‘Gaza health sector on verge of collapse’

Hamas Health Minister Basem Naem says the Gaza health sector is on the verge of collapse due to shortage of medical supplies caused by the ongoing Israeli siege.

He told a press conference that amid the worst shortage of medicine in Gaza in the last five years due to the Israeli blockade, the patients’ lives are being severely threatened in the enclave, a Press TV correspondent reported on Thursday.

The minister said that the Hamas health ministry has decided to cut five percent of its employees’ salaries to import drugs and medical supplies.

He also declared a state of emergency, warning that the health sector will collapse if the needed medicines and medical supplies are not imported.

Naem said that hundreds of medications and supplies have run out and warned that all surgeries would be suspended in the next few days if the medical supplies did not start reaching Gaza.

Gaza officials have also put the blame on the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, saying that the PA usually and deliberately delays sending Gaza’s monthly medicine share.

Due to the siege, Gaza patients have to seek medication abroad in Egypt. Therefore, they need to get official permission to leave Gaza. Most of them complain that the permission is given with a long delay, the correspondent said.

According to health officials, the surgical services have been decreased to a minimum capacity in all hospitals as a result of the tragic circumstances in Gaza.

The Palestinian Authority, run by acting Chief Mahmoud Abbas, said the shortage is severe in the West Bank as well, owing to a lack of money.

( www.presstv.ir / 10.06.2011)

65-year-old Man Wounded By Army Fire Near Ramallah

Israeli soldiers shot and injured on Friday a 65-year-old man during clashes that took place in Kafr Malik village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, between local residents of the village and Israeli soldiers and settlers.

The clashes took place after dozens of extremist settlers attempted to reach an illegal outpost that was recently demolished by the army.

The residents tried to prevent the settlers from reaching the area, privately owned by the villagers, leading to clashes with the settlers.

Israeli soldiers did not attempt to remove the settlers, but instead, opened fire at the local residents moderately wounding Yousef Hammad Al Qaq, 65.

The settlers left the outpost and the residents managed reach it before torching its property.

(www.imemc.org 10.06.2011)

Kaddafi bedankt Amerikanen in brief

De Libische leider Muammar Kaddafi heeft een groep Amerikaanse parlementsleden bedankt voor hun kritiek op de Amerikaanse acties in Libië.

In een brief van drie kantjes schrijft Kaddafi erop te rekenen dat het Congres ‘doorgaat met het onderzoek naar de militaire acties van de NAVO en de bondgenoten’. Hij noemt de aanvallen een duidelijke schending van resoluties van de VN-Veiligheidsraad, meldt de New York Times vandaag.

De Republikein John Boehner had onlangs een resolutie ingediend die president Barack Obama om uitleg vroeg over de militaire doelen van de militaire acties in Libië. De tekst vroeg niet om terugtrekking.

In de brief noemt Kaddafi het Congres ‘de grote democratie’ en verzoekt hij een onderzoeksteam te sturen. Die moest de schendingen van mensenrechten vaststellen in Libië.

Kaddafi stuurde eerder ook brieven aan Obama.

(www.parool.nl / 10.06.2011)

100,000 protesters hit the streets in Yemen

SANAA, Yemen — Nearly 100,000 Yemenis protested Friday in a main square of the capital, demanding the president’s ouster in the biggest rally since Ali Abdullah Saleh left for Saudi Arabia after he was wounded in an attack on his palace. 

U.S. officials told NBC News on Friday that the attack on Saleh last week was an “inside job” or assassination attempt using an explosive device and not a rocket attack as earlier reported. The officials said, however, there was “no evidence” an attempted coup.”

Saleh was wounded in a blast that hit a mosque where he was praying in his presidential palace on June 3. Badly burned, Saleh was rushed to Saudi Arabia for treatment along with a number of top officials from his regime who also were wounded in the blast.

Officials told NBC News they based their conclusion in part on the serious wounds Saleh suffered, severe facial burns and large shard of wood that went through his chest and punctured his lung. There is speculation the wood came from a lecturn, NBC News reported.

Saleh’s evacuation for medical treatment has thrown Yemen into a dangerous political standoff, with opponents insisting he now be pushed completely out of power and his allies seeking to preserve his rule.

But the president’s allies say he could return within days and have been resisting U.S. and Saudi pressure to start now on a handover of power. Saleh, who has ruled for nearly 33 years, has held out against a wave of daily protests since late January demanding his removal, throwing the country into turmoil. Before he was wounded, opposition tribesmen rose up and battled for two weeks with government forces in fighting that shook the capital.

The United States fears that the impoverished country’s power vacuum will give even freer rein to al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen, which Washington believes is the terror network’s most active franchise. Already, Islamic militants — some suspected of ties to al-Qaida — have taken control of at least two areas in the restive south, a provincial capital Zinjibar and a nearby town Jaar.

On Friday morning, warplanes hit militant positions north of Jaar, witnesses and security officials said. They said there were casualties but the number was not known. The night before, troops shelled other militant positions near the town with artillery, killing at least six militants, according to medical officials. The medical and security officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press.

In Sanaa’s Taghyeer, or “Change,” Square on Friday, the crowds of protesters demanded that the vice president — who is acting leader in Saleh’s absence — allow the creation of a new government. “The people want a transitional government,” they chanted.

Opposition tribesmen marched through the square with the bodies of 41 of their fighters they say were killed a week ago when troops bombarded the Sanaa home of one of their leaders. The tribe’s chief, Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar, led a march of around 10,000 people from the square to a cemetery in the capital, as protesters chanted, “The people want the butcher put on trial,” referring to Saleh.

In another part of the city, about three miles away, several thousand Saleh supporters held a rally outside his presidential palace. No friction between the two sides was reported.

Similar anti-Saleh protests were held in cities around the country, including in Taiz, Yemen’s second largest city, where tribesmen have moved in to protect protesters who came under attack last week in a fierce crackdown by government troops. In recent days, government forces and tribesmen have been fighting in the city, trading gunfire and shelling.

Since Saleh’s evacuation, Sanaa has been under a fragile cease-fire, with government troops still deployed in the streets where they once battled al-Ahmar’s tribal fighters. The situation has raised fears of a new explosion of violence if a political solution is not found soon — or if the president does indeed return.

Story: US intensifying secret campaign of Yemen airstrikes

The United States and Saudi Arabia are pressing Saleh’s ruling party to move ahead with a Gulf Arab-mediated agreement under which he would formally leave power in exchange for immunity, a new unity government would be formed between the ruling party and opposition parties and new elections would be held within two months.

But youth activists leading the street protests reject the deal, saying it would allow elements of Saleh’s regime to remain in power. They demand the creation of a transitional government made up of technocrats.

In Abu Dhabi, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday called on all sides to honor a cease-fire. She said Washington was pushing for an “immediate, orderly and peaceful transition” in Yemen.

The upheaval of the past months has left Saleh too preoccupied to focus on the fight against al-Qaida, and the United States has stepped up its covert operations in Yemen. American officials said Thursday that a U.S. airstrike on June 3 killed a midlevel al-Qaida operative named Abu Ali al-Harithia in southern Yemen.

Emboldened, the militants have made inroads deep in the Yemeni hinterland and on its rugged mountain ranges.

In Abyan, residents said suspected al-Qaida militants were openly training in camps and using live ammunition for target practice. They were also carrying out identity checks on travelers on roads leading to neighboring provinces.

Residents of the southern province of Shabwa said suspected al-Qaida militants and sympathizers had set up checkpoints on the road to the nearby province of Hadramawt. They also controlled the towns of Rawdah and Houtah, where they freely roamed the streets.

There is a blurred line between Yemen’s large and diverse community of militants and al-Qaida, which is thought to have no more than 300 hard-core members in Yemen. The militants have varying levels of links to the terror network.

Saleh has allied with many of these groups to promote his own interests against political rivals that include moderate Islamists, leftist parties and secular-minded intellectuals. He has sought the militants’ help to “Islamize” the south, where secular traditions endure two decades after it was united with the conservative north.

( www.msnbc.msn.com / 10.06.2011)

Background Paper Related to Palestine Status

Status of Palestine at the United Nations

Background on Observer Status at the UN

The Charter of the United Nations is silent on the issue of observer status. The issue rests purely on practice and has been set on a firm legal basis through discussions and decisions in the General Assembly. There is more than one type of observer, which includes non-member states; intergovernmental organizations; national liberation movements; and beginning 1991 other entities as well. Specialized agencies and related organizations are also considered observers.

The process of acquisition of observer status is far from uniform. The process for admission of non-member states to the United Nations (U.N.) as observers is handled by the Secretariat through the Secretary-General. It has been the policy of the Secretary-General to provide observer facilities in the General Assembly to non-member states that have communicated to him their decisions to establish observer missions. The General Assembly, however, is the highest, competent decision-maker with regard to the admission of observers (with the exception of non-member states). In some cases, a particular organ, in accordance with its own rules of procedure and terms of reference, has invited observers to its sessions.

Rights and privileges of observers vary and precedents refer to a broad spectrum of “activities” or “power”. Variations stem from the different process of acquisition of observer status, the language of the relevant General Assembly resolution granting the observer status and any additional resolution(s) granting more rights and privileges to a particular observer, as well as the established practice in this regard, including the interpretation by the Secretariat of those resolutions.

These variations manifest themselves through differences in access to U.N. principal organs, U.N. subsidiary organs and U.N. conferences; differences in access to the areas and facilities provided for participation in the U.N. system; differences in participation in substantive issues and participation in procedural issues; and finally differences on issues related to immunities and privileges.

Since 1948, seventeen non-member states appointed permanent observers to the U.N. Switzerland was the first and the same process that was followed in its case was also followed in the case of other non-member states. At present, two non-member states maintain observer missions at U.N. headquarters, namely the Holy See and Switzerland. With regard to inter-governmental organizations the Assembly adopted resolution 253 (III) of 1948, inviting the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States to be present as an observer at the sessions of the General Assembly. The same or similar language was used to invite the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States (1950) and the administrative Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (1965). Beginning 1974, with the invitation to the European Community (EC), the language of relevant resolutions developed into inviting the inter-governmental organizations to participate in the sessions and work of the General Assembly in the capacity of observer. At the present time, twenty-one inter-governmental organizations enjoy permanent observer status in the General Assembly.

The U.N. recognized national liberation movements and granted observer status to them. Such recognition basically originates from the policy of decolonization, particularly in Africa. The significance of the participation of national liberation movements has not only been in areas concerning decolonization and the right to self-determination but also in areas of economic and social concerns. They have been perceived as future authoritative governments that will be responsible for the social and economic well being of their people. Hence, the proto-state perception developed.

In 1974, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was granted observer status by resolution 3237 (XXIX). The resolution, inter alia , invited the PLO to participate in the sessions and the work of the General Assembly in the capacity of observer and invited the PLO to participate in the sessions and the work of all international conferences convened under the auspices of the General Assembly in the capacity of observer. The resolution also considered that the PLO is entitled to participate as an observer in the sessions and the work of all international conferences convened under the auspices of other organs of the United Nations.

In that same year, in resolution 3280 (XXIX), the General Assembly invited national liberation movements, recognized by the Organization of African Unity, to participate in the relevant work of the main committees of the General Assembly and its concerned subsidiary organs, as well as in conferences, seminars and other meetings held under the auspices of the U.N. which relate to their countries. Accordingly, ANC and PAC (South Africa), as well as SWAPO (Namibia) were invited. Two years later, the General Assembly adopted resolution 31/152 granting observer status to SWAPO, using the same language as resolution 3237 (XXIX).

In 1990, the Assembly adopted resolution 45/6 granting observer status to the International Committee of the Red Cross and the same was done at a later stage with the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. With regard to specialized agencies, at the present time there are thirteen of them that are observers in accordance with relationship agreements with the U.N.

The types of observers referred to earlier basically describe the nature of the entities. They do not seem to reflect specific categories at the U.N. Observers of the same type have not always been accorded the same rights and privileges, and the types do not seem to fit into any predetermined order in terms of those rights and privileges.

With regard to non-governmental organizations, article 71 of the Charter provides that “the Economic and Social Council may make suitable arrangements for consultations with non-governmental organizations which are concerned with matters within its competence….” Currently, efforts are underway to increase the role of non-governmental organizations in the United Nations. Some member states are suggesting the need for participation by non-governmental organizations in the work of the General Assembly or even all principal organs.

Developments related to the Palestine Liberation Organization and later to Palestine

In May 1964, the Palestine National Council sent formal notification to the U.N. Secretary-General regarding the establishment of the PLO and, in October 1965, the Special Political Committee, at the request of some Arab states, decided that a PLO delegation be allowed to attend meetings of the Committee and present a statement, without implying recognition. The PLO participated in the discussions of the Committee under the agenda item of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in much the same way until 1973.

On 10 December 1969, the General Assembly adopted resolution 2535 B (XXIV), which reaffirmed the inalienable rights of the people of Palestine. On 8 December 1970, the General Assembly adopted resolution 2672 C (XXV), which recognized that the people of Palestine are entitled to equal rights and self-determination in accordance with the Charter of the U.N.

On 12 December 1973, the General Assembly adopted resolution 3102 (XXVIII), which, inter alia , urged that national liberation movements be invited to participate as observers in the Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts. In May 1974, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted resolution 1835 (LVI) and 1840 (LVI), inviting representatives of national liberation movements recognized by the Organization of African Unity and/or the League of Arab States to participate without the right to vote in the World Population Conference and the World Food Conference, respectively. These conferences invited the PLO to participate and, by late 1974, the PLO had already participated as an observer in several other international conferences, such as the Third U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea.

On 14 October 1974, the General Assembly, through resolution 3210 (XXIX) recognized the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people and invited it to participate in the deliberations of the General Assembly on the Question of Palestine in plenary meetings. Accordingly, Yasser Arafat addressed the Assembly on 13 November 1974. With the exception of the ceremonial occasion when Pope Paul VI addressed the Assembly, he was the first representative of an entity other than a member state to address the Assembly.

On 22 November 1974, the General Assembly adopted resolution 3237 (XXIX) granting observer status to the PLO (mentioned above). The PLO has established a permanent observer mission since 1974 at U.N. headquarters in New York and another one in Geneva.

On 8 May 1975, ECOSOC adopted resolution 1949 (LVIII), amending rule 73 of its rules of procedure to provide for the participation of national liberation movements as observers in the deliberations of the Council. In April 1977, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) adopted resolution 36 (IV), recommending to ECOSOC the amendment of ESCWA’s terms of reference so that the PLO could be included in its membership. In July 1977, ECOSOC adopted the recommendation in resolution 2089 (LEXIS) and the PLO became a full member of ESCWA.

On 4 December 1975, at its 1859 th meeting, the Security Council considered a request by a Member State (Egypt) for the participation of the PLO in the debate of the Council. The request was not made pursuant to rule 37 or rule 39 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Council. The Security Council decided on that day by a vote that an invitation should be extended to the representative of the PLO to participate in the debate and that the invitation would confer upon it the “same rights of participation as are conferred when a Member State is invited to participate under rule 37.” That invitation, upon vote by the Council, was repeated henceforth on numerous occasions.

On 23 September 1982, in a letter to a private counselor-at-law, the Office of Legal Affairs stated “as indicated above, a review of the procedural practice of the United Nations shows that the Palestine Liberation Organization now has a unique status in the United Nations with extensive and continuing rights of participation. Even outside the United Nations framework, the overwhelming majority of states formally recognize the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people and have established direct links with it on a bilateral basis, sometimes even granting it full diplomatic status”. On 2 April 1986, the Asian Group of the U.N. decided to accept the PLO as a full member.

In resolution 43/160A of 9 December 1988, adopted under the agenda item entitled “Observer status of national liberation movements recognized by the Organization of African Unity and/or the League of Arab States”, the Assembly decided that the Palestine Liberation Organization was entitled to have its communications issued and circulated as official documents of the United Nations. The same right was also granted to SWAPO in the same resolution. To date, no other observer enjoys that right.

That same year, in resolution 43/177 of 15 December 1988, the General Assembly acknowledged the proclamation of the State of Palestine by the Palestine National Council on 15 November 1988 and decided, inter alia , that the designation “Palestine” should be used in place of the designation “Palestine Liberation Organization” in the United Nations system.

On 2 March 1988, the General Assembly, in a resumed session, adopted resolution 42/229 A & B, which reaffirmed that the Permanent Observer Mission of the PLO to the UN is covered by the United Nations Headquarters Agreement and which called upon the U.S. to abide by this agreement. In resolution B, the Assembly decided to ask the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for an advisory opinion. Several other resolutions were adopted later in this regard until the U.S. ceased its attempts to close down the PLO Mission to the U.N.

On 9 February 1989, at its 2845 th meeting, the Security Council considered a request made directly by the Observer Mission of Palestine for the participation of the Observer of Palestine in the debate of the Council. Again, the request was not made pursuant to rule 37 or rule 39 and the Security Council decided by a vote to invite the Observer of Palestine to participate ” with the same rights of participation of rule 37 .” That invitation, upon vote by the Council, was repeated henceforth on numerous occasions.

On 28 February 1994, at its 3340 th meeting, the same request was made by the Observer Mission of Palestine and, after negotiations aimed at accepting the request without a vote, the Council decided to invite the Observer of Palestine to participate in the current debate of the Council “in accordance with the rules of procedure and the previous practice in this regard.” That invitation was also repeated on numerous occasions.

On 9 November 1994, the General Assembly adopted without a vote resolution 49/12, approving the Report of the Preparatory Committee for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations. In that report, the Committee authorized its Chairman to send a letter to the Permanent Observer of Palestine, confirming that the arrangements mentioned in General Assembly resolution 48/215B of 1994 for the Special Commemorative Meeting of the General Assembly on the occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the U.N., in addition to applying to all member and observer states, shall also apply to Palestine, in its capacity as observer. Further, the Assembly adopted resolution 49/12B of 30 May 1995, which included Palestine, in its capacity as observer, along with member and observer states in the organizing process of the list of speakers for the Commemorative Meeting.

On 7 July 1998, the General Assembly overwhelming adopted resolution 52/250 entitled: Participation of Palestine in the work of the United Nations . The resolution conferred upon Palestine additional rights and privileges of participation that had previously been exclusive to Member States. These include the right to participate in the general debate held at the start of each session of the General Assembly, the right to cosponsor resolutions and the right to raise points of order on Palestinian and Middle East issues. The resolution also changes the seating of Palestine to a location directly after non-Member States, with the allocation of six seats for delegates (observers get two seats). The resolution also makes several important improvements related to participation in the debate under different agenda items. In short, the resolution upgraded Palestine’s representation at the UN to a unique and unprecedented level, somewhere in between the other observers, on the one hand, and Member States on the other.

On 28 October 1998, Mr. Yassir Arafat, Chairman of the PLO and President of the Palestinian Authority, addressed the 53 rd General Assembly plenary under agenda item: General Debate . This marked the first time in the history of the UN that an entity that is not a member state participated under that item. Palestine’s participation was without restrictions with regard to speaking order in the debate. During the 53 rd Session of the General Assembly, Palestine also co-sponsored 21 resolutions and one decision. Both of these were direct results of resolution 52/250,

In November 1998, the U.N. secretariat made some changes regarding Palestine in the book of Permanent Missions to the United Nations (“the Blue Book”). The location of the category under which Palestine is listed was moved and placed immediately after non-member states and before the inter-governmental organizations. The title of Palestine’s category was also changed to ” Entities Having Received a Standing Invitation to Participate as Observers in the Sessions and the Work of the General Assembly and Maintaining Permanent Observer Missions at Headquarters ” instead of “Organizations Having received a standing invitation to participate as observers in the sessions and work of the General Assembly . . .” Earlier, the word ” Office ” was used instead of ” Mission .” Another such change, at the request of the Mission, was the use of the title ” Ambassador ” in conjunction with “Permanent Observer of Palestine “.

(www.un.int / 10.06.2011)

Israel Torture Palestinian Children by Electric-Shocking

Defence for Children International (DCI) Palestine Section(DCI/Palestine) “is a national section of the international non-government child rights organisation and movement (dedicated) to promoting and protecting the rights of Palestinian children,” according to international law principles.

Two earlier articles addressed their work,

Israeli Soldiers Sexually Abuse Palestinian Children” and “Imprisoning Palestinian Children.”

Both covered Israel’s systematic, institutionalized use of torture of Palestinian children as brutally as against adults. DCI/Palestine’s latest September Bulletin adds more, saying:

“For the first time….three (documented) cases of children reporting being given electric shocks by Israeli interrogators (occurred) in Ari’el Settlement.” Each was accused of stone throwing. Electric shocking extracted confessions although the boys maintain their innocence.

DCI and PACTI (the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel) demanded Israel investigate reports that a Gush Etzion settlement interrogator “attached car battery jump leads to the genitals of a 14-year old boy in order to obtain a confession to stone throwing.”

The August 5 incident involved four boys walking near a road used by settlers when an Israeli jeep approached. “Just for fun,” one boy waved. The jeep turned, was joined by others, and chased the boys. They were seized, blindfolded, painfully shackled, detained, and taken to the Zufin settlement, then to the Ari’el settlement where one boy, Raed, was interrogated.

Though innocent, “Threat of electrocution” made him confess to stone throwing, after which his head was slammed against a cupboard. He was also punched in the stomach, and a second interrogator shocked him with a handheld device, making him dizzy and shiver. He then signed a confession in Hebrew he couldn’t understand, was transferred to Salem Interrogation and Detention Center, after which he was taken to Megiddo Prison, in violation of Fourth Geneva’s Article 76, pertaining to the rights assured protected persons detained under occupation.

A second incident involved a 17-year old boy, Malek, falsely accused of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. About 30 soldiers arrested and brutalized him like Raed before transferring him to Ofer Prison. On arrival, he was painfully struck on the head, then interrogated and threatened with physical violence and rape if he didn’t confess. “He denied both accusations” during a two hour interrogation.

On September 15, 13-year old Khalil was arrested and accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail. At 1AM, Israeli soldiers smashed windows of his family’s home, searched it, and took him to Ma’ale Adumin settlement. Though innocent, he was threatened with rape and intimidated to confess. He signed a six page document in Hebrew he didn’t understand and has been detained at Ofer prison.

An earlier incident involved 16 year old Moatasem, arrested on March 20. He remains in administrative detention without charge or trial, at best hoping for a December release. Like the others, from arrest to detention, he was brutalized. During interrogation, he was asked about a plot involving a riot, bullets and weapons with no further explanation, something he knew nothing about and said so. On March 25, he was ordered administratively held for six months, then extended three more on September 26.

On average, from January 2008 – September 2010, Israel held over 300 Palestinian children captive, about 10% of them aged 12 – 15. Usually when complaints or requests for investigations into child arrests and mistreatment are submitted to the Judge Advocate General’s Office (JAG), responses aren’t forthcoming or issued raised are denied.

Shooting Children Collecting Building Gravel

Separately, DCI/Palestine reported on 12 incidents from May 22 – October 14, 2010, involving children aged 13 – 17, collecting gravel near Gaza’s border fence with Israel. Under siege, Israel banned construction materials, forcing hundreds of men and boys to scavenge for what they can find, collecting gravel, placing it in sacks, loading it on donkeys, then selling it to builders for concrete.

In border watch towers, Israeli soldiers at times shoot and kill donkeys. They also target workers, usually shooting at their legs. In recent DCI/Palestine-documented cases, children reported being shot while working from 50 – 800 meters from the border.

In addition, a UN January 2009 – August 2010 study reported at least 22 Gazan civilians killed and 146 injured by live fire adjacent to Israel’s border, including 27 children.

Of DCI’s 12 documented cases, nine “were on, or outside the 300 metre exclusion zone unilaterally imposed by the Israeli army when they were shot.” Under all circumstances with no exceptions, international law prohibits targeting noncombatant civilians. Israel, of course, flouts all international laws with impunity.

On November 10 and 11, DCI/Palestine in cooperation with DCI’s International Executive Council and DCI International Secretariat, Geneva, will conduct an International Children’s Conference titled, “Protective Environment – Active Participation,” under the motto – “Together We Build and Change.”

DCI explains that “Child participation is one of the four basic principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.” Under occupation, involving them is especially important to address their collective needs, interests, and concerns. The upcoming conference thus encourages children to participate and facilitates it “by finding the spaces for them to carry it out.”

Some Final Comments

On October 19, palestinethinktank.com published a wide-ranging interview with Khaled Mesh’al, since 1996, Chairman of Hamas’ Political Bureau. Exiled in Damascus, he became the movement’s overall leader after Israel assassinated Abdul ‘Aziz Rantisi in 2004. His comments below are based on a July published interview in Jordan’s Arabic language Al-Sabeel newspaper.

(1) Negotiating with Israel

Calling it a thorny and sensitive issue, he stressed that it’s “not absolutely prohibited….from a legal or political perspective,” but must be subject to “equations, regulations, calculations, circumstances, contexts and proper management….” Otherwise, “it becomes a negative and destructive tool.”

Currently, he calls it the wrong choice, given the imbalance of power favoring Israel, saying it “refuses to withdraw from the (seized) land, and does not recognise Palestinian rights.” Negotiations under such conditions are fruitless. Israel demands but won’t give. On equal fair terms, negotiations are very acceptable.

(2) Recognizing Israel

As things now stand, he believes recognition means legitimizing occupation, “aggression, settlement(s), Judaization, murders, arrests, and other crimes and atrocities against our people and our land.” Recognition must be earned, not demanded or given, based on equity for both sides. Israel shows no sign of agreeing.

(3) Suggesting Israel and international insistence on recognition a sign of weakness, not stength

“Without a doubt, the enemy is concerned about (its) future….no matter” its regional strength. “The demand for recognition is certainly a sign of weakness, an expression of….inferiority, (and) a feeling that it is illegitimate and still rejected” by regional states “as alien” intruders.

However, superiority feelings also come into play, or in other words, the way “Western nations deal with third world countries,” believing they alone dictate terms from a position of strength, including negotiating preconditions.

(4) Why Israel and the international community reject Hamas’ proposed long-term truce

First, “the logic of power.” Second, “they see Arab and Palestinian parties making (better) offers.” Third, Israeli and Western experience suggests pressure works best, forcing adversaries or counterparties to succumb.

(5) Hamas’ resistance model

It’s “a natural and authentic part of the experience of the Palestinian struggle” for liberation and ending the occupation.

(6) Hamas and international relations

First, the “conviction that the Palestine battle (is for) humanity against Israeli injustice and oppression. Second, “the necessity of promoting (the) legitimate right to resist occupation and aggression.” Third, the importance of using the world stage to address injustice. Fourth, concern for developing relations at all levels. Fifth, doing it begins in the region, “the plant (to) harvest (in) the West.”

(7) Hamas and Jews

“We do not fight the Zionists because they are Jews; we fight them because they are occupiers,” and commit crimes against the Palestinian people. The struggle isn’t about religion.

(8) Hamas and women

“Women in the Islamic concept of thought, jurisprudence, mandate and role are – indeed – one half of society, and (have) been given (their) prestige and respect. However, there is a huge difference between respect and appreciation for women and (their) rightful role (on the one hand), and abusing (them) and presenting (them) as cheap commodit(ies) as is done in the Western civilization (on the other).” In Palestine’s struggle for liberation, women play a distinctive role,”not only as mothers, wives and sisters,” but as activists, teachers, fighters, and providers of logistical assistance.

(9) Zionism’s future

It “has no future in the region.” It’s in decline, and except for attacking Beirut in 1982, Israel hasn’t won a war since 1967. “This is an important indicator of the Zionist project’s ability….In my estimation, the ‘Greater Israel’ project has come to an end, simply because the Zionist enemy is no longer able to accomplish it, and because Israel continues (self-destructively) on the same path as did apartheid South Africa.”

(10) Israel’s role as a regional strategic asset

It’s no longer so, especially after the Goldstone Report and Gaza Flotilla massacre. As a result, “Israel is falling morally, and its true ugly face is being exposed. This is a very important development.” It signifies “premature aging of this enterprise….In short, the Zionist project, like all other” forms of occupation, colonizations, and aggression, “has no legitimacy because it is alien to our region and lacks the elements of survival.” It will end like all the others.

(11) The region’s future

It’s very much in flux with years before better resolution. However, we’re “confiden(t) and hop(eful) that the future will be to the benefit of the nation and the Palestinian resistance and cause….Our reading is not fanciful, and is certainly not defeatist.” It’s realistic and achievable.

“We are a great nation, proud of ourselves, our religion, our land, our history, our culture and identity.” Palestine and Jerusalem as one is “our beating heart and an indicator of our life and survival.”

* Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon.

Israel Torture Palestinian Children by Electric-Shocking | Sabbah Report.

More About Torture

Torture is prohibited by international law. Despite this, Israeli forces don’t hesitate to torture Palestinians when they interrogate them.
The victims are young aged fourteen to seventeen. The police arrested them at their homes in the middle of the late night and took them to the police station in Gush Etzion, where police interrogators tortured them until morning.
The methods of torture include: Forcing the minors to stand in painful positions for prolonged periods; Beating the minors severely for many hours, at times with the use of various objects; Splashing cold water on the detainees in the facility’s courtyard in wintry conditions; Pushing the minor’s head into the toilet bowl and flushing the toilet; Making death threats; Cursing and degrading the minors.
Over the years, torture was particularly prevalent in interrogations by the General Security Service(GSS). Since the Landau Commission recommendations were issued, in 1987, GSS interrogators tortured during interrogations at least 850 Palestinians a year. The methods included violent shaking, painful tying up, covering the head with a smelly sack.

(October 21, 2010 / occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 10.06.2011)