Israeli soldiers closed the main entrance of the Hebron Emergency Center, run by the Hebron Health Committees, by placing concrete blocks, completely sealing it, and deployed dozens of soldiers on its rooftop on Monday morning.
Dr. Ramzi Abu Yousef, director of the Health Work Committees (HWC) in Hebron, said many soldiers occupied the center’s rooftop, and turned it into a military base.
Abu Yousef warned of the consequences of this violation, especially since the center receives hundreds of patients on a daily basis, and added that the center provides its medical services to more than 60,000 Palestinians.
“For years now, the center has been subject to frequent Israeli military violations, including many invasions, and the soldiers even fired gas bombs at it,” Abu Yousef said, “They also repeatedly sprayed it with waste-water mixed with chemicals, in addition to harassing the patients and their families, and the various measures restricting their freedom of movement.”
The HWC voiced an urgent appeal to various human rights groups to intervene, and provide the needed protection to Palestinian health centers, in addition to pressuring Israel into halting its serious violations.
“People who need medical care have the right to receive it, but Israel continues to violate it,” the HWC added, “International Humanitarian Law stresses on the importance of unrestricted access to medical facilities.”
On April 17th 2009, Bassem Abu Rahme was demonstrating against the separation wall in his village, Bil’in. After another demonstrator was hit by crowd-dispersal weapons shot by Israeli security forces, Abu Rahme shouted at the soldiers and Border Policemen that the person was wounded. Seconds later, a person in Israeli uniform (it is unclear whether he or she was an IDF soldier or a Border Policeman) fired a tear gas canister directly into Abu Rahme’s chest; the wound was fatal, and within hours Abu Rahme was dead.
These facts were not, until recently, in contention. Even so, almost seven years after his death, no one has been held responsible for Abu Rahme’s death. Seven years of foot dragging and avoiding investigation (more on that in these two posts). This is what happens when a member of the security forces shoots an unarmed man — who everyone agrees posed no danger to — and the cameras (three of them, actually) document the event – yet are not aimed directly at the shooter.
We do not know who shot Abu Rahme, whether he or she was an IDF soldier or a Border Policeman. We do, however, have forensic evidence pointing to where the shooters stood. According to the ballistics examination, conducted by the IDF itself, “the only possibility of this sort of armament hitting the target is only by direct fire and using a flat angle — in the single digits — no more than three or four angles.” That is, there is no possibility of Abu Rahme being hit by a canister shot according to the orders and hitting him by mistake; even were the canister to ricochet off a fence, it would still be fired directly, contrary to orders.
The Chief of the IDF’s Photo Reconnaissance Department told the Military Police Criminal Investigations Division (MPCID) in 2013 that direct fire of tear gas canisters is forbidden and that it should hold a lineup to determine where each of the shooters stood. The MPCID refrained from doing so.
Last week, Israel’s Supreme Court heard an appeal by Yesh Din and human rights NGO B’Tselem , in which we demanded that the shooter be indicted, or that at least the army indict his commander. The hearing was held ex parte due to a strike by the prosecution. We estimate that the state would have argued that the shooters cannot be identified; and that it would also try to avoid mentioning the fact that the MPCID and the military prosecution did everything in their power to refrain from investigating the case for 15 months, and were forced to open an investigation after our first petition to the High Corut of Justice. The government is likely to claim that the canister that hit Abu Rahme’s chest ricocheted off something – and will play down the fact that even if it did, its own ballistic diagnosis ruled that it was fired contrary to orders.
The government is further likely to argue that it has no clue as to whom it should prosecute, hoping the judges will not think too much of the fact that it strangled the investigation for years. Our demand is simple: even if there is no chance to indict the shooters themselves, and we contend this claim since the MPCID’s failure to investigate rendered the case no longer investigable, the commanders should still bear responsibility.
So far, none of this has happened. The justices decided to rescind the petition, since under the Turkel Commission’s recommendations one may now object to the Attorney General over the military prosecution’s decision – a process that did not exist when we made our appeal. Justice, it seems, will have to keep waiting.
It is important to emphasize this time and again: Abu Rahme was unarmed. He was a danger to no one. He was protesting an injustice in his village – an injustice recognized by the High Court of Justice. And yet, an Israeli security officer, perhaps more than one, fired at a demonstrator in a life-threatening manner and caused his death. We note that one of the suspects said in his interrogation that he never received proper training with the weapon he was using. The commanders of these warriors, who are responsible for their actions, continue dodging this responsibility to this day.
Over the last few weeks, the very well-documented murder in Hebron has been called an exceptional, unrepresentative, and isolated incident by senior IDF and political figures. Every person of conscience should wonder whether this is so; whether the important statement in the case was not made of by Chief of Staff Eizenkot, but rather by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who phoned the father of the shooter and told him (Hebrew) to “trust the IDF investigation.”
What ought an Israeli security officer understand from the prime minister’s remarks? A reasonable interpretation would be: “don’t worry, our investigation will find you acted properly.” This, after all, is the unwritten contract between the government and its soldiers: we send you to do the dirty work of oppressing a civilian population, and in return we will turn a blind eye if you sometimes exceed your orders – unless are caught red-handed, that is. In such a case, we shall regrettably have to begin the investigation show.
Local sources told the Palestinian Information Center that Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint detained Barghouthi and took him to an undeclared place.
Barghouthi, 53, is a professor of theoretical space plasma physics at al-Quds University and has worked for some time at NASA in the United States. His scientific work is widely published internationally in academic journals.
The IOF previously kidnapped him on December 6, 2014 at al-Karama border crossing as he was trying to cross to Jordan in order to attend a scientific conference in the United Arab Emirates.
At the time, he was reportedly interrogated for participating in a mass march against Israel’s war on Gaza.
Copyright © The Palestinian Information Center
World War I
During World War I, for security reasons the Australian Government pursued a comprehensive internment policy against enemy aliens living in Australia.
Initially only those born in countries at war with Australia were classed as enemy aliens, but later this was expanded to include people of enemy nations who were naturalised British subjects, Australian-born descendants of migrants born in enemy nations and others who were thought to pose a threat to Australia’s security.
Australia interned almost 7,000 people during World War I, of whom about 4,500 were enemy aliens and British nationals of German ancestry already resident in Australia.
World War II
During World War II, Australian authorities established internment camps for three reasons – to prevent residents from assisting Australia’s enemies, to appease public opinion and to house overseas internees sent to Australia for the duration of the war.
Unlike World War I, the initial aim of internment during the later conflict was to identify and intern those who posed a particular threat to the safety or defence of the country. As the war progressed, however, this policy changed and Japanese residents were interned en masse. In the later years of the war, Germans and Italians were also interned on the basis of nationality, particularly those living in the north of Australia. In all, just over 20 per cent of all Italians resident in Australia were interned.
Australia interned about 7,000 residents, including more than 1,500 British nationals, during World War II. A further 8,000 people were sent to Australia to be interned after being detained overseas by Australia’s allies. At its peak in 1942, more than 12,000 people were interned in Australia.
Residents of Australia
Most internees during both wars were nationals of Australia’s main enemy nations already living in Australia. During World War I Germans made up the majority of internees. During World War II, as well as Germans there were also large numbers of Italian and Japanese internees. Internees also included nationals of over 30 other countries, including Finland, Hungary, Portugal and Russia.
Not all internees were foreign nationals. Naturalised British subjects and those born in Australia were among those of German, Italian and Japanese origin who were interned. British-born subjects who were members of the radical nationalist organisation, the Australia First Movement, were also interned.
Men made up the majority of those interned, but some women and children also spent time in the camps.
Included in the numbers of internees accommodated in Australia were enemy aliens, mostly Germans and Japanese, from Britain, Palestine, Iran, the Straits Settlements (now Singapore and Malaysia), the Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia), New Zealand and New Caledonia. Most famous among these groups were the Germans and Italians who arrived on the Dunera from England in 1940. The overseas internees included many women and children.
Prisoners of war
During World War I and World War II, Australia held both internees and prisoners of war. Prisoners of war were members of enemy military forces who were captured or had surrendered, whereas internees were civilians. Most prisoners of war in Australia were sent from overseas, very few were captured in Australia.
Many records do not make a clear distinction between civilian internees and military prisoners of war. The terms ‘prisoner’ and ‘internee’ were often used for both groups. In many cases internees and prisoners of war were accommodated in the same camps.
There were differences, however, in the rights of these two groups and the way they could be treated by Australian authorities. For example, prisoners of war could be made to work while internees could not. Internees also had to be paid for any work they undertook.
Internment camps were administered by the army and run along military lines. During World War I they were often referred to as concentration camps. Camps were established in re-purposed institutions such as the old gaols at Berrima and Trial Bay in New South Wales. The largest camp during World War l was at Holsworthy (Liverpool), west of Sydney.
During World War II, internees were first housed in prisons, such as at Long Bay gaol in New South Wales, or impromptu accommodation such as the Northam race course in Western Australia and the Keswick army barracks in Adelaide. The first camps were set up at the Enoggera (Gaythorne) and Liverpool military bases in Queensland and New South Wales and at the Dhurringile Mansion in Victoria.
As the numbers of internees grew, the early camps became too small. The Australian Government then constructed purpose-built camps at Tatura (Rushworth) in Victoria, at Hay and Cowra in New South Wales, at Loveday in South Australia and at Harvey in Western Australia.
Life for the internees varied between the camps, particularly between those that were temporary camps and those that were purpose-built. The conditions also depended on the geographical location of the camp, its climate, the composition of the camp population and importantly, the personality of the officer in charge.
After the wars
At the end of each war the internment camps were closed down. After World War I, most internees were deported. During World War II many internees, particularly Italians, were released before the end of the war. Others were allowed to leave the camps after hostilities ceased. Internees of British or European origin were permitted to remain in Australia after the war, including those who had been brought from overseas by British authorities. Most of those of Japanese origin, however, including some who were Australian-born, were ‘repatriated’ to Japan in 1946.
A graduate student union at New York University on Friday voted in favor of joining the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights.
Two-thirds of the Graduate Student Organizing Committee cast a vote in support of the resolution, which calls on both NYU and its United Automobile Workers union affiliate to divest from all Israeli state institutions — including universities — and corporations “complicit in” Israeli violations.
The resolution proposes that NYU join the movement “until Israel complies with international law and ends the military occupation, dismantles the wall, recognizes the rights of Palestinian citizens to full equality, and respects the right of return of Palestinian refugees and exiles.”
Over 600 union members voted in the referendum, a reportedly larger-than-average turnout for union votes. The 2,000-strong union represents graduate teaching and research assistants at the university.
Some 57 percent of voters made a voluntary individual pledge to participate in the academic boycott against Israel.
The BDS movement has gained momentum over the past year, aiming to exert political and economic pressure over Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory in a bid to repeat the success of the campaign which ended apartheid in South Africa.
Major actors to join the movement this year include British security giant G4S and French telecom company Orange.
The NYU union’s support of BDS comes after US President Barack Obama in February signed into law an anti-BDS trade agreement reiterating that US Congress “opposes politically motivated actions that penalize or otherwise limit commercial relations specifically with Israel,” referring directly to BDS activities.
The Israeli leadership has widely condemned the BDS movement as antisemitic or carried out from “hatred of Israel,” while proponents of the movement argue divestment measures are necessary in pressuring Israel to end its decades-long military occupation.
Moves inside the US — Israel’s longstanding ally and number one provider of military aid — to criminalize BDS have meanwhile been slammed by human rights defenders as a violation of free speech.
The longstanding Israeli/Palestinian peace process is the greatest hoax in modern times, repeating on and off for decades, dead-on-arrival each time, accomplishing nothing.
Obama hopes to lay the groundwork for another round of sham talks after he leaves office. France proposed an international conference in Paris this summer, presenting general ideas and principles only. Solutions remain elusive.
Months of John Kerry’s mediated talks collapsed in April 2014. America is no honest broker, one-sidedly supporting Israel, spurning Palestinian rights.
France’s position is no different. Israel rejects Palestinian self-determination. Liberation depends on resistance, not more talks achieving nothing.
A Paris meeting later this week is expected to involve high-level international diplomats, according to Palestinian ambassador to France Salman al-Harfi.
Israeli and Palestinians representatives aren’t attending. Objectives include agreeing on a way to achieve Palestinian statehood within pre-1967 borders, Jerusalem as a shared capital for both states, and resolving the right of return issue.
Mahmoud Abbas’ draft Security Council resolution condemning illegal Israeli settlements was withdrawn. It wasn’t a serious effort in the first place, having no chance to pass.
Netanyahu criticized the French initiative. Israel rejects Palestinian self-determination. It wants full control over future talks – to manipulate them to its advantage.
It long ago declared Jerusalem its exclusive capital, categorically rejects the right of diaspora Palestinians to return home.
It wants endless war and turbulence. Peace and stability defeat its imperial aims.
On Saturday, it approved stealing another 1,250 acres of privately owned Palestinian land, declared “state land” under full military control.
It’s intended for expanding illegal settlements – more proof Israel wants continued conflict, not peace.
Stephen Lendman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Hamas said it rejects the France-sponsored international peace conference between the Palestinians and the Israelis, which is scheduled to take place on May 30 in Paris.
“We consider it a waste of time and a free service for the Israeli government that continues its daily violations against the Palestinians,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Anadolu Agency on Saturday.
Abu Zuhri also warned against agreeing to any deal that would harm the Palestinians and their national interests.
In March, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas affirmed his support for the French proposal.
Peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators collapsed in April 2014 over Israel’s refusal to release a group of Palestinian political prisoners despite earlier pledges to do so.
Hebron, occupied Palestine – Yesterday, Elor Azraya, a soldier in the Israeli army, infamous for the extrajudicial execution of Abed al-Fattah al-Sharif in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron), has been released to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Pessach with his family.
21-year old Abed al-Fattah al-Sharif was lying on the ground incapacitated after what Israeli forces claim was a knife-attack by him and Ramzi al-Qasrawi against Israeli soldiers stationed at Gilbert checkpoint in the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood of occupied al-Khalil. In a video that was captured by human rights defender Emad Abu Shamsiyyah, who has since been receiving death threats from settlers, Elor Azraya can be seen cocking his gun and executing the unconscious Abed al-Fattah with a shot in the head. With blood and brain matter starting to seep from the wound in his head, it is obvious that Abed al-Fattah was still alive when executed in cold-blood by Elor Azraya.
*** WARNING*** the following video contains extremely graphic material. A soldier is seen executing one of the Palestinian men at 1:52. Video-credit: Emad Abu Shamsiya
The neighbourhood of Tel Rumeida and the tiny strip of Shuhada Street where Palestinians are still ‘allowed’ to walk after the 1994 Ibrahimi mosque massacre, have been declared a ‘closed military zone’ since 1st November 2015 in an act of collective punishment against the whole Palestinian population. The increase of humiliating and racist ‘security-controls’ towards only the Palestinian residents by Israeli forces, goes hand in hand with the dehumanization of these residents with the introduction of a number system, where every Palestinian resident was assigned a number that he or she is being referred to. When passing and being checked at one of the countless checkpoints whether a Palestinian resident is allowed to enter, soldiers check whether they are registered and numbered residents. At the same time, Israeli settlers from the illegal settlements are allowed to freely and without hassle, roam the streets, regardless of whether they actually are residents in this area.
The approval and support Elor Azraya has been receiving both from his comrades (that can be seen in the video with them not even flinching when he executes Abed al-Fattah) and settlers, mirrors the great support he enjoys from the majority of the Israeli population. Upon arriving home, Elor Azraya was received as a hero with a big celebration. The Israeli army clearly foster a culture where extrajudicial executions and an excessive use of force against Palestinians is considered ‘commendable’, ‘normal’ and even ‘heroism’; which is approved of not only by Israeli politics, but also society, and is thus becoming an integral part of Israeli society.
In various demonstrations in favour of this cold-blooded execution, Israeli demonstrators have been seen with placards asking to ‘kill them all’ – applauding not only the heinous execution of Abed al-Fattah, but calling on everyone to kill all the Palestinians – a clear call for the ethnic cleansing, and genocide, of Palestinians. These demonstrations have attracted hundreds of Israelis, and have not received any condemnation by the Israeli public or government.
Whereas Elor Azraya has been released until Sunday, the body of Abed al-Fattah is still being held by the Israeli government in a practice where the Israeli government holds hostage the bodies of Palestinians they accuse of attempting to harm Israeli forces or settlers. Like Abed al-Fattah al-Sharif, many more Palestinian families are thus denied the right to bury their loved ones and mourn their loss. Families of these Palestinians and their supporters have been protesting this inhumane tactic, demanding the release of the bodies.
In an environment that supports and commends the extrajudicial killing of a (Palestinian) human being lying incapacitated on the ground – clearly posing no threat to anyone – it does not come as a big surprise that Elor Azraya has been released ‘to celebrate Pessach with his family’. The charges for the heinous murder of Abed al-Fattah had already been reduced to ‘manslaughter’, despite the telling and obvious video footage. His release without any consequence for the execution of a Palestinian so clearly caught on camera is not just another sign of how cold-blooded, racist and inhumane the apartheid Israeli occupation of Palestine is; but also of how the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’ visibly has no regard or rather a total disregard for human rights, the rule of law or even of human life – as long as it is Palestinian life.
Hardly a day goes by without Israel accusing Palestinian leaders of incitement against the state and its citizens. They argue that such incitement was one of the triggers for the seven-month long uprising which has seen forty Israelis killed by Palestinians, mostly in knife attacks, and over two hundred Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces, many executed while posing no threat to anyone. Such accusations of Palestinian incitement extend all the way up to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. He admitted recently that there is some incitement from the Palestinian side in his interview with Israeli Channel 2 TV. On other occasions, Saeb Erekat, General Secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and its chief negotiator has also accepted that there is some incitement from the Palestinians.
Incitement as far as Israel is concerned covers a wide spectrum, from calling those killed by Israel “martyrs” to objecting to repeated incursions by Jewish settlers into Al-Aqsa Mosque, and including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign; seeking membership in international organisations such as the International Criminal Court; calling Israel out as an apartheid state; describing the horrific impact of the occupation to the UN General Assembly; and even reminiscing about the towns and villages (most of which have been wiped off the map by Israel) from where Palestinian refugees come and to which they long to return.
Israel has worked tirelessly to convince the so called “international community” to accept its definition of “terrorism” and make it cover any form of resistance that is quite legitimate, including throwing stones. Even attacks against Israeli soldiers maintaining an illegal occupation in Palestine are deemed to be “terrorism”. The international community now works according to Israel’s definitions and narrative and seems to require the victims, the occupied people, to be exemplary and simply curse their predicament but do nothing about it. How many victims of an acknowledged crime are required to protect the criminals? The Palestinians under Israeli occupation are.
The situation is the same across the Atlantic. US presidential candidates making their obligatory, embarrassing pilgrimage to the main pro-Israel lobby group conference, AIPAC, earlier this month joined in this nauseating spectacle of dancing to Israel’s tune. Their words were carbon copies of what an Israeli spokesman would say. They accused the Palestinians of raising their children to hate and of loving death more than life. Both are inaccurate and very racist accusations designed to pander to the lobby. Only Bernie Sanders skipped this festival of anti-Palestinian hatred and then took Clinton to task for barely mentioning the Palestinians in a recent debate between the two Democrat front-runners for the White House.
While Palestinians can understand why Israel trivialises the impact that the loss of their homeland in 1948 (the Nakba) and the occupation of the remaining 22 per cent in 1967 (they Naksa) have had on them, they cannot fathom how and why supposedly intelligent people like the presidential candidates can be so insensitive to this. The fact that they see the Palestinians as the villains and their Israeli colonisers and occupiers as the victims is like being stabbed in the heart. To call on them to submit to Israel’s brutal occupation is in itself a form of incitement.
If the Palestinians are guilty of incitement, then what does Israel’s 24/7 occupation amount to? What the Palestinians can do pales into insignificance when compared to Israel’s deliberate daily provocation and humiliation of subjugated people in the hope of a reaction, to which the so-called Israel Defence Forces (IDF) can “respond”. This provocation – and provocation is not a strong enough word to convey the impact it has — is the most significant incitement of young Palestinians to take matters into their own hands. If those calling on them not to react could put themselves in their position for even one day and be on the receiving end of what it is like to live under occupation, I am confident that they would understand why they might be driven to violence.
The list of examples of incitement by Israel is long.
When Zionists claim that historic Palestine belongs to the Jews and use this to argue not only that modern day European Jews with no connection to the land have a “right to return” but also deny the same right to Palestinian refugees driven out of their homes and land in 1948 by Jewish terror groups, that is incitement by Israel.
When Palestinian children are abducted in the night by the army of an occupying power; denied legal rights including representation; shackled when brought to court; and made to sign confessions in Hebrew, that is incitement by Israel.
When an Israeli armoured bulldozer accompanied by dozens of soldiers arrives and demolishes a Palestinian home in occupied East Jerusalem under the pretence of the lack of a building permit, then that is also incitement by Israel.
When illegal Jewish settlers protected by the security forces throw a family out of their home in Sheikh Jarrah, and move into it themselves, that is incitement by Israel.
When Israeli settlers break into the grounds of Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the security forces and claim that the mosque site is theirs, then that is incitement by Israel.
When Muslims are barred from reaching their holiest mosque in Palestine at the whim of the Israeli security forces, then that is incitement by Israel.
When homes are built for Jewish Israelis on Palestinian land and the owner’s movement is restricted to allow them freedom of movement, then that is incitement by Israel.
When the IDF fires tear gas canisters into Palestinian schools causing the children to suffocate or faint, then that is incitement by Israel.
When the occupying state takes over the main mosque in Hebron and divides it between Jews and Muslims, and determines when Palestinians can and cannot pray in it, then that is incitement by Israel.
When the occupation authority builds roads which encroach on Palestinian land for use by Jewish settlers only, then that is incitement by Israel.
When Jewish settlers terrorise the local population in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and even murder Palestinians such as Mohammed Abu Khdair and the Dawabshe family under the protection of the IDF, then that is incitement by Israel.
When Israel lays siege to 1.8 million human beings in the Gaza Strip for ten years with no prospect of the blockade ending, then that is incitement.
When the occupiers use the most powerful and devastating weapons on earth, save for nuclear weapons, to kill and maim in war after war against the Palestinians in Gaza, then that is incitement by Israel.
As far back as 2006, PLO Secretary General Dr Erekat said, “The Israeli ministry of defence is telling its citizens to carry weapons when trailing in the occupied West Bank near Palestinian villages.” This, he added, is an outrageous case of incitement to violence against Palestinians that reflects Israel’s official policy and mindset. “It should be of grave concern to the international community.”
Israeli incitement goes right to the top. In the 2015 general election campaign Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu incited the Jewish population against Israel’s Palestinian citizens when he said, “Arab voters are heading to the polling stations in droves” as if they were a swarm of cockroaches. He was also accused of incitement by Palestinian citizens when he promised Israeli Jews, “We will dramatically increase law enforcement services in the Arab sector.” Netanyahu told the press at the site of a shooting that Israel “will open new police stations, recruit more police officers, [and] go into all the towns and demand of everyone loyalty to the laws of the state.” Israeli lawmaker Miri Regev incited against African refugees claiming, “Heaven forbid [that] we compare Africans to human beings.”
At a recent conference to counter the BDS movement, an Israeli minister called for the “civil targeted killing” of BDS leaders like Omar Barghouti. Even foreign political figures have been the subject of incitement as Saeb Erekat has noted. He strongly condemned the hateful Israeli campaign against Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom following her legitimate calls for an investigation into Israel’s extrajudicial killing of Palestinian civilians.
Those searching for a peaceful resolution to the injustice affecting Palestinian must recognise Israeli provocations and incitement as serious contributing factors to the violence. They cannot expect the occupied Palestinians, victims of Israel’s colonisation project, to turn the other cheek when slapped. That cheek is badly bruised and cannot take any more humiliation, provocation and, yes, incitement by Israel.
Palestinian journalist Omar Nazzal, member of the General Secretariat of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate in the West Bank, was arrested by Israeli occupation forces on the al-Karameh crossing between occupied Palestine and Jordan on Saturday, 23 April and taken to the Etzion interrogation center.
Nazzal, a prominent journalist and syndicate leader who is widely quoted on issues relating to the repression of journalists, was on his way to Sarajevo for the General Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists, taking place on 25-26 April.
The EFJ and the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate are members of the International Federation of Journalists, a global organization defending journalists’ rights against repression. The IFJ has spoken out before regarding the repression of Palestinian journalists, including urging the freedom of detained hunger-striking journalist Mohammed al-Qeeq and condemning the Israeli occupation’s closure of Palestine Today TV.
Nasser Abu Baker, the president of the Journalists’ Syndicate, who is also participating in the EFJ meeting, spoke with reporters about Nazzal’s arrest. The PJS issued a press release, calling on international journalists’ organizations, including the EFJ and IFJ, to denounce the arrest of Nazzal and pressure the Israeli state to release him. Nazzal’s arrest “clearly reveals the level of targeting and persecution of journalists and their union by the occupation and its forces,” said the PJS. Palestinian journalists will gather in Ramallah on Sunday, 24 April at 11 am at the International Committee of the Red Cross to demand the release of Nazzal and an end to the persecution of journalists.
Quds News journalist Samah Dweik, 25, was arrested on 10 April in an early-morning armed military raid on her home. A decision to grant her bail was overturned on 21 April, and she is imprisoned until the end of proceedings on allegations of “incitement” based on Facebook posts.
Writing in +972Mag, Noam Roten notes that “Ahmad al-Bitawi, a Palestinian journalist, was convicted in an Israeli military court of incitement that was, allegedly part of his journalistic work. Other journalists, among them Mahmoud al-Qawasme and Mohhamad Qaddumi, are both imprisoned in Israeli jails awaiting trial for the same charge. These tactics are only used against Palestinians journalists, never against Jewish journalists, some of whom publish similar incendiary materials, like for example Amnon Lord, who published a front-page article for the Jewish religious newspaper Makor Rishon a few weeks ago that included the statement, “killing a terrorist without grounds of immediate self defense is a natural situation during war.”
During the month of February, a long list of Palestinian journalists from both Jerusalem and the West Bank were interrogated, among them “Good Morning Jerusalem” producer Nader Bebars, Pal Media in Jerusalem’s bureau chief Ishaq Kasbe, WAFA photographer Ayman Nubani, and many other journalists, photographers and media technicians.”
There are approximately 20 Palestinian journalists imprisoned today, and dozens have been arrested since October 2015. In the same time period, nearly 150 Palestinians have been arrested for Facebook posts.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network demands the immediate release of Omar Nazzal and all detained Palestinian journalists. The arrest of Nazzal serves several purposes for the Israeli occupation: disrupting the work of the Journalists Syndicate; silencing the voice of a respected Palestinian journalist; intimidating Palestinian journalists living and reporting under occupation that even prominent journalistic figures are not protected; and preventing Nazzal from connecting with his fellow international journalists on the situation faced by Palestinian journalists today. We urge the broadest campaign of pressure to demand the release of Nazzal, all imprisoned journalists, and all Palestinian prisoners. We especially call on journalists’ organizations and press freedom organizations around the world to join in this campaign.
21st Century Wire | April 22, 2016
Another example of intellectual racketeering by an international lobby that is determined to white wash and sanitize the incredible crimes of a rogue nation.
Undoubtedly, Swedish minister Mehmet Kaplan was already a controversial figure with links to some dubious Turkish Islamic nationalist groups (see his story below), and his various adversaries wanted him out of politics. However, his past comparisons of the exclusionary, racist and bigoted ethnic cleansing policies of Nazi Germany – to similar policies fueled by the Zionist ideology in the formation and ongoing maintenance of the State of Israel – have strong parallels as evidenced in numerous scholarly works, including author Ilan Pappé’s historical compendium, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. In summary:
“During the 1948 Palestine war, around 720,000 Palestinian Arabs out of the 900,000 who lived in the territories that became Israel fled or were expelled from their homes. The causes of this exodus are controversial and debated by historians. In his own words, Ilan Pappé “want[s] to make the case for the paradigm of ethnic cleansing and use[s] it to replace the paradigm of war as the basis for the scholarly research of, and public debate about, 1948.”
“The thesis of the book is that the forced move of Palestinians to the Arab world was an objective of the Zionist movement, and a must for the desired character of the Jewish state. According to Ilan Pappé, the 1948 Palestinian exodus resulted from a planned ethnic cleansing of Palestine that was implemented by the Zionist movement leaders, mainly David Ben-Gurion and the other ten members of his “consultancy group” as referred to by Pappé. The book argues that the ethnic cleansing was put into effect through systematic expulsions of about 500 Arab villages, as well as terrorist attacks executed mainly by members of the Irgun and Haganah troops against the civilian population. Ilan Pappé also refers to Plan Dalet and to the village files as a proof of the planned expulsions.” (Wikipedia 2016)
Add to this, today’s native Palestinian population is currently under full Israeli military occupation and is being held in what many describe as the world’s largest mass open prisons for the past 70 years – many times longer than similar repressive regimes throughout history. In addition to this, hundred of thousands (and now now millions) of those Palestinians driven from their homes by militant European Israeli settlers in 1948-1950 have been stranded without national status in refugee camps in neighboring Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Jordan.
Critics can argue about which oppressive regimes in history were, or are, more severe to their victims, but no one can rightly argue that the Israeli project to date has been the chief architect of its own highly organized pogrom.
What’s most amazing however, is the misappropriation of language by the intellectual racketeers determine to enforce a politically correct regime of public discourse, and who routinely levy the fallacious charge of “anti–semitism” at anyone who challenges Israel on its own openly racist state policies and systematic abuses of the native Arab Palestinian population who are actual semite people – unlike the overwhelming majority of Jewish Israelis who settled in Palestine from 1948 onwards who are of European descent, and not Middle Eastern or ‘semitic’ decent.
Israel and its supporters may not like them, but fact are facts.
Despite efforts by a well-financed international Israeli lobby to silence opposition and to cover-up the state of Israel’s crimes in the western media, millions of conscientious citizens worldwide are now aware of these crimes and have come together to organize a number of boycott and divestment campaigns (BDS) designed to end its brutal apartheid state policies and pressure Israel into recognizing international norms and observing basic human rights for ethnic natives held under its US government-financed military control.
Meanwhile, another trophy for the “antisemitic” racket…
Swedish minister resigns after comparing Israel to Nazi Germany
Sweden’s housing minister has resigned after footage of him comparing the treatment of Palestinians by Israel to that of the Jews by the Nazis surfaced in local media. The politician has recently come under fire for his alleged ties to Turkish neo-fascist groups.
Mehmet Kaplan, a high-profile Swedish politician of Turkish origin and member of the Green party, was serving as a minister of Housing and Urban Development from 2014 until his resignation on Monday amid mounting controversy over his rumored close ties to the radical Turkish Islamist groups and his video interview from 2009 in which he says that “Israelis treat Palestinians in a way that is very like that in which Jews were treated during Germany in the 1930s.”
Although the statement about Israel`s policies towards Palestinians was made before Kaplan took office, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, from the Social Democrats, said that “Mehmet Kaplan’s overall assessment of the situation is that he will not be able to act as a minister and I share that assessment,” while announcing his resignation from the government.
The publication of the extract from his interview to Somali Star TV by the Svenska Dagbladet daily was the last straw that forced him out of his office.
Kaplan himself, however, denied that he had crossed any ethical line and didn’t offer any apology. He admitted that he had “on several occasions criticized the actions of the state of Israel severely” but stressed that he was not “anti-Semitic.” Instead, he said that he had made decision to resign leave as the excessive media publicity would prevent him from doing his job as a minister.
Other Swedish officials were far more critical of Kaplan’s comments, however, with Foreign Minister Margot Wallström calling them “terrible,” the Guardian reported… Read more at RT
The Israeli regime plans to close off all entry points to the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip ahead of a Jewish holiday.
According to the Israeli army, the crossings to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be sealed off on Friday and Saturday, the days of the so-called Passover holiday, over security concerns.
The decision on the blockades was made after “an evaluation of the security situation,” an Israeli military spokesperson said without elaborating.
The Israeli decision to block pathways comes as a move to bar Palestinians from the al-Aqsa Mosque in August 2015 caused a major outcry on the part of the Palestinians. The Israel-occupied territories have been the scene of tensions ever since.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also said that security measures will be tightened ahead of the holiday.
Soldier in execution released
Israel also released from custody on Friday a soldier charged with manslaughter after shooting a wounded Palestinian. A military statement said Elor Azria was released home for the Passover holiday.
Azria, who also holds French citizenship, was charged on Monday with manslaughter and unbecoming conduct over the March 24 killing that took place in the southern West Bank city al-Khalil (Hebron).
A widely circulated video showed Abdul Fatah al-Sharif, 21, lying on the ground, shot along with another man after allegedly stabbing and moderately wounding a soldier minutes earlier.
Azria, who was not at the scene during Sharif’s alleged attack, then shoots him in the head without any apparent provocation. His lawyers argued he thought the Palestinian was wearing explosives.
Palestinian Authority halts UN bid
With Israel tightening its measures, the Palestinian Authority however said a push for a UN resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement expansion will be put on hold.
Foreign Minister Riyad Maliki announced on Thursday that the Palestinians supported a French initiative to hold an international conference in May in an effort to revive so-called peace talks.
The Palestinians initially planned to get the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution that would condemn continued Israeli settlement construction as an obstacle to peace.
Earlier reports had said that the Palestinian Authority had been under pressure from France and other countries to stop its efforts to push for the UN resolution.
French officials told President Mahmoud Abbas that the Palestinian bid was unlikely to succeed because the US would veto the resolution even if it received enough votes from other members.
In his Thursday remarks, Maliki said Palestinian and French leaders agreed during meetings in Paris a few days ago that the French initiative should move ahead and not be jeopardized “in any way” by the resolution.
Senior Israeli and Palestinian officials have said that the Egyptians, the Jordanians and the Saudis were not keen to see the draft resolution move forward at this time.