Archive | Human Rights

Yes, books are banned in the US But it’s done with craft, not by burning ”VIDEO”

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Yes, you can say just about anything in the US and nothing will happen to you. (Unless you’re a journalist who gets too close to the truth about a truly powerful person. Then you risk you career and in some cases your life – but that’s a different story.)

But the fact is books do get banned in the US. Yes, you can find them and they are not thrown into bonfires in the middle of the night by jackbooted thugs, but worthy and important books go “missing” all the time. In this bit you’ll see how and why. – See more at: http://www.brasschecktv.com/videos/spin-1/yes-books-are-banned-in-the-us.html#sthash.4nvh5sbk.dpuf

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Reprisals Escalate in the oPt; Zio-Nazi Jewish Settlers and Nazi Special Military Units Continue to Attack Palestinian Civilians in Occupied West Bank and Occupied Jerusalem, and the Nazi Warplanes Continue to Launch Airstrikes on Targets in the Occupied Gaza Strip

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Following kidnapping, torturing to death and brutally burning the body of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian Child from Shu’fat neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, by Israeli settlers, the settlers continued to commit more crimes against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank.  The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) believes that the Israeli forces’ connivance with crimes committed by Israeli settlers, supporting and protecting them, and failing to enforce the law against them serve to encourage them to commit more systematic crimes against Palestinian civilians.  PCHR also believes that those crimes are part of the constant incitement practiced by the Israeli government against the Palestinian people resulting in more extremism and hatred by settlers against Palestinians.  In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli warplanes launched many airstrikes targeting paramilitary training sites and civil objects.  As a result, a number of civilian were injured and others were terrified.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR on the settlers’ attacks:

On 03 July 2014, PCHR fieldworkers documented a number of attacks in occupied Jerusalem:

  • ·         An Israeli settler deliberately ran down ‘Adel Nabil Jodah (17) near “Rimot” settlement, north of the city.  As a result, he sustained a fracture to the right leg and injuries throughout his body.
  • ·         Three settlers attempted to kidnap ‘Ammar Ibrahim Abu ‘Asabah (46) in “Sheftai” area in West Jeruslaem, but he managed to jump out of the car, which he was forcibly pushed into, and fled away.
  • ·         An Israeli settler opened fire at ‘Ali Ahmed Abu Samrah (30) near the intersection of al-Ram village, north of the city.  As a result, he was hit by a bullet to the foot.
  • ·         Four Israeli settlers moved into al-Samah neighborhood from the directioon of “Pisgat Ze’ev” settlement established on the lands of Beit Haninah, and attempted to kidnap Mohammed ‘Ali al-Kiswani (7) while he was playing with his friends in the aforementioned neighborhood.  However, he shouted and some residents of the area gathered and thwarted the attack.
  • ·         On the same day, 2 members of the Israeli forces’ special units beat up Tariq Abu Khdeir with clubs and hands near his house in Shu’fat neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem.  As a result, he sustained bruises and injuries to the face, head, chest and back.  He was then arrested.  It should be mentioned that Tariq is the cousin of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was brutally killed by Israeli settlers.

On 04 July 2014, 3 settlers beat up Yousif Ighneimat (25) with sharp tools in Sourif village, west of Hebron.  As a result, he sustained fractures to his right hand and deep injuries in the face and right eye.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli warplanes targeted a number of paramilitary training sites, agricultural lands and civilian objects.  Since Thursday morning, 03 July 2014, Israeli forces have launched 18 airstrikes, in which they fired 39 missiles, on training sites of armed groups, chicken barns, an under-construction house and agricultural lands.  As a result, 6 women, including an old woman and pregnant one, were wounded, and a member of an armed group was wounded as well.  Moreover, the targeted places were heavily damaged, and Palestinian civilians were extremely terrified.  Thus, the number of airstrikes launched by the Israeli forces all over the Gaza Strip since the abduction of the three settlers has amounted to 60 airstrikes.

PCHR has constantly warned of the escalation of attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians and property.  PCHR strongly condemns these attacks and the Israeli government’s complicity in them, and:

1.      Calls upon the international community to pressurize Israeli authorities to refrain from providing protection and connivance to settlers in regards to crimes committed by them and demands the Israeli government to prosecute settlers who perpetrate such attacks;

2.      Calls upon the international community to pressurize Israel to comply with its obligations under the international law and end all settlement activities in the oPt;

3.      Reminds the international community that settlement is a war crime according to the international law, so the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, individually or jointly, must comply with their legal and moral obligations, and ensure Israel’s respect for the Convention in the oPt, in accordance with Article 1 of the Convention; and

4.      Condemns the airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, calls upon the international community to immediately stop the Israeli crimes and reiterates its call for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to comply with their obligations in Article 1 of the convention.

 

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

Zio-Nazi Gestapo continue systematic attacks against Palestinian civilians and property in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)

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  • ·Israeli settlers kidnapped, tortured and killed a Palestinian Child from Shu’fat neighbourhood in Occupied Jerusalem and mutilated his body.
  • ·In two new crimes of extra-judicial execution, 3 members of the armed groups were killed and another one was wounded.
  • ·Israeli forces stormed Palestinian communities in the West Bank.
  • ·A Palestinian civilian was killed in the north of the West Bank, and an old woman died due to a heart attack when Israeli forces raided her house, south of the West Bank.

-         19 Palestinian civilians, including the Palestine TV Reporter in occupied Jerusalem, were wounded, and one of them was arrested.

-         Israeli forces conducted 90 incursions in the West Bank.

-         3 houses were destroyed in Hebron on the ground of collective punishment.

-         76 Palestinian civilians, including 8 children, were arrested.

-         The building of Hend al-Husseini Faculty was raided in occupied Jerusalem.

-         The equipment of al-Rayyan Dairy Factory was confiscated in Hebron.

  • ·Israeli warplanes launched 24 airstrikes on civilian objects and paramilitary training sites in the Gaza Strip.

-         9 Palestinian civilians, including 3women and 2 children, were wounded by shrapnel, and 3 civilians, including two children, were injured by the flying glass.  Moreover, 3 civilians sustained bruises.

-         A chicken barn, greenhouses, a country house, two barracks for fodders and sheep were destroyed, and 3000 chicks died.

  • ·Israeli forces continued to fire at the border areas in the Gaza Strips

-         3 Palestinian civilians were wounded in the southern and central Gaza Strip.

  • ·Israel continued to impose a total closure on the oPt and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.

-         Israeli forces established dozens of checkpoints in the West Bank.

-         At least 2 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were arrested at military checkpoints in the West Bank.

  • ·Israeli naval forces continued to target Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza waters.
  • ·Israeli forces continued to support settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.

-         Settlers attacked Palestinian civilians and their property.

-         Settlers cut down 15 olive trees in Beit Ummar in the north of Hebron.

Summary

Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (26 June – 02 July 2014).

Shooting:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed 4 Palestinians, and wounded 31 others; 19 of them were in the West Bank while 12 others were in the Gaza Strip.  The wounded persons included 5 children and 4 women, including the Palestine TV reporter, in occupied Jerusalem. An old woman died of a heart attack when the Israeli forces raided her house and obstructed transferring her to the hospital for medical treatment.  In one of the most heinous crimes committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the oPt, a group of Israeli settlers kidnapped Mohammed Hussein Abu Khudair, 16, from the vicinity of his family’s house in Shu’fat neighbourhood in the north of occupied Jerusalem, subjected him to brutal torture, and then killed him.  In the Gaza Strip, Israeli warplanes conducted 24 air strikes, and the Israeli ground forces conducted 5 shooting incidents along the border fence.  Moreover, Israeli naval forces carried out 2 shooting and chasing incidents.

In the West Bank, on 01 July 2014, an Israeli undercover unit killed a Palestinian civilian in Jenin refugee camp in the north of the West Bank when the area was completely quiet.

On 26 June 2014, Fatmah Ismail Ma’abad ‘Issa (70), from al-‘Arroub refugee camp died of a heart attack when Israeli forces raided her family house and detained the family members for an hour denying her access to medical treatment.

In one of the most heinous crimes committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the oPt, a group of Israeli settlers kidnapped Mohammed Hussein Abu Khudair, 16, from the vicinity of his family’s house in Shu’fat neighborhood in the north of occupied Jerusalem, subjected him to brutal torture, and then killed him.

During the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 19 Palestinian civilians and arrested one of them.  On 26 June 2014, Ismail Ahmed Mahmoud Hawamdah (23) from al-Samou’a village, south of Hebron was hit by two bullets to the shoulder and back when a member of an under-cover unit fired at him during his arrest.  Israeli forces then arrested him and took him to an unknown destination.  His family learnt later that her son is in “Soroka” Hospital in Beersheba.

On 27 June 2014, Israeli forces wounded 4 Palestinian civilians when they moved into Nablus, Balatet al-Balad and Balatah refugee camp, east of the city to secure the way for settlers in order to perform religious rituals in Yousif tomb.  A number of Palestinian youngsters demonstrated against them.

The full report is available online at:

http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10445:weekly-report-on-israeli-human-rights-violations-in-the-occupied-palestinian-territory-26-june--02-july-2014-&catid=84:weekly-2009&Itemid=183

 

 

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In Heinous Crime by Zio-Nazi Jewish Settlers, Palestinian Child Kidnapped, Tortured and Killed and His Body Mutilated in Occupied Jerusalem

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mohamed_abu_Khdeer

Mohammed Abu Khudai

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns in the strongest possible terms the crime of kidnapping, torturing, killing and burning a Palestinian child, Mohammed Abu Khudair, from Shu’fat neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, by Zio-Nazi Jewish settlers.  PCHR believes that the Zio-Nazi authorities’ connivance with crimes committed by Zio-Nazi Jewish settlers, supporting and protecting them, and failing to enforce the law against them serve to encourage them to commit more systematic crimes against Palestinian civilians. While PCHR views positively the statement by Robert Serry, the Envoy of the UN Secretary General to the Quartet, strongly condemning the crime of killing the child, it calls upon the international community to immediately act to provide protection to Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

In one of the most heinous crimes committed by Zio-Nazi Jewish settlers against Palestinian civilians in the oPt, a group of Zio-Nazi Jewish settlers kidnapped Mohammed Hussein Abu Khudair, 16, from the vicinity of his family’s house in Shu’fat neighborhood in the north of occupied Jerusalem, subjected him to brutal torture, and then killed him.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 05:00 on Wednesday, 02 July 2014, 5 Zio-Nazi Jewish settlers kidnapped the child from the vicinity of his family’s house in Shu’fat neighborhood in the north of occupied Jerusalem.  A few hours later, the Zio-Nazi police declared that they found the child’s body in forest lands near “Givat Shaul” settlement, adjacent to Deir Yassin village, west of Jerusalem.  The police confirmed that signs of torture and burns were seen on the child’s body.

Eyewitnesses and residents of Shu’fat neighborhood stated to PCHR that according to recordings of surveillance cameras stabled on houses and shops in the area, 5 Zio-Nazi Jewish settlers traveling in a Hyundai car kidnapped Abu Khudair when he was in front of his house. Two of the settlers stepped out of the car and forced Abu Khudair into the car.

Zio-Nazi police issued a statement indicating that they received a notice on Wednesday morning that “a child was kidnapped and forced into a vehicle in Shu’fat area.”  A few hours later, the police received another notice about the child’s disappearance, and then another notice informing that a corpse was found in a forest area in Jerusalem.  The police headed to the area and found the corpse of the child, on which signs of severe violence were seen.  Zio-Nazi police pointed out that the crime is being investigated and that initial suspicions are focused on a retaliatory act by Zio-Nazi Jewish  settlers against Palestinian civilians and property in the context of the so-called “Price Tag.”

PCHR has constantly warned of the escalation of attacks by Zio-Nazib Jewish settlers against Palestinian civilians and property.  PCHR strongly condemns escalated attacks by Zio-Nazi Jewish forces and settlers in the oPt, in particular attacks by settlers in the West Bank, and:

1.    Calls upon the international community to pressurize Zio-Nazi authorities to refrain from providing protection and connivance to Zio-Nazi Jewish settlers in regards to crimes committed by them and demands the Zio-Nazi government to prosecute settlers who perpetrate such attacks;

2.    Calls upon the international community to pressurize I$raHell to comply with its obligations under the international law and end all settlement activities in the oPt;

3.    Reminds the international community that settlement is a war crime according to the international law, so the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, individually or jointly, must comply with their legal and moral obligations, and ensure I$raHell respect for the Convention in the oPt, in accordance with Article 1 of the Convention.

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Zio-Nazi Forces Kill Palestinian Civilian in Jenin, Destroy 2 Houses in Hebron and Launch Airstrikes on Targets in the Gaza Strip

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Following the declaration of finding of the bodies of 3 Israeli settlers who had been missing since 12 June 2014, Israeli forces have escalated their attacks against Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).  Last night and this morning, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian in Jenin refugee camp in the north of the West Bank, destroyed 2 houses in Hebron in the south of the West Bank, and launched a series of air strikes against several targets in the Gaza Strip.  Thus, the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the disappearance of the three Israeli settlers has mounted to 12, including 9 civilians, one of whom is a child. This escalation, which has been ongoing since the disappearance of the three Israeli settlers, in accompanied by Israeli threats to expand the Israeli offensive against the oPt in retaliation for the deaths of the three settlers.

According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), in the early morning of Tuesday, 01 July 2014, an Israeli undercover unit moved into Jenin refugee camp in the north of the West Bank, traveling in a civilian car with a Palestinian registration plate.  Members of the unit stationed in al-Samran quarter in the south of the camp.  At approximately 03:05, Yousef Ibrahim Ahmed Ibn Gharra “Abu Zagha,” 20, was going back home after buying some foodstuffs for the pre-fast meal of Ramadan Month. Immediately, members of the Israeli undercover unit opened fire at him.  He was instantly killed by 3 bullets to the heart and the left shoulder and forearm.  A number of civilians evacuated the victim’s body to Dr. Khalil Suleiman Hospital in Jenin.  According to eyewitnesses, the area was completely quiet when members of the Israeli undercover unit fired at the victims.

In a serious precedent, Israeli forces destroyed 2 houses belonging to the families of Marwan Sa’di al-Qawasmi and ‘Aamer ‘Omar Abu ‘Eisaha in Hebron, on the ground of suspicions that the two Palestinians were involved in the abduction of the three Israeli settlers, before arresting, questioning and convicting them.  Al-Qawasmi’s house is a 110-square-meter flat located on the first floor of a 3-story building owned by his father and brothers, while Abu ‘Eisha’s house is a 100-square-emter flat in a building belonging to his father.  PCHR stresses that the destruction of the two houses is part of the collective punishment policy and reprisals against Palestinian civilians in violation of Article 33 of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to Protection of Civilians in Times of War which provides that: “No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.”

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli warplanes launched 11 airstrikes, in which they fired 44 missiles, against paramilitary training sites, agricultural stores.  The airstrikes were launched against targets in most areas in the Gaza Strip.  Three Palestinian workers sustained bruises, and Palestinian civilians were extremely terrified by the sounds of the heavy explosions.

PCHR strongly condemns this crime, which further proves the use of excessive force by Israeli forces against the Palestinian civilians in disregard for the civilians’ lives.  Moreover, PCHR condemns the destruction of the two houses in Hebron and the airstrikes against the Gaza Strip.  Therefore, PCHR calls upon the international community to take immediate and effective actions to put an end to such crimes and reiterates its call for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances, and their obligation under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention.  These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions.

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Palestine’s dead teenagers

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Mohammed Abu Khdeir

Netanyahu’s criminal settlement policy put them in harm’s way

By Stuart Littlewood

The BBC, that paragon of broadcasting, repeatedly fails to give the necessary context when reporting events in occupied Palestine. The rest of the mainstream media are equally guilty but we still tend to look to the BBC as the standard setter, a lofty position from which it has slid a long way recently.

In its many reports about the three teenage Israeli squatters allegedly kidnapped and murdered by Hamas, I have never heard the BBC explain that the Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 49, forbids an occupying power to transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies and that doing so constitutes a war crime.

So when it comes to pinning the blame for the triple killing the finger must surely point to Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and his delinquent government. By wilfully expanding their illegal settlement policy even when so-called peace talks were going on, and knowing full well that reprisals might follow, they deliberately put these youngsters in harm’s way.

…like all squatter-settlers, their very presence on Palestinian territory, let alone their arrogant behaviour, would have been provocative in the extreme and an affront to the rightful Palestinian residents.

We know that at least one of them lived in a settlement built on stolen land. Information on the others is hazy but WAFA, the Palestinian news agency, refers to all three as settlers. If that’s the case, they were trespassers in the West Bank. And like all squatter-settlers, their very presence on Palestinian territory, let alone their arrogant behaviour, would have been provocative in the extreme and an affront to the rightful Palestinian residents. The risks to the boys’ safety were painfully obvious.

Many suspect, with good reason, that the abduction and murder was a false flag operation, in which case the finger of suspicion stays pointed at Netanyahu. Of course, Netanyahu is determined to pin the blame on Hamas one way or another. There are many in the British parliament too who are eager to give Hamas a good kicking and seem to have made up their minds already. For example,

Robert Halfon (Harlow) (Conservative): The world has seen the tragic and brutal murders of three Israeli youngsters, most probably by Hamas. Will my right honourable friend give the Israeli government every possible support at this time? Does he agree that, far from showing restraint, Israel must do everything possible to take out Hamas terrorist networks, and will he give the Israeli Government support in that?”

The prime minister (David Cameron): “What I say to my honourable friend, who I know is passionate about these issues, and to everyone in the House [of Commons – parliament’s lower chamber], is that this was an absolutely appalling and inexcusable act of terror, and one can only imagine the effect on the families and friends of those poor teenagers, and what happened to them. It is very important that Britain will stand with Israel as it seeks to bring to justice those who are responsible. We also welcome the fact that President Abbas has firmly condemned the abduction and tried to help find those people. As my honourable friend said, it is important that all security operations are conducted with care so that further escalation is avoided. The people responsible for this should be found and brought to justice.

But Israel still hasn’t produced evidence that Hamas was responsible, as when Netanyahu’s spin doctor was challenged repeatedly by a lone BBC reporter in this video clip.

The British government, questioned in the House of Commons, says it has seen and heard no evidence that Hamas was involved. On 1 July Hugh Robertson, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth, Office told MPs:

As for who is responsible, it is too early to say. The British government have no firm evidence… The Israeli government are very clear about the fact that Hamas was responsible. When I was in Israel 10 days ago, there was some indication on the Palestinian side that that might be correct, but we have no hard evidence in London to back that up.

Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield, Labour) asked:

Will he [Robertson] say to the House, in the appalling situation we are in at the moment, what he thinks are the responsibilities under international law of the Palestinian Authority and what are the responsibilities of the Israeli government as an occupying power in the West Bank, and will he confirm that collective punishment of the Palestinian people is a crime under international law?

But Robertson simply sidestepped the point about Israel’s responsibilities and the collective punishment inflicted on the Palestinians. It wouldn’t do to upset those nice racist friends of Mr Cameron in Tel Aviv.

What would the citizens of Witney in Oxfordshire or Kansas City, USA, make of gun-toting, foreign intruders swaggering down their high street causing mayhem, burning olive groves, driving residents from their homes, harassing shoppers, terrifying children on their way to school and even driving their cars at them?

Squatter-settlers are often armed, behave abominably and are protected by the Israeli military. Many are religious nutters. What would the citizens of Witney in Oxfordshire or Kansas City, USA, make of gun-toting, foreign intruders swaggering down their high street causing mayhem, burning olive groves, driving residents from their homes, harassing shoppers, terrifying children on their way to school and even driving their cars at them?

The death of any youngster is a tragedy. And it is obscene to claim, as some do, that one young person is more precious than another. So here’s another piece of context you won’t hear from the BBC or any other mainstream medium. Since the second Intifada(September 2000) 1,656 Palestinian women and children have been killed in the occupied territories by Israeli security forces and civilians. In the same period just 256 Israeli women and children were killed in Israel by Palestinians. The arithmetic puts the tragedy of the three Israeli teenagers in a more sobering light. The figures are supplied by B’Tselem, an Israeli information and human rights organization.

As of yesterday, at least 640 Palestinians had been arrested since the start of the Israeli military crackdown following the alleged disappearance of the three teen settlers, who were later found killed. These included 59 released prisoners in the exchange deal of 2011, including 11 pre-Oslo prisoners, bringing up the number of pre-Oslo prisoners in Israeli jails to 41, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.

Eleven members of the Palestinian parliament had also been arrested, bringing up the number of imprisoned parliamentarians to 22. The number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails now stands at over 5,800.

Yesterday, in a Commons debate Protecting Children in Conflict”, Grahame Morris (Easington, Labour) said:

There is a danger that the current climate of vengeance and retribution will worsen the situation. Uri Ariel, the Israeli housing Minister, has called for a “proper Zionist response”, meaning an acceleration of Israel’s illegal expansion of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and a programme of punitive house demolitions. The Israeli deputy minister of defence, Danny Danon, said that Israel should make the entire Palestinian leadership pay a heavy price for the killing of the three Israeli teenagers, and Mr Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister, advocated a full-scale invasion of Gaza as a legitimate response. In the name of security, rights, justice and peace, the demands of these politicians must be rebutted, resisted and challenged by the international community.

He might have added, the international media. But the BBC and the rest still treat those animals with utmost reverence.

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Lawsuits Launched to Protect Free Speech on College Campuses

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Nonprofit’s new project brings civil liberties lawsuits against four public universities.

- Deirdre Fulton

A free speech sign at George Mason University. (photo: flickr / cc / DCjohn)A Philadelphia-based nonprofit devoted to defending free speech and civil liberties on college campuses filed four lawsuits on Tuesday and announced the launch of its Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, “a national effort to eliminate unconstitutional speech codes through targeted First Amendment lawsuits.”

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), founded in 1999 by University of Pennsylvania professor Alan Charles Kors and Boston civil liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate,brought lawsuits against Citrus College in California, Iowa State University, Chicago State University, and Ohio University. The suits allege that administrations violated student and faculty rights through unconstitutional speech codes that infringe on free expression.

“These violations are ironic because college campuses have been uniquely recognized as the quintessential ‘marketplace of ideas’ upon which the concept of the First Amendment is based,” said Robert Corn-Revere, the attorney hired to represent the students and faculty in these cases.

While FIRE and other organizations have successfully challenged several speech codes in court over the years, restrictive rules on campus speech have still “flourished,” Corn-Reveretold the Chronicle of Higher Education.

At Citrus College, FIRE is challenging three unconstitutional policies, including the establishment of a tiny free speech zone and a requirement that all student groups request permission two weeks in advance of an expressive activity; the “cumbersome bureaucratic approval process” is tantamount to “unconstitutional prior restraint,” the lawsuit reads.

At Iowa State, censorship of a T-shirt is the central issue — specifically, the rejection of T-shirt designs proposed by the NORML ISU chapter. Citing a policy that prohibits student groups from associating the ISU name with promotion of “dangerous, illegal or unhealthy products, actions or behaviors” and “drugs and drug paraphernalia,” the administration refused to allow even a T-shirt that read: NORML ISU Supports Legalizing Marijuana. ”In doing so, the Defendants confused political advocacy with illegal conduct and, in the process, suppressed speech protected by the First Amendment,” according to the lawsuit.

The Chicago State lawsuit alleges that “CSU hastily adopted a far-reaching cyberbullying policy to silence its critics,” including professors Phillip Beverly and Robert Bionaz, who write a blog that exposes what they and other faculty members perceive as administrative corruption. The administration claims their Faculty Voice blog violates the cyberbullying policy, which prohibits “intentional and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and electronic devices”

And a T-shirt was also the catalyst for the Ohio University suit, which challenges what FIRE describes as “OU’s vague and overly broad speech codes.”

“By imposing a real cost for violating First Amendment rights, the Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project intends to reset the incentives that currently push colleges towards censoring student and faculty speech,” a press release reads. “Lawsuits will be filed against public colleges maintaining unconstitutional speech codes in each federal circuit. After each victory by ruling or settlement, FIRE will target another school in the same circuit—sending a message that unless public colleges obey the law, they will be sued.”

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Children’s Lives in the Balance: Is One Worth More Than Another?

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Palestinian children on their way to school run accross a road in front of an advancing Israeli tank in Nablus, Palestine, during clashes between militants and Israeli forces. (Photo: flickr / cc / Rusty Stewart)With the news that the bodies of three missing Israeli teens had been found in a field not far from the stretch of road where they disappeared June 12, people everywhere reacted rightly with sorrow and anger.

Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, also 16, were students who lived with their families in a Jewish-only settlement near the Palestinian city of Hebron in the West Bank. The settlement and others like it have been declared illegal by the International Court of Justice because they are located in occupied territory and impede Palestinians’ liberty of movement and right to employment, health and education. However, they were youth just starting out on life, sons and brothers whose families will forever grieve their horrific deaths. We must all condemn such violence.

We must also condemn the collective punishment and violence unleashed by the government of Israel in response. To date, the Israeli police and military have broken into and ransacked 1,500 homes, businesses and schools in its rampage, arresting more than 550 residents. More than half of the abducted individuals are being held without charge or trial, more than 100 have been injured and at least six have died – including a 14-year-old boy who was shot in the chest at point-blank range and a 78-year-old woman who suffered a heart attack during a house raid. As this article was written, the 680,000 residents of greater Hebron had been surrounded by angry troops and settlers, with ominous reports trickling out of death and mayhem.

Imagine if similar homicides occurred in your town. Despite the tragedy of the crimes and the desperate desire to find the perpetrators, would civilized society countenance the widespread ransacking of property, imprisonment of hundreds and the death of innocents? No, of course not. So why should it be considered an acceptable response among a population pushed to desperation by decades of military occupation?

To fully understand just what happened and why, an analysis must begin before the June 12 disappearance of the three teenagers, residents of a Jewish-only settlement near the Palestinian city of Hebron in the West Bank. Rather, it should start with April 23, when the two main Palestinian political factions, Fatah (which had governed the West Bank) and Hamas (which filled the same role for the Gaza Strip) announced formation of a unity government. While the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority has long cooperated with Israeli security forces, Hamas continues to actively resist Israel’s control over the Palestinian territory. The announcement of the reconciliation was condemned by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was enraged when the U.S. and other governments instead took a wait-and-see approach.

When the three Israeli teens disappeared, Netanyahu immediately blamed Hamas, although it has reportedly denied responsibility, and launched a campaign to punish any person associated with the party, as well as those it wanted to target for other reasons (such as previously released prisoners). An informed observer cannot help but conclude that he seized on the personal tragedy of the families involved to pursue a broader political goal. Israel’s intention to “perform a root canal to uproot everything green [Hamas-related] in the West Bank” was announced on the national Army Radio, while Economy Minister Naftali Bennettpromised to “turn membership of Hamas into an entry ticket to hell.” A high-ranking Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officer told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that the mass arrests are “a kind of thorough cleaning.” Israel, he said, had decided “to use the upcoming days to arrest anyone ‘infected’ with Hamas.” In one Israeli news source, an IDF officer even admitted that the operation had been planned ahead of time, and that its goal was not to find the boys, but provoke unrest.

With the discovery of the Israeli teens’ bodies, Israeli military and the settlers intensified the attack on Hebron and other towns, with a 17-year-old boy shot in the Jenin refugee camp. Renewing his vow that “Hamas will pay,” Netanyahu ordered an escalation of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip – more than 40 in just the first night, terrorizing the entire population of 1.8 million. Although the strikes in part are in retaliation for rockets shot into Israel by a faction that is not affiliated with Hamas, Netanyahu’s own words make the connection clear.

According to the prisoner advocacy group Addameer, about a quarter of the hundreds of arrested Palestinians are being placed in “administrative detention,” a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold individuals indefinitely based on secret information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. Israel routinely uses administrative detention in violation of the strict parameters established by international law, claiming to be in a continuous state of emergency since its inception in 1948. In addition, says Addameer, administrative detention is frequently used – in direct contravention to international law – for collective and criminal punishment rather than for the prevention of future threat.

Children and youth are frequently targets. Defence for Children International has documented the killing of more than 1,400 Palestinian children by Israeli soldiers or settlers since 2000, of which only 40 were found to be active participants in hostilities. That’s the equivalent of one Palestinian child killed by an Israeli every three days for the past 13 years.

In addition, a report issued this week by the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights documents that 2,000-3,000 Palestinian minors have been seized and detained by Israeli forces every year for the last five years, an average of 200 a month, with some as young as 12.

“The Israeli police or military typically break into homes in the middle of the night or take youth right off the streets without telling them what they are charged with or informing their parents, as required by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” said Ihsan Adel, legal advisor for Euro-Mid. “How is that different from the kidnapping of the Israeli students? And yet it is occurring every day, every year. Where is the international outrage?”

The Euro-Mid report states that rarely are youth informed why they are being arrested – at least, not until they are interrogated, without counsel from parents or attorneys – often while shackled to chairs and deprived of sleep. Yet article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (of which Israel is a signatory) states that youth and their parents must be informed of the reasons behind their detention, as well as allowed legal assistance.

UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the U.N. Commission on Human Rights each have found that Israel bases its punishments on confessions that its interrogators coerce from children who are not represented by lawyers. Is it surprising that an estimated 95 percent of these children “confess”?

Children are not pawns, pieces to be used in a game for purposes of publicity or leverage. That’s true for Palestinians and doubly so for Israelis, who operate from a position of unequal power – that of occupier.

Perhaps no one has expressed these basic principles of humanity better than columnist Gideon Levy, a rare voice of self-criticism in Israel. In a recent column that has gotten very little exposure, he compared the cases of Naftali Fraenkel, one of the murdered Israeli boys and Mohammed Jihad Dodeen, the 14-year-old Palestinian killed during the Israeli mass arrests.

Levy wrote about the journey of Rachel Fraenkel, Naftali’s mother, to a meeting in Switzerland of the United Nations Human Rights Council. She told the group that “her Naftali is a good boy who loves to play guitar and soccer.” But, Levy observed, “Mohammed was also a good boy, who helped his father build their house during his school vacations and sold sweets to help support his family. Rachel wants to hug Naftali? Jihad, Mohammed’s bereaved father, also wants to hug his son. Incidentally, nobody brought him to Geneva. He remained alone with his mourning, at the wretched house whose construction hasn’t yet been finished, and perhaps never will be.”

Posted in Human Rights, Palestine Affairs0 Comments

The Leading Edge of Peace: Our Evolutionary Path Forward

NOVANEWS

(Photo: flickr / cc / Glenn Halog)The news headlines tell us everyday that we live in a violent world. From global violence in some of the more recent hot-spots like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Ukraine, to urban and domestic violence — and school shootings that are growing so frequent they don’t always even make the top headline anymore — there are indeed countless tragic examples.

The prevailing notion and dominant cultural story is that violence is inevitable and there is really nothing significant we can do about it. Luckily, this is a false assumption. Many new methodologies are emerging, at almost every level of society, which are proving to be highly effective ways to address conflict before it erupts into violence — or to turn it around more quickly when violence is already ensuing. Conflict may be inevitable, but violence does not have to be.

The heroic work in the growing field of peacebuilding offers a prescription for our times. Peacebuilding addresses issues of disharmony, violence, crime, and war by identifying their underlying causes and implementing nonviolent solutions that build an infrastructure for sustainable peace.

Peacebuilding is our evolutionary course forward.

Sustainable Solutions

Over the last few decades we have seen this field and work of peacebuilding emerge more strongly, helping to foster more peaceful solutions in many arenas. Practices and models that are sophisticated, pragmatic, effective and sustainable have been developed and implemented in various settings and locations in our nation and around the world. Teachers are bringing conflict resolution education into classrooms; Community programs are dismantling gang violence; Restorative Justice programs are effectively modeling new methods of dealing with criminal justice; Programs in prisons are helping inmates turn their lives around; Sophisticated policies and practices are averting violence from erupting in international conflict hotspots; and parents are learning new skills and taking daily actions toward being more supportive and connected with their children. There are countless options and examples offering powerful alternatives to many of the more punitive, less effective methods we have traditionally relied upon when dealing with conflict and violence.

“At the center of the human spirit there is a great longing for peace.”

And the evidence is on the side of these programs’ effectiveness. A few examples:

After the Longmont Community Justice Partnership(in Longmont Colorado) implemented its Community Restorative Justice Program, recidivism rates among youth dropped to less than 10 percent in its first three years, compared to a county-wide rate of over 50 percent; and in a West Philadelphia High School, within two years of implementing a Restorative Discipline program, incidents of assault and disorderly conduct dropped more than 65 percent.

Pennsylvania has implemented Multi-systemic Therapy (MST), which is becoming a more widely used treatment-focused program targeting at-risk teens who express chronic/serious antisocial behavior. Trained clinicians deliver comprehensive care over 3-5 months, including crisis care and intensive skills coaching, to change home, school and community environments. Those who have completed the program had 75 percent fewer issue related arrests four years after treatment.

These types of programs are also cost-effective, often saving communities money in the long-term.

A study by the non-partisan Washington State Institute for Public Policy found that diversion and mentoring programs produced $3.36 of benefits for every dollar spent, aggression replacement training produced $10 of benefits for every dollar spent, and MST produced $13 of benefits for every dollar spent — in terms of reduced crime and the cost of crime to taxpayers. In 2008, MST produced an estimated $30 million in savings for Pennsylvania. These are but a few examples of how we could more effectively invest our precious resources. (The Youth PROMISE Act is legislation that would greatly empower such programs.)

Meanwhile, a new report from the Institute of Economics and Peace puts the global cost of violence containment at $9.46 trillion per year, conservatively. Much of which goes towards more punitive and militaristic approaches. This is a tremendous burden and diversion away from spending our resources on the more effective prevention and intervention methods.

Internationally the costs of engaging in war or military-based efforts, or ignoring problems that could be positively impacted by peacebuilding programs, are also more often being seen as ineffective approaches. Recently there have been victories for peacebuilding growing in our foreign policy. The budgets for the U.S. Institute of Peace, the State Department’s Complex Crises Fund, and USAID & State Department’s Conflict Stabilization Operations Bureau all received modest increases in this year’s federal budget (despite being miniscule in comparison to what we spend on Defense). All three of these agencies, while having some need to evolve, are empowering peacebuilding work around the globe. Many NGO’s and practitioners are also doing valiant and effective work.

The fields of peacebuilding and violence prevention are not yet at the forefront of our national priorities or conversations. It’s time to make such solutions to violence a bigger part of our collective everyday understanding and help take proven programs to scale. If this burgeoning field of peacebuilding is to reach full potential, we must help catalyze and galvanize a movement behind it and create much stronger systems and infrastructure to support it. The deeply entrenched interests working to maintain the status quo of stiffening penalties, building more prisons, increasing our military budgets, etc. — are as well funded and powerful as ever.

A New Peace Story

At the center of the human spirit there is a great longing for peace. And we are seeing a new proliferation of the tools we need to help implement it. During this moment in our history, it is imperative that we invest in and prioritize work and practices that can help bring about more of the peace we all desire.

That is where each of our efforts come in as an important part of the growing choir to make this work of peacebuilding a national and international priority. There are many practitioners, peacebuilders and even advocates who are championing and trailblazing these new paths forward.

Posted in Human Rights0 Comments

Defense for Children International Palestine: Growing Up Between I$raHell Settlements and Soldiers

NOVANEWS
Posted by:  Human RightsNews

Ramallah, June 19, 2014—A new report published by DCI-Palestine brings to light the devastating impact on Palestinian children of growing up near increasingly violent Israeli settlements and Israeli military outposts.

The report, Growing Up between Israeli Settlements and Soldiers, details the experiences of children and their families living in villages and towns hemmed in by expanding and often violent settler communities. It finds that attacks on schools, assaults on individual homes, and the physical abuse of children are occurring throughout the West Bank as a result of close proximity to settlements and military outposts.

“Settler and military violence against Palestinians in the West Bank is condoned by the state of Israel because it serves to further distress and control the occupied population,” said Rifat Kassis, executive director of DCI-Palestine. “Unfortunately children are consistently the victims of this persistent and unrestricted violence.”

Since Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, it has established some 125 Jewish-only settlements that house 515,000 Israelis. The settlements are woven throughout the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, often dividing the cities, villages and refugee camps of the 2.65 million Palestinians who live there. According to international law, Israel’s settlements in the West Bank are illegal. Israel, however, claims religious and historical rights to the territory.

Israel recently approved plans to build 1,500 new settlement units in the West Bank, following the failure of U.S.-brokered peace talks. In 2013, Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, increased by 130 percent compared with 2012, according to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics. Israel’s continued settlement expansion comes at a time when Israeli officials are considering unilateral action to annex areas in the occupied West Bank under full Israeli control, according to media reports.

Stationed throughout the West Bank, Israeli soldiers, police and private security firms protect settler populations at the expense of Palestinian civilians. Unlike Israeli civilians living across the Green Line, Israel’s pre-1967 boundary with the West Bank, many settlers carry government-issued arms. In this hyper-militarized environment, disproportionate physical and psychological violence is inflicted on Palestinian children.

In the small village of Sinjil to the north of Ramallah, seven-year-old Eman’s family continues to suffer from the devastating effects of an attack by Israeli settlers from the nearby settlement of Shilo, who set fire to the family home in the middle of the night. While near the Ahiya outpost, five-year-old Farah was beaten with a rock during an hour-long settler attack on his family home. In the divided city of Hebron, settlers grabbed seven-year-old Marwa as she walked home from school, held her down and set her hair on fire. Sadly, they are not alone: other children face similar trauma.

Schools such as the Urif Secondary School near the Yitzhar settlement and the UNRWA school near the settlement of Beit El experience regular attacks from soldiers who fire rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters into their schoolyards.

These anecdotes of settler and military violence across the West Bank in recent years serve as a window into the innumerable injustices Palestinian children face. Recent statistics by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that more than 2,100 settler attacks have occurred since 2006, 399 of which took place in 2013 alone.

Following incidents of settler violence, the report finds that lack of justice is the norm, and not the exception. At the center of the issue is the disparate treatment of Palestinians and Israelis living in the West Bank by the Israeli government. Though they live in the same territory, all Palestinians are subject to military law, while Israeli settlers fall under the Israeli civilian and criminal legal system.

Israeli settlers, including children, often attack Palestinians with stones and other objects, but they are rarely held accountable as the Israeli army lacks the authority to arrest Israeli settlers in the West Bank. As a result only Palestinians, often children, are detained or arrested in connection with stone-throwing exchanges, according to affidavits collected by DCI-Palestine.

DCI-Palestine estimates that the Israeli military has detained over 8,000 children since 2000. Since 2008, there have been at least 170 Palestinian children in Israeli detention at any given time.

Almost more alarming than the fact that 1,405 Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli soldiers or settlers since 2000 is the climate of impunity that makes such violence possible.

Although the UN and other international legal institutions have consistently condemned Israel’s practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, little has been done to either put pressure on Israel or hold its government and institutions accountable.

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

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