Army Demolishes Three Apartments In Jerusalem

Israeli soldiers demolished, Monday, three Palestinian apartments in Nosseiba neighborhood, in Beit Hanina town, in occupied Jerusalem. One home was demolished earlier.

Beit Hanina

The Palestine TV has reported that the soldiers, accompanied by a number of bulldozers, invaded the neighborhood, approximately at 8:30 in the morning, and demolished three apartments belonging to Mousa Dsouqi, his brother Mahmoud, and lawyer Khaldoun Najm.

Resident Mahdi Dsouqi said the soldiers demolished the three apartments, although the families obtained an order from an Israeli court, halting the demolitions, but the army paid no attention to the order, isolated the entire area, and demolished the properties.

The demolished apartments is 120 square/meters each.

The soldiers also assaulted family members, residents who gathered in the area and even reporters.

Earlier Monday, the army demolished a home belonging to resident Sami Edrees, in Khallet al-Abed area in Jabal al-Mokabber, in Jerusalem.

(Source / 02.11.2015)

Erekat: World must assume responsibility for Balfour Declaration

A photo of Israel’s separation wall in Bethlehem, which cuts off the city from Jerusalem

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat on Monday released a statement marking the 98th anniversary of the Balfour declaration, calling on the international community to “remediate” decades of occupation and exile.”Ninety-eight years ago, the destiny of our nation changed due to the action of a foreign colonial power. The Balfour Declaration should serve as a reminder that what is happening in Palestine is a result of colonial decisions made in faraway capitals,” he said.”Mr. Balfour, on behalf of Great Britain, promised Palestine, a country over which Britain had no legal right, to another people. From 85,000 Jews in Palestine (around 12 percent of Palestine’s population), few of them were Zionists, and the declaration was even rejected by the only Jewish member of the British Cabinet at that time, Lord Montagu.”Erekat added that Palestinians had also rejected the Balfour Declaration and made it clear that the problem was not with a Jewish community in Palestine, but the dramatic transformation of a Muslim and Christian Arab state into an exclusively Jewish one.”The United Kingdom in particular should close the darkness of its colonialist past in the region by taking concrete steps in order to protect and promote Palestinian rights, including the recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 border with East Jerusalem as its capital,” Erekat said.The Balfour Declaration of Nov. 2, 1917 was a letter sent from British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Rothschild, a British Jewish leader, declaring British support for the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”Palestinians have since viewed the declaration as paving the way for the creation of the State of Israel at the expense of the land’s original inhabitants.The declaration was made before the British had wrested control of Palestine from the Ottoman Empire, and was not made public until several years after the First World War, in 1920.By that time, Britain had been formally granted a mandate over Palestine by the League of Nations, and was struggling with its contradictory obligations of “rewarding” Arabs for their support during the war, while also fulfilling their pledge to create a Jewish state.As Jewish immigration to Palestine gathered pace through the 1920s and 1930s, the situation grew increasingly fraught, resulting in two large outbreaks of violence between Palestinians and Jewish immigrants in 1929 and 1936.The British increasingly sought to distance themselves from the Balfour Declaration, with a government White Paper in 1939 explicitly rejecting the creation of a Jewish state.However, with the onset of the Second World War, Palestine became a distant priority for Britain.After the war, British forces withdrew from Palestine, leaving it in the hands of the newly created United Nations, which favored partition, particularly as evidence slowly emerged of the vast scale of the Holocaust in Europe.The decision led to the 1948 war between Arab nations, including Palestinians, and Jewish immigrants, ultimately resulting in the creation of the state of Israel and the expulsion of more than 700,000 Palestinians from their homes inside its borders, an event known as the Nakba among Palestinians.

(Source / 02.11.2015)

Israelis shoot dead Palestinian near Tel Aviv

Israeli regime police and forensic experts inspect the scene of an alleged stabbing attack in Rishon LeZion, about 10km (six miles) south of Tel Aviv on November 2, 2015. (AFP PHOTO)

Israeli regime police and forensic experts inspect the scene of an alleged stabbing attack in Rishon LeZion, about 10km (six miles) south of Tel Aviv on November 2, 2015

Israeli forces have shot dead a Palestinian youth in the town of Netanya, north of Tel Aviv city, in the occupied territories.

A 22-year-old Palestinian was shot dead after allegedly stabbing and injuring an old Israeli, the regime’s police said on Monday.

In a separate incident, Israeli forces arrested another Palestinian youth for allegedly stabbing three Israelis south of Tel Aviv.

A 19-year-old Palestinian, from al-Khalil (Hebron) in the occupied West Bank, stabbed two people on the pavement and a third in a clothes store, Israeli police claimed in a statement on Monday.

The alleged assailant reportedly disembarked a bus about ten kilometers (six miles) south of Tel Aviv in the central Rishon LeZion bus station, where he was claimed to have stabbed a person at the bus stop, before running across the street and allegedly knifed another person.

He then entered a clothing store where he allegedly stabbed a woman.

The occupied Palestinian territories have recently been the scene of heightened tensions between Palestinians and Israelis.

At least 72 Palestinians were also killed in Palestinian territories by Israeli soldiers in October. Ten Israelis have also been killed during the time.

Israeli regime forces inspect the scene of an alleged stabbing attack in the city Rishon LeZion, about 10km (six miles) south of Tel Aviv on November 2, 2015

The Rishon LeZion stabbing is the first such incident outside of the West Bank and al-Quds (Jerusalem) since October 22, when two Palestinians reportedly stabbed an Israeli in the town of Beit Shemesh west of al-Quds.

Tensions were triggered by the Israel’s imposition, in August, of restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) says a total of 2,617 Palestinians sustained gunshot wounds in clashes in the occupied West Bank last month.

(Source / 02.11.2015)

Israeli forces attack Palestinian students in West Bank

Palestinian demonstrators hurl rocks towards Israeli forces next to the Israeli controversial apartheid wall separating the occupied West Bank town of Abu Dis from al-Quds (Jerusalem), during clashes with Israeli  forces, on November 2, 2015. (AFP photo)

Palestinian demonstrators hurl rocks towards Israeli forces next to the Israeli controversial apartheid wall separating the occupied West Bank town of Abu Dis from al-Quds (Jerusalem), during clashes with Israeli forces, on November 2, 2015

Israeli forces have attacked Palestinian students protesting against the Tel Aviv regime’s so-called separation barrier as well as the recent wave of aggression against Palestinians across the occupied territories.

Israeli police stormed the Al-Quds University in the occupied West Bank town of Abu Dis on Monday after clashing with the students who assembled at the foot of the controversial wall, separating the town from al-Quds (Jerusalem,) to demonstrate against the Israeli regime.

The students afterwards went back to the campus and from there threw stones at the Israeli forces who fired rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades at the protesters before opening the gates of the university by force and getting in.

“The policemen entered firing grenades left and right,” said one of the students, adding, “They fired at us with rubber bullets, aiming for the torso and the head.”

Israeli forces stand outside Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, in the occupied West Bank, close to the Israeli controversial separation wall during clashes with Palestinian demonstrators on November 2, 2015

It is not clear how many people were injured in the attack but Palestinian medical sources say many students were hit and wounded by rubber bullets in the upper parts of their bodies, while many others suffered from smoke inhalation due to tear gas.

The Tel Aviv regime started building walls and fences inside the West Bank in 2002 in a move that angered Palestinians. They say the measure is a land grab, denouncing the barrier as the “apartheid wall.”

Monday clashes also come as tensions have been running high over the past several weeks between the Israeli regime and Palestinians in the occupied territories.

The latest wave of tensions was triggered by Israel’s imposition in August of restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds.

The Palestinian Health Ministry says at least 74 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of October. Ten Israelis have reportedly died during that period.

(Source / 02.11.2015)

Tracking Tear Gas

Article of 02/24/2012

One of the biggest clues to understanding the connections among grassroots democratic uprisings across the world may be found by tracking connections among methods of repression.

We know that tear gas canisters, stun grenades and other so-called non-lethal crowd control technologies manufactured by U.S. companies have been used not only against the Occupy movements in the United States, but also by peaceful pro-democracy mobilizations in Egypt, Bahrain, Palestine, Yemen and Tunisia, among many others. Corporations are reaping profit here and abroad from the repression of democracy.

We also know that the U.S. government knows about—and even promotes—these sales.  It is clear that there is deep collusion and moral complicity between government policy and corporate profit. What’s not so clear are the mechanisms by which this actually works. The relationship is convoluted, and this is no accident. Much effort is made to keep the process opaque by limiting our access to detailed information.

Below, we have focused on the use of tear gas in the Middle East.  We should note, however, that this is only one example of a much bigger phenomenon and a much longer history. It is emblematic of a pattern of militarized policing, corporate profiteering and governmental collusion that has been on the rise since at least the 1980s.

PROFILING THE COMPANIES

Here is an overview of some of the main tear gas manufacturers whose products have been documented in recent protest zones.

1. Defense Technology/Federal Laboratories/BAE

Defense Technology is headquartered in Casper, Wyoming.  Along with U.S. company Federal Laboratories, with which it shares a product line, it is linked to the U.K. arms giant BAE Systems through BAE’s ownership of U.S. arms company Armor Holdings. Defense Technology and Federal Laboratories tear gas has been used in Oakland, Palestine, Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia and Yemen.

The Yemeni government regularly uses Defense Technology and Federal Laboratories tear gas against pro-democracy protesters, who have been demonstrating since February. On October 25, 2011, police used massive amounts of Defense Technology product against Occupy Oakland. Iraq Veterans Against the War member Scott Olsen was critically injured when police fired tear gas  at close range, hitting him in the head. The police also fired tear gas directly onto the people who came to Olsen’s aid.

Defense Technology also provides tear gas to the Israeli police, and its canisters have been found in East Jerusalem. Previously, Federal Laboratories provided tear gas to the Israeli—this deal was the subject of protests and lawsuits during the first intifada.

2. NonLethal Technologies

Based in Homer City, Pennsylvania, NonLethal Technologies is the primary provider of tear gas to the government of Bahrain, a country which has just marked the first anniversary of its peaceful mass protests. Today, protests continue almost daily despite protesters having been jailed, tortured, killed, maligned, fired from work and expelled from school, according to Bahraini activist Fahud Desmukh (aka Chan’ad, in Jadaliyya, December 9, 2011).

In Sitra last August, fourteen-year-old Ali al-Shiekh was killed when police fired a tear gas canister at close range into the back of his neck. He died almost instantly. Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times observed that NonLethal Technologies canisters were regularly littered across the ground after pro-democacy demonstrations there.

3. Combined Systems, Inc.

Headquartered in Jamestown, Pennsylvania, Combined Systems Inc. (CSI)—often manufacturing under the brand name Combined Tactical Systems (CTS)—supplies Tunisia, Yemen, Germany, Netherlands, India, East Timor, Hong Kong, Argentina, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Cameroon, and Sierra Leone, as well as its most high-profile clients as of late— Egypt and Israel. They are owned by Point Lookout Capital and the Carlyle Group, with the former, whose offices are located in New York City, holding the controlling shares. On Point Lookout’s portfolio page, the section on CSI reads: “The company’s CTS branded product line is the premiere less-lethal line in the industry today.”

CSI is the primary supplier of tear gas to the Israeli military as well as a provider to Israel’s police (and border police) for use in occupied Palestine. (CSI even used to fly the Israeli flag at its Jamestown headquarters, but in advance of the Martin Luther King Day protest there, the company replaced it with a Pennsylvania state flag.) There is extensive written documentation of CSI sales and shipments to Israel; moreover CTS-brand canisters are ubiquitous at Palestinian protests, including the regularly recurrent nonviolent demonstrations at Bil’in, Ni’lin and Nabi Saleh.

Palestinian protesters recently killed by tear gas include Mustafa Tamimi, from the small village Nabi Saleh, on December 9, 2011. An Israeli soldier inside an armored jeep fired a tear gas canister at close range directly into his face. Jawaher Abu Rahma of Bil’in suffocated on tear gas at a protest in January of last year. His brother, Bassem Abu Rahma, died in April 2009 when an Israeli soldier fired a tear gas canister directly into his chest.

There have also been countless injuries. The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, a coordinating body for unarmed demonstrations in the West Bank, noted in a 2010 report: “According to Palestinian Red Crescent records in Bil’in and Ni’ilin, 18 people have been directly shot at and hit by the high velocity projectiles since their introduction, in these two villages alone.”

Photos and news reports have shown that CSI is a major tear gas provider for the Tunisian military. A Tunisian protester and a photographer from France were recently killed by impacts from tear gas canisters fired at close range.

The company’s tear gas is the primary one used by the Egyptian security forces in its attempt to crush demonstrations there, which still continue. Amnesty International documented three shipments of tear gas from CSI (in the U.S.) to Egypt in 2011 that were approved by the U.S. State Department, despite the Egyptian security forces’ record of using of tear gas to kill and injure protesters. In the months following Mubarak’s ouster, Human Rights Watch also reported excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrations, including illegally shooting tear gas into the crowd at shoulder height, on February 25, March 9, April 9, June 28 and 29, August 1 andOctober 9.

In the November protests around the election, tear gas was fired repeatedly—often into enclosed spaces, including into field hospitals. And again, canisters were fired directly at protesters. Egyptian human rights groups have reported that between November 19 and November 23, at least 40 protesters were killed and more than 2,000 injured. At least four people died from tear gas asphyxiation.

HOW DOES IT GET THERE?

How does tear gas get from American manufacturers to various governments overseas?  You could see it as a sort of triangular relationship between the U.S. government, U.S. corporations, and other governments. These three points are always involved. The fungible path of money and weaponry follows various routes and takes different forms at different points in the process. One thing to emphasize here is the complicity between state and corporate interests: government policies actively work in war profiteers’ favor. Even when it’s a commercial sale, tear gas (like any other weapon) is subject to export controls, so U.S.-made tear gas cannot be shipped abroad without government approval.

Here are some of the ways by which tear gas moves from manufacturers to clients in different countries. The U.S. government’s role usually consists of one or more of the following: authorizing a sale, arranging a sale, subsidizing it, or funding it directly with taxpayer money.

1. FMS (foreign military sales)

These are government-to-government transactions, administered by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency in the Pentagon. FMS requests are initiated by the purchasing country, and handled initially by the U.S. embassy in the client country. The Pentagon handles the entire transaction, but the State Department can also approve, reject or halt any purchase.

The military articles sold through this program can come from either Pentagon stocks or new production. In the latter case, the Defense Department contracts with U.S. arms manufacturers to actually build the weapons and, in some cases, provide related services. But the Pentagon takes care of all of the paperwork.

The top three buyers in FMS for fiscal year 2010 were Egypt ($2.45 billion); Israel ($3.95 billion); and Kuwait ($1.6 billion).

2. DCS (direct commercial sales)

These are purchases negotiated directly between the client country and the manufacturer. The U.S. State Department approves each and every DCS. Compared to FMS, this route is usually quicker, sometimes cheaper and always entails less government oversight. In addition, the State Department is much less transparent about DCS than the Pentagon is about FMS. Minimal information about price and quantity is classified as “confidential business information” and kept from the public. This secrecy undermines the ability of Congress and the interested press and public to exercise proper oversight on industry-direct arms transfers. The existence of these two separate programs also makes gaining an accurate count of arms exports in a given year exceedingly difficult. This is the best information we have:

The top DCS totals for fiscal 2009: Egypt ($458,000 for tear gas and other riot control agents, $101 million total); Israel ($1.05 million for tear gas and other riot control agents, $602.6 million total); and Kuwait ($1.24 million for tear gas and other riot control agents, $923 million total).

3. FMF (foreign military financing)

The U.S. government does more than just approve sales. American taxpayers directly finance foreign governments’ purchases of U.S. military products via “military aid”—essentially grants and loans to foreign governments for arms purchases. In most cases, financing is available only for the sale of U.S.-made products. So, in effect, these are taxpayer-financed subsidies of private weapons manufacturers and defense contractors. In some exceptions, such as those made for Israel, a recipient country can use the a limited portion of the aid to fund purchases of its own domestic products.

Foreign military financing is regularly applied to FMS purchases and is relatively well documented. But because transparency is lacking when it comes to DCS purchases, it’s harder to accurately associate FMF funds with these purchases.

In 2009 Egypt received $1.3 billion, Israel $2.55 billion. In 2011 Egypt requested $1.3 billion, Israel $3 billion. (A footnote in the available documentation suggests it’s assumed they will get the amount they ask for.)

How much of this applies to the militarized policing technologies, including tear gas, that are being used to suppress democratic movements? In other words, how much of our tax money is actually contributing to the use of tear gas by foreign governments against those with whom we feel affinity? That’s not easy to break down. But regardless of whether particular tear gas purchases are directly funded by taxpayer money, FMF contributes to the client countries’ military budgets, so even if it only funds fighter jets and tanks, it still frees up funds for them to purchase other weapons, including tear gas.

WHAT CAN PEOPLE DO?

On November 26, seven tons of CSI munitions arrived in Suez—the first of a three-part shipment, totaling 21 tons. Customs officials at the Adabiya port of Suez tried to prevent entry by refusing to complete paperwork.

This year, on Valentine’s Day, hackers associated with Anonymous claimed to have broken into CSI’s online systems and stolen personal information belonging to CSI employees and its clients. In a statement posted while the company’s website was down, Anonymous cited CSI’s sale of “mad chemical weapons to militaries and cop shops around the world,” and referenced the ongoing sale of tear gas and other weapons to Egypt during the repression of protest.

So what can we do here to support our comrades in Egypt, Bahrain, Palestine and elsewhere?

1. Contact the Ad Hoc Coalition to Defend the Egyptian Revolution, Witness Bahrain, and Adalah-NY to see what they’re up to and how you can get involved.

2. Target factories and headquarters of war profiteers.  Target their main investors.  There have already been several protests at Point Lookout Capital, including a die-in organized by the OWS direct action working group, the Ad Hoc Coalition and Adalah-NY.  There were also protests at CSI’s headquarters on December 11, 2011, and Martin Luther King Day this year. According to Nora Barrows-Friedman’s blog on Electronic Intifada, CSI’s security director added that the company’s CEO and other officials “were unavailable as they were to attend the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) in Las Vegas this week.”

Around the world, people are standing up for social and economic justice and political freedom. Meanwhile, those parties who are benefiting from the repression of protest are more or less the same ones who benefited from the conditions that sparked the protest in the first place. Quite simply, what the 99% want is diametrically opposed to the interests of the global military-industrial regime, both here and abroad. People-to-people solidarity will bring down and change that regime. And it’s within our power to do so.

(Source / 02.11.2015)

Ministry of health warns of stoppage of dialysis for children

GAZA, (PIC)– Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza Strip warned of the stoppage of dialysis services for children due to running out of filters and blood transfusion lines by the end of the week.

The spokesman of the ministry Ashraf al-Qudra warned, in a statement posted on his Facebook page, of the danger of running out of filters and blood transfer tools. He pointed out that the percent of shortage in medications has reached 30% and the shortage in medical consumables reached 40% in coincidence with the increase of the injured numbers due to Israeli aggressive practices.

In a previous occasion, Qudra demanded the Ministry of Health in Ramallah to increase quantities of medications in Gaza’s hospitals which are suffering serious shortages in light of Israeli escalated offensive practices.

(Source / 02.11.2015)

Islamic State creeps in on Kurdish stronghold

Members of Turkish police special forces take part in a security operation in Diyarbakir, Turkey, Oct. 26, 2015

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey — In the wee hours of Oct. 26, gunfire and explosions rocked Diyarbakir, the largest city of Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast, as anti-terror police raided 17 locations across the city, which has been the theater of daily unrest since July. In a handsome detached house, the security forces encountered stiff resistance. Two policemen were killed and five others injured as two men charging the squad in the garden blew themselves up. The ensuing clashes at the house lasted seven hours.

Residents initially thought it was yet another operation against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), but cries of “Allahu akbar” — usually used by Islamists — echoed from the house, and word was soon circulating that it was an Islamic State (IS) safe house. When the gunfire was finally over, the house lay devastated, with seven of its occupants dead and 15 in police custody.

The governor’s office confirmed that the simultaneous raids on homes and offices in the city had targeted IS. Local residents, especially neighbors, were dismayed that such a large group of IS militants was able to entrench itself in the city, the stronghold of the Kurdish political movement.

Sevdet Gerkez, a next door neighbor, told Al-Monitor the group had moved in two months ago. “I didn’t suspect anything. Sometimes I would see them in the garden. The other day, I greeted them in Kurdish and wished them well for the new home. They didn’t understand, and then one responded in Turkish that he spoke Zaza and did not understand Kurdish,” she said. “A few times I saw them digging in the garden at night. Between themselves they spoke in Zaza and, I guess, Arabic.”

The owner of another house police targeted in the same neighborhood said he had rented the place in June to a man in his late 20s from nearby Batman, who said he was married with a child.

Only a day before the raids, police had released the identities and pictures of four suspected IS militants believed to be planning suicide attacks and requested the public’s help for their capture. The government and the security forces have been under harsh criticism for turning a blind eye to IS recruitment in Turkey since Oct. 10, when more than 100 peace marchers perished in twin suicide bombings in Ankara, following a similar attack in July that killed 32 leftist activists in Suruc.

All militants killed in the Diyarbakir operation were would-be suicide bombers, local security sources told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. Even more remarkably, all of the five dead identified so far were natives of the neighboring province of Bingol, which — along with Adiyaman — has emerged as a leading IS recruitment ground in Turkey, as Al-Monitor reported back in July.

So what should one make of a Kurdish IS cell in the heart of an iconic Kurdish city like Diyarbakir? According to some, it is an alarming indication that the radical group is able to establish itself even in the bastions of Kurdish nationalism.

Lawyer Sitki Zilan, secretary-general of the Azadi movement, a local Islamic-leaning Kurdish group, disagrees.

Zilan told Al-Monitor that the clout of the PKK and its longtime nemesis Hezbollah, a Kurdish-dominated Islamist group unrelated to its Lebanese namesake, would prevent IS from taking genuine hold among Kurds. Stressing that Hezbollah and its political offshoot, the Free Cause Party, were not a Salafist but a Shafii movement, Zilan said, “They [IS] are not backed by Hezbollah, which is pro-Iranian. And Iran’s influence lately has been positive, drawing Hezbollah away from al-Qaeda. Also, Hezbollah’s practices may be wrong, but it has a Kurdish [national] consciousness.”

Separately, Zilan cast doubt on the motives of the raids. “Were the [militants] preparing for an attack that Turkey couldn’t afford or was Turkey intending to only detain a few IS militants to advertise itself internationally?” he asked, adding that the two men who blew themselves up might have messed up what could have been only a token round-up operation.

Mehmet Kurt, an academic at Bingol University who specializes in Islamism and radicalization in the Kurdish community, has closely followed IS recruitment efforts in the region. He is not surprised that the five militants killed in the raid were natives of Bingol, where, he said, the recruitment has proceeded openly, led by individuals known to everyone, very much in the pattern seen in Adiyaman, from where the Ankara and Suruc bombers hailed.

The militants killed and detained in Diyarbakir were well-known to the locals in Bingol, Kurt told Al-Monitor. “One of those detained was even supposed to have a wedding today [Oct. 28]. The people know them very well. And if the ordinary people know them and speak of their activities, the state certainly knows them, too,” he said. “The problem, however, is not simply a problem of two cities, Bingol and Adiyaman. The question that needs to be asked is, ‘Why is the recruitment mostly among Kurds?’”

According to the researcher, the many traumas of the long-standing Kurdish conflict have made Kurds open to extremist influences. “The unjust suffering and victimhood has spawned reactionary groups that are well able to find a base,” he said. “Not everyone in Diyarbakir sympathizes with the Kurdish political movement. There is a considerable populace in conflict with them. And though Bingol, Adiyaman and maybe Diyarbakir are currently under the spotlight, such bases exist everywhere.”

Yet Kurt believes those grassroots are not strong enough to breed IS into a “social movement.” He warns, however, that cells will continue to exist and threaten Turkey’s already fragile ethnic and religious fault lines. According to him, IS seeks to provoke Turkish-Kurdish communal strife.

“There was a certain degree of Islamist extremism in the 1990s, which has now transformed to Salafist extremism. Those currents grow in time, become more radical and then go underground before coming back in the form of a new monster,” Kurt said, adding that IS was now said to be withdrawing its members underground.

“[IS] follows this strategy: It analyzes well the arteries of nation-states and the tensions in ethnic, religious and sectarian conflicts; recruits certain types in these conflict realms; and then unleashes them to create uncontrolled tension, violence and chaos,” he said. “The strategy aims to foment confrontations on the basis of religion, sect, ethnicity and lifestyle. And, sadly, Diyarbakir is a most suitable ground for that.”

(Source / 02.11.2015)

Palestinians ‘have become unreasonably reasonable’

As Israel and US wrongly claim ‘incitement’ to justify their actions against Palestinians, the oppressed may resort to new forms of struggle

“Give me liberty, or give me death!” Patrick Henry declared in a speech he made to the Virginia Convention in 1775, at St John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia. Fast forward 240 years, and if Israel and the US were able to pin those words to a Palestinian and decry incitement, they would do so in a heartbeat.

Like “terrorism,” “incitement” is a word that works great in conflict zones because it means everything and nothing at the same time. However, its misuse as a justification to perpetrate blatant human rights violations and maintain an illegal state of affairs that contributes to conflict being fanned, not diffused.

Both Israel and the US are guilty of misusing the claim of incitement in an attempt to justify their punishment of Palestinians.

For Israel to point to Palestinian incitement, which does exist, as the source of the present violence across Israel and Palestine is pathetic, at best. After dispossessing Palestinians numerous times and leaving more than half the population locked out of their homeland and scattered across the region to live a life of misery as refugees; after installing a system of institutionalized and structural discrimination inside Israel against the Palestinian Muslim and Christian citizens of Israel who remained in the country after Israel’s establishment; after placing (and pressing) a boot of military occupation on the necks of Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip for the past 48 years; after expanding an illegal settlement enterprise from 100,000 settlers to 580,000 settlers, all the while pretending to be engaged in bilateral negotiations to resolve the conflict; and while Israeli prime ministers and ministers continually claim that no Palestinian state will ever be allowed to emerge, while also claiming Palestinians are everything from snakes to subhuman, Israel has no right whatsoever to even hint at incitement as being a factor in this outbreak of violence.

For the US, be it Congress or the Administration, to ignore history and the facts on the ground and point to Palestinian incitement in a knee-jerk reaction to the current violence is criminal.

Secretary of State John Kerry, addressing the current deterioration of security in the region, tells NPR News: “There’s no excuse for the violence. No amount of frustration is appropriate to license any violence anywhere at any time. No violence should occur. And the Palestinians need to understand.” Really?

Palestinians need to “understand” when they are at the receiving end of all the violence mentioned above? And this coming from a country that underwrites Israel to the tune of $10.2 million in military aid each day, that has just completed the total destruction of two sovereign states in the region (Iraq and Afghanistan), and has been Addicted to War since its founding.

Indeed, “no violence should occur,” but regrettably Palestinians will not make world history by being the first people that falls under military occupation and wakes up one morning and accepts it by throwing roses and chocolate at their occupier. The longest military occupation in modern history will be resisted until it ends.

The challenge for everyone is how nonviolently to face the horrendous violence of the occupation, much of which is bloodless violence, violence that does not make the headline news but rather simmers on a slow burner, like the never-ending settlement enterprise or the suffocation of the Palestinian economy.

All of this is not to say that targeting civilians is justified. It is not. But all the stakeholders in this conflict know very well that there are two dynamics at play in this most recent Palestinian outbreak of frustration.

On the one hand, the level of loss of hope has pushed a very small number of Palestinians to undertake violent and horrendous acts against Israeli civilians, many targeting illegal Israeli settlers. This was totally predictable and I, for one, have been speaking in public about the fear of individual, lone-wolf, acts of violence for years.

On the other hand, an entirely new generation of Palestinians has reached a boiling point, and some have taken to the streets in an uncoordinated and disparate fashion to express their outrage at being locked into open-air cages, suffocated economically, and humiliated on a daily basis.

Some claim this latter dynamic is a new intifada, or uprising, but regardless of how it is coined or if it is sustainable or not its message is crystal clear: there is no status quo under Israeli occupation, only the facade of calm while Israel continues literally and figuratively to cement new facts on the ground that are in total violation of international law.

The US State Department, claiming Palestinians are engaged in almighty and undefinable incitement, has cut aid to Palestinians by $80mn as a “message” to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. This funding cut will bring the US’s annual economic assistance to Palestinians from $370mn to $290mn, peanuts in the larger picture and, for many, a sore source of the artificial prop-up which maintains an expired Palestinian Authority.

So as the situation on the ground boils over, and the Israeli government’s intransigence and determination to “forever live by the sword” continues, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was recently reported telling a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the US is making itself more and more irrelevant to the reality on the ground by blindly adopting Israel’s well-crafted incitement mantra.

Israeli adoption of the “incitement” claim to cover up its blatant and systematic violations of international law is not surprising; however, the US jumping on this bandwagon to lay blame on the Palestinian leadership for the current violence is more troubling than the violence itself.

Indeed, former Palestinian diplomat Afif Safieh puts it most succinctly when he says: “Palestinians have become unreasonably reasonable.”

I would add that if the US does not finally act, instead of paying only lip service to a two-state solution, no one in Congress should be surprised when Palestinians drop their bid for statehood and convert this struggle for freedom to a civil rights struggle.

(Source / 02.11.2015)

Teenager Killed, One Wounded, Near Jenin

Israeli soldiers shot and killed, on Monday morning, a Palestinian tanager, and kidnapped another, near the al-Jalama military roadblock, northeast of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, allegedly after the two attempted to stab a soldier.

Mahmoud Tala Nazzal

The slain Palestinian, Ahmad Awad Abu ar-Rob, 16, was killed after soldiers, stationed on a military tower, opened fire on him, while resident Mahmoud Mo’men Kamil, 17, was kidnapped.

The soldiers closed the roadblock on both directions, and initiated a search campaign in the area.

On Saturday, soldiers shot and killed Mahmoud Talal Nazzal, 17 years of age, on the same roadblock.

In related news, soldiers kidnapped a Young Palestinian man, 22 years of age, reportedly after assaulting an Israeli tourism guide in the Hebron Gate area, in occupied Jerusalem. Israeli sources said the woman suffered cuts in her head and was moved to a hospital for treatment.

The Palestinian, from Jabal al-Mokabber in Jerusalem, fled the scene, but the soldiers managed to arrest him after a short chase, the army said.

On Sunday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said the army has killed 73 Palestinians, including twelve children, since October 1.

On Monday morning, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that the army has kidnapped on Sunday at night and on Monday morning, 33 Palestinians in the West Bank districts of Hebron, Nablus and Jerusalem.

(Source / 02.11.2015)

Nearly 100,000 Gazans face winter in tents, animal shelters

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Nearly 100,000 refugees in Gaza face a second winter without proper housing, with just one of their homes rebuilt since being damaged or destroyed in Israel attack last year, said a United Nations agency that provides assistance in the region.

Families are living under tarpaulins, in animal shacks or with relatives and last winter, at least three children froze to death, said a spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, known as UNRWA. As the winter approaches, one shudders how these people are going to survive,” the UNRWA spokesman, Christopher Gunness, said in an interview, Reuters reported on Friday.

The agency helps some 5 million Palestinian refugees in Gaza, the occupied West Bank, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. “What these people need is proper homes,” he said. Reconstruction in the enclave of 1.8 million people is hindered partly because of a lack of funds and partly because of a blockade that restricts goods entering and leaving Gaza, Gunness said.

During last year’s 50-day war, Israeli airstrikes and shelling hammered the densely populated Gaza Strip causing widespread destruction of homes, schools, hospitals and factories. More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed, mostly civilians. Israel put the number of its dead at 67 soldiers and six civilians. “The underlying dynamics that saw the war in 2014 are still there,” Gunness said. “Indeed they’ve probably got worse because in 2014 there weren’t 13,000 families whose homes were uninhabitable.

Even if Gaza was reconstructed magically tomorrow morning, unless Gaza is allowed to function economically, then it’s hard to see how the instability is going to go away.” The World Bank said in May that blockades, war and poor governance have strangled Gaza’s economy and the unemployment rate is now the highest in the world. It stands at 43 percent, rising to 68 percent among people ages 20 to 24, the World Bank said. There have been no significant exports from Gaza since 2007. Israel maintains tight controls on the movement of goods and people in and out of the territory.

Currently, 90 percent of water in Gaza is undrinkable, and the population relies almost completely on a coastal aquifer which could become unusable next year, UNRWA said. Most Gazans consume between 70 and 90 liters a day, below the World Health Organization standard of 100 liters per person per day, the agency said. The number of people receiving UNRWA food aid has risen to 860,000 from 80,000 in 2000, Gunness said. They will become reliant on water aid as well as supplies dwindle, he said.

(Source / 02.11.2015)