Archive | Human Rights

This only happens in occupied Palestine



Dr Daud Abdullah | MEMO 

After a visit to Hebron in 1996, the late Palestinian scholar Edward Said wrote, “The present situation cannot last, there are too many inequities and injustices at the heart of Palestinian life.” Two decades on, there is no end in sight to the wretched conditions he deplored back then. On the contrary, they have grown worse.

Not even Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s controversial decision to attend the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres was enough to bring about a token suspension of the daily torment of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Immediately after his return to Ramallah, Israel declared Tel Rumeida, a neighbourhood in the Governorate of Hebron, to be a closed military area.

As is always the case when such closures are imposed, Palestinian students and residents who attempted to attend classes or go about their daily affairs were told to return to their homes until the 600 illegal Jewish settlers living in Hebron had observed their religious festivities. These celebrations are expected to last several days and so the ancient Ibrahimi Mosque was also closed to Muslim worshippers for six days.

Like their Muslim compatriots who are routinely denied access to their mosques, Christian Palestinians in Bethlehem and Jerusalem must also have permits to worship in their churches from which they are separated by the eight-metre high “security” wall. Before the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, Christians made up 18 per cent of Palestine’s population. Today, they account for less than 1.5 per cent. For reasons of political correctness, western politicians and church leaders have turned a blind eye to the real causes of this exodus; they have chosen instead to look for a scapegoat in alleged “persecution by Muslims”. That is palpable nonsense and plays into Israel’s nefarious hands.

In Hebron, life is far from normal for its 200,000 Palestinian inhabitants at the best of times. Every aspect of their lives is overshadowed by the activities of the settlers who now live illegally among them, with full military protection courtesy of the Israel Defence Forces. Palestinians must contend with the hideous road blocks and military checkpoints that swamp the old city and its environs. Recent reports confirm that more than 1,000 residential apartments have been vacated because of the harassment affecting the local Palestinian population. This was entirely predictable; Israel’s closure of more than 800 commercial businesses was meant to do exactly that — make life so intolerable for the locals that they will leave “of their own accord”. In Zionist terminology this is known rather sinisterly as “silent transfer.”

Elsewhere in the occupied West Bank, the system of inequity and injustice described by Edward Said is no less punitive. The predominantly farming community in Qalqiliya has been virtually encircled by Israel’s apartheid wall, with farmers separated from their land. More than 170,000 men, women and children are similarly locked in by the wall in Bethlehem. Former US President Jimmy Carter found it appalling that they had to obtain “permanent resident” permits from the occupation authorities in order to continue living in their own homes.

It does not take much to recognise the similarities between the Israeli permit system and the hated South African Pass Laws. Just as it was illegal for black Africans to enter designated “white areas” in South Africa so too is it illegal for Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza Strip to visit Jerusalem, for example, without military permission. At present, the general rule is that only those aged 45 years or over are considered for a permit. While there are, of course, subtle differences, the South African jurist John Dugard has pointed out that the common features between South African apartheid and Israel’s version are discrimination, repression and territorial fragmentation.

Under these repressive and degrading conditions it was only a matter of time before a third intifada erupted in the occupied territories. Israel’s determination to seize Palestinian land for its settlements; its closure and desecration of religious sites; and its extrajudicial killings have all provided the combustible mix that has fuelled the intifada for the past year. The sheer number of settlers (more than half-a-million) and military checkpoints scattered across the West Bank (more than 500) also make the conditions ripe for anger and disaffection to fester.

Throughout their long struggle against Zionist colonisation, Palestinians have staged several uprisings. Once in motion these have never been easy to suppress. Being the weaker of the two parties militarily and politically, the Palestinians have on every occasion suffered untold human and material losses. Yet, for every successive generation, it has been considered to be a price worth paying for their freedom from Israel’s brutal military occupation.

The nature and course of the uprisings have always been unpredictable. This is especially the case today since there is no single political faction that has emerged clearly to lead or coordinate events on the ground. In the absence of any serious political initiative, and given Israel’s determination to maintain its occupation and dominance over the Palestinians, it is only reasonable to expect the current intifada to continue well into the future. In this regard, Edward Said was right: there will be no end to Palestinian efforts to end the prevailing system of inequity and injustice of a kind which only happens in occupied Palestine.

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Palestinian media raided and closed by Nazi forces



Palestinian associations in 1948 Palestine were closed by Nazi police and Shin Bet agents on Thursday, 6 October in a series of raids in Nazareth and Umm al-Fahm. The associations allegedly are linked to the northern Islamic movement, the Palestinian religious and political organization banned nearly a year ago by Nazi officials. The leader of the Islamic Movement is Raed Salah, currently imprisoned and well-known for his advocacy in defense of Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as his participation in the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza.

Palestinian organizations across political lines condemned both the banning of the Islamic Movement and the raids on the community organizations and media institutions. The four Palestinian entities forcibly shuttered on Thursday were the Higher Commission to Support Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, Q Press in Umm al-Fahm, the Midad Psychometry Institute and Al-Medinanewspaper.

The Higher Arab Follow-Up Committee labeled the attacks “a new sign of a systematic scheme to suppress the rights of the Arab community, a repression that applies to all walks of life… We renew our rejection of the decision to ban the activities of the Islamic Movement, and at the same time warn of the danger of the use of the Islamic Movement’s activities as a new pretext to suppress even more freedoms and silence the voice of the Arab people, who are fighting against the Nazi racist policies targeting our presence on our ancestral land.”

The Al-Alam media association denounced the closures and raids on Al-Medina, Q Press and other institutions and the confiscation of their computers, linking the raids to an ongoing escalation against Palestinian organizing in 1948 Palestine, in particular the campaign of arrests and harassment targeting the National Democratic Assembly (Tajammu’/Balad party).

The Freedoms Commission of the Higher Follow-Up Committee said that “these three institutions, added to the 23 already prohibited, are independent institutions that provide a variety of services for our people… How can an institution like the Midad Psychometry Institute to qualify students for exams, which tutors thousands of secondary school students, contribute to conflicts over Al-Aqsa Mosque? How can the fact that 69 students of the Midad Institute were admitted this year to study medicine in Zionist universities be a cause of conflict over the Al-Aqsa Mosque?” The statement noted the ongoing attacks on the National Democratic Assembly and the investigations targeting Haneen Zoabi and Jamal Zahalka, as well as the 104th demolition of the village of Al-Araqib and the displacement of its people on the same morning of 6 October as reflections of one policy. “This government has declared outright war on the Palestinian people inside, taking advantages of the wars in the region to implement its plans against our people in our homeland, and the Palestinian people in general,” said the statement.

The suppression of Palestinian political activity among the Palestinians of ’48 (who hold Israeli citizenship, and constitute 20% of the population of the Zionist state) is nothing new; in the first 20 years of occupation, from 1948 to 1966, Palestinian citizens lived under martial law which in many ways served as the precursor to the present-day scheme in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Since that time, the banning and violent suppression of Palestinian political activities, as well as the targeting of Palestinian political leaders for arrest and imprisonment, has not ceased. From the Al-Ard movement prohibited in the 1950s, to the Land Day protests against land confiscation met by Israeli fire, to the killing of Palestinians at the launch of the second Intifada – not to mention the imprisonment of prominent Palestinians like Salah, Said Naffaa, Ameer Makhoul and others, and the targeting of cultural workers like Dareen Tatour, the Nazi state has been firmly committed to the suppression of Palestinian existence and political organizing in 1948 Palestine. These acts of political repression accompany ongoing land confiscation, racism and discrimination, defunding of communities and institutions and over 50 racist laws targeting Palestinian existence on their land.

Posted in Human Rights, Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Anger as UK plans to suspend human rights laws during conflict


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Rights groups have condemned Theresa May’s plan for the British military to opt out of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The British prime minister, who has long been pushing to scrap the human rights act, will announce plans to opt out from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), during the Conservative party conference.

Defending the move, May said earlier today: ‘Our troops, our men and women of our armed forces go out there and put their lives on the line in order to defend us… So I think it’s absolutely right that the government should say to our troops: ‘We are on your side.’”

May had previously called to “put an end to vexatious claims” against British troops, following a number of high profile cases over the actions of British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The government says the litigation has cost the Ministry of Defence more than £100 million since 2004.

By opting out of parts of the European Convention of Human Rights, British troops fighting abroad will be protected from lawsuits. However, the procedure of opting out, called “derogation”, does not include serious offences with respect to the right to life, prohibitions on torture, slavery and retrospective criminal penalties.

Rights groups who have criticised the move say that the majority of claims against the military were not vexatious and were connected to protections which could not be derogated, such as prohibition of torture.

Critics have also said that allegations against British troops are anything but “spurious nonsense” as there are perfectly valid and serious allegations of human rights abuse that have been prosecuted in the courts. The Ministry of Defence has already paid millions in compensation to victims of abuse in Iraq for a total of 326 cases.

Posted in Human Rights, UK0 Comments

Nazi navy seizes Gaza-bound aid ship


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The Israeli navy has seized the Zaytouna-Oliva, a Gaza-bound aid ship, and is currently towing it towards the Israeli port city of Ashdod, according to the initiative’s organizers and reports in the Israeli media.

Sondos Ferwana, a media spokeswoman for the International Coalition for the Fourth Freedom Flotilla, told reporters on Wednesday evening that Israeli naval forces had “captured the ship”.

The Israeli military, for its part, confirmed the ship’s seizure in a statement.

“The Israeli Defense Forces managed to quickly seize the ship without causing any injuries among passengers,” the statement read.

According to the military, the crew of the Gaza-bound vessel had initially refused the navy’s orders to change course.

“This forced us to intervene and seize the ship before it violated the legal maritime closure imposed on the Gaza Strip,” the statement read.

According to reports on Israel’s Channel Two television station, the aid ship was intercepted — without resistance — some 80 kilometers off Gaza’s coast.

Ferwana, for her part, described the incident as “another act of Israeli piracy”, adding that all contact with the ship — which is carrying humanitarian aid and several female activists — had been lost.

“We don’t know the fate of the activists aboard,” she said.

Passengers on the Zaytouna-Oliva, which set sail from the Spanish city of Barcelona last month, include Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire, Swedish and Algerian lawmakers, a South African Olympic athlete and a Malaysian doctor.

The all-female initiative seeks to break Israel’s decade-long blockade of the Gaza Strip and show solidarity with the women of Gaza.

Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, for its part, which has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007, condemned what it described “the Israeli occupation’s assault on the aid ship and its intimidation of the activists on board”.

In a statement, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the incident amounted to “an act of state terrorism” and another example of Israeli “aggression against the Palestinian people and those who show solidarity with the Palestinian cause”.

Barhoum went on to urge the international community to “put an end to Israel’s crimes”, stressing the need for immediate action “to lift the blockade and rescue the people of Gaza”.

In June of last year, Israeli forces intercepted the “Marianne” — which had been taking part in a similar initiative — and arrested all activists on board.

A similar Gaza-bound aid flotilla ended in tragedy in 2010 when the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish aid ship, was raided by Israeli commandos who killed 10 Turkish activists.

Since 2007, the Hamas-run Gaza Strip has groaned under a crippling Israeli/Egyptian blockade that has deprived its almost two million inhabitants of most basic commodities, including food, fuel, medicine and desperately-needed building materials.

In June, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the blockade of Gaza as “collective punishment”, which, he asserted, “suffocates its people, stifles its economy and impedes reconstruction efforts”.

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Judge Rules Ex-CIA Officials Can Be Questioned in Torture Case


‘This order affirms that our judicial system can handle claims of CIA torture, including when those claims involve high-level government officials,’ says ACLU

Human rights advocates say the ruling is a vital step for accountability. (Photo: Justin Norman/flickr/cc)

A federal judge has ordered that former CIA officials can be deposed in a lawsuit against the architects of the agency’s torture program, in what human rights advocates say is a vital step for accountability.

The order (pdf), issued by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Justin Quackenbush earlier this week, rejected an attempt by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that would have protected the officials from oral questioning. The deposition will be carried out as part of a discovery process for a case against the program’s architects, psychologists James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of three men who were subjected to beatings, exposure to extreme temperature, sleep and food deprivation, and other abuses while in CIA custody.

Two of the four officials are John Rizzo and Jose Rodriguez, who both held high-ranking positions in the agency at the time the torture program was being developed and implemented. In a blog post about the order, the ACLU wrote of Rizzo, who was the CIA’s chief lawyer for much of George W. Bush’s administration:

Rizzo went along with the now-discredited Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel [OCL] memos that purported to approve torture, privately acknowledging the OLC’s “ability to interpret over, under and around Geneva, the torture convention, and other pesky little international obligations.” Rizzo also helped draft Bush’s still-secret order authorizing the CIA to establish secret detention facilities overseas and to interrogate detainees.

Rodriguez has also defended the CIA’s torture of detainees and, while at the agency, authorized the use of certain tactics. He also ordered the destruction of scores of videotapes showing waterboarding and other torture.

“This ruling is a critical step towards accountability, and it charts a way forward for torture victims to get their day in court,” said ACLU staff attorney Dror Ladin. “For years, claims of secrecy shut the courthouse doors to survivors, but the systematic abuse of prisoners can’t be swept under the rug forever. This order affirms that our judicial system can handle claims of CIA torture, including when those claims involve high-level government officials.”

Two of the plaintiffs, Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, survived but continue to struggle physically and psychologically, the ACLU said. The third man, Gul Rahman, died of hypothermia in a secret CIA prison.

In a hearing last week, DOJ attorney Andrew Warden said, “It is, frankly, unprecedented…for the nation’s top spy, the head of the National Clandestine Service to be deposed on operational information by a private party. I don’t think that’s ever happened in the history of this country.”

The lawsuit against Mitchell and Jessen was filed in Washington state, where their law firm was based and where Jessen lives to this day. Although the ACLU says the depositions may help provide additional information about the program, the rights organization says the evidence they need to win the case has already been made public through reports like the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee’s executive summary of its torture investigation.

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Nazi army closes Ibrahimi Mosque to Palestinian worshippers



Nazi regime have decided to close the Ibrahimi Mosque, in the heart of the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron), to Palestinians, Muslim worshipers and non-Jewish visitors for seven non-consecutive days.

Yousif Ideis, the Palestinian minister of endowment and religious affairs, said on Sunday that the sacred site will be closed to Palestinians and non-Jews on October 3, 4, 9, 12, 18, 19 and 26.

Nazi regime have said the shutdown is aimed at maintaining security in the wake of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement), Sukkot (Feast of Booths) and Simchat Torah holidays.

Ideis added that dozens of illegal Nazi Jewish settlers broke into the mosque courtyard on Saturday night amid protection by Nazi troopers.

In the meantime, Nazi regime are closing all passageways between the blockaded Gaza Strip and illegally occupied Palestine 1948, as well as between the occupied West Bank and Israel for Rosh Hashanah.

Nazi regime regularly impose stringent restrictions for Palestinians during Jewish holidays for alleged security purposes.

The constraints include denied access to the Ibrahimi Mosque, which is revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims and has been the site of violent tensions between Nazi army and Palestinians for decades.

On February 25, 1994, at least 29 Palestinians were killed and 125 others wounded when American-Jewish Baruch Goldstein opened fire on a large number of Palestinian Muslims, who had gathered inside the Ibrahimi Mosque to say prayers during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The occupied territories have already been the scene of increased tensions ever since Nazi forces imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.

Nearly 250 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Nazi forces since the beginning of last October.

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September 2016 report: 436 Palestinians arrested, nearly 8000 since October 2015



The following is a translation of the report issued monthly by Palestinian organizations working on prisoners’ issues: Prisoners Affairs Committee; Palestinian Prisoners; Society; Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights and Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. The report was issued on Monday, 3 October and translated by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network. Photo for illustration purposes.

Nazi occupation forces arrested 436 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in September 2016, including 73 children and 11 women (including 3 minor girls.)

151 of those arrests took place in the Jerusalem Governorate, 81 in Al-Khalil, 40 in Bethlehem, 40 in Nablus, 35 in Jenin, 32 in Ramallah and El-Bireh, 23 in Tulkarem, eight in Qalqilya, six in Tubas, six in Salfit, five from Jericho and nine from the Gaza Strip.

There are approximately 7,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including 59 women, 12 of them minor girls. There are a total of approximately 350 children in Megiddo and Ofer prisons. There are 700 Palestinians held in administrative detention without charge or trial. 122 administrative detention orders were issued in September, including 44 new orders.

Battle of the empty stomachs in September

Palestinian prisoners Mohammed and Mahmoud al-Balboul and Malik al-Qadi carried out hunger strikes of 79, 76 and 68 days against the administrative detention orders against them. They ended their strikes on 22 September after reaching an agreement for their release without renewal of their administrative detention, with the immediate release of al-Qadi to a Palestinian hospital and the release of the Balboul brothers on 8 December 2016, which came after popular, legal and political efforts for their release.

Palestinian prisoners Ahmad Abu Fara and Anas Shadid launched their hunger strike on 25 September against administrative detention while Jawad Jawarish and Maher Abayat announced their strike against arbitrary transfer and isolation.

A year on the popular intifada: the issue of prisoners

The popular uprising which began on 1 October 2015 has had a clear impact on the issue of prisoners. The number of daily arrests has increased over the past year and has included the arrests of different ages and social groups, children, women and men. At least 7955 Palestinians were arrested, including 1963 children, 229 women and girls, 41 journalists and five members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

The highest number of arrested Palestinians were from Jerusalem; 2355 Palestinians from Jerusalem have been detained since last October, including 842 children and 128 women, including 24 minor girls.

There has been an increase in the number of administrative detention orders throught the year. For the first time since 2008, occupation authorities have issued 1436 administrative detention orders in 2016, including 546 new orders issued without charge or trial under the so-called “secret file.” It is worth noting that many administrative detention orders were issued against young people and students who are not affiliated with the Palestinian political factions.

Nazi occupation authorities have pursued since last October systematic and deliberate policies against Palestinian prisoners at all stages from arrest through transfer to imprisonment, to a dangerous extent that threatens Palestinian lives. Prominent among these grave violations are the use of excessive force and the execution and extrajudicial killing of Palestinians by Nazi soldiers, including the killing of dozens of Palestinians instantly, noting that these practices of shooting to kill Palestinians violate international law.

Human rights organizations also monitored the number of violations against Palestinian detainees, including an escalation on the use of torture and cruel and inhumane treatment, such as beating and assault during arrest and interrogation, as well as increased frequency and violence of raids and invasion of prison rooms and sections and the conduct of humiliating inspections. Prisoners have been arrested after being shot and did not receive necessary medical care and were subject to interrogation before and during medical treatment in hospitals, in addition to the abduction of wounded Palestinians from hospitals and ambulances.

The occupying power also enacted legislation and proposed draft laws against Palestinians, including laws that escalate prison sentences against “stone throwers,”  often children and youth, and expansion of the scope of administrative detention, in an effort to impose collective punishment against Palestinians. In addition, new charges were used to arrest hundreds of Palestinians related to publishing on social media, with sentences up to one year in prison; the year also saw an expansion by occupation forces of the policy of deportation and forcible transfer from the Jerusalem.

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Attacks on international agencies and arrests of Palestinian aid workers part of systematic Israeli assault

Attacks on international agencies and arrests of Palestinian aid workers part of systematic Israeli assault
By Charlotte Kates 


Two Palestinian UN and international NGO workers in Gaza, Mohammed al-Halabi and Waheed Bursh, have been targeted by the Israeli occupation for arrest and military prosecution in high-profile cases that seemingly aim to imprison not only these individual Palestinians, but also to pressure international agencies into a further separation and deeper division from the Palestinian people under occupation with whom they work, and towards control and authorization by Israeli occupation forces.

Mohammed al-Halabi, the operations manager for World Vision in Gaza, was arrested by Israeli occupation forces on 15 June as he crossed at the Beit Hanoun/Erez crossing (to which he had already been given a permit by the Israeli occupation.) After being held incommunicado and under interrogation, facing torture and abuse for over a month and a half, Al-Halabi was accused in a showy statement of allegedly “diverting” up to $50 million USD to the Palestinian resistance organization and political party Hamas – based on a “confession.” Despite the allegations, World Vision noted that its “cumulative operating budget in Gaza for the past 10 years was approximately $22.5 million,” making the alleged amounts of money involved materially impossible. World Vision also noted that “Mohammad El Halabi was the manager of our Gaza operations only since October 2014; before that time he managed only portions of the Gaza budget. World Vision’s accountability processes cap the amount individuals in management positions at his level to a signing authority of US$15,000.”

Nevertheless, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a video message alleging that the Israeli occupation project “cared more” about Palestinians than Palestinian leadership organizations, particularly Hamas in Gaza. While the Israeli occupation state controls access to Gaza and entirely occupies its sea and skies, it claims to not have control or occupying power over Gaza. Nevertheless, the Israeli occupation state is imprisoning Al-Halabi for matters that – even taking their tortured “confessions” at face value – is seemingly entirely internal to Palestinians in Gaza and international organizations working with them.

It should be noted that the allegations against Halabi appear to be based entirely upon confessions obtained through torture and potentially the word of a collaborator or a “disgruntled employee” who disappeared from Gaza to Egypt after his firing from World Vision by Halabi; this is reflected in the clearly inaccurate financial amounts reported in coverage of this case. Perhaps because of the very weakness of the allegations themselves, Halabi will allegedly be tried in a “secret court,” reported his lawyer, Lea Tsemel. Despite the origins of the allegations (confessions obtained through torture) and their seeming physical impossibility, both theAustralian and German governments suspended aid to World Vision. While World Vision has announced its trust in its staff, the cut in funds – and an Israeli freeze on its bank account in Jerusalem for the international Christian charity – has meant that over 120 local Palestinian staff have been laid off in Gaza and operations are suspended, where unemployment already ranges near 40% and poverty forces Palestinians to rely on international aid.

This is not the first run-in between the Israeli state and World Vision. Israel and its supporters in NGO Monitor attacked the Christian charity in 2004 for supporting Palestinian rights, thus “support for terror.” World Vision’s programs came under attack previously by Mossad-linked law firm “Shurat Ha-Din,” known for its pursuit of dubious yet fiscally draining lawsuits against opponents and critics of Israel around the world, Shurat Ha-Din attacked World Vision and other charities for their support for the work of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, a land and water defense organization operating in the West Bank and Gaza that has been honored with the UN’s Equator Prize and is a member of the global peasant movement, Via Campesina. Shurat Ha-Din demanded an end to Australian support of World Vision, claiming that UAWC was a “front” for Palestinian leftist political party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Shurat Ha-Din’s efforts were rejected in Australia and refuted both by the Australian government and World Vision itself. Still, the continuing focus on World Vision and its engagement with local Palestinian organiztions in Gaza appears to be a continuing thread in Israeli surveillance and repression.

While Halabi was arrested on 15 June, Waheed Bursh, a Palestinian engineer contracted by the UN Development Program (UNDP) was arrested one month later, also as he crossed the Beit Hanoun/Erez crossing, for which he had previously received a permit. The case of Bursh is particularly striking: over two weeks after his arrest, and several days after the public announcement of the allegations against Halabi, he was accused by the Israeli occupation of allegedly “diverting” rubble in Gaza created by the massive Israeli bombing of Gaza in 2014 for Palestinian use to shore up a port and jetty on Gaza’s north shore. The Israeli occupation accuses the rubble of being “diverted to Hamas,” but it is distinctly unclear if that simply means to the Palestinian Authority in Gaza, which is run by Hamas officials – and in any case, the UNDP itself reaffirmed that the rubble in question was directed as agreed to a civilian area and there “was no diversion.”

This case is, essentially, about whether Palestinians have the right to decide in any small way what to do with the massive rubble created when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians’ homes in Gaza were destroyed by Israeli bombs and warplanes – and that any individual Palestinian following Palestinian direction in such a case is subject to torture and imprisonment. Not only does Israel declare the right to bomb and destroy Gaza at will; it also declares the right and ongoing authority to determine the usage of the rubble created by its bombing and destruction.

The Bursh case highlights the insufficiency and the injustice of the UN reconstruction program for Gaza, which has seen both an extremely high level of inefficiency as only a small portion of the buildings destroyed in Gaza have been rebuilt, but also an extremely high level of utter disregard for Palestinian sovereignty and internationally-recognized rights, instead creating a program in which all access to funds and building materials is dependent on the approval of the Israeli occupation that destroyed those places to begin with.

The UN has argued that Bursh is immune from prosecution given his UN role, and that he acted according to the request of the Palestinian Authority. This case is not only about the imprisonment of one Palestinian engineer, but about who has the right to build with the rubble created by Israel’s bombs, and who decides: Palestinians, including their political forces? Or international organizations with the consent and oversight of the Israeli occupation? Or, perhaps more precisely, the Israeli occupation, with the work carried out by international organizations and highly subjugated Palestinian staff?

Both the Gaza reconstruction mechanism and the Halabi and Borsh cases highlight the severity of the ongoing Israeli occupation of Gaza as well as an apparent political priority of disempowering Palestinian non-governmental organizations and even staff of international organizations in any context in which they operate outside of complete Israeli control. While the Israeli occupation has generally supported the “NGOization” of Palestinian society as an alternative to Palestinian resistance organizations, these recent cases appear to indicate an intention for Israel to outsource not only the costs but also the repressive mechanisms of its  occupation of Gaza to international organizations, thus requiring the dismissal and complete control of any local Palestinian staff empowered to make independent decisions.

Conditional aid that requires all staff at an organization not to be members of any organization on the US list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” such as that distributed by USAID, has commonly been discussed as a long-running problem in Palestinian civil society. The US FTO list includes major Palestinian political forces such as Hamas, the PFLP, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and even Fateh’s armed wing; similar lists are to be found in the European Union, Canada, Australia, the UK and elsewhere – although Hamas is currently fighting a legal case for removal from the EU’s list. Further, the overall impact of international donor funds in directing the priorities of Palestinian organizations away from Palestinian national liberation and towards “projects” and state-building amid ongoing occupation and oppression, and demobilizing the Palestinian national movement into “civil society” or “interest groups” has been the subject of intense discussion among Palestinian organizations and activists.

In Gaza in particular, the filing and heavy publicity surrounding the Halabi and Bursh cases seems to indicate that the Israeli state is pursuing an even heavier hand on all forms of Palestinian organization and even Palestinian roles in directing the work of international organizations. Palestinian organizations in 1948 Palestine have come under attack through new laws designed to block “foreign funding,” while the Balad/National Democratic Assembly political party, represented in the Knesset by Jamal Zahalka, Haneen Zoabi and Basil Ghattas, has been subject to a series of raids and arrests accusing them of undisclosed “foreign funds.” Of course, Palestinian organizations like Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, thePalestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies and other organizations in the West Bank continue to be subject to arrests, raids and other attacks by occupation forces, while Israel continues to threaten escalation against Palestinian civil society organizations supporting the growing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. Ben White in Al-Jazeera noted that “Israeli minister Gilad Erdan has claimed that the accusations against Halabi prove the government’s claim that ‘there are extensive ideological and monetary ties between terrorist organisations and delegitimisation organisations that work against Israel.’”

Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Intifada wrote, “But by spreading sensational allegations that a group as well-known as World Vision is ‘funding terrorism,’ Israel may seek to put other organizations and the Israel-friendly Western governments that fund them on notice that all their operations, especially in Gaza, are at its mercy. It may also be an effort to break growing solidarity for Palestinians in churches, where there has been a strong push to hold Israel accountable through boycott, divestment and sanctions.”

These allegations perhaps bear the closest resemblance to early-to-mid-2000s calls from the Israeli occupation and Western states regarding “corruption” in the Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat. Viewing the PA’s role in outsourcing the costs of occupation and suppressing Palestinian resistance as apparently insufficient, Israeli and Western charges of corruption and demands for higher levels of international and Israeli control led in part to the imposition of Mahmoud Abbas as a prime minister and the“Daytonization” of PA security forces under US command, removing Fateh loyalists and turning them into even more of a direct mechanism for security cooperation with the Israeli occupation.

Circumstances differ in that corruption in the PA was – and remains – a legitimate concern of Palestinians (although higher levels of Israeli and international control in fact exacerbated the problem and were opposite to the solutions demanded by Palestinians), while in these cases the arrests reflect entirely Israeli interests at the expense of Palestinians. However, the projected outcomes are similar in the re-orienting of international organizations as opponents and monitors of Palestinians and the escalation of international and Israeli control at the expense of even the most individual and basic levels of Palestinian control or self-determination.

The roots of the prosecution of Halabi and Bursh, the shuttering of World Vision’s programs and the threat of further raids and prosecutions against Palestinian staff of international organizations can also be found in the use of “foreign terrorist lists” by international states and bodies to criminalize Palestinian political life and resistance. While the United States, European Union, Canada, UK, Australia and other states are clearly not opponents of either state-sponsored or non-state violence when carried out by allies and agents, and while Palestinians are internationally recognized as an occupied people with rights to sovereignty and self-determination, Palestinian resistance organizations are routinely labeled as “terrorist.” In the post-Oslo era, the drive to redefine the Palestinian struggle from an anti-colonial national liberation movement into a “state-building project” and a “mediated conflict” with the Palestinian Authority as its reference has been used to criminalize and prosecute Palestinian organizing not only inside but also outside Palestine, while obscuring the nature of Palestinian reality today.

That governments such as those of Australia and Germany chose to cut funding to World Vision in response to these allegations rather than defend an occupied people under colonization and denounce the actions of a belligerent occupier abducting and accusing people under occupation of using funds and, indeed, the rubble created by the occupier’s bombing, in their own interest, indicates the enmeshment of these states with the Israeli state in a common support for settler colonialism, Zionism and racism in Palestine and internationally.

From the siege on Gaza – against which the Women’s Boat to Gaza today sails with the support of people’s movements and against the will of Western states and the Israeli occupation – to the imprisonment of over 7,000 Palestinian prisoners, it is nearly impossible to support fundamental Palestinian rights while labeling Palestinian resistance as “terrorist.” Attempts to do so are then only more vulnerable to attacks of this type – while local Palestinian staff attempting to serve their people within the context of international organizations are targeted for secret trials and persecution on the basis of torture-borne “confessions,” even if the charges themselves are materially incoherent or manifestly absurd. Thus, the international reconstruction mechanism in Gaza has only allowed a greater level of Israeli occupation and control of the Strip, while years after Israel’s bombing, Palestinians in Gaza are still living in shelters while their homes remain rubble.

International mobilization in defense of Halabi and Bursh is necessary. It is not enough to demand a “fair trial” when the charges and structure of prosecution exist only as a mechanism of colonialism.  It is urgent to stand not only against the persecution of these Palestinian staff but against the entire framework that seeks to undermine Palestinian sovereignty, redefine resistance as “terror” and legitimize ongoing colonization and occupation.

Charlotte Kates is the international coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network. She coordinates the National Lawyers Guild’s International Committee and works with a number of organizations advocating for Palestinian rights.

Posted in Human Rights, Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

‘If Germany is Really Independent, It Must Close Ramstein’


Image result for Ramstein Airbase. PHOTO

Wolfgang Jung, a retired German teacher from Kaiserslautern, Germany, has done everything to try to get the government to close Ramstein Airbase.

In April, he filed a lawsuit in a federal court, saying that the deadly drone strikes using the base were a violation of international law.

His case has been dismissed, but he hasn’t lost hope.

Interviewed by Sputnik Deutschland, the spritely 88-year-old explained that his case, filed in April at the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig, had been dismissed, because his claim supposedly ‘did not concern him personally’.

“I filed a lawsuit against the use of the Ramstein Airbase, which violates international law and the German constitution,” the retired teacher said. He added that over the course of four years, Ramstein has become central to the US drone war in Afghanistan.

“My case was dismissed. It was not even considered. I was simply denied the right to bring my suit,” Jung noted, explaining that he was told that he “personally was not affected by the military drones,” and therefore “cannot sue.”

Frustrated by the result, the retiree-turned-activist suggested that “according to the logic of the court, German citizens do not have the right to file a lawsuit against actions that are illegal under international law originating from US military bases on German territory.”

Posted in Germany, Human Rights0 Comments

Former Palestinian minister of detainees’ affairs sentenced to Nazi camp



Wasfi Qabha, former Palestinian minister of detainees and ex-detainees in the government of Ismail Haniyeh, was sentenced to twelve months in Nazi camp by Nazi military court on Wednesday, 28 September. Qabha, a prominent leader in Hamas, has been repeatedly arrested by Israeli occupation forces and has spent a total of 12 years in Nazi camp.

Qabha was arrested from his family home in Jenin by illegal Nazi occupation forces in May; his wife stated that he was charged with a number of charges in the military courts related to his public activities in campaigns supporting Palestinian prisoners in Nazi camps. His sentence was accompanied with an 18-month suspended sentence and a 2,000 NIS (approximately $500) fine.

Also on Wednesday, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council Mohammed Jamal Natsheh was arrested among 43 others in pre-dawn arrest raids carried out by Nazi occupation forces throughout the West Bank. Natsheh was released from Nazi camp after his previous arrest less than seven months ago.  He was previously imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention. A member of the PLC representing the Change and Reform bloc associated with Hamas, Natsheh has repeatedly been arrested since his election in 2006, usually ordered to administrative detention without charge or trial.

Among the pre-dawn raids included the seventh day in a row of violent Nazi occupation military raids on Shuafat refugee camp and nearby Beit Hanina in Jerusalem, where 13 Palestinians were detained by occupation forces as over 20 homes were invaded and ransacked. The Palestinians arrested were Bilal Eid, Ahmad Imran Muhammad Ali, Mohammed Maher al-Mimi, Muhannad Bilal Anati, Bilal Awwad Anati, Ahmad Tartir, Fadi Eid, Ahmad Bilal Eid, Muayyad Jaber Muheisen, Hamoudeh Jamal Abdel-Qader, Adham al-Sharqawi, Saddam Joudeh and Hamoudeh al-Kirri.

Also arrested in Jerusalem area were Areen Za’anin, Fathi Nasser, Hussam Jamzawi, Ahmad Sajidiya, Fares Aslan, Khalil Qureia and Medhat Khalil, the last a guard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Bilal Eid is only 16 while Ahmad Ali is only 15 years old; they are among over 370 Palestinian children held in Nazi camps.

In al-Khalil, alongside Natsheh, also arrested were Mohammed Imam, Mohammed al-Durra, Said Zughayyer, Alaa Abu Ajamieh, Abdel-Rahim Fatafta and Abdul-Qader al-Titi, as well as Abdel-Nasser Abu Maria, 17 years old.

Five Palestinians from Budrus, near Ramallah, were arrested: Malek Marrar, Mohammed Hasan, Hosni Khalifa, Mahmoud Khalifa and Yahya Salama. Wissam Ali, Mohammed Jaber, 17, and Oday Jaber were arrested from the Nur Shams refugee camp near Tulkarem. In Jericho, three Palestinians were seized by occupation forces, including 15-year-old Mohammed Shalalfa, alongside Haitham Shalalfa and Shtayyen Shalalfa; in Qabatiyeh, two Palestinians, Mohammed Assaf and Suheib Abu al-Rub, were arrested. Occupation forces seized Mahmoud Qashmar in Qalqilya and Rashad Issa from al-Khader, near Bethlehem.

On Thursday morning, at least 10 more Palestinians were reported arrested in violent raids by occupation forces, including former prisoners Amin Hamed, 60, and his son Abdelhadi Hamed, 30, arrested in Silwad east of Ramallah in a violent raid on their home, including the explosion of the door of their homes. Abdulhadi’s brother, Abdullah’s, home was raided as well by occupation forces. Their brother Akram is serving a 17-year sentence in Nazi camps.

Posted in Human Rights, Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

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