“The PA is still committed to the Israeli occupation’s orders and conditions as it is depriving thousands of families of Palestinian martyrs, detainees and wounded of their salaries, and slashing the salaries of thousands of its civil servants in Gaza.”
Barhoum concluded: “This move is evidence that all decisions taken by the PA President Mahmoud Abbas to halt agreements with the Israeli occupation were a big lie that will not fool the Palestinian people and factions.”
Therefore, he called for the Palestinian factions “to assume their national role and put an end to Abbas’ abhorrent policy and monopolisation of the Palestinian decisions.”
Several Israeli army jeeps invaded, Monday, the Archeological sites’ area in the al-Bayader area in Sebastia Palestinian own, north of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and threatened to demolish the structures and all rehabilitation work conducted by the Local Council.
Mohammad Azem, the Mayor of Sebastia, said the soldiers threatened the City Council workers with abduction and imprisonment and informed them that the military will demolish and destroy any work in the site.
Azem added that the soldiers informed the workers that they will be coming into the area next month, to accompany large groups of colonialist settlers during the Jewish holidays.
On September 9th, the soldiers invaded the al-Bayader area and informed the locals, and the City Council, that the army intends to bulldoze and remove all materials and structures used for the rehabilitation of the site.
The soldiers threatened the City Council workers with abduction and imprisonment and informed them that the army will not allow any project in the area.
It is worth mentioning that the army repeatedly invades the archeological sites in Sebastia to accompany buses and cars of illegal colonialist settlers.
The archeological sites are in Area B of the occupied West Bank, under Palestinian civil control and joint Israeli-Palestinian security control.
Israel has been threatening to demolish Palestinian structures, installed by the local council near the archeological site, while the military has been frequently invading it to accompany groups of illegal colonialist settlers into the area, in addition to constantly removing the Palestinians from the area.
The Local Council in Sebastia has been working on implementing a tourism project, and rehabilitation projects, to try to add it to the United Nations’ list of World Heritage Sites.
Actors demonstrate the Israeli Shin Bet torture method known as “Banana b’kiseh”
By Ruchama Marton
If the Shin Bet runs a school for its agents and interrogators, the curriculum most certainly includes a class on how to tell a lie. The texts taught, it seems, do not change with the years. In 1993, responding to accusations that the Shin Bet brutally tortured Palestinian detainee Hassan Zubeidi, then Commander of the IDF Northern Command Yossi Peled told Israeli journalist Gabi Nitzan that “there is no torture in Israel. I served for 30 years in the IDF and I know what I am talking about.”
Twenty-six years later, Deputy Chief of the Shin Bet and former Shin Bet interrogator, Yitzhak Ilan repeated the same line to news presenter Ya’akov Eilon on national television while speaking about Samer Arbeed, a 44-year-old Palestinian who was hospitalized in critical condition after he had been reportedly tortured by the Shin Bet. Arbeed is suspected of organizing a deadly bombing that killed a teenage Israeli girl and wounded her father and brother at a spring in the West Bank in August. Ilan bristled at the notion that the Shin Bet was somehow responsible for Arbeed’s condition.
Putting aside these absurd forms of denial, as a doctor and founder of Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, I have always been troubled by how Israeli doctors cooperate with and enable Israel’s torture industry.
In June 1993, I organized an international conference in Tel Aviv on behalf of PHR against torture in Israel. At the conference, I presented a Shin Bet medical document that had been discovered by chance by Israeli journalist Michal Sela. In the document, the Shin Bet doctor was asked whether the prisoner in question had any medical restrictions when it came to keeping them in isolation, whether they could be tied, whether their face could be covered, or whether they could be made to stand for prolonged periods of time.
The Shin Bet denied such a document ever existed. “There is no document. It was simply an experimental paper that is not in use,” the agency claimed. Four years later, a second document, suspiciously similar to the first, came to light. That document asked doctors to sign off on torture in accordance with several previously agreed-upon clauses.
The first document, along with other findings, were published in the book titled “Torture: Human Rights, Medical Ethics and the Case of Israel.” The book cannot be found in Israel; Steimatzky, Israel’s oldest and largest bookstore chain, has banned its sale. Perhaps this is further proof that there is no torture in Israel.
After the document was uncovered, PHR turned to the Israel Medical Association and asked it to join the struggle against torture. The IMA requested that PHR hand over the names of the Shin Bet doctors who signed off on the document so that they could be dealt with internally.
I refused to hand over the names and told the IMA attorney that I was not interested in going after rank-and-file doctors — I wanted to change the entire system. That meant doing away with legitimacy granted to confessions exacted under torture, educating IMA members about non-cooperation with torturers, and particularly providing active help to those doctors who do report on suspicion of torture or brutal interrogations.
Back then, the IMA was satisfied with putting our statements while doing nothing to prevent the Shin Bet’s doctors from cooperating with torture. Furthermore, the organization failed to fulfill its obligation to establish a forum for doctors to report on suspected torture.
An ethical, moral, and practical failure
But it is not only doctors in the Shin Bet and the Israel Prison Service that collaborate with torture. Doctors in emergency rooms across Israel write false medical opinions in accordance with the demands of the Shin Bet. Take, for example, the case of Nader Qumsieh from the West Bank city of Beit Sahour. He was arrested in his home on May 4, 1993 and was brought to Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva five days later. There a urologist diagnosed him a hemorrhage and a torn scrotum.
Qumsieh testified that he was beaten during his interrogation and kicked in his testicles.
Ten days later, Qumsieh was brought before the same urologist for a medical examination, after the latter had received a phone call from the Israeli military. The urologist wrote a retroactive letter (as if it had been written two days earlier), without actually conducting an additional examination of the patient, in which he said that “according to the patient, he fell down the stairs two days before he arrived in the emergency room.” This time, the diagnosis was “superficial hematoma in the scrotal area, which corresponds to local bruises sustained between two and five days prior to the examination.” The urologist’s original letter, written after the first examination, disappeared from Qumsieh’s medical file.
History teaches us that doctors everywhere easily and effectively internalize the regime’s values, and many of them become loyal servants of the regime. That was the case in Nazi Germany, in the United States, and in various countries in Latin America. The same goes for Israel. Qumsieh’s case, along with countless others, reflects the ethical, moral, and practical failure of the medical establishment in Israel vis-à-vis torture.
Already back in the 18th century, jurists — rather than doctors — published legal opinions accompanied by proof that there is no connection between causing pain and getting to the truth. Thus, both torture and confessions exacted through pain were legally disqualified. One can only assume that the heads of the Shin Bet, the army, and the police know this bit of history.
And yet, torture — which includes both mental and physical cruelty — continues to take place on a large scale. Why? Because the real goal of torture and humiliation is to break the spirit and body of the prisoner. To eliminate his or her personality.
The legal understanding for forbidding torture is based on the utilitarian idea that one cannot arrive at the truth through inflicting pain . But doctors are committed — first and foremost — to the idea that anything that causes physical or mental harm to a patient is prohibited.
The Shin Bet medical eligibility document allows for sleep prevention, it allows interrogators to expose prisoners to extreme temperatures, to beat them, to tie them for long hours in painful positions, to force them to stand for hours until the vessels in their feet burst, to cover their heads for prolonged periods of time, to sexually humiliate them, to break their spirits by severing their ties to family and lawyers, to keep them in isolation until they lose their sanity.
The Shin Bet’s medical eligibility form is not the same as the one used to check eligibility to join the air force or even to drive a car. This kind of “eligibility” leads the prisoner directly into the torture chamber — and the doctor knows this. The doctor knows to what kind of systematic process of pain and humiliation he or she is lending their consent and approval. It is doctors who oversee the torture, examine the tortured prisoner, and write the medical opinion or the pathology report.
The white robe passes through the torture chamber like a lurking shadow during interrogations. A doctor who cooperates with Israel’s torture industry is complicit in that very industry. If a prisoner dies during interrogation, the doctor is an accomplice to his or her murder. Doctors, nurses, medics, and judges who know what is taking place and prefer to remain silent are all accomplices.
We must unconditionally oppose all forms of torture — without exceptions. We, citizens of a democratic state, must refuse to cooperate with the crime of torture, and all the more so when it comes to doctors.
We must also not hide behind the idea that torture is a symptom of the occupation while telling ourselves that the practice will disappear when the occupation ends. Torture is a worldview according to which human rights have no place or value. It existed well before the occupation and it will continue to exist if we do not change that worldview.
Violent and cruel investigative practices do not benefit national security even if they are committed on its behalf. Torture causes a spiraling destruction of our very social fabric. Not only do those who carry out this terrible kind of “work” lose the values of morality, human dignity, and democracy, but also all those who remain silent, unwilling to know. In fact, all of us.
Occupied Palestine (QNN)- “Facebook Blocks Palestine” campaign declared a new step in the ongoing campaign to put pressure on Facebook administration to and force it to stop targeting the Palestinian content.
The new step declared by the campaign is to stop sponsored ads by companies and businessmen on the next Wednesday and Thursday as a measure, which would push the website to revisit its anti-Palestine policies.
The campaign said “we call on all Palestinian pages to stop sponsored ads on Facebook”. It stated that Palestinian capital have to be part of the fight for the Freedom of Speech and the Palestinian content on the internet.
Th campaign has started last Wednesday with a tweeting campaign using the hashtag #FBblocksPalestine, which trended in Palestine and Jordan and sustained good interaction in other countries. It was also covered by different Arabic and Palestinian media outlets.
Considering the layers of walls, fences, trenches and no-go military zones, the additional underground wall around Gaza seems frivolous. Is it possible that Israeli leaders truly believe that Gaza is not isolated enough?
By Ramzy Baroud
The Israeli Apartheid Wall, which is being built largely on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, once more underscores the ugliness of military occupation. As such, it truly epitomises the nature of Israeli apartheid and also delineates the siege-driven, isolationist mentality that dominates the ruling-class thinking in Israel.
Even years before the establishment of the state of Israel over the ruins of the Palestinian homeland in May 1948, Zionist communities in Palestine perfected the stratagem of besiegement, isolating themselves behind massive walls while blockading Palestinians, the native inhabitants of the land, in every way possible.
Throughout the Nakba – the catastrophic ethnic cleansing and destruction of Palestine in 1947-48 – Israel used this military theory in abundance. Neighbourhoods, villages and entire towns would be besieged for days, weeks or months, while being bombarded from all directions before their residents were finally pushed out. None of these ethnically-cleansed Palestinian communities, which numbered in the hundreds of thousands, were ever allowed to return to their homes.
In fact, besiegement and isolation remain at the core of the Israeli military strategy to date.
The most hermetic stages of this perpetual siege began some time in 2006 and intensified in the summer of the following year. Three factors make the latest siege on Gaza particularly horrific: its long duration, the lack of any serious respite for besieged Gazans and, most importantly, the fact that it has been interrupted by massive Israeli wars that killed and wounded thousands of Palestinians. With much of Gaza’s infrastructure destroyed or dilapidated, the Israeli blockade on the Strip has proved to be the most savage and deadliest of all sieges.
On 30 September, Israel’s Channel 12 reported that nearly 70 per cent of an underground barrier east of Gaza is now complete. An estimated 1,400 Israeli and foreign workers are reportedly taking part in building the barrier, which when finished, will extend to reach 60 kilometres in length.
Considering the layers of walls, fences, trenches and no-go military zones, the additional underground wall around Gaza seems frivolous. Is it possible that Israeli leaders truly believe that Gaza is not isolated enough?
In actuality, the latest wall will likely satisfy a psychological, not a practical objective, as it gives the Israeli army and southern settlements a temporary sense of safety, while once more hailing Israeli leaders as the protectors of a defenceless and exposed nation.
Oddly, while scores of young Gazans continue to be killed at the fence separating Gaza from Israel while protesting the Israeli siege on the Strip, it is the Israelis who claim to be targeted, unsafe and victimised.
The newest wall, once it is officially launched with massive fanfare, will still make no difference. It will not upgrade the status of the Gaza siege in any way, nor will it alter the collective fear that has been thoroughly instilled in ordinary Israelis.
For Gazans, wall or no wall, the siege will remain intact.
Israeli wall architects may argue that the latest wall will deter Palestinians from digging tunnels as well as preventing resistance fighters from circumventing the siege via the sea – since part of this underground barrier will also extend into the Mediterranean Sea.
However, there is no proof that walls or fences, over ground or underground barriers have prevented Palestinians from retaliating against Israeli attacks. If the Israeli logic holds any truth, Palestinian resistance would have dissipated or folded decades ago as the Israeli siege mentality was put into practice from the very start of the Israeli war on the Palestinian people.
Israel receives $3.8 billion in US funding, in addition to hundreds of millions in loans and other financial giveaways which are mostly used to fortify Israel’s so-called security. To no avail. Palestinians, impoverished and incarcerated in Bantustan-like structures and open-air prisons, continue with their resistance unhindered.
It is clear that the Israeli security model has failed. In fact, that model never had a chance of success in the first place. The additional Israeli wall around Gaza and the hundreds of other walls and fences that are yet to be built are only meant to feed the collective illusion among Israelis and their leaders that the answer to their problem does not lie in ending the apartheid regime, military occupation and siege, but in adding more layers of “security”.
“At the end of the day as I see it, there will be a fence like this one surrounding Israel in its entirety. We will surround the entire state of Israel with a fence, a barrier,” Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said on 9 February 2016 during a visit of the construction site of the barrier around Gaza.
Netanyahu added: “In our neighbourhood, we need to protect ourselves from wild beasts.”
While such language and behaviour reflect the deeply-rooted racist mentality at work in Israel, they also underscore the dehumanized way in which Israel sees Palestinians. Since “wild beasts” are not human, they can be killed en masse, besieged and ethnically cleansed in their millions without an iota of regret or remorse.
The problem then is not that of “security” or so-called “terrorism”. Not that of Hamas, or any other group, secular or Islamist. It is not that of Gaza’s March of Return or of children approaching the fences around Gaza. The problem is the entrenched Israeli racist mentality that perceives Palestinian natives as sub-humans and as “wild beasts” to be exterminated or forever besieged.
Israel on displacing their residents and replacing the villages with housing projects for Jewish Israeli settlers
Israeli District Planning and Building Committee considered a plan on Sunday submitted by Bedouin Settlement Authority in the Negev aiming to build camps in preparation for displacement of 36,000 Arab citizens.
The plan targets Palestinian-Arab residents within Israel who live in Bedouin villages “unrecognised” by the Israeli occupation government.
Such villages have often been in place for hundreds of years before the creation of the Israeli occupation state.
Nevertheless, it is insisting on displacing their residents and replacing the villages with housing projects for Jewish Israeli settlers.
A letter has been sent to the head of the District Planning and Building Committee asking them not to accept the plan.
The letter was sent on behalf of Adalah Centre, an Israeli rights group seeking justice for Arab residents, along with the Regional Council for the Unrecognised Villages in the Negev, the Peaceful Coexistence Club and Shatil Association.
Submitted by lawyer Suha Bsharah from Adalah, the letter stressed the importance of rejecting the plan, which is simply a tool to displace Arabs from their homes and villages within Israel.
It also reiterated that such an action amounts to a “flagrant violation of the basic rights of the Arab citizens on top of which is the right to respect, dignity and equality.”
The letter noted that this plan reinforces the suffering inflicted on the Arab residents of the unrecognised villages as Israel is planning to displace them under the pretext of carrying out government projects.
“It is unreasonable that the authorities displace tens of thousands of residents from their homes and lands,” wrote the signatories. “[The plan] will destroy a complete generation of Arab children, women and youths.”
According to Bsharah, “The Israeli authorities are seriously looking for a legal cover for the displacement of Arabs by getting the approval of the District Planning and Building Committee.
They are not looking for a just and appropriate solution that would maintain the right to live with respect, dignity and safety for the Arabs who have been living here for decades, if not hundreds of years.”
The head of the Council of the Unrecognised Villages, Atiyyeh Al-Asam said: “The Council rejects this plan because its implicit and explicit goal is to forcibly displace the residents of the unrecognised villages.
“We believe that this plan is materialising the spirit of the [withdrawn] Prawer Plan which was based on displacing tens of thousands of Arabs.”
Israeli interrogators insulted Islam and Christianity and told her she would “rot” in prison
A Palestinian-Jordanian, who has been on hunger strike for 15 days in Israeli prisons, has revealed the details of her horrific interrogation and torture, the PLO Prisoners’ Committee reported on Monday.
Heba al-Labadi, 24, was arrested on 20 August by Israeli soldiers as she crossed the Allenby Bridge from Jordan to attend a wedding in the occupied West Bank with her mother.
According to her lawyer, Al-Labadi has been subjected to inhumane treatment in detention. She was apparently stripped of all of her clothes as soon as she had been arrested, handcuffed, blindfolded and leg-chained before being moved to the Bitah-Tikva investigation centre.
She told her lawyer that she was embarrassed when she saw the female Israeli soldiers looking at her private parts when she entered and left the toilet.
Al-Labadi also explained that she was interrogated for 20 consecutive hours during the first 16 days of her detention and said that she was given only two breaks for meals every day.
She was then moved to rooms full of collaborators, who started to interrogate her; this lasted for up to 35 days, during which she was subjected to verbal, physical and psychological abuse and torture.
The Israeli interrogators, she insisted, got close to her body intentionally and used the dirtiest words to insult her.
“They also insulted Islam and Christianity,” she said, “and said that I am an extremist and told me that they had arrested my mother and sister and they would put me under renewable administrative detention for seven and a half years and then release me to the West Bank and put me under 24-hour surveillance.”
A large number of investigators are said to have interrogated Al-Labadi and kept her in a very dirty cell with insects and spiders.
The cell had rough walls and a bright light which prevented her from sleeping. The “very thin” mattress had no cover or clean sheets. The interrogators told her that she would “rot” in prison.
On 25 September, Heba al-Labadi was issued with a 5-month administrative detention order with neither charges made against her nor a trial. That was why she started her hunger strike.
Two days later, she was moved to a cell monitored by four cameras. The toilet in her cell has a see-through door, so her every move is monitored by the prison guards.
Despite being ordered to end her hunger strike, she insisted that the “tragedy” of the administrative detention must end first. “I will continue until the end or I shall die,” she pledged.
WEST BANK, PALESTINOW.COM — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Monday arrested 10 Palestinian citizens during home raids in different West Bank areas.
According to local sources, the IOF arrested 10 Palestinian citizens in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jenin, Salfit and al-Khalil.
Dozens of IOF soldiers stormed a cultural center in Kifl Hares village, west of Salfit City, and wreaked havoc on it.
On Sunday night the IOF, accompanied by police dogs, raided a Palestinian hospital in the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, stormed several rooms in the cancer treatment section, and terrorized the patients on the pretext of searching for a weapon.
A Palestinian workman suffered a bullet injury on Tuesday morning after Israeli soldiers opened fire at him near the separation wall in the north of Tulkarem.
Local sources said that a young worker identified as Abdul-Salam Khalil, from an-Nazla al-Gharbiya village in northern Tulkarem, was wounded by Israeli gunfire as he was trying to cross into Israel through the separation wall’s gate in Zeita town.
They added that Israeli soldiers subdued the young man and took him away aboard an Israeli ambulance, amid intensive presence of forces in the area.
Many Palestinian workmen suffered bullet injuries during their attempts to cross into the 1948 occupied lands through the same gate during the past days.
The Israeli army detained 13 Palestinians, including two brothers, a father and his son and a man and his wife, during raids early on Tuesday at their homes in various parts of the West Bank, according to the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS).
It said four people were detained in the district of Hebron in the south of the West Bank, including two brothers and a father and his son.
Five others were detained in Balata refugee camp in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, including a man and his wife.
In Silwad in the Ramallah district, three people were detained.
A handicapped former prisoner, who had his leg amputated as a result of an injury from an Israeli army bullet early this century, was also detained in Jenin refugee camp in the north of the West Bank.