Three Syrian forces have been killed in a fresh Israeli attack on a military camp near the southwestern city of Quneitra, a military official says.
The attack hit the al-Fawwar camp on Sunday, wounding two others, the unnamed official told the French news agency AFP.
It was not clear whether the assault was an airstrike or shelling. The attack comes after Israel struck a Syrian army position in the province of Quneitra on the Golan plateau on Friday, “causing damage.”
A Syrian military source told the official SANA news agency that the Israeli aggression came after an attempt by terrorists to infiltrate military positions in Quneitra was foiled and the assailants suffered heavy losses.
The Israeli military confirmed the raid in a statement, saying it was conducted shortly after three mortar shells allegedly fired from Syria hit an open area in the northern occupied Golan Heights.
The Tel Aviv regime regularly hits positions held by the Syrian army in the Golan Heights, claiming that the attacks are retaliatory. Syria says the raids aim to help Takfiri militants fighting against government forces.
In the past, the Syrian army has confiscated Israeli-made arms and military equipment from terrorists fighting the government forces. There are also reports that Tel Aviv has been treating the extremists wounded in Syria.
Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria after the 1967 Six-Day War and later occupied it in a move that has never been recognized by the international community.
The regime has built tens of illegal settlements in the area ever since and used the region to carry out military operations against the Syrian government.
Army advances against militants
Separately on Sunday, Syrian forces recaptured Halfaya town in the west-central Hama Province, the Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen TV channel reported.
Meanwhile, pro-opposition media reported fierce clashes between the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) militants and US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the northern countryside of Hama.
US defense officials also told Fox News that the Daesh terrorist group is now centered in the city of Dayr al-Zawr, some 144 kilometers southeast of Raqqah, the Takfiri outfit’s de facto capital in Syria.
They said that US military drones have watched hundreds of Daesh “bureaucrats” or administrators, leaving Raqqah in the past two months.
NABLUS – Israeli forces shot and injured four Palestinians with rubber-coated steel bullets, after residents in a Palestinian village south of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank gathered to defend their homes from a mob of Israeli settlers that stormed the community. Hours later, two Palestinians were hospitalized when a group of settlers attacked Palestinians in a nearby village.
Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settler activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that some 100 “extremist settlers” from the illegal Yitzhar settlement entered the village of Urif from its east side and proceeded to smash windows of houses, included one belonging to resident Munir al-Nouri.
He added that the settlers were about to break into the house before Palestinian villagers gathered and forced them away.
According to a Facebook group for Urif, loudspeakers from the village’s mosque were used to inform residents of the incident and to urge them to help defend the homes from the “herds of settlers” attacking the village.
Minutes later, Daghlas said, a number of Israeli military vehicles stormed the village to protect the Israelis.
Clashes erupted between Palestinians youth and Israeli forces who “haphazardly” fired tear gas canisters, stun grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinians, according to Daghlas.
Daghlas said that four Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, one of whom was hit in the head. Medical sources said that Adel al-Safadi, Jihad Saad, Mustafa Fawzi, and Sharif Abd al-Hafith were taken to Rafidiya hospital to be treated for the gunshot injuries.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that a “violent dispute erupted between Israelis and Palestinians” who she said were “mutually throwing rocks at each other in an area around the village.” When Israeli forces arrived to “disperse the dispute, several Palestinians shot flares at (Israeli) forces.”
In response, Israeli forces used “riot dispersal means,” she said. No Israeli were reported injured
Later Saturday afternoon, Daghlas said that another group of Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian homes in the town of Huwwara, just a few kilometers away from Urif, on the southeastern edge of Yitzhar.
Daghlas said that dozens of settlers attacked Palestinians and their homes with stones and “sharp objects.” A 72-year-old woman, Badiah Muhammad Hamdan, and a young man identified as Ahmad Yousif Udah were hospitalized. Daghlas said Hamdan sustained head injuries.
A video shared on social media showed the woman, bloodied and incapacitated, being evacuated in an ambulance.
Separately, a young Palestinian man was run over by an Israeli settler later Saturday afternoon in al-Masoudiyya west of Nablus city, Daghlas said.
Daghlas told Ma’an that 19-year-old Asim Salim from Nablus city was evacuated to Rafidiya hospital, where doctors said he sustained moderate wounds. Daghlas added that Salim was trying to cross the road in al-Masoudiyya when a settler’s vehicle hit him and fled the scene.
An Israeli border police spokesperson could not be reached for comment on the reported hit and run.
According to the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ), since the state of Israel confiscated land from Urif and other Palestinian villages to establish the illegal Yithzar settlement in the 1980s, “attacks and violence perpetrated by settlers has had a profoundly negative impact on Palestinian residents and their property,” stressing that Yitzhar “poses a daily threat to residents of the neighboring Palestinian villages.”
Settlers have also been known to steal crops, damage and burn trees and other plants, and attack places of worship in the area, in an attempt to intimidate Palestinian villagers and farmers from using their land.
On Friday, a video was released showing 15 masked Israeli settlers attacking Israeli activists in the central West Bank, throwing rocks and hitting the activists with clubs.
Many Palestinian activists and rights groups have meanwhile accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israeli settlers and soldiers committing violent acts against Palestinians.
In March, Israeli NGO Yesh Din revealed that Israeli authorities served indictments in only 8.2 percent of cases of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank in the past three years.
Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law, with recent announcements of settlement expansion provoking condemnation from the international community.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there were a total of 221 reported settler attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem in 2015, and 107 in 2016.
US Defense Secretary General James Mattis has arrived in Israel for talks expected to focus on Iran and Syria as well the strategic relations between Tel Aviv and Washington.
Mattis arrived in Tel Aviv Thursday afternoon from Cairo on the third leg of a week-long tour of the US allies in the Middle East.
Marking the first time he has visited Israel as the Pentagon chief, Mattis was greeted by an official honor guard at army headquarters in Tel Aviv on Friday morning.
He then met the Israeli minister for military affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, and is scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.
Mattis hopes to hear directly from Israeli leaders their concerns about regional issues, with Iran’s influence topping the list.
‘No doubt Syria has chemical weapons’
The conflict in Syria, where the US and Israel seek to remove President Bashar al-Assad from power, is also on the agenda, according to the prime minister’s office.
Israel was one of the first US allies to salute President Donald Trump for a recent missile strike on a Syrian airbase, where they alleged a suspected chemical attack originated.
Speaking during a press conference with Lieberman on Friday, Mattis said there can be “no doubt” that Syria has retained some chemical weapons and warned President Assad not to use them.
“There can be no doubt in the international community’s mind that Syria has retained chemical weapons in violation of its agreement and its statement that it had removed them all. There is no longer any doubt,” he said.
The US, Israel and Saudi Arabia have been pushing to overthrow the Syrian government through the use of proxy militant forces in the country.
Iran has been lending advisory support to Syria in its battle against the foreign-backed militants, but has avoided direct military involvement in the conflict.
Known as the “Mad Dog,” Mattis has famously said the three gravest threats to US national security were “Iran, Iran, Iran.”
While in Riyadh on Wednesday, the Pentagon chief reiterated the Trump administration’s position that Iran seeks to “destabilize” the region.
He told reporters after meeting with senior Saudi officials that “everywhere you look if there is trouble in the region, you find Iran.”
US-Israeli ties reached a low point over the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, including the United States.
Former President Barack Obama pushed for the agreement, to the dismay of Netanyahu who argued it would only strengthen Iran in the region.
Israeli leaders were emboldened by the election of Donald Trump, who has described the nuclear accord as “the worst deal ever negotiated” and threatened to “rip it up.”
In his latest criticism on Thursday, Trump blasted the deal as “a terrible agreement” that “shouldn’t have been signed,” and accused Iran of “not living up” to its spirit.
What would a just U.S. foreign policy look like? This faux bill lays forth a vision regarding one pillar of such a policy: justice for Palestinians.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
1 June 2017
To express the sense of Congress regarding the United States-Palestine relationship, to direct the President to submit to Congress reports on actions to enhance this relationship, and to assist in the defense of Palestinians everywhere.
Congress finds the following:
From 1948 to the spring of 2017, United States Presidents and both houses of Congress, in accordance with their own histories of supporting violence against Natives in North America and beyond, repeatedly prioritized the interests of extremist Zionist lobbies and the U.S. weapons industry over the interests of the Palestinians and the U.S. citizenry.
The U.S. National Security State boasts a coherent track record of supporting undemocratic regimes, among them: Sisi in Cairo, Abdullah II in Amman, the House of Khalifa in Al-Manama, Al Thani in Doha, Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, the House of Saud in Riyadh, and Sultan Qaboos in Muscat. In recent years, the people have risen up in Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, and elsewhere, only to be crushed by the full might of anti-democracy forces. The response from the U.S. National Security State has been consistent: overt and covert aid to undemocratic regimes via the provision of weaponry, diplomatic support, intelligence, and military training and advisors.
Israel, which has engaged in ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people for decades and which continues its sordid history of fomenting instability in the Middle East, is now exploiting regional discord in order to entrench its occupation of Palestine. Israel’s actions violate the United Nations Charter, the Geneva Conventions, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Israel has possessed nuclear weapons since the 1960s. It refuses to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons is a destabilizing criminal enterprise.
Israel is a strategic burden on the United States. Ardent Zionists will insist that Israel provides the U.S. Government with “valuable intelligence.” That is a ruse. When giving “intelligence” to the U.S. Government, Israel always demands more access to U.S. capabilities in return. Furthermore, the “intelligence” that Israel gives the U.S. Government is politicized, designed to steer U.S. foreign policy in a direction consistent with Zionist goals for the Eastern Mediterranean.
Over the past several decades, with the assistance of the United States Government, Israel has increased its stockpiles of state-of-the-art military weaponry. Israel uses a substantial portion of the U.S. tax dollars it receives – now up to $3.8 billion annually – to purchase weapons from the U.S. war industry. Such weapons include, but are not limited to: Boeing Apache attack helicopters, Raytheon PATRIOT missile systems, General Electric jet engines, Pratt & Whitney turbines, Colt rifles, Rockwell Collins helmets, and Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft. Israel also boasts a lucrative arms industry of its own. It is now armed to the teeth.
This status quo is unjust and unsustainable.
Statement of policy
It is now the policy of the United States:
(1) To commit to the security of Palestine.
(2) To void prior lip service regarding the so-called “unbreakable” bond between Washington, D.C., and the Zionist State. The United States Government has ended the lopsided relationship it once had with Israel.
(3) To classify the American Israel Public Affairs Committee as an Agent of a Foreign Power. Counterintelligence operations have been increased against Mossad in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and across the United States.
(4) To schedule a national summit featuring leaders from African American, Native American, and Palestinian human rights groups for this summer, 2017. These leaders will chart the way forward. U.S. Congress will learn from them.
(5) To provide the Palestinian people the capabilities necessary to deter and defend themselves against any threats. This includes assistance in tearing down the apartheid wall as well as the oppressive Palestinian Authority’s security apparatus, which Israel has long used to outsource subjugation of the Palestinian people.
(6) To no longer use the United States’ position on the United Nations Security Council to benefit Israel. Henceforth, the U.S. Government will use its position on all international bodies to respect human rights and abide by International Law. Palestinian self-determination is the overriding priority.
(7) To support the Palestinian people’s inherent right to self-defense. It is not terrorism to defend oneself against an occupying, colonizing military force that is armed to the teeth.
(8) To pursue avenues of cooperation with Palestine, emphasizing technology, agriculture, medicine, health, and energy sectors. The U.S. Congress looks forward to engaging in cultural exchanges with representatives from Ramallah, Nablus, Gaza, Hebron and other cities.
(9) To work tirelessly in order to get Israel to lift the barbaric siege of the Gaza Strip, to expedite humanitarian aid to Gaza and the West Bank, and to push Israel to accept Palestinians’ Right of Return in accordance with longstanding principles of International Law.
(10) To demand Israel remove all of its colonists from beyond the 1967 borders, and to assist Palestine with its on-going efforts to forge a peaceful end to Israeli occupation and oppression. The Palestinian people deserve to live free from an occupying power, free from the meddling of any intelligence apparatuses, and free from the scourge of Western weaponry, whether made in Tel Aviv suburbs or the United States of America.
United States actions to assist in the defense of Palestine and protect U.S. interests
It is the sense of Congress that the United States should take the following actions to assist in the defense of Palestine, the termination of Zionism and its inherent racism, and the promotion of human rights in the region:
End military cooperation with Israel. This includes ending the annual $3.8 billion gift from U.S. taxpayers to the Israeli government, the majority of which is used to purchase weaponry from the U.S. war industry. The U.S. Government will also no longer help Israel develop military technology, including rocket and missile designs. Israel is no longer allowed to make purchases under the Foreign Military Financing program.
Support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. Provide Palestine with the full resources of the U.S. State Department in order to: encourage boycott of any company that aids or abets Israel’s violation of Palestinian human rights; encourage investment vehicles and financial institutions to divest from Israeli companies that profit from occupation; and expand international, national, regional, and local sanctions across the global community against Israel until it meets its obligations as stipulated by International Law.
Retrieve and rescind defense articles and defense services from Israel through such mechanisms as appropriate. Weapons include but are not limited to air refueling tankers, armored vehicles, missile defense capabilities, specialized munitions, jet aircraft, stolen nuclear triggers, and satellite technology. This includes retrieval, decommissioning, and disposal of munitions from any and all forward-deployed United States stockpiles located within Israel. The U.S. National Security State will no longer share raw Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) with the Israeli regime.
Renege on any training and exercises that the Israeli military undertakes within the United States. Israeli military personnel have three duty days to leave U.S. territory.
Enhance economic cooperation between the United States and Palestine as directed by Palestinian civil society.
Report on progress
Statement of policy
It is the policy of the United States (A) to force Israel respect International Law and Palestinian human rights; and (B) to impose sanctions on Israel until it conforms to international law and ends its militant behavior as a rogue state.
Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall submit to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate a report on the status of Israel’s relative progress meeting human rights obligations and adhering to the Geneva Conventions. Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on the following: (1) Terminating cooperation between the United States and Israel in matters of war, energy, cyber, and other appropriate areas, especially in light of the extensive espionage efforts against U.S. interests and persons conducted by Mossad and Unit 8200; and (2) Taking all financial and diplomatic steps to help Palestine recover from decades of abuse, ethnic cleansing, and colonization at the hands of Zionist extremists.
English law courts allow for something called a private prosecution. Typically, criminals are prosecuted by the state body Crown Prosecution Services, but on some occasions private individuals can bring forward criminal charges against another person or entity they believe is guilty of a criminal offence.
Currently, there are attempts by private citizens to bring former British Prime Minister Tony Blair before a criminal court over alleged war crimes in Iraq which led to the slaughter of over a million Iraqis.
However, Britain’s current Attorney General Jeremy Wright is moving to stop such a prosecution.
Wright’s spokesman has stated,
“It’s not unusual for the attorney general to intervene in cases in order to represent the public interest. He has sought to intervene in this case because it raises important issues about the scope of the criminal law”.
There are several odd things about this statement.
First of all, if it raises the scope of criminal law, it means that the crime of stealing a car can be prosecuted and is in fact done so on a daily basis, but the far more violent act of war criminality cannot be.
Secondly, Wright implies that a private prosecution of Blair would not be in the public good. If holding leaders who engage in illegal warfare is not in the public good, I fail to see what is.
The real danger to the ruling elite is that English Common Law is based on precedent. This would mean that if Blair was convicted for war crimes, so too could many of his successors. This is a precedent that the elite clearly do not want to set due to the basic principle of self-preservation.
And then there is another problem. War criminality is not currently on the English statute books. It is an international offence that could only be applied in an international court.
As we all know, international justice for war criminals is exclusively reserved for Africans and Serbs. Tony Blair does not fit the racial profile.
BETHLEHEM – Palestinian security forces briefly detained two undercover Israeli army soldiers who were conducting a military raid in the Rafidiya area of the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus on Saturday evening, according to official Palestinian and Israeli sources.
The two were taken to a Palestinian police station in Nablus. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the incident to Ma’an, saying that during an Israeli army “activity,” the officers were “briefly questioned by Palestinian security forces,” adding that in coordination with the Israeli Civil Administration, the soldiers were returned to Israeli custody.
According to Israeli daily Haaretz, the two soldiers — members of an Arabic-speaking unit of the Israeli army known as the “Mustarabeen” in Arabic, who are responsible for infiltrating and carrying out detentions in Palestinian communities — “scuffled” with Palestinian police officers for some time before they were returned to Israeli forces.
Their gear and weapons, as well as the car they were driving in, was also also reportedly returned.
The incident represented a rare standoff between Palestinian and Israeli forces, as the Palestinian Authority (PA) regularly allows Israeli forces to enter PA-controlled areas in the West Bank to conduct daily detention raids and other military operations, in contravention of the Oslo Accords.
Photo via Badee Dwaik
Palestinian organizer Badee Dwaik, co-founder of the Human Rights Defenders group that has been coordinating actions and popular organizing to confront settlements and occupation in al-Khalil, was recently seized by Israeli occupation forces with three of his colleagues in the #DismantleTheGhetto movement, Anan Odeh, Ishaq al-Khateeb and Younis Arar.
The four organizers, swiftly known as the #alKhalil4, were participating in a Land Day protest on Thursday 30 March when they were attacked by occupation forces. Following his release, Dwaik spoke with Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network about his experience under arrest and interrogation. He noted that he had previously been arrested, interrogated and jailed on multiple occasions, but that this experience highlighted intensified repression. In fact, only one month prior, on 24 February 2017, Israeli occupation forces had invaded Dwaik’s home and threatened him with arrest.
The four organizers were part of an action that involved planting olive trees, where they were attacked by settlers. Despite the attack, they continued marching to the center of their city of al-Khalil, which has been subject to forcible closure by the Israeli occupation and its settlers. As the demonstration continued, occupation forces declared the area a closed military zone and picked Dwaik, Dana, Arar and Khateeb out of the crowd of about 50, accusing them of participating in an “illegal demonstration.”
Dwaik noted the presence among the harassing settlers of the notorious Ofer Ohana, who was also present for the extrajudicial execution of Abdel-Fattah Al-Sharif by Israeli occupation soldier Elor Azariya. The murder of al-Sharif came to light as it was videotaped by Imad Abu Shamsiya, co-founder of Human Rights Defenders. Ohana was videotaped kicking a knife near the body of Sharif and referring to Sharif and his fellow slain Palestinian, Ramzi al-Qasrawi, as “the trash.” Dwaik noted that Ohana has threatened Abu Shamsiya and Dwaik and repeatedly harasses them as they carry out tours of al-Khalil with internationals.
The four were arrested under false pretenses, Dwaik said. They were accused of being in the street, said Dwaik, even though three of the four were standing on a grassy hill and one of the four, Anan Odeh, was off to the side of the road. At the present time, while the four were released on bail, they continue to face allegations in Israeli military court – where Palestinians are convicted at a rate of over 99 percent – of “disturbing the public peace of the area,” organizing an “illegal action,” attempting to escape from the army, and “blocking the street.”
Dwaik noted that he denied all allegations under interrogation and refused to sign any paperwork or confessions. He and his fellow organizers were taken by occupation forces to the Kharsina military camp near Kiryat Arba settlement. Dwaik, who has diabetes, was sent to a medical worker; he stated that he needed medicine for his diabetes, but that the medical worker gave him two cold tablets but nothing to address his actual medical condition.
Later, Dwaik reported, he was taken to Shaare Tzedek hospital from 11:00 pm to 3:30 am, during which he received medical tests. He was told that he would receive insulin, but when Dwaik explained that his diabetes is treated with medication, they told him they would sell him a tablet. However, they still did not provide his medication and he was instead told that he would receive medication in jail.
Dwaik was then sent to the Etzion detention center (jail), where he reported that he was subject to an experience seemingly designed for humiliation and subjugation. The jail officers demanded Dwaik strip down, including removing his underwear. As he refused to remove his underwear, the jail officers demanded him to repeatedly move about and stand up and sit down in an attempt to humiliate him. He was then told that he would be left there until the morning without clothes. However, when he still refused to remove his underwear, he was finally given his clothes and put in the room with his fellow detainees.
The conditions at Etzion and other detention centers, where Palestinians are often held under interrogation and prior to being transferred to the major prisons, have been repeatedly highlighted by former prisoners for their unsuitability for human life. Palestinian prisoners have even launched hunger strikes to demand to be moved to regular prisons and have repeatedly reported beatings and assaults in the Etzion jail.
When he arrived in Etzion, he was told that his belongings would be registered; however, the jailers refused to register his belt and instead confiscated it; Dwaik noted, “I have been arrested many times before, but was never ordered to remove underwear or had my belt confiscated.” Among his belongings was also 42 NIS ($11.50 USD), which was registered at the time. Dwaik noted that he was denied cigarettes despite being registered as a smoker; when he questioned this, he was told that he was “being punished” because he refused to remove his underwear the night before.
Dwaik particularly highlighted the unlivable conditions in Etzion. The room where he was sent contained five or six bunk beds, but the beds were blank and had no mattresses; instead, Dwaik said, prisoners are forced to fold blankets beneath them to serve as makeshift mattresses. These blankets, Dwaik noted, are unclean and pose a danger to health; they are used by many prisoners and are rarely washed. The Palestinians detained in Etzion are served leftover food from the army’s meals, often significantly later when the food is sparse and cold. The cells themselves are in a very poor condition and insects are visible inside the room, as well as mice and other vermin. “Some people get stuck in the detention centers for long periods of time, even 2 months, and it is a form of daily torture,” Dwaik said.
Photo via Badee Dwaik
Dwaik noted that there are no books or recreation time for detainees held in Etzion, and that some other prisoners had reported the shower areas being closed for four or five days at a time. Despite the earlier interactions with medical staff, he still did not receive diabetes medication. Instead, he was told that he would be sent to Ofer prison in the afternoon.
He noted that Palestinian prisoners are often left without food because they are transported to the military court or from jail to jail during mealtimes; no replacement meals are provided. This is such a common problem that it is even included among the demands of Palestinian prisoners in the large hunger strike planned to begin on 17 April, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day.
Ofer is a large Israeli prison and the only major Israeli occupation prison (rather than detention centers and interrogation centers) inside the West Bank. The prison has 10 sections of about 120 people each, for a total of approximately 1,200 prisoners, Dwaik reported. Most are political prisoners, but Palestinians arrested for “non-political” charges by the Israeli occupation – such as, for example, Palestinian workers seized for working inside Palestine ’48 without a permit – are also held in the prison. During his short time in Ofer, he was repeatedly transferred from one section to another. While in the prison, he saw a number of fellow Palestinian prisoners, including imprisoned BDS campaigner Salah Khawaja and youth organizer Hassan Karajah, both of whom greeted the international activists working for their freedom and that of their fellow prisoners.
The case of the four was brought before the military court in Ofer on Sunday, 2 April. While Dwaik and Dana were brought to the military court, he noted that their fellow #alKhalil4 detainees, al-Khateeb and Arar, weren’t even brought before the military court. During the hearing, the military prosecutor urged that the four be held for five additional days for further interrogation, stating that there is a “secret file against” Dwaik, the framework that is used to order Palestinians to imprisonment without charge or trial under administrative detention. Dwaik noted that this was also the first time that a “secret file” had been raised against him despite numerous arrests. While the military court judge refused to release the four – as demanded by their lawyer – he ordered them held only one more day and a new military court hearing the following day, Monday, 3 April.
He noted the degrading experience of waiting for a military court hearing to begin. “You are moving from room to room all the time and you are shackled hand and foot all the time. We had to wait on Monday from 8 am to 3 pm as we are handcuffed. They only take off the handcuffs when you’re in the military court, then they handcuff you again and shackle your feet. It is a system that is meant to humiliate,” Dwaik said.
Dwaik noted that on Monday, as he entered the military court in Ofer, he saw Palestinian student Kifah Quzmar, who was exiting the military court, having been ordered to six months in administrative detention. Quzmar told Dwaik of his sentence and expressed his greetings to the organizations and people around the world engaged in the campaign for his release.
In addition, Dwaik noted, some international observers in Palestine attempted to attend the military court hearing for the four, but were barred from entering. Journalist Amira Hass attended the hearing along with the representative of Defence for Children International in al-Khalil. In the military court hearing on Monday, the alleged “secret file” went unmentioned; instead, the military prosecutor now demanded 7,000 NIS ($1912 USD) from each of the four as bail. Dwaik stated that he does not have the money for such a high bail and that he would stay in jail instead; negotiations then ensued and a bail of 3,500 NIS ($956 USD) was set for each of the four. He noted that #DismantleTheGhetto campaigners and supporters donated to cover the bail, which was paid around 3:00 pm; however, the four were not released until 10:30 pm.
During their release, Dwaik noted, “they push you with their guns and don’t let you check that you even have your belongings.” He lost his belt, and the 42 NIS ($11.50) he had when entering prison was stolen. Throughout his time in Israeli jail, he never received any medicine for his diabetes.
Dwaik noted that “all of the Palestinian political organizations support the #DismantleTheGhetto campaign, and all of the NGOs that support human rights. This is why we were targeted, because this is a unified Palestinian campaign with many actions.”
“We need more work for the Palestinian cause and people to keep building support for Palestine. The #DismantleTheGhetto campaign in al-Khalil is part of these efforts,” Dwaik said. He stated that Palestinian prisoners need international support and that many will be launching a strike on 17 April, noting that Samidoun and other groups have an important role to play in building solidarity with the prisoners. “Palestinian prisoners are struggling for their dignity and freedom every day,” Dwaik said, “from the 13-year-old children like Shadi Farrah to the veterans who have spent 30 years behind bars.”
Anuar Majluf, head of the Palestinian Federation of Chile, during a visit last year to Jerusalem. Nov. 2016 | Foto: Facebook
On Tuesday activists throughout Latin America called on Chile to reciprocate after Israel denied entry to a Chilean citizen leading an annual Easter pilgrimage to Palestine.
The head of the Palestinian Federation of Chile, Anuar Majluf, said Israeli officials denied him entry to the occupied West Bank on Monday based on a controversial new law which bans anyone publicly supporting the boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign against the illegal occupation of Palestine.
“I feel terrible pain because I’m now unable to visit my family’s homeland, as a Chilean citizen with a Palestinian lineage,” Majluf said in a statement.
“On the other hand, I know that what I suffer is nothing compared to the suffering of the many Palestinians who, if they dare to defy Israel’s policies, often end up dead, tortured or in the prisons of the occupation,” Majluf added.
“The Chilean government should act reciprocally and refuse entry to Israeli citizens who come as tourists to Chile. If Israel knew that its repressive actions and laws have consequences, it would be much less likely to enact them,” he continued.
“The international community, and the Chilean government specifically, should at least demand an explanation from the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, and demand that Israel stop illegitimately denying entry to international supporters of Palestinian rights,” Majluf concluded.
Majluf’s call for a firm response was echoed by Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, in a letter to Chile’s Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz.
“I respectfully ask that you take concrete measures to protect the right of your citizens to visit, work, invest and live in Palestine,” wrote Erekat on Tuesday.
Erekat warned that if Chileans traveling to Palestine continue to be “threatened and treated like criminals” it would be “a tragedy not only for the community but for the future potential of relations between both countries.”
The PLO letter came one day after 16 organizations representing the Palestinian diaspora throughout Latin America and the Caribbean called on Chile to “repair this affront against a Chilean citizen and exercise the principle of reciprocity against a country that breaks all the rules and places itself above the law of all nations.”
Several prominent Chilean politicians echoed the call, asking Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to respond in kind.
“As Chile allows the free entry and passage of Israeli citizens, it is unacceptable that Israel openly violates the rights of Chilean citizens,” said Chilean Senator Eugenio Tuma Zedán on Tuesday.
Chile has one of the largest and oldest Palestinian diaspora populations outside of the Middle East, and in November of this year the nation’s capital, Santiago, will host the first ever Latin American Palestinian diaspora conference
Majluf is the fourth person denied entry into Israel or occupied Palestine in the past week based on the 6-month old anti-BDS law.
Over the weekend, three Swedish citizens and members of a World Congress of Churches delegation were turned back upon arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport, and on Friday Israel refused entry to a U.K. citizen and member of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.
However, the Palestinian BDS National Committee noted that the timing of Israel’s banning of Majluf was particularly egregious.
Denying entry to “a Christian who was on a delegation to visit the Holy Land this Easter, is another low for Israel,” said Mahmoud Nawajaa, a spokesperson for the committee.
Hezbollah on Sunday has condemned the awful crimes committed by terrorist ISIL group which targeted churches in Egypt’s Tanta and Alexandria, killing and injuring dozens of innocent civilians.
In a statement released by the party’s Media Relations office, Hezbollah offered condolences to victims’ families, calling for uniting efforts to confront terrorism in the region.
“This continuous and escalating killing carried out by criminal gangs in the name of religion is one of the greatest catastrophes our Ummah (nation) has been witnessing,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah pointed out that such crimes were planned for by major powers and regional countries which have been offering different kinds of support to terrorists, in a bid to sow discord between the region’s peoples who have lived together for centuries.
Furthermore, the Lebanese resistance party stressed that targeting faithful people in churches during Palm Sunday is a savage act which indicates that these groups have no humanity.
This crime “comes as a part of a big scheme to displace Christians from Sinai and other areas across Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, paving the way for sectarian and ethnic federalization in favor of the Zionist enemy,” Hezbollah warned.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah voiced support for Egypt and its people, urging all sides to realize the seriousness of the “great conspiracy targeting our Ummah,” and to unite efforts in confronting terrorists along with their regional and international sponsors.
So, let me get this straight,
“Amalek hated Jews and wanted to annihilate ALL of them”
“Pharaoh of Egypt enslaved Jews and wanted to kill them ALL”
“Haman of Persia planned to kill ALL Jews”
“Hitler of Germany wanted to exterminate ALL Jews”
“Two Billion Muslims hate Jews and want to kill them ALL”
So, the entire world since the dawn of time has this inexplicable intrinsic “hatred” against Jews, for no particular reason ?
I.e the entire world is nothing but a bunch of hateful criminals, who are intrinsically evil, and only Jews are good who have always been the pure innocent victims of a mad world?
Oh HELL NO
The claim that gentiles are innately “hateful antisemites” is not only wrong. It is OUTRAGEOUSLY RACIST, and OUTRAGEOUSLY ANTI-HUMAN.
The level of “anti-human RACISM” is surpassed by none.
They dare to accuse entire peoples and cultures and even mankind as whole, with being GENETICALLY “antisemites” by propagating such enormous FALSE accusation, rather than having an honest look at themselves.
“Anti-Semitism is part of Europe’s DNA”, they dare to say!
I, an exiled SEMITE Palestinian, am no longer willing to hear a word about “antisemitism”, for we have been at the receiving end of vehement antisemitism for over a century. Jewish Zionists and their global network of supporters are the most antisemitic group humanity have ever seen. period
No longer should we tolerate being subjected to, or falling for the vacuous accusation of so called “antisemitism”.
Moreover, we are now demanding an exposure of the SUPREMACY and RACISM within Jewish IDEOLOGY.
We demand an END to the anti-gentilism within that ideology.
It is about time that supremacists are brought before mankind to answer for their anti-human, anti-gentile ideology, attitude and behaviour
69 years ago today – The Deir Yassin Massacre Israel Forces Murder over 100 Palestinians Including Women and Children
I grew up in a country far removed from the horrors of Deir Yassin, but I’ve lived with the snapshots of the massacre my entire life. My grandmother’s Nakba trauma has permeated my inner life, and I’ve known the world of acute agony and the mockery of what human life has been reduced to for the Palestinian people. Every massacre and assault carried out in Zionism’s calculated desire for control adds another layer to the trans-generational transmission of trauma of Palestinians everywhere. Like the bombs that Israel drops on civilian populations, dispersing their incendiary fallout in distant places long after the initial explosion, the psychological trauma continues.
When they said that there would come a time when the old would die and the young would forget, they didn’t realize that Palestinians who grow up fluent in a language of trauma and resistance could never forget. But more importantly, they refuse to.
The significance of the need to preserve the memory of what happened at Deir Yassin remains woven into our DNA. It’s a name that flickers at the edge of our consciousness, resonating in the Palestinian collective memory with chilling significance. My grandmother’s story has taken up residence in my soul. It became the blood coursing through my veins, reverberating in my heart and graven in my memories.
The collective Palestinian narrative is written in indelible link and though it’s a story of unimaginable terror and devastation, shattered dreams and decimated hopes, it’s also one of extraordinary sumud (steadfastness) and resistance. It’s a story that remains unfinished and determined, standing with hope defiant.
My grandmother was nine years-old on the morning of Friday, April 9th 1948 when the Zionist terrorist organizations – the Irgun and Lehi, with the agreement of the Haganah in Jerusalem, carried out Operation Nahshon and opened fire on the villagers of Deir Yassin. By evening, nearly 110 villagers were executed and the village was cleared. But the evidence of the Zionist criminality lay in the rivers of blood and the disemboweled, dismembered, and disfigured bodies of men, women and children.
The villagers endured barbarity at the hands, boot heels, and the edge of bloodied knives of Zionist terrorists who rounded up villagers executing them in decimation for crimes they had never committed. Men were paraded around on trucks before being taken to the village quarry and shot execution style.
Menachem Begin, the leader of the Irgun at the time, consciously inflated the death toll of the massacre from just over 100 to 254 to instill a sense of incoherent terror within people in hopes of eliminating and erasing the Palestinian people from the landscape and from human consciousness – root and branch, bone and blood. News of the massacre triggered the mass, forced exile that emptied Palestine of 80% of its native Arab population. Over 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from the only homes they had ever known. Today, displaced Palestinians remain the largest and longest-standing refugee population in the world.
The beginning of the Nakba was more than an atrocity; it was completely and intentionally genocidal.
It’s been 69 years since the Deir Yassin massacre and the world has moved past it, but its selective amnesia remains present. Its survivors, however, have never forgotten that Palestine continues to be left with human devastation on an unimaginable scale by Israel in its successive operations and assaults. In the litany of Israel’s gruesome crimes and indiscriminate massacres, Deir Yassin was not the most massive in scale but it’s the one that reduced the Palestinian people to ungrievable, dehumanized convenient objects of hatred and violent retribution whenever convenient. It became the precondition for the calculative, prolonged violence and subhuman slaughter of Palestinians. This became the operative philosophy of the Zionist regime that exists today.
“Man’s inhumanity to man” – A poignant irony
Deir Yassin is one of the few Palestinian villages where the Zionist state attempted to erase its inhabitants, but kept its homes and buildings completely intact. Behind the security cameras, guard posts and fence where my family’s village and home once stood now exists a closed psychiatric facility – Kfar Shaul – which houses people with severe mental illness. The irony is not lost on me: The birth of a state predicated on the wholesale slaughter of innocent people on command, a state that has attempted to anesthetize itself to death and depravity, would surely drive anyone of conscience insane. Another breathtaking irony chills my bones every time I stand on the stolen land of my ancestors. Israel’s official Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, is built in panoramic view of Deir Yassin, standing as a haunting, insidious testament to “never forget man’s inhumanity to man” in absolute denial of the souls of martyrs buried deep beneath.
Zionist vindictiveness created a deeply-rooted psychological transference onto a people who had nothing to do with the Nazi Holocaust. Prior to 1948, Deir Yassin was a relatively prosperous and peaceful village, and its residents lived in peace with their Jewish neighbors in nearby villages, especially those in Givat Shaul whom they had signed a peace pact with. My grandmother recalls a different time when Arabs and Jews lived as neighbors attending each other’s weddings and celebrations, smoking arghila, eating dried watermelon seeds, sharing news, and going to the cinema together with their Jewish friends. The Orthodox community of Givat Shaul was one of the first to help the survivors of Deir Yassin following the Irgun-Lehi assault. This was never a conflict that has existed for thousands of years. The Palestinians have never had a problem with Judaism; it’s with injustice.
But here’s the thing about stories of survival: They affirm an inescapable truth that reacquaints both victims and perpetrators with memory, with history, with life, and with justice. Aggressors cannot seem to live with the inconvenient truth of their guilty history but survivors refuse to live without it. The people of the world continue to demonstrate that they are so capable of conveniently forgetting the murderous atrocities in which their fellow peers have participated, so it becomes morally imperative and essential, at the very least, to regularly remind them of it.
Palestine has never been a land without a people. It has always been home to a rich landscape filled with a beautiful people, with their own native land, language, and holy sites at the center of their religions. The Zionists tried to expel a people and attempt to scatter a people into oblivion, for they learned from colonizers before them that there is no precedent for a scattered people’s remaining a people. Their dispersion meant their disappearance. Or so they thought.
Tell the stories
The late Dr. Edward Said once said, “To recall Deir Yassin is not just to dwell on past disasters, but to understand who we are and where we are going. Without it we are simply lost.”
My grandmother’s face aches with despair as she narrates the horror and trauma of Deir Yassin. Her body has kept score for the past sixty-nine years. She has been acutely aware of the sense of displacement dully throbbing with determination inside the dark spaces between her organs and bones, haunted by a history that has sat uncomfortably out of joint for a lifetime. The emotional pain of displacement and dislocation hurts like no other.
The collective inventory of the Palestinian people rests on our shoulders. To never forget the incomprehensible violence and intolerable pain, the extraordinary valor and the steadfastness that have defined Palestinians. It is our duty to record of every life lived, every sentence spoken, every word transmitted still reverberating within it. As the story of the massacre moves on in memory, the aim of remembering the atrocity and bearing witness takes on new meaning. The words of our parents and grandparents remain a talisman that will continue to be passed down for generations. These are the stories that teach us resilience, joy, hope and incarnation.
The Nakba continues
What drove the exterminatory impulses of the Zionists was not only the contempt that branded millions of Palestinians as dispensable and sub-human, but also the ideologically pervasive mixture of terror and hatred that continues to blame the Palestinians for all of Israel’s ills and seeks their destruction as a matter of life and death in the interests of the Jewish people’s survival. This is the politics and colonial neurosis of Zionism. Israel justifies its policy of mass eradication through its demagogic abuse of portraying itself the perpetual victim. And for those who don’t understand the sadistic nature of the Israeli settler colonialist violence, the only mention of Israel will continue through the perpetual victim narrative, nothing more than a kind of ersatz victory every time. No matter what Israel has ever done, it’s because they’re always defending themselves – armed with bombs and artillery that unearth entire societies – against the Palestinians. Everything Israel ever does is painted as reactionary under the normalization of Zionist brutality.
Israel has a very finely-tuned feel for how many atrocities it can get away with before the world reacts with revulsion. But when entire families are butchered, immolated[DE1], bombed to oblivion upon breaking their fasts[DE2], when mass murder has become an annual event, when the reprise of internment camps and the reinstitution of torture become acts of policy, where were the cries of “Never again”?
The truth is that for the Palestinian people, the truer shout is not “Never again” but “Again and again and again.”
The post-Holocaust vow that genocide would never again be tolerated has long been hollow. The Palestinian people are living proof that murder looks on its victims with a casual eye. The extraordinary and soul-crushing pain that the Palestinian people have endured, for nearly seventy years now, has been perceived as just and mutable.
The Nakba did not penetrate the world consciousness in the same manner as the Holocaust. Slaughtering people, village by village, didn’t seem too high a price to pay, nor did it appear inhumane. These origins contain the historical seeds of genocide. The silence absorbed the lack of noise with a lack of sound so potent that it blackened this world with something so much richer than Zionist hate. Since Deir Yassin, we’ve known what man is capable of: the silent acquiescence in genocide of another people.
The Nakba never ended. It is an ongoing catastrophe.
Justice and only justice
From its inception, Israel has had an insatiable addiction to blood, pouring more bodies into pits of slaughter never allowing the dead to rest in peace. But peace can never be built on the blood and bone of others. The robotic mass annihilation of the Palestinians had brought human bloodlust to a climax which nobody had considered possible by the victims of the Nazi genocide. Zionists have relied on decades of distortion and deceit, but what they always forget is that the millions of bodies have buried them more than anyone else. With each assault on the most vulnerable, disenfranchised, and traumatized people in which Israel pours endless young bodies into pits of death, they follow it. With every massacre, entire generations are revolutionized and filled with more conviction and sumud.
A truly “free” state can never exist when it’s enslaved to the organized aggression it has chained itself to. One day, Israelis will realize the ceaseless turmoil disrupting their peace has nothing to do with opposition to a Jewish state but is rooted in the fact that no human beings anywhere are created to accept injustice so casually. There will come a time when the world will stop asking the Palestinian people to stop resisting their oppression when the boots of the oppressor remains on their throats. The Palestinian people remain the only colonized and oppressed people who are constantly told to guarantee the security and rights of their occupiers and oppressors, who continue to be held responsible for nothing.
While Israeli expansion, expulsion, colonization, and the indefinite justification for violent retaliation under apocalyptic conditions continue, Palestinians are asked to concede and give more. Each year, their beloved homeland and rights wither away, like a diseased heart, speckled, clotted, and hollowed out. A homeland annulled. No two-state delusion will ever be a viable solution. There will be no peace in Israel and Palestinian until a modicum of justice is achieved for the Palestinians.
Our voices will not be muted by dispossession, expulsion, trauma, and denial. In attempting to erase us, the reality created by the Zionists became a fertile soil for the expression of steadfast resistance and perseverance. No matter how many innocent Palestinians are rounded up and executed, disappeared and silenced, there will always be more of us out there: living, excelling, falling in love, getting married, having children to pass on our narrative to. That resistance is what continues to ensure that ‘never again’ is not hollow.
Dina is a first-generation Palestinian-American living in Chicago. She works in the States and overseas with an NGO for victims of torture in the Occupied Territories of Palestine (Ramallah).