Intifada: The writing was on the wall

Anyone claiming to be surprised that a third uprising is imminent has been burying their head in the sand for the last decade

Only rarely does a cliche as well-worn as this one hit the mark so precisely: The writing is on the wall, indeed. My readers will pardon me; no response, explanation or analysis seems more pertinent, at this juncture, when the danger of a third Palestinian Intifada breaking out seems greater than at any time in the last decade. Anyone claiming to be surprised has not been living in the Middle East over the last 10 years. Anyone who claims to be surprised has, along with most Israelis, been burying his head in the sand for a decade. The only surprising thing is that a renewed uprising has taken a decade to occur.

Israeli security figures are still trying to minimise the obvious, insisting that this is only a “wave of terror,” not an Intifada. They said exactly the same thing when the two previous Intifadas erupted. When the first Intifada began, I met members of the entourage of the then Minister of Defence Yitzhak Rabin, visiting the United States at the time, in a large New York department store. There was no reason to hurry home to Israel, they said; everything was under control. Nor was the second Intifada exactly anticipated. Yet both erupted, intensely, the second worse than the first. The dimensions of the third will be greater still.

Not yet clear is whether the events occurring right now will develop into a full-blown Intifada or not, but meantime there will be no period of quiet between the Jordan River and the sea any time soon. It’s true that there have been various factors preventing, thus far, the outbreak of a third Intifada: the heavy price paid by the Palestinians for the second Intifada that failed to achieve anything whatever for them; the absence of a leadership moving the people toward another broad uprising; internal Palestinian divisions, greatly intensified in recent years, between Fatah and Hamas; the international isolation of the Palestinians amid growing international indifference; and the slightly improved economic situation on the West Bank.

But all these factors, most of them still in play, cannot over time prevent a third Intifada from erupting. Even if Israeli security forces somehow manage to stuff this reawakening genie back in its bottle, it won’t stay there for long. And they are unlikely to succeed in any case. At this writing, a day after two Jews were murdered in Jerusalem’s Old City, some 100 Palestinians have already been wounded by the Israeli Army and Israeli police in disturbances throughout the West Bank: an ominous portent.

The writing has been on the wall because Israel’s conduct, in all its insufferable arrogance and imperviousness, cannot fail to lead to another terrible explosion. The West Bank has been quiescent for nearly 10 years, during which time Israel has consistently proven to the Palestinians that quiet will be met only with an intensification of the occupation, settlement expansion, more home demolitions and more mass arrests – including thousands of so-called administrative detainees who are incarcerated without trial, continuing confiscation of land, wholly useless incursions and arrests, and an itchy finger on the trigger resulting in dozens of needless human deaths and countless provocations inflaming Muslim sensibilities regarding al-Aqsa and the Temple Mount.

Are Palestinians to assent to all of this in silence? To show restraint when the Dawabsheh family is burnt alive in Duma and no one is arrested or brought to trial by Israel, while Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon boasts that Israel knows who perpetrated that shocking crime but, to safeguard its intelligence network, will not arrest them?

What people could maintain restraint in the face of such a sequence of events, with the entire might of the occupation in the background, without hope, without prospects, with no end in sight. No negotiations are underway, even in secret, the two-state solution is apparently permanently dead and Israel has no alternative to offer – and the Palestinians are to accept all of that and sit still? Nothing like that has ever happened anywhere, nor will it ever.

While quiet has been sustained on the other side of the Wall for nearly 10 years, Israel has proven that there is no chance it will act as a partner for serious negotiations about the status of the West Bank, and that it has no intention of ending the occupation, with or without terrorism. A government that has the president of the United States wound around its little finger, incurring no punishment in return, has become drunk with power toward the Palestinians too. That’s what happens when the world permits Israel to run rampant in Gaza and the West Bank, inflating Israel’s arrogance and intoxication of power beyond all boundaries.

Now the bill is coming due. Those who imagined that Israel could go on this way forever, and that the Palestinians would continue to acquiesce, to submit, indefinitely – has simply never read a history book. No people anywhere has ever acquiesced in its own conquest without resistance, and certainly not in modern times. Resistance is its right, incidentally, enshrined in international law.

Now the bill is coming due: Intifada, the wave of an uprising that has been temporarily forgotten but will now come again, and soon. The truth is, these distinctions don’t matter anymore. The third Intifada is already here or, in the best case, is just around the corner. Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s current government, historically right-wing, nationalist and religious, have no intention of doing anything to prevent the pending eruption, and there will only be more bloodshed, more checkpoints, more arrests, more detentions, more destruction and more killing. This is the only language spoken by the current government of Israel; it has no other. There is no chance that this government will tread a different path.

Given this state of affairs, the current crisis sits squarely at the doorstep of the international community. Absent a responsible entity in Israel, responsibility is devolved there. The international community has long behaved fawningly toward Israel but this method, over half a century, has proven itself a resounding failure.

The time has now arrived to change the rules of the game for the international community as well, first and foremost the United States: whoever now continues enabling Israel to run amok while taking no real steps to end the occupation, will also bear responsibility for the next round of violence in the region. And the bloodshed will not be confined between the Jordan River and the sea; in the history of this conflict, its crises have always reached further than that, exacerbating the bloodshed occurring elsewhere in the world. Let the indifferent world bestir itself now and take notice.

(Source / 06.10.2015)

Palestinians, Israeli police clash in Jaffa after demo

Israeli police pictured in East Jerusalem’s Old City

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — At least three Israeli police officers were injured late Tuesday as Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces in the coastal city of Jaffa following a demonstration in support of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, witnesses and Israeli media said.Hundreds of Palestinians took part in rallies in the center of Jaffa, just south of Tel Aviv, to show solidarity with the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, a Ma’an reporter said.Participants chanted slogans condemning Israeli violations at the mosque compound and raised Palestinian flags and banners of the Islamic Movement in Israel.Demonstrators had gathered in cars and motorbikes in Jaffa’s main square to protest against Israeli restrictions at the holy site, with many participants blocking roads in the area.Israeli media reported that the crowds threw rocks at Israeli forces after they tried to disperse the demonstration, wounding three policemen.

A bus and several vehicles were also damaged during the clashes, with tires and trash set alight.
Two Palestinians were detained by Israeli police, Israeli media said.
The demonstration in Jaffa comes amid a day of fierce clashes across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, with Palestinian medics reporting up to 129 Palestinian injuries in clashes with Israeli military forces.
The reported injuries on Tuesday will bring the total injured since Saturday to over 600. Of those, Israeli forces have shot 49 with live rounds.
Tensions had been mounting steadily for weeks across the occupied Palestinian territory due to Israeli restrictions on Palestinians seeking to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem.
(Source / 06.10.2015)

ISRAEL ATTACKED GAZA ALMOST 700 TIMES THIS YEAR!

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While everyone’s attention is riveted upon the slaughter of people in Syria, the slaughter of people in Gaza by America’s ally Israel continues. (Not to mention slaughter in Yemen by America’s ally Saudi Arabia and slaughter in Aghanstan by America).

Published on 30 Sep 2015

The British government says Israel has attacked the besieged Gaza Strip nearly 700 times since last year.
The UK under-secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs provided the figures to the parliament.
Tobias Ellwood was citing the statistics from the U-N Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. He said the Israeli attacks included 29 airstrikes since the end of the Israeli war on Gaza in August 20-14. In their latest attacks, Israeli warplanes pounded the coastal enclave early on Wednesday.

(Source / 06.10.2015)

Doctors Without Borders Calls US Bombing Of Its Hospital A War Crime

Doctors Without Borders says there were repeated attacks, about every 15 minutes, over the course of more than an hour. Neighboring buildings were unharmed.

Afghan security forces take a wounded civilian man to the hospital after Taliban fighter's attack, in Kunduz city, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. Three staff from Doctors Without Borders were killed and 30 were missing after an explosion near their hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz that may have been caused by a U.S. airstrike. (AP Photo/Dehsabzi)

Afghan security forces take a wounded civilian man to the hospital after Taliban fighter’s attack, in Kunduz city, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. Three staff from Doctors Without Borders were killed and 30 were missing after an explosion near their hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz that may have been caused by a U.S. airstrike

Why did the US launch an airstrike on a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in Afghanistan, killing 22 people, including three children?

The Pentagon changed its story today, and the humanitarian group demanded an independent international inquiry.

Doctors Without Borders is calling the incident a war crime, an assertion that rankles some experts and has provoked a spirited discussion on Reddit.

“Under the rules of international humanitarian law, a hospital is a hospital and the people inside are patients — to target a medical facility in this way is a violation of that, whatever the circumstances,” Vickie Hawkins, executive director of the UK branch of Doctors Without Borders, tells The Takeaway. “The statements that have been coming out of the Afghan government in the past 24 hours would lead us to believe that there was some kind of intent behind the attack. We can only presume, on this basis, that that constitutes a war crime.”

The US says the strike in Kunduz, which is under investigation, was issued after Afghan forces came under fire near the hospital and then called for help.

“An airstrike was then called to eliminate the Taliban threat and several civilians were accidentally struck,”  the American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John F. Campbell, said during a press briefing Monday. “This is different from the initial reports which indicated that US forces were threatened and that the airstrike was called on their behalf.”

Though the aid group repeatedly said that there had been no fighting around the hospital, the building was hit over and over again, despite the fact that Doctors Without Borders sent the US military the precise GPS coordinates so the hospital could be avoided.

“When the bombing started, we were indeed in contact with military representatives in both Kabul and in Washington, but the bombing continued for another half hour to 40 minutes after those initial calls were made,” says Hawkins.

The hospital is the only facility of its kind in the northeast region of Afghanistan, and Hawkins says the compound where it sits was “precisely targeted,” adding that the intensive care unit and the emergency room were hit the worst. For four years, Doctors Without Borders has been using this facility to provide free high level trauma care to civilians in the area.

RELATED: How does a relief worker in the world’s worst war zone find hope?

“For our medical staff, it was an absolutely terrifying experience,” says Hawkins. “The hospital itself had been very busy over the previous days [before the airstrike] — there’s been an uptick in the conflict around Kunduz, and we’ve had 400 patients over the last four days or so.”

According to Doctors Without Borders, more than 22,000 patients received care at the hospital in 2014, and more than 5,900 surgeries were performed during the same time period. When the hospital was hit, medical workers were in midsts of caring for patients.

“After the attack was over, we found one of our patients that was killed still on the operating table,” says Hawkins. “You can imagine for the medical staff that’s going about their night’s work, this is an absolutely a devastating experience for them.”

The group is now planning to leave the area, something that could be devastating to civilians in the area — Hawkins describes the trauma center as a “vital lifeline” for the community.
“A hospital should represent a place of sanctuary — it’s where people come when they’re at their most vulnerable,” she says. “Given the fact that the intensive care unit was targeted, we can presume that the most sick and vulnerable of our patients have been killed.”

But a war crime?

“I don’t think we know yet,” says Charlie Dunlap, a former Deputy Judge Advocate General for the US Air Force. He’s now a professor and director of the Center for Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke University’s Law School. He says even in war time there should be a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

“What surprises me,” says Dunlap, “about what Doctors Without Borders is saying — an organization I previously had a lot of respect for — is they’re making conclusions before the facts have even been gathered.”

“In war zones there’s a lot of complexity about the application of force,” adds Dunlap, “and (about) what’s going on on the ground. We’ve all heard about the chaos, and fog and friction of war. And that’s what’s going on.”

“We need to assemble the facts before we start making very, very serious accusations against people.”

Doctors Without Borders says there were repeated attacks, about every 15 minutes, over the course of more than an hour. Neighboring buildings were unharmed. “That would seem to indicate that they were deliberately targeting that building,” says Dunlap. “But I don’t know if that means they’re deliberately targeting because it was a hospital.”

“International law does not prohibit conducting an attack, even when you know for an actual fact that civilian casualties will occur. What international law only prohibits is that they not be excessive in relation to the military advantage anticipated. And that’s to preclude incentivizing parties to actually use civilians as human shields. Unfortunately though we’ve seen adversaries who nevertheless do it, and I think that is really one of the complications of 21st century warfare.”

“One of the things we need to look at, is of course whether it (the hospital) was being used in any way by the Taliban as a military position to shoot or launch attacks against Afghan and other allied forces.”

“Then we also have to explore whether a mistake was made,” says Dunlap. “In other words, it’s not a war crime if people are acting reasonably and doing the best they can in what we would all agree would be a very chaotic and difficult situation, and something you don’t want to happen, happens.”

“If a hospital is being used for military purposes, it can become a target. You still have to do a proportionality analysis. In other words, you have to make a determination that the anticipated military advantage you’re going to gain will not cost excessive civilian casualties.”

(Source / 06.10.2015)

Over 129 Palestinians injured in latest clashes, medics say

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Over 129 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli soldiers and settlers on Tuesday across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Red Crescent and Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health said.

The PA ministry said two Palestinians are undergoing operations in the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah after being shot with live fire during clashes, with dozens of moderate injuries reported in Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus and Jenin.
Earlier, the Red Crescent said that at least 90 Palestinians had been injured in clashes across the West Bank.
Spokesperson Errab Foqaha told Ma’an that Israeli forces had shot eight Palestinians with live rounds and at least 23 with rubber-coated steel bullets.She said that another 57 suffered excessive tear gas inhalation, and two were violently assaulted.

Israeli forces have also carried out 13 attacks on Red Crescent ambulance crews since Sunday, Foqaha said.She said that the latest attacks on their emergency relief teams brought the total number to 27 since Friday, and had left 17 staff members injured and 10 ambulances damaged.Fierce clashes were reported across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem for the fifth straight day on Tuesday.In East Jerusalem’s Shufat refugee camp, Israeli forces shot a Palestinian in the back with live fire, while two others were hit with rubber-coated steel bullets in the head and legs.The Wadi Hilweh Information Center said Israeli forces also assaulted Suad Abu Romoz while she was standing in front of her home in Silwan.Clashes were also reported in the early evening in the Bethlehem-area village of Tuqu, where a Palestinian was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet and dozens more suffered severe tear gas inhalation.The man was shot in the leg and taken to hospital for treatment. An Israeli soldier was also hit with a rock and received treatment at the scene.
Palestinian youths carry an injured friend away from clashes with Israeli forces that erupted following the funeral of 13-year-old Abed al-Rahman Obeidallah
Earlier, over 51 Palestinians were injured in the Ramallah district alone, while up to 10 were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets during clashes in Bethlehem following the funeral of a 13-year-old boy shot dead the day before.
Two Palestinians were hit in the head with rubber-coated steel bullets and were rushed to hospital for treatment, medics told Ma’an.The Palestinian Red Cross on Sunday declared a state of emergency across the occupied Palestinian territory, and said it was putting all its staff, teams and volunteers on standby.The 129 reported injuries on Tuesday will bring the total injured since Saturday to over 600. Of those, Israeli forces have shot 49 with live rounds.Tensions had been mounting steadily for weeks across the occupied Palestinian territory due to Israeli restrictions on Palestinians seeking to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem.However, it was violent Israeli reprisals in the wake of two separate attacks that killed four Israelis last week that spurred the recent clashes.The PLO has warned that attacks by both Israeli soldiers and settlers indicates the “Israeli government is deliberately creating a situation of violence and instability that threatens to spiral out of control.”
(Source / 06.10.2015)

Why is the West So Silent About The Yemeni War?

Anthropologist Martha Mundy denounces the silence of the main powers on the war in Yemen. She recalled the challenges that this country represents for Saudi Arabia and Israel.

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What is at stake in Yemen that far more systematic violations of the Geneva Conventions than in any of the recent wars which Western powers have supported in the Arab world (Iraq, Syria, Libya and Gaza) are met with resounding silence?

For six months there has been a blockade of food and fuel, and management of aid (even that through the UN) as part of war strategy, bombing of civilian, historical, educational, religious and medical targets, destruction of infrastructure from roads to electricity and water, and use of prohibited weapons.

All of this occurs in a country of over twenty million persons, which has no effective air defences – a country as open to aerial bombardment as Gaza. Yet as an Israeli Foreign Ministry official has pointed out, the principles of international humanitarian law systematically violated in Yemen are those invoked by UN bodies, governments, the Western media, and civil organisations when they charge Israel with the commission of war crimes in Gaza.

In other words, by its silence and support for Coalition bombing in Yemen, the international community completes the erasure of legal reference in war.

That is a big price to pay for success in a conflict seemingly so minor it receives virtually no press coverage.

How is the conflict explained to us? Spokesmen of Western governments state that a militia movement (Ansarallah) took over the capital forcing out the legitimate government. Thus, as upholders of ‘legitimacy,’ the UNSC (minus Russia) judged it vital to reinstate the earlier government, even though the bulk of the Yemeni national army came over to the side of the mundaydomesticgovAnsarallah, itself with a substantial popular base in Sanaa and the north. This is evident. But rarely are we reminded that a year ago, under UN auspices a political agreement (‘Peace and National Participation’) was co-signed by the Ansarallah and other Yemeni parties, only for the UN representative to be fired, another appointed, political discussions with the Ansarallah movement terminated, and a military Coalition assembled to reinstate ‘legitimacy’ inside Yemen.

As the Coalition has gone on to destroy not only Yemen but law itself, surely continuing political negotiation would have been a lower price to pay?

Why was it not?

Could it really be that some words just should never be uttered? For example, Ansarallah’s slogans call for ‘death to America and Israel.’ That slogans against America and Israel resound in the streets of a capital city, even of a small, poor, peripheral Arab country, doubled by curses on the Saudi monarch since the bombing began, clearly is unacceptable to the powers concerned. (More gratuitous and offensive to this writer is the puerile call for curses on Jews, who so long formed a component of Yemeni society, and so few of whom remain there.) But are America and Israel sacred terms that no one should ever decry?

And, slogans aside, the fact remains that Ansarallah is a religio-political movement which, unlike al-Qa`idah or Da`ish, works with secular political parties, including the Yemeni Socialist Party, and time and again negotiates politically, most recently accepting the basic clauses of the UN Security Council Resolution 2216, which the Coalition gives as the basis for its attack to restore ‘legitimacy.’

So what else is at stake that the Coalition has been left to bomb for six months to the sound of world silence?

Is it just money? Obviously Saudi Arabia (with more British airplanes than the British army) and the GCC can buy a lot of media, weapons, and people. Yet the support of the US, France and the UK to the Coalition goes beyond what money can buy, even today. So what else is at stake?

A tentative answer:

The French, who are facilitating the naval blockade, still have a base in Djibouti. It allows them to continue as players in a global network (Diego Garcia and 1400 US overseas bases) expanded from the days of the Cold War. Today, Djibouti’s major function may be not just above, but under, water: to watch the communication cables, which pass between China, Asia and the West that lie on the sea bed. Although all that visitors to Djibouti may see are French army frogmen diving to check the cables, there must be wider coordination with the Israeli submarines patrolling in the Red Sea.

The Coalition is meant to be the first exercise of a GCC ‘rapid deployment force’ advised discreetly by Israeli and American officers [1]. Such coordination in the attack of an Arab country is novel. How has this been marketed? The rage provoked by the deaths of the invading GCC forces in Mar`ib suggests that Yemen was dreamt of as a training programme for wars modelled on recent Israeli ones – a war to be determined by aerial bombardment, but without the international outrage at war crimes that Israel suffers.

Yemen as a laboratory for new wars? It seems bizarre since, compared to Gaza, Yemen is far larger, intelligence mapping of the population far poorer, and there is still something of a ground army standing. But if one remembers how Yemen has served as a laboratory for US drones, including targeted assassination of a US citizen, perhaps it was so marketed.

Indeed there is something glossy about the way the war was sold to the GCC leaders (GCC minus Oman which refused to participate) even if we, the general public, haven’t seen the brochures. For the Emiratis it was to lead to ‘the City of Light’ (al-Noor Yemen) of booming commerce on the Indian Ocean and open to East Africa but subject to the management choices of Dubai. To the Saudi very much more was promised: unified control of ‘The Empty Quarter’ and its fabled unexploited quantities of oil and gas which the US guarded in the ground so long as the government was Yemeni; practice in making and unmaking societies and governments by precision bombing of a population dependent on food imports; and a victory so stunning, the Arabian Peninsula becoming effectively theirs, that peace with Israel could soon be publically celebrated.

In early June at a Council on Foreign Relations event, retired Major General Anwar Eshki of Saudi Arabia laid out the package [2]. He was joined at the event by Ambassador Dore Gold of Israel. What Eshki said is not news in Saudi Arabia. But it is not often spoken out aloud, and certainly not reported with any measure of diligence in the West. Here is Eshki’s package:

“In the Arabian Peninsula, there is a promising oil field in the Empty Quarter [Rub’al-Khali] that will obligate the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Yemen to cooperate to protect it and its gains. This unity will be modeled—or rather, must be modeled—on the U.S. constitution that united America and granted it its democracy. As for the promising Ogaden [oil] field in Ethiopia, it will unite the Horn of Africa under Ethiopia’s leadership. And a bridge shall be built between the African continent and the Arabian Peninsula: The Al-Noor Bridge that shall connect the city of Al-Noor in Djibouti and the city of Al-Noor in Yemen”.

All this demands a number of things:
- Achieving peace between Arabs and Israel.
- Changing the political system in Iran.
- Unity of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
- Achieving peace in Yemen and revitalizing the port of Aden because this will rebalance the demographics of employment in the Gulf.
- Establishing an Arab force with American and European blessing to protect the countries of the Gulf as well as the Arab countries and to safeguard stability.
- The speedy establishment of the foundations of democracy with Islamic principles in the Arab world.
- Working toward the creation of a greater Kurdistan in peaceful ways as this will weaken Iranian, Turkish, and Iraqi ambitions.

Why is the West so silent about Yemen? Perhaps these seven points provide the elements of an answer.

(Source / 06.10.2015)

Israeli settlers attack iconic mosque in Jaffa

Hassan Bek Moaque in Jaffa

In 2005, several Israelis threw a pig’s head on the lawn of the mosque, wrapped in a keffiyeh [file photo of the Hassan Bek Mosque]

A number of extremist Israeli settlers in Jaffa attacked the Hassan Bek Mosque yesterday and attempted to burn it, eyewitnesses told Arab48.

Mohamed Ashqar, head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, said: “The settlers broke into the mosque from its main gate, threw big stones inside and smashed its windows.”

“The settlers planned to destroy and burn the mosque like what happened in the past when they burnt it, threw a pig’s head inside.”

Meanwhile, eyewitnesses said that they saw the settlers, who wanted to damage the mosque, but they undermined the settlers’ plan as they burst into it. “Therefore, the settlers fled,” the eyewitnesses told Arab48.

According to Ashqar, this assault is “completely related to the assaults on Al-Aqsa Mosque” and it is an “expansion” to the “continuous” assaults of the Israeli settlers all over the country and in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

Ashqar noted that mosques in Jaffa have been under continuous Israeli aggression at the hands of Israeli settler “gangs” and they have been “given the green light from the official Israeli institutions”.

He added: “This aggression proves the racist and barbaric Israeli mentality, which is increasing among Jews. This is an aggression on the right to live and perform religious rituals.”

He reiterated that this aggression is a call for the Palestinians in Jaffa and in all Palestinian cities occupied in 1948 to be cautious regarding the protection of their mosques and holy sites from the plans of the Israeli settlers, which have recently increased.

(Source / 06.10.2015)

Psychological War includes Murder of Youth

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ARMED CONFLICT, BLOODSHED, SKIRMISHES… HOSTILITY, CLASHES, FIGHTING… ALL SYNONYMS FOR DEATH, DESTRUCTION AND DEVASTATION: FIGURATIVELY AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY

Warfare is not just bloody. There is an emotional element to it too.

Since 2000, a number of human rights organizations inside the oPts and Israel have worked hard to document the high number of statistics of the young people and children being abducted by the Israeli military. These children are targeted for their alleged crimes that leave them as child prisoners, illegally detained and subjected to inhuman treatment.

It is not enough that the oPts are full of thousands of road blocks and checkpoints making travel near impossible; or that Israel and its illegal settlements are siphoning water off Palestinian land leaving the Palestinian residents without water access; or that the constant curfews and restrictions make it challenging to educate the children and businesses to function. Instilling fear into the hearts of parents and children is also part of the ongoing “armed conflict” that the world continues to look away and ignore its devastating impacts.

October 3, 4 and 5, 2015 saw these young fellows killed dead by Israeli military forces:

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Abdul was standing with his friends in which they were still in their school uniforms while observing a protest unfolding in Bethlehem. People had gathered to demand justice for the shooting the day before of 19-year old Fadi Alloun. Israeli military snipers shot Abdul in the chest and one of his friends in the head with live ammunition. His friend was still in surgery at the time of the IMEMC report.

Quotes taken from bystanders, reported by IMEMC included:

“He was just standing, looking. And they shot him right here, in the chest. It opened right up, huge, and he died in the hospital. His mother and his father, they are going mad”.

That this boy clearly is young and was dressed in his school uniform was surely not a threat. But the idea to shoot and kill adolescent Palestinians sends a loud message to the local population: nothing is off limits.

12079643_400304890179538_1475885830046139058_nAnd Huthaifa. How and why did Huthaifa die?

Eyewitnesses said that residents of Bal’aa village, near Tulkarem in the West Bank, became frustrated with Israeli troops at the military roadblock, located outside the village.

The Israeli military uses roadblocks to prevent Palestinians freedom of movement, another element of their psychological warfare policies.

Palestinians routinely have to line up for hours in the outdoor elements and wait on soldiers standing around. These soldiers are usually young Israelis between ages of 18 to 21 years of age, dressed in combat uniforms including kevlar and helmuts, while heavily armed with semi-automatic weapons that they brandish visibly, as part of the humiliation. The Palestinians need their permission to leave one small area into another small area and regardless the circumstances, including a mother giving birth, the Palestinians must hope and wait on the will of these young Israelis if they are able to be mobile that day.

Frustration had built up at the roadblock, and the soldiers refused to acquiesce; live ammunition again was used with three Palestinians shot and young Huthaifa killed. Six others were shot with rubber bullets as well.

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But it was how the Israeli military started the day in East Jerusalem on October 4, 2015 that has gone unnoticed. Maybe the other killings are part the distraction but the last few moments of Fadi Alloun on this earth were anything but pleasant. Clearly the rules of engagement that the Israeli military proudly defends itself as the most moral army in the world, did not exist.

Reporters and bystanders gave testimony that the home of Fadi was attacked in the early morning hours while the family was sleeping by more than two dozen Israeli soldiers.

Fadi, alleged to have stabbed an Israeli the day before, was their target. The Israeli young man who was stabbed survived with minor injuries thankfully. It is not clear if Fadi was involved or responsible.

The family home was under attack with concussion grenades, live ammunition and gas bombs. Clearly being used to intimidate and instil fear. Palestinians in the neighbourhood woke-up to these sounds and came running to help the family.

Witnesses say that Fadi was chased by Israeli soldiers that when he saw an Israeli policeman, he put his hands and arms in the air, seeking protection. The Israeli policeman immediately fired on Fadi, killing him after more than ten rounds entered Fadi’s body. This is a war crime under armed conflict to shoot and kill an unarmed civilian in the surrender position.

As reported by IMEMC:

A video published by Israeli media agencies showed several Israelis chasing the young man, who ran towards the police, while both of his hands were clearly visible, but an officer jumped out of a police car, and shot him dead.

Fadi’s family was rounded up, three members taken into detention, their property and home damaged, cell phones taken along with other valuables. The Old City was then put into lockdown for 48 hours. Imagine living in this constant hostility and oppression; having no voice or protection.

12106970_400304720179555_3481338628089772553_nIt was however the senseless death of Mohanned Al-Halabi on Saturday who was killed by Israeli military in the Old City that is already being spun that Mohanned deserved his death. Various reports have surfaced that conflict as to what happened.

It appears that Mohanned was being harassed in the Old City, in which heavy restrictions were placed on Palestinians limiting who could be there and attend the Al-Asqa Mosque.

An armed Israeli Settler family were involved and it is reported that Mohanned grabbed one of their weapons. Mohanned was killed by Israeli forces however Mohanned in death is now being accused of stabbing to death a member of the same Israeli settler family and shooting other members including a two-year old baby.

The sad truth is that we will never really know what happened. The likelihood that Mohanned, a young man with no record of violence and being remembered as very spiritual and religious would take such actions is low; it is not clear what happened between all involved. However, as Mohanned is deceased, we will never know his side of the story.

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Any of these boys could be your son, your child, your neighbour, your friend, your nephew… imagine the pain their families are experiencing that their young men, one a child even, are now gone.

But that is the point to all of this misery.

Psychological warfare plays a role as well.

Young Palestinians, mostly male between the ages of 11 and 21 years are targeted by the Israeli military for arrest, detention, torture, imprisonment, injury and death.

This is an open policy by the Israeli military that is to psychologically deflate the Palestinian community as a way to render them helpless and further deny their humanity. Killing of Palestinian children and youth goes unpunished and unrepentant as well. Israel is never held accountable or even condemned globally for this conduct.

Families live in 24-hour fear of their children being taken in the night, or shot dead or injured by snipers which happens day after day, week after week. But there is also another side to these efforts as well, which is the warehousing of young men as they wait endlessly in detention or are imprisoned with punitive and lengthy sentences. This warehousing of males in prisons locks away dissidence and the ability to resist occupation, a right under occupation in the 4th Geneva Convention.

Please see the International Middle East Media Centre for daily reports on the oPts that are non-partisan in nature and provide context by actually naming and exhibiting pictures along with family information on the young people who have been targeted by the Israeli military. Insight and bystander testimonies are also provided as well along with follow-up and further testimonies.

Palestine has been under occupation for too long – seven decades in reality. The occupying power is not to interfere with the administration of the native people and is to ensure security. Instead Israel has been able to not just greatly restrict the native population but also impose punitive, disproportionate and indiscriminate punishments on the local people without global intervention. The increase in illegal settlements also violate the Geneva Conventions and other international law that are clearly land grabs further denying the native population.

By wiping out the younger generations figuratively and psychologically, Israel is able to further oppress the Palestinians and take more land, leaving more Palestinians homeless and Palestinian families unable to sustain themselves.

(Source / 06.10.2015)

Russia Airstrikes Hit 2000 Years Old Serjila Town

The Syrian Coalition strongly condemns the flight the Russian air force’s targeting of archaeological sites in the town of Serjila in rural in Idlib on Sunday. Serjila is one of Syria best preserved dead cities and dates back to the Syriac era, circa 1st century AD.

The Syrian Coalition stated that the site targeted by the Russian air raids is void of any ISIS elements. The bombardment caused severe damage to the site.

The destruction of Syrian civilization and the obliteration of its historical landmarks is no longer limited to the Assad regime, who has destroyed so far over 260 archaeological sites or to ISIS which demolished many historical sites in Syria, most notably in Palmyra. Russian fighter jets are using cluster munitions and fragmentation bombs, known for powerful destructive effects, to hit civilian areas and historical sites.

The Syrian Coalition urges the UNESCO and regional organizations to condemn Russia’s aggressive behavior in Syria, calling for taking urgent action to document these crimes and protect Syria’s historical and archaeological sites against any attempt to destroy them.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 06.10.2015)

At least 39 Palestinians injured in Ramallah-area clashes

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — At least 39 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli forces in the Ramallah area Tuesday, as tensions remained high across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem following a spate of killings by Israeli forces and Palestinians.The Red Crescent said 25 Palestinians were injured in clashes at Qalandiya military checkpoint, including five with live fire and 10 with rubber-coated steel bullets.

A 17-year-old Palestinian was shot in the stomach, reportedly with a 0.22 caliber bullet, and underwent surgery to remove a bullet from near his spine, medics said. A Palestinian woman was also critically injured in her neck.
An Israeli border guard was reportedly injured when a stone was thrown at him.A large march had set of from the entrance of Qalandiya refugee camp towards the checkpoint, with youths throwing rocks, empty bottles, and Molotov cocktails at soldiers.Clashes also broke out near the Beit El settlement, with dozens of Palestinians injured by rubber-coated steel bullets and excessive tear gas inhalation.Israeli forces reportedly detained a child in a supermarket in northern el-Bireh during the clashes and searched an ambulance carrying the injured to hospitals.Earlier, Israeli forces shot and injured three Palestinians as fierce clashes broke out in Bethlehem following the funeral of a 13-year-old boy who was shot dead by Israeli forces the day before.Two Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets in their head, while another was shot in the leg, medics told Ma’an, adding that they had been rushed to the operation room for treatment.
Initial reports said they had been shot with live fire.Another seven Palestinians were shot and injured with rubber-coated steel bullets, medics said, and dozens suffered excessive tear gas inhalation.Hundreds took part in the funeral procession of Abed al-Rahman Obeidallah, 13, who was shot in his chest while returning home from school in Aida refugee camp on Monday afternoon.
(Source / 06.10.2015)