The center stated that 43% of administrative detainees held currently without charge or trial in Israeli jails are from al-Khalil.
As a whole, there are 450 administrative detainees in Israeli jails including four MPs.
The center pointed out that Israeli administrative detention policy mainly targets youth activists, students, MPs, and prisoners’ defenders as an attempt to prevent them from exposing the reported Israeli human rights violations.
We can see just how seriously the Israeli government takes nationalist crimes from the following case.
On July 26, 2010, a large group of Israeli marauders, whom eyewitnesses said came from the direction of the settlements of Yitzhar and Bracha, allegedly made their way to land belonging to the nearby Palestinian village of Burin. According to witnesses, the marauders burned hundreds of olive trees, some of them more than a century old. Furthermore, they attacked the villagers with stones and in a few cases with clubs, and stoned the houses of the village.
On that same day, some of the victims lodged a complaint with the Israeli police.
In August 2011, i.e. more than a year after the incident, the police informed Yesh Din that the case was turned to the attention of a prosecutor – that is the last we heard of the story for two years. In August 2013, the Shomron Prosecution Unit bothered to update us saying that they had closed the case back in December 2012. Three months later, we received the investigation material of a three-year-old incident, and tried to see whether there is any point in appealing the decision to close the case.
To the utter surprise of our attorneys, who were under the impression that the police closed the case for lack of evidence, the case files contained quite a bit of evidence. At the same time and place of the incident, three Border Policemen detained two Israeli civilians – A. and M. – after police officers testified that they saw them throwing stones at Palestinians.
The testimony of a cop, as well as the detention of suspects at the scene, is generally enough cause for prosecutorial action, particularly since the government takes nationalist crime seriously, as it keeps claiming. Therefore, we appealed the decision to close the case in December 2013, demanding of A. and M. be prosecuted on suspicion of throwing stones and assaulting an officer; we also demanded that the investigation into the question of who attacked one of our clients with an iron rod and set his olive grove on fire continue.
That’s when events took a surrealistic turn. In response to our appeal, the prosecution claimed that they are well aware that there is enough evidence to indict A. and M., but said it would not do so – since it sees no reason to interfere with the decision of the Police Prosecution Unit, which closed the case for lack of public interest.
According to the prosecution, since both sides engaged in stone throwing, and since there is no precise information about how the incident began, and since there was no equivalent interrogation of Palestinian suspects, there is simply no public interest in putting the Israeli marauders on trial.
To quote our sarcastic reply, sent in April by Attorney Noa Amrami:
“To sum, two Israeli civilians woke up one morning, arrived at the village of Burin and the homes and land of our clients, threw stones at them and beat them. Is there any doubt here as to who is the attacker and who the defender? With all due respect, we are not dealing with a kids’ squabble at school here, but with a criminal, methodical action of terrorizing the villagers of Burin, who suffer from the violence of the Israeli civilians residing in the region.”
What the government prefers to call nationalist crimes — and we call ideological crimes — has become a national scourge. As we emphasize here repeatedly, this is not an incident of random violence, but rather violence with a clear political goal: dispossessing Palestinians of their land so it may be transferred to Israeli civilians. The police’ failure at resolving these crimes is systematic and well documented: out of 1,045 investigation cases reviewed by Yesh Din in 2005-2014, only 7.4 percent turned into indictments. 85.2 percent of the cases were closed due to the police’s investigative failure, usually because the police failed in finding suspects or gathering enough evidence to try them.
The village of Burin is a stark example of criminal actions carried out by Israeli civilians: in the years 2005-2013 Yesh Din documented 103 incidents of criminal activity, mostly violent, by Israeli civilians against Palestinians from the village. Yesh Din documented a series of violent actions – both by Israeli forces and Israeli civilians – toward the villagers. If we were to take the official rhetoric about the need to fight ideological crime seriously, we would expect any incident in Burin would be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.
Yet in practice, even when the police detain suspects and the prosecution has enough evidence to indict them, the case is somehow closed. This time the excuse was “lack of public interest.” Bear this in mind during the next press conference when solemn promises that the police will do its best will be made.
We have asked that the appeal be reconsidered. We’ll keep you posted.
When a 22-year-old man died under an Israeli army jeep recently, The New York Times virtually ignored the incident. Now come reports of another death in the West Bank, and the newspaper has given notice with an article appearing both online and in print.
The difference is all in the ethnicity: The first man was Palestinian and his attackers were Israeli soldiers. The second was Israeli and died at the hands of a Palestinian gunman.
When Abdallah Ghuneimat died on Sunday, eyewitnesses reported that he had been shot and then deliberately run down by soldiers in a jeep; the army, however, claimed the vehicle had fallen on him by accident. The Times made fleeting mention of the incident in a wire service story that appeared only online. (See TimesWarp 6-17-15.)
The newspaper has continued to turn its back on the story even as new eyewitnesses have come forth to say that Ghuneimat “was left bleeding under the jeep for hours while Israeli soldiers were jubilantly cheering.” Witnesses also said that troops fired tear gas, stun grenades and live ammunition to prevent villagers from approaching the victim.
Now, with the death of an Israeli four days later, we find a different approach from the Times. Editors were not content with a wire service report in this case; they assigned a reporter to cover the incident and published a story replete with quotes from Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, education minister Naftali Bennett and a United Nations coordinator.
The Israeli victim, Danny Gonen, 25, had come to the West Bank with a friend to visit a spring near the illegal Israeli settlement of Dolev, according to the account. As they were leaving the area, a man flagged down the car and asked if there was water in the spring. He then pulled out a gun and shot both men. The friend was slightly wounded, but Gonen was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
The author of the Times story, Diaa Hadid, writes in the second paragraph that the timing of shooting was a “grim reminder of the kidnapping and killing of three Jewish teenagers” last year, “which unleashed tensions that culminated in a seven-week war between Israel and Hamas.”
Missing from her article is the context of Israeli attacks on Palestinians, including the deaths of two Palestinian men so far in June. According to United Nations data, Israeli forces injure an average of 39 Palestinians each week, and they have killed 13 so far this year. These numbers do not include injuries inflicted by settlers.
The same UN report notes that Palestinians have injured an average of two Israeli civilians each week. Two, including Gonen, have died this year.
In spite of these facts, Hadid has chosen to emphasize Palestinian violence and ignore Israeli attacks, which have injured and killed at a significantly higher rate.
Her story also glosses over another unsavory fact of life in the West Bank by noting that the territory “is dotted with springs” used by Israelis and Palestinians, but some have been made off limits to Palestinians. In her brief treatment of the issue, she fails to describe the full injustice here.
Settler takeovers of springs on private Palestinian land have become so flagrant that the United Nations issued a report specifically addressing the problem. The report states that settlers use threats, intimidation and barriers to prevent villagers from accessing their traditional water sources, at great cost to farmers and herders. The Israeli government acquiesces in these crimes and sometimes actively supports them, the UN says, often allowing the settlers to turn the springs into revenue generating tourist attractions.
But readers learn none of this—neither the casualty rates nor the extent of water theft in Palestinian territory. Although this tragic incident provided an opportunity to inform the public of facts on the ground in the West Bank, the Times has little interest in reporting these details. It glosses over Palestinian deaths, dwells on Israeli casualties and turns its back on the brutality of the Israeli occupation.
Qaryut, Occupied Palestine – In the early hours on Tuesday 16th of June Israeli occupation forces raided several Palestinian homes in the village of Qaryut, near Nablus. The soldiers invaded the homes in search of the Palestinian activist Bashar al-Sadiq Yusuf Moammar (Bashar Qaryouti).
The incident is possibly sparked by the fact that villagers of Qaryout have recently taken up weekly demonstrations, arranged by the PSCC, which Bashar Qaryouti is part of. These are demonstrations against the illegal Israeli settlements that surround the city and continue to annex Palestinian land.
Soldiers invaded at least five different houses in order to find Bashar, and trashed the family homes in the process. Abdullah Qaryouti, whose family fell victim to one of these raids, explained how this included the soldiers locking up the family in one room whilst ransacking the rest of their house using K9’s.
According to Abdullah Qaryouti this is common behaviour for the occupation forces, who invade and ruin Palestinian homes on a regular basis.
The local activists presume the most recent house raids to be part of the ongoing efforts of Israeli forces to intimidate and threaten any resident that participates in non-violent resistance.
Credit to PSCC for the photos, they do not belong to ISM.
RAMALLAH – An attendee of the 15th Fatah Revolutionary Council conference led by President Mahmoud Abbas told Ma’an Tuesday that the council will form an entirely new unity cabinet rather than pursuing efforts to reform the existing government.
Abbas announced that the government would resign within the next 24 hours, several senior Fatah officials attending the conference told AFP, with the new government formation expected to be carried out in a matter of several days.
The announcement comes as Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have struggled to maintain a unity government pieced together in June 2014.
The move materialized after the Fatah-led PLO and Hamas announced a national unity deal a few months prior intended to end seven years of political division between the largest two Palestinian parties.
The division between Fatah and Hamas began in 2006, when Hamas won Palestinian legislative elections.
In the following year, clashes erupted between Fatah and Hamas, leaving Hamas in control of the Strip and Fatah in control of parts of the occupied West Bank.
While last year’s reconciliation aimed to pave the way for a general election by the end of 2014, an Israeli arrest campaign in the West Bank during early summer as well as a war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip in July-August derailed the timeline.
Hamas has since blasted the Fatah-led PA in the West Bank for failing to follow through on promises to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Deputy head of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh said earlier this month that there had been no humanitarian or economic progress in the coastal enclave since the national consensus government was formed a year ago, referring to swathes of the strip that remain devastated from last summer’s war, as well the nearly one year that has passed since Gaza’s civil servants have received salaries.
Prime Minister Hamdallah pledged during a March visit to Gaza that Palestinian factions would “work fast” to find solutions to crises in Gaza, however the visit largely deteriorated into factional fighting.
The failure of the unity government to address the needs of Gazans was addressed by the Revolutionary Council’s secretary general who told AFP prior to Tuesday’s meeting that the government would step down within 24 hours over its inability to act in the Gaza Strip.
“The government will resign in the next 24 hours because this one is weak and there is no chance that Hamas will allow it to work in Gaza,” said secretary-general Amin Maqbul.
But Ihab Bseiso, spokesman for the consensus government, told AFP he was unaware of the matter.
“We had a meeting today and we didn’t discuss this issue,” he said
As elections haven’t been held in the Palestinian territories since 2006, Tuesday’s decision to dissolve and reform the government is the latest of Abbas’ attempts to create a functioning unity government, in light of a year of setbacks.
Two recent reports suggest that Israel could face catastrophic consequences if it fails to end the mistreatment of Palestinians under its rule, whether in the occupied territories or in Israel itself.
The Rand Corporation’s research shows that Israel could lose $250 billion over the next decade if it fails to make peace with the Palestinians and violence escalates. Ending the occupation, on the other hand, could bring a dividend of more than $120 billion to the nation’s coffers.
Meanwhile, the Israeli finance ministry predicts an even more dismal future unless Israel reinvents itself. It is likely to be bankrupt within a few decades, the finance ministry report says, because of the rapid growth of two groups who are not productive.
By 2059, half the population will be either ultra-Orthodox Jews, who prefer prayer to work, or members of Israel’s Palestinian minority, most of whom are failed by their separate education system and then excluded from much of the economy.
Both reports should be generating a tidal wave of concern in Israel but have caused barely a ripple. The status quo – of occupation and endemic racism – still seems preferable to most Israelis.
The explanation requires a much deeper analysis than either the Rand Corporation or Israel’s finance ministry appears capable of.
The finance ministry report points out that with a growing population not properly prepared for a modern, global economy, the tax burden is falling increasingly heavily on a shrinking middle class.
The fear is that this will rapidly create a vicious cycle. Wealthier Israelis tend to have second passports. Overwhelmed by the need to make up the revenue shortfall, they will leave, plunging Israel into irreversible debt.
Despite this doomsday scenario, Israel seems far from ready to undertake the urgent restructuring needed to salvage its economy. Zionism, Israel’s official ideology, is predicated on core principles of ethnic separation, Judaisation of territory and Hebrew labour. It has always depended on the marginalisation at best, exclusion at worst, of non-Jews.
Any effort to dismantle the scaffolding of a Jewish state would create a political crisis. Reforms may happen, but they are likely to take place too slowly and incrementally to make much difference.
The Rand report also raises the alarm. It notes that both peoples would benefit from peace, though the incentive is stronger for Palestinians. Integration into the Middle East would see average wages rise by only 5 per cent for Israelis, compared to 36 per cent for Palestinians.
But, while its economists may have found it easy to quantify the benefits of ending the occupation, it is much harder to assess the costs in shekels and dollars.
Over the past six decades, an economic elite has emerged in Israel whose prestige, power and wealth depends on the occupation. Career military officers earn large salaries and retire in their early forties on generous pensions. Nowadays many of these officers live in the settlements.
The army top brass are the ultimate pressure group and will not release their grip on the occupied territories without a fight, one they are well placed to win.
Backing them will be those in the hi-tech sector who have become the engine of the Israeli economy. Many are former soldiers who realised the occupied territories were the ideal laboratory for developing and testing military hardware and software.
Israel’s excellence in weaponry, surveillance systems, containment strategies, biometric data collection, crowd control, and psychological warfare are all marketable. Israeli know-how has become indispensable to the global appetite for “homeland security”.
That expertise was on show this month at a Tel Aviv armaments expo that attracted thousands of security officials from around the world, drawn by the selling point that the systems on offer were “combat proven”.
To end the occupation would be to sacrifice all this and revert to the status of a tiny anonymous state with no resources or notable exports.
And finally the settlers are among the most ideologically committed and entitled sector of Israel’s population. Were they moved out, they would bring their group cohesion and profound resentments back into Israel.
No Israeli leader wants to unleash a civil war that could rip apart the already-fragile sense of unity among the Jewish population.
The reality is that most Israelis’ perception of their national interests, both as a Jewish state and as military superpower, are intimately tied to a permanent occupation and the exclusion of Israel’s Palestinian minority from true citizenship.
If there is a conclusion to be drawn from these two reports it may be a pessimistic one.
Israel’s internal economy is likely to grow gradually weaker, as the ultra-Orthodox and Palestinian labour forces are under-utilised. As a result, the focus of Israel’s economic interests and activity is likely to shift even more towards the occupied territories.
Far from Israelis rethinking their oppressive policies towards the Palestinians, the ideological blinkers imposed by Zionism could push them to pursue the benefits of the occupation even more aggressively.
If the watching world really wants peace, economic wishful thinking will not suffice. It is past the time simply for carrots. Sticks are needed too.
QALQILIYA – Five Palestinians were injured, two critically, when Israelis forces opened live fire on the Kafr Qaddum weekly march Friday.
A coordinator for the village’s popular resistance committee, Murad Shtewi, said that Muhammad Majid, 20, had been shot in the stomach and chest with live rounds and is in critical condition.
Ibrahim Mousa, 35, is also in critical condition after he was shot in the abdomen while in his house.
Shtewi also said that Muhammad Nidal, 20, and Mouiz Khader had been shot in the leg, and Ayman Farouq, 38, in the hand.
Dozens others suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation.
Israeli forces had closed down the village’s entrance since the early morning after they declared it a closed military zone. As a result, those injured had to be evacuated from the village in private cars using dirt roads.
An Israeli army spokeswoman contacted by Ma’an said she would look into it.
Israeli forces routinely suppress weekly marches by violent means.
In Kafr Qaddum, they also regularly declare the village a closed military zone in order to prevent the weekly march from taking place.
The march is carried out to protest the Israeli separation wall and Israeli settlement activity, both illegal under international law.
The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
Norway’s largest pension fund has excluded two companies “on the grounds of their exploitation of natural resources in occupied territory on the West Bank.”
KLP, which manages a US$70 billion investment portfolio, formally excluded Heidelberg Cement and Cemex on June 1, following a period of investigation and engagement. The combined worth of KLP’s shareholdings in both Heidelberg Cement and Cemex was approximately $5 million.
Heidelberg Cement and Cemex, leading global suppliers of building materials, operate quarries in the West Bank through their respective Israeli subsidiaries. According to KLP, “the companies pay licence fees and royalties to the state of Israel” while “the products deriving from the quarries are sold primarily for use in Israel’s domestic construction market.”
Based on “a review of applicable international law”, which the company explained in a separate document, KLP concluded that “the companies’ operations are associated with violations of fundamental ethical norms.”
Citing a previous similar case in Western Sahara, KLP noted that the quarries in question were opened after 1967, when Israel’s occupation began. “The opening of a quarry in occupied territory”, KLP said, “is in all probability incompatible with Article 55 of the Hague Regulations.”
The fund, which manages the retirement assets of Norwegian public sector workers, also excluded a further eight companies on the grounds of their income from coal-based operations, corruption, environmental damage, and the production of tobacco.
JERUSALEM – Israel has barred a Palestinian photographer allegedly shot in the eye by Israeli forces from entering occupied East Jerusalem for specialist treatment, the injured photographer told AFP on Wednesday.
Nidal Shtayyeh, who works for Chinese news agency Xinhua, was wounded while covering a small demonstration at Huwarra checkpoint near the northern West Bank city of Nablus on May 16.
As he was covering the rally, Shtayyeh was hit in the face by a rubber bullet which entered his eye, causing serious damage, he told AFP.
“The march was peaceful and no stones were thrown, no photographers were taking any pictures,” he said, accusing soldiers of firing sound bombs at the photographers without any provocation.
“I raised my camera to my right eye to take a picture, but a soldier shot me in my left eye with his rifle, and the rubber bullet went through my gas mask’s glass eye cover and into my eye.”
An Italian camerawoman was also injured during the same demonstration which came as Palestinians commemorated 67 years since the “Nakba,” or “catastrophe,” when an estimated 760,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes during the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.
At the time, Israeli forces said at least 100 Palestinians had been throwing stones and petrol bombs, and that the forces had responded with “riot dispersal means.”
Shtayyeh’s injury comes as rights groups criticize Israel for disproportionate use of force against unarmed civilians during such demonstrations.
While crowd control weapons are intended to be non-lethal, many methods used by Israeli forces can cause death, severe injury, and damage to property, according to Israeli rights group B’Tselem.
Shtayyeh was rushed to Rafidiya hospital in Nablus for initial treatment but was prescribed specialist help at St John’s eye hospital in occupied East Jerusalem.
Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1967 in a move considered illegal by the international community, and Palestinians living in the West Bank, are often barred by Israel from crossing into the city, which they consider their capital.
As a Palestinian living in the West Bank, Shtayyeh had to apply for an Israeli permit to enter, however Israeli authorities turned down his request.
He tried again two more times — once through the Red Cross and once through a private Israeli lawyer. But both requests were rejected.
A spokesman for the Shin Bet internal security agency did not have an immediate response.
Shtayyeh’s lawyer, Itai Matt, told AFP that his client had been informed it was the Shin Bet preventing his entry, despite his having been granted such permission in the past.
According to Matt, Israeli security services “regularly bar entry to anyone wounded by the army”.
“They even bar entry to wounded children seeking treatment in Jerusalem, because they are worried that anyone wounded will try and take revenge after their treatment,” he said.
Xinhua did not respond to AFP’s requests for a comment on the incident.
Shtayyeh is one of nearly 1,000 Palestinians to be injured by Israeli forces since the start of 2015, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Israeli military courts rarely prosecute members of Israeli forces who cause injury or death . From 2000-2012, only 117 of 2,207 investigations opened by the Military Police Criminal Investigations Division were indicted, about 5% of the total files opened, according to Israeli human rights group Yesh-Din.
Shtayyah’s injury and inability to access treatment comes as groups Foreign Press Association and Reporters Without Borders have alleged that Israeli forces deliberately target press covering demonstrations.
Ma’an staff contributed to this report.
Construction of the new planned townships that will house Palestinians displaced by Israel’s E1 plan is already well underway although the demolition of the current villages has not yet been implemented. The E1 plan will displace thousands of Palestinian Bedouin from the Jerusalem periphery area.
Within this colonial project – that has received significant criticism from across the ‘international community’ – the story of the village of Abu Nowwar is in many ways seen as a test case.
The residents of Abu Nowwar are themselves already refugees, as are the majority of all Bedouin in the West Bank, having been originally displaced in the early 1950’s from their ancestral lands in the Naqab. The more than 100 family homes in the village are all slated for demolition.
In early May, residents were told by the Israeli authorities that they must sign documents by May 31st stating that they agreed to being transferred to one of the planned new townships – a site known as al-Jabal – alongside a large Jerusalem Municipality landfill site. The community was told that anybody who refused to sign would have their houses immediately demolished. Yet the community resisted.
For now a legal challenge in the Israeli Supreme Court has delayed the promised demolitions, but time is short. Many people believe that the case of Abu Nowwar, if won by the State in the Supreme Court, will set a legal precedent that will allow E1 to be quickly implemented. None of the planned demolitions of entire communities in this latest phase of E1 have yet been implemented but this legal precedent, if granted, could set a swift and dangerous ball rolling.
Despite the widespread criticism that the E1 project has received internationally, no action has yet been taken to prevent this major advance within Israel’s settler-colonial project. E1 will link Ma’ale Adumim and other Israeli West Bank settlements in a contiguous ring to and around Jerusalem.
‘Forcible transfer’, which is an inherent aspect of the E1 plan, is a breach of the Geneva Conventions, and is recognised by both the Nuremberg Charter and the International Criminal Court as a ‘war crime’.
Image by MEMO Photographer Rich Wiles.
Data provided by the Israeli military and the UN has revealed that since martial law was imposed on the occupied West Bank in 1967, around 95,000 Palestinian children have been arrested by Israel, an average of more than 5 children per day. Almost 60,000 are believed to have been subjected to some form of physical abuse whilst in detention.
The details were revealed this week in a report submitted by rights group Military Court Watch (MCW) to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Over 300 pages of evidence relating to the treatment of Palestinian children held in Israeli military detention were included in the report.
MCW pointed out that the evidence included details of 200 minors detained by the Israeli military in the West Bank between January 2013 and May 2015. The submission confirmed an earlier finding by UNICEF that “the ill-treatment of children, who come in contact with the military detention system, appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalised.”
According to the rights group, this finding is based on recent evidence that shows that intimidation, threats, verbal abuse, physical violence and the denial of basic legal rights are still commonplace within the system. “Based on the evidence, the submission also drew a link between this industrial scale abuse and the maintenance of Israeli settlements in the West Bank,” added MCW. “It concluded that in order to enable 370,000 Israeli settlers to live in the West Bank in violation of international law without serious interference, the military is required to adopt a strategy of mass intimidation and collective punishment.”