Israël beschuldigd van plundering hulpbronnen

JERUZALEM, 3 september 2012 (IPS) — Door natuurlijke hulpbronnen te ontginnen in de bezette Palestijnse gebieden en die voor eigen economische doeleinden in te zetten, pleegt Israël een oorlogsmisdaad. Dat stelt een rapport dat vandaag werd vrijgegeven door de Palestijnse mensenrechtenorganisatie Al Haq.
DeWereldMorgen.be -
Een Israëlische steengroeve in de industriezone van de Ma’ale Adumim-nederzetting in de Westbank, dicht bij Jeruzalem

“Israël is openlijk in strijd met zijn verplichtingen als bezettende macht. Het stimuleert en bevordert de exploitatie van de Palestijnse natuurlijke hulpbronnen en helpt actief mee aan de plundering door private initiatieven”, staat  in het Al Haq-rapport ‘Plundering van de Dode Zee: Israëls onrechtmatige exploitatie van natuurlijke hulpbronnen in de bezette Palestijnse gebieden’. Al Haq is een niet-gouvernementele organisatie die sinds 1979 de mensenrechten en de naleving van het recht in de Palestijnse gebieden beschermt.

Strafrechtelijke verantwoordelijkheid voor plundering strekt zich niet enkel uit tot de staat Israël, maar kan ook worden toegepast op individuen, namelijk Israëlische kolonisten die profiteren van de winsten uit grondstoffen uit de Dode Zee, zegt Al Haq.

Made in Israël

“Hoewel de exploitatie door kolonisten en bedrijven wordt aangemoedigd door de staat Israël, kan men niet negeren dat deze middelen als Palestijns worden beschouwd door het internationaal recht. Dit zou voldoende moeten zijn om de misdaad van plundering te onderbouwen, waardoor sommige Israëlische kolonisten als de directe daders van die misdaad kunnen worden beschouwd”, aldus het rapport.

Israël heeft volgehouden dat een aantal convenanten van het internationaal humanitair recht niet van toepassing is op de bezette gebieden, omdat deze gebieden niet onder de bevoegdheid van Israël vallen.

Toch beweren veel internationale juristen dat Israël de basisprincipes van het internationaal recht overtreedt. Artikel 47 van het Verdrag van Den Haag (1907) over oorlogsmisdaden zegt dat “plundering formeel is verboden”.

Activisten zijn begonnen met een boycot tegen Israëlische producten die vervaardigd zijn in de bezette Palestijnse gebieden en worden bestempeld als “made in Israël”. Onlangs heeft de Zuid-Afrikaanse regering een importstop afgekondigd tegen producten uit de bezette Westelijke Jordaanoever van Israëlische makelij. Ook de Verenigde Kerk van Canada, de grootste protestantse kerk van het land, heeft zich uitgesproken voor een boycot.

(www.dewereldmorgen.be / 03.09.2012)

Syria army bulldozes houses in Sunni Muslim areas as “collective punishment”

  • A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows Syrian firefighters extinguishing a fire following at the site of a car bomb that ripped through Jaramana, a mainly Christian and Druze suburb of Damascus, on September 3, 2012.

A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows Syrian firefighters extinguishing a fire following at the site of a car bomb that ripped through Jaramana, a mainly Christian and Druze suburb of Damascus, on September 3, 2012.

AMMAN — Syrian army bulldozers razed houses in western Damascus on Monday, pursuing what activists called collective punishment of Sunni Muslim areas hostile to President Bashar al-Assad.

In northern Syria, 18 bodies were found in the rubble of a house bombed by a Syrian warplane in the rebel-held town of al-Bab and 13 more are missing, an opposition watchdog group said.

Bulldozers backed by combat troops demolished buildings in the poor Tawahin district, near the Damascus-Beirut highway, activists and residents said.

“They started three hours ago. The bulldozers are bringing down shops and houses. The inhabitants are in the streets,” said a woman who lives in a high-rise building overlooking the area.

Syrian authorities restrict independent media access, making it hard to verify accounts of the conflict from both sides.

Troops forced residents to erase anti-Assad graffiti and write slogans glorifying the president instead, activists said.

“This is an unprovoked act of collective punishment. The rebels had left, there are no longer even demonstrations in the area,” said Mouaz al-Shami, a campaigner collecting video documentation of the demolitions.

“The regime can’t stop itself from repeating the brutality of the 1980s,” he said, alluding to mass killings and wholesale destruction in the city of Hama in 1982 under Assad’s father, the late Hafez al-Assad, who ruled Syria for 30 years.

The Assad family and most members of the ruling elite belong to the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam.

“The regime has not changed. It will not,” Shami said.

Activists also reported the razing or burning of at least 200 houses and shops in the old part of the southern city of Deraa in the last few days. Army shelling had largely emptied the area, prompting 40,000 people to flee to Jordan.

The latest wave of demolitions follows the destruction of dozens of buildings in an area next to Tawahin in Damascus on Sunday and in the Sunni district of Qaboun last month.

“I visited Qaboun yesterday. It is no longer a dense neighbourhood. I could see from one end of the neighbourhood to the other because so many buildings have been razed,” said another Damascus activist who gave her name only as Yasmine.

The army, which appears to have regained control of Damascus proper after an insurgent offensive that began in July, shelled outlying southern and eastern districts overnight to try to drive out rebels still operating there, opposition groups said.

At least two people were killed in the southern neighbourhood of Qadam, they added.

Troops also made forays into eastern suburbs battered by artillery and air power in recent weeks, arresting and summarily executing young men, the opposition groups said.

Video footage from the eastern suburb of Irbin showed the bodies of three young men shot in the face inside a house, their blood spattered on the walls and floor

“This is the latest massacre of Assad’s army in Irbin,” an activist speaking in front of the camera said.

The air raid in which at least 18 people were reported killed in the northern town of al-Bab, in Aleppo province, was another sign of the Syrian military’s increasing use of its planes and helicopters to attack rebel-held areas.

Five women and two children were among the dead, according to Rami Abdulrahman of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. “People in al-Bab say there are 13 more people trapped under the building after one big attack.”

He said five people had been killed and 27 wounded by a car bomb blast in the Damascus district of Jaramanah.

Syria’s state news agency SANA said earlier that the wounded included women and children but did not give details on fatalities. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

A bomb killed 12 people in the same district a week ago in a what state media called a “terrorist” attack. Opposition sources said the security forces were behind it.

More than 20,000 people have been killed in Syria since initially peaceful protests against Assad erupted in March 2011.

(www.vancouversun.com / 03.09.2012)

Urgent alert: Act now to save the lives of Samer al-Barq, Hassan Safadi and Ayman Sharawna!


Protest in London in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, August 18.

Samer al-Barq has now been on hunger strike for 105 days, in addition to 30 days prior on hunger strike with the mass prisoners’ hunger strike in April-May 2012, and is now the longest serving hunger striker anywhere in the world, having taken over this title from fellow Palestinian prisoner Akram Rikhawi.

He is joined on hunger strike by Hassan Safadi, who has now been on hunger strike for 75 days, on top of a 71-day long-term hunger strike including the April-May 2012 period, and Ayman Sharawna, who has now been refusing food for 65 days. All three are suffering from serious medical conditions, including major kidney problems, unconsciousness, and suppressed immune systems, as confirmed by Addameer, Physicians for Human Rights and al-HaqTake action today to call for their immediate release and save the lives of Samer al-Barq, Hassan Safadi and Ayman Sharawna! 

Tweet Now: Act now for #PalHunger strikers #SamerAlBarq #HassanSafadi #AymanSharawna Lives on the Line for Palestine! Act: http://samidoun.ca/?p=1456

All three men are protesting the Israeli violations of the May 14 agreement (and prior agreements) between the prisoners’ movement and the Israel Prison Services. One of the provisions of that agreement was that current prisoners held under administrative detention would not have their detention renewed, and that long-term hunger strikers like Safadi’s detention would particularly not be renewed. However, on May 21 – only one week after the agreement – al-Barq‘s administrative detention order was renewed and he relaunched his hunger strike. He was joined by Safadi on June 21, when his own administrative detention order was renewed.

Ayman Sharawna, on the other hand, was released in October 2011 as part of the large prisoner exchange agreement. However, he was re-arrested shortly thereafter, in January 2012, and has been held without charge since that time. He launched his own hunger strike on July 1, the six month anniversary of his arrest.

Urgent action is needed to protect the lives of these Palestinian prisoners. They have been held together in an isolation cell that is 1.8 meters by 1.5 meters and no room for a wheelchair, and are currently shackled hand and foot to their hospital beds, even as their doctors report severe health threats to their lives. It is urgent that we act now to free Samer, Hassan and Ayman and secure them much-needed health care.

The Israeli Prison Services have continued to violate the May 14 agreement in numerous ways – Dirar Abu Sisi remains in solitary confinement and another prisoner was recently moved to isolation. Although family visits to Gaza prisoners have now been announced, they will be “experimental,” apply only to a small portion of the 479 prisoners and will exclude prisoners’ children from visits. Ofer prison is once again escalating repression against Palestinian prisoners.

Woroud Qasem recently returned home from prison and spoke for the first time in public. It is urgent that we act now for all Palestinian prisoners to return to their families and homes!  Palestinians are organizing a week of action in Gaza to demand freedom for these men – and all of the Palestinian prisoners held in the jails of the occupation for their resistance to apartheid, occupation and oppression and their commitment to free their land and people. International solidarity and action is needed to hold the occupation accountable for its ongoing imprisonment and abuse of the people of Palestine.

TAKE ACTION!

1. Sign a letter demanding the Israeli state transfer Samer al-Barq, Hassan Safadi and Ayman Sharawna immediately to hospitals and release them. Tell the Israeli Prison Services that the world is watching! Click here to sign.

2. Sign a letter to the International Committee of the Red Cross and demand it uphold its responsibilities to Palestinian prisoners and act to save the lives of Samer al-Barq, Hassan Safadi and Ayman Sharawna. Click here to sign.

3. Join a protest or demonstration outside an Israeli consulate for Palestinian prisoners. Many groups and organizations are holding events – join one or announce your own. Organizing an event, action or forum on Palestinian prisoners on your city or campus? Use this form to contact us and we will post the event widely. If you need suggestions, materials or speakers for your event, please contact us at samidoun@samidoun.ca

4. Contact your government officials and demand an end to international silence and complicity with the repression of Palestinian political prisoners. In Canada, Call the office of John Baird, Foreign Minister, and demand an end to Canadian support for Israel and justice for Palestinian prisoners, at : 613-990-7720; Email: bairdj@parl.gc.ca. In the US, call the office of Elizabeth Jones, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs (1.202.647.7209). Demand that Elizabeth Jones bring this issue urgently to his counterparts in Israel.

5. Join in the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Boycott Israeli products, and academic and cultural institutions until all Palestinian rights (including the right of refugees to return, to be free from occupation and for full equality) are fulfilled – including freeing the thousands of Palestinian prisoners behind bars.

(samidoun.ca / 03.09.2012)

Palestinian Bedouin kids return to school, despite Israeli demolition order

Palestinian Bedouin Students attend class at their school at Khan al-Ahmar, near the west bank city of Jericho, Sunday, Sept 2. 2012. Dozens of Palestinian children in the ramshackle Bedouin community outside Jerusalem defy Israeli authorities with a simple act: going to school for the beginning of the scholastic year. Their school is a series of buildings made of mud and old tires that were built over the objections of Israeli authorities who are now threatening to demolish the structures. Israeli authorities say the community is willfully building illegally.

  • (Majdi Mohammed/ Associated Press ) - Palestinian Bedouin Students attend class at their school at Khan al-Ahmar, near the west bank city of Jericho, Sunday, Sept 2. 2012. Dozens of Palestinian children in the ramshackle Bedouin community outside Jerusalem defy Israeli authorities with a simple act: going to school for the beginning of the scholastic year. Their school is a series of buildings made of mud and old tires that were built over the objections of Israeli authorities who are now threatening to demolish the structures. Israeli authorities say the community is willfully building illegally.
  • (Majdi Mohammed/ Associated Press ) - Palestinian Bedouin Students pray at their school at Khan al-Ahmar, near the west bank city of Jericho, Sunday, Sept 2. 2012. Dozens of Palestinian children in the ramshackle Bedouin community outside Jerusalem defy Israeli authorities with a simple act: going to school for the beginning of the scholastic year. Their school is a series of buildings made of mud and old tires that were built over the objections of Israeli authorities who are now threatening to demolish the structures. Israeli authorities say the community is willfully building illegally.
  • (Majdi Mohammed/ Associated Press ) - Palestinian Bedouin Students walk to their school at Khan al-Ahmar, near the west bank city of Jericho, Sunday, Sept 2. 2012. Dozens of Palestinian children in the ramshackle Bedouin community outside Jerusalem defy Israeli authorities with a simple act: going to school for the beginning of the scholastic year. Their school is a series of buildings made of mud and old tires that were built over the objections of Israeli authorities who are now threatening to demolish the structures. Israeli authorities say the community is willfully building illegally.
  • (Majdi Mohammed/ Associated Press ) - Palestinian Bedouin Students arrive to school at Khan al-Ahmar, near the west bank city of Jericho, Sunday, Sept 2. 2012. Dozens of Palestinian children in the ramshackle Bedouin community outside Jerusalem defy Israeli authorities with a simple act: going to school for the beginning of the scholastic year. Their school is a series of buildings made of mud and old tires that were built over the objections of Israeli authorities who are now threatening to demolish the structures. Israeli authorities say the community is willfully building illegally.
KHAN AL-AHMAR, West Bank — Dozens of children returned to school on Sunday, taking part in an annual ritual that has taken on special meaning in this Bedouin tent camp.

The makeshift school buildings, cobbled together from mud and old tires, were built over the objections of Israeli authorities who are now threatening to demolish the structures.

Israel says it won’t tear them down until alternate facilities are available.

“We’ll go to school until it’s demolished,” said 10-year-old Islam Hussein as she dashed to the school on a nearby hill, after hastily dressing in clothes her mother gave her. She was faster than her brother, Mohammed, 6. Their mother Sara playfully threw shoes at them as she told them not to be late.

Behind them was their home: a series of huts of tin, plastic and wood, forming a kitchen, sleeping room and animal pens. Nearby was the family’s camel herd. Bedouins have lived in similar conditions for centuries, sometimes preferring a nomadic life style to the offer of government-built towns.

About 150,000 Palestinians, or 6 percent of the total number in the West Bank, including those of Khan al-Ahmar, live in the 60 percent of the territory that remains under full Israeli control. This territory is also home to Jewish settlements, where 300,000 Israelis live.

Palestinians and their supporters say Israel is trying to pressure them out by refusing to allow them to build infrastructure. Israel has issued demolition orders against some 3,000 structures: homes, cisterns, solar-power generators and 18 schools, including the Khan al-Ahmar Mixed Elementary School, according to U.N. figures, but only a fraction have been carried out.

In the first half of this year, Israel destroyed 360 structures, the U.N. reported.

Israeli military spokesman Guy Inbar said while there was a demolition order for the school and the entire encampment, there is no intention of destroying it until an alternative is found for the students. He said many of the community had willingly relocated to a nearby Palestinian town.

Just as Israelis have built West Bank settlements over the decades to cement their hold on the territory, Palestinians see building up their communities as the way to keep their land. Palestinians claim the West Bank as part of their future state.

“We are fully intent on building facts on the ground that are consistent with the inevitability of the emergence of the fully independent sovereign state of Palestine,” said Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in a visit to the school.

The Jahalin Bedouin clan used to send their children to schools in the Palestinian town of Jericho, about 20 kilometers (13 miles) away. The Palestinian Authority-issued school bus didn’t always turn up, said Eid Sweilam, a community activist.

The community decided to build its own school, completing it in 2009 with help from Western aid groups and Israeli volunteers, Sweilam said.

The Palestinian Authority supplies 11 teachers and staffers for the school’s 90 children, ranging from grade one to seven. Mariam Abu Ghaziah, one of the teachers, said they hope to keep adding grades.

Despite the shortcomings, the school is the best education that most will receive in this deeply conservative community.

Most parents are reluctant to send the children, especially girls, outside the village to high school. It is not proper for them to be outside for so long, said mother Sara Hussein, 35.

As a result, Hussein, the mother, who cannot read, made her eldest daughter, Nour, 14, drop out of school after sixth grade. If the school adds grades, she can return, but she won’t be sent to Jericho, her mother said.

The teenager, with a stony face, watched her siblings excitedly prepare for school as she shook a milk-filled goat skin — an ancient method for making butter.

“I was really good at school,” she said. “I’d like to go back.”

(www.washingtonpost.com / 03.09.2012)

Occupation forces stripped of a child clothes

 

Ahrar— Ahrar center  received a complaint about violent and humiliating strip searches from security guards andmembers of the special guard unit of the Israel Prison Service (IPS) against Palestinian child was visiting his father in Shata

Mohammad the son of  the prisoner Emad Abu Rayhan from Nablus was  going to the prison to visit his dad with other prisoner’s family because Mohammad’s family has been forbidden from visiting him since one year.

Before meeting his father, the Israeli soldiers took Mohammad inside a room and removed all his clothes, the child cried and was shocked.

Ahrar center demands that occupation prison service stop violent, invasive searches of Palestinian prisoners and their family visitors.

(www.ahrar.ps / 03.09.2012)

Israel accused of pillaging Dead Sea resources in occupied territory

Cosmetics firm Ahava singled out for criticism in report by Palestinian human rights organisation

Dead Sea

The Dead Sea. Almost two-thirds of the western shore is in the occupied West Bank.

Israel is “pillaging” the natural resources of the Dead Sea which lie in occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law, a report which singles out the cosmetics firm Ahava for criticism.

According to the Palestinian human rights organisation al-Haq, the “appropriation and exploitation of Palestinian land and natural resources in the occupied Dead Sea area by Israeli settlers and companies … meet the requirements of the crime of pillage”.

Its report, Pillage of the Dead Sea, says Israeli restrictions on planning and movement “have severely hampered the ability of Palestinians to use and access their land and other natural resources in the region. The presence of settlers who directly utilise and profit from the Dead Sea wealth has severely exacerbated this situation and contributed to the over-exploitation of the area, resulting in severe environmental damage.”

Almost two-thirds of the western shore of the Dead Sea lies within the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since 1967. The remaining area is in Israel, and the eastern shore is in Jordan. At the lowest point on Earth, 410 metres below sea level, the inland sea is a magnet for tourists keen to float in its salt-saturated waters and for industries which extract its minerals.

Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, which manufactures and markets beauty products based on Dead Sea minerals and mud, is located within the Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the West Bank. It is licensed by the Israeli government to mine Dead Sea raw materials. According to al-Haq, almost 45% of its shares are owned by Mitzpe Shalem and another Israeli settlement on the Dead Sea shore, Kalia.

Within two decades of its launch in 1988, Ahava’s annual global sales had reached almost $150m (£95m). The company has been the target of boycott campaigns by anti-settlement activists, which contributed to its decision to close its store in Covent Garden, London, a year ago.

The al-Haq report says Ahava is “unlawfully utilising the Palestinian natural resources of the Dead Sea area for its own economic profits and therefore can be considered directly responsible for the pillage of the occupied territory’s natural resources in clear violation of customary international law”.

However, in a letter circulated in 2010, Ahava said: “The mud and minerals used in Ahava’s cosmetic products are not excavated in an occupied area. The minerals are mined in the Israeli part of the Dead Sea, which is undisputed internationally.”

Ahava did not respond to a request for comment on the al-Haq report.

The land along the Dead Sea shore was classified as “Area C” in the 1993 Oslo accords, in which Israel has full military and administrative control. Much of the land has been declared or registered as “state land”, which has “dispossessed Palestinians of extensive portions of the Dead Sea land, effectively depriving them of the possibility of benefiting from [its] natural resources,” according to the report.

Al-Haq says “Israel is openly in violation of its obligations under international and humanitarian law as an occupying power … because it is encouraging and facilitating the exploitation of Palestinian natural resources and actively assisting their pillaging by private actors.” It cites The Hague regulations and the statute of the international criminal court.

In a statement, the Israeli foreign ministry said that, under the Oslo accords, Israel had territorial jurisdiction that includes land, subsoil and territorial waters in Area C. It “therefore would be entitled to licence a company to excavate mud in that area if it chose to do so”.

The al-Haq report calls on the European Union to adopt restrictions on the import of Israeli products originating from settlements, and urges cosmetic retailers to provide clear information about the origin of products they sell to allow consumers to make an informed choice about purchases.

(www.guardian.co.uk / 03.09.2012)

Israel to Demolish Houses south of Hebron

HEBRON, September 3, 2012 (WAFA) – The Israeli authorities Monday handed residents of Khirbet Tuba, a locale east of the town of Yatta, south of Hebron, demolition orders of several houses and the solar cell in the area, according to a local activist.

The Popular Committee Coordinator in Yatta, Rateb al-Jabour told WAFA that Israeli forces stormed the locale and handed its residents demolition orders of several houses, in addition to the removal of a solar cell belonging to two families in the area.

(english.wafa.ps/ / 03.09.2012)