1948 Palestinians commemorate 56th anniversary of Sandala village massacre


Victims of the Sandala village massacre poses for a picture in 1957

NAZARETH, (PIC)– Hundreds of Palestinian natives from the 1948 occupied lands participated on Friday in a rally commemorating the 56th anniversary of the Israeli massacre in Sandala village that had claimed the lives of 15 students in 1957.

The incident also rendered many other students injured and happened when an Israeli explosive device exploded at them as they were en route to their homes after finishing their school day.

The anniversary events kicked off yesterday at the invitation of the Palestinian committee for freedoms, prisoners, martyrs and the wounded, an affiliate of the Arab follow-up committee in the 1948 occupied lands.

During the rally, Sheikh Ra’ed Salah, head of the freedoms committee and the Islamic Movement in the 1948 occupied lands, delivered a speech about the massacre.

Sheikh Salah pledged in his speech that his committee would work on erecting a monument commemorating the martyrs of Sandala village and publishing a book about their lives.

(Source / 15.09.2013)

Giving Assad a license to kill

Faisal J. Abbas

Of all American politicians, it is Senator John McCain who seems to really “get it” when it comes to dealing with the Assad regime.

When an American strike seemed imminent a fortnight ago; he warned that a ‘cosmetic’ assault will not do the job as he criticized President Obama for taking so long to decide to intervene in Syria’s civil war.

Without doubt, Senator McCain was right to warn that anything short of a crippling attack would only be giving the Assad Regime a license to carry on slaughtering his own people.

On Saturday, McCain issued a joint statement with Senator Lindsey Graham criticizing the recent deal struck between the U.S. and Russia regarding the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, saying that it would give Assad time to “delay and deceive” while the country’s civil war continued.

“It requires a willful suspension of disbelief to see this agreement as anything other than the start of a diplomatic blind alley, and the Obama administration is being led into it by Bashar Assad and (Russian president) Vladimir Putin,” the statement added.

Just like some of these celebrities go back to driving under the influence of alcohol as soon as their arrest story dies down; Assad will find a million dreadful ways to commit his crimes as long as he is still in power.


Faisal J. Abbas


Indeed, given President Assad’s history; the U.S. administration would be quite delusional if it actually believed that he (Assad) means what he says, or says what he means.

More importantly, it was wrong from the start for the United States (and other Western countries) to build the case for intervention in Syria based on the Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons, which last month left around 1,400 civilians choking to death.

After all, Assad’s brutal retaliation to the peaceful, pro-democracy protests which began in 2011 has already resulted in more than 100,000 deaths and millions of refugees.

In a previous column, I raised the question of whether or not it was the weapon of murder rather than the murder itself which mattered. I wondered whether it is acceptable for the international community to ignore the plight of the Syrian people just because the 100,000 lives we lost were taken by using conventional weapons (…you know; just your average fighter jets, tanks, missiles and machine guns!).

Today, I ask how many more lives should be taken before the world decides that it is time to put an end to this murderous regime; or is it that what the Americans, Europeans and Russians are really saying is that Assad can continue killing his own people, just as long as he doesn’t gas them to death?

Why signing the CWC is no victory

President Obama knows all too well that it is always best to win a war without fighting; and for him, the fact that Assad agreed to cooperate with the International Community by signing the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is probably considered a victory.

However, Assad’s CWC announcement is laughable and is no more than a charm offensive designed to have the same impact as when some A-list celebrities announce they are going to rehab just as the news is out that they were caught drink-driving.

Just like some of these celebrities go back to driving under the influence of alcohol as soon as their arrest story dies down; Assad will find a million dreadful ways (possibly using chemical weapons again) to commit his crimes as long as he is still in power.

For her part, Claudia Rosett, a former Wall Street Journal staff-writer and currently a journalist-in-residence with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington DC states that the CWC treaty is “neither verifiable nor enforceable,” and “will protect Assad, not his potential victims.”

Rosett argues in a recently published article that one just has to review the list of countries which signed the CWC to realize it really doesn’t mean much; and the U.S. administration of all entities should know this very well, especially that it is the Russians who are offering to rid Assad of his chemical weapons.

According to the State Department’s 2013 report to Congress on compliance with the convention, “the United States assesses that Russia’s CWC declaration is incomplete with respect to chemical agent and stockpiles.”

Iran, Syria’s closest ally, joined the treaty in 1997, but the same State Department report notes that the U.S. can’t certify that Iran has met its treaty obligations “due to a combination of irregularities in the Iranian declaration and insufficient clarification from Iran.”

Last but not least, Rosett also recalls that despite the fact that Libya’s Qaddafi had signed the CWC treaty in 2004; the new Libyan government which succeeded him still found two undeclared chemical weapons sites following Qaddafi’s overthrow in 2011.

However, one doesn’t need to state all of this to argue the given that dictators can’t be trusted, nor that the CWC treaty will not guarantee the safety of the Syrian people.

After two and a half years of the ongoing massacre, it is about time President Obama realized that Senator McCain is right and it is also time the International Community honors the legitimate and reasonable requests of the Syrian Opposition.

The Syrian National Coalition (SNC) has just made a new plea demanding the prohibition of chemical weapons is extended to the use of ballistic missiles and aircrafts against urban areas. Should these requests not be met, and the West’s only aim is to try to make Assad go to rehab; then we shouldn’t be surprised if he says “No, no, no!”

(Source / 15.09.2013)

Abbas, Hamdallah to meet on new government

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas will meet caretaker prime minister Rami Hamdallah on Monday to discuss the new government formation, the president’s adviser said.

Nimr Hammad said that Abbas would return to the West Bank on Monday, but did not determine if Hamdallah would announce the new cabinet on Tuesday or not.

Abbas asked Hamdallah to form the new government on Aug. 13, and gave him a time-frame of 5 weeks.

A minister who requested anonymity told Ma’an that he did not know the date for announcing the new government and added that it was between the Abbas and Hamdallah now.

Hamdallah resigned on June 23 after just over two weeks on the job, and was appointed interim prime minister.

Azzam al-Ahmad, speaker of Fatah in parliament, told Ma’an earlier that the new government will not be a national consensus government nor a caretaker government.

“It will be a regular government due to failure to implement a reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas which was due on Aug. 14.”

No major changes will be introduced to the new government, al-Ahmad added.

(Source / 15.09.2013)

Prisoner released after 9 years in jail

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israel released Sunday evening a prisoner from Hebron after nine years in jail, the prisoners’ center said.

Ahrar Center for Prisoner studies director Fouad al-Khafsh said that Mahmoud Sharabati, 31, was released after being subjected to “oppression” in jail.

Sharabati was arrested in 2004 and was cruelly interrogated before being sentenced to nine years, he said.

Sharabati said after his release that prisoners wish that Palestinians worked hard to support them and eventually release them. He called on Palestinians to end the division and unite.

He added that Israeli prison administration have escalated its “ferocity” in dealing with prisoners and have enforced intensive punishment on them ranging from banning family visits to moving them between jails.

(Source / 15.09.2013)

Saadat: PA did not draw lessons from the futile experience of Oslo



RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Ahmed Saadat said the PA headed by Abbas is not ready to draw lessons from the experience of Oslo, as it decided to return to negotiations and to submit to U.S. pressure.

Saadat pointed out in a letter leaked from inside his prison cell at the Israeli Shatta jail “there is no logical justification or a project allowing the Oslo team to continue to bet on the negotiations. The experience over more than two decades has proven its failure.”

He said that the path of negotiations is based on conditions that apply only on the Palestinian side, while the occupation is free to complete its settlement projects.

Saadat demanded tabling the Palestinian question with the United Nations, in order to provide international protection for the Palestinian people and to put the occupied territory under UN auspices for a transitional period during which the Palestinians would enjoy their right to self-determination and build the institutions of their independent state, which means disengagement from the Agreements of Madrid and Oslo and the futile approach of negotiations.

He said that holding an international conference to compel the occupation to respect international law has become a priority and one of the axes of the alternative political vision for managing the conflict.

(Source / 15.09.2013)

“Vrede” als zachte heelmeester

By Engelbert Luitsz         ©         (http://www.alexandrina.nl/?p=2472)


De New York Times

Een opiniestuk in de New York Times van vandaag (vandaag in print, gisteren al op internet!)  door de politicoloog Ian Lustick laat zien dat er ook in de Verenigde Staten goed wordt nagedacht over het “vredesproces” in Palestina. Het komt vlak na de afgang van Obama die tegen de zin van de bevolking, waaronder woedende veteranen, een illegale aanval op Syrië wilde doorzetten. Je bent dan al snel geneigd iets optimistischer te worden wanneer er vlak daarna ook een kritisch stuk verschijnt over het Midden-Oosten, waar Obama het helemaal heeft laten afweten vanaf het moment dat hij zijn befaamde Caïrospeech uitsprak in 2009 (“De situatie voor de Palestijnen is ondraaglijk“). Je hoopt dan op een ommekeer, maar dat zal wel te voorbarig zijn.

De New York Times wordt beschouwd als een van de beste kranten ter wereld. Maar ook zij hebben uiteraard hun manier van nieuws brengen. Als je A zegt, kun je niet tegelijkertijd B zeggen. In het geval van Israël wordt de NTY zowel verweten zionistische reclame te maken als anti-Israël te zijn. Afhankelijk van wie je spreekt en welke stukken je leest. Ook als informatie feitelijk juist is, is dat nog steeds geen “objectiviteit”, aangezien er ook altijd feiten zijn die niet genoemd worden. Hun slogan ‘All The News That’s Fit To Print‘ werd onlangs nog door Noam Chomsky geparafraseerd in een artikel over Syrië, waarin cruciale informatie niet werd genoemd (All The News That’s Not Fit To Print).

Professor Laurel Leff schreef een aantal jaren geleden een boek over hoe de NTY verslag had gedaan van de holocaust. Zij komt tot de conclusie dat die gebeurtenis niet voldoende aandacht had gekregen en dat dat was te wijten aan het anti-zionisme van de eigenaar, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger (de vader van de tegenwoordige voorzitter van de Raad van Bestuur Arthur Ochs Sulzberger jr.). Sulzberger sr. was een jood die een Britse vrouw trouwde, Sulzberger jr. is dus half joods. Volgens Leff wilde de familie niet dat de krant als een joodse krant werd gezien en werd er daarom minder aandacht besteed aan Israël dan velen zouden wensen. We kennen dit fenomeen in Nederland natuurlijk ook, de berichtgeving over Israël is voor veel mensen een reden om een krant op te zeggen of juist te kopen. Een opmerking van Leff in een interview met de joodse online boekensite JBooks over de huidige berichtgeving over Israël vond ik wel interessant:

Als er een anti-Israëlstemming is – en ik zeg niet dat dat zo is – dan is dat het product van andere krachten dan die welke aan het werk waren in de periode die ik heb bestudeerd. Ik moet ook zeggen dat de joden in alle steden waar ik lezingen heb gegeven – Los Angeles, Washington, Miami – denken dat hun krant anti-Israël is.

Niet lovend zijn over Israël wordt al snel gezien als anti-Israël. Of erger.

De illusie van twee staten

Toen ik vandaag het stuk Two-State Illusion las van Ian Lustick op de opiniepagina’s van de NYT, zat ik meteen te denken aan de reacties die daarop moeten volgen. Het is een haarscherpe analyse van de situatie en eentje die (dus) haaks staat op het beeld dat het AIPAC in de Verenigde Staten of het CIDI bij ons aan de man probeert te brengen.

Al meer dan dertig jaar zijn er experts en politici geweest die hebben gewaarschuwd voor een point of no return in de pogingen om tot een 2-statenoplossing te komen voor de Palestijnen. Mensen die nog in die mogelijkheid geloven verdedigen een idee dat niet langer geloofwaardig of zelfs mogelijk is. Lustick vergelijkt ze met mensen die tegen beter in wachten tot een iemand uit een coma ontwaakt.

De sterk islamistische bewegingen die we bezig zien in het Midden-Oosten maken de kans op een fundamentalistische staat groter dan die op een kleine, seculiere staat.

Het verdwijnen van Israël als een zionistisch project, door oorlog, culturele uitputting, of demografisch momentum, is net zo waarschijnlijk als de evacuatie van genoeg van de half miljoen Israëli’s die buiten de grenzen van 1967, de Groene Lijn, leven, om een waarachtige Palestijnse staat mogelijk te maken.

Lustick denkt dat één staat nog mogelijk is, maar de fixatie met de 2-statenoplossing maakt het onmogelijk om daar serieus naar te kijken. Al in de jaren 30 van de vorige eeuw werd er gesproken over twee staten tussen de Jordaan en de Middellandse Zee, maar na 1948, toen Ben-Goerion de staat Israël uitriep, is dat idee verdwenen, om pas na 1967 weer op te duiken. De afgelopen decennia is die optie door zwak leiderschap van beide kanten en een agressieve expansionistische agenda van Israël echter onrealistisch geworden.

De angst van veel Israëli’s dat de Joodse Staat kan verdwijnen is reëel. Doordat alle – linkse én rechtse – regeringen van Israël vanaf 1948 een beleid hebben gevoerd van strikte scheiding tussen de twee volken, is het voor de meeste joden in Israël ook domweg niet mogelijk zich een andere maatschappij voor te stellen. Voeg daar het eenzijdige onderwijs en de dienstplicht aan toe en je begrijpt de angst maar al te goed. Samenleven, zoals dat in de 19e eeuw nog kon, is sinds de komst van de zionisten vakkundig om zeep geholpen.

Lustick wijst op de Sovjet-Unie, de Pahlavi-dynastie in Iran, de Apartheid in Zuid-Afrika, de Iraakse Ba’ath-partij en voormalig Joegoslavië. Zelfs de meest scherpzinnige waarnemers zagen het moment van die veranderingen niet aankomen. Na de annexatie van Ierland door de Britten in 1801 duurde het tot na de Eerste Wereldoorlog voordat het zuiden van Ierland in 1921 een zelfstandige staat werd. Het ondenkbare was opeens een feit geworden.

Obsessieve aandacht voor het behouden van de theoretische mogelijkheid van een 2-statenoplossing is net zo irrationeel als het schikken van de ligstoelen op de Titanic, in plaats van uit de weg van ijsbergen te blijven. Maar schepen in de nacht, noch Israël, kunnen ijsbergen ontwijken die ze niet kunnen zien.

Diplomatie is zelf het obstakel geworden. Door zijn werk heeft Lustick dat zelf ondervonden. In 1980 was hij betrokken bij het analyseren van het nederzettingen- en onteigeningsbeleid op de Westelijke Jordaanoever. Hij had al snel door dat premier Begin van Israël omslachtige gesprekken voerde over de onderhandelingen, als een dekmantel voor het annexeren van de Westelijke Jordaanoever door middel van een intensief nederzettingenbeleid, landonteigening en het aanmoedigen van “vrijwillige” emigratie van Arabieren. De Verenigde Staten waren dus zeer goed op de hoogte van wat er gebeurde, maar in het openbaar lieten ze geen kritiek op Israël horen om het vredesproces niet te verstoren.

Het blijft mogelijk dat op er op een dag twee staten ontstaan. Maar de pretentie dat onderhandelingen met als slogan “twee staten voor twee volken” tot een dergelijke oplossing zouden kunnen leiden moeten we vergeten. Tijd kan meer doen dan politici.

Wat Lusticks analyse anders maakt dan die van vele anderen is dat hij rekening houdt met de imponderabilia van de geschiedenis. Het belangrijkste is inzien dat we op de verkeerde weg zijn, maar we hoeven geen uitgeschreven scenario te hebben, enkele principiële punten kunnen volstaan. Het zal niet makkelijk worden, maar dat is het ook nooit geweest, voor geen enkel land.

Vrede stichten en het scheppen van een democratische staat vereisen bloed en magie. De vraag is niet of de toekomst conflicten in petto heeft voor Israël/Palestina. Dat is zo. Noch is het de vraag of conflicten vermeden kunnen worden. Dat kan niet. Maar om waarlijk catastrofale veranderingen te vermijden moeten we de verstikkende heerschappij van een achterhaald idee beëindigen en moeten we beide partijen de wereld laten zien zoals die is, zodat ze zich er vervolgens aan kunnen aanpassen.

Het was een stuk dat me weer energie gaf. Nu we overspoeld worden met machinaties in verband met Syrië heb ik meer dan ooit behoefte aan iemand die de stem van de rede laat horen. En dan het liefst in een krant als de New York Times, die gelezen wordt door zovelen die verantwoordelijk zijn voor wat er in het Midden-Oosten gebeurt.

Gaza is facing slow death

By Wafa Ali Aludaini         ©

Long waiting lines up at gas stations, queues of people waiting in cars to take them to their schools, university, works and municipal services suspended. This has become the daily life of the Palestinians in the Gaza strip due to the latest Egyptian government measures against Gaza tunnels and restrictions on movement of goods and personnel at Rafah border crossing. The new measures came after a military coup that forcibly removed the democratically elected Morsi

Saleem Hasanain, 60, a father of 12 said “I have been waiting for seven hours and I have not even been able to fill my tank with gas yet. I came yesterday as well and waited the whole day, yet my turn never came. I provide for my family with this taxi, I transport the people, but I could not buy the alternative Israeli gas, as it is very expensive, so now I lost my job” Hasanain added.

Amal Ali, 20 years old university student said” a way from the crisis of the transportation, The cutting of power for 12 hours a day is another catastrophe for us, as  the weather is too hot, so we can’t study or even sleep”

Human rights organizations expressed their grave concerns over the humanitarian situation in Gaza which has unprecedentedly worsened, and they called upon Egypt and Israel to open the border to Gaza.

The tunnels which the Egyptian forces destroyed were used to cover some of the fuel and food needs of the Palestinians in Gaza, who are trying hard to cope with the impacts of the Israeli blockade on their daily lives, which Israel imposed since 2006.

There are two exits from Gaza; the Erez Crossing, which is controlled by Israel, has been closed to all but humanitarian cases since 2006, yet not every patient is allowed to cross Erez to get the treated in Israel or the West Bank. The other one, the Rafah Crossing has been open only intermittently only for people movement.


Israel has 80 nuclear warheads, can make 115 to 190 more, report says

Dimona, Israel

A satellite image of Dimona, Israel, where Israel reportedly built nuclear warheads. (Space Imaging / July 4, 2000)

JERUSALEM– Israel has 80 nuclear warheads and the potential to double that number, according to a new report by U.S. experts.

In the Global Nuclear Weapons Inventories, recently published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, proliferation experts Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris write that Israel stopped production of nuclear warheads in 2004.

But the country has enough fissile material for an additional 115 to 190 warheads, according to the report, meaning it could as much as double its arsenal.

Previous estimates have been higher but the new figures agree with the 2013 Stockholm International Peace Research Institute yearbook on armament and international security. The yearbook estimated 50 of Israel’s nuclear warheads were for medium-range ballistic missiles and 30 were for for bombs carried by aircraft, according to a report in the Guardian.

Although widely assumed a nuclear power, Israel has never acknowledged possessing nuclear weapons or capabilities and continues to maintain its decades-old “strategic ambiguity” policy on the matter, neither confirming nor denying foreign reports on the issue.

In 1986, Mordechai Vanunu, an Israeli nuclear technician,leaked the country’s alleged nuclear secrets to a British newspaper, and said Israel had at least 100 nuclear weapons. Vanunu was later convicted of espionage and treason and wasreleased from jail in 2004 after serving 17 years.

Israel continued to adhere to its vagueness policy after comments made by then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2006 were interpreted by many as an inadvertent confirmation that Israel had nuclear weapons.

Following Sunday’s reports, Israeli defense analyst Amir Oren wrote that the ambiguity policy has done “its duty honorably and can now retire.” In the current regional conditions, Israel could benefit from giving up the vagueness, he wrote in Haaretz.

Founded in 1952, the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, is nearly as old as the state. It acknowledges two “nuclear research centers,” one in central Israel, the other in the Negev desert.

The facility at Soreq is under supervision of the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose inspectors routinely ensure it is being used for research purposes only.

Earlier this year, an IAEA team inspected the facility at Israel’s request for a first-ever comprehensive safety review, a concern after the nuclear accident at Fukushima, Japan, in 2011.

The 40-year-old facility at Soreq is expected to be phased out by the end of the decade and replaced with a particle accelerator, according to Israeli media.

But the nuclear facility in Dimona, a location in Israel’s southern Negev desert, is off-limits for the IAEA and not under its supervision. According to foreign reports, that is where the nuclear warheads have been produced since 1967.

Of the many multilateral agreements on nuclear issues the IAEA offers, Israel has signed a few and ratified fewer, mostly relating to nuclear safety issues. But it is not a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. In 2010, Israel dismissed a demand from the parties to join.

(A letter from Henry Kissinger to President Nixon in 1969 describes U.S. concerns that Israel “make no visible introduction of nuclear weapons” or “undertake a nuclear test program”. According to the letter, the Israeli government told the U.S. it “would not become a nuclear power.”)

(Source / 15.09.2013)

Bahrain: Security Forces Detaining Children


  • (Beirut) –Bahrain security forces routinely detain children without cause and subject them to ill-treatment that may rise to the level of torture, Human Rights Watch said today, based on reports from victims, family members and legal rights activists.

On September 12, 2013, the European Parliament issued a further resolution on the deteriorating rights situation in Bahrain, urging it, among other things, “to respect the rights of juveniles, to refrain from detaining them in adult facilities, and to treat juveniles in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Bahrain is a party”.

“Rounding up kids, throwing them in jail and beating and threatening them is no way for a country to treat its children,” said Joe Stork, acting Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The Bahraini authorities need to look into these allegations and immediately call a halt to any arbitrary arrests and mistreatment of children.”

Information recently obtained from victims, family members, and local rights activists suggests that Bahraini authorities often hold children for long periods in detention and subject them to similar forms of mistreatment as adult detainees, including beatings and threats of torture. The Convention on the Rights of the Child requires governments to protect children from ill-treatment and torture, to give all child detainees – those under 18 – special protections and to separate them from adults in detention.

Bahraini rights groups told Human Rights Watch that the detention of children suspected of involvement in anti-government protests is common. The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights recorded 15 such detentions in August and said that the number of child arrests makes it impossible to document every detention to ascertain its lawfulness and the age of the people involved. The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights recorded 22 such detentions since August 1.

Murtada al-Muqtad, the brother of an arrested boy, told Human Rights Watch that police arrested a group of 14 people, including 9 boys between the ages of 15 and 17, on September 5 at a swimming pool near the Ain Adhari National Park. He said that they were among a group from the nearby town of Bilad al-Qadim who had rented the swimming pool to enjoy a last night out before school started on September 8.

Al-Muqtad said that Jafar al-Muqtad, the youngest of the group at 15, called his family the day after his arrest, but it was not until September 9 that he was able to tell his family that he was in Dry Dock detention center and describe the circumstances of his arrest. He said that six police cars arrived at the swimming pool at 4 a.m., arrested the 14 people who were still there and blindfolded, punched, and kicked the group of youths while detaining them. He also said that interrogators later mistreated them, pressing them to confess to a September 2 attack on a police officer with Molotov cocktails. On September 11, officers at Dry Dock refused the family’s request to see him.

Murtada al-Muqtad said that his younger brothers had not had access to a lawyer or social worker, though the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Bahrain and nearly every country in the world, requires that “every child deprived of his or her liberty… has the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance.”

In a separate incident, more than 10 plain-clothes and uniformed police went to the home of another 15-year-old boy, Ali Rustam, in the village of Al Arad in the early hours of September 8 and arrested him, Bahraini rights activists said. They said that Rustam, who has diabetes and requires four daily injections of insulin, had not had any contact with his family since then.

Human Rights Watch also spoke with Sayed Alwadaei, who made detailed allegations of torture during two separate periods when he was detained, in January and July, when he was 17 and still a child under international law. After he attended a peaceful protest near the Al Khawaja mosque on January 25, Sayed said, police arrested him and about 20 other people.

He said that the arresting officers beat them on the street, loaded them onto a bus, and took them to Al Hoora police station. The officers continued beating them in the bus as it was parked outside, he said. At one stage, Alwadaei said, a commanding officer came back onto the bus to tell the police beating the protesters to make less noise.

At the office of the public prosecutor the following day a lawyer assigned to represent Alwadaei asked for his release, based on his age. The officers present during his questioning there told the lawyer that they would “look into it,” but took Sayed to Dry Dock detention facility the same day. He spent 45 days there in a wing with adult prisoners before he was released on bail of 500 Bahraini dinars (US$1,325). He told Human Rights Watch that prison officers originally took him to a wing for child detainees, but that it was full.

In the early morning of July 8, Alwadaei said, police in civilian clothes and an unmarked vehicle randomly stopped the car he was traveling in with two others and arrested him again, claiming that there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest. They told him they were taking him to Wista police station but they in fact took him to the Interior Ministry’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CID).

On arrival, an officer cuffed his hands behind his back and blindfolded him with an Arab head-dress. Sayed was forced to stand in a corridor for several hours, where passing officers insulted him. Alwadaei said that one officer told him that they were going to rape him. Two officers then interrogated him. “Do you know what the CID does to people who don’t help us?” one asked him.

He said they told him to confess to burning tires at a protest on May 12 near the Al Fakhar roundabout, where he had been arrested. Initially he denied the allegations, but after a series of threats, he confessed. “In this place, you have no choice,” he told Human Rights Watch. “You confess to whatever they want you to.” Authorities detained Alwadaei for another 15 days before releasing him again on bail. On September 26, he will face charges of illegal gathering and inciting hatred against the regime.

Alwadaei’s story bears some similarity to the findings of the 2011 Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, which described one incident in which its investigators found “a number of children” under age 15 standing blindfolded and handcuffed in a police station. The report said: “They had all been beaten and one boy, who was 14 years old, had cigarettes burns on his chest.… Security forces told Commission investigators that the boys had been arrested for throwing stones at two police cars. The Commission investigators examined the police cars and noted that the damage to them was extremely minor.”

In June 2011, the Committee on the Rights of the Child issued its review of Bahrain’s adherence to the Convention. The concluding observations noted “with concern reports according to which torture and other forms of ill-treatment were used by the State party during the recent political events. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned that among the victims of torture there allegedly have been persons under the age of 18. In this regard, the Committee expresses serious concern at the lack of investigation into complaints of torture and other forms of ill-treatment and arbitrary arrests, resulting in insufficient prosecution of perpetrators.”

Bahrain has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment. In line with article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the term “child” refers to a person under 18. Article 37(b) of the CRC mandates that “No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” and that the detention of children “shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time.”

The government of Bahrain should open thorough, independent and impartial investigations into all allegations of torture and ill-treatment, including of child detainees. In addition, the Bahraini government should stop its widespread detention of children and only detain anyone under 18 as a last resort. Child detainees should be separated from adults in all cases, and authorities should immediately notify their families of their location, and provide prompt access to legal counsel.

“Bahraini authorities need to investigate urgently the allegations that children are being arrested arbitrarily and mistreated, and put a stop to it,” Stork said.

(Source / 15.09.2013)

IOF launches campaign of mass arrests in West Bank and Jerusalem


WEST BANK, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested on Sunday seven citizens from different parts of the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Local sources said that the IOF raided and searched houses in Ya’bad, southwest of Jenin, then arrested 3 citizens, and took them to an unknown destination. Two other citizens were also arrested as they headed for work in Jerusalem near the Za’eem military checkpoint in the east of the city.

The Israeli troops arrested in the Old City of Jerusalem two boys after raiding their houses.

Israeli patrols stormed Beit Ummar village, north of al-Khalil, and roamed its streets, while the soldiers stopped two citizens, and after checking their identities they were transferred to a detention center where the authorities announced officially their arrest in the morning, locals said.

The sources added that IOF soldiers intensified their presence in the town during the past few days, and launched a campaign of mass arrests in the ranks of youths and children under the pretext of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the soldiers and settlers.

Meanwhile, violent clashes erupted on Saturday night between dozens of youths and Israeli forces at the entrance to the Fawwar refugee camp south of al-Khalil.

Eyewitnesses told PIC that the Israeli soldiers stormed the entrance to the camp, and fired tear gas canisters and metal bullets at the shops, houses and the young people who were present in the agricultural fields.

The youths responded by throwing stones and empty bottles at the occupation forces, and the clashes broke out.

The witnesses added that the Israeli military patrols were intensively present near the tower and other areas on the outskirts of the camp during the confrontations.

(Source / 15.09.2013)