Israeli policemen forcefully detain a Bedouin man during a protest against home demolitions on 18 January 2018
Hamas yesterday warned of a new Israeli plan to displace tens of thousands of Palestinians from the Negev.
In the statement, a copy of which sent to MEMO, the movement said that the Israeli occupation is planning to “displace about 90,000 Palestinians from 36 villages in Al-Naqab [Negev], south of historic Palestine.”
The statement stated that Israel is planning to “transfer them to makeshift camps in a bid to confiscate their homes and lands.”
Hamas warned of the “repercussions of this Israeli plan on Palestinian villages in Al-Naqab,” noting that the Palestinians, who are referred to as Israeli Arabs, have been living in their villages for hundreds of years, well before the creation of the occupation state of Israel.
The Palestinian movement hailed residents of the Negev, civil society organisations and heads of local Arab councils for rejecting the Israeli plan aimed at creating new refugee camps for Palestinians.
Hamas’ Refugee Affairs Office called on the Palestinian residents in the Negev to take a firm stance and foil the Israeli plan intended to liquidate their villages, which are not recognised by the Israeli occupation authorities.
There are 51 Arab villages in the Negev which are not recognised by the Israeli occupation authorities and which have been targeted for demolition ahead of building homes for new Jewish communities.
The areas have not been connected to the electricity or water supplies.
In 1969, Israel called on Arab landowners to register their land with the authorities, but since then they have not accepted any of the applications made by Arab residents of the Negev.
Palestinians, in particular the elderly, sick and disabled, come together to call for international efforts to save Gaza from the humanitarian crisis
Palestinians yesterday inaugurated Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children in Gaza’s new improved building which was funded by Kuwait.
The Gulf state pumped $200 million to help reconstruct numerous projects in the besieged enclave including the Atfaluna Society project which supports 450 people with special needs.
The Kuwait Fund for the Reconstruction Program of the Southern Provinces in the State of Palestine has allocated $3 million to support the education sector through higher education institutions and NGOs. Funding has been provided to 13 institutions and associations which deal with higher education and people with special needs.
The Israeli Supreme Court has facilitated the interrogation of a Palestinian under torture, according to human rights group B’Tselem.
On 7 October, three judges – sitting as the High Court of Justice – ruled to uphold an injunction denying Samir Arbeed, a Palestinian from the West Bank detained by Israeli occupation forces, the right to meet with legal counsel.
Arbeed was violently arrested on 25 September and transferred to the custody of the Shin Bet, whose agents interrogated him using “special means” – a euphemism for torture. Arbeed was subsequently admitted to hospital unconscious and suffering serious injuries.
After Israeli authorities used an injunction to prevent Arbeed from meeting with his lawyers, prisoners’ rights group Addameer petitioned the Supreme Court to cancel it. On 7 October, however, the justices rejected the petition in a brief ruling only a few paragraphs long.
In the ruling, according to B’Tselem, the judges first state that “the situation at hand is unusual” given the petitioner’s medical status.
However, and citing “a certain improvement in his medical status”, the justices ruled that “preventing the meeting [with legal counsel] is indeed vital to regional security”.
As stated by B’Tselem, “the right to consult a lawyer is a basic right of detainees”, adding that “for detainees in interrogation, who are cut off from the world and physically and mentally weak, legal counsel is crucial.”
The rights group noted that the Supreme Court justices “imposed no restrictions on the conduct of [Shin Bet agents]…in further interrogation, including the means permitted for use against [Arbeed].”
The justices noted “claims regarding violence” used against Arbeed during interrogation, “but refrain from addressing them”, making do with a declaration by officials that there will be an investigation.
However, the investigation of complaints regarding violence and torture in Shin Bet interrogations is “most likely – as the facts indicate – a sham”.
The Supreme Court ruling is thus “horrifying in its significance”, said B’Tselem.
“Without restrictions on the conduct and methods of interrogators, external oversight or a real system of investigating complaints, the Court’s decision to prevent [Arbeed]…from consulting with his lawyers”, allows the Shin Bet “to continue interrogating him under torture unchecked.”
According to B’Tselem, Arbeed’s case “is exceptional only because he was interrogated with ‘special means’ and submitted to hospital unconscious.”
“The reality is that every year, as a matter of routine, hundreds of Palestinians are interrogated by…[Shin Bet agents] with methods that constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and even torture”.
In the case of Samir Arbeed, “all the involved parties” – including the Supreme Court justices – decided to treat Arbeed “as if he were not a human being”.
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday at dawn, Sebastia town, north of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, before storming and ransacking dozens of homes.
Mohammad Azem, the head of Sebastia Local Council, said the soldiers violently searched the invaded homes, causing damage, and threatened to shoot any Palestinian who protests the constant invasions carried out by colonialist settlers and soldiers into the archaeological site in the town.
He stated that the invasion is part of numerous and escalating violations against the town and its residents, and is also a part of the Israeli attempts to prevent the Local Council from implementing the al-Baidar tourism project.
The army claims the work obstructs the entry of the settlers into the archaeological area, especially since the illegal colonists are planning to hold celebrations there, while the army continues to deny the local indigenous Palestinians access to it.
On August 20, Heba Ahmed al-Labadi fell into the dark hole of the Israeli legal system, joining 413 Palestinian prisoners who are currently held in so-called administrative detention.
On September 26, Heba and seven other prisoners declared a hunger strike to protest their unlawful detention and horrific conditions in Israeli prisons. Among the prisoners is Ahmed Ghannam, 42, from the village of Dura, near Hebron, who launched his hunger strike on July 14.
Administrative detention is Israel’s go-to legal proceeding when it simply wants to mute the voices of Palestinian political activists, but lacks any concrete evidence that can be presented in an open, military court.
Not that Israel’s military courts are an example of fairness and transparency. Indeed, when it comes to Palestinians, the entire Israeli judicial system is skewed. But administrative detention is a whole new level of injustice.
The current practice of administrative detention dates back to the 1945 Defense (Emergency) Regulations issued by the colonial British authorities in Palestine to quell Palestinian political dissent. Israel amended the regulations in 1979, renaming them to the Israeli Law on Authority in states of emergency. The revised law was used to indefinitely incarcerate thousands of Palestinian political activists during the Palestinian Uprising of 1987. On any given day, there are hundreds of Palestinians who are held under the unlawful practice.
The procedure denies the detainees any due process and fails to produce an iota of evidence to as why the prisoner – who is often subjected to severe and relentless torture – is being held in the first place.
Heba, a Jordanian citizen, was detained at the al-Karameh crossing (Allenby Bridge) on her way from Jordan to the West Bank to attend a wedding in the Palestinian city of Nablus.
According to the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network Samidoun, Heba was first held at the Israeli intelligence detention center in Petah Tikva, where she was physically abused and tortured.
Torture in Israel was permissible for many years. In 1999, the Israeli Supreme Court banned torture. However, in 2019, the court explicitly clarified that “interrogational torture is lawful in certain circumstances in Israel’s legal system.” Either way, little has changed in practice before or after the Israeli court’s “clarification.”
Of the dozens of Palestinian and Arab prisoners I interviewed in recent months for a soon-to-be-published volume on the history of the Palestinian prison experience, every single one of them underwent a prolonged process of torture during the initial interrogation, that often extended for months. If their experiences differed, it was only in the extent and duration of the torture. This applies to administrative detainees as much as it applies to so-called “security prisoners.”
Wafa Samir Ibrahim al-Bis, a Palestinian woman from Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza, told me about the years she was held in Israeli jails. “I was tortured for years inside the Ramleh prison’s infamous ‘cell nine,’ a torture chamber they designated for people like me,” she said.
“I was hanged from the ceiling and beaten. They put a black bag on my head as they beat and interrogated me for many hours and days. They released dogs and mice in my cell. I couldn’t sleep for days at a time. They stripped me naked and left me like that for days on end. They didn’t allow me to meet with a lawyer or even receive visits from the Red Cross.”
Heba is now lost in that very system, one that has no remorse and faces no accountability, neither in Israel itself nor to international institutions whose duty is to challenge this kind of flagrant violation of humanitarian laws.
While Israel’s mistreatment of all Palestinian prisoners applies equally regardless of faction, ideology or age, the gender of the prisoner matters insofar as the type of torture or humiliation used. Many of the female prisoners I spoke with explained how the type of mistreatment they experienced in Israeli prisons seemed often to involve sexual degradation and abuse. One involves having female prisoners strip naked before Israeli male interrogators and remaining in that position during the entire duration of the torturous interrogation, that may last hours.
Khadija Khweis, from the town of at-Tour, adjacent to the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, was imprisoned by Israel 18 times, for a period ranging from several days to several weeks. She told me that “on the first day of my arrival at prison, the guards stripped me completely naked.”
“They searched me in ways so degrading, I cannot even write them down. All I can say is that they intentionally tried to deprive me of the slightest degree of human dignity. This practice, of stripping and of degrading body searches, would be repeated every time I was taken out of my cell and brought back.”
Heba and all Palestinian prisoners experience humiliation and abuse on a daily basis. Their stories should not be reduced to an occasional news item or a social media post, but should become the raison d’être of all solidarity efforts aimed at exposing Israel, its fraudulent judicial system and Kangaroo courts.
The struggle of Palestinian prisoners epitomizes the struggle of all Palestinians. Their imprisonment is a stark representation of the collective imprisonment of the Palestinian people – those living under occupation and apartheid in the West Bank and those under occupation and siege in Gaza.
Israel should be held accountable for all of this. Rights groups and the international community should pressure Israel to release Heba al-Labadi and all of her comrades, unlawfully held in Israeli prisons.
Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- Israeli police officers in the occupied Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiyah were caught on camera admitting that there was no purpose to an ongoing police operation in the neighborhood other than deliberately provoking the residents.
The video footage, which was seen by an Israeli court during a hearing on charges pressed against a native Palestinian for throwing stones and was published by Haaretz, shows one policeman telling his colleague: “It’s really provoking them for nothing. Why do this on purpose? Isn’t it going to cause more problems?”. The other officer answers: “This is our goal!”.
During summer, Israeli forces arrested more than 350 native Palestinians, including 11 in the early morning on Sunday, but charges were pressed only against about ten of them, according to Haaretz.
Locals stated that Israeli raids have been aimed at provoking them and that the police are seeking to spark violence. They also confirmed that there has been no stone throwing in the neighborhood before or during the raids other than at police forces that have entered Isawiyah.
Those same statements were confirmed by Israeli officers in the video footage that was obtained by Haaretz and filmed in April, a few weeks before the police stepped up their enforcement activity in the neighborhood. It was filmed on a body camera worn by one of the policemen patrolling at the time. The video was taken on the neighborhood’s main street, in the vicinity of the main mosque in Isawiyah.
The police officers whose comments were caught on video stood near the mosque for several hours. Repeatedly one or another of the officers is seen raising his weapon as if purportedly aiming it a residents seen in the background. A large number of pedestrians and vehicles passed the policemen but none approached them.
The police officers are heard talking among themselves about the purpose of police operations in Isawiyah. One of them remarked: “This is really provoking them for nothing.” The second police officer is heard agreeing. Later the first policemen said: “Why do this on purpose?” The second one replied: “Our policy is screwed up from the outset.” The first policeman then comments: “Let then live. You’re provoking them here for nothing.”
Several minutes later the first policeman addressed a third: “I have a question for you. Isn’t what we’re doing here causing more problems?” The third policeman replied: “That’s the goal,” to which the first asked: “Causing more problems?” The second policeman then replied in the affirmative.
Later two of the officers are heard discounting the danger posed by stones thrown in the neighborhood. One is heard saying it is not a terrorist attack. “It’s just stones,” he said. “It’s a game for them. They’re not throwing them to cause harm.”
The video was presented during a hearing held at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court last week of Isawiyah resident Abdallah Mustafa, who was charged with throwing three stones at police officers on the day the video was filmed. Mustafa’s lawyer from the public defender’s office, Ahmed Awawdeh, stated that the remarks were made by members of the border police.
“We see that there is no operational need here and that the police are entering the neighborhood for the purpose of harassing neighborhood residents, acts that terrify children,”Awawdeh said.
“How can someone stand facing children and pointing a weapon at their body? In a country ruled by law, this deliberate disruption of their lives has to be stopped. How can this be stopped? Through court rulings, through fearless statements by the court,” Awawdeh said.