VN gaan Arabische waarnemers Syrië trainen

De Verenigde Naties beginnen op korte termijn met het trainen van waarnemers van de Arabische Liga voor de missie in Syrië. Dat maakte een woordvoerder van de VN vandaag bekend.

Volgens de woordvoerder heeft de Arabische Liga een formeel om de hulp gevraagd. De trainingen beginnen na het weekeinde in de Egyptische hoofdstad Caïro. De waarnemers van de liga houden sinds eind december de veiligheidssituatie in Syrië in de gaten.

De missie heeft veel kritiek gekregen van de tegenstanders van het bewind van de Syrische president Bashar al-Assad. De waarnemers zouden zich om de tuin laten leiden en het staatsgeweld niet hard genoeg veroordelen. Volgens de VN zijn sinds maart meer dan 5000 mensen omgekomen door geweld in Syrië.

( / 16.01.2012)

MLK Day protest at weapons manufacturing company

Extended-range tear gas canister fired at protesters in Nilin in 2009. CSI extended-range canisters like this killed Bassem abu Rahme and seriously injured many others.

Human rights activists are holding a protest today in front of the headquarters of Combined Systems, Inc. (CSI), the Pennsylvania-based weapons maker whose products have been used to suppress protests and kill and injure people from Palestine to Egypt to Oakland.
In a press releaseAdalah-NY, the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, stated that:

US-made tear gas, manufactured by companies like Combined Systems Inc. (CSI)Defense Technology, and NonLethal Technologies, continues to be used by governments including Egypt, Israel, Yemen, Bahrain and the United States to repress popular protest movements for economic and social justice.

In response, human rights advocates will protest again on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 16th, 2012, outside CSI’s Jamestown, Pennsylvania headquarters (see past Protests against Israel’s tear gas use). In advance of the protest, reports indicate that CSI has replaced the Israeli flag that previously flew alongside theUS flag outside its headquarters with a Pennsylvania state flag.

Adalah-NY adds that the tear gas canisters made by CSI are responsible for the deaths of Palestinian protesters in the occupied West Bank, including the December killing of Mustafa Tamimi in Nabi Saleh when Israeli soldiers shot a canister at close range directly in Tamimi’s face.

The press release adds, in full:

On December 9, 2011, in the village of Nabi Saleh in the West Bank an Israeli soldier inside an armored military jeep fired a tear gas canister at close rangedirectly at the face of Palestinian protester Mustafa Tamimi during a protest against the expansion of Israeli settlements on Nabi Saleh’s land. Mustafa died from his wounds the next day. Protesters did not manage to collect the actual tear gas canister fired at him. However, residents of Nabi Saleh have collected samples of the types of tear gas canisters that the Israeli army uses against Nabi Saleh’s weekly protests, including the specific type of tear gas canister – same size and shape – that hit Mustafa. The type of canister that killed Mustafa can be seen in the January 11 and 13, 2012, photos below taken in Nabi Saleh by Bilal Tamimi. The canister has a headstamp on it that reads CTS. CTS stands for Combined Tactical Systems, a brand name of Combined Systems Inc., in Jamestown, PA.

CSI canisters and tear gas, shot by Israeli soldiers during protests against Israel’s settlements and wall on Palestinian land, also caused the deaths of protesters Bassem and Jawaher Abu Rahmah in Bil’in, the severe injury of protester Tristan Anderson, a US citizen, in Ni’lin, as well as severe injuries to many other Palestinian protesters (more information on these protesters).

CSI is the primary supplier of tear gas to the Israeli military as well as a provider to Israel’s police (and border police). Until a January 2012 change to it’s website,CSI listed Israeli Military Industries and Rafael Armament Development Authorityas among its military customers and development partners (see old webpage).  CSI’s founders, Jacob Kravel and Michael Brunn, are Israeli-Americans.

In addition to ubiquitous CSI/CTS canisters found at Palestinian protests, evidence of CSI sales and shipments to Israel is clear. An April 30, 2008, cable available through Wikileaks from the US State Department in Washington DC to the US State Department in Tel Aviv requests clearance for shipment to Israel’s police of the following equipment from CSI: 1,000 Rubber Ball Hand Grenades, 1,000 Tactical Grenades Flash Bang, 1,000 Sting-Ball Grenades, 1,000 Flash Bang Training, and 1,000 Super-Sock Bean Bags. The shipment was part of a larger $5 million agreement between the Israeli police and CSI. An Israeli government website shows that on August 4th, 2011, the Israeli police purchased 6 million shekels ($1.56 million) worth of stun grenades from CSI without issuing a tender.

The PIERS Export Database of US Trade activity is helpful in identifying CSIshipments of tear gas to a number of countries, including Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria (see further information below). However, searching PIERS does not turn up CSI shipments to Israel. The photo of a CSI container below reveals two reasons. The bottom label in the photo shows that the tear gas container was shipped via Israel’s national airline El Al, and PIERS only tracks shipments by sea. Additionally, the bottom label shows the CSI container was sent to Israel’s Ministry of Defense by Interglobal Forwarding Services, in Bayonne, New Jersey. A search on PIERS for Interglobal Forwarding Services over the past year shows over 1,300 shipments, some evidently including tear gas, by Interglobal from theUS to Israel’s Ministry of Defense. But the shipments are listed under Interglobal’s name, and do not show manufacturers’ names.

The US company Defense Technology has also provided some tear gas to Israel’s police.

CSI tear gas kills and injures Egyptian protesters: 

CSI tear gas is also the primary tear gas that has been used by the Egyptian security forces to repress popular protests for democracy in Egypt over the last year, causing protesterdeaths and injuries. Amnesty International highlighted the shipment of CSI tear gas to Egypt in its December 6, 2011, call for the US government to stop sending tear gas and weapons to the Egyptian government due to tear gas-related deaths and injuries to Egyptian protesters. Using the PIERS database, Amnesty International documented three specific shipments of tear gas from CSI in the US to Egypt in 2011 that were approved by the US State Department, despite the Egyptian security forces’ record of using of tear gas to kill and injure protesters in efforts to crush protests.

As additional documentation, a July 11, 2008, cable from the State Department in Washington DC to the State Department in Cairo available through Wikileaks requests information to finalize the shipment from CSI to Egypt’s Ministry of Interior of 20,000 CS Smoke Hand Grenades, 20,000 CS Smoke Long Range Cartridge, and 4,000 CS Window Penetrating Cartridges, together valued at $621,000.

CSI in the Middle East and worldwide:

CSI canisters were also seen (for example at 27 seconds in this Tunisian video) and blamed for protester deaths in Tunisia. The PIERS database reveals an April 1, 2010, CSI shipment of 5.540 kilograms of “grenade cartridges” and “ammunition launchers” to Tunisia. PIERS also shows an April 8, 2011, shipment by CSI of 12,663 kilograms of “ammunition” to Algeria. There is some evidence of use of CSI tear gas by the Yemeni government against protesters.

Other CSI customers include the Netherlands and Germany (information available via PIERS), and (via Wikileaks) GuatemalaIndiaTimor-LesteHong Kong,ArgentinaThailandTrinidad and TobagoCameroon (via Israel), and Sierra Leone.

Defense Technology in the Middle East and Oakland:

A Corporate Watch report shows that the US company Defense Technology has provided tear gas to Israel’s police. Defense Technology is headquartered in Casper, Wyoming, and is owned by the UK arms giant BAE Systems. BAESystems also owns the US arms company Armor Holdings and bought Federal Laboratories, another US company that previously provided tear gas to Israel, and other countries, and was the object of protests and lawsuits during the first intifada (See section on Past Deaths from Israeli tear gas).

Tear gas canisters with Defense Technology and Federal Laboratories have also been used by the Yemeni and Egyptian governments against pro-democracy protesters.

The city of Oakland has also used Defense Technology tear gas in its efforts to stop popular protests by Occupy Oakland. Occupy Oakland protester Scott Olsen, a former US marine, was seriously injured when he was struck in the head by an Oakland police projectile, very likely manufactured by Defense Technology.

Yet another US company, NonLethal Technologies in Homer City, Pennsylvania, is the primary tear gas provider to the government of Bahrain.

US government approval of and funding of tear gas shipments: 

There is clear documentation, and State Department confirmation that the State Department approves sales of tear gas to foreign governments by US companies as “Direct Commercial Sales.”  A US State Department webpage shows many examples in different years of State Department regulated and approved Direct Commercial Sales by US companies of tear gas to countries like EgyptIsrael, and Bahrain. Wikileaks cables also confirm the US State Department approval process for US tear gas sales, as have a number of statements by the State Department. However, in US government records of the US’s “Foreign Military Sales” (FMS), sales of military items by the US government to other governments, use line item descriptions that are too broad to identify whether items like tear gas are being sold by the US government under FMS. Most importantly, because US military aid (“Foreign Military Financing” or FMF) is not reported transparently by the US government, it is not possible for the public to know whether or not the billions of dollars of tax dollars given as military aid to countries like Israel, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain are paying for US tear gas transferred to those countries through Direct Commercial Sales, or possibly through Foreign Military Sales.

( / 16.01.2012)

Official: First Gaza furniture export since siege planned

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities have agreed to permit a truckload of furniture manufactured in Gaza to leave the blockaded strip, in the first export of its kind under the siege, officials said on Sunday.

Palestinian crossing director Nazmi Mhanna said the truck would leave Gaza to head to Jordan in the next 48 hours, after receiving permission from Israel’s military.

Israel tightened a land and sea blockade on Gaza in 2007 after Hamas took control of the coastal strip, restricting the movement of goods and the 1.7 million residents out of the 360 square kilometer territory.

In November, Israel agreed to allow a furniture company to export some goods to Europe, but the factory housing those exports was set ablaze on the eve of the shipment.

The owner told Ma’an that arson was to blame, but no arrests have been made.

Limited imports into Gaza were straitjacketed by the closure of three terminals equipped for fuel and goods transfers since 2008, and a ban on local construction materials.

Exports from Gaza producers are blocked by Israeli authorities, bar irregular vegetable and fruit convoys sponsored by the Dutch government.

“Since all exports from Gaza to Europe via Israel undergo comprehensive security checks and meet all required standards, it is hard to imagine any security rationale behind the ban,” Israeli legal rights organization Gisha says.

The Palestinian Bureau of Statistics says the enclave’s exports in 2005 were worth $41 million, before plummeting under Israel’s siege.

( / 16.01.2012)

Abu Zuhri: OCHA report additional proof to Israeli crimes


GAZA, (PIC)– The recent report of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied land provided another proof of Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people, Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said on Sunday.

He added in a press release that the report included accurate data on Israeli “state terrorism” such as murder, destruction of land and property, eviction of indigenous people, and Judaization.

The OCHA report is an “important, qualitative report” as it provided yet another international condemnation of the “Zionist crimes”, Abu Zuhri said.

The spokesman asked the world community to assume its responsibility in curbing such crimes, and called on the Arab and Islamic peoples to prepare for defending their holy shrines in light of the continued international silence toward them.

( / 16.01.2012)

News form Syria 16.01.2012

And they are shooting at homes for no reason, which is also very shocking. What kind of sick child enjoys shooting at homes?

Very important video leaked from Assad’s army showing a child shooting shooting with the soldiers. WTF?

#Daraa Intermittent Gunfire in the eastern part of town

#Damascus Douma Sounds of two explosions from the side of Makaser road

#Damascus Hajar Aswad A total close of Thawra street and Freedom Square security went on arbitrary arrests and raided houses

#Damascus Hajar Aswad sec forces are firing directly at the protesters to disperse the demo

#Damascus Hajar Aswad A demo started in Freedom Square Participants chanted for the besieged cities and the regimes’ ouster

#Lattakia A demo started in Tabiyat area and chants for the besieged cities and toppling the regime

#Aleppo Maskanah The soldier Sattam Khaleel Al-Qabiyeh was killed in Jabal Al-Zawiya for refusing to shoot at protestors

#Damascus Medan A demo strated from the Sahaba Mosque heading to the Jazamtiye market and chants for toppling the regime

#Damascus Zakia An evening demo got out in solidarity with Zabadany Protestors chanted for toppling the regime

Hasaka Intensive shooting in Ghwiran area by security forces

62 #Damascus Zabadany New military movement by brigade 62 which is centered in Jdaidet Yabus towards Zabadani by around 20 tanks

#Homs Two RPG shells trageted Deir Baalba launched by the thugs (Shabeha) in Abbaseyi area and were followed by intensive gunfire

IOA interview with Haneen Zoabi: Challenge Zionism; demand equality and co-existence

Haneen Zoabi

Haneen Zoabi

The Israeli Occupation Archive – 14 Jan 2012

Haneen Zoabi is a Palestinian member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.  A member of the Balad party (the National Democratic Assembly), she has served as a Member of Knesset (MK) since 2009. Zoabi is known for her fierce opposition to Zionism, to the concept of Israel as a Jewish state which she sees as inherently racist and unjust, and to the Israeli occupation.  Instead, she envisions Arab-Jewish co-existence in Israel/Palestine, based on justice and equality, in a state for all its citizens. She also advocates replacing the Israeli occupation by a Palestinian state, and protecting the rights of Palestinian refugees.

Zoabi became known around the world after her participation in the Gaza Flotilla aboard the MV Mavi Marmara.  As a result, she has been viciously attacked by her Knesset colleagues, who were quick to remove several of her parliamentary privileges; was subjected to a lengthy legal investigation by the Israeli attorney general; was threatened with the revocation of her citizenship by the Interior Minister; was vilified by the Israeli media; and received threats, including death threats, from members of the Israeli public.  As prior IOA coverage of her work shows, Haneen Zoabi withstood these attacks with courage and dignity.

(interview on: /16.01.2012)

New hack targets Israeli stock exchange, El Al

TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — Saudi hackers have hacked into the Israeli stock exchange, three banks, and a website owned by the country’s national airline El Al, news reports said Monday.

A Saudi hacker behind recent attacks told Israel’s Ynet news site in advance of the latest attack, the site reported. The pro-Palestinian group is referring to itself as “Nightmare.”

The site of El Al crashed but officials at Israel’s flag carrier would not confirm or deny the incident was the work of hackers.

“El Al is aware that for the past two weeks cyber war rages against Israel,” El Al said in an emailed statement. “The company closely monitors the Saudi hacker’s activity.”

El Al also said it had taken precautions that could result in disruptions to their website.

Computer hackers disrupted the website of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Monday but trade was not affected, a spokeswoman for the bourse said.

“There has been an attack by hackers on the access routes to the (TASE) website. The stock exchange’s trading activities are operating normally,” said Orna Goren, deputy manager of the exchange’s marketing and communications unit.

The bourse’s website could be accessed intermittently.

The First International Bank of Israel (FIBI) and two subsidiary banks, Massad and Otzar Hahayal, said their marketing sites had been hacked but that sites providing online services to clients were unaffected.

Israel’s third-largest bank, Discount, said it had been spared attack, but that it was temporarily shutting down foreign access to its website as a precaution.

“They have demanded an apology for Israel’s defensive measures,” Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said on his Facebook page, alluding to the conflict with Palestinians.

“I am using this platform to send a clear message that … they will not silence us on the Internet, or in any forum.”

Israeli Information Minister Yuli Edelstein told a conference in Tel Aviv that the cyber attacks were part of a wider move to smear the country’s reputation and “threaten Israel’s economic stability and security”.

“It’s another episode in the war our enemies are conducting as a campaign of delegitimization to hit our pockets and lifestyle,” he said, in reported comments confirmed by his spokesman.

Latest in string of attacks

Hackers took down the Israeli fire and rescue service website last week, posting messages supporting armed resistance against Israel, Israeli media reported.

Israeli TV Channel 2 said the saboteurs identified themselves as the Gaza Hackers Team and warned of more cyber attacks.

Israel has vowed to hit back at computer hackers after thousands of Israelis’ credit card details were posted online last week, by a hacker who said he was based in Saudi Arabia.

“We will take firm action against those who compromise our security including through cyber-terrorism, and if necessary we will use international law enforcement …

“Cyber-terrorism is the new battleground and just as we defeated our opponents on every other field … we will defeat this as well,” Ayalon said.

The attack on the fire service ridiculed his statement, posting a picture of the minister over-set with footprints.

“Why do you not understand that this is an embarrassing situation for you and that you cannot get out of it? Danny Ayalon said that Israel will respond to hacking of Israeli sites. We break into your sites every day and will continue to do so without interruption,” the hackers wrote.

They also posted: “Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad and all the Palestinian factions will fight your army. All prisoners will be released from your prisons. Freedom for Palestine.”

The website was functioning normally a day later.

On Thursday, Israel called on computer hackers not to take the law into their own hands to avenge attacks on Israeli credit card companies, and said the authorities were capable of countering all cyber threats.

After the publication of thousands of personal and credit card details, at least one Israeli hacker declared he had carried out a reprisal cyber-attack on Saudi credit card holders, although the scope of his action could not be verified.

“We call on Israeli citizens to abide by (the law). Just as the Israeli government has found answers for terrorism, we will find answers to this challenge … we call on Israeli citizens not to … act as vigilantes,” Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said in a statement.

The hacker, identifying himself as Saudi-based OxOmar, said last week he had leaked private information about more than 400,000 Israelis. Credit card companies said around 25,000 numbers, some of them expired, had been posted.

After Israeli media ran what they described as interviews conducted with OxOmar by email, the Haaretz newspaper said a blogger had tracked the hacker down and determined he was a 19-year-old citizen of the United Arab Emirates studying and working in Mexico.

Hamas described OxOmar’s actions as “a new form of resistance.”

“We urge Arab youth to ignore these cowardly Israeli threats and to use all means available in the virtual space to confront Israeli crimes,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in Gaza last Sunday.

( / 16.01.2012)

Protest rallies waiting for Netanyahu in the Netherlands


AMSTERDAM, (PIC)– Palestinian activists in the Netherlands called for protest rallies against the visit of Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu to Amsterdam.

The Palestine home in Holland on Monday invited protestors to gather in front of the Dutch parliament next Thursday morning.

It said in a statement that demonstrating against the visit “is the least we can do against this criminal”, and against crimes committed by Israeli leaders against the Palestinian people.

It urged participants to hoist Palestinian flags and placards denouncing the visit and occupation in addition to bringing “old shoes”.

( / 16.01.2012)

Algeria Always Backed Up Palestine, Works to End Blockade On Gaza, Haniya


The Hamas leader, prime minister of Gaza, Ismail Haniya says in this interview with Echorouk that Algeria is still playing a key role in terms of backing up the Palestinian cause, adding that the Arab League budget destined for the reconstruction of Gaza has been seized by Palestine President, Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen.

“Algeria is a big nation, she has known the meaning of occupation, and she scarified martyrs to get back her independence, and this is the secret behind the existing harmonious bilateral relations between Algeria and Palestine. Algeria is keeping providing political, economic and humanitarian back up to the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian cause in general,” Mr Haniya said, adding “Nobody can deny the role of Algeria in the war of 1973 against the Zionist enemy; and she is still working amid a united Arab position that calls for ending the unfair blockade on Gaza, in addition to her recurrent participations in humanitarian aid convoys to the Strip.”

Gaza reconstruction budget taken by Abu Mazen!

Mr Haniya further accused President Mahmoud Abbas of taking for himself the 35 million USD which had been blocked for four years, because Egypt was rejecting transferring them to Hamas leaders, as part of the reconstruction plan of Gaza.

The Hamas leader explained that the Secretary General of the AL, Nabil al-Arabi, told him that the 35 million USD budget was allotted three months ago to President Mahmoud Abbas, on the base of an agreement among the Palestinian factions. He added that “I explained to Mr al Arabi that there has been no Palestinian accord, as Hamas was not part of any consultations over such an issue.”

Peoples can liberate al-Aqsa

As for the Arab Spring, the FM of Gaza government said “This wind of change that blew on the region and the peoples who managed to liberate themselves from tyranny will for sure be able to liberate al-Aqsa Mosque and all of Palestine, as well as break the blockade on Gaza,” adding “I concluded such a feeling during the Arab tour I’ve been conducting these days.”

Al-Quds at stake

Mr Haniya further rang the alarm vis-à-vis the deteriorating situation of the city of al-Quds (Jerusalem), which is enduring a wide and rude Judaization and conversion process, through which the occupation forces are demolishing houses in an attempt to isolate the area from its Arab and Islamic natural environment. He said that the issue was on the top of the discussions agenda with leaders in Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia and Turkey, during his tour in the region. “We told them that two essential steps are required on both Islamic and Arab levels: providing financial support to back up the resistance of al-Quds residents against the Barbary of the colonial forces, and a strong political position that stresses on the fact that al-Quds is the capital city of Palestine.

The emergence of Islamists a bless

The Hamas senior official evoked also the repercussions of the Arab Spring which paved the way to Islamists to take power in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. “The emergence of the Islamist movement will for sure contribute in lifting the blockade on Gaza, while the political map of the region will change for the benefit of the Palestinian cause,” he concluded.

( / 16.01.2012)

Israeli drone ‘mega deals’ export the occupation world-wide

 Israel Aerospace Industries’ ghost drone.

Earlier this month, two Israeli weapons producers signed “mega deals” with “unnamed” countries, exporting a crucial piece of the occupation — drones. The companies, Elbit Systems Ltd., known as the IDF “workhorse,” and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), both sold drones, with the latter also unloading missiles and intelligence systems.

The deals: Elbit collected $50 million from an unnamed country for drones sold to a “governmental office of a country in the Americas.” Not to be outdone, IAI cut a deal for $1.6 billion, their largest contract ever, also from an “unnamed country.”Giving some clues as to who purchased the weapons, IAI let on the confidential client was an Asian government. Israeli business journal Globes followed up on secret deal with an unnamed source, reporting:

[T]his is the first time that the country has signed a contract with IAI, a fact which itself indicates the complexity of the deal and the need or confidence building measures by the parties.

ground control
Elbit’s drone ground control station.

As an new client, the deal excludes the possibility of the U.S., India, Brazil, Columbia, and Chile, all of which, in the past five years, began purchasing weapons tested in the occupation. And at times, Israeli weapons producers fight dirty in order to win government contracts. In 2010 letters surfaced indicating Elbit bribed the government of Colombia in an attempt to steal the billion-dollar deal from IAI.

A special relationship with the IDF

Taking the occupation global is only part of the weapons producers’ mandate. At their core, they operate to build the military apparatus controlling the occupied Palestinian territories. Both companies make clear on their websites that they produce and design specifically to further the IDF’s goals.

IAI’s company profile reads: “IAI has accumulated nearly half a century of experience in creating and supplying advanced systems for the Israel Ministry of Defense.”  IAI is wholly owned by the state of Israel, and dovish Shimon Peres is one of the co-founders.

As for Elbit, the press release from their latest sale boasts their drones serve as “the backbone of the Israel Defense Forces’ UAS[Unmanned Aircraft Systems] operations.” Furthermore, the press release notes the weapons were designed,“following orders by the Israeli Defense Forces.”

Just a reminder that there is money to be made from the laboratory of the Israeli occupation.

( / 16.01.2012)