Sunday, I reported on the police execution of East Jerusalem Palestinian teenager, Fadi Alloun, outside the Old City. I noted the false reporting of the Jerusalem Post which stated that the police saw him “holding a knife” and “neutralized” him. There has been no supporting reporting in the Israeli media confirming this.
Now the international newspaper of record, the NY Times, gets in on the act. In Diaa Hadid’s report tonight, instead of focusing on his murder, she focuses on a supposed disagreement between villages and political factions about where he should be buried. The title of her story: Dispute Over a Burial Reveals Palestinian Divisions. Instead of focusing on the real news story of the video showing a flagrant execution, she invents a dispute purporting to show the Palestinian national movement in disarray.
This paragraph in particular irks:
“Mr. Alon was fatally shot by police officers early Sunday after he stabbed and wounded a 15-year-old Jewish boy on a road outside the Old City, according to the police. A video clip showed Mr. Alon being shot, apparently as he was trying to flee, with Israeli civilians in pursuit and shouting “Shoot him!”
In fact, no Israeli media has offered any proof that Alloun was the attacker who stabbed the Israeli. If you watch the video of the Alloun killing, he was not “apparently fleeing” the stabbing. He was fleeing the Israelis who were rushing at him. At one point, he says to his attackers: “Let me pass.” This is a youth being pursued by baying hounds, and seeking safety.
Why does the report not display the video of the Alloun killing in which the policeman exits his car and immediately murders Alloun without telling him to stop or saying anything to him? Why not note that when the policeman asks a bystander if Alloun had stabbed anyone, the bystander replies: “not yet.”
Why would the NY Times permit a regurgitation of police claims without offering any qualification or skepticism when no actual proof or evidence has been offered?
This is the rankest of journalism. Instead of providing illumination to readers in a dark hour of Israeli-Palestinian history, the Times gives us pandering and stenography.
Finally, there remains a possibility that Alloun was the attacker who stabbed the Israeli boy (the stabbing and later murder happened in the general vicinity). But there is not yet any firm evidence supporting this claim. The Times’ rush to judgment is irresponsible.
A minor quibble: though I am not an expert in Arabic (by any means), Hadid spells Alloun’s name “Alon.” That does not seem to be phonetically close to the spelling Electronic Intifada adopted and which I’ve used. The name Alon is a common Israeli name. But Palestinian?
JERUSALEM – Israeli forces on Tuesday raided the East Jerusalem mourning tent of a Palestinian teenager killed by Israeli forces in the early hours of Sunday.
The father of Fadi Alloun, 19, told Ma’an that Israeli forces and intelligence officers raided the tent in Beit Hanina and threw stun grenades and pepper-sprayed mourners.
They also removed Palestinian and Fatah flags from the tent and detained an unidentified youth, he said.
A Ma’an reporter said Israeli forces then fired stun grenades at cars leaving the mourning ceremony, including at the private vehicle of Fatah official Adnan Ghaith.
Israeli authorities on Monday night said they would not be handing over the body of 19-year-old Fadi Alloun to relatives, despite having agreed to do so earlier that day, a human rights lawyer told Ma’an.
Israeli authorities initially said the body would only be released on condition that no more than 70 Palestinians attend the funeral.
They also demanded that Alloun’s family pay a guarantee of 20,000 shekels ($5,200), which would have been refunded if the condition was met.
Alloun was shot dead by Israeli forces after he allegedly attempted to stab a 16-year-old Israeli in East Jerusalem early on Sunday.
However, Alloun’s family has disputed that he was involved in the attack, saying saying that Israeli forces shot him dead while he was fleeing from Israelis who were trying to attack him.
Al-Manar TV cameraman, Salah al-Zayyat, was shot by the Zionist soldiers at the Qalandiya checkpoint on Tuesday in the West Bank while he was shooting the occupation attacks against the Palestinian people.
According to Al-Manar TV correspondent, Zayyat was wounded by a bullet in the abdomen during the Zionist attacks, and he has undergone a surgery in Ramallah hospital to extract the metal pieces that infiltrated into his body.
“Three others were wounded by the Israeli attacks, and dozens of people suffered from asphyxia due to the use of toxic gases by the Israeli enemy were treated in the scene,” the reporter added.
The body of Abed al-Rahman Obeidallah at the funeral march
Bethlehem, occupied Palestine – The funeral of the 13-year old Abed al-Rahman Obeidallah, who was shot and killed by Israeli forces on his way home from school yesterday, took place today in Betlehem with over a thousand attendees. They marched from the Beit Jala hospital to Abeds house in Aida refugee camp. After the burial ceremony the mourning Palestinians were violently attacked by Israeli forces as they sprayed the streets with skunkwater and fired over a hundred tear-gas canisters, shot endless rounds of rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition. This resulted in more than 20 injuries. At least 13 Palestinians suffered from excessive tear-gas inhalation. At least 8 Palestinians were injured from rubber-coated steel bullets and at least 2 were shot with live ammunition.
Israeli forces sprayed the streets with skunk water
Excessive use of tear-gas by Israeli forces
As Israelis and Palestinians die in an upsurge of violence, The New York Times fails once again to give readers an honest look at the causes of this agonizing conflict. Missing from its pages is any real exposure of the brutal and illegal occupation of Palestine that underscores every aspect of the current crisis.
Thus we find a story today that focuses on the abstract: how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can “calibrate his response” to avoid provoking greater violence and satisfy his extremist opponents in the government. It is heavily weighted with Israeli punditry and refers to ongoing clashes and attacks, but it makes no effort to provide the essential context.
In this article by Jodi Rudoren and Isabel Kershner the word “occupation” appears only in a quote by PLO official Hanan Ashrawi. “Palestine,” she says, “has been subject to the systematic and escalating violence of the occupation, whether in the form of settler-terrorism or at the hands of the Israeli military using live ammunition.”
Times readers are likely to dismiss her words as little more than rhetorical flourishes of the opposition, given that the newspaper has consistently failed to show the full reality of life for Palestinians, glossing over violence by soldiers and settlers and giving prominence to Palestinian attacks.
For instance, today’s report states that a Palestinian teenager was shot after he tried to stab an Israeli youth early Sunday, but it omits any mention that videos show he was chased down by a mob, shot by police, was carrying no knife and did not pose a threat to anyone in the area.
The story also says nothing of settler rampages throughout the West Bank in recent days, which have left dozens injured and forced the Red Crescent Society to declare a state of emergency after numerous attacks on its ambulances by both settlers and security forces.
Times readers rarely receive even a brief glimpse of what occupation means to Palestinians. The newspaper largely ignores the constant reports emanating from alternative media, the United Nations and monitoring groups that show how a sophisticated military power oppresses a nearly helpless population lacking even the most basic weapons for defense.
Readers remain ignorant of the Israeli abuse of Palestinian child prisoners, a situation that has been documented and criticized in numerous reports. They are unaware of the frequent Israeli attacks on Gaza fishermen and farmers and a recent United Kingdom report that states Israel has violated the 2014 ceasefire some 700 times since August of last year.
They hear nothing of the ethnic cleansing of the Jordan Valley, where Israeli troops harass the poorest and most vulnerable communities, burning their crops, destroying their tents and water systems and repeatedly forcing them from their homes for “maneuvers.”
They are unaware of the huge disparity in water supplies between the illegal settlements in the West Bank and the indigenous Palestinian villages, and they were never informed when hundreds of animals died in the West Bank community of Kafr Qaddoum this summer as Israeli officials cut off water deliveries during a stifling heat wave.
These constant, daily cruelties find no place in the Times, and readers likewise find no historical backdrop for the occupation. It is rarely, if ever, reported that Israel is in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a military occupying force and that the settlements are built in defiance of international law.
Without this backstory, it is not surprising when readers take Netanyahu’s claim at face value: that acts of resistance against the occupation are nothing but terrorist assaults arising out of a free-floating hatred of Jews.
Palestinians watch with dismay as Israel confiscates ever more land and resources, forcing the indigenous communities into poverty-stricken bantustans. This is the reality that is missing from the Times, deliberately obscured in the context-free reporting of Rudoren and Kershner.
West Bank, occupied Palestine – Abed al-Rahman Shadi Obeidallah, 12 was still in his school uniform when he was rushed in a civilian car to Beit Jala hospital from Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem today. The boy, from from a Al Kahder village, was shot in the heart during confrontations at Aida camp as violence explodes across the West Bank prompting the Red Crescent to declare a level 3 state of emergency across the occupied Palestinian territories. Another boy was shot in leg with live ammunition during the attack.
Abed al-Rahman Shadi Obeidallah, 12, just before being shot to death by Israeli forces in Bethlehem
Denouncing Israeli violations against humanitarian international law, the Palestine Red Crescent Society staff have endured 14 attacks on their emergency vehicles as Israeli forces and settler violence has sharply surged in a bloody three days. Attacks on PRCS have included medics being beaten by soldiers in Jerusalem, Israeli forces beating an ambulance crew with batons in the old city of Jerusalem and after one attack on an emergency crew in Jabal Al Taweel (Al-Bireh), two medics were injured. Israeli forces attacked an ambulance in al-Issawiya village in occupied East Jerusalem, before arresting an injured Palestinian who was being treated inside the ambulance. An ambulance windshield was also shattered by settlers in Burin village in Nablus. Burin underwent a frightening attack by settlers which left much of it in flames.
Reportedly 465 Palestinians have been injured thus far, including 28 shot with live ammunition and 68 injured with rubber coated steel bullets. Hundreds of others have been overcome by teargas that Israeli forces have been showering over villages and in cities where Palestinians have gathered to demonstrate against their murdering of several Palestinian youths since this past Saturday.
Young Palestinians martyrs recently murdered by Israeli forces.
Fadi Samir Mustafa Alloun, 19, from the East Jerusalem village of al-Issawiya, was shot to death by Israeli forces after allegedly attempting to stab a group of Israelis. 18-year-old Huthayfa Othman Suleiman was shot in the chest during clashes and died in the operating room. In a particularly heinous attack, Yousef Bayan al-Tabib, just six years old, was standing on the side of the road when a settler reportedly stopped his car, shot the child in the stomach, and fled the scene.
Across the occupied Palestinian territories, there have been reports of settlers slaughtering Palestinian’s sheep, attacking Palestinian cars with stones on roads and carrying out violent attacks on villages. As for Israeli forces, soldiers disguised as Palestinians assisting an injured Palestinian into a hospital in Ramallah, disabled security cameras and proceeded to arrest a Palestinian undergoing medical treatment. This is similar to other hospital raids in recent days where a variation of this tactic was repeated.
As for the Israeli government, Netanyahu today made an inflammatory statement to wage a “harsh offensive” against Palestinians; Zionist opportunism at its most typical. Collective punishment is the usual expectation when it comes to the illegally occupying force dealing with the civilian population whose land they are occupying. Israel launched three air strikes in the besieged Gaza strip targeting alleged Hamas ‘terror’ sites after two rockets were fired from Gaza, hitting nothing and injuring no one.
News reports of shootings, injuries, murders, arrests and raids continue to flood in as the situation unfolds at a lightning quick pace. For Palestinians enduring the brunt of Israeli incited race hatred and promoted retribution for the shooting of two Israeli settlers last week, the cavalierly imposed restrictions on al Aqsa Mosque, which have sparked outrage and violent confrontations- and the ensuing chaos, are yet another violent incursion into their lives.
Every year the French communist Party ( PCF) organizes the Fête de l’Humanité in Paris, a left-wing festival where concerts are held and communist parties from all over the world erect stands to exchange books, pamphlets and ideas. Many authors, journalists and intellectuals are invited every year to participate in debates on philosophy, culture, politics and current affairs.
But this year will probably be remembered for the important debates the attendees of the festival were not allowed to have. Two authors, Belgian theoretical physicist Jean Bricmont and French author Caroline Fourest, were forced to cancel their talks due to intimidation and threats from organisations calling themselves “Antifa” and “Indigènes de la République”, respectively.
Caroline Fourest is a pro-Israeli reactionary who masquerades as a “left-wing” feminist. Her invitation to the festival to discuss the rise of Islamic extremism and the French far right upset many on the left.
Reactionary and islamophobic Fourest most certainly is, but preventing her from speaking not only gives credence to her erroneous theories but violates her constitutional right to freedom of speech.
When Fourest was about to speak the dangers of Islamic extremism and the rise of the Front National, France’s far right party, a group calling themselves “lesIndigènes de la République” entered the tent where Fourest was speaking and began to throw objects on the stage. Some protestors even attempted to assault her.
Soon the tent was occupied by the protestors who shouted slogans against racism and islamophobia. The protestors proceeded to occupy the stage whereupon the audience shouted back “liberté d’expression!” (freedom of expression). The confrontation between the conference attendees and protestors continued for about 20 minutes with each side calling the other “fascist”.
The “Indigènes de la République” protestors won out, however, when the debate was cancelled and Caroline Fourest was escorted by bodyguards to a nearby vehicle.
The following day Belgian physicist, author and intellectual Jean Bricmont was due to give a far more important talk on the crisis in Syria and the specious discourse of “humanitarian intervention” propagated by the mainstream media to justify wars of aggression.
For many years, Bricmont has been a critic of the politics of military interventions undertaken under the pretext of protecting “human rights”. Bricmont’s heresy on this issue and his anti-Zionism has made him a pariah in the fashionable salons of France’s “respectable” intelligentsia.
The Belgian physicist’s unequivocal anti-imperialist stance has also made him the target of a vile defamation campaign on the internet and in the mainstream French media where he has been called a “rouge-brun” , a brown-shirt red, a “confusioniste” etc.
Furthermore, the more extremist fringes of the internet’s thought-police have singled out Bricmont for special attention. A few days prior to the fête de l’Humanité, an “anti-fascist” anarchist organization called Antifa launched a campaign on Indymedia against Bricmont’s attendance at the festival, where they threatened to assault him if he spoke about humanitarian intervention. In the insane world of Antifa activism, Bricmont’s opposition to NATO-fomented terrorism in Libya and Syria makes him a “fascist”.
Antifa is just one of the international anarchist groups currently being used by the intelligence agencies of imperialist states to sow confusion and chaos among the ranks of disaffected youth, inciting them to mindless, violent acts that serve the agenda of an ever- encroaching police state. This organization, in particular, targets intellectuals who denounce Zionism as well as alternative media outlets which expose the mechanisms and institutions that promote US imperialism throughout the world. It does all this under the guise of “anti-fascism”.
Due to the simple-mindedness of their beliefs and stupidity of their actions, Antifa tend to attract naïve and angry youths who turn up at demonstrations in black hoodies in order to provoke police crackdowns and sabotage any meaningful resistance to the current political order. In other words, Antifa are a group of useful idiots, whose real agenda is to promote fascism under the guise of “anti-fascism”.
Bricmont was informed of their campaign and asked the management of the festival to provide him with appropriate security. The festival managers assured the Belgian scientist that he would have protection. However, one hour before Bricmont was about to speak, he received notification that the talk was cancelled. The violent threats of the Antifa agents provocateurs provided Pierre Laurent, general secretary of the PCF with the perfect pretext to cancel Bricmont’s heretical lecture. Allowing Bricmont to speak would have shown up the PCF for the right-wing, imperialist sham that they are in the eyes of their ever dwindling supporters.
The festival management had decided they could not provide security for Belgian physicist in the event of an attack by the “Antifa” protestors. However, the pro-war, pro-Israeli pundit Caroline Fourest was provided with full protection by the festival management, in spite of similar threats having been made against her.
This was hardly surprising, considering that the l’Humanité newspaper was the organizer of the festival. L’Humanité has given full support to NATO’s destabilization of Syria since violence broke out there last year, publishing the same war propaganda as its “right-wing” competitors.
According to the PCF’s international affairs spokesman Jacques Fath, the only solution for peace is Syria is the fall of Assad. Fath, of course, made no mention of NATO’s death squads, who have been killing both innocent civilians and security forces since March 2011, facts that have even been verified by many independent journalists and admitted by the Arab league’s observer mission.
Neither of Syria’s communist parties was invited to the festival. Both the Communist Party of Syria(Bakdash) and the Communist Party of Syria (Faisal Aka Unified) won 11 seats in the parliamentary elections that followed the implementation of Syria’s new democratic constitution in May this year.
Both parties have consistently denounced NATO and Gulf-state fomented terrorism against their country since the outbreak of violence in Daraa in 2011. Neither party was allowed to erect a stand at the French communist festival. Instead representatives of the pro-war Syrian opposition were represented.
Those who believe that Jean Luc Melanchon’s Front de Gauche (the French “far left” party which one 11 percent of the vote in last year’s parliamentary elections) represents some form of alternative to the status quo, would do well to remember that Melanchon and the Front de Gauche SUPPORTED NATO’s intervention in Libya last year. This is an organization which claims to oppose NATO. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The supporters of Melanchon- a demagogue who likes to prop up his left-wing credentials by pretending to support president Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and other centre-left governments in Latin America- do not seem to realize that the ALBA countries all supported Libya’s colonel Gaddafi last year and now openly declare their support for President Bachar al-Assad in his struggle against NATO, and Gulf-state funded terrorism.
While President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela sought to mediate in the Libyan crisis in 2011 in order to prevent military aggression against the country, a mediation welcomed by the Libyan government- and which could have prevented war- they received absolutely no help from Jean Luc Melanchon, who now vaunts himself as an anti-imperialist. Melanchon is a dastardly liar and a political fraud of the highest order.
One would not have to be a physicist like Jean Bricmont to see and understand the horrible reality of NATO’s proxy war in Syria, but what an inconvenient interruption it would have been if the would-be communists of this year’s festival were to be confronted with the naked, mephitic truth about NATO’s humanitarian wars, and the left-wing dupes who support them. Bricmont had to be silenced.
France’s “extrême gauche” are nothing more than a contemptible, motley crew of cowards, liars and fools, whose inflated egos and vacuous slogans adequately reflect the all-pervasive cynicism of the corrupted petty-bourgeois class they represent.
But there is another reason for Bricmont’s ostracism from respectable French society; he is a scientist who is capable of applying critical thought to everyday issues that affect the common citizen. In other words, unlike his elitist and conformist colleagues in academia, for whom, peer –reviewed papers, tenure and social respectability count more than epistemic truth, Bricmont represents the type of scientist capable of applying his microscope to the laws that govern civil society; laws whose flagrant violation by Western governments the neo-scholastic monks of postmodern academia conveniently ignore.
In the days following the festival Caroline Fourest’s expulsion was widely bruited in the French mainstream media, who vociferously denounced the violation of her “freedom of expression”.
Fourest is one of the most prominent propagandists for the New World Order, and such is her ubiquity across the French media complex, that she has become a household name. The war-mongering Fourest has been presented as a martyr of human rights, feminism and free speech, thanks to the useful idiots of Antifa. Needless to say, the war-mongering harpies of France’s mainstream media made no mention of the violation of Jean Bricmont’s freedom of speech.
If Fourest, Antifa, the PCF, Front de Gauche and the entire pseudo-leftist French establishment had their way, Bricmont and his ilk would never again be allowed to speak in a public platform. For what he has to say would expose them for the fakers, imperialist collaborators and loud-mouthed nincompoops that they are.
Those activists who admire and those who detest Caroline Fourest can scream “fascist” to one another to their heart’s content in their zany, infantile theatre of the absurd. But it is they who are opening the path for a seizure of power by the extreme right in this country, as the real fascists in Marine Le Pen’s Front National will easily capitalize on their buffoonery. For, who can blame a simple working class voter for being seduced by the mendacious arguments of Marine Le Pen when there are none but prattling fools to oppose her?
This is not the first time genuine anti-war activists were prevented from speaking in France. Michel Collon, a Belgian journalist, author and editor of a news and analysis website InvestigAction was prevented from speaking at the Bourse du Travail in Paris on November 9th 2011 by the Antifa agents provocateurs. These groups serve the imperialist state by preventing the public from engaging in serious debate about France’s foreign wars.
Other political organizations which have been attacked by the “Antifa” agents provocateurs are the URCF, l’Union de Révolutionaires -Communistes de France and the PRCF, Pole de la Renaissance Communiste en France.
These organizations have some former heroes of the French Resistance among their members, real fighters against fascism. The president of the PRCF is Léon Landini, a combatant in the French resistance during the Second World War, who was responsible for the killing of over 40 Nazi soldiers, the destruction of 300 Nazi vehicles and dozens of attacks against Nazi railway carriages. The URCF and PRCF are now the main political organizations in France militating for the construction of a real communist party.
Unlike the fakers in the Front de Gauche, PCF, NPA and other organizations, the URCF and PRCF have given their full support to the Syrian communist parties of Syria in their fight against fascist aggression by NATO and the Petro-monarchies of the Gulf states and have unequivocally denounced the lies and disinformation against Syria of the reactionary French press.
It is one of the most egregious propaganda achievements in recent history that those who expose the lies that trick the public into perceiving wars of aggression as humanitarian operations are denounced as “fascists”, while those who bang the drums of war are considered to be “left-wing” and “progressive”. This is the general pattern set by the French media complex and genuine anti-imperialist intellectuals have paid the price.
The censorship of Jean Bricmont by the left liberal establishment is deeply indicative of the perilous direction French society is currently taking. It is the road to a new form of totalitarianism, where critical thought is murdered by platitudes,empty, effete slogans, and the meaningless newspeak of the ruling group mind.
The unconscionable, dishonest and dastardly behavior of the petty bourgeois leftists, if unchecked, will inevitably lead to a grim dénouement in this tragic-comic farce that is contemporary France.
Gearóid Ó Colmáin can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
ISM Gaza met the fisherman Sami Ali El Goga, 36, who lost his hand and part of his arm the 12th March 2007, when he was attacked by the Israeli navy. In the same attack his boat was completely destroyed and his 13-year-old nephew, who was in the boat with him, sustained shrapnel wounds throughout his body.
Eight years later he is still waiting for the assistance promised by several international agencies, as he hasn’t been able to work since the attack, and without the boat a 20-member-family lost its source of income.
On that day, Sami and his nephew had just reached the 1.5 miles naval blockade when the zionist army approached and started shooting rockets towards them. They attempted to escape to the closest beach, as there was no chance to reach the port. Once on the beach the shooting didn’t stop. Whilst attempting to escape from the boat with his nephew, it was hit by a rocket and in the explosion Sami was severely injured. He nearly bled to death waiting for medical assistance as the Israeli navy prevented any recue from reaching him until 30 minutes later.
After 3 hospitals in Gaza weren’t able to treat him the Palestinian Authority mediated in order that he could be treated in a Hospital in the ‘48 territories (AKA Israel), as the occupation had previously refused to allow him to exit Gaza. The doctors there amputated his hand and afterwards he was taken by the zionist intelligence for an interrogation before sending him back to Gaza.
This wasn’t the first attack Sami suffered, as another boat from his family had been stolen by the occupation in the past.
The UK government has said it intends to change legislation in order to prevent local councils divesting from the arms trade and Israeli human rights abuses.
Announcing the plans, a Conservative spokesperson said that “Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, alongside Labour-affiliated trade unions, are urging councils to use their procurement and pension policies to punish both Israel and the UK defence industry.”
The spokesperson continued: “Hard-left campaigns against British defence companies threaten to harm Britain’s £10 billion export trade, destroying British jobs, and hinder joint working with Israel to protect Britain from foreign cyber-attacks and terrorism.”
The proposed amendment to legislation will be aimed at stopping councils from incorporating the concerns of human rights campaigners into their pension and procurement policies.
According to Communities and Local Government Secretary Greg Clark, such a step would be a challenge to “the politics of division.”
The language used by the Conservatives, including the claim that divesting from companies complicit in Israeli atrocities “poison[s] community relations”, mirrors the rhetoric of pro-Israel lobby groups.
Clark added that “divisive policies undermine good community relations, and harm the economic security of families by pushing up council tax.” Cabinet Office Minister Matthew Hancock said: “We will…prevent such playground politics undermining our international security.”
Members of the Amer Jubran Defense Campaign have recently received trial documents revealing severe human rights violations at every stage in the arrest, trial, and sentencing of Amer Jubran and his co-defendants. Most importantly, the documents show that the defendants were forced to sign prefabricated confessions under torture from agents of the General Intelligence Directorate. According to testimony the defendants submitted at trial, they were not even allowed to read these statements before being forced to sign them.
Methods of torture enumerated in a brief filed by defense attorneys include sleep deprivation, routine and constant humiliation, threats of violence against members of the defendants’ families, physical beatings, and prolonged stress positions. One defendant with a life-threatening illness was denied medication unless he agreed to sign.
The defendants contested these fabricated confessions at trial. In its decision, the State Security Court nevertheless stated that it was not required to consider the defendants’ testimony or any of the defense’s evidence, and used the forced confessions as the primary basis for its ruling.
The confessions that formed the basis for the court ruling defy all credibility. In Amer’s case, we are to believe that a full confession to all the facts in the trial was made voluntarily on May 6, 2014–less than 24 hours after his arrest. (He nevertheless continued to be held for close to two months in incommunicado detention.) According to the GID officer who provided the document, the confession was made without any interrogation, as a simple answer to the question: “Tell us what occurred with you.” A similar procedure was supposedly followed with the other defendants, all of whom confessed to the same facts in statements that frequently used identical language to describe the same events, referring in some cases to events that allegedly took place ten years earlier.
That such confessions should be submitted to the court and accepted by it without question suggests that the use of confessions obtained through torture has become so routine in Jordan–and takes place within such an atmosphere of impunity–that no serious attempt has been made to conceal the fact.
Amer’s case is now in appeal before Jordan’s Court of Cassation (i.e., its Supreme Court). A decision is likely to be issued within the next 1-2 weeks. International pressure at this moment is key, since it is the last opportunity under ordinary procedures in which the unjust decision in this case can be reversed.
Amer has also made us aware that he is concerned about the possibility of retaliatory measures being taken against him in prison–including transfer to a facility with prisoners who have been charged with membership in organizations such as Al-Qaeda, who would have a hostile relationship to a prisoner charged with affiliation with Hizballah. This is further reason to make the Jordanian government aware that people around the world are watching.
Action Call: E-mail Campaign on Monday, October 5:
We are asking Amer’s supporters and all who care about fundamental human rights, to direct e-mails calling for urgent intervention in Amer’s case on Monday, October 5, to:
Minister of Justice, Bassam Talhouni: Feedback@moj.gov.jo .
Please cc’ the following:
Or you can send an e-mail automatically by through the website of the Samidoun Network of Support for Political Prisoners: http://samidoun.net/2015/10/take-action-update-on-amer-jubran-case-torture-and-denial-of-justice/
A sample letter, an open letter from the Amer Jubran Defense Campaign, and more details regarding the human rights violations in Amer’s case are included below.
In addition to torture, some of the other violations of elementary rights to due process and to fair trial included the following:
1) No warrant was presented at the time of his arrest.
2) Amer and other defendants were denied access to lawyers after their arrest. They were specifically threatened with torture if they requested the presence of lawyers when they were ultimately brought before the Public Prosecutor.
3) Defense attorneys at trial were not allowed to summon for questioning GID officers involved in the arrests, in the seizure of evidence, in interrogation, and in drawing up the arrest records. They were thus deprived of their ability to demonstrate that the confessions were false and to contest material evidence used in the trial.
4) Defense attorneys were not allowed to call expert witnesses concerning key issues at stake in the use of material evidence (such as computer forensics) or to request intelligence central to the charges in the trial.
Dear Minister of Justice Bassam Talhouni,
I am writing to call your attention to the severe miscarriage of justice against Amer Jubran, a Jordanian citizen who currently has a case before Jordan’s Court of Cassation.
⦁ Mr. Jubran was arrested on May 5, 2014 by agents of the General Intelligence Directorate and held in incommunicado detention for close to two months. No warrant was presented at the time of his arrest. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention sent an urgent appeal on his behalf to your government at that time: See https://spdb.ohchr.org/hrdb/28th/public_-_UA_Jordan_07.07.14_%281.2014%29_Pro.pdf
⦁ During his period in GID detention, Mr. Jubran and six other defendants in the same case were subjected to prolonged periods of torture, including sleep deprivation, beatings, stress positions, and threats of violence against their families. Under these conditions they were forced to sign false confessions to planning a series of “terrorist” actions–confessions they were not even allowed to read before signing them.
⦁ On July 29, 2015, Mr. Jubran was sentenced by Jordan’s State Security Court to 10 years in prison with hard labor. The Court refused to consider the defense evidence in the case, and used the fabricated confessions as the basis for its decision.
Global human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Al Karama Foundation have condemned the prevalence of torture in Jordan by the General Intelligence Directorate. The lack of independence of State Security Court from the GID and its failure to condemn torture and other fundamental human rights violations by GID agents have been specifically cited as a reason for the persistence of torture in security cases in Jordan. The United Nations Committee Against Torture, and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention have repeatedly called for the abolition of the State Security Court.
I am writing now to urge that you take all necessary action in the case of Amer Jubran to see that his appeal before the Court of Cassation receives full and independent review. The severe violations of human rights in his case must be condemned and the unjust sentence reversed.
Letter from the Amer Jubran Defense Campaign:
Dear Minister of Justice,
We urgently call your attention to the case of Amer Jubran and his horrendous treatment at the hands of the Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate. Mr. Jubran currently has a case before the Court of Cassation for severe violations of legal process in his arrest, interrogation and trial.
Mr. Jubran was violently arrested in May of 2014 and no crimes were specified at that time. He spent 50 days in a secret detention facility where he was unable to see his lawyer or family. According to the defendants’ testimony at trial, he and six other defendants were repeatedly tortured in this facility. They were forced by torture to sign identical statements that had been prepared in advance by the interrogators–statements they were not even allowed to read before signing them. The torture, led by Colonel Habes Rizk, involved 72 hour periods of sleep deprivation, being forced under cold water, being forcibly revived after fainting, threats, beatings, face-slapping, insults, and humiliation. The intelligence officers threatened to bring Mr. Jubran’s parents, wife, and children into the interrogation. They threatened to assault Mr. Jubran’s wife in front of him in order to force co-operation. Pressure was applied to his shoulder and neck and to his legs for prolonged periods to cause pain. Critical medication and transfer to a hospital was withheld from one defendant suffering from hepatitis and liver disease until such time as he signed his statement. Lawyers were not allowed to see their clients during the entire period of interrogation.
It’s only after this lengthy period of incommunicado detention and torture that charges of “terrorism” were ultimately brought against him.
At the end of Mr. Jubran’s trial in August 2015 the judges of the State Security Court completely ignored a thorough defense by his lawyers, declaring all evidence brought by the defense irrelevant. The Court then sentenced Mr. Jubran to ten years in prison with hard labor.
International human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the United Nations Committee Against Torture, and the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention have been clear in condemning the atmosphere of impunity in Jordan, especially in cases before the State Security Court involving torture by agents of the General Intelligence Directorate.
The actions of the GID, the State Prosecutor and the State Security Court in Mr. Jubran’s arrest, detention and trial violate the most basic standards of international human rights, including protection from torture and the right to a fair trial before an impartial court. It is clear from his case that these agencies are confident that their activities will not be called into question, that they can get away with any and all violations of the rights of Jordanian citizens.
We ask you to demonstrate that this is not so, and to intervene on Mr. Jubran’s behalf. The current appeal is perhaps the only opportunity left for responsible officials in Jordan to reverse this gross violation of Mr. Jubran’s legal and human rights. Amer Jubran has friends and supporters from all over the world who will be watching for your response.
The Amer Jubran Defense Campaign
Palestinians displaced by Israeli strikes wait to get water from portable tanks near a makeshift encampment behind Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital, July 26, 2014. (Joe Catron)
UNITED NATIONS — Israeli restrictions on Palestinian water use, as well as damage to water supplies and infrastructure by both Israeli forces and Jewish settlers, continue to deplete the already limited water supplies available to millions of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
“Water is used by the Israelis to achieve non-water interests, as a tool of punishment,” Dr. Abed Elrahman Tamimi, director of the Palestinian Hydrology Group in Ramallah, told MintPress News.
Meanwhile tens of thousands of Palestinians within Israel continue to lack access to running water, despite their citizenship in the state and the equality they should receive under its laws.
Israel has limited the water available to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank since its forces occupied the enclaves, placing them under military rule, in 1967.
‘Scandalously uneven, humiliating and infuriating’
The Oslo II Accord, signed by Israel and Palestine Liberation Organization on Sept. 28, 1995, formalized this disparity, imposing what Israeli newspaper Haaretz writer Amira Hass called “a scandalously uneven, humiliating and infuriating division of the water resources of the West Bank.”
The agreement afforded Palestinians 118 million cubic meters of water per year from the Mountain Aquifer that stretches into Israel from the West Bank, while obligating Israel to sell Palestinians a further 27.9 mcm annually at full price.
It also entitled Israel to claim 483 mcm per year – over four times as much – but allocated none to the Gaza Strip, which was left to rely on the small Coastal Aquifer.
According to its own terms, Oslo II should have terminated in Palestinian independence after five years, with a joint committee increasing Palestine’s water allocation through consensus in the meantime. Neither scenario has come to pass.
In coming years, Israel would make clear that it had no intention of ever ending its control of Palestinian water. A June 7, 1997 order reiterated its longstanding policy: “All the water in the land that was occupied again is the property of the State of Israel.”
Successive governments pushed new waves of settlement construction, universally considered war crimes under the fourth Geneva Convention, on Palestinian lands in the West Bank. By 2000, the number of settlers had swelled 26 percent.
Like earlier settlements, the sites of many new units were calculated to maximize Israeli control of Palestinian water. In 2001, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told Haaretz : “Is it possible today to concede control of the aquifer, which supplies a third of our water? Is it possible to cede the buffer zone in the Jordan Rift Valley? You know, it’s not by accident that the settlements are located where they are.”
Israeli measures to cement its occupation, along with provocative raids of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, ultimately produced the Second Intifada, a Palestinian uprising that erupted on Sept. 28, 2000, five years to the day after Oslo II.
A vicious water cycle
Palestinians currently use no more than 11 percent of the Mountain Aquifer, with Israel enjoying the rest, according to the Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene group (EWASH), a coalition of 28 Palestinian and international agencies dealing with water issues in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, West Bank Palestinians purchase 50 mcm of water each year from Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, paying $50 million for the return of their own resources at prices up to three times those charged to Israeli consumers.
Oslo II obligated Israel to increase its water sales to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip from 5 to 10 mcm annually during the supposed five-year “interim period.” But only this year, following widespread condemnation of its military operation against the besieged enclave last summer, did it finally do so, meeting 5 percent of the water needs of a population that has more than doubled.
On September 1, a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report repeated a warning, first made by the UN’s Country Team for the occupied Palestinian territory in 2012, that the Gaza Strip could become unlivable by 2020.
UNCTAD cited the destruction of Gaza infrastructure during repeated Israeli offensives, including damage to 20-30% of the enclave’s water and sewer network, a water desalination plant, and 220 agricultural wells during last summer’s 51-day operation alone, as well as Israeli restrictions on economic development and reconstruction.
It also warned that “a severe water crisis” had forced the use of water from the Coastal Aquifer — 95% of it unfit for drinking — at levels “well above the recharge rate by over 100 million cubic meters, almost twice the sustainable rate.”
“The over-abstraction and scarcity of drinking water have been exacerbated by crumbling sanitation infrastructure, while the blockade creates chronic shortages of electricity and fuel, which in turn aggravate contamination and the water crisis,” the report said.
“The damage of contamination and over-abstraction is such that the aquifer may be unusable by 2016 and, if unaddressed, the damage may be irreversible by 2020.”
The total damage inflicted to the water sector by Israeli strikes last summer reached over $34 million, according to a report by the Palestinian Water Authority, although UNCTAD’s report says that “long-term repair of the accumulated damage and decay of the water and sanitation infrastructure will require $620 million.”
Palestinians have never extracted their full 118 mcm of water from the Mountain Aquifer, as Israeli restrictions on wells and other infrastructure across most of the West Bank prevent them from doing so.
These military orders stretch into the Gaza Strip, where the threat of airstrikes forces residents hoping to dig wells to first seek permits from the Israeli army.
While sometimes given there, such permission is usually denied in Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank under direct Israeli military administration, often on the claimed basis of Israeli security.
Israel targets unauthorized construction ruthlessly. Since the beginning of this year, its forces have destroyed 36 Palestinian water, hygiene and sanitation structures in Area C, usually citing their lack of permits, according to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs data reviewed by EWASH.
Rare permits come at high prices. A 2013 study found that Israel usually conditions its approval of Palestinian water projects on the Palestinian Authority’s acquiescence to the construction of new settlement infrastructure, forcing the occupied population to “consent to their own colonization.”
As Palestinians, particularly in agricultural communities, scramble to meet their needs for water, Israel’s demolition of the necessary infrastructure, from pipes in Kafr Qaddum and Khirbet Yarza to wells in Hebron, continues.
The pollution resulting from the destruction of wastewater treatment facilities has further damaged Gaza’s already depleted aquifer, rendering over 90 percent of local water unfit for drinking.
In the West Bank, 73.5 percent of Palestinians have expressed satisfaction with the quality of their water.
Yet the quantity remains woefully inadequate, as the average Palestinian can use only 70 liters of water per day – a figure that dips to 20 in some cases – while illegal Israeli settlers enjoy over 300. The World Health Organization suggests a minimum of 100 liters of water per day for sanitation, hygiene and consumption.
Confronted by a lack of water in some areas of the West Bank, and nearly all of the Gaza Strip, Palestinians face the “economic burden of purchasing water from tankers,” the Palestinian Hydrology Group’s Dr. Tamimi said.
In a March 2013 report, the Ramallah-based human rights group Al-Haq called Israel’s “demarcation of the population along racial lines,” their “segregation into different geographical areas” and the “use of ‘security’ to justify an institutionalized regime of domination and systematic oppression,” “the three pillars of Israel’s ‘water-apartheid.’”
“[A] second and disadvantaged Palestinian society living in the same territory is denied most of its basic rights,” Al-Haq stated. “Palestinians are forcibly confined to a land-locked archipelago of territory with minimal water resources available.”
This gross asymmetry extends inside Israel, where a June 2014 report by the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality found that 73,000 Palestinian Bedouin, living in villages unrecognized by the state, lacked sufficient running water.
Despite paying 30 percent more than other consumers for the meager supplies of water they received, the Israeli Ministry of Health did not monitor its quality.
Palestinian water supplies face further threats from pollution by Israeli waste, both dumped from nearby illegal settlements and shipped from inside Israel.
A June 2013 Israeli state report found that a third of sewage treatment facilities in settlements were either insufficient or inoperative.
The previous year, it reported, 2.2 mcm of waste had flowed from settlements directly into nearby waterways and cesspits.
As many settlements stand on hills, much of this untreated sewage then becomes the problem of neighboring Palestinian communities whose farmlands and groundwater it pollutes.
“The settlement wastewater goes to the aquifers and pollutes the groundwater,” Dr. Tamimi said.
The city of Salfit and nearby town of Kafr al-Deek have been repeatedly drenched with sewage from the settlements of Ariel and Yakir, most recently on Wednesday, affecting their agriculture and tourism, as well as local water supplies.
“Josephine,” a volunteer for the Ramallah-based International Solidarity Movement, noted that settlement pollution does not stop with sewage. “Many factories let out polluted water and waste into the water sources that Palestinians use,” she told MintPress.
In February, after Palestinian customs police discovered a truck transporting asbestos from Israel to a landfill in Tulkarem, the Palestinian Environment Quality Authority warned against attempts to smuggle Israeli waste into the West Bank.
‘A form of racism’
On July 2, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel announced that Israel’s High Court had ruled in favor of its clients, Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem who had faced years of water shortages and cutoffs.
Their neighborhoods, lying within the Jerusalem boundaries claimed by Israel but beyond its West Bank barrier, had been “perennially neglected by both municipal and national water authorities,” ACRI said.
The court’s ruling ordered the National Security Council to “investigate and work to mitigate the water crisis in East Jerusalem.”
By the following month, a new water crisis had gripped Palestinian communities throughout the West Bank as governorates in Hebron, Bethlehem, Nablus, Jenin and the Jordan Valley resorted to water schedules announcing planned cutoffs.
These windows of austerity, many Palestinians say, are nothing new. They often occur when demand for water is at its height, like during the hot summer months. Still, they never result in cutoffs inside illegal settlements or in Israel itself.
This disparate treatment, some think, aptly demonstrates the nature of the occupation itself. As Palestinian National Initiative leader Mustafa Barghouti put it: “Restricting water and electricity is a form of racism.”
Israel’s government no longer bothers to deny the intended permanence of its occupation. Last week, as Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely readied a diplomatic offensive against a pending European Union policy to label settlement products, she told the Times of Israel that withdrawals from “Judea and Samaria aren’t even on the list of options we’re offering the Palestinians.”
The occupied West Bank will remain under Israel’s “de facto sovereignty,” Hotovely said.
“It’s not a bargaining chip. It does not depend on the Palestinians’ goodwill. It’s the land of our forefathers. We don’t intend to evacuate it,” she continued, adding: “What I can promise is that Israel’s position will be very forceful and tough on this matter.”