VS voeren dodelijke luchtaanvallen in Jemen op

Volgens ooggetuigen zijn gisteren zeker vijf mensen door een luchtaanval van een Amerikaans vechtvliegtuig gedood in de regio Khab al-Shath in de noordelijke provincie al-Jawf van Jemen. De regio zou kort achter elkaar vier keer getroffen zijn door onbemande toestellen, de zogenaamde drones. Washington komt  internationaal steeds meer onder vuur te liggen nu de luchtaanvallen in zowel Jemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan en Somalië toe nemen. De Verenigde Staten zouden Jemen bombarderen om het netwerk van Al-Qaida te verzwakken. Maar er kunnen ook heel andere belangen spelen.

De Verenigde Staten hebben het aantal luchtaanvallen de laatste jaren flink opgevoerd. Op 1 juni verloren minstens zeven mensen het leven in de zuidelijke provincie Abyan. Volgens de Jemenitische Nationale Organisatie voor Mensenrechten en Vrijheid zijn er alleen al het afgelopen jaar tachtig aanvallen uitgevoerd met de drones. Volgens de denktank van Washington, de New America Foundation, is het aantal Amerikaanse luchtaanvallen verdrievoudigd in 2012. Amerika hult zichzelf het liefst in stilzwijgen aangaande de luchtaanvallen. Via de Nederlandse media zullen we er weinig van horen.  De laatste berichten lijken van 2012 te zijn.

De Amerikaanse onbemande gevechtsvliegtuigen, de drones, waarmee o.a. Jemen bestookt wordt.

Officials van de Verenigde Staten beweren dat de luchtaanvallen opstandige aanhangers van Al-Qaida moeten uitschakelen, maar volgens de lokale autoriteiten worden er hoofdzakelijk burgers gedood bij de aanvallen. De Jemenitische bevolking talloze malen heeft gedemonstreerd tegen de aanvallen, waarbij men zich beroept op de schending van de Jemenitische soevereiniteit. 96 % van de bevolking van Jemen veroordeelt de samenwerking van de regering van het land met de Amerikanen, zo blijkt uit een onderzoek uit 2011 (door Glevum Associates)

Ondanks de burgerslachtoffers die er gevallen zijn, zijn de aanvallen niet veroordeeld door de Verenigde Naties.  De reden ligt waarschijnlijk in het feit dat Al-Qaida in Jemen als de meest actieve tak van het netwerk wordt beschouwd en dat Al-Qaida meerdere aanvallen op de grenzen van de Verenigde Staten zou hebben beraamd.

Alhoewel het Jemenitische leger zelf aanvallen vanaf de grond uitvoert op vermeende leden van Al-Qaida, heeft de Jemenitische president Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi begin dit jaar een verzoek geweigerd van de Verenigde Staten om meer grondtroepen  naar het Arabische Jemen te sturen. De president zei zich toen te willen houden aan de afspraak dat alle troepen voor de tweede helft van 2013 zich terug zouden trekken uit Jemen. Tot nu toe zijn er echter geen berichten die een terugtrekking van de troepen bevestigen.

Jemen is een van de armste Arabische landen in de regio. De Republiek Jemen werd in 1990 uitgeroepen. De regering initieerde programma van economische hervormingen in 2006, maar de lage olie-opbrengsten, aanvallen door terroristen, ontvoeringen, botsingen tussen shiïeten en soennieten, stammenoorlogen, de aanwezigheid van Al-Qaida en een tekort aan water leken de plannen op het gebied van toerisme, buitenlandse investeringen en economische groei te ondermijnen.

In 2012 werd president Ali Abdullah Saleh afgezet tijdens de politieke crisis in het land, na tussenkomst van samenwerkingsraad van de Arabische Golfstaten, na 32 jaar aan de macht te zijn geweest. Hij werd door de bevolking beschouwd als het schoothondje van Amerika omdat hij de strijd tegen Al-Qaida steunde. De nieuwe president, Hadi, hanteert echter de zelfde politieke agenda als zijn voorganger en verliest snel aan populariteit onder de bevolking.

De Jemenitische bevolking heeft al talloze keren gedemonstreerd tegen de luchtaanvallen

Volgens de Amerikanen is hun aanwezigheid sinds 2009 noodzakelijk om Al-Qaida het hoofd te kunnen bieden. Maar er zijn ook heel andere scenario’s mogelijk. Wat zouden de Amerikaanse belangen kunnen zijn?
 –  Amerika wil een militaire aanwezigheid in Jemen vestigen inclusief bases. Nu de voormalige dictators in Tunesië en Egypte zijn weg gevallen is dat belang alleen maar toegenomen.
– De gunstige strategische ligging van Jemen. Het is de sleutel tot uitbreiding van de invloed in het Midden Oosten, de hoorn van Afrika en Noord-Afrika.
– De Bab al-Mandab toegangspoort bij de Jemenitische kust (een van de langste en drukste vaarwegen in de wereld) waar dagelijks meer dan 3 miljoen olievaten per dag in de richting van Europa, de Verenigde Staten en Azië worden verscheept. Het is voor de Amerikanen van groot belang dat de Jemenitische regering op hun hand blijft.
– Somalië, waar de Amerikanen militair actief zijn en Djibouti, waar ze een basis hebben, liggen aan de overkant van de Golf van Aden bij Jemen.
–  Om de grote vriend Saoedi-Arabië te helpen in hun strijd om landsgrenzen met de Noord-Jemenieten. Saoedi-Arabië schijnt over een groot netwerk van spionnen onder de Jemenitische stammen te beschikken  – door de plaatselijke stamhoofden om te kopen – waar Amerika dankbaar gebruik van maakt.
–  En tot slot is er recent olie ontdekt (in 2010 bleek de reserve veel groter te zijn dan gedacht, namelijk een reserve van 11,9 miljard aan olievaten)
(Source / 10.06.2013)

Schimmige documenten en een deportatie-deal

 

IssaKoulibalyDeportatie-dag komt met rasse schreden dichterbij voor Issa Koulibaly. Nog steeds weigert de Guinese ambassade om duidelijkheid te geven over de oorsprong van de Laissez-Passer, het tijdelijke document waarmee Issa uitgezet zou moeten worden. Issa heeft inmiddels, na ruim drie weken hongerstaking, meer dan twintig procent van zijn gewicht verloren en verzwakt zienderogen.

In een eerder gesprek stelde de ambassadeur dat de twintig LP’s die op 10 mei zouden zijn uitgegeven, niet van de ambassade afkomstig zijn. Ze zijn ondertekend door ‘de consul’, die ook de enige is die de autoriteit heeft om dat te doen, terwijl er op dit moment geen Guinese consul is. Vermoedelijk zijn de LP’s geregeld door de Guinese Taskforce, aan afvaardiging van Guinese politieambtenaren, die op dat moment op bezoek waren in Nederland. De kosten die voor dit bezoek gemaakt werden waren exorbitant en leverden dan ook Kamervragen op.

Officieel hebben de gespreken met de Taskforce en de Nederlandse autoriteiten niet plaats gevonden, na een ‘intern incident’. Maar ineens duiken er wel twintig Laissez-Passers op, van dubieuze oorsprong.

Deal?
In een gesprek afgelopen weekend liet een woordvoerder van de ambassade – die zich de consul liet noemen – weten dat de LP’s wel van de Guinese ambassade afkomstig zouden zijn en getekend zouden zijn door ‘iemand die daartoe was aangewezen’. Op de vraag waarom de stempel van de LP’s incorrect was, antwoordde hij ‘dat mensen weleens slordig werken’. Ook beweerde hij dat Koulibaly’s eerdere ervaring van mishandeling in Guinese detentie niet klopte, want ‘Guinea is een prachtig en democratisch land, waar zoiets niet gebeurt”.

Ook zei hij niet te willen meewerken omdat hij bang was dat er een diplomatieke rel zou ontstaan en hij dan wellicht weggestuurd zou worden. Hij weigerde pertinent om een schriftelijke verklaring uit te brengen.

Aan het einde van het gesprek zei deze woordvoerder: “We, the third world countries of Africa, were forced in exchange from aid money to sign the immigration agreement. There are about 500 Guinean people in the Netherlands, and they want to send all of them back to Guinea. Under our immigration agreement we are obliged to cooperate”.

De lijdensweg
Issa Koulibaly volhardt in zijn hongerstaking. Hij ligt nog steeds in het Justitieel Medisch Centrum in Scheveningen, waar ook twee andere hongerstakers liggen. Zijn gezondheidstoestand gaat hard achteruit en hij weegt nu nog maar 64 kilo. Op de foto’s van Issa is de achteruitgang duidelijk te zien.

Woensdag om 08:00u ‘s ochtends zal de Dienst Terugkeer en Vertrek Issa proberen uit te zetten, ondanks de twijfels over de juridische waarde van de reisdocumenten en zijn verzwakte toestand. De KLM is wéér de luchtvaartmaatschappij die de deportatie faciliteert en de werkgroep Deportatieverzet zal daar dan ook ter plekke tegen protesteren.

(Source /10.06.2013)

Who’s the US Killing in Pakistan? Even the CIA Doesn’t Know

The CIA didn’t know who it was killing about 25 percent of the time it targeted suspects with drones, NBC News reports. Still, the government insists, all of those unknown people definitely deserved to die. According to classified CIA documents, only one of about 600 people the CIA killed in Pakistan in a 14-month period beginning in September 2010 was a civilian, and therefore was not a proper target.

How can the government assert that some 150 people killed were “militants” legitimately killed when it doesn’t know who they actually were? As Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations told NBC, that’s “just not believable.” Drones may be a more precise weapon than many others, but they’re still dropping bombs from the air, and bombs just don’t kill people that carefully. As Zenko put it: “Anyone who knows anything about how airpower is used and deployed, civilians die, and individuals who are engaged in the operations know this.”

The government is apparently hoping that the public doesn’t find that out. Even its classified documents attempt to cover it up by listing the unknown dead as “other militants” or “foreign fighters” without providing any evidence to back that up.

The CIA declined to respond to NBC’s questions, as did the White House.

The source of the confusion here, of course, is the CIA’s now-infamous use of so-called “signature strikes,” which target unknown individuals based on a pattern of activity that a drone operator on a U.S. military base observes. Whether that “pattern of activity” is something as ominous as planting an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), as ambiguous as carrying a weapon (which is pretty common in the tribal areas of Pakistan), or as innocent as doing jumping-jacks at a suspected training camp, is not known. The government has consistently refused to identify what the “signatures” are that can turn a shadowy figure identified on a drone operator’s video screen into a “legitimate” target for firepower.

In his speech at the National Defense University in May, President Obama said that his administration “has worked vigorously to establish a framework that governs our use of force against terrorists — insisting upon clear guidelines, oversight and accountability that is now codified in Presidential Policy Guidance” that he had just signed.

Conveniently for the government, that policy guidance remains classified — which pretty much negates the claim about oversight and accountability.

So far, as NBC’s analysis underscores, the CIA’s actions don’t inspire confidence. An earlier analysis of classified documents from the CIA’s drone program by McClatchy News Servicefound similar inconsistencies between who the government says it’s killing and who actually ends up dead. According to McClatchy’s review, fewer than two percent of those killed were actually al Qaeda leaders, which is who the U.S. government says it targets. The rest were lower level “insurgents,” “fighters” or “militants,” according to the government, not necessarily linked to al Qaeda at all, which is who the United States says its fighting.

In fact, according to Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), the actual number of drone deaths is at least 200 times the “22 top Al-Qaeda leaders plus bin Laden” touted by President Obama recently.

The laws of war allow the United States to kill only members of declared enemy armed forces or civilians directly participating in hostilities. It’s hard to believe the U.S. government is actually following that law if it doesn’t even know who a quarter of the people it’s killing even are.

President Obama’s speech sounded pretty good when he made it, but the more facts trickle out about the drone program the more reason we all have to be skeptical.

What can be done? Human Rights First has set out exactly what steps the United States can take to make sure its drone program complies with international law and doesn’t undermine human rights.

The president should start by making public that Presidential Policy Guidance he announced with such pride. Otherwise, neither the American public nor foreign allies or enemies have any reason to believe the U.S. government has reined in its clandestine killing operations at all.

(Source / 10.06.2013)

Ik kwam hem beroven maar hij heeft mij beroofd

By Marianna Laarif

Er wordt verteld dat een dief de muur beklom van de woning van de uitmuntende geleerde Malik b. Dinar, maar dat hij er niets waardevol vond. Malik, die op dat moment aan het bidden was, merkte hem op. Hij kortte zijn gebed dus in, keerde zich naar hem toe en zei:

‘Mijn broeder in het geloof! Moge Allah jou ingeven om berouw te tonen! Je bent mijn huis binnengekomen en je hebt er niets gevonden dat het waard was om te stelen, maar ik zal je niet met lege handen laten vertrekken.’
Hij bracht hem een kom vol water en zei hem: ‘Verricht je kleine rituele wassing en verricht twee rak’at. Je zult zeker vertrekken met een betere buit dan deze die je zocht.’ ‘Graag,’ antwoordde de dief. Die verrichtte zijn rituele wassing en verrichtte twee rak’at.
Toen hij dat gedaan had, zei hij: ‘Malik, ik wil je niet storen met mijn aanwezigheid, maar kun je mij toestaan om nog twee rak’at te verrichten?’ 
Waarop Malik antwoordde: ‘Je mag zoveel rak’at  verrichten als je wil.’
De dief hield niet op met bidden tot de dageraad.
Malik zei hem: ‘Je kunt nu vertrekken en moge Allah je leiden.’

Atwa Matir is a 15 ½ year old child

Atwa Matir is a 15 ½ year old child who was arrested on 27 May 2013 and accused of throwing stones. He sustained an injury in the stomach during the arrest, but regardless of his deteriorating health condition, he was interrogated in a nearby police station and then transferred to Ofer Prison, where he was denied medical treatment. It wasn’t until the insistence of other prisoners, and when his health deteriorated to the point where it was difficult for him to breathe, that he was transferred to the hospital. At the hospital he was admitted to the general surgery department where he remains under supervision to this day. Atwa is chained by his hand and leg to the bed during the duration of his hospital stay, a grave violation of international human rights law, especially considering his young age and health condition.

 

الطفل عطوة مطير يبلغ من العمر 15 عاماً ونصف من سكان مخيم قلنديا قرب رام الله، اعتقل بتاريخ 27/5/2013 وتعرض للضرب الشديد، ووقع على الارض اثناء مطاردة الجنود له مما ادى الى اصابته بآلام شديده في البطن.
نقل عطوة بعد الاعتقال مباشرة الى محطة الشرطة في شارع بنيامين وبدأ التحقيق معه دون مراعاة لوضعه الصحي، حيث قال الطفل لمحامي الضمير انه كان يعاني من الم شديد في البطن لدرجة انه لم يكن قادراً على التنفس، وقد ماطل الجنود في تقديم العلاج له حتى نقل الى سجن عوفر وهناك ايضاً فحصه الطبيب بشكل سريع وقال له انه لا يعاني من شيء، وعند نقله الى اقسام السجن قال الطفل للمحامي انه اضطر للجوء الى الاسرى حتى يضغطو على ادارة السجن لنقله الى المستشفى لانه لم يعد يقوى على تحمل الالم. وبعد مماطلة في سيارة الاسعاف نقل بواسطة سيارة السجن الى المستشفى
وهناك قاموا بإجراء الفحوصات له، وبقي في العناية المركزة حيث نقل الى قسم الجراحة العامة، واستمر بتلقي العلاج لغاية اليوم.
نلاحظ في الصورة قيام الجنود بتقييد الطفل عطوة من يده ورجله الى السرير على الرغم من سوء حالته الصحية وعمره الصغير.
(Facebook / 10.03.2013)

West Bank Palestinians Indifferent To New Prime Minister

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (R) stands in front of President Mahmoud Abbas during a swearing-in ceremony of the new government in the West Bank city of Ramallah, June 6, 2013.
Almost two months after former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Salam Fayyad resigned, ending the strained relationship that characterized his tenure in the West Bank government, President Mahmoud Abbas appointed Rami Hamdallah, the 58-year-old dean of An-Najah University in Nablus, as the new prime minister.

Hamdallah, who also served as the director of the Central Elections Commission, formed a new government on Thursday [June 6], in which the majority of the ministers remained in their positions with minor reshuffling. Three new ministers were sworn in to head the ministries of finance, social affairs, and education and higher education, in addition to two deputy premiers.

News of the appointment of the British-educated Hamdallah, who obtained a doctorate in applied linguistics from the University of Lancaster and has been An-Najah’s dean since 1998, was largely met with indifference on the Palestinian street. Abbas — whose presidential mandate legitimately expired in 2009 — has chosen Hamdallah without elections in the same manner that Fayyad was cherry-picked immediately following the bloody division with Hamas in 2007, in which hundreds of Palestinians from both sides were killed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In a phone interview on June 4, Mohammad Jaradat, a Ramallah-based journalist, told Al-Monitor that he believes that Hamdallah will be nothing more than a puppet in Abbas’ hands.

“The prime minister’s role will be nothing more than a mouthpiece for all of the decisions that will be undertaken directly by the president’s office, and not by the government,” he said. “In the end, someone had to fill in the position of prime minister, nothing more and nothing less.”

This belief is further bolstered by what Palestinian writer Hassan Asfour wrote in his article titled The Skimmed Palestinian Government, in which he called Hamdallah the “executive secretary of the president.”

“The overall political and security tasks will be handled by the president and his office,” Asfour commented. “Since Washington recently linked the economic file to the political one (which includes the negotiations) to the president’s office, the government won’t have a say on these issues.”

The general impression is that Abbas chose someone from the circle he could trust, out of necessity to find a new prime minister so as to not lose further credibility as president, and not out of the need for a political and clear vision.

Issam Abu Bakr, a local leader for the leftist Palestinian People’s Party, spoke to Al-Monitor about how expectations for Hamdallah’s new role carried with it a complicated and daunting task in relieving the Palestinian people in the West Bank from the PA’s worst financial crisis as a result of Fayyad’s neoliberal standards.

“The political crisis isn’t restricted to one individual,” he said, “but stems from past governments, particularly Salam Fayyad’s model of state-building institutions which heavily burdened the Palestinian people economically and left them in huge debt with the World Bank. The degree of success for this government depends on how well it handles itself in the internal matters, primarily on the economic stage, whether by lowering the taxes and decreasing the high level of unemployment and poverty.”

Abu Bakr acknowledges that the manner of appointing Hamdallah without elections will most likely backfire on the prime minister himself, much like Fayyad was used as a scapegoat for Fatah’s intransigence and internal strife.

“Choosing Rami Hamdallah without the presence of official regulators already highlights the decision in an unfavorable light, especially with the new government to be formed already known that it will be retaining most of its current ministers,” he stated. “This increases the inner confusion of the Palestinian political arena, especially in the wake of plowing ahead with yet another government that is not a unified national one — one that would entail ending the division between Fatah and Hamas.”

While that sort of insight is typically shared by politicians and political analysts, the indifference of the Palestinian street in the West Bank to their new prime minister reflects how the “Palestinian political arena” has been constrained to the circle of the PA, which doesn’t hold much credibility in the first place.

“They know that the people are tired, frustrated and incapable of seriously challenging them,” said Sharif Soleiman, an employee in a human rights organization. “Personally, I don’t care about Rami Hamdallah. I don’t know much about him to begin with. The politicians within the PA play with politics like it is a game, an exclusive game only open to them, without giving thought to the interests of the people.”

Ala al-Azzeh, a cultural anthropologist at Birzeit University, told Al-Monitor that the widespread apathy on the Palestinian people’s part is due to the disorientation and lack of faith in the politicians.

“People have lost their confidence in the Palestinian leadership, which consequently stopped them from relying on the government for any change,” he said. “The faces change but the politics remain fixed and structural. There is nothing to expect [from the government] because there is no political horizon.”

(Source / 10.06.2013)

Hebron activist speaks at UN Human Rights Council

HEBRON (Ma’an) — A human rights activist from Hebron on Monday discussed the plight of Palestinian prisoners at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“I was detained 20 times in 2012 alone despite the fact that I am a human rights activist and non-violence advocate,” Amr told the council.

Amr, who founded the Youth Against Settlements group in Hebron, was invited to speak by UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk and addressed the council as well as representatives of dozens of international human rights groups.

He discussed the oppression and humiliation Palestinian prisoners face in Israeli custody, and spoke about Israeli efforts to force Palestinians from Hebron and replace them with Jewish settlers.

Amr highlighted that Israel plans to bring over 1,000 settler families to live in the heart of the West Bank city, and noted Israel’s closure of Shuhada Street, which housed over 1,800 shops.

The activist urged the international community to impose sanctions on Israel over its ongoing violations of international law.

(Source / 10.06.2013)

Israel: Settlement Construction Nearly Triples in 2013

Palestinians: Settlements Show Israel Not Interested in Talks

Repeated reports that Israel’s government had curbed settlement expansion as a favor to Secretary of State John Kerry have been proven false today, as official government figures show that not only was new construction not curbed, it was actually dramatically escalated.

The data released for the first quarter of 2013 showed new housing starts in the Occupied West Bank nearly tripled, to 865 new starts from only 313 during the same period of 2012.

The revelation appear to be splitting the Palestinian Authority on the question of peace talks, with President Mahmoud Abbas maintaining that he supports Kerry’s efforts, while influential (and jailed) leader Marwan Barghouti insists the expansion showsIsrael is not sincere about its lip-service to the peace process.

Palestinians have long conditioned a return to peace talks on the settlement freeze, since it would be next to impossible to negotiate borders if Israel is constantly encroaching deeper into the occupied territory. Israel’s government has repeatedly ruled out any freezes, even of a partial nature.

(Source / 10.06.2013)

Journal: Palestinian man shot by Israeli rifle fire

A twenty-one year old farmer named Amer Abu Hadayed was shot while harvesting wheat today in Gaza Strip’s buffer zone. His routine of pulling crops from the ground by hand was disrupted when multiple shots were directed at him from one of four Israeli vehicles located on the other side of the apartheid fence.

Amer Abu Hadayed (Photo: Nicholas Lillard)

Amer Abu Hadayed

Amer was not a threat to the army, nor was he threatening the safety of any Israeli. He is a civilian that was doing his job along with three coworkers in a field east of Rafah, near the Sufa landfill.

Myself and another International activist heard the gunfire from a distance while accompanying other harvesters north of the area where the aggression ensued.

Abu Hadayed gave us an account of the event while in a frail condition at the European hospital’s ICU unit. The soldier that fired upon him stepped out from one of three jeeps that regularly patrol the border which is in coordination with an armored hummer that has a large, remote controlled gun mounted on top of it. This sort of weaponry is supposedly for the security of the rest of the patrol.

This attack of a young man proceeds a violation that incidentally was inflicted upon another twenty-one year old named Ahmad Hamdan eight days ago. Ahmad was injured by a bullet on the second of June, the impact caused a fracturing of his right femur “Journal: Palestinian farmer wounded by Israeli army fire,” 7th June 2013).

In Amer’s case he did not receive any bone fracturing and based upon the placement of the wound such an injury would be a minor concern compared to the alternatives. The bullet entered the left side of his upper chest, barely missing his lung. The path of the projectile also missed hitting the auxiliary artery that is mere inches from the lung, this location also holds an extensive amount of nerves which were apparently missed as well. Amer moved his arm around to show that he continues to have at least partial range of motion. He will remain in the ICU for another day so that any potential complications can be monitored and dealt with immediately. The nurses said that his bleeding is minimal and that they’re mostly watching his recovery to make sure no hemorrhaging is going to take place.

This incident is nothing short of a crime that was orchestrated by the Israeli army to further oppress the Palestinian people. It is a clear violation of Amer Abu Hadayed’s human rights and yet another example of the continued ethnic cleansing the Zionist regime perpetrates on a regular basis.

(Source / 10.06.2013)

Israeli town with anti-Bedouin bias earmarked for Dutch water project

An Israeli town set to benefit from a water project by the Dutch branch of the Jewish National Fund denies adequate health treatment to Bedouins living nearby, according to a human rights group.

Approximately 250 Palestinian Bedouin families from the village of Abda depend for medical care on the clinic in Mitzpe Ramon, a Jewish town in the Negev/Naqab region of present-day Israel. The latest newsletter from Adalah, an organization campaigning for the rights of Palestinians in Israel, documents how the clinic discriminates against those families.

In 1994, the Israeli high court ruled — after a hard struggle by the people of Abda — that the government had to open a clinic in the village’s school. Over the years, the opening hours have been gradually reduced. Now the clinic is only open for two hours on Thursdays and Fridays. The doctors of the clinic in Mitzpe Ramon are responsible for providing medical care services to Abda. Even with its severely reduced hours, the clinic can be closed when the doctors have no time to drive to Abda because they are too busy treating patients from Mitzpe Ramon.

The villagers who need medical care outside the opening hours of the village clinic need to travel 26 kilometers to Mitzpe Ramon. This is a challenging undertaking if one depends on public transport, because the nearest bus stop is four kilometers from Abda, a village not recognized by the Israeli state.

Upon arrival at the Mitze Ramon clinic, the patients are often told that “they should have set up an appointment earlier,” according to Adalah. Patients sometimes have to wait weeks for an appointment.

Language barrier

Language is another obstacle in obtaining effective health care, in particular for the elderly, who make up 40 percent of Abda’s population. The majority of the elderly do not speak Hebrew. Despite clear government regulations that all health institutions must provide access to translators, staff in the Mitzpe Ramon clinic do not provide Arabic translation to the indigenous Palestinians from Abda.

This means that Palestinians are treated less favorably than Russian and Ethiopian Jews who have settled in Mitzpe Ramon and can receive medical advice in their own language.

This discrimination is in breach of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which upholds the right to public health and medical care without distinction as to race, color, or national or ethnic origin.

Adalah’s findings should be a wake-up call to the Dutch government, which treats the Jewish National Fund as a charity. As I wrote in April, the JNF is planning a water project in Mitzpe Ramon. The project is due to be named after King Willem-Alexander, the new monarch in the Netherlands.

The charter of the Dutch branch of the JNF explicitly mentions the Jewish people as the beneficiary of its activities. By definition, then, the project in Mitzpe Ramon is designed to serve the Jewish population and not the indigenous Palestinian Bedouins from the nearby village of Abda.

The principle of non-discrimination is enshrined in the first article of Netherlands’ constitution. If the Dutch authorities allow the JNF proceed with its water project, they will be trampling over values that are of pivotal importance to their country.

(Source / 10.06.2013)