Palestine Hotline 130116

Palestine Post

PALESTINE POST Update: Jan. 13th, 2016

‪#‎OccupiedPalestine‬

1- Head of the Negotiation Affairs Department of Palestine Liberation organization (PLO), Saeb Erekat, said that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is expected in 2016 to open an investigation into Israeli crimes against Palestinian people.

2- Hamas Movement has strongly condemned on Tuesday evening the “criminal” bombing attack at Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet Square. In its statement issued on Tuesday, the Movement offered its condolences to the Turkish people and the families of those lost in the “heinous crime.”

3- Israeli Occupation forces have been embarking for a few days on fencing thousands of dunums to the east of Nablus city in the northern West Bank as a prelude to confiscate the land.

4- Groups of Jewish settlers along with members of Israeli intelligence apparatus on Tuesday morning stormed the plazas of the Aqsa Mosque from the Magharebah gate under the protection of Israeli police and Special Forces.

5- Israeli warships on Tuesday opened machinegun fire at Palestinian fishermen in Gaza sea. No casualties have been reported.

6- Israeli forces on Tuesday afternoon shot dead two Palestinians at the Beit Einun junction northeast of Hebron, alleging that one intended to carry out a stabbing attack while the other had driven him there.

7- IOF has detained two Palestinians for resisting “military expulsion orders” banishing them from occupied Jerusalem. Freelance journalist Samer Abu Eisheh, 28, and 33-year-old construction worker Hijazi Abu Sbeih, married and with three children, had been ordered to leave East Jerusalem and stay out for respectively five and six months.

8- Israeli soldiers invaded, Tuesday, Beit Jala city, in the West Bank district of Bethlehem, and clashed with local youths, in the Sahl area, before shooting to death a young man, and wounding several others, one seriously.

9- Israeli soldiers invaded, on Tuesday evening, the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and clashed with scores of local youths, who hurled stones and empty bottles on the invading military vehicles; medical sources said seven Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, and many others suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation.

10- Israeli police and army forces, Tuesday, detained two Palestinian young women in Jerusalem and Hebron, according to local sources.

11- The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said that it received only 20 percent of the money needed for the reconstruction of the destroyed houses in the Gaza Strip, QudsNet reported yesterday.

12- Israeli forces, early Tuesday, abducted four young men, including a journalist, from Nablus and Jenin, in the north of the occupied West Bank.

13- Israeli occupation has retroactively legalised about 800 homes in four settlements in the West Bank, the Palestinian occupied territory, the interior ministry said.They included 377 homes in the Yakir settlement, 187 in Itamar and 94 in Shilo in the northern West Bank, as well as 97 more in Sansana in the south of the occupied Palestinian territory.

14- The number of new homes under construction in Jewish settlements on the Israeli-occupied West Bank rose last year by 40 percent, an anti-settlements watchdog has reported.

15- Birzeit University rises up against Israel’s arrests. Israeli forces have arrested dozens of politically active students amid a rise in protests and resistance action in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

16- Palestinian journalist ‘nearing death’ in Israeli jail. Prisoners rights group says Muhammad al-Qeq is one of 660 Palestinians held by Israel without trial or charges.

17- The Israeli occupation Forces shot a Palestinian youth, on Monday noon, claiming he attempted to stab an Israeli soldier near the illegal settlement of Hermesh, in Jenin district, north of the occupied West Bank.

18- A Palestinian hunger striker ended his 50-day strike on Tuesday after Israeli occupation forces reportedly agreed to some of the prisoner’s demands, a lawyer with the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said.

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PALESTINE POST, Breaking News: Jan 13th, 2016

‪#‎Breaking‬ ‪#‎OccupiedPalestine‬ ‪#‎Gaza‬

Zionist troops targeted several youth this morning who had gathered near the border of Gaza in Beit Lahia.
23-year-old Mousa Abu Zoater was killed in an Extrajudicial Execution, while 3 other youth were seriously wounded from shelling fired at them mostly from an Israeli drone.

Palestine Hotline 120116

Palestine Post

PALESTINE POST, Update: Jan. 12th, 2016 – ‪#‎OccupiedPalestine‬

1- The Israeli military court in Ofer has sentenced a Palestinian female teenager from al-Dahriya town in al-Khalil province to three months in jail. The Palestinian Prisoner Society said that 16-year-old Maha Shatat was also ordered by the court to pay a penalty of 2,000 shekels.

2- Israeli forces on Tuesday detained at least eight Palestinians in predawn raids across he occupied West Bank, Palestinian and Israeli sources said.The Palestinian Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights (Hurryat) identified six of the detainees as Mujahid al-Sadi from Jenin, Jibril Sweiti and Wael Masalma from Beit Awwa in Hebron district, Suhayb al-Kharaz, Ahmad Qandil and Tamir al-Bustami from Nablus.

3- Israeli police overnight Sunday detained 60 Palestinian workers who they said entered northern Israel from the occupied West Bank without work permits, Hebrew-language news sites reported Monday. Israeli police reportedly detained some 40 Palestinians in Sahknin and nearby villages in northern Israel and another 20 Palestinians in Shafa Amr. The contractors that hired the Palestinians were also detained..

4- A Palestinian family from the Ramallah-district village of Beit Sira on Monday denied Israeli media reports that a young woman from their family had intended to carry out a suicide attack in southern Israel.

5- The Israeli authorities on Monday released the body of 17-year-old Mustafa Adel al-Khatib, nearly three months after he was shot dead in East Jerusalem following an alleged stabbing attempt.

6- Israeli forces shot and wounded an 18-year-old Palestinian youth on Monday morning after he allegedly attempted to stab an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint southwest of Jenin.

7- Israeli forces detained at least 15 Palestinians and seized a number of weapons in predawn raids across the occupied West Bank on Sunday, Palestinian and Israeli sources said.

8- The Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies said in a report on Sunday that the Israeli occupation forces detained over 1,900 Palestinians in 2015. Two-thirds of the detainees, it said, were minors, 65 of whom were put under house arrest.

9- Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Monday evening, a Palestinian man after stopping him while driving in Ein al-Louza neighborhood in Silwan town, in occupied Jerusalem, and took him away, leaving his children crying alone in the car.

10- Several Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, on Monday evening, after Israeli soldiers invaded the al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem. The army also stormed and occupied a home in the town.

11- Israeli occupation issued administrative detention orders against 34 Palestinian detainees, said the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS).

12- The Commission of Detainees’ Affairs warned, on Monday, of the Israeli Medical Committee’s decision to force-feed Palestinian journalist Muhammad Al-Qeeq, who is currently on hunger strike.

13- Three Palestinian detainees continue their open-ended hunger strikes, staged in differing duration, according to a report released by the PLO’s Committee of Detainees and Ex-Detainees, on Sunday.

Palestine Hotline 110116

Palestine Post

‪#‎OccupiedPalestine‬ Update: Jan. 11th, 2015

1- The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Sunday evening opened heavy machinegun fire on Palestinian farmers and civilian homes in eastern al-Bureij refugee camp and Khan Younis, in the blockaded Gaza Strip.
2- The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) overnight Sunday and at dawn Monday kidnapped 12 Palestinian youngsters from the southern West Bank cities of al-Khalil and Bethlehem.
3- A Palestinian youth on Sunday evening was shot and critically injured by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at an Israeli military checkpoint pitched near the central West Bank city of Salfit.
4- The Palestinian journalist Mohamed al-Qiq has fallen into a coma after entering his 48th day of hunger strike, family sources revealed. Al-Qiq’s wife said that her husband had entered a very critical stage of his hunger strike that was started on Nov. 24, 2015.
5- A Palestinian youth on Sunday evening was shot and critically injured by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at an Israeli military checkpoint pitched near the central West Bank city of Salfit.
6- The Israeli Occupation Authority (IOA) on Sunday confiscated 300 dunums of Palestinian agricultural lands in Yabad town in Jenin governorate and declared it as closed military zone.
7- At least 65 Palestinian children had been subjected to house arrest by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) in 2015, resulting in serious psychological torment, a prisoners’ rights group reported.
8- The Israeli Occupation Authority (IOA) on Sunday confiscated 300 dunums of Palestinian agricultural lands in Yabad town in Jenin governorate and declared it as closed military zone.
9- Two Palestinian injured captives in Israeli jails: Mohammad al-Shalalda, 24, and Azmi al-Naffa, 21, are suffering health deterioration due to their injuries inflicted by Israeli gunfire during their arrest.
10- At least 65 Palestinian children had been subjected to house arrest by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) in 2015, resulting in serious psychological torment, a prisoners’ rights group reported.
11- – Israeli forces detained more than 1,900 Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem in 2015, the majority of whom were minors,a spokesman for the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies, Riyad al-Ashqar, said in a statement that around two-thirds of those detained from the occupied city were minors, 65 of whom were put under house arrest.
12- Israeli forces have been leveling private Palestinian land south of the occupied West Bank town of Bethlehem in preparation to build a military tower in the area, residents said.
13- The majority of the Palestinians arrested by Israeli regime forces in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) in 2015 were children, among them minors under the age of 14, says a prisoner’s rights group.
14- The Jerusalem office of the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, B’Tselem, was badly damaged in a fire on Sunday night, which authorities suspect may have been arson by fanatic settlers.

Palestine Hotline 090116

Palestine Post

‪#‎PalestineHotline‬ – Jan. 9th, 2016

1. The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested three Palestinians at dawn Friday and summoned another citizen for investigation.

2. The Israeli authorities on Friday released the bodies of four Palestinian youths shot dead following alleged stabbing attempts in the southern occupied West Bank the night before, local officials said. The bodies were released to the district coordination office in Hebron in the presence of Palestinian liaison officials and representatives of the slain Palestinians’ families.

3. Israeli forces shot at least 21 Palestinians with live and rubber-coated steel bullets in the latest clashes to shake the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip on Friday, medical sources said. Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesperson for Gaza’s Ministry of Health, told Ma’an that 14 Palestinians were shot with live fire in separate clashes that erupted along the Gazan border.

4. The Palestinian Return Center (PRC) accused on Friday the International Criminal Court (ICC) of pro-Israel bias in its new report on Preliminary Examination Activities published on November 12th, 2015. The ICC’s Report on Preliminary Examination Activities provides a section on Gaza in the “Contextual Background” to the alleged crimes that casts doubts on the neutrality of the approach, the PRC said in its report issued on Friday.

5. A 12-year-old Palestinian boy remains in critical condition on Friday evening, nearly two days after he sustained a severe head injury during clashes with Israeli soldiers in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, medical sources said. A spokesperson for Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem told Ma’an that Ahmad Abu Hummus, after undergoing surgery on Wednesday night, was “still in the intensive care unit and breathing with a machine.”

6. Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinian youths at a military checkpoint in the occupied West Bank over alleged stabbing attempts. The fatal shootings occurred near the Baghut settlement near the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank. The two Palestinians are identified as Ali Muhammad and Sa’eed Judeh.

7. Israeli forces have reportedly demolished a number of Palestinian homes and detained more than a dozen people in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) over the past few days. Israeli bulldozers demolished Thursday, three homes in East al-Quds’ (Jerusalem) neighborhoods of Beit Safafa and Silwan, which has seen an influx of Israeli settlers over the past years. Some 14 Palestinian were detained in raids by Israeli troops overnight Thursday, including nine in Ramallah, three in Bethlehem and one in Qalqiliya.

8. Israel has approved the construction of a new town on the site of two Palestinian villages that were razed by the Tel Aviv regime. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement on Wednesday that the new town “will advance the Druze population economically and socially.” He said it will be the first town for Druze community built in Israel since 1948.

9. A Palestinian teenager was shot dead by Israeli soldiers on Thursday night near Beit Einoun junction, east of al-Khalil city. According to the Hebrew website 0404, Israeli soldiers opened fire at a Palestinian and killed him immediately after he “attempted to stab an officer” from the Givati brigade on road 60 near Beit Einoun junction, south of Sa’ir town.

10. Israeli forces shot dead four Palestinians from the town of Sair on Thursday night after they allegedly carried out two separate stabbing attempts in the southern West Bank, Israeli and Palestinian sources said.

11. Israeli bulldozers under army escort on Thursday demolished three Palestinian structures built without construction permits in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Silwan and Beit Safafa.

Palestine Hotline 080116

Palestine Post

‪#‎PalestineHotline‬ – January 8th, 2016

1. Head of Qatar’s Gaza reconstruction committee Mohamed al-Imadi has urged different countries to support and join reconstruction efforts in the war-torn Gaza Strip and to fulfil their commitments in this regard.

2. Israeli occupation forces storm al-Issawiya neighborhood in Jerusalem and wound a Palestinian teenager.

3. Israeli occupation forces extended the detention of two Jerusalemite young men till next Monday.

4. IOF bulldozers destroyed a mosque in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Rakhamah in the Negev desert south of 1948 Palestine.

5. Israeli bulldozers Wednesday morning razed six buildings housing 25 Palestinian families near al-Ezeriya town to the east of Occupied Jerusalem for the claim of lacking construction permits.

6. Israeli forces detained at least 15 Palestinians, including six children, in multiple predawn detention raids across the occupied West Bank Wednesday.

7. Israeli forces killed at least 178 Palestinians and injured 16,200 others in 2015, the Palestinian Health Ministry says.

8. Israeli forces have demolished five dwellings belonging to Palestinian Bedouin families in the Abu Nuwar community east of al-Quds (Jerusalem), leaving more than two dozen people homeless

New study details sexual torture of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention

***TRIGGER WARNING***

This article, and pages it links to, contains information about sexual assault and/or violence which may be triggering to survivors.

A new academic study in the peer-reviewed medical journal ‘Reproductive Health Matters’ has revealed dozens of cases of “alleged sexual torture or ill-treatment” of Palestinian male prisoners detained by Israel.

The article, ‘Sexual torture of Palestinian men by Israeli authorities’, claims to be “a first in the investigation of torture and ill-treatment of a sexual nature, allegedly carried out by Israeli security authorities on Palestinian men.”

The study’s findings “show that sexual ill-treatment is systemic”, with 60 testimonies identified over the period 2005-2012. According to the article, “Israeli authorities are systemically involved with torture and ill-treatment of a sexual nature.”

Daniel J.N. Weishut, a clinical psychologist and teaching associate at Bar Ilan University, authored the study based on a database of testimonies gathered by human rights NGO The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI). Weishut is a volunteer member of PCATI’s forensic group.

According to Amnesty International, “Palestinian detainees continued to be tortured and otherwise ill-treated by Israeli security officials, particularly Internal Security Agency officials, who frequently held detainees incommunicado during interrogation for days and sometimes weeks.”

Categories of sexual torture and illtreatment

Number of Incidents
Verbal sexual harassment 36
Verbal sexual humiliation 8
Threats of sexual harm 14
Verbal sexual humiliation (family) 9
Threats of sexual harm (family) 5
Forced nudity 35
Forced nudity (partial) 16
Forced nudity (complete) 19
Physical sexual assault 6
Hits/kicks to genitals 4
Simulated rape 1
Rape with object 1
Total 77

Methods used included “physical assault such as slapping and throttling, prolonged shackling and stress positions, sleep deprivation, and threats against the detainee and their family.” Amnesty concluded: “The authorities failed to take adequate steps either to prevent torture or to conduct independent investigations when detainees alleged torture, fuelling a climate of impunity.”

Weishut describes “torture and ill-treatment of detained Palestinians” by Israeli officials as “prevalent”, despite Israel’s ratification of the UN Convention Against Torture, prohibition of “the use of several forms of torture”, and “laws against (sexual) harassment and abuse.”

Israeli interrogators, however, are officially permitted to use “exceptional” interrogation methods and “physical pressure” in so-called “ticking bomb” situations. Many believe that this ‘exception’ is used “much too broadly” and “de facto institutionalizes torture by Israeli authorities.”

In addition, while victims can go to court and be compensated “if torture were established”, in practice, “torture allegations are dismissed without criminal investigation or rejected and perpetrators are cleared, though in rare cases soldiers are punished through a disciplinary system.”

Such impunity is grimly familiar. An Israeli military examination of 400 incidents of suspected breaches of the law during 2009’s ‘Operation Cast Lead’ led to just three indictments; the harshest sentence was given to a soldier who stole a credit card. When it comes to settler violence in the West Bank, theprobability that a Palestinian complaint will produce a conviction is just 1.9 percent.

According to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, cited in the study, torture is:

any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

Weishut’s study aimed “at identifying sexual violence against male Palestinian detainees to reveal the extent and nature of sexual violence and ill treatment among collected reports, as one component in a broader frame of torture perpetrated by Israeli authorities.”

The majority of the Palestinian victims (43 percent) were aged 20-29 at the time of the incident; 15 percent were minors. Testimonies included “allegations toward four different categories of perpetrators: a) soldiers and border police officers (25 reports), b) secret service officers (25 reports), c) police officers (8 reports), and d) jail officers (9 reports).”

Weishut divided the incidents into three categories: verbal sexual harassment, forced nudity, and sexual assault (60 testimonies indicated incidents of sexual torture or ill-treatment, but as some of these testimonies included more than one such incident, a total of 77 incidents were identified).

According to the author, “verbal sexual harassment seems relatively widespread among Israeli security authorities”, including “verbal sexual harassment in general, threats of rape, sexual humiliation with regard to family members and threats toward family members.” Most of these cases “involved secret service officers, trying to get a confession.”

“And he said […] if you will talk and sign on everything that we’ll tell you, we’ll treat you nice and well, and if not, we’ll f**k your sister.” (age 15, perpetrator: secret service)

“One of the interrogators said ‘if you don’t confess, I’ll put my foot into your a*s.’ […] One of the two interrogators had an electric lamp with cables and told me ‘if you don’t confess, I’ll put these electricity cables in your a*s’. […] I confessed out of fear from the electricity and from putting the cables into my behind.” (age 17, perpetrator: secret service)

Examples of forced nudity included the description by some victims of being interrogated in the nude, while several detainees “recounted being photographed in the nude.” The study notes that “this kind of ill-treatment recalls incidents at Abu Ghraib.”

“When I got off the army jeep at [name place] I was nude like a baby is born, and the soldiers started to take pictures together with me.” (age 23, perpetrator: soldiers)

The study highlights a 2013 article which “concluded that sexual humiliation is considered a form of psychological torture, with many victims painfully reliving memories of sexual insults and threats. Forced nudity, which strips a person of his/her identity and puts him/her in a shameful position and at risk of assault, was suggested as comparable to sexual assault.”

The Istanbul Protocol is a set of international guidelines for the investigation and documentation of torture and its consequences; it became an official UN document in 1999. The guidelines state that “verbal sexual threats, abuse and mocking are also part of sexual torture”, and that “nudity enhances the psychological terror of every aspect of torture.”

Weishut’s study also includes reports of sexual assault, with “hits to the testicles…described by several victims.” One testimony concerned simulated rape.

“One of the undercover soldiers lay down on me and started to caress my bottom as if he was having sex with me and he started to move his hips and genitals while making sounds. At that point I tried to fight him with all my strength, but my hands were tight behind me and I wasn’t able to. When this undercover soldier got up from me, another came and he too started to caress me and my genitals and buttocks. He tried to take off my trousers, but I kicked him with my feet and they then hit me on all parts of my body with their hands and feet.” (age 26, perpetrator: soldiers)

Of all cases reviewed in this study, an incident in 2007 “of an actual rape with a blunt object” is the only case “in which the victim’s complaint was not rejected outright by the authorities.” According to the study, “at the time of writing this article, it is still in court.”

While the study highlights 60 specific incidents, according to the author “it is expected that the actual number of sexual torture and ill-treatment is much higher.” There have been “no convictions of perpetrators” based on these testimonies.

(Source / 13.01.2016)

KILLINGS OF PALESTINIANS IN WEST BANK HIT 10-YEAR HIGH

Israeli murders - resized

The first days of 2016 offered no let up in the surge of violence that began in early October, provoked by Israel’sassaults and incursions in occupied East Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound.

Since the start of January, at least five Palestinians and three Israeli citizens have been slain.

The latest deaths came after the number of Palestinians killed in violence in Israel and the occupied West Bank hit a 10-year high in 2015.

By the end of the year, at least 136 Palestinians had been killed and nearly 14,000 injured in the West Bank,accordingto the UN monitoring group OCHA, the highest figures since 2005.

Twenty-four Palestinians were killed in Gaza, the vast majority by Israeli forces firing at demonstrators across the boundary fence, and around 1,500 were injured.

Israeli casualties from violence by Palestinians in 2015 were the highest recorded since 2008, with 24 deaths and 350 injuries, according to OCHA.

Four youths killed

On Thursday evening, Israeli forces shot dead four Palestinians from the village of Sair, near Hebron in the occupied West Bank.

Three cousins, Ahmad Salim Abd al-Majid Kawazba, 21, Alaa Abed Muhammad Kawazba, 17, and Muhannad Ziyad Kawazba, 20, were fatally shot near the Gush Etzion bloc of Israeli settlements north of Hebron.

An Israeli army spokesperson alleged that all three were “armed with knives” and attempted to “attack Israeli soldiers guarding the Gush Etzion junction,” Ma’an News Agency reported.

The Palestinian news site Quds quoted local sources who said the three young men all worked as laborers inside present-day Israel.

A short time later, 16-year-old Khalil Muhammad al-Shalalda was shot dead by Israeli forces after he allegedly attempted to stab a soldier at the Beit Einoun junction near Hebron, according to Ma’an News Agency.

No Israelis were reported injured.

Khalil al-Shalada’s brother, Mahmoud, was fatally shot by Israeli occupation forces during confrontations near Beit Einoun junction on 13 November.

As news of the killings spread, residents of Sair gathered at the family homes of the dead youths and confrontations broke out with Israeli occupation forces.

Sair villagers have witnessed intense violence by Israeli forces in recent months. At least 10 villagers have been killed since the start of October, including the November execution in a Hebron hospital room of Abdallah Azzam al-Shalalda and the killing of a disabled father of a young baby in December.

On New Year’s Eve, Israeli occupation forces seized a plot of land belonging to Sair villager Ismail Abed Rabbu al-Shalalda in order to set up a military post, a provocation likely only to further inflame tension.

On Wednesday this week, thousands of people in Sair attended the funeral of Ahmad Younis Ahmad Kawazba.

In his memory, Kawazba’s high school posted this YouTube video of him reciting the Quran over the school’s loudspeaker system:

Kawazba was buried next to his friend and schoolmate Mahmoud al-Shalalda.

A day earlier, the 18-year-old Kawazba was shot by Israeli soldiers at the Gush Etzion junction, where Israel claims he tried to stab a soldier.

“The Israeli soldiers detained the wounded person and closed the main road,” according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.

An Israeli ambulance took Kawazba to an unknown destination, PCHR added, and hours later his body was handed over to the Palestinian Authority.

Hebron’s District Attorney Alaa Tamimi told the Ma’an News Agency that an autopsy indicated the youth had received no medical treatment and had been allowed to bleed to death.

More than half the Palestinians killed since October were shot dead by police and soldiers during what Israel says were attacks or attempted stabbing and car ramming attacks on its forces and civilians.

But investigations have found that Israeli forces are using lethal force when alleged Palestinian attackers do not pose an immediate threat, as part of what human rights groups have previously condemned as a “shoot to kill policy” used as a matter of first resort.

In some cases, Palestinians were slain when there was no attack attempt, despite police and army claims.

Israeli forces have routinely deprived injured Palestinians of urgent medical care, allowing them to bleed to death.

Pub shootings

On New Year’s Day, a gunman opened fire at patrons of the Simta pub in central Tel Aviv, killing its 26-year-old manager Alon Bakal and a customer, Shimon Ruimi, 30, a civilian employee of the Israeli army.

At least six other people were wounded.

Security camera footage showed the gunman in a grocery store next to the pub. Moments later he pulled an automatic weapon from a backpack and began firing at the patrons.

The suspect was identified by his father as Nashat Milhem. Muhammad Milhem had seen the security camera footage in the media and called police.

Nashat Milhem, a Palestinian citizen of Israel from the town of Arara in the north, had served a prison sentencefor attacking an Israeli soldier and attempting to grab his weapon in 2007.

2016-1-1-tel_aviv_shooting-activestills - resizedAfter attacking the pub, Milhem allegedly commandeered a taxi driven by Amin Shaban, a 42-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel from the town of Lydd.

Police said that the taxi headed north from central Tel Aviv and, as it approached a police roadblock, Milhem shot Shaban and dumped his body.

Milhem then stole the car, but abandoned it after a short distance and escaped on foot.

An Israeli police spokesperson said that Shaban was gravely injured when he was found and died in hospital.

In Lydd, Yousif Shaaban, a relative of the victim, told local media that a video camera was installed in his cousin Amin’s taxi and that the family have asked police to let them see what occurred in the car.

The day after the shootings, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a televised speech outside the pub.Haaretz described it as “a harsh, shameful, near-racist diatribe against Israel’s Arabs,” the term the Tel Aviv newspaper uses to describe the 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel.

On Tuesday, Israeli police arrested Muhammad Milhem, the suspect’s father.

Authorities accuse him of helping his son evade capture, despite the fact that it was Muhammad Milhem who alerted police that he suspected his son of being the shooter.

Police say that Nashat Milhem used a licensed firearm stolen from his father, who owned it for his work as a guard with a private security firm.

A court in Haifa extended Muhammad Milhem’s detention on Thursday for an additional three days.

Police have so far detained eight members of the Milhem family, most of whom have been released, despite the fact that relatives, including Muhammad Milhem, have repeatedly denounced Nashat’s alleged crimes and urged him to surrender.

“We implore you, it’s tearing our family apart. Mother and father and everyone are traumatized by what we’re going through. Think of your parents and your siblings and turn yourself in,” Nashat’s brother Jawdat pleaded.

“This is police helplessness,” a lawyer for the Milhem family told Israeli media in reference to the arrests. “In the end they will arrest the whole family. The Shin Bet [secret service] is under pressure. No one in the family has any connection to what the son did.”

Nashat Milhem is still at large and Israel believes he has fled to the occupied West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority has reportedly agreed to assist Israel in tracking him down.

(Update, Friday, 8 January: Israeli media report that Milhem was tracked down and killed by police near his hometown of Arara.)

Delayed funerals

Across the occupied West Bank, Palestinian families continued to bury loved ones whose bodies had been withheld by Israel.

Thousands attended the funeral of 19-year-old Muhammad Saed Ali in occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday after Israel returned his body which it had held for 88 days.

“I hugged my son after he was held three months in the Israeli morgue. I hugged him, talked to him, warmed him and forgave him,” Ali’s mother told the Ma’an News Agency.

Ali, who lived in Shuafat refugee camp, was shot dead after injuring two Israeli soldiers in a stabbing in occupied East Jerusalem on 10 October.

Murdered Palestinian youths - resized

Families in Hebron held a joint funeral for 14 Palestinians on 2 January. Their bodies were among 23 transferred by Israel to the Palestinian Authority the previous day.

The bodies of at least 80 Palestinians slain during alleged attacks, including several children, have been withheld from their families.Israel began transferring many of them at the end of December, imposing restrictions on their burial.

Israel’s treatment of the bodies effectively makes it impossible for Palestinians to properly examine them and determine the circumstances of their deaths.

“Security coordination”

While the deaths of Palestinians sometimes make headlines around the world, the full scale of the routine violence perpetrated by the Israeli occupation rarely does.

In the first week of 2016, Israeli forces carried out nearly 80 raids into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Destroyed house - resized

They arrested dozens of Palestinians, including nine children, and demolished several homes in Jerusalem, accordingto the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.

On 6 January, Israeli forces raided the Red Cross offices in occupied East Jerusalem and detained Samer Abu Eishehand Hijazi Abu Sbeih. The two Jerusalemites, recently profiled by The Electronic Intifada, had been staging a sit-in to defy and protest Israeli orders banishing them from their city.

It was, all in all, a typical week.

Meanwhile, Israel praised the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas for “exceptionally good” cooperation with Israeli occupation forces.

The Israeli government is reportedly considering rewarding the PA with various concessions in order to help it “impose more order on the Palestinian ‘street.’”

In recent days, Abbas has repeated his occasional threat to end the PA’s so-called security coordination with the Israeli army and Shin Bet secret police.

Abbas said that the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization would take a decision at a meeting next week.

Security coordination has been almost universally condemned by Palestinian political factions and civil society, where it is widely viewed as collaboration. But few expect Abbas will ever voluntarily end the practice.

Abbas, for his part, has previously described the PA’s assistance to Israel to suppress protests and resistanceagainst the occupation as a “sacred” duty.

(Source / 13.01.2016)

Facebook censors cartoon critical of Israel

Zuckerberg Israel Palestine Facebook Mondoweiss

The Palestine Information Center (PIC), an independent Palestinian news website and network had their Facebook page temporarily suspended for publishing a 2009 cartoon by Brazilian political cartoonist Carlos Latuff. The graphic shows a woman walking and carrying a wounded child in front of an Israeli flag with one of the blue banners of the flag covering her mouth. Latuff’s text issued a warning:  “SHHHHHHHHHH!!! Denouncing Israeli War Crimes Is Anti-Semitism“.

This is not a far flung radical concept since criticism of Israel and/or issues relating to the U.S. relationship to Israel, including criticism or mention of the Israel lobby are continually lambasted as anti-Semitic. The examples are endless, even President Obama was accused of anti Semitism.

Recalling the war crimes committed during those gruesome 22 days in the winter of 2008-2009, when Israel pummeled the Gaza Strip, killing more than 1,300 people, including over 300 children — articulated in the Goldstone Report (pdf) released in September 2009 — I asked Latuff if there was a specific incident that prompted him to draw the cartoon in 2009. “Nope, not a specific incident, just to highlight the censorship often found on Internet related to everything critical to Israel”.

Accusations of anti Semitism are, arguably, the very first line of defense by Israel’s ardent defenders. But draw or publish a cartoon about it? Censored on Facebook:

PIC Facebook

The only vulgarity about this cartoon is the truth it helps expose. Responding to the news Facebook had removed his cartoon Latuff tweeted “This censorship proves EXACTLY the point of cartoon“. How ironic.

Rami Salaam, an administrator of PIC’s English Facebook page told Mondoweiss “Cartoons are usually targeted by Facebook more than anything else. Maybe because they appeal to people everywhere. Latuff’s cartoons are widely shared on our page and maybe that is why it was removed.”

PIC was not warned or notified prior to the removal of the cartoon. “It just disappeared” according to Salaam. He continued, “When we tried to login we got a message saying that that cartoon was removed because it violates Facebook polices and that our account that posted the cartoon is suspended for 3 days. – The reason for the deletion and suspension is fickle and meaningless because the cartoon is not graphic nor does it incite any kind of violence. The reason given is “We removed the post below because it doesn’t follow the Facebook Community Standards.” They also threatened to delete the whole page.”

I asked Salaam if this was an isolated incident and he mentioned PIC was suspended for a day two weeks ago for posting this photograph of “an Orthodox Jew and his daughter both carrying guns.” He sent me this screenshot:

Screenshot (Palestine Info Center)

“We were also suspended and got a couple of videos removed over a month ago. The new thing we have noticed is that pictures/videos can now be removed by Facebook even if they follow the so called community standards. This is scary because soon we will not be able to post anything, it seems. So yes we do believe Facebook’s pro-Israel policy is tightening the noose around our freedom of speech.”

Facebook Community Standards can be viewed here.

During her trip to the U.S. in November 2015, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely met with representatives of YouTube and Google to discuss ways her ministry could “cooperate” against “inflammatory material” she claimed was inciting violence and terror attacks. Curiously, recently I searched for current videos of Israeli violence against Palestinians on both Google and Youtube and the only videos readily available dated back to last October, nothing current. Strange.

(Source / 13.01.2016)

Saudi Arabia, Turkey Greatest Dangers To World Peace Says VA State Senator

“The US has been so in bed with the Saudi Arabians for so long. The Bush family – Herbert Walker Bush, George Bush, Jeb Bush – all of them have been closely tied with the dictatorship of Saudi Arabia,”

Republican Virginia state Senator Dick Black

Republican Virginia state Senator Dick Black

Republican Virginia state Senator Dick Black said Saudi Arabia and Turkey are the greatest threats to world peace in an interview with RT, adding that Saudi Arabia’s “absolute barbarity” is overlooked because of its long-standing relationship with the US.

“I believe that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are the two greatest dangers to world peace,” Senator Black told RT. “It is Saudi Arabia, through the Wahhabist doctrine, that is spreading terrorism across the globe. It’s not Iran, it’s not Syria or any other country.”

Saudi Arabia’s state-sponsored teachings of Wahhabism promote an ultra-conservative, austere version of Sunni Islam. Meanwhile, Black told RT that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan intends to impose an absolute dictatorship.

“Erdogan has a dream of becoming a new Ottoman Empire,” Black said. “He’s a very calculating, very vicious individual and, I think, a great danger. Erdogan won an absolute majority of the Turkish parliament, which will enable him to rewrite the constitution. Once he had that total power to impose an absolute dictatorship – which he intends to do – and he publicly said that his model is that of Adolph Hitler.”

At its height in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Ottoman Empire encompassed southeast Europe, western Asia, the Caucasus, North Africa and the Horn of Africa. During World War I, the Ottoman Empire declared a military jihad on France, Russia, and Great Britain, but ultimately lost.

The Adolph Hitler comment Black referred to comes from an interview back in January when Erdogan told journalists that he wanted to transform his office into a US-style executive “super-presidency,” through constitutional reforms.

“In a unitary system (such as Turkey’s) a presidential system can work perfectly,” said Erdogan,according to Agence France-Presse. “There’s already examples in the world and in history. You can see it when you look at Hitler’s Germany.”

After that analogy caught news headlines, the president’s office said in a statement that it was “unacceptable”to interpret Erdogan’s remarks as endorsement of Nazism.

Our president…has declared that the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, along with Islamophobia, are crimes against humanity,” a press statement read, adding that Hitler’s Germany “had disastrous consequences” for the political system and could not be held up as a model.

Erdogan’s party, while controlling a majority of seats in the parliament, does not command the required two-thirds necessary to change the constitution without the support of other parties

Dick Black

Senator Black thinks the civil war in Syria would never have happened without the efforts of Saudi Arabia and Turkey. He said the war in Syria was not a domestic uprising or part of the Arab Spring, with civilians seeking democracy. Instead, he called it an uprising of hardcore jihadists, aided by the CIA and MI6, with the help of Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Saudi Arabia was able to control governments across the world with its financial strength, and the Turks had their own agenda with regard to Europe, Black argued.

“Virtually all arms, ammunition, equipment, supplies, jihadists, medical support – all of it comes from Turkey. Right now, ISIS sends 44,000 barrels of oil per day – stolen barrels, most of it from Syria – across the border into Turkey,” said Black. “The State Department has publicly said that there’s only a trickle of oil that gets into Turkey, but I have personally spoken to Kurdish activists … [who] observed hundreds of ISIS oil tankers carrying stolen Syrian oil into Turkey on a daily basis.”

Black said Turkey is “actively assisting the ISIS rebels,” and also “helping the Al-Nusra rebels which are linked with Al-Qaeda.”

“In both places we’ve got terrorists, and in both places their major support comes out of Turkey. And it comes out of Turkey with approval from the highest levels of government.”

As for Saudi Arabia, Black believes the latest spike in tensions between the Saudis and Iran is proof of how Washington has been turning a blind eye to Riyadh’s actions.

“The US has been so in bed with the Saudi Arabians for so long. The Bush family – Herbert Walker Bush, George Bush, Jeb Bush – all of them have been closely tied with the dictatorship of Saudi Arabia,” he said. “The same thing with the Clintons – Bill, Hillary – very closely tied to the money from Saudi Arabia. And because of this Saudi Arabia has been able to do the most outrageous things,” said Black.

“We tend to condemn various secular nations in the Middle East because they do don’t do this quite right, or that quite right. And yet we overlook the absolute barbarity of the Saudi Kingdom, their absolute dictatorship.”

Dick Black1

Black said that there is not a single Christian church in Saudi Arabia, but the US is quick to condemn other countries lacking in religious freedoms.

“What’s happening is that they [the Saudi family] are trying to restore some of the hostility between Shiites and the Sunnis. The Saudis massacred 47 people,” Black told RT. “I’m sure some of them were genuine criminals, but many of them were simply political opponents. And then there was an inevitable reaction which they knew there would be. And the Saudis, in typical fashion, have now shown a sense of outrage that people would be angered by the level of their debauchery – and this is typical of the Saudis.”

Black served in the US Marine Corps and retired as a Colonel in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) corps before being elected to the Virginia legislature. He maintains that the Assad government is effectively fighting against Islamic State and protecting the remaining Christians of Syria. Its fall, he says, would allow IS to quickly seize Jordan and Lebanon, and continue its drive westward.

(Source / 13.01.2016)

Israel’s fanatical settlers can get away with murder – literally

By Asa Winstanley

Asa Winstanley

Just before Christmas, a shocking video was broadcast on Israeli television. It showed a large group of Israeli settlers at a wedding celebration dancing and singing. The clip was quickly dubbed the ” wedding of hate” because of the violent nature of the event.

In the clip, the wedding guests wave guns, knives and what is apparently a Molotov cocktail. One of them then stabs a photo of a Palestinian baby. It was a very specific photo.

According to the reports, it depicted Ali Dawabsha, an 18-month-old child burned to death by Israeli fanatics. His home in Duma, near Nablus was attacked in a July fire-bombing. Both Ali’s parents died in agony after suffering severe burns in the attack.

Ali’s 4-year-old brother Ahmad was the only survivor, and was only very recently released to a special burns recovery unit. Ahmad has been sheltered by his grandparents and still does not know that his family is dead.

Despite the very high profile and shocking nature of the attack, Israeli authorities did not do what they do in the case of suspected Palestinian attackers against Israeli soldiers and civilians: when the suspects are not Jews, they are more often than not gunned down in cold blood, denied medical treatment and allowed to bleed to death. Homes belonging to family members and neighbours of the suspects are then summarily demolished. Quite often this all takes place within days of any attack on Israeli Jews, before any arrest, let alone any trial.

In the case of Jewish settler suspects, things are very different. In Israel’s kangaroo court system, run by its military, there is a 99.7 percent conviction rate for Palestinians who go to “trial.” But Jewish settlers seem to be allowed to get away with murder.

Even in such a high profile and shocking case, the suspects were at large for months. Israel’s Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon admitted as long ago as September that they knew killed the Dawabshas. But arrests were not made till much later, and it was only last week that two suspects have finally been charged.

One report, by Richard Silverstein, suggests that Israel Keller (who he claims is likely a one of the culprits) was actually an informant for the Shin Bet, Israel’s secret police: “of all those arrested under suspicion of involvement in the Dawabsheh case, Keller was the only one released.”

This particular suspicion of Silverstein’s is unconfirmed, but there is no doubt that the Shin Bet has good sources within the ranks of the settler extremists. These fanatics are considered ideological rivals to the state of Israel. All are violent Zionists (the Shin Bet is a violent spy agency with a long history of torture and killings of Palestinians) but they are contending and divergent strains of Zionist ideology.

Often, there is crossover. Sometimes the Shin Bet tries to get the radical settlers to do their dirty work for them, creating an element of plausible deniability. There’s no indication that this is what happened in the case of the murders of the Dawabshas, but there is precedent for such machinations.

In 2010, secret video footage showed that the Shin Bet had attempted to persuade Chaim Pearlman (a known settler extremist) to assassinate the Palestinian activist Sheikh Raed Salah. In the video the Shin Bet agent, who befriended Pearlman and was known as “Dada,” can be heard exhorting him to go to an “Arab village” to “turn it into a fireworks display” and to execute Salah.

Salah, an important leader in the Islamic Movement in Israel, has long been a thorn in the side of Israeli occupation forces. And they finally banned his faction of the movement more recently.

It remains to be seen what will happen in the case of the accused murderers of the Dawabsha family. Will they face justice, or will they get off with another light sentence? Whatever the outcome, there seems no doubt that things have already gone very differently than they do for Palestinians.

It is also noteworthy that these extremists are being supported from abroad. As is well-known, some of the most fanatical settlements receive generous (and often tax-exempt) funding from supporters in the United States and Erurope.

From New York, Victor Vancier, a convicted Jewish Defence League terrorist, boasted only in December: “We support them, we support their families. We support them financially, and we support them in other ways.” We was talking of prisoners held by Israel accused of the Dawabsha killings.

Vancier has his supporters in the UK too: the small group calling itself the JDL UK. While nowhere near as organized or numerous as the JDL in France (who are probably the most dangerous Kahanist group in the world today outside of Israel) the JDL UK’s activists did attack a pro-Palestinian book festival in Tottenham in September 2014. Two of them were found guilty of assault (although one of these convictions was later overturned on appeal).

The reason that these extremists can get away with what they do is because (despite some essentially tactical disputes and fallings-out) all the settlers are ultimately protected by the Israeli state. Even those settler fanatics who claim to be hostile to the state of Israel and do things like throw stones at Israeli soldiers, are ultimately protected by the state – soldiers protect and watch over them during their violent “price tag” attacks on unarmed Palestinian villagers in the West Bank.

All Israeli settlers need to be removed: Israeli occupation and apartheid must come to an end.

(Source / 13.01.2016)