Al-Quds University journalism student Malik al-Qadi following his release from administrative detention
JERUSALEM – Israeli authorities released former hunger-striking prisoner Malik al-Qadi to Palestinian medics on Saturday to transfer him to a hospital in the occupied West Bank.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said on Saturday morning that its staff was transferring al-Qadi from the Israeli Wolfson Medical Center to the Istishari Arab Hospital in the city of Ramallah.
Al-Qadi is in a dire health condition after going without food for 68 days to protest being held in administrative detention — internment without trial or charges — by Israel.
Al-Qadi ended his hunger strike on Wednesday, along with fellow prisoners Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Balboul, after an agreement with the Israeli prisons services not to renew their administrative detentions.
Muhammad Balboul, 26, had refused food for 77 days since July 7, while his 23-year-old brother Mahmoud had been on hunger strike 79 days since July 5, and al-Qadi, 25, declared his hunger strike on July 16.
Qaraqe said in a statement on Wednesday that Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Balboul were set to be released on Dec. 8, while Malik al-Qadi would be released on Sep. 22, and that all three of their administrative detentions would not be renewed.
The three had initially launched their hunger strikes amid a mass movement across Israeli prisons in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoner Bilal Kayid, who after 71 days suspended his hunger strike after striking a deal with Israel to end his administrative detention sentence. He was reportedly set to be released on Dec. 12.
Kayid was one of the most high-profile hunger strikers since Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq came near death during a 94-day hunger strike protesting his administrative detention order, before he was finally released in May.
Rights groups have claimed that Israel’s administrative detention policy, which allows detention for three- to six-month renewable intervals based on undisclosed evidence, has been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, students, and journalists.
Although Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention is essential for state security concerns, rights groups have instead claimed the policy allows Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions.
According to Addameer, as of August, 7,000 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons, 700 of whom were being held under administrative detention.
Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, approximately at 2:30 after midnight, the village of Bil’in in the central West Bank district of Ramallah, broke into and searched several homes and confiscated hard discs from a number of laptops.
Most of the invaded homes belong to nonviolent activists, senior members of the Popular Committee against the Wall in Bil’in, including Dr. Rateb Abu Rahma, his brother Abdullah Abu Rahma, in addition to Ahmad Abu Rahma Mohammad al-Khatib, Ashraf Abu Rahma and photojournalist Haitham Khatib.
Photojournalist Khatib said four military jeeps and two army trucks, carrying around six soldiers, invaded the village and started searching homes before confiscating hard disks from a number of laptops.
“The soldiers just said they will be the property back, but no one believes this,” he said, “They took my car before and never returned it; they are just lying.”
Coordinator of the Popular Committee in Bil’in, Dr. Rateb Abu Rahma, denounced the latest military invasion, and the searches of homes, in addition to the illegal confiscation of private property.
Abu Rahma added that the escalating Israeli violations will not be able to stop the nonviolent, popular resistance, in the village.
The protests in Bil’in started approximately twelve years ago, and kept going despite the ongoing excessive use of force and escalating violations, including night raids, home invasions and curfews, and despite the death of several nonviolent activists on the hands of the Israeli military.
The villages managed to regain 1200 Dunams of orchards, out of 2300 Dunams illegally confiscated and isolated by Israel for the construction of the Wall and the illegal colonies.
Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked called the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement “the new face of terrorism” in New York on Sunday.
Speaking at the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in New York, Shaked said, “The BDS is illegitimate. I define it thus: BDS is another branch of terrorism in the modern age.”
The BDS movement is a global campaign to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land through the boycott of Israeli goods and services, the divestment of funds and, in theory, sanctions.
Shaked claimed that the aim of the BDS movement was to “to wipe Israel off the map.”
As the decade-long movement gains momentum, Israel has pushed back against it with increasing determination.
“Sometimes the BDS movement’s funding sources are identical to those funding the terrorist organisations,” Shaked told the New York crowd. “This is the new face of terrorism.”
Shaked, a conservative member of Israel’s government who does not believe in a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, has made controversial statements in the past.
In, 2014 she was accused of inciting genocide with a Facebook post which quoted a Jewish settler, “They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”
Shaked reminded the crowd about 9/11, and said that the terrorism which has taken place in Jerusalem, New York, Paris, Tel Aviv, London, Brussels, Istanbul “is the same terrorism.”
The minister went on to tell the crowd that Israel and the rest of the world are all “fighting against extreme Islamic terrorism.”
The justice minister expressed concern that young Jewish people are “confused and are led astray” by BDS, claiming that they are being tricked by “terrorists from radical Islam.”
She congratulated states in the US that have adopted legislation against BDS and expressed hope that others would follow suit and make BDS illegal.
The controversy surrounding the protests during the American national anthem shows no signs of letting up, after another weekend of sports stars making a stand against perceived racial inequality in the US.
Three Miami Dolphins players – Arian Foster, Kenny Stills and Michael Thomas – knelt during the anthem ahead of Sunday’s game at the New England Patriots, just days after a local police union hit out at the protest.
Jeff Bell, the president of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, said officers should no longer escort the Dolphins to games if the protests continued.
He also said that NFL players should “give up” their right to free speech while representing their teams.
“I can only imagine the public outcry if a group of police officers refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance or if we turned our back for the American flag for the national anthem,” said Bell.
“There would be a public outcry and internal affairs complaints a mile long on that.
“I respect their right to have freedom of speech. However, in certain organizations and certain jobs you give up that right of your freedom of speech (temporarily) while you serve that job or while you play in an NFL game.”
Foster dismissed Bell’s criticism, saying that while he understood people would question the protests, it was important he should be allowed to take a stand.
“They say it’s not the time to do this,” Foster said. “When is the time? It’s never the time in somebody else’s eye, because they’ll always feel like it’s good enough.
“And some people don’t. That’s the beautiful thing about this country. If somebody feels it’s not good enough, they have that right. That’s all we’re doing, exercising that right.”
Initially started by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the protests have been gathering support in recent weeks, with numerous NFL players choosing to sit or kneel during the anthem.
US women’s national team soccer player Megan Rapinoe has also thrown her weight behind the campaign, kneeling during the anthem for the second time in four days ahead of Sunday’s game against the Netherlands.
A US Soccer spokesperson confirmed before the match that Rapinoe wouldn’t be punished for kneeling before Thursday’s game against Thailand, but admitted the situation could be re-assessed if the midfielder continued her protests.
Rapinoe received a mixed response on Sunday, with one fan instructing her to “stand up” as she dropped to one knee.
“Obviously there were boos tonight, boos and cheers tonight. I totally respect that,” Rapinoe said.
“People feel a certain way, and I want to be respected for the way that I feel. I think that’s their right to do that. I totally understand that. That said, there’s some people that support me.”
Elsewhere, the Garfield High School football team in Seattle, Washington, showed their solidarity with the protest, with the players and staff all kneeling for the anthem before Friday’s game against West Seattle High School.
Garfield head coach Joey Thomas told KING 5 that the players had decided to kneel and will carry on doing so for the rest of the season.
“This came from them – this came from the kids,” said Thomas.
“Now don’t get me wrong, I support it 110 percent and that’s where my mind and heart was, but this is what they wanted. And I think that’s what makes this so special. This is student driven.”
Having initiated the protests, Kaepernick remains the central figure amongst the people who are aiming to raise awareness of inequality in the US.
He once again knelt during the anthem before the 49ers’ game at the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, but his protest received support from a very unlikely source.
Jesse McGuire, who played “The Star-Spangled Banner” on his trumpet prior to the game, admitted he fully backed Kaepernick’s actions.
“I absolutely and totally respect his right to protest,” McGuire said.
“That’s a constitutional right, and anybody trying to take that away from him is trying to violate his constitutional rights.
“In terms of this stance for the violence, that’s happening all over the world – and to black males especially.
“I understand and I applaud his stance. Whether I disagree or not is of no consequence whatsoever.
“To protest means that you are going to make waves – so if that is the case, and if that’s the definition of a protest, then the desired result of his mission is accomplished.”
Israeli forces markedly increased their attacks on Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip during the second quarter of 2016, United Nations (UN) data has revealed, with concerns that such violence endangers the viability of the ceasefire that ended ‘Operation Protective Edge’ in 2014.
During the period April-June, there were an average of more than 90 shooting incidents per month by Israeli forces in Gaza’s so-called access restricted areas (ARA) – some 60 on land, and 30 at sea. This is more than double the equivalent average figures for the last six months of 2015.
Israeli forces have long attacked farmers, fishermen and other civilians in Gaza’s ARA. As the UN described in July, Israel’s unilaterally-imposed access restrictions are “enforced by firing direct or warning live ammunition, the destruction of property, arrests and the confiscation of equipment.”
Presenting the latest figures in a quarterly update published last month, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) described “the use of force by Israel” in the ARA as a “particular cause for concern.”
According to James Heenan, head of office at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, “there are almost daily shooting incidents by Israeli forces into Gaza, often resulting in injury and even death as well as destruction of property.”
In most cases, Heenan told Middle East Monitor, “there are no indications that Israeli forces were in any imminent threat to have justified the level of force employed, including use of firearms. Often victims are farmers, fishermen, children, and demonstrators.”
On April 3, the Israeli authorities announced an expansion of the permitted fishing zone off the southern Gaza coast from six to nine miles (note that the Oslo Accords stipulate a 20-mile limit). However, on June 26, less than three months later, the six-mile limit was re-imposed.
By July, according to OCHA, more than 90 fishermen had been arrested and detained, “the highest figure in any year since records began in 2009.” Over nine days in August, for example, Israeli forces attacked Palestinian fishermen on six different occasions (Aug. 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 29).
In May, meanwhile, it was reported that the Israeli army would allow farmers to access land close to the border fence, under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Since 2014, the ICRC has been helping Gaza’s farmers to rehabilitate land and secure access.
While some farmers have clearly benefited, a Jerusalem-based ICRC spokesperson declined to comment on Israeli forces’ continued attacks in the ARA, saying that “any issues of concern are addressed as part of our confidential and bilateral dialogue with all parties to the conflict.”
As one farmer told activists recently: “My lands are relatively close to the fence, so I cannot set foot in them between 6pm and 6am without getting shot at. What can I do if the electricity does not come before 6pm? I have to leave my land without watering, risking the loss of the crop.”
The violence used by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip is vastly under-reported in the English-language Western media. The majority of attacks on fishermen, farmers, and demonstrators do not even get a mention.
Such attacks, however, cannot be divorced from the bigger picture in the Gaza Strip, including the ‘security’ dimension that is typically understood by journalists, analysts, and policy-makers in terms of projectile fire and Israeli military responses.
According to Fawzi Barhoum, a Gaza-based Hamas spokesperson, Hamas views Israeli forces’ routine use of violence against Palestinians in the ARA as a violation of the 2014 ceasefire. “Hamas records all the violations, and updates the regional sponsors of the ceasefire accordingly”, he said.
Furthermore, Barhoum added, such attacks by Israeli forces “endanger the status quo.”
Each time, Hamas discusses what happens with the other Palestinian factions, who evaluate together what is the best response to the Israeli violation in question; whether it is silence, condemnation, warnings, firing short-range rockets, unleashing snipers on the borders, etc.
Thus, aside from the cost for farmers and fishermen of Israel’s policy of violently enforcing a ‘no-go zone’ inside Gaza, such attacks, clearly on the rise, also risk further undermining a ceasefire agreement that brought ‘calm’ for Israel, but nothing like it for Palestinians.
At least some members of the American football franchise plan to follow the example of Colin Kaepernick and stage a protest against police brutality during the national anthem, at the upcoming Week 1 game in Seattle.
“Anything we want to do, it’s not going to be individual. It’s going to be a team thing. That’s what the world needs to see. The world needs to see people coming together versus being individuals,” starting linebacker Bobby Wagner told the Seattle Times on Wednesday evening.
Wagner did not specify what form the protest would take, saying only that “whatever we decide to do will be a big surprise.”
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kickstarted a movement among athletes when he sat down during the national anthem during a preseason game last month, later explaining that he was “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” Kaepernick says that he plans to continue with the protest for the foreseeable future.
Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane has followed his example, and receiver Doug Baldwin said that players discussed becoming part of the protests in the locker room, but he wanted to “get all of [his] ducks in a row” before taking a decision that is bound to become a magnet for controversy.
The previous protests, one of which was carried out by white female soccer player Megan Rapinoe, have been dismissed as inflammatory and unpatriotic, and the accusations are bound to be even more intense on Sunday, September 11, when the country will be commemorating the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans.
“I think it’s very ironic to me that 15 years ago on September 11 was one of the most devastating times in US history and after that day we were probably the most unified that we have ever been. And today we struggle to see the unity. And it’s very ironic to me that this date is coming up,” Baldwin said.
“So it’s going to be a special day, a very significant day, but at the same time I am looking forward to the may changes and differences, the changes we can make in this country to make better changes in our country.”
The team, which won the Super Bowl in 2014, has been given carte blanche to express their feelings by coach Pete Carroll, who is regarded as being liberal by the media.
“He’s pretty clear on what he did and what he was trying to express and I think it is very simple and so we’ll leave that up to him,” Carroll said, referring to Lane.
Carroll, 64, said he did “not specifically” consider that symbolic significance of September 11, when considering his decision.
Several other major league coaches, such as John Tortorella, who coaches the US national hockey team, and the Columbus Blue Jackets, stated that he would bench any player who made overt political statements during the anthem.
But Seattle players said they would be going ahead with their intentions regardless of reactions from coaches or other team or league officials.
“We have the freedom to do whatever we want here. Whatever we decide to do, we ain’t gonna get into too much trouble. We’re big kids now,” said Wagner.
Shaun King, one of the founders of the Black Lives Matters movement, has called on more players to join the public displays, saying many have expressed a wish to join, mixed with fear about being black listed from the NFL for their political activism.
“The league has 1,696 players. If just 100 of you took a knee during the “Star-Spangled Banner,” it would instantly become one of the largest social protests in sports history,” wrote King in his New York Daily News column.
“Over the past two weeks, every sports network in America has started discussing injustice and police brutality. You have the power to take that to a whole different level.”
An estimated 804 people of all races have been killed by the police since the start of 2016, after 1,207 who died last year. Black Lives Matters says that over 100 of last year’s victims were unarmed blacks, who shouldn’t have lost their lives during their detention.
RAMALLAH – Israeli forces imprisoned 30 teenage Palestinians over the month of August and collected 65,000 shekels ($17,270) from their families as fines, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said Monday, with the majority of the detainees saying they were beaten and tortured during their detention, interrogation, and transport from one detention center to another.
A statement released Monday quoted the committee’s lawyer Luay Akka as saying that among the detainees were minors as young as 13 years old.
Akka added that 17 of the detainees were taken from their homes during military raids, five were detained from off the street, four at military checkpoints, and four arrived voluntarily to detention centers after they received summons from Israeli authorities.
Three of the 30 detainees were held without being charged or standing trial in administrative detention, and the rest were sentenced after court hearings to periods ranging from one month to 45 months.
Mousa Khanafsa, a 14-year-old boy from Abu Dis in the Jerusalem district of the occupied West Bank told Akka that he was violently beaten when he was detained from a street near his house.
A group of undercover Israeli officers, he said, chased him in the street and when they caught him they “assaulted him with the butts of their rifles, stomped on him with military boots, and was left bleeding from his nose.”
It was the latest report to emerge recently from the committee and other rights groups, amid years of well-documented abuse and mistreatment of Palestinian children by Israeli forces.
Akka reported last month on the cases of two Palestinian minors who were tortured, abused, and medically neglected in Israeli custody, one of which after being shot at point-blank range when Israeli forces detained them for rock throwing in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah.
Locals in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Tur reported Saturday that Israeli police detained and assaulted 16-year-old Jamal al-Zaatari. During his detention, Jamal was pepper sprayed and beaten, resulting in injuries to his face, back, and feet, in addition to several bruises.
A report released recently by BADIL, a Palestinian NGO, warned of an increasing trend of Israeli forces shooting and injuring Palestinian youth — particularly in the knees and legs — during the near-nightly detention raids carried across the occupied West Bank.
Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) has also extensively documented the abuse of Palestinians children in East Jerusalem by Israeli forces and the harsh interrogation practices used to force their confessions.
Despite “on paper” having more rights than Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank who are subject to a draconian military detention system, in practice, Jerusalem minors “do not enjoy their enshrined rights” under the Israeli civilian court system, according to DCIP.
Out of 65 cases documented by DCIP in 2015, “more than a third of Jerusalem youth were arrested at night (38.5 percent), the vast majority (87.7 percent) were restrained during arrest, and only a slim minority of children (10.8 percent) had a parent or lawyer present during interrogation.”
Interrogations of Palestinian children can last up to 90 days according to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, during which in addition to being beaten and threatened, cases of sexual assault, and placement in solitary confinement to elicit confessions are also often reported, while confession documents they are forced to sign are in Hebrew — a language most Palestinian children do not speak.
According to the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, as of mid August, Israeli forces detained 560 children from occupied East Jerusalem alone since the beginning of 2016, and 110 minors were still being held in Israeli prisons, including four girls and 10 boys in juvenile detention centers.
According to Addameer, of the 7,000 Palestinians being held in Israeli custody, 250 were minors as of July.
My name is Zeina. I’m 12 years old. I live in Ras al-Amud in Jerusalem. I was 15 days old when my dad was sent to prison, and he’s serving a 20-year sentence.
– Produced by DCI-Palestine
– Directed by Sevan Karakashian
– Edited by Sameer Qumsiyeh
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The debt in effect creates a rift between parents and their children, a grandmother was told to consider giving up custody of her grandson in order to avoid paying his juvenile court fees.
(Photo: Richard Ross/Youth First)
Many states are incarcerating poor children whose families can’t afford to pay juvenile court fees and fines, a report published Wednesday finds, which amounts to punishing children for their families’ poverty—and that may be unconstitutional.
Although the growing practice of incarcerating adults who are unable to pay municipal and court fees and fines has been documented for several years, as Common Dreams has noted, the latest report from the Juvenile Law Center is the first in-depth examination of the practice within the juvenile justice system.
The report, “Debtor’s Prison for Kids? The High Cost of Fines and Fees in the Juvenile Justice System” (pdf), documents the results of a survey of 183 people involved in the juvenile justice system—including lawyers, family members, and adults who had been incarcerated as children in the juvenile justice system—in 41 states.
The report authors discovered that in most states there is a pile-up of fees and fines imposed on children and their families once a child enters the juvenile justice system, and that “[m]any statutes establish that youth can be incarcerated or otherwise face a loss of liberty when they fail to pay.”
There are myriad ways in which juvenile court systems levy fines on children’s families, the report authors found, and then imprison those children when their families are too poor to pay the mounting costs:
- Many states impose a monthly fee on families whose children are sentenced to probation. When a family can’t pay the monthly fee, that counts as a probation violation, and the child is in most cases incarcerated in a juvenile detention facility.
- If children are sentenced to a “diversion program,” or a community-based program meant to keep them out of detention and help them reintegrate into their communities, the families must pay the costs of such a program. When poor children are unable to pay, they are simply incarcerated instead.
- Families in most states must pay for their children’s court-ordered evaluations and tests (such as mental health evaluations, STD tests, and drug and alcohol assessments). Failure to obtain certain evaluations may result in a failure to be granted bond by the court, which means the child would remain in juvenile detention. Or if the tests are performed and the family subsequently can’t pay for them, that counts as a probation violation and the child is re-sentenced, which can mean being incarcerated.
- Some sentences involve a simple fine, such as truancy, and failure to pay results in the child’s imprisonment. “Even when fines are not mandated by statute, they may be treated as mandatory in practice,” the report authers note, describing one impoverished child’s experience with a $500 truancy fine in Arkansas:
One individual who had been in the juvenile justice system there reported that he spent three months in a locked facility at age 13 because he couldn’t afford the truancy fine. He appeared in court without a lawyer or a parent and was never asked about his capacity to pay or given the option of paying a reduced amount. He assumed he had to either pay the full fine or spend time in jail. He explained, “my mind was set to where I was just like forget it, I might as well just go ahead and do the time because I ain’t got no money and I know the [financial] situation my mom is in. I ain’t got no money so I might as well just go and sit it out.”
- “Almost all states charge parents for the care and support of youth involved with the juvenile justice system,” the report adds. Those include fees for room and board, clothing, and mental and physical healthcare, among many other charges, and “[i]nability to pay […] can result in youth being deprived of treatment, held in violation of probation, or even facing extended periods of incarceration.” (Juvenile prisons also charge their own, often higher, prices for children’s prescription medications, the report says, which frequently results in high charges that poor families cannot afford to pay and interrupts necessary healthcare for their children.)
- In all 50 states, a statute exists which deems that if a child and their family can’t afford restitution charges—that is, payment to the victim(s) of the child’s crime, which is a popular sentence in juvenile court—the child is incarcerated.
Juvenile detention facilities are often unsafe and inhumane, as Common Dreams has reported.
And the fines imposed by juvenile court are “highly burdensome,” according to the report. The average cost of juvenile system involvement is $2,000 per case in Alameda County, California, for example, and “[f]or young people incarcerated for extended periods of time, the costs can be significantly higher.”
The debt divides families already struggling with the ramifications of poverty, the report notes.
“The debt in effect creates a rift between parents and their children,” one survey respondent said, recalling that “I… spoke to a family where a grandmother had taken custody of her grandson but when facing these insurmountable fees, she was told (by a county employee) that the only way she could avoid paying was to hand over custody. Given her limited income, she has seriously considered giving up custody of her grandson, which would make him a ward of the state…”
In some cases, parents can even face imprisonment themselves if they fail to pay their children’s juvenile court system fees. “In a number of states, parents, like youth, may be found in contempt, either civil or criminal, for failure to pay,” the report says.
“Parents may also face increased financial liability through collection fees and interest accruing on payments, as well as civil judgments for failure to pay,” the report authors add. “When parents face incarceration or mounting debt for failure to pay, they have even fewer resources to devote to educating, helping, and supporting their children.”
The report authors also observe that incarcerating children for their families’ inability to pay fees may be unconstitutional:
[I]t is worth noting that the United States Supreme Court has made clear that an individual may not be incarcerated for nonpayment if the court does not first conduct an indigence determination and establish that the failure to pay was willful. The Supreme Court has also held that courts must consider “alternative measures of punishment other than imprisonment” for indigent defendants. Nonetheless, some states require neither willfulness nor capacity to pay in statute, and only a few explicitly limit or prohibit incarceration for failure to pay.
Additionally, the Supreme Court has held that “courts must provide meaningful notice and, in appropriate cases, counsel, when enforcing fines and fees.” This right is even more important for children, who lack both the developmental capacity and the legal knowledge to represent themselves.
“Moreover,” the report continues, “while further research is needed, existing studies suggest that court costs, fees, and fines have limited, if any, fiscal benefit to states and counties, given the difficulty in collecting from families in poverty and the high administrative costs in trying to do so.”
The Juvenile Law Center details the varying policies on juvenile court system fees state-by-state on a new website, and also highlights the few counties and states who are attempting to rectify the problem.
“Ultimately, state and local policymakers should establish more sustainable and effective models for funding court systems rather than imposing costs on youth and families who simply can’t afford to pay,” the Juvenile Law Center says.
According to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, a report published by the office revealed that Israeli forces detained eight journalists, holding four in custody, and served a summons notice to one journalist.
Israeli authorities recently renewed the administrative detention of four journalists and the actual prison sentence of two journalists. It also documented five cases of abuses committed against detained journalists.
Additionally, it documented seven cases of injury, regarding four female journalists, involving gas grenades and fire.
Israeli forces also banned five journalists from covering events and travelling, one of them from Gaza.
The report also documented the closing of one local radio in the occupied West Bank, the raiding of two media institutions and the storming of nine houses where Palestinian journalists resided. It also reportedly seized media staff equipment.
Palestinian Photojournalist injured in Kafr Qaddum protest, forces raid East Jerusalem neighborhoods
QALQILIYA – A Palestinian photojournalist was injured by Israeli forces Firday afternoon, as dozens others suffered from tear gas inhalation during the weekly protest in the norther occupied West bank village of Kafr Qaddum.
Popular resistance coordinator in Kafr Qaddum Murad Shtewei told Ma’an that Israeli forces “assaulted” participants in the protest minutes after it began.
The soldiers injured photojournalist Nidal Shtayyah after hitting him with a tear gas canister in the back of his head. He was taken to Rafidia hospital for treatment.
Shtewei added that Israeli forces fired a barrage of tear gas, which landed mostly in surrounding homes, causing a family of five to suffer from tear gas inhalation, in addition to others participating in the protest, who were treated on the scene.
Residents of Kafr Qaddum began staging weekly protests in 2011 against land confiscations, as well as the closure of the village’s southern road by Israeli forces. The road, which has been closed 13 years, is the main route to the nearby city of Nablus, the nearest economic center.
Following similar clashes that broke out last month, Shtewei told Ma’an that more than 330 protests have been held over that period, during which time 84 protesters have been injured by live fire, including 12 children.
Some 120 others have been detained at protests and were subsequently held in Israeli custody for periods ranging between four and 24 months, Shtewei said, adding that they have paid fines totaling some 25,000 shekels (approximately $6,488).
Over the course of five years, an elderly protester was killed after suffering from excessive tear gas inhalation, one youth lost his eyesight, and another his ability to speak, he added.
Meanwhile, along with armed Israeli forces, Israeli Jerusalem municipality crews reportedly raided the occupied East Jerusalem villages of al-Isawyia and Silwan, where they delivered demolition orders and summons to local residents.
According to the Wadi Hilwah Information Center, Israeli forces accompanied municipality crews who raided the al-Bustan neighborhood in Silwan, where they hung demolition orders and warnings telling residents to “follow-up with the municipality on several buildings in the area.”
The forces reportedly took pictures of neighborhoos buildings and entrances of the neighborhood, and wrote tickets for parked cars.
Muhammad Abu al-Homos,a member of the al-Isawiya monitoring committee, said Israeli forces raided the village, searched a house, and patrolled the street ‘provocatively’. He added that the forces detained a teenager who was present in the area.
An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports of all three incidents in Kafr Qaddum, al-Isawiya and Silwan.
Bogota – The renowned sociologist Gonzalo Sánchez Gómez, one of the best known researchers of Colombian history, now Director of the National Center for Historical Memory created by the Juan Manuel Santos administration, discusses a fundamental issue for peace in Colombia. In the latest edition of the magazine Arcadia (July-August 2016) he deals with the armed conflict and the peace process. The Santos government has been negotiating with the FARC in Havana, Cuba to end that conflict and achieve peace. As the government has stated, we are at the point of signing an agreement.
Gonzalo mentions in his article, titled “A Path without More Dead”, the difficulty in reaching an agreement between analysts and militants over what has been the origin of the conflict. They mention the agrarian conflict of the 1930’s; the liquidation of the popular movement embodied by the followers of Jorge Eliecer Gaitan; the closing of political and social spaces by the bipartisan accord known as the National Front. But they do not mention – I note – that the origin of this was the Conservative violence of the 1940’s.
The conflict did not begin in the 1960’s, as claimed by those who discuss the negotiations that are going forward in Havana. They suppose that it started in 1965, when the armed bands of communists created the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the FARC. These armed bands are charged with originating the conflict. The communications media and those who oppose Santos, with ex-President Alvaro Uribe at the head, are busy spreading the word of the atrocities committed by the FARC. Their goal is to try to impede the parties from reaching a peace agreement, from achieving forgiveness, and from applying “transitional justice”. They don’t want any return to civilian life, or participation in politics, or membership in Congress for the demobilized FARC guerrillas. They want prison for them.
The FARC have indeed been guilty of innumerable acts of violence and crimes against the civilian population. Tirofijo, their maximum commander, created them in 1965 to combat the violence of the Government. He died in his bed in March 2008. But the origin of the FARC is the campesino communist guerrilla, supported by his party, which emerges, like the Liberal guerrillas, in the 1940’s against the violence and persecution which the government of Conservative President Mariano Ospina Perez (1946 -1950) commenced against the Liberal people and against the followers of Gaitan.
Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, a Liberal, had created a dissident political movement of enormous popular force. In 1947, in the elections for Congress, Departmental Assemblies, and Municipal Councils throughout the entire country, Gaitan won an indisputable majority and he achieved the sole leadership of the Liberal Party. The possibility of his being elected President was obvious. The Conservatives, and the historical Liberal leadership, which supported the candidacy of Gabriel Turbay, feared that Gaitan would arrive at the presidency with massive support of the people.
Ospina restricted political safeguards for Liberals and followers of Gaitan and in the countryside the political police, POPOL, and the chulavitas en Boyaca, created by Ospina—some called them home- grown Gestapo— and the armed gangs of Conservative campesinos, “pájaros” in the Valle del Cauca, members of Ospina’s party, pursued and massacred members of the Liberal Party. Their acts were atrocious, extreme in their barbarity. In this period of political violence between 200,000 and 300,000 people were killed, the immense majority campesinos, defenseless civilians. The forced migration exceeded 2 million people. Gaitan denounced this persecution and organized the March of Silence to protest. On the night of February 7, 1948, more than 100,000 people, in absolute silence and with lit candles, marched in the capital. It was an imposing popular manifestation of support for Gaitan and a protest against the violence of the government. Two months later, on April 9, Gaitan was assassinated and the so-called “Bogotazo” exploded in an eruption of public rage, looting, setting of fires and destruction of the city. Gaitan’s murder was a crime of immense proportions. It halted a democratic political change which was in process, and it destroyed the hopes and dreams of a whole people.
Some historians place the period of “The Violence” between 1946 and 1957, coinciding with the Conservative governments of Ospina Perez, Laureano Gomez, Roberto Urdaneta and General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla, categorized as dictators. In 1958, with the bi-partisan agreement called the National Front, between Laureano Gomez and Alberto Lleras, the confrontation between Liberals and Conservatives officially ended. Lleras was elected president for the term 1958-1962.
What I mean to say here is that the armed conflict that the immense majority of this country hopes to end, commenced in the 1940’s and not in the 1960’s as they are saying; that the Liberal guerrillas in self-defense came into being in the Eastern Plains (Llanos Orientales), Tolima, Santander and in other regions of the country. The Communist guerrillas, supported by their Party, were armed bands in self-defense against the brutal official persecution which sought nothing less than their extermination. Ospina Perez, Laureano Gomez and his son Alvaro, Urdaneta and Rojas, all of them were involved in the partisan violence and they are all dead. They were responsible for this tragedy plagued by horrendous crimes. The historical reality of the responsibility of the State and of the Presidents for the conflict which is being debated now, is not mentioned. No one has been punished for these crimes of Lesa Humanity. They remain and will remain in impunity.
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator, Edited by Jack Laun)
Clara Nieto de Ponce de Leon is a scholar and diplomat who has been a keen observer of political events in Colombia for many years. A former Ambassador of Colombia to Cuba, she is the author of the celebrated book, Masters of War: Latin America and U.S. Aggression, in English translation with a forward by Howard Zinn, and the book Obama and the New Left in Latin America.