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Deir Qaddis resists ongoing theft of village land

International Solidarity Movement | July 21, 2016

Deir Qaddis, Occupied Palestine – On the morning of July 14th, Israeli excavators arrived on Majid Mahmoud’s farmland in Deir Qaddis to begin work on an illegal expansion of a wastewater facility for the nearby illegal settlement of Nili.

Construction vehicles and Occupation forces were met by about fifty Palestinians from Deir Qaddis and nearby Nil’in in protest of the theft and destruction of village land, who refused to leave until the construction was halted. Through nonviolent means the villagers managed to temporarily prevent the destruction of their grazing lands, though excavation and land clearing did resume in the days afterwards. Illegal settlements around Deir Qaddis have been expanding for decades, swallowing up thousands of dunams and dispossessing farmers and agricultural workers in the area.

Majid’s land, now on the other side of a settler road, has been rendered mostly inaccessible by both the expansion of illegal settlements and the threat of violence from Israeli forces and private settlement security.

“We have no rights under this Occupation. I cannot ask the soldiers why they are on my land. It is as if I am being beaten, but cannot question it or raise my hands to stop it,” Majid said. “We have all the papers to prove ownership, but it does not matter.”

Majid and members of the local council are planning to bring the case to court and have all the documentation necessary to do so. They are not optimistic, however, about their chances.

Though the people of Deir Qaddis did succeed in halting the illegal construction on Thursday, it has since resumed. Fares Naser, mayor of the village, has little confidence that the settlement expansion and illegal construction will ever end. “It will not stop,” said Fares, “and the next generation will wonder why it is this way.”

Deir Qaddis is surrounded on three sides by the Apartheid Wall and the illegal Israeli settlements of Nili, Modi’in Illit, and Na’aleh, cutting it off from much of the West Bank. According to Fares, only 4,000 of the village’s original 10,000 dunams have not yet been seized by Israeli forces and settlers. Over ninety percent of the Deir Qaddis is classified as “Area C,” territory in which Israel maintains full military and civil control.

In 1999, Israeli authorities assured the people of Deir Qaddis that all land lying west of the town would remain untouched. Israel has since broken that promise, with both state confiscation and private theft of valuable farmland within Deir Qaddis. According to international law, all Israeli settlements are illegal, as is nearly every piece of the Israeli colonial apparatus. Israel will continue to build, and the people of Deir Qaddis will continue to resist the ongoing theft of their land and livelihoods.

July 21, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel bans travel of noted Jerusalemite figure abroad & to West Bank

Palestinian Information Center – July 21, 2016

682730247OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – The Israeli occupation police have handed professor Jamil Hamami, secretary-general of the higher Islamic commission in Occupied Jerusalem, a written order banning his travel abroad and to the West Bank.

According to this police order, Hamami will be prohibited from entering the West Bank for four months and the previous ban on his travel abroad will be extended for six months.

The police justified the measure against Hamami by saying that he is involved in banned activities and his departure for other countries will constitute a security threat to Israel.

For his part, Hamami, who works as a lecturer at al-Quds University, condemned Israel’s decision against him as “unjust and a violation of the Palestinians’ right to travel and movement”. He considered this Israeli step as “part of the Israeli campaign that targets the Palestinian dignitaries in Jerusalem.”

July 21, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Former hunger striker, brother of slain activist, among 18 Palestinians arrested by occupation forces

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Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – July 19, 2016

In a series of late-night and pre-dawn raids, Israeli occupation forces seized at least 18 Palestinians between 18 and 19 July. They include Ghassan Zawahreh, former prisoner, hunger striker against administrative detention, and the brother of Moataz Zawahreh, shot dead by occupation forces as he participated in a protest in Dheisheh refugee camp on 15 October 2015.

In an invasion of Dheisheh camp by occupation forces, Zawahreh was seized in a pre-dawn raid with a massive military presence. Zawahreh has spent nearly ten years in Israeli prisons over various arrests, including many under administrative detention without charge or trial. He has permanent injuries to his right hand and left leg due to beatings by Israeli occupation forces during earlier arrests, including his first arrest in 2002; he was denied treatment for his knee injury for three years. Zawahreh was released on 30 November 2015, after being held in administrative detention since 4 August 2014. He was one of the initiators of the “Battle of Breaking the Chains,” the 40-day hunger strike by five Palestinians imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention.

Moataz, his brother, returned from a study program in France in order to support Ghassan’s strike; he was shot dead by Israeli forces during a demonstration in the refugee camp. When Ghassan was released, he immediately headed directly to his brother’s gravesite to pay his respects and two days later, spoke at a memorial for his brother, video here:

The invasion of Dheisheh camp followed a large protest action in the camp in support of hunger-striking prisoner Bilal Kayed, hospitalized after 35 days of hunger strike for freedom from administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial.

Four former prisoners – all students at An-Najah University in Nablus – were detained by occupation forces: Mahmoud Asida, Malek Bilal Shtayyeh, Mumin Munir Sabah, and Karam Kheir Bani Fadel.

Five Palestinians in Qalandia refugee camp north of Jerusalem were arrested: Muath Alayan, Mohammed Samih Muteir, Mahmoud Samih Muteir, Haitham Udwan, and Muhannad Kanaan. In the town of Taqua, east of Bethlehem, two Palestinians were seized by occupation forces, Mohammed Salim Abu Mafarah and Musa Mohammed Amour. Hussein Issa, of al-Khader village west of Bethlehem, was also arrested by occupation forces.

Also yesterday, Israeli occupation forces arrested two more An-Najah university students yesterday, Mohammed Shehadeh at Huwwara checkpoint south of Nablus, and Said al-Tawil in Far’ata village. Samaher Abdul Qader Musalma, of Beit Awwa near al-Khalil, was arrested while visiting her husband in the Negev desert prison, and her husband, Nabil Musalma, was transferred to an unknown prison.

July 19, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , , , | 1 Comment

Palestinian journalist Samah Dweik sentenced to six months in Israeli prison

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Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – July 18, 2016

Palestinian journalist Samah Dweik has been sentenced by the Israeli Jerusalem court to six months and one day in prison, on charges of “incitement” for posting on her Facebook page. She was arrested on 10 April 2016 from her home in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood of Silwan, Jerusalem, in a pre-dawn raid in which occupation soldiers invaded and ransacked her home, accused of posting in support of the intifada on Facebook.

She is one of hundreds of Palestinians targeted for arrest and persecution on the basis of postings on social media. Dweik, 25, is a freelance journalist who works with Quds News Network. She is one of over 20 Palestinian journalists detained and imprisoned by Israel, including Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate leader Omar Nazzal, Addameer media coordinator Hasan Safadi, and multiple journalists accused of “incitement” for posting on social media.

banan-mafarjahDweik is one of over 60 Palestinian women imprisoned by Israel, held in HaSharon and Damon prisons. On Saturday, 16 July, two more Palestinian women were arrested: Banan Mahmoud Mafarjah, 21, a medical student at Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, Jerusalem, was arrested at an Israeli occupation “flying checkpoint” west of Ramallah; while Amal Masalmah of al-Khalil was among 10 Palestinians detained in late night and pre-dawn raids on 17 July.

July 18, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Right to play? Palestinian children in occupied al-Khalil

International Solidarity Movement | June 29, 2016

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – In occupied al-Khalil (Hebron), possibilities for Palestinian children to play are scarce. With the help of the Playgrounds for Palestine project, a brand-new playground was installed at Qurtuba school in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of al-Khalil.

Right to play – can you imagine that as a child, when playing, you’d need to be scared of being attacked, your parents worried whenever you’re out playing, and playing with your friends and enjoying something that is denied to you by a foreign occupying army?

The Tel Rumeida neighborhood is in the H2 area of al-Khalil, under full Israeli military control. After more than six months of collective punishment by the means of a ‘closed military zone’, deliberately designed to affect only the Palestinian population, this measure was officially lifted on 14th May 2016. Despite the lifting of some of the measures intended to forcibly displace the Palestinian population – and thus only a slightly disguised attempt at forced displacement, many of the restrictions applying on Palestinians have remained in place.

A staircase leading to Qurtuba school at the end of the tiny strip of Shuhada Street where Palestinian pedestrians are still allowed to be, is still under a complete closure – for Palestinians, whereas settlers, Israeli forces and anyone resembling a tourist is allowed to pass freely. This apartheid measure severs all the families accessing their homes through these stairs, as well as visitors to the Muslim cemetery and a weekly second-hand market of their main access, forcing them to take long detours. The many restrictions have also forced the project to carry large amounts of the materials through the neighborhood, as Palestinian cars are not allowed in the area. On one day, the workers were prevented from continuing their work on the playground and forced to leave by Israeli forces.

Palestinians carrying materials to the playground

Palestinians carrying materials to the playground

For the children growing up in this area, childhood is short. Child-arrests, even of children less than 12 years and thus illegal even under Israeli military law that is universally applied on the Palestinian population in the Israeli occupied West Bank, are not uncommon, as are humiliations and intimidations by the Israeli forces and settlers under the full protection of the Israeli forces.

The right to play, for Palestinian children, is only a theoretical concept, that often lacks any practical meaning, when growing up next to illegal settlements under a foreign military occupation. Playing on the streets of their neighborhood for most children is dangerous, as settlers do not even restrain from attacking children. In a nearby Palestinian kindergarten, Israeli settlers overnight stole a large roll of artificial grass intended to be part of the play-area for the children attending the kindergarten. With no institution to address this, the artificial grass is merely lost and missing in the play-area.

The installation of the playground at Qurtuba school, thus, is a sign of hope for the Palestinian children. An opportunity for the children to be exactly that: children. To play with their friends and enjoy their childhood, have fun and laugh.

July 14, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli forces kill 1 Palestinian youth, injure 1, and detain 1 other

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Fares Khader al-Rishq
Ma’an – July 13, 2016

RAMALLAH – A Palestinian youth was killed and another injured by Israeli forces while a third was detained early on Wednesday, as soldiers opened fire at the youths’ vehicle in the town of al-Ram in the occupied West Bank’s Jerusalem district.

The youth who was killed was identified as Anwar al-Salaymeh, 22, and the two survivors were identified as Fares Khader al-Rishq, 20, who remains critically injured, and Muhammad Nassar, 20, who was detained by Israeli forces after the incident.

Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces opened fire at three Palestinians youths, all residents of al-Ram, in a vehicle inside the town around dawn, as the three were seemingly unaware that Israeli forces were deployed in the town and conducting raids.

An Israeli army spokesperson said that the presence of Israeli authorities in the town was due to the fact that Israeli forces, border guards and police reportedly found a blacksmith workshop in al-Ram that manufactured weapons.

Witnesses confirmed that Israeli forces and military vehicles raided al-Ram, closed the main street and raided a blacksmith workshop in the area.

The Israeli spokesperson added that during the military raid, border guards allegedly “saw a speeding vehicle heading towards them” and opened fire, killing one of the passengers and injuring another while a third was detained and transferred for interrogation.

According to locals, al-Rishq’s vehicle arrived near the area where the raid was taking place, and Israeli soldiers opened fire at the car from a close distance, injuring al-Rishq and al-Salaymeh, who later died.

Witnesses said that Israeli forces prevented Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances from reaching the injured.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that an unidentified teen from al-Ram succumbed to his wounds after being critically injured by Israeli live fire aimed at the car, while another was injured during the same incident.

Locals added that clashes erupted between youths and Israeli forces, while soldiers opened live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and tear-gas bombs.

An unidentified youth was also reportedly detained during clashes.

July 13, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Palestinian youth activist and former prisoner arrested by Israeli occupation forces

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – July 12, 2016

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Palestinian youth activist and former prisoner Hassan Karajah was arrested this evening, 12 July, by Israeli occupation forces at Beit Ur checkpoint west of Ramallah, reported family sources to Samidoun. They are concerned about his situation, especially because he spent 22 months in Israeli prisons after being targeted for his work as a human rights defender.

He was arrested on 23 January 2013 and freed on 19 October 2014, facing an Israeli military court on allegations of participation in a prohibited organization (all Palestinian political parties are prohibited organizations) and contact with an enemy state (frequently used to target Palestinians who travel to Lebanon for conferences and other events.)

Karajah, well known for his work in a number of civil society organizations, including the Stop the Wall Campaign and the Partnership for Development Project, and his advocacy for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, was the subject of an international campaign for his release, which highlighted the Israeli targeting of Palestinian human rights defenders.

A letter Karajah wrote from prison was widely distributed: “Here, we draw our energy to continue from you. We, the newly detained prisoners, our hearts are full of happiness when, while being transported from prisons to court, we meet prisoners we have heard about for decades, whose photos and posters we have carried in the streets, prisoners from whom we learned our readiness to struggle since childhood.

In conclusion, I affirm to you that they will never be able to bring about our end. We are stronger than they are able to weaken us. We are higher than they are able to lower us. We are deeper than they are able to reach us. We continue.

I say to you at the end of this message – I will see you soon. I will come out as you have known me and better, and I will greet you with the single word, ‘Freedom.’”

July 12, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli military demolishes two houses, injures five Palestinians with live ammunition in Qalandia Refugee Camp

International Solidarity Movement | July 7, 2016

Qalandia Refugee Camp, Occupied Palestine – The holy month of Ramadan has come to an end. But in Palestine, as in Iraq, Syria, Turkey and too many other places, Muslim families are not able to enjoy this special time of the year in peace and comfort. On Sunday night at 11pm, more than 1000 Israeli soldiers, according to locals’ estimations, entered Qalandia Refugee Camp in the Occupied West Bank. The huge military incursion sparked clashes in which 15 Palestinians were shot. Occupation Forces used live ammunition and rubber coated steel bullets on civilians while firing tear gas and stun grenades at approaching ambulances, preventing Palestinian Red Crescent medics from reaching the wounded.

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Red Crescent ambulance damaged by Israeli forces

Among the injured was a 19 year old girl and a 15 year old boy, each shot with live ammunition and brought to the hospital in serious condition. The army entered the camp to demolish the homes of the families of two young men, Anan Habsah and Issa Asaaf, both 21, who carried out knife attacks and killed one soldier in East Jerusalem on December 23rd last year. Both were killed by soldiers while carrying out the attacks, so the demolition of the homes comes only as a form of collective punishment to terrorize the families and the people in Qalandia, who repeatedly suffer from night raids and house demolitions as well as beatings and arrests by the Israeli occupation forces.

Anan’s family first evacuated their home in January when the Israeli high court announced their decision to demolish the houses. The displaced family members lived spread across the area, staying at friends’ and family’s homes in Ramallah and elsewhere in Qalandia for two months until the lawyer suggested they could move back in in March. The father, Abu Saleh, refused to leave his home during the two month period however, staying in a tent outside the building. Three weeks ago the two families were yet again told to evacuate their homes and were informed that the demolition would take place within five days. However, the exact date of the demolition was not disclosed. Sunday night it finally happened without advance notice, and only two days before the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid celebrations.

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In the ruins of his family home

Issa and his family have experienced severe trauma at the hands of occupation forces before, when he and his two younger sisters were brutally assaulted by Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint near East Jerusalem. The incident left one of Issa’s sisters unable to speak for three months, and caused the Assaf family significant distress and anguish.

Both Issa and Anan were imprisoned for significant periods of time; Anan at age fifteen for a period of eight months, and Issa for seven months in the year before his death.The families’ suffering did not end there, however. In the week following Issa’s release from prison, he was again assaulted at his home in Qalandia when soldiers dragged him from his home in the middle of the night and beat him in the street without justification.

The Habsah family also bears the long lasting scars of pain and trauma. Anan’s imprisonment as a child devastated the family, and they say their boy was never the same afterwards. “I know he did not want to die … but when a boy is put in jail, deprived of sleep, and deprived of his childhood, something in him changes,” said Anan’s uncle.

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Inside the Asaaf family home

When we arrived on Monday morning, neighbors and relatives had already begun to gather in support of the families. Anan’s aunt explained to us that this is the third time her family had been forcibly displaced; first in 1948, when the family was expelled from their home in West Jerusalem, and later again in 1975 when their modest home in the refugee camp was destroyed for the first time.

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness condemned the demolitions on Monday, stating that punitive home demolitions “inflict distress and suffering on those who have not committed the action which led to the demolition, and they often endanger people and property in the vicinity.” A 2005 study by the Israeli army itself concluded that home demolitions are not effective as a deterrent or punitive measure, but the practice still continues. According to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, about fifty thousand residential structures have been destroyed by Israel since 1967.

“This is psychological warfare. In the whole camp of more than ten thousand people, no one slept [last night], and they did not go to work today,” Adnan Habsah, the uncle of Anan said. Qalandia Refugee Camp has long been subjected to various forms of collective punishment by Israeli forces, and is severely affected by all aspects of the Illegal Occupation. The camp is located within area “C” and greater (East) Jerusalem, near the main checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem and beside the apartheid wall. According to the UNRWA, the construction and expansion of the Wall in the early 2000s has drastically affected the economic situation in the camp by isolating it from the Israeli job market and Jerusalem. According to the most recent data, Qalandia’s unemployment rate is as high as 40 percent, compared to Occupied Palestine’s overall rate of 26.6 percent.

The Camp was originally established to house some 5,000 Palestinians who were displaced by the 1948 Nakba. Today, according to Afaq Environmental Magazine, the population of Qalandia Refugee Camp has reached about 14,000. Under the 1993 Oslo Agreement, the whole territory of Qalandia Refugee Camp is classified as area “C,” where Israel retains full control over security and administration related to the territory; however, Qalandia camp, like other Palestinian refugee camps, is under the administrative control of UNRWA.

As the uncle of Anan said when we spoke to him on Monday, “This is a UN refugee camp. The whole world owns this place. You cannot destroy it.”

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Abu Saleh, father of Anan Habsah

July 7, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

34 violations against Palestinian journalists in June

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MEMO | July 5, 2016

Israeli occupation forces and the Palestinian Authority carried out 34 violations against Palestinian journalists in June, Quds Press reported an NGO saying.

Palestinian Youth Congress for Journalists said in a statement that the Israeli violations included direct assaults, firing rubber bullets at journalists and cameramen, arbitrary arrests and the closure of media offices.

The group said the attacks happened while the journalists were documenting Israeli aggression at Al-Aqsa Mosque. Photographer Rami Al-Khatib and journalists Osaid Amarneh and Ahmed Jaradat were wounded during the violence.

Moreover, the statement noted that the Israeli policy of arbitrary detention of Palestinian journalists continued as several journalists, including 25-year-old Nasser Al-Khatib from Ramallah, 27-year-old Iyad Al-Taweel and 43-year-old Bassam Al-Safadi from the Golan Heights were arrested.

There are currently 20 journalists being held in Israeli jails, the statement said.

The group added that Israel had closed Musawat TV which broadcasts from occupied Palestinian territories under the pretext that it incites hatred.

The Youth Congress reported 17 violations against journalists at the hands of the Palestinian Authority.

July 5, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli government approves 800 new colonial settlement housing units

By Celine Hagbard | IMEMC | July 4, 2016

On Sunday the Israeli Cabinet approved the expansion of several Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, adding an additional 800 new units to the existing thousands of units constructed in Jewish-only settlements in direct contravention of international law.

Israeli officials say that the approval of 800 new housing units is meant to somehow ‘balance’ the implementation of a court ruling that 600 construction permits be approved for Palestinian families in Beit Safafa.

But while the Israeli officials may have political reasons for making such a claim, Palestinian analysts point out that there is no legal justification or comparison between the court decision about Beit Safafa and the announcement Sunday of the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements constructed on illegally-seized Palestinian land.

In the case involving Beit Safafa, an Israeli court ruled last month that the Israeli government had provided no sufficient evidence to back its claim that the Palestinian residents’ building permit applications should be denied, and ordered that construction could begin. But the Israeli government has, for the past month, prevented the court decision from being implemented.

The announcement Sunday that 800 new settlement units would be constructed in East Jerusalem and in the West Bank colonial settlement of Ma’ale Adumim came just two days after Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu approved the expansion of another colonial settlement in Hebron by 42 additional units.

All Israeli settlements constructed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are considered illegal under international law, as they involve the direct transfer of Israel’s civilian population into areas seized by military force.

But the Israeli government considers many of these colonial settlements to be ‘legal’ under Israeli law, and provides infrastructure including water, sewage, electricity, policing and fire services to the majority of the hundreds of settlements that have been constructed on Palestinian land in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

In the case of Beit Safafa, the Israeli government had put together a plan to completely encircle the Palestinian town with several Jewish-only settlements, thus cutting off the town from the rest of the West Bank and Jerusalem.

The plan had involved the expansion of a small trailer park currently housing Ethiopian immigrants to Israel, on a hilltop in Beit Safafa. The trailer park, dubbed ‘Givat HaMatos’, was slated for massive expansion by the Israeli government until Palestinian residents of Beit Safafa took the government to court to challenge the expansion.

In a surprise victory a month ago, the Palestinian residents of Beit Safafa won their court battle. but the Israeli government failed to implement the decision before now.

Upon the announcement that the court’s decision would be carried out, the Israeli Minister for Jerusalem, Ze’ev Elkin, stated, “Anyone who is concerned about the Jewish majority in Israel’s capital cannot push a building plan just for Arabs [in Givat HaMatos]… You cannot just approve construction for Arabs in Givat HaMatos without also approving at the same time building for Jews in the same planned neighborhood.”

The plan to encircle Beit Safafa, while currently under scrutiny by international media and bodies, is just one part of the larger E1 Jerusalem plan, which would encircle East Jerusalem, kick out most of its Palestinian residents, and claim all the ‘conquered’ territory for the state of Israel. The plan was first introduced in the early 2000s, and has expanded since then.

July 4, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ban Ki-moon’s farewell to the occupied Palestinian territories

MEMO | July 2, 2016

On Tuesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon finished his farewell trip to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. He is due to step down in December and used the occasion to urge some political will for a two-state solution as “the only way to meet the national aspirations of both peoples.” Ban also criticised the blockade of Gaza which, he said, “Suffocates its people, stifles its economy and impedes reconstruction efforts.” Interestingly, he added that it is “collective punishment for which there must be accountability.”

Speaking in Ramallah, the UN chief expressed an understanding of Palestinian frustration: “I’m aware that many Palestinians question the feasibility of reaching a just and lasting peace with Israel. They hear talk of peace but they see violence. They still live a life of checkpoints, permits, blockade, demolitions and profound economic hardships faced with growing indignities and the humiliating occupation that will soon enter its 50th year.”

During his time as Secretary General, Ban has condemned the status quo verbally but the organisation he leads has failed to take concrete action. Under his tenure, Gaza has been strangled by a tight blockade and its residents have witnessed three major Israeli offensives. In over half of his time at the top of the UN, the West Bank settler population has grown by 23 per cent (from the beginning of 2009 until the beginning of 2014), and at least two rounds of direct talks have failed. In 2014, more Palestinians were killed by Israel than in any other year since 1967. Violence and fatalities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, meanwhile, were at their highest since the beginning of his tenure in 2007.

Following the most recent Israeli war against Gaza in 2014, a UN inquiry found that Israel was responsible for striking seven official sites used by the organisation as civilian shelters, during which 44 Palestinians were killed and 227 others were injured. Releasing the report, Ban condemned the attacks “as a matter of the utmost gravity.” He noted that it was the second time during his tenure as secretary general that he had been obliged to establish a board of inquiry into incidents involving UN premises and personnel in Gaza that have occurred during the course of “tragic conflicts” in the Gaza Strip. Concerning the children killed in the war, he commented during an earlier visit, “I met so many of the beautiful children of Gaza. More than 500 were killed in the fighting – many more were wounded. What did they do wrong? Being born in Gaza is not a crime.”

However, his inaction during the conflict forced 129 organisations and distinguished individuals to sign an open letter to him. “Until today,” they wrote, “you have taken no explicit and tangible measures to address the recent Israeli attacks in the occupied Palestinian territories since 13 June. Moreover, your statements have been either misleading, because they endorse and further Israeli false versions of facts, or contrary to the provisions established by international law and to the interests of its defenders, or because your words justify Israel’s violations and crimes.”

The number of Palestinian children killed during the 2014 war led to efforts to include the Israel Defence Forces on a UN list of serious violators of children’s rights. However, while the UN chief should have supported that inclusion made by Leila Zerrougui, the UN special envoy for children and armed conflict, he didn’t. He was accused of caving into pressure and omitting the Israeli military from the list. UN sources described the decision to override Zerrougui’s recommendation as “unusual”, while Human Rights Watch called it “a blow to UN efforts to better protect children in armed conflict.”

On his farewell visit to Gaza, Ban Ki- Moon told residents that, “The UN will always be with you.” As the two-year anniversary of the beginning of the 2014 Gaza war draws near, most of the 11,000 homes destroyed and 6,800 severely damaged or rendered uninhabitable remain in ruins, largely as a result of the Israeli-led blockade. As his time as UN leader comes to a close, the Palestinians will be hoping that his successor will give them more than words.

July 2, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention slams Israeli human rights breaches in Hares Boys case

The Hares Boys, one of whom is the XXXXX referred to in the UN Working Group's Opinion

The Hares Boys, one of whom is the XXXXX referred to in the UN Working Group’s Opinion
By Julie Webb-Pullman – Gaza Scoop – June 30, 2016

In an opinion released on June 29, 2016 The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention slammed Israel for its treatment of a Palestinian child arbitrarily detained, tortured, and forced to sign a document without first reading it. The Group also noted the discriminatory nature of the arrest based on the nationality of the victim, who was referred to as XXXXX, but acknowledged to be one of the children in the notorious Hares Boys case.

In the advance unedited version of the opinion, the Working Group “recommends the Government Israel to provide full reparations to XXXXX, starting with his immediate release,” and decided to refer the allegations of torture to the Special Rapporteur on torture for appropriate action.

Israeli authorities did not refute that on 16 March 2013 XXXXX was strip searched and locked in a small room for a long time, during which he was obliged to stay nakedly in stressful positions. In an interrogation room he was shackled, by hands and feet to a chair and was questioned for several hours. He was also subjected to verbal abuses and threats and was forced to sign a document that he was prevented from reading beforehand. For 21 days, XXXXX was held in solitary confinement with no access to the outside world and he was deprived of visits from his family and lawyer.

On 5 April 2013, he was transferred to Megiddo prison in northern Israel, where he was again held in solitary confinement for 19 days.

The Working Group noted that XXXXX was deprived of liberty when he was 17 years old, and had the right to be tried by a juvenile justice system in a speedy manner.

“Military Tribunals cannot be competent for civilians in accordance with relevant international human rights law. He was arrested without a warrant, was not informed of the reasons of the arrest and was not allowed to receive visits from his lawyer for several days following the date of his arrest. During interrogation,he was tortured and forced to sign a document without reading it first,” the Group found.

The Working Group concluded that the detention of XXXXX between 15 March 2013 and 9 April 2013 was arbitrary, being without any legal basis, nor any charge or trial.

It was also of the opinion that those acts from Israeli authorities are in violation of articles 9 and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), as well as articles 9, 10 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and that detention of XXXXX was based in his Palestinian origin therefore was discriminatory in nature.

The Working Group has a mandate to investigate allegations of individuals being deprived of their liberty in an arbitrary way or inconsistently with international human rights standards, and to recommend remedies such as release from detention and compensation, when appropriate.

June 30, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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