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Dagelijks archief 18 januari 2012

News from Syria 18.01.2012

(01-18-12) Moadamiya | #Damascus | If its Yellow Let it Mellow, But this Brown, Flush it Down

(01-18-12) #Homs | Another Shabeeha Caught, Wanting to Kidnap Girls for Syrian Intelligence

17 #Daraa Kafar Shams Alaa Maher Al-Hamawi 17 years old was killed due to his injury after being shot by sec forces

#Homs death of the soldier Najeh Al-Hazoomi from Dameenah village by sec forces fire in Kanaker where he was serving his military duty

#Damascus Kisweh A huge explosion is heard in the area followed by intensive shooting

A banner from Mesyaf Coordination Committee that participated in today’s demo in Mezza area in #Damascus

#Damascus Barzeh A demo started in the Mesaken area standing in solidarity with the besieged cities Participants demanded

#Idlib Khan Shiekoun sec forces stationed at checkpoints killed three people including a child in the city

#Damascus Jober A huge explosion is heard from unknown source near Zamalka bridge

Hasaka Al-Hol The Revolution Youth raised the Independence Flag atop the tallest electricity pole in the city

#Daraa Hara An evening demo got out in the city in solidarity with the besieged cities Protestors chanted for toppling the regime

Palestinians in Holland press for Netanyahu arrest warrant

AMSTERDAM, (PIC)– Palestinians in Holland have declared their intention to seek a court order for the arrest of Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu on his visit to the Netherlands scheduled to start on Thursday.

The Palestinian home, a society formed by Palestinians living in the Netherlands, said in a statement on Wednesday that it would seek the court order in view of the Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity during the latest war on Gaza.

It said that Netanyahu’s visit to Amsterdam, the headquarters of the International Criminal Court, posed as a blatant challenge to this court and to what it represents.

The statement recalled that the Israeli war machine killed 1400 Palestinians, mostly women, children, and innocent civilians, in the course of three weeks of “genocide” against Gaza in 2008-2009 that also devastated the Strip’s infrastructure, places of worship, and hospitals.

It pointed to the Goldstone report that condemned Israel for committing war crimes in that war, calling for reactivating the report and prosecuting the Israeli leaders for involvement in crimes against humanity.

The society drew the attention to the new Israeli threats of waging a fresh and more brutal aggression Gaza within the few coming months, adding that the lack of concrete legal steps against Israel encouraged it to commit more crimes.

(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 18.01.2012)

Iran undecided on nuclear warhead, Israeli report says

REPORTING FROM JERUSALEM — Iran’s government is fighting for its survival amid unprecedented political and economic pressure caused by international sanctions and internal opposition. But even as it moves to improve its nuclear capability, it has not yet made the final decision to build a nuclear warhead.

That’s the Israeli intelligence assessment that U.S. officials will hear this week during security meetings with U.S. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to Israelimedia reports.

The conclusions may signal that a possible Israeli airstrike against Iranian nuclear facilities is not as imminent as some believe. But U.S. officials remain concerned that Israel may act alone in attacking Iran’s nuclear program, possibly sparking a regional war.

This week’s visit is part of the Obama administration’s effort to address Israel’s growing anxiety about the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, where leaders have frequently called for the destruction of Israel.

The Israeli intelligence assessment found that U.S.-led economic sanctions — and the threat of more to come — are hitting ordinary Iranian pocketbooks and devastating the Iranian currency, according to Israel’s Haaretz newspaper.

At the same time, internal political and religious battles are eroding the government’s stability, raising doubts about its performance in parliamentary elections in March.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made contradictory statements in recent weeks about the sanctions policy. He has praised the success of economic sanctions in comments to international audiences but labeled them inadequate at home.

Israel, which has been a nuclear power for decades, though officially unacknowledged, has said it might attack Iranian nuclear facilities, but such a decision remains controversial.

Instead, analysts say Israel and U.S. intelligence agencies are probably behind a series of covert assassinations, facility explosions and computer viruses that have hampered Iran’s nuclear program over the last two years. U.S. officials denied that they were involved in an assassination  last week of a nuclear scientist in Tehran. Iran blamed on the attack on Israel, which declined to comment.

Although Israel, the U.S. and their allies say Iran’s nuclear program aims to develop a weapon, Tehran contends that it is intended only for peaceful purposes.

(latimesblogs.latimes.com / 18.01.2012)

Syrian Uprising Moves Closer to Capital

Hunkering down: a poster of Syria's president at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Damascus, January 2012.

Hunkering down: a poster of Syria’s president at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Damascus, January 2012.

Damascus has been spared much of the violence gripping Syria, although there are signs that the uprising is moving closer on the capital.

The body of a Syrian general is on its way to burial.  Chopin’s Funeral March merges with trilling laments and chants of pro-government slogans.

Officials say General Mohammed Abdul-Hamid al Awad was on his way to work this week when an “armed terrorist group” attacked him outside his Damascus home.
His funeral procession is attended by Arab League monitors.  Afterward, they are shown the bodies of at least six young men officials describe as soldiers killed in recent fighting.

 

The bodies of young men the government says are soldiers killed near Damascus, January 17, 2012.

VOA – E. Arrott

The bodies of young men the government says are soldiers killed near Damascus, January 2012.

 

A morgue official counts a total of 58 stab wounds to one body, many of them, he says, inflicted after the man died.

The post-mortem wounds raise questions, but many government accounts are rejected by the opposition as manipulated or fabricated.

Even without all the answers, the killing of a prominent military figure in the capital, once seemingly immune to the unrest, adds to fears following two suicide bombings in the past month.

In some ways, Damascus appears normal.  Shops and restaurants are open, though financial sanctions have turned it into a cash-based system.  More telling are the checkpoints and sandbagged positions around the city, speaking to fears of further troubles.

Amal, who gives just her first name, says the military is justified in its actions, in what she sees as a bid to maintain security. “People are killing each other because of sect, because of religion, because whatever it is.  So the military needs to go on the streets because this is the country’s military,” she said. “If somebody is wrong, they need to enforce law.”

Despite ongoing security efforts, the government has not been able to quell the unrest in towns ringing the capital.  And in Zabadani, 40 kilometers away, opposition forces say they have reached a ceasefire with government troops.  If confirmed, it would be a rare concession by the state on the military strength of its opponents.

(www.voanews.com / 18.01.2012)

Vrijwilligers gezocht voor EL HIZJRA

    • Wanneer
      woensdag 1 februari 2012
    • Tijd
      20:00 tot 23:00
  • El Hizjra is een stichting die zich inzet voor het cultureel erfgoed van migranten. De nadruk ligt op diegenen met een Arabische of Marokkaanse achtergrond. Hieronder volgt een uitgebreidere uitleg over wat El Hizjra doet en betekent voor de Nederlands-Arabische en Nederlands-Marokkaanse samenleving.

    El Hizjra betekent in het Arabisch letterlijk ‘de migratie’ en kan gezien worden als een metafoor voor avontuur. Migratie betekent immers op weg gaan naar een nieuwe toekomst in een onbekend vaderland.

    De gelijknamige Stichting El Hizjra vindt haar bestaansgrond in de blijvende aanwezigheid in Nederland van een groot aantal migranten uit Arabische landen. Er wordt vaak negatief of ongenuanceerd aangekeken tegen hun culturele en religieuze achtergrond. Dit belemmert het gevoel van eigenwaarde en de participatie van Arabische en islamitische migranten. Door aan te sluiten bij de eigen kunst en cultuur én een meer genuanceerde beeld van de Arabische en islamitische samenleving te bevorderen bij zowel autochtoon als allochtoon publiek, wordt zowel het gevoel van eigenwaarde als participatie gestimuleerd. Alleen vanuit openheid en respect kan participatie, wederzijdse beïnvloeding en een culturele verrijking ontstaan.

    Vanuit deze visie is stichting El Hizjra in november 1987 opgericht onder het motto ‘Brug tussen twee culturen’. El Hizjra benadrukt die elementen uit de Arabische cultuur, die staan voor een verdraagzame samenleving met gelijke rechten voor vrouwen en culturele en religieuze minderheden.

    Met name de tweede en derde generatie migranten wil meer weten van de eigen cultuur . Autochtone Nederlanders geeft het de gelegenheid hun Marokkaanse of Arabische buren, vrienden, leerlingen en collega’s, beter te begrijpen. Het voorgaande draagt zo bij aan de emancipatie van Marokkaanse en Arabische Nederlanders en daarmee aan hun integratie in de westerse samenleving. Bovendien wordt een betere onderlinge verstandhouding binnen de moderne, multiculturele Nederlandse samenleving bevorderd.

    Het paradepaardje van El Hizjra de El Hizjra literatuurprijs wordt dit jaar voor de 20e keer uitgereikt. Onder andere Hassan Bahara, Abdelkader Benali, Khalid Boudou, Said El Haji, Monique Samuel, Mustafa Stitou en Achmed Lahabi hebben al een literatuurprijs gewonnen. Als laatste bevordert zij een uitwisseling tus­sen Arabische auteurs en denkers en hun Nederlandse vakbroeders en stimuleert een dialoog met het publiek.

    Wegens de bezuinigingen heeft de culturele sector het momenteel erg moeilijk en zien wij ons genoodzaakt hulp in te roepen van vrijwilligers die zich kunnen vinden in de ideologie van El Hizjra.

    Wij zoeken:

    – Gemotiveerde vrijwilligers die 1 keer in de week op maandag of woensdag een paar uurtjes tussen 12.00 uur en 17.00 uur in onze boekenwinkel zou kunnen helpen. Wij zijn namelijk bezig onze collectie boeken en cd’s te digitaliseren en op de website te plaatsen.

    – De werkzaamheden zullen daarom bestaan uit de verkoop van boeken en het digitaliseren van de collectie.

    – Kennis van de Arabische taal is zeker een pre maar niet een vereiste.

    Wij bieden

    – Een gezellige, warme werksfeer met een Arabisch deuntje op de achtergrond.

    – Gratis toegang tot alle activiteiten die El Hizjra organiseert.

    – Gebruik van een grote variëteit aan Arabische boeken

    Interesse? Neem dan contact op met Abderazak Sbaïti voor een kennismakingsgesprek.

    El Hizjra

    Singel 300 A

    Amsterdam

    Tel. 020-4200568

    Of mail: info@elhizjra.nl

    www.elhizjra.nl

Saudi protesters hold demo in Qatif

Saudi security forces stand guard in front of a group of demonstrators.
Thousands of Saudi protesters have taken to the streets in the Qatif region of the Eastern Province to condemn the killing of a 22-year-old man by security forces in the region last week, Press TV reports.

The anti-government protesters held a demonstration in the region on Tuesday.

Saudi security forces killed 22-year-old Essam Mohamed Abu Abdellah during a demonstration in the town of Awamiyah last week.

Amnesty International called on Saudi authorities on Friday to “immediately launch an independent investigation” into the death of Essam Mohamed and said the “investigations that were announced into previous protester deaths in similar incidents do not appear to have gone anywhere.”

In November 2011, security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in the Eastern Province. The funerals for the victims usually turned into demonstrations with protesters chanting slogans against the Al Saud regime.

Since February 2011, Saudi protesters have held demonstrations on an almost regular basis in the oil-rich Eastern Province, specifically in Qatif and Awamiyah, calling for the release of all political prisoners, the exercise of freedom of expression and assembly, and an end to widespread discrimination.

The Saudi Interior Ministry issued a statement on March 5, 2011, prohibiting “all forms of demonstrations, marches, or protests, and calls for them.”

Saudi Arabia is a state party to the Arab Charter on Human Rights. Article 24 of the charter states that “every citizen has the right… to freely pursue a political activity [and] to freedom of association and peaceful assembly.”

On January 13, UK Prime Minister David Cameron met with Saudi King Abdullah and Crown Prince Nayef in his first trip to the kingdom as prime minister. The two sides discussed the “strengthening of security, trade and energy ties, and the sales of the latest technology and weaponry” to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is Britain’s biggest trade partner in the Middle East and its investment in the United Kingdom is worth at least USD 95 billion.

(www.presstv.ir / 18.01.2012)

Qatari Emir secretly visited Israel

Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has made a secret visit to Israel despite the fact that Doha and Tel Aviv have no political relations, a video has revealed.

Israeli Kadima leader Tzipi Livni welcomed the Emir and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim Bin Jaber Al Thani during the visit.

The Qatari Emir and his delegation also met several high-ranking Israeli officials.

Signing a new gas export contract and writing Qatari textbooks by Israeli experts were among topics discussed between Sheikh Hamad and Livni.

Sheikh Hamad reportedly stressed the significance of political relations between the two sides.

Livni informed Qatar of its important role in talks between Arabs and Israel.

Qatar and Israel have common viewpoints regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Doha has repeatedly supported Tel Aviv against Iran. Qatar would also be able to assist Israel in the event of a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

It is noteworthy that in April 2008, Livni, who was Israeli foreign minister, used a visit to Qatar to lobby the Arab state to oppose Iran’s nuclear program.

(www.presstv.ir /18.01.2012)

Eight homes ordered to be demolished in Khalit Al-Dar

On January 4th, an Israeli military commander served 8 demolition orders in the town of Khalit Al-Dar, just south of the city of Al-Khalil, also known as Hebron.

Suleiman Abu Snina, from Khalit Al-Dar, displays the demolition order he received.

The reason given for issuing demolition orders to the families is that they have built additions onto their homes without Israeli-issued building permits.  In accordance with the 1994 Oslo agreements, building permits in the town are issued by the municipality of Al-Khalil, which had issued the necessary permits to the families.  However Israeli authorities maintain that permits may only be issued by the Israeli government, which has, since the Israeli occupation of the West Bank began in 1967, only issued one building permit for the town, in 1980.

Khalit Al-Dar is a small, impoverished town, and the residents are mostly laborers and farmers.  When the demolition orders are carried out, approximately 60 of them will be displaced from their homes.  Other demolitions have recently happened here, in both 2007 and 2009.

The pressure on the residents of Khalit Al-Dar manifests itself in other ways as well.  The large water collection basin in the town remains unfinished after 15 years, as the Israeli government will not allow the construction of wells in all of the West Bank.  This leaves all Palestinians at the mercy of Macarot, an Israeli water company, for their entire water supply.

A view of Khalit Al-Dar

By refusing to issue building permits, towns cannot grow, and as families grow there is less and less space to live in without building extensions to their homes.

Khalit Al-Dar is surrounded by six nearby illegal Israeli settlements, Hagai, Kyriat Arba, Carmel, Arsina, Susya, and Ma’on.  Once the residents of Khalit Al-Dar are out of the way, more settlements can be built, connecting the existing ones and creating more Israeli “facts on the ground” that work to solidify the stranglehold of the occupation.

(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 18.01.2012)

Masked in Gaza: The Untold History of Palestinian ‘Militancy’


A Masked Palestinian fighter in Gaza.

By Ramzy Baroud

Essam Al-Batsh and his nephew, Sobhi Al-Batsh, are the latest in a long line of reported Palestinian ‘militants’ killed by Israel. The civilians were both targeted while driving in a car in downtown Gaza on December 8. According to an Israeli army statement, “(They) were affiliated with a terrorist squad that intended to attack Israeli civilians and soldiers via the western border” (Reuters, December 8).

Another ‘militant’ had been killed two days earlier. Israeli military aircraft “had targeted two militant squads that were preparing to fire rockets into southern Israel,” according to the Associated Press. AP quoted Israeli official saying the army would “continue to take action against those (who) use terror against the state of Israel.”

It really doesn’t take much to kill a ‘militant’ in Gaza. Israeli military intelligence officers simply select a weapon and zoom in on their chosen person on any given day. This is not a difficult task really since the entire population of the Strip are besieged in Gaza’s open air prison. The same statement issued regarding the assassinated ‘militant’ can then be easily rewritten, using the same predictable justifications.

Israel’s excuses actually tell nothing of the history behind the phenomena of ‘militancy’. To know why some young men in Gaza decide to mask their faces and carry arms, they need to abandon the media’s reductionist characterization of Gaza’s armed struggle. This goes back much earlier than Hamas and Fatah, the 2006 selections, the 2007 siege or the 2008-09 war.

The phenomenon began shortly after the Nakba – The Palestinian ‘Catastrophe’ in 1948, which saw the destruction of Palestine and the erection of today’s Israel. During this time nearly a quarter a million were evicted or forced to flee to Gaza. A displaced population then yearned to go home, and many wished to recover the lifesavings they had buried under patches of earth in their Palestinian villages. Some wanted to harvest their crops, and others sought family members that had gone missing during the forced march out of Palestine.

Once they crossed into newly established Israel, many refugees never returned. But the boldness of the ‘fedayeen’ – freedom fighters – now began to grow rapidly.

The refugees eventually began organizing themselves, with or without help from the Egyptian army, which was still stationed at the outskirts of Gaza and the southern borders of the Sinai desert. Groups quickly assumed names and became factions, and their members acquired military fatigues. The fighters used kuffiyehs – traditional headscarves – to cover their faces to escape the watchful eyes of Israeli collaborators, who were also growing in number.

Over time, Palestinian guerrilla commandos began carrying out daring strikes deep inside Israel. The fedayeen were mostly young Palestinian refugees, and some Egyptian fighters. Their operations grew bolder by the day, as they snuck into Israel, like ghosts in the night, with primitive weapons and homemade bombs. They would target Israeli soldiers, steal their weapons and return with the new weapons the second night. Some would sneak back into their villages in Palestine; they would ‘steal’ blankets and whatever money they had saved but failed to retrieve in the rush of war. Those who never returned received the funerals of ‘Martyrs’. Following every fedayeen operation, the Israeli army would strike Gaza’s refugees, inspiring yet more support and recruits for the young, but growing commando movement.

The phenomenon quickly registered among Palestinian youth in Gaza – not due to any inexplicable desire for violence, but because they saw in the fedayeen a heroic escape from their own humiliating lives. Indeed, the fedayeen movement was the antithesis of the perceived submissiveness experienced by refugees. It was a manifestation of all the anger and frustration they felt. They simply wanted to go home, and freedom-fighting seemed the only practical way of fulfilling this wish.

As refugees stayed put in their tents, and as more Palestinians were killed by Israeli military incursions and snipers, the numbers of fedayeen multiplied. In a historic visit to Gaza in 1955, then Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser promised to fight on until all of Palestine was liberated. Soon after, amid angry demands for action, Egypt decided to establish ten battalions of the National Guard, which were made up mostly of Palestinian fedayeen and led by Egyptian officers. It signaled an Egyptian attempt to take charge of the situation and control the scattered Palestinian leaderships and its armed factions. Cross-border skirmishes culminated, at times, into full-blown border battles. Israeli mortar attacks reached many areas in Gaza. There was no safe place to hide.

The factions changed names. The fedayeen wore different colored kuffiyehs. But in essence, little changed. Poverty persisted. Human rights continued to be routinely violated. Not a single refugee returned home. And three, if not four generations of Fedayeen, carried on with the fight.

In some way, the media perception of these masked men also remained largely unchanged. The ‘militant’ has always been reported as an inexplicable irritant. At best, he served as a reminder, not of a poignant history that must be unearthed and understood, but of why Israel is, and will always remain, threatened by masked Palestinians. When a so-called ‘militant’ is brutally killed, little justification is offered. If any ‘militants’ respond to the killing, such retorts could possibly serve as a casus belli for an already planned Israeli military escalation.

It is important that we understand that ‘militancy’ in Gaza is not linked to any Palestinian faction per se, nor is it incited by a specific ideology or individual. The phenomenon had indeed preceded all the factions and individuals that dot Gaza’s political landscape. It was caused by the single event of the Nakba, and all the tragedies that manifested as a result of it.

Chances are, the ‘militants’ – or fidayeen, or even ‘terrorists’ by the standards of Israel and its supporters – will continue to exist as long as the conflict remains unsolved per the necessary standards of justice and fairness.

As for the media, it behooves reporters to dig a bit deeper than an image of the charred remains of an uncle and his nephew – and to see beyond the predictably false accusations that underlie official Israeli statements.

– Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London).

(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 18.01.2012)

Gaza / West Bank: Investigate Attacks on Rights Defenders | Human Rights Watch

Mahmud Abu Rahma Stabbed in Gaza; Yazan Sawafta Beaten in West Bank

(Jerusalem) – Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) should investigate recent brutal attacks against human rights defenders in Gaza and the West Bank and hold those responsible to account, Human Rights Watch said today.In Gaza, Mahmud Abu Rahma, the international relations director for Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, a Palestinian rights group, was stabbed repeatedly on the night of January 13, 2012, by masked assailants, after being beaten by a group of unidentified men on January 3. The attacks followed his public criticism of Hamas and the impunity of armed groups in Gaza. Al Mezan had previously informed Hamas of death threats against him.

In the West Bank, a member of the Palestinian Authority’s Preventive Security agency beat Yazan Sawafta, a lawyer and researcher for the Independent Commission for Human Rights on January 9, according to a statement by the group. Sawafta had been covering a demonstration by relatives of prisoners detained by the PA.

“Hamas and the Palestinian Authority should not sit idly by while human rights defenders are being stabbed and beaten in the streets, in some cases by these groups’ own officials,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Palestinian leaders should ensure that Abu Rahma and Sawafta are not victims of the very impunity that these two men have courageously documented.”

Abu Rahma, who has worked on human rights issues in Gaza for 15 years, told Human Rights Watch that he was returning home from his office at around 11:15 p.m. on January 13 when three men wearing masks accosted him on the ground floor of his apartment building in Tel el-Hawa, in southern Gaza City, and began to stab him. He suffered four knife wounds in his right leg, two in his left shoulder and left hand, two in the back, and bruises where his clothes had prevented other knife cuts.

“They called me an atheist and a collaborator while they were attacking me,” Abu Rahma told Human Rights Watch. He could not identify his attackers. His family called a doctor who treated him at home at around 3 a.m. “The doctor wanted me to go to the hospital, but we felt it wasn’t safe to leave,” he said.

In the January 3 attack, three men beat him on the back and shoved him to the floor as he was walking toward the elevator of his apartment building.

In a statement, the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights said it had informed the Hamas authorities of the details of the attacks on Abu Rahma and urged them to investigate. Abu Rahma told Human Rights Watch that police from Gaza City’s central unit and from the Al Rimal police unit, a southern Gaza City neighborhood, had questioned him after the January 13 attack and told him they had begun an investigation.

Abu Rahma had received death threats after publishing an articleon Ma’an, a Palestinian news website, on December 31, 2011, that criticized the authorities in Gaza, as well as the PA in the West Bank, for failing to investigate allegations of abuses including torture and arbitrary detention and to hold those responsible to account. The article also faulted Hamas for failing to curtail the actions of armed groups in Gaza that have injured Palestinian civilians. For example, the article described how members of an armed group rebuffed a Palestinian man who had asked them to relocate a military training site away from his home. The man and his son were killed in an Israeli airstrike on the training facility on December 9.

“Hamas’s failure to protect Abu Rahma, who has been a leading voice for human rights in Gaza, sends a chilling message to other human rights defenders,” Whitson said. “Hamas needs to investigate the attacks against him promptly and thoroughly and to appropriately punish those found responsible.”

The January 9 attack in the West Bank came as Sawafta was covering a protest by relatives of detainees in PA custody in the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Sawafta is a lawyer and field researcher for the Independent Commission for Human Rights, the official Palestinian rights ombudsman, which has offices in Gaza and the West Bank.

At the Nablus protest, he spoke to media about arbitrary detentions by Palestinian security agencies of Palestinians based on their political affiliations, according to a statement by the ombudsman’s office. After the protest ended, a member of the PA’s Preventive Security Service demanded Sawafta’s identity card and camera, the statement said. Sawafta told the security official that he was monitoring the protest for the ombudsman’s office.

The security official left and returned ten minutes later with two other members of the Preventive Security Service, and physically attacked Sawafta while threatening to indict him on unspecified charges. The other security officials did nothing to stop the attack, which ended only when other security officers eventually intervened. The rights ombudsman’s office said it had identified the Preventive Security officer who attacked Sawafta and confiscated his identity documents and camera, which have not been returned, and complained to the PA about the attack.

“Western governments funding the Palestinian Authority’s security forces should ensure they don’t abuse their own people,” Whitson said. “The security forces’ well documented impunity for abuses undermines the public’s trust and confidence in the PA.”

Human Rights Watch has documented repeated abusesby both Hamas and PA officials against each other’s members as well as against internal critics and demonstrators, including arbitrary detentionand torture. In other cases, armed groups in Gaza have fired rocketsthat fell short of their intended targets in Israel, harming Palestinian civilians, and have placed civilians at risk of Israeli attacks by locating military objects near populated areas in Gaza.

Human Rights Watch is aware of a handful of cases in which Hamas authorities penalized police officials for abuses against civilians in Gaza. But it has found no cases of such prosecutions against members of armed groups or Hamas’s internal security service, which has been accused of torturing detainees and of deaths in custody due to abuse. Nor is Human Rights Watch aware of any criminal convictions of PA security officials for abuses in the West Bank, despite numerous credible allegations of tortureand death in custody.

(mideastnews-danmike.blogspot.com / 18.01.2012)