A boycott of Israel can help end the injustice

On a recent visit to Palestine, Betty Purcell witnessed the terrible conditions locals are forced to endure, with so many aspects of their daily lives under Israeli control

IT’S 8am near Bethlehem and the field of olive trees is suffused with dappled sunlight.

It should be an idyllic scene. But we are with the farmer who owns the field, and his story is tragic. Coming down the hill towards him is a massive Israeli settlement (illegal under international law, and condemned by the International Court of Justice in 2004).

It has already led to the confiscation of half of his land. Sewage water is polluting his remaining fields. He points to the shrunken, dehydrated olives with tears in his eyes. He has no water for irrigating the fields, and his whole village exists in a threatened zone. Houses can be demolished for “security reasons” at any time.

His freedom of movement is curtailed by roadblocks and the Israeli-built Separation Wall, which snakes across the land, and divides him from his neighbours and friends. Then he smiles the warmest smile.

“Thank you for coming here to talk to us,” he says. “We won’t ever give up, while there are good people in the world supporting us.”

We are a group of international visitors from 13 countries around the globe who have come on a fact finding trip with the Bethlehem YMCA. (Our group includes a Presbyterian minister from the US who has brought a church group, a solidarity organiser from Munich, a group of young workers with the homeless from Birmingham, two lapsed Catholics from Ireland, a lovely vicar’s wife from Oxford, and a chatty group of Austrian Methodists.)

My interest is in the human rights area, as a member of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. What we are all sharing is a profound sense of shock at the effect of the Israeli military occupation on ordinary Palestinian’s lives.

From the moment they wake up, until they close their eyes at night, every man, woman and child in the West Bank of Palestine is under the control of the Israeli army and government.

Staying with Palestinian families, the first thing you notice is the rationing of water.

Palestinian houses only have their water supplied for three days a month, and they try to fill water cannisters on their roofs for the other days.

Water is at a premium, although we are told to shower as often as we need to. We try to splash quickly and dry off. I am therefore amazed, when we are taken to an Israeli settlement, to discover water in abundance there.

There are sprinklers on the gardens, and even an aqua park. Water is available 24/7. International organisations state that one Israeli uses as much water as eight Palestinians.

Freedom of movement is seriously compromised for Palestinians. None of the family I stayed with were free to travel to Jerusalem, just 10km down the road. (Given that they were Palestinian Christians, they would have really enjoyed seeing the historic sites of old Jerusalem, including the Via Dolorosa and the Garden of Gethsemene.)

The only West Bank Palestinians who have permission to go there, are people with work permits which allow them access, like South African black people under apartheid, who similarly were allowed permits for work, but not to live in certain parts of the city.

A friend of our family worked as a labourer in Jerusalem. He left at 3.30 in the morning to get to the checkpoint, leaving himself three hours waiting time.

Sometimes he got through more quickly, but he had to be sure, or he would lose his job if he arrived later than 7.30am.

Every day he is searched, stopped, has guns pointed at him, waits again, and finally if he’s lucky makes it to his workplace on time to start work.

By contrast, the settlers have their own roads and distinctive yellow number plates, which allow them to zip quickly into Jerusalem in 15 minutes.

The Palestinians, with their white number plates are restricted to circuitous, road blocked roads, which can be closed off at any time by the military for “security reasons”.

As we travelled around the West Bank area, which is supposedly the “half” of Palestine under Palestinian Authority control, it seemed the Israeli military was everywhere.

We went to Hebron, a Palestinian town of 45,000 people, which has become a ghost town since the “settling” of 500 Israelis there.

Under the guise of “security considerations”, many streets have been emptied of Palestinian families, and in the Old Town, the Palestinian shopkeepers have had their market stalls closed.

Meanwhile, the settlements, which Israel has been repeatedly asked to dismantle by the UN, are growing apace. On every piece of high land, initially a few mobile homes appear. This is a settlement outpost.

Then the army moves in to support house-building.

Next nearby houses and farms are cleared for “security reasons”. And then the settlement grows, and is linked by special road to the settlement on the next hill.

There are now 700,000 Israeli settlers in the Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem.

They become “facts on the ground”, making a two-state solution a practical impossibility.

These settlers are aggressive and heavily armed. In Hebron, they throw rubbish down on the Palestinian street sellers who have managed to remain open.

Near Bethlehem, they have quick and easy access to the modern hospitals of Jerusalem, while Palestinian women are limited to the Bethlehem maternity hospital, lacking in doctors and equipment.

The Separation Wall has gobbled up further Palestinian land, and one farmer we met had to walk 6km each day to his olive trees on the other side of the Wall.

Some days the checkpoint is closed for no apparent reason. The Wall is built in the West Bank, and when it is completed will annex a further 47% of West Bank territory.

This is not the action of a state which genuinely wishes to live in peace with its neighbours.

In a short visit, I saw so much hardship and oppression, that even a week after returning home, I find it hard not to be depressed.

But that would not do justice to the brave and kind Palestinian families we were honoured to meet on our trip. They deserve nothing less than equal treatment in a fair democratic society.

Only the international community can deliver that for them, by supporting their call for the isolation and boycott of Israel, until it agrees to a settlement that is fair and just for all.

(Source / 03.11.2015)

Saudi Arabia asks for int’l protection for Palestinians

RIYADH, (PIC)– Saudi Arabia has called on the international community to move swiftly to provide protection for the Palestinian people against Israel’s systematic terrorism and remove the injustice inflicted upon them.

This came in a press release issued on Monday by the Saudi council of ministers following its weekly meeting, which was chaired by King Salman Al Saud at al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh.

The cabinet council denounced the Israeli government and its settlers for their persistence in committing crimes against the Palestinians and the Islamic holy sites in the occupied territories.

Its statement also deplored the recent extrajudicial killings of Palestinian citizens, which had been carried out by Israeli security and military forces.

About 74 Palestinians were killed and more than 2,000 others were wounded by the Israeli military and security forces since al-Quds intifada started in early October.

(Source / 03.11.2015)

Israeli Special Forces storm section 3 in Negev prison

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Israeli Special Forces violently stormed and searched at dawn Tuesday section 3 in Negev prison that mainly groups administrative detainees, a Palestinian rights group said.

Palestine Center for Prisoners Studies said that dozens of Israeli Special Forces forced 120 Palestinian prisoners to leave section 10 without taking their personal belongings.

Israeli prisons have recently witnessed nearly-daily raids and search campaigns especially in Negev, Raymond, and Eshel prisons, the center added.

The center pointed out that the Israeli Prison Service decided to open a new section for prisoners serving high sentences in Negev jail due to overcrowding in the other prisons as a result of the Israeli recent arrest campaigns.

The center called on international human rights groups to visit Israeli prisons and detention centers and to check on the Palestinian prisoners’ detention conditions.

(Source / 03.11.2015)

Israeli occupation forces arrest 2 Jerusalemite children

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up two Jerusalemite children, 7 and 8 years old, in Silwan town on Tuesday.

Amjad Abu Asab, the head of the committee of relatives of Jerusalemite detainees, said that the IOF troops arrested 7-year-old Mohammed Shuweiki and 8-year-old Amir Abbasi.

He said that both were detained in front of their homes and taken to Oz police station near Jaabel Mukaber for interrogation.

(Source / 03.11.2015)

Will new Egyptian employment law help its women lean in?

Women work in a factory that makes men’s suits in 10th of Ramadan City, Egypt, Feb. 22, 2006

CAIRO — On the occasion of the World Day for Decent Work on Oct. 7, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics issued a media statement exposing the working conditions and general situation in Egypt based on a study it conducted of the labor force in 2014. The data revealed that the participation of men is three times higher than that of women in the workforce.

Egyptian women face a number of problems that limit their ability to work. Rawateb.org has identified four factors behind these obstacles: balancing career and family, a reluctance to hire women who have children, gender discrimination and harassment.

Mona Ezzat, the director of the Women and Work Program at the New Woman Foundation, told Al-Monitor, “Women should have an adequate representation at the Supreme Council for Wages, which should be given the power to handle complaints from women workers in case they were subjected to any form of discrimination.”

Ezzat confirmed that there is a gender wage gap and attributed it to a lack of adequate measures designed to achieve equal working opportunities such as the provision of nurseries and safe transportation. These factors, she said, make it difficult for women to work during specific hours, push them to work extra hours and prevent them from going to work in locations that are far from their places of residence. All this obstructs their promotion and training.

The unemployment rate for women in Egypt is more than double that for men. According to a report by CAPMAS issued in February 2014, women’s unemployment reached 24% in 2013, compared with 9.8% for men.

According to a study on women and work by the Social Research Center at the American University in Cairo in 2009, women’s low participation in the labor market is a costly burden, particularly for developing countries like Egypt, cutting down on opportunities for economic growth.

The study noted that the main obstacles to women’s participation in the labor market are the social conditions that still hinder the advancement of women at work. Amirah El-Haddad, a professor of economics at Cairo University, noted in the same study that Egyptian women in the official labor market made up only 19% of the total labor force in Egypt from 2001 to 2007. This rate is lower in the private sector in particular, where it reached only 16% compared with 26% in the public sector during the same period.

Haddad told Al-Monitor that these rates have undoubtedly declined in light of the economic conditions in the private sector following the January 25 Revolution, which resulted in businesses dismissing some workers to reduce costs. She added, “The dismissals certainly came at the expense of women.”

Haddad indicated that the reason behind women’s low participation in economic activities is gender discrimination, a structural problem in the Egyptian labor market in the form of occupational segregation or wage discrepancies.

Haddad stressed that to encourage the private sector (the largest source of employment in Egypt) to provide women with more job opportunities, business owners should be given incentives such as tax breaks to hire a larger number of women.

The Egyptian government is working on a new labor law to offer workers, especially women, more rights, and its provisions are being finalized.

Haddad added, “If employers are subject to specific obligations regarding the rights and responsibilities granted to women they employ, this will limit work opportunities for women.”

Egyptian women suffer from high illiteracy rates, which reached 37% compared with 22% for men, according to a 2006 CAPMAS study. Only 52% of women hold a school degree (elementary or beyond) compared with 63% of men in 2004, the most recent statistics available indicate.

Haddad concluded, “The higher the education level is, the higher women’s ability to hold a good job with a good salary in the public sector and to overcome occupational discrimination against them.”

(Source / 03.11.2015)

Israeli forces injure dozens across the occupied West Bank and Gaza

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces injured dozens of Palestinians during clashes across the occupied West Bank and Gaza on Tuesday, including several national faction leaders, Palestinian sources told Ma’an.In Tulkarem, clashes erupted during a peaceful march called for by national faction leaders in solidarity with Palestinians whose land had been confiscated by Israel.During the clashes, Israeli forces injured several of the leaders, including the secretary-general of the Fatah movement, Muayyad Shaaban, who suffered from severe tear-gas inhalation and was taken to the Thabet Thabet Hospital for treatment.In addition, the secretary-general of the Palestinian Democratic Union in Tulkarem, Mirvat Abu Shanab, was hit with a rubber-coated steel bullet in her leg, and a member of the Palestinian Peoples’ Party, Khalid Mansour, was also injured.Israeli forces fired tear-gas and stun grenades at protesters and prevented journalists from covering the march and clashes, sources said.

Clashes in Tulkarem on Nov. 3,2015

In Ramallah, a 61-year-old Palestinian woman with asthma was hospitalized after being exposed to tear gas during clashes near Ofer in western Ramallah on Tuesday.The woman was taken to the Ramallah Medical Center in a moderate condition.In Ramallah’s Beituniya city, Israeli forces shot and injured two Palestinians with live bullets and four more with rubber-coated steel bullets, locals said.In central Gaza, Israeli forces shot and injured a young Palestinian protester with live fire during clashes just east of al-Breij refugee camp along Israel’s border fence.Spokesperson of the Gaza Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra, told Ma’an that the injured protester was taken to Shuhada al-Aqsa Hospital in moderate condition.Near-daily clashes have broken out across occupied Palestinian Territory since the beginning of October.The UN Secretary-General said late last month that while Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian Authority have pledged to curb violence, “this crisis would not have erupted….if the Palestinians did not still live under a stifling and humiliating occupation that has lasted almost half a century.”

(Source / 03.11.2015)

Luidt Hebron het begin van het einde in?

By Engelbert Luitsz                     ©                  (www.alexandrina.nl/?p=4281)

hebron_registratie

Geforceerde registratie van Palestijnse inwoners van de wijk Tel Rumeida in Hebron. Het doel is drieledig: het fysiek afscheiden van een groep mensen van de rest van de samenleving; nog meer controle over de levens van de inwoners; het verwijderen van mensen die iets naar buiten kunnen brengen over wat zich daar afspeelt.

Al decennia wordt het leven voor de Palestijnen in Hebron ondraaglijk gemaakt, maar ze blijven koppig zitten. De segregatie, de discriminatie, het geweld en het racisme ten spijt blijven ze vasthouden aan hun eigen plek, in de hoop op een toekomst waarin de mensheid weer bij zinnen komt.

Hebron ligt in bezet Palestijns gebied en niet in Israël zoals nog wel eens in krantenartikelen staat vermeld. De wijk Tel Rumeida wordt momenteel helemaal afgesloten en iedereen wordt geregistreerd. Dat betekent dat een grote groep mensen uit de wijk zal verdwijnen, waaronder internationale activisten. Er wordt al bericht dat die activisten momenteel gearresteerd worden, waarna ze worden uitgewezen. De mensen die kunnen blijven, zitten dan letterlijk gevangen.hebron_radio1

hebron_radio2

Zoals een Palestijnse activist het beschrijft: Zionistische, fascistische bezettingstroepen vielen vanmorgen het kantoor van de radiozender Alhureyyah in Hebron binnen, vernietigden informatie, stalen zenders en apparatuur en kwamen met een militair bevel om de zender gedurende zes maanden te sluiten. Indien men hier geen gehoor aan geeft wordt het hele gebouw vernietigd door de fascisten. 3 november 2015.

Vanmorgen werd een populair Palestijns radiostation in Hebron het slachtoffer van een Israëlische inval. De zender werd uit de lucht gehaald en de apparatuur werd gestolen of vernield. Het compleet isoleren van deze wijk en het verwijderen van communicatiemiddelen, journalisten en activisten doet het ergste vrezen. Toen in 1994 Palestijnen daar het slachtoffer werden van een joodse massamoordenaar probeerde Israël ook gebruik te maken van de onrust door alle Palestijnen te registreren. Die weigerden echter hun medewerking, waarna er een uitgaansverbod kwam dat zes maanden duurde. Palestijnen kregen slechts enkele uren per week de gelegenheid om boodschappen te doen. En dit blijf ik tot vervelens toe herhalen: niet vanwege een aanslag dóór Palestijnen, maar vanwege een aanslag óp Palestijnen!

Zelfs al worden de Palestijnen in hun getto verder met rust gelaten, dan is nog steeds elk normaal leven onmogelijk geworden. De talloze roadblocks en checkpoints belemmeren medische zorg, onderwijs en bewegingsvrijheid. Maar aangezien we soortgelijke gettovorming ook in Oost-Jeruzalem zien lijkt ook dit onderdeel te zijn van een groter plan. Kennelijk heeft men in Israël genoeg van die Palestijnen die hun eigen vernedering en bezetting weigeren toe te juichen.

Bezettingen kun je vergelijken en als we luisteren naar wat Radio Oranje in 1941 liet horen, wordt duidelijk dat alle elementen ook in Palestina aanwezig zijn:

De nazi’s nemen er geen genoegen mee Nederland leeg te plunderen. Ze willen de geest van ons volk doden en zijn ziel roven. Zij vernietigen onze vrije organisaties. Onze vrije pers is opgeheven. Onze vrije radio is geketend. Ons ambtenarencorps wordt genazificeerd.

Elke zin is van toepassing op wat er met de Palestijnse samenleving gebeurt. En hier hebben we het niet over vijf maar over bijna vijftig jaar van bezetting, zelfs als we ons beperken tot de situatie van na 1967.

hebron_lijk_kolonist

Een beeld uit Hebron dat alles zegt. De 19-jarige Farouk Sidr werd met kogels doorzeefd. Een kolonist geniet duidelijk van het schouwspel en maakt wat kiekjes om thuis te laten zien.

De geschiedenis herhaalt zich niet, de tweede helft van 1948 zal er anders uitzien dan de eerste. Creëert Israël steeds meer mini-Gaza’tjes, wordt de etnische zuivering vooral met administratieve middelen verder doorgevoerd, of gokken ze erop dat de Palestijnen zullen bezwijken aan totale psychische en fysieke uitputting? Dat ze moeten verdwijnen staat vast. Dat de wereld machteloos blijft toekijken eveneens.

Midwest Campus Activists Vow To Keep Struggling For Palestine Despite Threats

As Students for Justice in Palestine continue their efforts to draw attention to the devastating effects of Israeli occupation, attacks on activists are increasing nationwide.

The Minnesota chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine demonstrates on the University of Minnesota campus. (Photo: SJP MN Facebook).

The Minnesota chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, along with other pro-peace groups, demonstrate on the University of Minnesota campus

MINNEAPOLIS — As tensions increase in the West Bank and Gaza, activists for Palestine on American college campuses are also facing threats of violence and oppression.

Students for Justice in Palestine, a group with chapters on college campuses throughout North America, opposes the oppression of Palestinians. Last month, as Muslims throughout the Midwest faced increasing violence, three chapters received disturbing threats after publicly expressing their support for the cause.

In early October, when a video went viral that showed Fadi Alon, a Palestinian teen, being hunted and killed by Israeli settlers, the SJP chapter at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities took to their Facebook page to express solidarity with the slain youth. (MintPress News founder and editor-in-chief Mnar Muhawesh serves as an advisor to SJP UMN chapter.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nj8gXqGh2V0

When police later accused Alon of perpetrating a knife attack, a post on the Facebook page for another campus organization, Students Supporting Israel at the University of Minnesota, accused SJP of supporting “terrorists.”

Before the post on the SSI page was deleted, it was shared on some national pro-Israel pages, and SJP members found themselves flooded with abusive messages. (Video evidence released since the killing has cast doubt on police claims about Alon.)

(Source / 03.11.2015)

House arrest against 13-year-old Jerusalemite girl

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– The Israeli Occupation Authority (IOA) placed a 13-year-old Palestinian girl under house arrest until next Sunday and on a bail of three thousand shekels.

The order of release on bail and house arrest was issued at a late hour on Monday evening by the magistrate court of Jerusalem against Reem Mohammad Qanbar from Mount Scopus southeast of Occupied Jerusalem.

Israeli forces arrested Qanbar Monday evening while she was in a health center in the city and transferred her to a police station to be questioned before being trialed at court.
(Source / 03.11.2015)

Israel shuts down Palestinian radio station it says incites

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: The Israeli military says it raided a Palestinian radio station and confiscated equipment used to broadcast calls to attack Israelis.

The military says it shut down the Al Hurria radio station in Hebron overnight Tuesday. It says the station had been inciting violence in the volatile West Bank city.

Israel says the current spate of violence has been set off by a Palestinian campaign of lies and incitement surrounding a sensitive Jerusalem holy site. The Palestinians counter it is a result of frustration from nearly a half-century of occupation.

Eleven Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks, mostly stabbings. Sixty-nine Palestinians have died by Israeli fire, including 43 who Israel says were involved in attacks or attempted attacks.

The military says Al Hurria has encouraged stabbings and glorified the attackers.

(Source / 03.11.2015)