Archive | June 1st, 2019

Central American Women Experience More Trauma After Seeking Asylum

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The number of Central American women who make difficult, often harrowing, journeys to the United States to flee domestic and gang violence is rising.

I’m a social science researcher and a social worker who has interviewed hundreds of women after they were detained by immigration authorities for my research about the relationship between violence against women and migration. I find that most female asylum seekers experience trauma, abuse and violence before they cross the U.S. border seeking asylum.

What these women go through while detained by Customs and Border Protection or Immigration and Customs Enforcement can take an additional physical, social and emotional toll.

What They’re Escaping

Most Central American asylum-seekers come from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. These three countries are among the mostdangerous places in the world to be female, with some of the world’shighest murder rates, including for women and girls. There are fewrepercussions for the perpetrators.

As they make their way north, these women are often subjected to sexual violence or held hostage. They may also fall victim to human trafficking– which could entail being made to cook and clean for other migrants or forced into prostitution – on their journeys.

Amid rising levels of violence, the number of Guatemalans, Salvadorans and Hondurans who have sought asylum here has increased almost eight-fold between 2012 and 2017 to about 107,000 according to theDepartment of Homeland Security.

The government does not disclose how many women are apprehended. But there are clear signs that the number of female migrants is growing. The roughly 189,000 people who arrived with their families, rather than on their own as adults or minors, whom U.S. immigration officials stopped along the border with Mexico during the six months ending in March 2019 were mostly mothers and their children. In contrast, only 75,622 people arrived with their relatives in all of 2017.

ICE is detaining more than 50,000 immigrants at any given time. Mostdetainees are men, although the percentage of women and girls, and specifically asylum-seeking women and girls, is rising.

Detaining Asylum-Seekers

The right to seek asylum in the United States due to persecution or fear of persecution back home stems from the 1951 Refugee Convention and U.S. immigration laws. The Trump administration has responded by detaining more asylum-seekers, a policy it casts as a deterrence strategy.

Once apprehended, women may remain detained for months. In some cases they are detained indefinitely as they pursue their claims. New guidance from Attorney General William Barr could lead to more long-term detention for asylum seekers.

In June 2018, former Attorney General Sessions announced that people fleeing domestic violence or gang violence would no longer be eligible for asylum in the U.S. A federal judge struck down that policy change six months later.

According to many studies by scholars like psychologists Katy RobjantandKalina Brabecklocking immigrants up can damage their mental health by increasing risks of depression, post-traumatic stress and anxiety. The effects can last years and even a lifetime. For parents, the damage extends beyond detention and may harm children of the detained.

Because detention relies on control, coercion and containment, it inherently makes frightened people more fearful, disrupts sleep and restricts access to medical, legal and social services.

Experiencing More Trauma

During the past two years, together with psychologists Gabriela Hurtado and Josephine Serrata, I sought to understand and document what immigrant women who have experienced violence and abuse need while they are detained and once they are released.

Many detained women say they have been abused while being held by U.S. immigration authorities in what appear to be inhumane conditions marked by incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

The Department of Homeland Security itself has documented dangers that include the provision of food that isn’t safe to eat, like moldy bread and rotten meat, and delayed medical care.

There are signs of threats and intimidation as well. A woman I’ll call Adelia told my research team that when she asked an immigration official how much money she would have to pay to be released, she was told “stop asking me, or I’ll raise the amount.”

Investigative media outletsimmigrant rights advocates and researchers have documented that ICE detainees often face threats, insults, humiliation and stress brought on by constantly changing rules and expectations.

ICE itself has disclosed that 28 women had miscarriages while in detention during the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years.

I have heard directly and through media reports that these immigration detention centers sometimes isolate detained women, either in response to perceived mental health issues or as punishment, leaving them unable to interact with one another, their own children or the volunteer lawyers who are trying to help them.

These practices echo and exacerbate survivors’ experiences with past abuse and violence. That is, detention settings may resemble control tactics used by abusers, traffickers or other perpetrators, compounding previous trauma.

A previously detained woman I’ll call Lourdes described what she experienced as dehumanizing. “You feel like an animal, as if you aren’t worth anything,” she explained.

One problem is how these facilities are set up.

Sandra, another former detainee, spent more than a month in the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas. Having heard it would be shelter for families, she and her daughter were surprised by the barbed wire and razor wire surrounding the facility.

“At the entrance, there were nice glass doors that said, ‘Karnes Residential,’ but that was just a facade,” Sandra said. “It is a jail, a jail for families, families like mine that don’t have anyone in the United States, who come just to stay alive and because they want to see their children alive and well, for things to be better in the future.”

Lasting repercussions

We found that the problems don’t end once women are released from detention.

Rather, survivors face considerable immediate and long-term needs and risks. Right after being released from detention, they may simply be left at a bus station with little or no money, supplies or information about reuniting with relatives. This leaves communities across the country scrambling to fill gaps.

Many of these women, understandably, need help finding medical care, counseling, jobs, lawyers and social services. The rough start they get off to increases their risks of becoming homeless and having trouble making ends meet. It also reduces their ability to pay back the thousands of dollarsthey borrow to escape violence and to cover their bonds – money the authorities collect upon a detainee’s release that is similar to bail in criminal cases.

What might work better?

Federal agencies such the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, as well as advocacy organizations such as National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health and Casa de Esperanza, propose approaches that aid healing.

They oppose the current detainment practices that seclude, isolate and restrict the ability of survivors of sexual violence to move around freely and to make their own decisions.

Immigrant rights advocates and mental health professionals argue that asylum-seekers should not be held in detention centers. Community-based alternatives would cost less and be more humane. They also advocate for training staff to work with people who have experienced trauma as the victims of violence and coercion.

Disclosure Statement: Laurie Cook Heffron’s and her colleagues received funding and other forms of support from the Casa de Esperanza and the Latino Center for Leadership Development to conduct the research discussed in this article. She periodically provides several nonprofits, including American Gateways, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, and the University of Texas at Austin Law School, with pro bono services.

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UN to Launch Global Campaign Against Criminalization of Indigenous Peoples

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Vicky Tauli-Corpuz said the idea for the Global Campaign Against the Criminalization and Impunity of Indigenous Peoples was inspired by research and interviews she conducted during the preparation of her 2018 report on attacks and criminalization of Indigenous Peoples.

“It’s been observed and concluded that the issue of criminalization of Indigenous Peoples is a global crisis,” Tauli-Corpuz said, referring to the report, as she announced the campaign at the U.N. 18th Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues.

In 2018, human rights watchdog Global Witness reported that almost 1,000 environmental defenders have been killed since 2010 and that in 2017 at least 207 land and environmental activists – almost half of them Indigenous – were targeted and murdered for defending their forests, rivers, wildlife and homes against destructive industries.

Trumped up charges, imprisonment, harassment and intimidation are often the result when Indigenous people speak up against government-supported private companies investing in large-scale projects on their traditional lands, Tauli-Corpuz said. Such projects are often launched without discussion and without the free, prior and informed consent of customary landholders.

In addition to threats related to extractive industries, agribusiness, infrastructure, hydroelectric dams and logging, Indigenous peoples are often driven out when government conservation laws define their livelihood activities as illegal, she said.

Tauli-Corpuz, a member of the Igorot peoples of northern Philippines, has herself been a target of false charges and harassment. The Philippine government accused her of terrorism and more recently said she is a communist who has infiltrated the U.N., she said.

Defamation and smear campaigns through social media are common in the lead up to false criminal charges, Tauli-Corpuz said. Often, Indigenous people are falsely portrayed as members of criminal gangs, guerrillas or terrorists.

Joan Carling, a member of the Kankanaey tribe of the northern region of Cordillera in the Philippines, was placed on a terrorist list at the same time as Tauli-Corpuz, an action that drew sharp criticism from the U.N., which issued a strong rebuke in March 2018 in defense of Carling and Tauli-Corpuz.

Carling, who received the 2018 Champions of the Earth lifetime achievement award from UN Environment, is the co-convener of the Indigenous Peoples’ Major Group (IPMG) for Sustainable Development.

The new Global Campaign Against the Criminalization and Impunity of Indigenous Peoples will prevent, analyze, expose and reduce acts of criminalization and impunity, Carling said.

It will be run exclusively by Indigenous peoples to ensure the safety of those unjustly targeted,

“It should be led and managed by Indigenous peoples themselves because they will be the ones who will understand the social and cultural implications,” Tauli-Corpuz said.

The campaign will also include human rights monitoring systems. Other activities will include calls to action, liaising with news media, networking and collaborating with non-governmental organizations.

Although many current organizations address cases of individual human rights violations, the U.N. campaign will have unique community protection and prevention mechanisms, Tauli-Corpuz said.

“This is a very good idea,” said Daniel Kobei, founder and executive director of the Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program in Kenya, which works to secure human and land rights throughout Africa.

Kobei said he was threatened last month with bankruptcy by the Kenyan government over a campaign to protect lands in the Mau Forest in the Rift Valley. They have since tried to discredit his organization, Kobei said.

“We don’t need to wait until people are dead to act,” he added.

In Brazil, the Ashaninka people face ongoing threats to their land from oil, mining and timber operations. Since 2000, they have also been subject to threats related to drug traffickers operating illegally on their land, said Benki Piyako, an Ashaninka leader, who voiced support for the global campaign.

“It’s been very difficult because we haven’t been supported by any international treaties or campaigns, he said. “Since 2015, four of our leaders have been killed by drug traffickers and forest loggers. This will be a key initiative for Indigenous Peoples to have this this strength to work with international organizations.”

Luis Fernando Arias, chief counsellor of the National Indigenous Peoples Organizations in Colombia (ONIC) said that in post conflict Colombia, since the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), signed a peace agreement with the government, 115 Indigenous leaders have been murdered and hundreds of people threatened and displaced.

“The government has criminalized us, saying that our mobilization process has been infiltrated, that we are terrorists,” Arias said. “Indigenous Peoples from Colombia support this campaign to end the criminalization.”

“We need to work together and we support this campaign,” said Pavel Sulyandziga, chair of the Board of the International Development Fund of Indigenous Peoples in Russia (BATANI), who said he has been accused of extremism and that his family has been persecuted due to a statement he made at the U.N. about Indigenous people.

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Trump Administration Guts UN Resolution to End Rape as a Weapon of War

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Image result for Rape as a Weapon of War CARTOON

 

The Trump administration is under fire after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution to end rape as a weapon of war on Tuesday that excluded any mention of sexual and reproductive health. The resolution was gutted after the U.S. threatened to veto the measure altogether unless language referencing reproductive health was taken out due to the Trump administration’s belief that the language was code for abortion. The watered-down measure also weakened references to the International Criminal Court, making it harder for women and girls to seek justice. We speak with Jessica Neuwirth, director of the Human Rights Program at Roosevelt House at Hunter College and the director of the Sisterhood Is Global Institute. She sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo protesting the U.S. stance on the Security Council resolution. We also speak with Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen.

TRANSCRIPT:

AMY GOODMAN: The Trump administration is under fire after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution to end rape as a weapon of war on Tuesday that excluded any mention of sexual and reproductive health. The resolution was gutted after the U.S. threatened to veto the measure altogether unless language referencing reproductive health was taken out due to the Trump administration’s belief the language was code for abortion. The watered-down measure also weakened references to the International Criminal Court, making it harder for women and girls to seek justice.

France’s U.N. ambassador blasted the move, saying, quote, “It is intolerable and incomprehensible that the Security Council is incapable of acknowledging that women and girls who suffered from sexual violence in conflict, and who obviously didn’t choose to become pregnant, should have the right to terminate their pregnancy.”

The resolution was championed by Nobel Peace laureate Nadia Murad, a Yazidi Kurdish human rights activist from Iraq. She was kidnapped by the self-proclaimed Islamic State and held as a sex slave for almost three months.

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12,000 Palestinians Fought for U.K. in WWII

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12,000 Palestinians Fought for U.K. in WWII Alongside Jewish Volunteers, Historian Finds

Sparking an uproar in 2015, Netanyahu argued prominent Palestinian leader ‘played an important role’ in Hitler’s plan to annihilate the Jews, but Prof. Mustafa Abbasi says Palestinians were ‘not at all’ looking to aid the Nazis.

Arab rookies line up in a barracks square for their first drill under a British soldier, in Mandatory Palestine, December 1940.
Arab rookies line up in a barracks square for their first drill under a British soldier, in Mandatory Palestine, December 1940.AP

In 2015, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sparked an uproar when he claimed that Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini was the one who’d urged Hitler to annihilate the Jews. In the wake of the criticism this elicited, Netanyahu said his intention was not to absolve Hitler of responsibility for the Holocaust, but to note that “the Mufti played an important role in the Final Solution.”

But it turns out that there was another side to the story that also escaped mention by Netanyahu, the historian’s son: the forgotten role played by thousands of Palestinians who did not heed the Mufti of Jerusalem’s call to support the Axis countries, and went so far as to take up arms to fight the Nazis, often shoulder to shoulder with young Jews from Mandatory Palestine.

Professor Mustafa Abbasi, a historian at Tel Hai Academic College, has spent years tracing their story. Having recently published an academic article on the subject, this week he suggested an opposite narrative to the one that Netanyahu put forward. The prime minister had sought to paint the Palestinians as supporters of the Third Reich, but Abbasi says, “The Mufti did not find a receptive audience among the Palestinians for his call to aid the Nazis. Not at all.”

The subject of Abbasi’s research is unusual. Many studies have been published about Jewish volunteerism in the war against the Nazis, which reached a peak with the formation of the Jewish Brigade. But “the thousands of Arab volunteers are hardly mentioned and sometimes the record is often distorted,” Abbasi says.

In an article in the latest issue of the periodical Cathedra (“Palestinians Fighting the Nazis: The Story of Palestinian Volunteers in World War II”), he explains why these Palestinian fighters have been left out of the history books.

On the one hand, Zionist historians naturally placed an emphasis on the role played by Jewish volunteers in the fight against the Nazis. On the other hand, their Palestinian counterparts were focusing on the struggle against British rule and were not eager to glorify the names of those who cooperated with Britain not so many years after the British put down the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939, and thereby indirectly helped the Jews establish a state.

“Neither side wished to highlight this subject,” says Professor Abbasi. “But I think it’s the historian’s job to be faithful to the sources and to try to describe history as it was, without being hostage to any national narrative that would limit him and prevent him from writing history freely.”

Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem
Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, greeting Muslim Waffen-SS volunteers with a Nazi salute, November 1943. Bundesarchiv / Wikimedia Commons

One has to wonder why no organization was ever established to commemorate the actions of these Palestinian volunteers. “Many of them were killed and many others are still listed as missing. But no memorial has ever been established for them,” says Abbasi. In fact, the records of the Palestinian volunteers, along with much of their personal archives and papers, have disappeared, much of it lost in the War of Independence.

Over the last few years, Abbasi was able to learn of their story in Palestinian newspapers from the Mandate era, in memoirs and personal journals, and through interviews he conducted with a few of the last remaining volunteers who are still alive. He also collected material from various British archives, from the Zionist Archive, and the archives of the Haganah and the IDF.

Abbasi estimates that about 12,000 young Palestinians enlisted in the British Army in World War II. Hundreds became POWs, many others (the exact figure is unknown) were killed. “Compared to other peoples, this is not an insignificant number,” he says, and also points out that, unlike other groups, the Palestinians volunteered for the British Army from the first stage of the war.

Initially, the Palestinian and Jewish volunteers served in mixed units. “They received training and drilled at the same bases and in many instances fought shoulder to shoulder, and were also taken prisoner together,” says Abbasi. And as reported here two years ago, the proximity of the Jewish and Palestinian fighters sometimes led to unusual outcomes, as in the case of Shehab Hadjaj, a Palestinian who enlisted in the British Army, was taken prisoner in Germany and died in 1943. To this day, he is listed at Mount Herzl as “a casualty of Israel’s wars” because someone mistakenly thought his surname indicated that he was Jewish.

“Relations among the fighters were generally good, and if there was any friction it was mainly over service conditions, like mail and food,” Abbasi says. However, there were certain key differences between the two groups, too. For example, while the Jews were united in their goal of fighting the Nazis to promote the establishment of the Jewish state, the Palestinians “had no clear national agenda,” Abbasi writes. For this reason, unlike the Jews, they did not seek to form separate Palestinian units and there was no “Palestinian Brigade” parallel to the Jewish Brigade, in which thousands of Jews from Mandatory Palestine served.

So who were the Palestinians who volunteered for the British Army to fight the Nazis? Abbasi says they mostly came from the Palestinian elite and that, contrary to what many think, represented “an important and central part of the Palestinian public.” A part of the public that believed it was necessary to stand by Britain at this time, and to temporarily put aside the Palestinian national aspirations – akin to the Jewish idea to “fight Hitler as if there were no White Paper, and fight the White Paper as if there were no Hitler.”

They did this at a time when the Mufti of Jerusalem had left Palestine for exile in the Arab countries and Europe, where he met with Hitler and congratulated the Muslim volunteers of the Free Arab Legion – an Arab unit established in the army of Nazi Germany. “He left Palestine for a decade in 1937. What kind of leader abandons his people at such a time?” Abbasi wonders. “He had no influence on the public. He was detached and the public was already tired of him and his methods. They didn’t see him as a leader,” he says. “Anyone who says differently is distorting history,” he adds in a not so subtle dig at certain politicians.

In his research, he documented pro-British propaganda conferences that were held from 1940 on in Abu Dis (next to Jerusalem), in Jenin, in villages in the Nablus area, in Tul Karm and in Lod. Among the supporters of Britain’s fight against the Nazis were the mayors of Nablus and Gaza. Radio Palestine broadcast the comments of an Egyptian writer who said, “The war is between the lofty and humane values represented by England and the forces of darkness represented by the Nazis.”

Britain's then-Home Secretary Winston Churchill, right, escorted by High Commissioner Herbert Samuel in Jerusalem during the British Mandate era, March 1921.
Britain’s then-Home Secretary Winston Churchill, right, escorted by High Commissioner Herbert Samuel in Jerusalem during the British Mandate era, March 1921.GPO

Motivations for volunteering were varied. “Some did it for ideological reasons, out of opposition to the Nazi ideology and loyalty to the British and the values that they represented,” says Abbasi. This motivation was common among upper middle class and highly educated Palestinian volunteers from urban backgrounds. Rural Palestinians were motivated largely by financial reasons. “And there were also those who were seeking adventure and wanted a chance to travel abroad,” he says.

Abbasi found that some Palestinian women also volunteered to fight the Nazis. Almost 120 young women did so as part of the Auxiliary Territorial Service, the women’s branch of the British Army, alongside Jewish women. A British recruiting poster in Arabic, published in the Falastin newspaper in January 1942, read: “She couldn’t stop thinking about contribution and sacrifice, she felt ongoing pride and exaltation of spirit – when she did what she saw as her sacred duty for her nation and its sons. When your country is crying out to you and asking for your service, when your country makes it plain that our Arab men need your love and support, and when your country reminds you of how cruel the enemy is – when your country is calling you, can you stand by and do nothing?”

Abbasi is one of the only researchers in Palestinian society who is studying this area, which was also the subject of a 2015 article by Dalia Karpel in Haaretz Magazine. He came to it thanks to his maternal grandfather, Sa’id Abbasi, who was one of the volunteers in the British Army during the war. “The family didn’t talk about it, until one day when I asked my grandmother why there was such a big age difference between her children,” he says. “Her answer was: ‘Don’t remind me of the time your grandfather left me for so many years.’” Abbasi decided to find out more about that time, and came to see that his family story was part of his people’s history.

In the future, he hopes, the original material he has collected will be developed into a book that, for the first time, will tell the optimistic story of a rare moment in history in which Jews and Palestinians joined forces for a lofty shared goal.

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Palestine: Nazi regime Revokes His Entry Permit

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After Locking This Palestinian Out of His Home, Israel Revokes His Entry Permit

Omar Hajajla’s family lives in the only home on the Israeli side of a Jerusalem-area village which straddles the West Bank border – and Israel locked the family out of ts home due to ‘sec

Omar Hajajla, the only one in his village who lives on the Israeli side of the separation barrier, March 2, 2017.
Omar Hajajla, the only one in his village who lives on the Israeli side of the separation barrier, March 2, 2017.Nir Hasson

A Palestinian resident of a village that straddles the border between Jerusalem and the West Bank is now being barred from entering Israel, although he technically lives on the Israeli side of the border. The move by Israeli authorities comes after the family of the man, Omar Hajajla, was cut off for more than a week from the rest of Al-Walaja, on the southern edge of Jerusalem, after Israeli authorities claimed that he had transported Palestinians through a tunnel under the separation barrier in violation of orders.

The family lives in the only house in the village that is on the Israeli side of the barrier separating Israel and the West Bank. The house is within the city limits of Jerusalem but the barrier cuts the family off from the rest of from the village. For years, the Defense Ministry and other agencies tried to coax the family to move, but to no avail. In the end, at a cost 4 million shekels (currently $1.1 million), the ministry was forced to build the family a special passageway under the barrier to give them access to the rest of the village, on the West Bank side.

Two years ago, a gate was installed at the end of the tunnel and various conditions were imposed on the family’s use of the tunnel and the gate. Among the restrictions, visits by all guests must be approved in advance. Guests cannot arrive after 10 P.M., and they are barred from moving merchandise through the tunnel.

The construction of the separation barrier was completed a year and a half ago. The family’s life was complicated further when they were given only one remote control to open their gate. That meant that if someone left the house early and took the remote with them, the rest of the family was trapped at home.

To ease the situation, Omar Hajajla installed an electric bell near the gate.

“We put the bell in a year ago so that, when the kids come home, they can press it and their mother opens the gate, since the remote stays at home,” he explained. Border policemen discovered the bell ten days ago. They took Hajajla in for several hours of questioning and put a new lock on the gate so that it could not be opened at all.

The border police denied that Hajajla was being harassed and said that he is suspected of transporting people through the tunnel in violation of orders. Hajajla claims that he was not questioned about bringing people through the tunnel, but only about damage caused to the gate. Under questioning, the detective accused him of cutting into a cable running through the tunnel and stealing power. Hajajla had a different explanation.

“A contractor came half a year ago to repair the gate without a generator,” he said, “so they pulled a wire from the ceiling, cut the cable for the welding machine and left the cable cut.” Hajajla was fined 500 shekels ($140) and released, but the lock on the gate was not removed.

Because there are no roads between the family home and the rest of Israel, family members cannot use their car and have been forced walk 6 kilometers (about 3.5 miles) to the Cremisan Monastery, where there is a breach in the fence, to get anywhere – school, the grocery store, to work or to visit relatives. From there, they go the West Bank town of Beit Jala and back to the West Bank side of Al-Walaja, just a few meters from their home. On Sunday afternoon, following an inquiry by Haaretz, the lock was removed from the gate.

That same day, however, on his way to work, Hajajla discovered that his security clearance had been revoked and he was not allowed through an Israeli checkpoint. Hajajla claimed that the clearance was revoked because he had contact the media regarding his situation.

“If I’m being detained because of the investigation, why did it take a week before they barred me from entering [Israel]?” he asked. “It could be that, after we made a stink about the lock, they removed the lock and took my permit away.”

For its part, the Israel Police responded: “As we have indicated, the father of the family is suspected of taking advantage of the gate to improperly bring Palestinians through it and was therefore taken in for questioning. All investigations that involve suspicion of security-related crimes of Palestinians result in the revocation of entry permits into Israeli territory until the suspicions can be clarified and/or an indictment filed. This is an automatic process and not as a result of a specific request in one case or another. And to dispel any doubt, media coverage is not a parameter or consideration whatsoever in this investigation.”

The police added, “Israel Police will continue to mete out justice to all those who would damage security crossings and improperly take advantage of them, all to prevent harm to the security of the State of Israel.”

According to Hajajla, the harassment began about a month ago, when a Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court judge for local affairs rejected the state’s contention that the family’s home is illegal. Judge Sigal Albo said in her ruling that the state filed a criminal indictment regarding the family home 11 years after Hajajla was acquitted on charges involving illegal construction, although the state claimed that the new charges involve making use of a building that was built without a building permit. The judge said the new indictment pertaining to the same building “does harm to the sense of justice and fairness and leads to the conclusion that it was defective to file an indictment with such considerable delay.”

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Hamas: Quds Day ‘an opportunity to reunite nation’

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Palestinians take part in a protest marking the annual Quds Day in Gaza on 23 June 2013 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

Palestinians take part in a protest marking the annual Quds Day in Gaza on 23 June 2013 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

Hamas said Quds Day is an opportunity to reunite the nation and remind it of its role in the Palestinian issue, calling on all Arabs and Muslims to work to liberate Palestine and lift the injustice imposed on its people.

In a statement ahead of the annual event which is marked on the last Friday of Ramadan, Hamas greeted all supporters of the Palestinian cause and the resistance.

The movement stressed that it is committed to resistance and national unity as the only way to liberate Palestine. Adding that the Palestinian cause and resistance face an unprecedented wave of hostility, conspiracy and abandonment from several parties.

It called on all Arab and Muslim nations to unite against the US’ plans to eradicate the Palestinian cause.

Thousands have marched in Iran and Iraq in support of Jerusalem to mark Quds Day.

 Quds Day 2019: resistance will triumph

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Nazi puppet war unmasks apartheid regime

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Israel’s puppet war unmasks apartheid regime

By Fatima Masri

The El-Hakawati theatre was colorfully adorned for its annual International Puppet Festival when a closure order by the Israeli authorities dashed the expectations of the Palestinian children living in East Jerusalem. Now signs announcing the closure of the theatre from June 22 to 30 have replaced the festive decorations. Image from Puppets4All Facebook page protesting Israeli ban of Palestinian Puppet Festival

This “puppet war” was launched by the Israeli Minister of Internal Security, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, transforming a festival for children into a security issue. Officially, the order has been issued on the grounds that Israeli law prohibits the Palestinian Authority from funding or holding any gatherings in Israel without government authorization. The theatre’s director, Mohamed Halayiqa, was summoned by Shin Bet and questioned about the funds’ provenience. Halayiqa denied the involvement of the Palestinian Authority and so far no evidence of PA involvement has been offered by the Israeli police to justify the closing order.

This “puppet war” was launched by the Israeli Minister of Internal Security, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, transforming a festival for children into a security issue

The festival, which would have been in its nineteenth season, hosts a large number of international performers and theatre groups. Mohamed Halayiqa said the theatre closure was “disgraceful,” and claims that the Palestinian Cultural Foundation, which is supported by donations from Palestinian businesses and European Donors, provided funding for the project.

The cancellation of the puppet festival raises questions about Israel’s democratic principles. The Security Minister says he is not opposed to Palestinian cultural and artistic events as long as they are conducted according to Israeli law. However, if PA funding of cultural activities for Palestinians is prohibited and the Israeli government does not provide any alternative, the result is a system that regulates access to culture on the basis of ethnicity.

According to a study conducted by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, 78% of Palestinians in Jerusalem – and 84% of the children – are living below the poverty line. Israel neglects the Palestinian population’s basic needs, including access to education and professional training.  Such practices make it hard to believe that any effort would be made by the government to promote cultural events even if they are in line with Israeli regulations.

As harmless as a puppet festival may be, Israeli authorities view Palestinian art as part of a national struggle that must be contained.  Israeli authorities did not see the festival performances prior to their cancellation, suggesting that the theatre closure was not ordered on the basis of unacceptable content.  It seems that any opportunity to enrich Palestinians is viewed as a potential threat to an Israeli system based on the exclusion and segregation of one group.

As harmless as a puppet festival may be, Israeli authorities view Palestinian art as part of a national struggle that must be contained

Among those protesting the cancellation of the festival are the puppeteers from the Israeli television series “Sesame Street.”  Ariel Doron, who gives voice to the Israeli puppet Elmo, and Yousef Sweid, who gives voice to the Arab puppet Mahboub, have launched a campaign through the Puppets4AllFacebook page, in which Israeli television and stage actors, as well as protestors from all around the world, are posting pictures with puppets and slogans such as “Culture is not a security issue”.

The Facebook page provides the link to a petition that states, “Every child has the right to enjoy puppet shows”. A short video, entitled “The puppet war”, was created by Doron to accompany the petition. In the video Israel is represented as an inflatable blue and white hammer chasing scared puppets that cry out for help.

Ariel Doron believes that every child has a right to culture. In an interview with Haaretz, he expressed his disbelief in regards to the measure adopted by his own government:  “It sounds incredible to me that they’re keeping Palestinian children from seeing puppet shows. It seems ridiculous and cruel and sad and completely unnecessary, and hypocritical too. When an Israeli artist attends a festival abroad and is boycotted because he gets Israeli funding, Israel speaks against it, and now it [Israel] is saying the same thing.”

 

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Nazi puppet war unmasks apartheid regime

Nazi Gestapo filmed setting fire to West Bank field

NOVANEWS

Israeli soldier filmed setting fire to West Bank field

By Myriam Purtscher

One of two Jewish settlers caught on video igniting a fire in a West Bank field on 17 May has been identified as an IDF soldier.

 

The Israeli army has confirmed they are aware of the identity of the perpetrator, stating he was on leave when the arson took place.

 

According to Middle East Monitor, the Israeli military stated that “the Israel Police are expected to handle the incident”, while “the police said that they have yet to arrest the soldier”.

 

Israeli Human Rights organisation B’Tselem filmed the settlers torching the fields in Burin and ‘Asirah al-Qibliyah in the occupied West Bank.

 

The Israeli military initially blamed Palestinians for starting the fires. However after B’Tselem published the video which clearly showed settlers lighting the fires, the army was forced to retract their allegations.

 

The torched fields in Burin are situated approximately 400 meters from the village homes, and one kilometre from the settlement of Giv’at Ronen.

 

According to a statement by B’Tselem; “soldiers nearby did not arrest the attackers and prevented the Palestinians from approaching their burning land”.

 

B’Tselem added, “This complete backing from the state authorities is consistent with Israel’s longstanding policy in the West Bank, under which such acts of violence serve its interests and help it achieve its goals.”

 

There have been no arrests made for any of these attacks.

 

According to Middle East Eye, violence by Jewish settlers and right-wing activists against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank tripled last year, with 482 such incidents reported by mid-December, compared to 140 for 2017.

 

However, despite the rise in violations, the rate of persecution remains low.

 

In a ten-year review published in May 2015, human rights organization Yesh Din found that some 85% of investigations into cases of settler violence, including arson, damage to property, mutilation of trees and takeover of land ended with no action taken against the perpetrators.

 

The review also found the likelihood of police complaint filed by a Palestinian resulting in the conviction of an Israeli civilian was a mere 1.9%.

 

Given the futility of this effort, the study showed many Palestinians choose to forgo filing a complaint altogether.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Nazi Gestapo filmed setting fire to West Bank field

Nazi regime to sell seized Palestinian property donated by EU

NOVANEWS

 

Israel to sell seized Palestinian property donated by EU

 

By J.J. Rhies


Israel tore down and seized “two school structures that had been consigned to Ibziq community; and two tents and three metal sheds to the al-Hadidiya community,”
Shadi Othman, an EU spokesman in Jerusalem, said.The Israeli military is in the process of auctioning confiscated Palestinian property that the European Union donated, according to
the Guardian.

“EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah had called on Israeli authorities to return the confiscated items,” worth $17,100 USD, “to their intended beneficiaries without precondition as soon as possible,” Othman noted.

On 31 May, the Guardian reported that an advertisement was seen in the Israeli newspaper Maariv for the sale of the confiscated aid.

“A list of auction items, seen by the Guardian, showed dates, item numbers, locations and descriptions that matched the confiscated classroom structures. The sale also appeared to include material confiscated from Palestinians and Israeli settlers who built without authorisation,” the Guardian wrote.

Othman added that the EU asked the Israeli Coordination of Government Affairs in the Territories (COGAT) to return the confiscated structures, but COGAT never responded.

In October and November last year, when Israel expropriated the EU donations – including  “donor-funded classrooms” for 49 Palestinian schoolchildren grades one through six – the EU stated that it “call[s] on the Israeli authorities to rebuild the school structures in the same place without delay.”

“Every child has the right to access education and States have an obligation to protect, respect and fulfil this right, by ensuring that schools are inviolable safe spaces for children.”

“The EU calls upon the Israeli authorities to halt demolitions and confiscations of Palestinian houses and property, in accordance with its obligations as an occupying power under international humanitarian law, and to cease the policies of settlement construction and expansion, of designating land for exclusive Israeli use and of denying Palestinian development, all of which threaten the two-state solution.”

When the Guardian contacted the Civil Administration for comment, the office said it needed more time to respond.

The Times of Israel reported that “it is extremely difficult for Bedouin communities to obtain building permits in the West Bank.”

Israel began its occupation of the West Bank, which is illegal under international law, in 1967. Some 400,000 Israeli settlers now live in the occupied territory, also in contravention of international law.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Europe, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Nazi regime to sell seized Palestinian property donated by EU

Palestine: She died crying, unable to speak, and alone

NOVANEWS
“She died crying, unable to speak, and alone”; five-year-old Palestinian girl from Gaza dies after enduring her treatment alone.


By Myriam Purtscher

Aisha died shortly after returning home to the Al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza Strip after being treated for brain cancer. Five-year-old Palestinian girl from Gaza, Aisha Al-Lulu, has died on 18 May after her family was denied from accompanying her during her medical treatment in Jerusalem.

The five-year-old underwent a complex operation to remove a cancerous tumour from the brain stem and died due to complications after surgery.

Quds News Network has reported the Israeli government repeatedly refused to grant Aisha’s family permits to visit during her treatment under the pretext of security concerns.

Because the Lulu family was prevented from escorting their child, a woman in the occupied West Bank volunteered to accompany her from the Erez crossing (Beit Hanoun in Arabic) on 17 April.

The family said they reached out to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah to intervene, but received no response from them.

In an interview, Aisha’s father Sam Lulu said that he also appealed to local media and officials, including PA Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh, to coordinate and allow the relatives to accompany Aisha. However, the families pleas were “ignored”.

Minister of Health Mai Alkaila said in a statement that Aisha’s case is a reflection of the oppression and suffering of the Palestinian people living under Israeli occupation.

“How can a little child travel alone through Israeli checkpoints without being escorted by her mother, father or brother to provide her with affection and psychological support during treatment?” Alkaila said.

“Aisha had to fight her disease alone, in a blatant disregard to international agreements, covenants and treaties on human rights, children’s rights, the right to health and access to health services in a safe manner,” added the Minister.

According to Days of Palestine, those who witnessed her last moments said that “she died crying, unable to speak, and alone”.

Medical permits and family companions routinely denied

Palestinians in Gaza requiring vital medical treatment in Jerusalem or the West Bank can only exit the enclave through the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing with an Israeli approved permit.

The majority of patient referrals from Gaza are to hospitals in the West Bank, principally to the major referral centres in East Jerusalem that provide specialised health services unavailable elsewhere in the occupied Palestinian territories.

According to WHO, “the ability of Gaza’s hospitals to provide adequate diagnosis and treatment to cancer patients is severely limited due to chronic shortages of medicines and lack of medical equipment.”

Israel’s occupation and blockade have meant that “the ability of Gaza’s hospitals to provide adequate diagnosis and treatment to cancer patients is severely limited due to chronic shortages of medicines and lack of medical equipment.”

In 2017, Israeli authorities approved only 54 per cent of medical permit applications, the lowest rate since the World Health Organization (WHO) began collecting figures in 2008.

WHO reported that 54 Palestinians, 46 of whom had cancer, died in 2017 following denial or delay of their permits.

Patients who require a companion, like children and the elderly, also need permission to leave.

In 2018, there were 2,491 applications for permits to pass the Erez crossing to accompany patients. Only 52 per cent (1,301) patient companion applications were approved, while 256 applications (10%) were denied and 934 (38%) remained pending on the date of the patient’s medical appointment.

According to WHO, “Restrictions to accessing essential health services are one of the major barriers to the right to health for Palestinians” living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“Every cancer patient has the right to health.”

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on Palestine: She died crying, unable to speak, and alone


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