11 years on, Palestinian Dura case stirs emotions

TV grab from France 2 footage shot in 2000 in the Gaza Strip shows Jamal al-Dura and his son Mohammed. Controversy continues to stalk the case of Mohammed al-Dura more than 11 years after the Palestinian boy was shot dead in an exchange of fire in Gaza. On Tuesday, France's highest appeals court is to rule on a dispute between France 2, and a French activist who claims the footage was staged.

TV grab from France 2 footage shot in 2000 in the Gaza Strip shows Jamal al-Dura and his son Mohammed. Controversy continues to stalk the case of Mohammed al-Dura more than 11 years after the Palestinian boy was shot dead in an exchange of fire in Gaza. On Tuesday, France’s highest appeals court is to rule on a dispute between France 2, and a French activist who claims the footage was staged.

AFP – Controversy continues to stalk the memory of Mohammed al-Dura more than 11 years after the Palestinian boy was shot dead in an exchange of fire between Israeli troops and Palestinian fighters in Gaza.

On Tuesday, France’s highest appeals court is to rule on a dispute between France 2, the channel whose iconic images of the incident were beamed around the world, and a French activist who claims the footage was staged.

Since Dura’s death on September 30, 2000, the second day of the second intifada or uprising, 1,141 unarmed Palestinian minors have been killed, according to Israel rights group B’Tselem.

More than a quarter of them died during Israel’s offensive on the Gaza Strip between December 2008 and January 2009.

But it is the death of 12-year-old Dura, who died in the arms of his father, that remains graven in the memories of most. The scene was captured on video by a France 2 cameraman, and quickly broadcast worldwide.

More than a decade later, with the intifada over, the report on Dura’s death remains a major battlefield in the media war between Israel and the Palestinians.

In the Arab world, Dura quickly became a symbol with which to condemn the Israeli occupation. The image of the child keeled over was reproduced on posters, stamps and T-shirts. Streets were named in his memory.

On the other side, defenders of Israel contested the reporting of Charles Enderlin, France 2’s Jerusalem correspondent, whose voice-over of the images in the report said Israeli bullets had killed the boy.

Some cast doubt of the provenance of those bullets, saying they were in fact Palestinian. But others claim the entire event was staged, that Dura did not in fact die in his father’s arms.

“The issue could have quickly disappeared after the initial emotion stoked by the incredible violence of these images of a child in the process of dying,” says Jerome Bourdon, a communications professor at Tel Aviv University.

“But these images became such a symbol — for pro-Palestinians and pro-Israelis — that no one could let go.”

A key figure in the debate in France is Philippe Karsenty, director of the Media Ratings — a media watchdog group — who claims Enderlin’s report on the Dura incident was doctored.

“Karsenty has expended tremendous energy to bring attention back to the matter. He seized the Dura affair with the idea that he would be the new (Emile) Zola of the (Alfred) Dreyfus affair,” said Bourdon, author of “The Impossible Narrative: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the Media.”

Israeli authorities adopted the narrative of a staged incident late in 2007, after a period of relative silence on the issue.

Just two weeks ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated French-Israeli doctor Yehuda David, after he was acquitted of defamation charges levelled by Dura’s father Jamal.

David in 2008 wrote that scars on Jamal al-Dura, reportedly from injuries sustained during the shooting that killed his son, were in fact from previous injuries, supporting the theory that the incident had been staged.

In France, large parts of the Jewish community now subscribe to Karsenty’s theory.

“It’s not just a question of politicisation by extremists. Numerous French Jews felt during the second intifada that Israel was unjustly accused by the media,” said Bourdon.

“They were shocked by the Dura affair. Karsenty’s theory could not have had the same impact without this emotional dimension.”

On the Palestinian side too, the images of Dura’s death remain a potent symbol, according to Amal Jamal, a professor of political science at Tel Aviv University.

“These images contain all the history of the second intifada, the Palestinian tragedy, the inhumane conditions in which they live and the everyday nature of the force deployed against them by Israel,” he said.

“It’s of little importance whether the bullets that killed Mohammed were Palestinian or Israeli,” he noted.

“The symbolic strength of the images of the death of Mohammed is so strong that they they will never completely disappear. They have only just started to face competition in the collective imagination of the Palestinians from the images of the Arab Spring.”

(www.france24.com / 27.02.2012)

Hunger striker Khader Adnan rushed for surgery

Palestinian Khader Adnan was rushed into surgery on Monday evening despite giving up his 66-day hunger strike last week.

Prisoners’ rights group Addameer, which has been dealing with Adnan’s case, tweeted on Monday evening that Adnan had been taken into surgery but added that it was not clear whether his life was in danger.

BREAKING:  was just transferred to surgery. Waiting for news from Physicians for Human Rights-Israel for more details.

We have no way of knowing yet how serious ‘s condition is. PHR-Israel doctor is on the way to the hospital. Updates to come.


Adnan was in serious danger of organ failure before he ended his hunger strike on February 21 following an agreement with Israeli representatives.

Under the deal Adnan is due to be released when his so-called administrative detention ends in April.

Hunger strikers are in serious danger of irreparable damage if they go beyond 60 days. Infamous Irish hunger striker died after 66 days, the same number the Adnan completed before agreeing to the deal.

(english.al-akhbar.com / 27.02.2012)

Young Palestinian entrepreneurs to receive loans through UN-backed initiative

Despite modest economic good news in the West Bank, the number of unemployed refugees grew by nearly one per cent in the first half of 2011.

Thousands of young Palestinians will receive access to financial loans to support their new businesses through a United Nations-backed initiative announced today, which seeks to stimulate the creation of new jobs in the Middle East.

The “Mubadarati” loan programme will be carried out by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in collaboration with Silatech, a social enterprise company that focuses on creating opportunities for youth in the Arab world.

“This initiative responds to the desire and demand of youth throughout the region to end their exclusion,” said Peter Ford, representing the Commissioner-General of UNRWA at the signing of the partnership.

“Both UNRWA and Silatech are committed to policies of economic empowerment and financial inclusion that will enable Palestinian youth to play their full economic and social role in the societies in which they live and work.”

According to UNRWA, there are a significant number of young Palestinians between the ages of 18 and 30 who wish to start new income generating projects but are not able to get access to microcredit.

“They face the perennial ‘catch-22’ problem of not being able to start a business without a loan, but not being able to get a loan without a minimum of three months’ business operating experience,” the agency said in a news release.

To close this gap, the UNRWA-Silatech partnership will provide loans to young people while at the same time reducing the risk in lending to start-up businesses, as the loans will be financed by UNRWA’s microfinance program and supported by a partial guarantee financed by Silatech.

Silatech’s guarantee will reduce the degree of financial risk incurred by UNRWA, allowing the agency to give out millions of dollars in additional loans to help youth start new business ventures.

Mubadarati is the first youth start-up loan product to be offered in the West Bank and Gaza, while the Silatech loan guarantee is the first of its type in the Arab region.

“Through this partnership, Silatech and UNRWA will help unlock opportunities for young Palestinian entrepreneurs to finance their own businesses, develop their entrepreneurial skills, and create new employment opportunities both for themselves and others,” said Silatech’s chief executive, Tarik Yousef.

(www.un.org / 27.02.2012)

Nieuw bloedbad na ‘schijnreferendum’ Syrië

Rookpluimen stijgen op uit Homs, 26 februarie 2012.

Het veiligheidsapparaat van de Syrische president Bashar al-Assad heeft vandaag opnieuw woonwijken gebombardeerd in het verzetsbolwerk Homs en in plaatsen in het noorden van Syrië. Volgens tegenstanders van het dictatoriale regime stierven daarbij zeker 125 personen.

Een netwerk van lokale actiecomités van de oppositie stelde dat 64 mensen om het leven zijn gebracht bij een controlepost in het westen van de provincie Homs. De slachtoffers zouden vluchtelingen zijn uit wijken in de stad Homs, die sinds begin deze maand vrijwel onafgebroken worden aangevallen door het Syrische leger.

De lijken zouden zijn gevonden nadat een overlevende melding had gemaakt van de moordpartij. De slachtoffers zouden zijn doodgeschoten en doodgestoken. In totaal zouden er in Homs maandag zeker 89 mensen om het leven zijn gebracht. Elders in het land vonden nog 36 Syriërs de dood, onder meer in plaatsen in de noordwestelijke provincie Idlib.

Ambulances van de Rode Halve Maan, de islamitische zusterorganisatie van het Rode Kruis, zouden vanavond drie gewonde Syriërs hebben geëvacueerd uit de wijk Baba Amro in Homs. Twee gewonde westerse verslaggevers verblijven nog altijd in de buurt, die in de afgelopen periode het toneel was van hevige bombardementen door het leger. Die werden onder meer uitgevoerd met tanks en artillerieinstallaties. De Franse journaliste Marie Colvin en de Amerikaanse fotograaf Remi Olchik stierven vorige week tijdens een beschieting in Baba Amro.

‘Volmaakt cynisch’
Mensenrechtenorganisaties en landen die af willen van Assad en diens regime hadden vandaag geen goed woord over voor het referendum over hervormingen dat een dag eerder in Syrië was gehouden. De Verenigde Staten noemden de volksraadpleging ‘volmaakt cynisch’. Andere critici spraken van een schijnreferendum. De Syrische oppositie had opgeroepen tot een boycot van de stembusgang.

(www.parool.nl / 27.02.2012)

“The Invisible Arab: The Promise and Peril of the Arab Revolutions”

    • donderdag
    • 12:30 tot 14:00
  • “The Invisible Arab: The Promise and Peril of the Arab Revolutions”


    Mr. Marwan Bishara
    Senior Political Analyst, Al Jazeera English

    Thursday, 1 March 2012
    12:30 – 2:00 p.m. EST
    The Palestine Center

    CLICK HERE TO RSVP: http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/ht/d/RegisterForEvent/i/32854

    Marwan Bishara is Al Jazeera English’s senior political analyst and the editor and host of its flagship show “Empire,” a program that examines global powers and their agendas. He was previously a lecturer of International Relations at the American University of Paris and a fellow at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. Bishara’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Washington Post, Newsweek, Guardian, Le Monde, Al-Ahram Weekly, Al-Hayat, and The Nation, among other outlets.

    Copies of The Invisible Arab: The Promise and Peril of the Arab Revolutions will be available for purchase and Mr. Bishara will be signing copies after the event.

Israel violates prisoner swap deal, re-arresting ex-inmates

A human rights activist says the Israeli regime has violated the 2011 prisoner exchange deal as part of its persisting repression against Palestinians, Press TVreports.

Joe Carton, an American activist in the Gaza Strip, told Press TV on Sunday that the re-arrest of five Palestinian prisoners “in violation of the prisoner exchange negotiated with the governments of Gaza and Egypt are part of Israel’s ongoing repression against just resistance by the Palestinian people against the ongoing occupation, apartheid and siege imposed upon their land.”

Over the past few weeks, the Tel Aviv regime has re-arrested five Palestinian prisoners that were freed from Israeli jails in October and December last year under a deal mediated by Egypt to free 1,027 Palestinian inmates in exchange for Hamas-captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Female Palestinian prisoner Hana al-Shalabi is one of the re-arrested detainees. She has reportedly gone on a hunger strike since her arrest.

Jaber Weshah, the deputy director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, said on Sunday the Israeli move is a “violation of the norms of the exchange and I think this should be highlighted internationally and Israel should abide by the agreement.”

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, before the release of the 1,027 prisoners, about 6,000 Palestinian detainees were held in Israeli prisons.

Islam Abdo, a Hamas official, called on Egypt to “oblige Israel to respect the agreement and release the prisoners and also improve the detention conditions of the other Palestinian prisoners.”

(www.presstv.ir /27.02.2012)

Werkgroep ‘Islamitische ethiek’ Les 1:Het gebed;grondslag voor goede deugd.

    • woensdag
    • 18:00 tot 20:30
  • Beste SABR leden en geïnteresseerden,

    Wij zijn zeer verheugd u mede te delen dat er een nieuwe werkgroep van start gaat. Dit keer heeft de werkgroep het onderwerp: “Islamitische ethiek”.

    Als moslim heb je dagelijks te maken met islamitische voorschriften op verschillende vlakken. Gecondoleerd? Gefeliciteerd? Insha’Allah? Hoe kunnen we goed gedrag definiëren? Trouwen? Abortus? Kinderen? Op welke manier moeten we omgaan met dagelijkse maatschappelijke ethische vragen kwesties? Om antwoord te geven op deze verschillende vragen en kwesties organiseert studentenvereniging SABR de 6-delige werkgroep ‘Islamitische Ethiek’. De werkgroep zal worden gegeven door broeder Rafik Dahman. Dr. Mohamed Ghaly zal op 22 februari een openingscollege geven over de Islamitische ethiek. Vanaf 22 februari zijn jullie allen iedere woensdag van 18:00 tot 20:30 welkom in het studentencentrum Plexus te Leiden. Meld je snel aan via contact@sabr.nl en laat deze unieke en interessante werkgroep niet aan je voorbij gaan.

    De structuur van de werkgroep ziet er als volgt uit:
    22 februari: Openingscollege: Mohamed Ghaly
    29 februari: Het gebed; grondslag voor goede deugd.
    7 maart: Het huwelijk en gezinsleven; rechten en plichten
    14 maart: Abortus en actieve kinderbeperking
    21 maart: Ahadith over goede eigenschappen
    28 maart: Dhikr(Allah gedenken); vermaning van de ziel

    In ‘t kort:
    Datum: woensdag 22 februari (hierna iedere woensdag)
    Tijd: 18:00 – 20:30
    Locatie: Plexus studentencentrum, Spectrumzaal
    Adres: Kaiserstraat 25, Leiden
    Aanmelden: contact@sabr.nl
    Entree reeks: 10 euro niet-leden, 5 euro leden

    Ben je geïnteresseerd in deelname? Meld je dan snel aan want er is een maximaal aantal plaatsen beschikbaar! Wij hopen u 22 februari te mogen verwelkomen voor een interessant begin van de reeks werkgroepen.


    Studentenvereniging SABR

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Filed Over Boycott of Israeli Goods

 Court Finds Suit Is Effort to Chill Boycotters’ Public Statements
On Issue of Public Concern
February 27, 2012, Olympia, WA and New York, NY – Today, in a lawsuit brought against current and former members of the Olympia Food Co-op board of directors for their decision to boycott Israeli goods, a Washington State court dismissed the case, calling it a SLAPP – Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation – and said that it would award the defendants attorneys’ fees, costs, and sanctions. The judge also upheld the constitutionality of Washington’s anti-SLAPP law, which the plaintiffs had challenged.
In a court hearing last Thursday, lawyers from the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP argued that the court should grant the defendants’ Special Motion to Strike and dismiss the case because it targeted the constitutional rights of free speech and petition in connection with an issue of public concern.
“We are pleased the Court found this case to be what it is – an attempt to chill free speech on a matter of public concern.  This sends a message to those trying to silence support of Palestinian human rights to think twice before they bring a lawsuit,” said Maria LaHood, a senior staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights.
On Thursday, the courtroom was filled with interested observers, and boycott supporters held a rally outside the courthouse. Today, the courtroom was filled to overflowing and many co-op supporters spilled into the hallway.
“We’re thrilled that the court saw fit to protect the board’s right to free speech. This decision affirms the right to engage in peaceful boycotts without fear of being dragged through expensive litigation,” said Bruce E.H. Johnson of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, who drafted Washington State’s Anti-SLAPP law.
Also at the hearing on Thursday, the court denied plaintiffs’ motion for discovery, which sought to depose defendants and obtain documents. The defendants’ attorneys had argued that lengthy depositions and voluminous document production is precisely the type of burden the anti-SLAPP statute was intended to prevent. Before the case was filed, the plaintiffs sent the co-op board members a letter indicating that plaintiffs would bring a “complicated, burdensome, and expensive” legal action if the co-op did not end the boycott.
“Today’s victory is not only for the Co-op, but one for free speech,” said Jayne Kaszynski, spokesperson for the Olympia Food Co-op, and one of the defendants in the case. “We look forward to returning all of our energy to the Co-op’s mission.”
SLAPPs are lawsuits that target the constitutional rights of free speech and petition in connection with an issue of public concern  Although many cases that qualify as SLAPPs are without legal merit, they can nonetheless effectively achieve their primary purpose: to chill public debate on specific issues. Defending against a SLAPP requires substantial money, time, and legal resources, and can divert attention away from the public issue and intimidate and silence other speakers. Washington State’s Anti-SLAPP statute was enacted in 2010 to deter such lawsuits.
The boycott is part of a global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel for what boycotters say are violations of international law and the denial of Palestinian human rights.  The lawsuit seeks to prevent enforcement of the boycott policy and to collect monetary damages against the 16 past and current board members. The case was filed by five co-op members, purporting to bring the suit on behalf of the co-op itself, which has approximately 22,000 members.
The Olympia Food Co-op is a nonprofit corporation that was formed in Olympia, Washington in 1976. The co-op seeks to make good food accessible to more people while encouraging economic and social justice, and it has a long history of social justice work. In 2010, the board passed a resolution by consensus to boycott Israeli goods.
The case is Davis, et al., v. Cox, et al., Case No. 11-2-01925-7 in theSuperior Court of the State of Washington in Thurston County.  For more information and today’s argument, and to view filings in the case, visit the Center for Constitutional Rights case page.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is counsel on the case with CCR cooperating counsel Barbara Harvey from Detroit, Michigan, and Steven Goldberg from Portland, Oregon, along with Seattle attorneys Bruce E.H. Johnson and Devin Smith of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP. For more information about Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, visit http://www.dwt.com/.
The Olympia Food Co-op is a member-based, not-for-profit, natural foods grocery store with two locations in Olympia, WA. The Olympia Food Co-op has provided healthy, organic and local food to the Olympia area since 1977, with an emphasis on promoting social and environmental responsibility. The stores are collectively managed and largely volunteer-run. Visit www.olympiafood.coop.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.
(ccrjustice.org / 27.02.2012)

School Children (Palestine) Organize Solidarity Protest with Detainee Shalabi

As Palestinian Political Detainee Hana Ash-Shalabi entered her twelfth day of open-ended hunger strike on Monday, school children and teachers organized a solidarity protest.

Free Hana Ash-Shalabi Poster
Free Hana Ash-Shalabi Poster

Israeli authorities moved Ash-Shalabi on Sunday to solitary confinement at the Ha-Sharon Israeli prison. The Palestinian political detainee announced Sunday that she will continue her strike until she is released.

Ash-Shalabi is following the footsteps of detainee Adnan Khader who carried out a 66-day hunger strike. Khader, who reached a near death condition and organ failure, ended his strike last week when Israel pledged to release him in April.

Protesters today marched from the local school carrying Ash-Shalabi photos and demanded her immediate release. The march ended at the protest tent outside Ash-Shalabi’s home in the northern west Bank village of Borqeen near the northern West Bank city of Jenin.

Ash-Shalabi, 28, is the first female detainee who was release under the Shalit prisoner-swap deal to be re-arrested by the army. She was taken prisoner on February 16, 2012, and was ordered under Administrative Detention for six months.

(www.imemc.org / 27.02.2012)

Report: Israeli rail company plans West Bank network

TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — A state-owned Israeli railway company has prepared a proposal for building a rail network in the occupied West Bank, Israel’s Haaretz reported on Monday.

The plan reportedly calls for creating 11 rail lines extending to 475 kilometers of rail-track through the West Bank.

The network would reportedly include a line passing through Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Jerusalem, illegal settlement Maale Adumim, Bethlehem and Hebron, Haaretz said.

Another line would run along the Jordan Valley and then on to Haifa.

No date has been set for carrying out the proposal and there are several legal, diplomatic and economic obstacles to the projects implementation, Haaretz said.

The Hague Regulations prohibit an occupying power from undertaking permanent changes in an occupied area unless these are due to military needs in the narrow sense of the term, or unless they are undertaken for the benefit of the local population, rights group B’Tselem say.

(www.maannews.net / 27.02.2012)