population.
Netanyahu and his ministers justified the decision by conflating the Islamic Movement with Hamas and ISIL. But while its leader, Sheikh Raed Salah, rejects the idea of a Jewish state, the movement operates entirely within Israeli law. Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency opposed Netanyahu’s move, admitting that it had failed to find any evidence linking the movement to violence.
Salah’s organisation refuses to participate in the Israeli parliament, and instead directs much of its efforts at religious instruction and good works, including health clinics, nurseries and sports clubs, to the poorest communities in Israel.
That has made it hugely popular. A recent survey found 57 per cent of Israel’s 1.6 million Palestinian citizens believe the movement represents them. A third of Israel’s Palestinian Christians support it too. And it has 10,000 paid-up members, who now risk imprisonment.
So why do it? There are several benefits for Netanyahu and the Israeli right in equating all Islamic activism with terrorism.
Not least, international pressure to negotiate an end to the occupation is likely to lift. He can now recast Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians from a national conflict into a religious – and existential – one. If France is getting tough against ISIL, why should Netanyahu be expected to sit down with his own extremists?
It also helps him domestically. He needs an implacable foe to justify to Israelis why they need an authoritarian government like his.
The US nuclear deal with Iran removed his chief bogeyman. Meanwhile, Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority is helping maintain order in the West Bank. And Hamas is licking its wounds in Gaza. Now he has an internal enemy, the Islamic Movement, that the argument goes must be fought ruthlessly from within.
Salah’s group fits the bill well. It has been an obstacle to two key planks of the Israeli right’s agenda.
First, it has frustrated the government’s efforts to drive tens of thousands of Bedouin from their ancestral villages into hugely deprived townships. The Islamic Movement has helped to organise and strengthen these communities.
And second, Salah has taken on the fight at Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, as Jewish settler groups have used their government connections to gain ever greater purchase on the holy esplanade.
Salah’s cry of “Al Aqsa is in danger” has rallied huge numbers of supporters – Palestinians with the advantage of Israeli citizenship – to get involved at the mosque, at a time when all other Palestinian players, including the PA, have been excluded from Jerusalem.
Netanyahu characterises that opposition to his Jerusalem policies as a terror-like “incitement”, saying it has triggered the current Palestinian unrest.
Outlawing the Islamic Movement looks set to be the first step down a path to greater political repression.
Last year the Netanyahu government passed a law raising the electoral threshold too high for any of Israel’s Palestinian political parties to pass it and so win seats in the parliament.
Against the odds, the disparate factions created a Joint List, which is now the third largest party in the chamber. In response, Netanyahu used the election campaign to fearmonger, warning that Palestinian citizens were coming out to vote “in droves”.
The crackdown on the Islamic Movement paves the way to justifying a ban on members of the Joint List. The Balad faction, in particular, has skated close to illegality by arguing that Israel cannot be both Jewish and democratic.
Its demand that Israel choose democracy – becoming a “state of all its citizens” – has outraged the right and led to repeated efforts to ban it. That now seems likelier than ever.
If Balad is outlawed too, the Joint List will collapse and the Palestinian parties will be forced out of the Israeli political arena.
The Shin Bet opposed outlawing Salah’s movement because it feared the move would radicalise the Palestinian minority. Denied either a parliamentary or extra-parliamentary platform, some would drift towards violence.
That is already a danger. Last week six Palestinian citizens were charged with trying to join ISIL in Syria, so far a tiny but discernible trend.
Netanyahu’s world view has always depended on a bloody, winner-takes-all clash of civilisations between West and East. He will continue offering vociferous advice on tackling terrorism to European leaders. They would do well to ignore him.
Jonathan Cook, based in Nazareth, Israel is a winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books).
This documentary explores how Palestinians became refugees in 1948, their experiences since that time, and their hopes for the future. It provides a conduit for rarely heard voices illuminating the malignant roots of the ongoing Palestinian/Israeli conflict.
Jodi Rudoren today in The New York Times puts up a numbers barrier to hide the reality of Palestinian casualties in the latest spate of violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. The aim, as usual, is to maintain the claim of Israeli victimhood and to obscure the criminal brutality of the occupation.
In a story about four who died yesterday in alleged attacks in the region, Rudoren writes that more than 90 Palestinians have been killed since Oct. 1, “about half while attacking or trying to attack Israelis and the rest during demonstrations where they clashed with Israeli soldiers.”
We are to believe from this statement that only violent activists have died at the hands of Israeli forces, but in fact, several Palestinians have been killed in circumstances that were anything but “clashes”—at checkpoints, for instance, when trigger happy troops shot and killed unarmed victims. One of the dead was a 73-year-old grandmother on her way to lunch with her sister.
To omit these cases is to ignore the findings of human rights groups that have charged Israel with committing extrajudicial executions in recent weeks, and Rudoren’s statement, in the face of their evidence, is an effort to distort the facts.
The misrepresentations do not end there, however. Rudoren goes on to say, “At the same time, 17 Israeli Jews have been killed and dozens wounded in 70 stabbings, 10 shootings and 10 vehicular attacks.”
Note what is missing here: the number of Palestinians that have been wounded and the attacks against them in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Her aim is to minimize the huge discrepancy in casualty counts by omitting the number of Palestinians wounded by Israeli forces and settlers.
Ninety compared to 70 sounds like something approaching parity, but Rudoren has deliberately omitted the logical comparison—the number of injuries. This, according to United Nations data, was 133 Israelis and 9,171 Palestinians injured as of Nov. 16.
We should ask Rudoren and Times editors why this information is missing here, in a context that cries out for full disclosure.
Beyond the full casualty count, the Times could also inform readers of other statistics that illuminate the reality of Palestinian-Israeli relations:
- A weekly average of 150 Israeli military search and arrest operations in the West Bank last year.
- 211 reported incidents of settler violence against Palestinians this year as of Nov. 16. (Actual incidents are daily occurrences throughout the West Bank.)
- 50 Israeli military incursions into Gaza from Jan. 1 to Nov. 16, 2015.
- 481 demolitions of Palestinian-owned structures as of Nov. 16 this year. (This includes homes, animal shelters, cisterns, wells and public buildings such as schools.)
- 601 Palestinians displaced due to demolitions in 2015.
- 6,700 Palestinian political prisoners currently held by Israel.
- 320 Palestinian child prisoners currently in Israeli prisons.
The information for the numbers above comes from the UN Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs and from Addameer, a Palestinian prisoners’ rights organization. The Times, however, ignores their reports and prefers to rely on official Israeli entities. Thus, the numbers Rudoren cites for attacks and casualties are taken from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has an obvious interest in political spin.
Israel has the first and last word in the Times. The United Nations, Palestinian monitoring groups and human rights organizations are silenced while Israeli official claims are taken as fact. The word “alleged,” for instance, never appears in Rudoren’s piece today. The UN report, however, uses the term frequently, distinguishing between the claims of security forces and verified information.
In short, Times reporting on Palestine and Israel is a disgrace. Numbers are deliberately manipulated, relevant facts are censored, and the result is dishonest journalism, in spite of the newspaper’s lofty claims of providing “the complete, unvarnished truth” and “impartial” reporting. The numbers simply prove them wrong.
Follow @TimesWarp on Twitter.
An American scholar and journalist in Wisconsin says not only was the Zionist regime the primary force behind the 9/11 attacks, it was Israeli spies working for Mossad – not Arab Muslims – who celebrated the burning Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.
Dr. Kevin Barrett, a founding member of the Scientific Panel for the Investigation of 9/11, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Monday, a day after an international Jewish organization based in the US denounced Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s claim that dozens of Arab Muslims cheered as the World Trade Center collapsed on September 11 as unsubstantiated.
“It is unfortunate that Donald Trump is giving new life to long-debunked conspiracy theories about 9/11,” the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said in a statement on Sunday, after Trump said in an interview with ABC News that there were “people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population that were cheering as the buildings came down.”
The ADL statement said there is no basis for Trump’s claim, calling it irresponsible and factually challenged. “This seems to be a variation of the anti-Semitic myth that a group of Israelis were seen celebrating as the Twin Towers fell.”
Commenting to Press TV, Dr. Barrett said the Anti-Defamation League is “correct that Trump is factually challenged when he talks about the Arabs celebrating the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11th.”
“But he in fact is referring to a true story, which is that Israeli spies working for the intelligence agency Mossad were in fact arrested after they were caught celebrating the September 11th attacks,” he added.
Sivan Kurzberg led Israeli spies
“They were set up to film the World Trade Center attacks before the first plane hit. They wildly celebrated the flaming and then exploding Twin Towers. They photographed themselves flicking cigarette lighters in front of the burning and exploding buildings,” he stated.
“And then they were arrested. They were held for forty or so days. They failed lie detector tests, and they then returned to Israel. They went on television and admitted that they were there to ‘document the event’, that is Israeli spies led by Sivan Kurzberg are on record in the Israeli mainstream media, bragging that they were sent to New York to document the event,” he said.
“And that means that the people they were working for, namely the Israeli government, were complicit in the event. Apparently the Anti-Defamation League doesn’t know that, because they are saying that Trump’s comment blaming the Arabs appears to be a mixed up version of what they are calling the ‘myth’ of the dancing Israelis celebrating their success on 9/11. But that’s not a myth,” Dr. Barrett emphasized.
“It’s been reported reliably in all kinds of mainstream media, including the Bergen New Jersey Record, which first exposed the story. The leading Jewish newspaper in the United States, The Forward, and Israeli media – including the television show in which Kurzberg brags about being sent to New York to document the event, that was coming up on September 11th,” he pointed out.
“So, the Anti-Defamation League, which is actually an Israeli propaganda outfit, is essentially running a misdirection ploy. They are trying to discredit ‘conspiracy theories’ about 9/11, because they know full well that the government of Israel was the prime force behind the attacks on September 11th,” the analyst explained.
Jewish group lying about 9/11
“The Anti-Defamation League is lying when they are calling it a myth. It isn’t a myth. And every place from the Jewish newspaper The Forward to the Israeli media, even to Fox News, which ran an investigative series by Carl Cameron, admits that this actually happened. Mossad agents were caught red-handed celebrating the success of their destruction of their World Trade Center by controlled demolition on September 11th, 2001,” Dr. Barrett concluded.
The September, 11, 2001 attacks, also known as the 9/11 attacks, were a series of strikes in the US which killed nearly 3,000 people and caused about $10 billion worth of property and infrastructure damage.
US officials assert that the attacks were carried out by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists but many experts have raised questions about the official account.
They believe that rogue elements within the US government, such as former Vice President Dick Cheney, and foreign intelligence agencies orchestrated the 9/11 attacks in order to accelerate the US war machine and advance the Zionist agenda.
Dr. Barrett and other eminent scholars have argued that the 9/11 attacks were carried out through a “controlled demolition” technique by placing explosive material inside the twin towers, causing the structures to collapse on themselves in a matter of seconds.
A Palestinian man stabbed and killed an Israeli woman on Sunday, after occupation police and settlers shot and ran over a Palestinian girl on the same day.
The attack took place near the so-called Gush Etzion block of settlements south of al-Quds.
The Palestinian attacker was shot dead by occupation forces afterwards, Israeli police said. He was identified as Issam Thawabteh, 34, from Beit Fajjar near Bethlehem.
The Israeli woman was stabbed in retaliation for the brutal killing of a 16-year-old Palestinian girl who was shot and run over by occupation police and Zionist settlers earlier on Sunday.
Also on Sunday another Palestinian was shot dead by occupation police, who claimed he was attempting a stabbing attack against occupation forces.
Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk is responsible for numerous war crimes committed by the Ukrainian military and law enforcement and sooner or later will face a trial, the spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee has said.
“Yatsenyuk was among many well-known persons, including top military officers, who personally issued orders to fire upon the civilian population of Donbass,” Vladimir Markin said in an interview with Zvezda television.
The Russian official also said that he hoped people from southeast regions of Ukraine would sooner or later put those responsible for war crimes on trial, noting that the trials should take place in the same places where the crimes had been committed. “The very just trial is where the crimes took place,” he said.
Markin added that PM Yatsenyuk must share responsibility with other Ukrainian politicians and businessmen who helped to unleash and wage the war in Donbass. He named the former head of Ukrainian Security Service, Valentin Nalivaychenko, and oligarch Igor Kolomoisky as prime candidates for the war crimes tribunal.
The Russian official also reminded the reporters that the Investigative Committee had already begun a criminal investigation into the Donbass events, charging the yet-unnamed suspects with the genocide of Russian-speaking residents in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine. “The events in Donbass cannot be described by any other term than genocide. This was the reason why we started our probe, including into the genocide which is a crime under Russian criminal law. International law and the Russian criminal code allow us to instigate and investigate criminal cases, to bring to justice people who commit such crimes,” Markin said.
In September this year, the head of the Investigative Committee, Aleksandr Bastrykin, said in an interview to the media that his agency had started a criminal case into Yatsenyuk’s alleged participation in the war in Chechnya on the side of terrorists, as well as in tortures and executions of Russian prisoners.
In March last year, the Investigative Committee began a criminal investigation into Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of the Ukrainian extreme nationalist movement Right Sector, which was one of the main driving forces behind the Maidan unrest and the subsequent war in Donbass. In Russia, Yarosh faces charges of publicly calling for extremist activities.
Last week the US House dealt a blow to President Obama’s plan to resettle 10,000 Syrians fleeing their war-torn homeland. On a vote of 289-137, including 47 Democrats, the House voted to require the FBI to closely vet any applicant from Syria and to guarantee that none of them pose a threat to the US. Effectively this will shut down the program.
The House legislation was brought to the Floor after last week’s attacks in Paris that left more than 120 people dead, and for which ISIS claimed responsibility. With the year-long US bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, there is a good deal of concern that among those 10,000 to be settled here there might be some who wish to do us harm. Even though it looks as though the Paris attackers were all EU citizens, polling in the US shows record opposition to allowing Syrian refugees entry.
I agree that we must be very careful about who is permitted to enter the United States, but I object to the president’s plan for a very different reason. I think it is a sign of Washington’s moral and intellectual bankruptcy that US citizens are being forced to pay for those fleeing Washington’s foreign policy.
For the past ten years the US government has been planning and executing a regime change operation against the Syrian government. It is this policy that has produced the chaos in Syria, including the rise of ISIS and al-Qaeda in the country. After a decade of US destabilization efforts, we are now told that Syria is totally destabilized and we therefore must take in thousands of Syrians fleeing the destabilization that Washington caused.
Has there ever been a more foolish and wrong-headed foreign policy than this?
The American people have been forced to pay untold millions for a ten-year CIA and Pentagon program to undermine and overthrow the Syrian government, and now we are supposed to pay millions more to provide welfare for the refugees Obama created.
Who should pay for the millions fleeing the chaos that Washington helped create? How about the military-industrial complex, which makes a killing promoting killing? How about the Beltway neocon think-tanks that continue to churn out pro-war propaganda while receiving huge grants from defense contractors? How about President Obama’s national security advisors, who push him into one regime change disaster after another? How about Hillary Clinton, who came up with the bright idea that “Assad must go”? How about President Obama himself, a president elected to end wars, but who has ended up starting more wars than his predecessor? It’s time those who start the wars start paying for the disasters they create. Then perhaps we might have some relief from an interventionist foreign policy that is destroying our financial and national security.
If Obama wants to take in refugees from the chaos in Syria, there are probably plenty of vacant rooms in the White House.
Hebron, occupied Palestine – On Tuesday, 17th November, several groups of soldiers raided houses in the Wadi al-Hurriya neighborhood of al-Khalil (Hebron), an H1 district legally outside of Israeli control. From 7.30pm, Israeli forces were present in the area, divided into groups of 7-12 soldiers and entering every house and business on designated streets. At some of the residences they entered by force, violently smashing through doors. They checked every I.D card of the residents and also, according to soldiers who confronted the ISM volunteers, searched for weapons. Later in the night they informed the volunteers that they were looking for weapons and collecting data in order to prevent potential stabbings: “yes, some people are scared. But some people have reason to be scared.”
Each group of soldiers patrolled different streets and dark alleys, checking each house and entering with backpacks, mapping equipment, bullet-proof vests, and cocked machine guns. On entering houses, 2-3 soldiers remained outside to “secure” the entrance, periodically pointing guns at passers-by and preventing vehicle and pedestrian passage through the streets.
The raids lasted until at least 12.30am, after which one unit was witnessed occupying the second floor of a Palestinian house – the other half of which was inhabited by a Palestinian family – and could be heard setting up sleeping equipment. According to the soldiers questioned on site: “no, we are not inside a Palestinian house, they are not living in this house.” The residence is located within 500 meters of an army base and checkpoint bordering the H2 restricted area of al-Khalil.
It was reported later from residents who were in contact with ISM that furniture and property was damaged on the night. This is typical of night raids on Palestinian houses, and in other incidences money and other property has also been stolen. While these raids have been used extensively in the al-Khalil district in recent weeks as part of a tactic of intimidation, it is unclear as to whether the policy of raiding the H1 district and squatting family homes will continue.
Campesino leaders say the government is criminalizing their movements and does not protect their rights. | Photo: @marchapatriota
At least 300 campesino leaders have been killed in Colombia in 2015, according to Andres Gil, human rights leader and spokesperson of the Marcha Patriotica.
Many of these deaths have come as campesino leaders are attempting to defend their land and their natural resources. Another 7,000 campesino leaders have been jailed.
Land distribution in Colombia is extremely unequal. Less than 1 percent of the population owns roughly half of the land, and 70 percent of the population owns only 5 percent of the land. Campesinos who fight for their land are often risking their lives.
At least three campesinos leaders where killed just in the last two weeks, including the young Afro-descendent leader Jhon Jairo Ramirez Olaya in the Valle region; the environmental and campesino leader Daniel Abril, in the Orinoquia region; and the representative of Afro-descendent victims from Cordoba, Luis Francisco Hernandez Gonzales.
Another young campesino leader allegedly killed by the armed forces last Friday, according to Marcha Patriota.
According to Verdad Abierta — an investigative project on the armed conflict of Colombia’s Semana magazine — Abril accused various state officials of corruption, and was fighting against multiple oil corporations with extensive land interests.
Feliciano Valencia, another indigenous leader from the region of Cauca who was controversially sentenced to 18 years in jail, was also victim of a homicide attempt on Tuesday, as four men opened fire on his home, according to local social organizations.
Still in Cauca, in the end October, the armed forces were recently involved in the murder of indigenous leader Alfredo Bolaño, the 58th victim from security forces in the region, one of the most affected by violence because of its highly fertile lands.
On Friday, the Colombian army killed one campesino and wounded five others after it raided a rural area in what military officials said was an effort to “manually eradicate” illegal coca crops.
According to the local community, the armed forces opened fire on a peaceful march last Thursday in Argelia, Cauca.
The country’s ombudsman Fabian Laverde told teleSUR that this issue was rooted in several causes.
“First, the national government refuses to recognize the existence of paramilitarism. Second, the complaints from the social movements made about situations of threats or concrete actions against residents of these territories have been completely ignored,” he said.
Five men died in Israel and the West Bank yesterday, the victims of shooting and stabbing attacks by Palestinians. The assaults took place in Tel Aviv and in the Etzion illegal settlement bloc, and their deaths, according to The New York Times, marked “the deadliest day in the recent wave of violence.”
Deadliest day? For Israelis, yes, but not for Palestinians. As the Times has reported, Israeli soldiers shot and killed six young men in Gaza during demonstrations at the border fence on Oct. 9. Days later, on Oct. 20, five more Palestinians died at the hands of Israeli troops within the span of 12 hours (in this case, the newspaper remained silent and made no effort to report their deaths).
Nevertheless, Isabel Kershner in the Times today insists that the five deaths (one involving a Palestinian working in Israel and one involving an American visitor) are the high point in violence since a wave of lone wolf attacks against Israelis broke out at the beginning of October.
Nothing could provide more certain evidence of the Israeli bias in the Times. Palestinian deaths do not register on their tally of casualties; violence refers only to Palestinian aggression.
Kershner’s story acknowledges that some 90 Palestinians have died since the beginning of October, compared with 16 Israelis, but in explaining this discrepancy she manages once again to blame the victims. The Palestinians died, she says, while attacking or attempting to attack Israelis or “in clashes with Israeli security forces.”
Nothing is said of those who died in what human rights groups call apparent extrajudicial executions: the youth shot as he tried to extract his identity card from his pocket, the young woman killed as she stood with her hands over her head. It seems the Times wants us to believe the often dubious claims of Israeli forces responsible for Palestinian deaths.
Today’s story lists all of the victims by name and gives a detailed account of one of them, an American teenager who had “distributed food and candy to Israeli soldiers” the day he was killed. The Oct. 9 story about the deaths in Gaza gives the name of not a single Palestinian.
Kershner, however, has provided us with some context here, and the result is bizarre. She manages to link the five deaths to a long-awaited agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority “granting Palestinian cellphone carriers 3G high-speed cellular services in the West Bank.”
The attacks came “hours after” this agreement, she writes, and she goes on to imply that Palestinians should have taken this contract as something of a white flag, a sign that a truce is in effect.
“The move,” Kershner states, “intended to bolster economic development, had indicated a possible effect, or desire, to return to calm after weeks of violence.” She then quotes an Israeli minister who claims, “We always agree to confidence-building measures with the Palestinians to help with their economy.”
It is difficult to reconcile this assertion of goodwill with the fact that Palestinian cellphone carriers have been requesting the right to use 3G services since 2006 and only at this point has Israel agreed to allow this now outdated technology. Yet Kershner reports it without a hint of irony.
Readers are to take from this that the Palestinians have no right to protest, let alone to resort to violence. Israel, Kershner is saying, has their well-being at heart.
Missing, as usual, is the context of the brutal occupation, the ever-tightening pressure of settlement building that robs Palestinians of land, water, basic livelihoods and the right to move freely. Missing also are the arrests and abuse of young Palestinians, some as young as 6, and the heavy use of administrative detention, which denies detainees the right to a defense or even to know the charges against them.
If Kershner wanted to peg her story to recent developments, she could have mentioned the crackdown on the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel; the slap on the wrist meted out to the police officer who brutally beat an American Palestinian teenager last year; or the collective punishment of home demolitions, which can leave a wide trail of devastation beyond the stated targets.
Instead, readers are told that Israeli “goodwill” has been spurned by ungrateful Palestinians and that Israelis alone are the victims of violence. Thus, the Times and Kershner give dominance to Israel spin even as their efforts turn the news into an exercise in distortion and absurdity.
Follow @TimesWarp on Twitter