13 years later, Iraq passes de-Baathification law

A protester holds up a poster symbolizing the US flag with the word “Baath” during a rally against the former Baath Party in Baghdad, Feb. 7, 2010

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s parliament passed a de-Baathification law July 30, banning any political activity by the Baath Party under any name. However, the move did not end the controversy over the party’s social impact on the Iraqi community.

While some view the law as a victory for justice, others warn it may have negative political and social consequences for Iraq’s stability. Mohammed Ali Al-Masoudi, a parliament member for the Shiite National Coalition, said in a press statement July 30 that banning the Baath Party “is a step forward on the path to ensure Iraq’s stability militarily and politically, as the law will prevent Baathist elites from taking up managerial positions.”

Ousama al-Yasiri, one of the leaders of the 1991 uprising against the Baath in Babil, told Al-Monitor that the newly passed law is “a victory for the families of the Baath victims.”

However, there were some internal opposing voices in the parliamentary voting sessions. In exchange for passing the Baath ban law, some Sunni political parties called for amending the law as per the Justice and Accountability Act so as to allow some Baathists, including Saddam loyalists, to receive pensions.

Some external forces also spoke out against the law, such as Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, who called for the “abolition of the de-Baathification law to ensure the unity and stability of Iraq.”

This issue has long been a major bone of contention. The de-Baathification process was started by the Supreme National Commission for de-Baathification, formed by the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority headed by US administrator Paul Bremer in 2003. Then, the Supreme National Commission was replaced by the Supreme National Commission for Accountability and Justice in 2008.

The Supreme National Commission for de-Baathification successfully dismissed many senior Baathists from state institutions, while the Supreme National Commission for Accountability and Justice made gains in the opposite direction, allowing many Baathists to resume their jobs, according to a former member of the Baath Party who declined to give his name.

He told Al-Monitor that the reason behind the prosecution of Baathists and de-Baathification was that “some ruling parties fear the return of the Baath Party to the [political] arena, as they have failed to lead the country since 2003,” the year the Baath Party was overthrown following the US invasion of the country.

“The timing of the de-Baathification law reflects fears of the future in the post-Islamic State phase, as the Baath Party has wide popularity in the Sunni-majority areas of northern and western Iraq. This frightens Sunni politicians in those areas, prompting them to forge alliances with Shiite parties to approve the law,” the Baathist source said.

However, according to him, the alliance between Sunnis and Shiites was not easy to form. Voting on the law, which was passed by a majority of 288 out of 328 present parliament members, had been postponed several times following the overthrow of the Baath regime as disagreements about it dragged on.

Amer Habib, a professor at the Faculty of Agriculture in the University of Babil who had two brothers executed at the hands of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 1991, told Al-Monitor, “The de-Baathification law will allow the judicial authorities to hold Baathists accountable for their crimes.” To him, justice was served when the law was voted in.

The political forces within the Shiite National Alliance also expressed relief and satisfaction over the passing of the law, according to Hashem al-Mousawi, a parliament member for the Al-Muwatin bloc.

“The law goes beyond Articles 200 and 210 of the Iraqi Penal Code, which provide for banning any ‘erroneous’ activities and which were used by Saddam’s regime to ban religious events, especially the Shiite ones such as the Husseini rituals or any other cultural or political activities against the regime,” Mousawi told Al-Monitor. He believes that the “law has ended the debate between Sunni and Shiite politicians on the subject.”

How the law will be used on the ground is another question. Parliament member Muhsin al-Saadoun told Al-Monitor, “The law is important because it will provide legislation to guide the judiciary in the trials of Baathists.”

He added, “The de-Baathification law is linked to Article 7 of the constitution, which includes jail sentences for Baathists who violate the law.” He stressed, “Had the law been voted on earlier, hundreds of Baathists would have remained behind bars.”

For his part, Jawad al-Shamri, the head of the media office at the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, told Al-Monitor, “This law has little value after 13 years of tug-of-war, as it targets ideas and not the people who have infiltrated the allegedly democratic state.”

He added, “The law is about the de-Baathification in the media and in the public sphere, but Baathists will effectively remain in power.”

After so many sectarian wars and political conflicts, Iraqis do not need to throw Baathists in prison or dismiss them from their jobs as much as they need a true political and social reconciliation to lay the foundations for understanding and dialogue instead of hatred and revenge.

(Source / 10.08.2016)

IOF storms Section 13 in Negev jail, attacks prisoners

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Israeli Special Forces Monday evening broke into Section 13 in Negev desert jail, attacked Palestinian prisoners and transferred some of them. In a letter from jail, Fatah Movement’s representative revealed that a score of detainees out of 120 prisoners were transferred after storming the section and attacking captives. The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) is concerned about the increase in number of hunger-striking prisoners, the letter states, according to WAFA news agency.  He appealed to all Palestinians to back up prisoners who are suffering tragic conditions due to Israeli punitive policies practiced against them.

(Source / 10.08.2016)

Syrian Refugee: If you don’t want us in your country, do not support a war in ours

An article of 30/06/2016

Maher Resho: A Syrian refugee in Denmark

By Nour Qudeimat/

“If you don’t want refugees in your country, do not support the war in their countries,” says Maher Resho; a Syrian-Kurdish man in his early 20’s who fled war-torn Syria in search of peace, to end up in Denmark in January 2016.

Living in a two story home with 34 other refugees of different backgrounds, Maher says that he has to wait for three years to get asylum and stay in Denmark as a citizen.

When asked about his opinion on the Danish lawmakers voting in favour of sending  F-16 warplanes, a transport aircraft and 400 military personnel to expand the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq in the End of April, Maher said he understands the Europeans’ right to preserve their own country by not letting refugees in, but  finds it hypocritic to vote in support of war and then prevent refugees from coming into their country.

Maher, who refused to talk politics in an attempt to forget about the conflict that he fled, also pointed out that the home he currently lives in one of the ‘most expensive’ areas in the city. In addition, he gets a monthly salary, an insurance, attends intensive language classes and integration sessions, which he thought would be prettly costly for the Danish government.  

 “Instead of spending thousands of European money to help refugees, try to stop the war in their countries, or at least do not support it. Instead of holding internal meetings to talk about Syria, make safe places for the refugees in Syria or solve the problem.”

The house where Maher and 34 other refugees are staying

The house where Maher and 34 other refugees are staying

A long journey

Rashid Resho, 28,  Maher’s cousin who has been in denmark for one and a half years now, said he stayed in Turkey for two years before he decided to leave it in 2015 because he did not succeed to find a stability there.

It was impossible to continue living in Syria. The war was eating up everything. Our homes, our work. It was also hard to live in Turkey. I did nothing but work and go home to sleep.”

From there, Rashid left to Algeria, then to Libya, then to Italy by sea, and finally to Denmark.

“We spent three days in the sea. There were 210 of us on a 13 Square meter boat. They stuffed us on the boat like we were pickles. On our trip, only one child died in the sea, which is a lucky number in comparison with other trips. A lot of people have died in the sea.”

Rashid says that arriving on a safe ground was a huge relief to him, since the refugees are really looking for safety and security over anything else.

Rashid’s family is still shattered in different places. His father and sister have just arrived in Denmark but still live in camps and do not have residencies, while is mother and other siblings are in Istanbul and cannot cross to Denmark after the closure of Greece and Serbia. In addition, it would take a lot of money to smuggle them into Denmark.

Would you go back to Syria?

When asked if he would go back to Syria if he got the chance, Rashid and Maher said  that they would go back to Syria immediately, if the war ends.  Even despite the hopes that the situation in Syria would become better, both said that they believe that any kind of peace is still “far out of reach at the moment” in Syria.

Denmark, that is known for being one of the top welfare countries in the world, was said to have taken “a nasty turn on refugees” as described by the Washington post.

This includes a bill that was sharply criticized by the international community in January 2016, when Denmark proposed a bill that would confiscate refugees’ valuables. However, the plan was not carried out.

(Source / 10.08.2016)

Dareen Tatour, Palestinian poet imprisoned by Israel for social media posts, shares her story

Exclusive interview with Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour from her home, where she remains under house arrest

Dareen Tatour, Palestinian poet imprisoned by Israel for social media posts, shares her story

Dareen Tatour

Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was arrested because of her posts on social media.

In October, police raided her home in the middle of the night. They handcuffed Tatour, a 35-year-old poet, and took her away.

“You look like a terrorist,” an interrogator told her. The Israeli government accused Tatour of inciting violence with her poetry and Facebook posts.

She faces up to eight years in prison, if convicted on all charges. Her case is still pending, and the trial will resume on Sep. 6.

Tatour has already spent three months in Israeli prisons, and another six months under house arrest in an apartment near Tel Aviv, which her family was forced to pay for.

In late July, an Israeli judge ruled that she can continue her house arrest in her family’s home near Nazareth.

The judge’s decision came after more than 250 prominent writers, intellectuals and artists published an open letter calling for Tatour’s release. Among those who endorsed the letter were Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Dave Eggers, Claudia Rankine and 10 Pulitzer Prize winners, including renowned poet Alice Walker and journalist Kathryn Schulz.

Since then, more than 7,000 people have signed the letter, and activists have created an international solidarity campaign in support of Tatour.

Tatour’s story is one of many. From October 2015 to July 2016, the Israeli government arrested roughly 400 Palestinians for social media posts, according to local rights groups.

Yet her case has gotten particular international attention, given its chilling implications for civil rights for Palestinians in Israel, the U.S. government’s closest ally.

U.S. social justice group Jewish Voice for Peace recently published a video message featuring Tatour in her home in Reineh, an Israeli city near Nazareth, where she remains under house arrest.

https://youtu.be/BmKbZfPoYBk 

Salon organized an interview with Tatour. The interview was conducted in person, in Arabic, and translated with the help of Yoav Haifawi, an activist who runs the Free Haifa blog, where he posts updates on Tatour’s case.

Can you explain what has happened since your arrest and imprisonment?

I’m still detained and pending trial, since they burst in at 3:30 am on Oct. 11, 2015. A large police force raided our house, and asked my parents to call me, because they came to take me. They did not have an arrest warrant, violating the most basic laws.

After my interrogation they decided to put me on trial and to hold me in prison until the end of the trial. I can say that the interrogation and the trial are a farce and a shame for any system that claims to be democratic.

Initially I was jailed for three months, during which I was transferred between three prisons: Jalameh, Sharon and Damon.

Later, the court put me under house arrest in the Tel Aviv area, and this meant I was in exile far away from my town. I stayed there for over six months, during which I was prevented from going out and from communicating over the internet at all times, day and night.

Then, in the wake of the mounting solidarity campaign protesting the undemocratic practices against me, I was transferred to the house arrest in my town, Reineh. Here, I’m not allowed to go out, except for just six hours per week, and they’re making me wear an unremovable electronic bracelet on my ankle to monitor my movements.

What were the conditions like in the prisons? Can you talk about your experience and the other Palestinian prisoners?

First, there are thousands of Palestinian prisoners serving sentences in Israeli jails, and among them women and children — in addition to administrative detainees, who are being held by Israel without charge, and of course without trial, for an unknown period, because, according to the emergency laws, administrative detention can be extended repeatedly with no limit.

When I was in prison I was with Palestinian women prisoners. I experienced the suffering of the Palestinian prisoners in all humanitarian aspects. I witnessed the neglect they suffer in Israeli jails, in terms of environmental and health conditions, and cruel treatment.

The prisoners in general, and especially women prisoners, are deprived of basic human rights, and I mean especially the right to receive proper medical treatment.

Israeli prisons are full of injustice; whatever I say will not be enough to describe the life of Palestinian prisoners there. I met there innocent women prisoners who didn’t commit any crime.

 For example, I was arrested because of a poem, and I met a girl who was detained because she wrote a private letter to her sister about personal and family concerns, and because she said the word “suicide,” she was thrown in jail for three months.

Why do you think Israel is going after poets and other artists, and arresting Palestinians for social media posts?

The political persecution, detentions and restrictions on freedom of expression, in my opinion, are a symptom of the crisis of Israel. As the Zionist authorities intensify repression and step up their incitement campaigns against Palestinians, they feel more weakness and impotence.

On the one hand the Palestinians increasingly reject their colonial practices and racial oppression; on the other hand, as a response to the emerging culture of hatred at the popular level, an opposing anti-fascist stream is taking shape in Israeli society. This puts Israel in a dilemma, forcing it to step up its repression, thus exposing the Israeli regime as anti-democratic.

Is it hypocritical for Israel to insist it is a democracy while it arrests people who criticize it?

Of course it is. Israel is not a democratic state. To the extent that it is democratic, its democracy applies only to one category of people, of citizens — that is, it is only democracy for Jews. For this reason I call it sectarian democracy or fake or hypocritical democracy.

However, even this kind of democracy started collapsing recently, as I explained in the previous answer.

Do you know if the letter from the 250 literary figures helped improve your situation?

Yes, of course. The solidarity campaign, including the petition, which was signed by many artists, writers and people from all over the world, helped very much.

In the beginning the conditions of my detention were very harsh. I was detained for several months in a house near Tel Aviv, away from my family and the place where I used to live. I was completely isolated from people; I was prevented from leaving the house altogether. It was more like a detention in solitary isolation cell in exile. It continued like this for more than six months.

Before the escalation of the solidarity campaign, my lawyer filed a request to transfer my home detention from Tel Aviv to Reineh — my town — but the prosecution strongly objected, refusing even to let my request be heard in court.

However, after the publication of the petition, it changed its attitude to the request, and eventually approved. My return from Tel Aviv to house arrest in Reineh greatly alleviated the conditions of my detention.

Do you think that continuing public pressure may influence the final verdict in your case?

Yes, definitely, the public response to the call for solidarity in my case, and around the issue of freedom of expression in general, is the only effective pressure that may change this unfortunate situation.

I believe that public pressure may force the Israeli authorities to reconsider the persecution of Palestinian artists, writers and young activists just because they express their rejection of oppression.

What gives you hope?

Hope is the foundation of life. There is a saying that I used to repeat before my arrest, and I still say it: “We dream in order to continue living.” Here I compare dreams with hope, because without hope we are going to die even as we are alive, and only our bodies will remain.

Hope is the sense of life, of freedom, of safety. It is what gives meaning to everything experienced by humans; we breathe hope to live meaningful lives.

What can human rights activists in the U.S. and elsewhere do to help fight for your rights and the rights of other Palestinians?

The U.S. government is the world’s biggest supporter of Israel. Activists in American society can put pressure on Israel in order to shed light on the issue of freedom of expression and the harassment by the Israeli authorities against those who oppose their views.

Palestinian Arab people in Israel are facing campaign of racist incitement, on both official and popular levels. Attacks on them multiply just because they speak Arabic in public places. These are dangerous developments. In this regard, I believe human rights activists should sound the alarm before it is too late.

(Source / 10.08.2016)

British special forces operating inside southern Syria

On Monday, the BBC released exclusive photos of the British special forces operating on the ground along Syria’s southern border that feeds into Iraq and Jordan.

The pictures were taken in June when the western-backed “New Syrian Army”   was attacked by the so-called “Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham” (ISIS) at the Tanf border-crossing.

Unbeknownst at the time, the British special forces were pictured helping the New Syrian Army defend this vital border-crossing from the Islamic State terrorists.

ISIS would eventually be routed by the New Syrian Army and their western allies; however, since then, they have been confined to a small area in the vast Syrian Desert.

Adding insult to injury, the New Syrian Army were recently mocked in a propaganda video that was released by ISIS in July.

The video contained footage and pictures of the New Syrian Army soldiers training and conversing with their western allies; it would later show a large stockpile of weapons seized by ISIS.

The New Syrian Army’s spokesperson declined to answer the BBC’s questions on this matter.

(Source / 10.08.2016)

Israel bans 15 Palestinian hunger-striking prisoners from seeing lawyers

Zio gevangenis

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israel Prison Service (IPS) in Israel’s Megiddo prison banned 15 hunger-striking prisoners from receiving visits from their lawyers, according to a statement released by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) on Wednesday.IPS claimed that the ban was imposed on the prisoners due to their health conditions, according to PPS, as they continued their solidarity hunger strike in support of Bilal Kayid, now entering his 56th day without food, and in protest of being held in administrative detention — Israel’s policy of imprisonment without charge or trial.IPS also reportedly banned 35 other hunger-striking prisoners from receiving lawyer visits at Israel’s Gilboa prison for the same reasons, while an order was also issued to ban lawyers from visiting hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners at Israel’s Jalbou prison.

Shireen Eraqi, a lawyer from the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that all the hunger strikers in Jalbou prison were transferred to solitary confinement and all their personal belongings confiscated by IPS officials, including electronic devices and bed covers.
IPS also reportedly only served hot drinking water to the hunger strikers, banned family visitations for two months, and imposed a 600 shekel ($157) fine on the prisoners, according to Eraqi. She added that the actions taken by IPS were part of the prison authorities’ attempts to pressure the hunger strikers to stop their strikes.
Five Palestinian prisoners are currently on open hunger strikes against their administrative detention:brothers Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul, Ayyad al-Hreimi, Malik al-Qadi, and journalist Omar Nazzal, while Walid Masalmeh is on hunger strike in protest of being held in solitary confinement.PPS confirmed that 80 prisoners, including Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Secretary-General Ahmad Saadat, have remained on hunger strike in solidarity with Kayid, who declared a hunger strike on June 14 after being transferred to administrative detention on the day he was expected to be released from a 14-and-a-half-years sentence in Israeli prison.

Meanwhile, Israel has recently prevented the families of scores of Palestinian prisoners from entering Israel to visit their incarcerated relatives, as widespread protest have also been launched over theInternational Committee of the Red Cross’ (ICRC) recent cuts to family visitations, reducing arranged visits for male Palestinian prisoners from two days a month to just one.
Israel’s policy of deporting Palestinians outside of the occupied territory into prisons inside the occupying state is illegal under international law. According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, “This systematic and illegal transfer of Palestinians from the occupied territory also carries with it a human impact — the consequence is that Palestinian relatives of prisoners and detainees who then require a permit to enter Israel are regularly denied family visitation permits, based on ‘security grounds’.”
“From observations by Addameer based on accounts of family members, these permits are systematically denied for male family members aged between 16 and 35. Overall, the ongoing deportation of Palestinians detainees presents not just significant human implications, but also operates as part of a wider Israeli impunity for international crimes which threatens to erode the relevance of international law generally.”
(Source / 10.08.2016)

Al-Qaeda withdraws from parts of Yemen

Flag of Yemen

Flag of Yemen

Al-Qaeda has pulled out from the town of Azzan, its last stronghold in the southeastern province of Shabwah, according to a local source.

The source, who requested anonymity for security reasons, told the Anadolu Agency that a large number of Al-Qaeda fighters withdrew from Azzan yesterday, as Saudi-led coalition forces launched a military campaign in some of the southern provinces against the militant organisation.

The source added that cars belonging to Al-Qaeda were seen carrying some of its members and escaping to an unknown destination following heavy bombing by the jet fighters of the Arab military coalition on some Al-Qaeda sites in the city during the past three days.

Last Saturday, an airstrike targeting an Al-Qaeda gathering in Azzan resulted in four deaths and three injuries that were described as “serious”.

Al-Qaeda gained control of the province in February.

(Source / 10.08.2016)

The ‘Big Ride’ blockades UK-based Elbit Systems subsidiary

UAV Engines has been a site of regular blockades and protests since it was revealed that the company is a subsidiary of Israel’s largest arms manufacturer Elbit Systems

Activists taking parts in the 'Big Ride' blockade a UK-based Elbit Systems subsidiary. Image taken on August 8, 2016

Nearly 200 cyclists accompanied by coachloads of other activists blockaded the main road outside the factory of UAV Engines in Shenstone near Birmingham on Monday 8th August. The ‘mobile protest’, marking two years since Israel’s most recent sustained bombardment of the Gaza Strip, drew together cyclists from as far afield as Scotland, Bristol and London some of whom had cycled for 3 days to reach the event as part of the annual ‘Big Ride’.

UAV Engines has been a site of regular blockades and protests since it was revealed that the company is a subsidiary of Israel’s largest arms manufacturer Elbit Systems that makes parts for military drones that have been supplied to Israel. Israel has a long history of using military drones against Palestinians and in Israel’s 2014 war they played a significant role alongside F-16’s, tanks and other military hardware in the killing of more than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza.

One of the organisers of the ‘Big Ride’, Dermot MacWard, believes that the manufacturing of parts for Israeli drones within the UK amounts to British government complicity in the massacres in Gaza:

UAV is part of the Elbit Group, Israel’s largest private arms manufacturer. It cannot be right that this trade in death is treated as business as usual. The blood of Palestinian children is surely on the hands of the British Government.

In July last year,  the UAV factory at Shenstone along with two other UK-based Elbit owned factories were also closed down by activists. On the same day activists in Melbourne, Australia successfully closed down another Elbit owned factory.

Activist Dr. Mona ElFarra, herself born and raised in Gaza, was amongst the activists who joined Monday’s protest in Shenstone. Dr ElFarra, who is the Vice President of the Red Crescent in Gaza praised those involved for their solidarity with the Palestinian people:

You are breaking barriers that separate human beings who should be equal regardless of race, colour or religion. We dream of a day when we can welcome you to cycle in free Palestine to enjoy the beauty of our country that has been devastated by long decades of Israeli occupation, dispossession, and annihilation. We appreciate your solidarity; we salute you all for your humanity.

Activists taking parts in the 'Big Ride' blockade a UK-based Elbit Systems subsidiary. Image taken on August 8, 2016

(Source / 10.08.2016)

Stop living in denial, Israel is an evil state

Israel may not be Nazi, nor even a fascist state. Yet it is a member of the same terrible family, the family of evil states. Just consider these acts of evil perpetrated by the state.

Israel may not be Nazi, nor even a fascist state. Yet it is a member of the same terrible family, the family of evil states. Just consider these acts of evil perpetrated by the state...

Israel may not be Nazi, nor even a fascist state. Yet it is a member of the same terrible family, the family of evil states. Just consider these acts of evil perpetrated by the state…

By Gideon Levy 

After we have cited nationalism and racism, hatred and contempt for Arab life, the security cult and resistance to the occupation, victimhood and messianism, one more element must be added without which the behaviour of the Israeli occupation regime cannot be explained: Evil. Pure evil. Sadistic evil. Evil for its own sake. Sometimes, it is the only explanation.

Eva Illouz described its signs ‘Evil now’ on Haaretz late last month. Her essay, which challenges the idea of the banality of evil, considers the national group as the source of the evil.

Using philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein’s concept, she finds a “family resemblance” between the Israeli occupation and history’s evil regimes.

This similarity does not mean that Israel is Nazi, nor even fascist. And yet it is a member of the same terrible family, the family of evil states. It is a depressing and brilliant analysis.

The evil that Illouz attributes to Israel is not banal, it cannot happen anywhere, and it has political and social roots that are deeply embedded in Israeli society. Thus, Illouz joins Zeev Sternhell, who warned in his impressive and resounding essay about the cultural soil out of which fascism is now growing in Israel ‘The birth of fascism’ featured on Haaretz Hebrew edition, July 7.

But alongside these analyses, we must also present a brief history of evil. We must present the instances that combine to create a great and horrific picture, a picture of Israeli evil in the territories, so as to stand up to those who deny the evil.

It is not the case of the individual – Sergeant Elor Azaria, for example, who is being tried for the death of a subdued Palestinian assailant in Hebron – but the conduct of the establishment and the occupation regime that proves the evil.

In fact, the continuation of the occupation proves the evil. Illouz, Sternhell and others provide debatable analyses on its origins, but whatever they are, it can no longer be denied.

One case is like a thousand witnesses: the case of Bilal Kayed. A young man who completed a prison term of 14.5 years – his entire sentence – without a single furlough, without being allowed to at least say goodbye by phone to his dying father; a clear sign of evil.

About six weeks ago, Kayed was getting ready for his release. A representative of the Shin Bet security service – one of the greatest agencies of evil in Israel – even showed him a photograph of the home his family had built for him to stir him up even more ahead of his release.

And then, as his family waited impatiently for him at the crossing point and Kayed grew ever more excited in his cell, he was informed that he was being thrown into administrative detention for at least another six months, without trial and without explanation.

Since then, he has been on hunger strike. He is cuffed to his bed. His family is not allowed to see him. Prison guards never leave his room and the lights are not turned out for a moment. Evil.

Only evil can explain the state’s conduct toward Kayed – only an evil state acts this way. The arbitrary announcement, at the last moment, of a senseless detention is abuse, and the way he has been treated since then is also abuse.

Only evil can explain the detention last week of another young man, Hiran Jaradat, whose brother Arif, who had Down syndrome, was killed in June and whose father died two days ago. He is under arrest for “incitement on Facebook” and was not released to attend his father’s funeral. Evil.

The continuation of the detention of poet Darin Tatur – evil. The destruction of the tiny swimming pool that the residents of Khirbet Tana in the northern West Bank had built for themselves – evil. The confiscation of water tanks from a community of shepherds in the Jordan Valley in the July heat – evil.

A great many of the decisions of the occupation regime that decides the fates of individuals, families, communities, villages and cities cannot be explained without evil. The list is as long as the occupation. The extortion of sick people from Gaza to enlist them as collaborators, the blockades on cities and towns for weeks, the Gaza blockade, the demolition of homes – all evil.

Banal or not, its existence must be acknowledged and it must be recognized as one of the most influential values in Israel. Yes, there is an evil regime at work in Israel, and therefore it is an evil state.

(Source / 10.08.2016)

Israeli police finds no wrongdoing in death of Palestinian minister beaten during protest

Ziad Abu Ein

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli police has closed its investigation into the death of Palestinian Minister Ziad Abu Ein — who died in 2014 after being beaten by Israeli forces — concluding that he had died of natural causes, Israeli news outlet Arutz Sheva reported on Wednesday.According to Arutz Sheva, an autopsy by the police department of internal investigations concluded that Abu Ein, 55, died of a heart attack on Dec. 10, 2014, after an Israeli border police officer beat him in the chest with his helmet and the butt of his rifle during a march to plant olive trees in the village of Turmusayya in the Ramallah district of the occupied West Bank.Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din, which represents Abu Ein’s family in the case, expressed its outrage at the police’s decision to close the case without ever interrogating the border policeman suspected of killing Abu Ein or asking him to testify.“Most cases of Israeli violence against Palestinians are closed. But we expected that at least a proper investigation would take place,” Yesh Din spokesman Gilad Grossman told Ma’an on Wednesday. “This shows Israeli armed forces’ impunity when committing violence against Palestinian civilians.”“They closed the case without talking to the border police officer,” Grossman added, despite the fact that “a number of soldiers who were there during the incident said that the border police officer was acting violently even before the altercation” with Abu Ein.The internal investigations department reportedly justified the decision not to interrogate the policeman.”Since policemen are authorized to use force and it is expected of them in many cases to use it, Internal Investigations will not summon a policeman for investigation if there is not a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed,” Arutz Sheva quoted the department as saying.Grossman said that Abu Ein’s family had already filed an appeal to the Israeli Ministry of Justice.“Our opinion is that internal affairs must investigate the acts of the border policeman during the altercation, even if his actions were not the direct cause of Abu Ein’s death,” he said. “At least, they need to investigate whether his actions were within the proper limits of police action.”Abu Ein had worked with the Palestinian Authority monitoring Israeli settlements and the separation wall, and was a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council. Abu Ein had also previously served as Palestinian deputy minister of prisoners’ affairs.The Palestinian Ministry of Civil Affairs said a day after Abu Ein’s death that an autopsy carried out by a Palestinian forensics team revealed he had died after a powerful blow to the diaphragm and heavy use of tear gas, adding that he had also suffered from bruising on his neck, and several of his front teeth had been knocked out by a blow to his face.At the time, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said that the case was “a clear example of how the culture of impunity granted to Israel by the international communitypermits it to continue committing crimes against the Palestinian people.”The Israeli police’s decision to close its investigation in the case comes days after Israeli newspaper Haaretz published a report revealing that nearly all investigations opened over the killings of Palestinians at the hands of Israeli police in the past ten months were closed “without the unit investigating and questioning the officers.”

(Source / 10.08.2016)