‘Tell us who the terrorists are if you want the doctor’

By Donald Macintyre in Gaza City

Seriously ill Palestinian patients are being pressured to collaborate with Israeli intelligence by informing on militant and other activities in return for being allowed out of Gaza for medical treatment a report says today.

Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, Shin Bet, is playing an increasingly important role in determining whether patients should be allowed to keep hospital appointments in Israel or the West Bank, Physicians for Human Rights Israel [PHR] will claim.

PHR has collected testimony from more than 30 patients with serious illnesses, including cancer, who describe being pressured by interrogators at the main Erez terminal between Israel and Gaza. They include a 38-year-old man due for treatment at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov hospital who says he was told: “You have cancer, and it will spread to your brain. As long as you don’t help us, wait for Rafah crossing [the rarely open exit to Egypt].”

The report, which charges Shin Bet with “coercion” and “extortion” of patients, says this comes against a background of a sharp rise in the proportion of patients being denied permission to enter Israel for medical treatment since Hamas’s takeover of Gaza, in June 2007.

The rise in refusals from 10 per cent in the first half of 2007 to 35 per cent in the first half of 2008 coincided with what PHR says is increasing restrictions in the supply of medical spare parts, fuel and electricity as part of an Israeli blockade of all but essential humanitarian supplies. This in turn has increased the number of referrals for treatment of patients outside Gaza.

The report says that, according to Shin Bet, the goal of the interrogations is “to estimate the degree of danger posed by the applicant”. It adds: “In practice [the agency] collects intelligence on what it defines as security issues.”

Most of those who have testified declined to give their names for fear that it could jeopardise any further chance of leaving Gaza for treatment. But one who has, journalist Bassam Al Wahidi, 28, said he was interrogated in late August 2007 during over six hours of detention at Erez, missing his appointment at St John’s Hospital in East Jerusalem to save the sight in his right eye from retina damage.

He said that after arriving on the Israeli side, he was led to an interrogation room where a man speaking perfect Arabic introduced himself as Moshe. Moshe told him: “I want you to do me a favour. I will talk to the big leaders in the Israel Defence Forces and say he’s a good guy. We have to help him.”

He said that Moshe asked him to use his job as a journalist to go to border areas and see who was launching rockets and where, and to attend press conferences of factional military wings. He would be given an Israeli mobile chip and asked to call a number with information. If he proved himself over 10 days, he would be allowed to go through Erez “with no permit” and be allowed through for treatment at the Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv. Moshe also hinted he would get financial and other help.

Mr Al Wahidi – who had previously been given an exit permit – says he made clear that he would not co-operate, and that he would go to human rights organisations, the Red Cross and the press. He claims that Moshe, who had earlier said he was losing his patience, laughed and added: “What you are talking about does not exist in the dictionary of the IDF.”

Mr Al Wahidi says that when he invited Moshe to arrest him or allow him out for medical treatment, he replied: “I will send you back to Gaza and let you live the rest of your life blind because you are stupid.”

Mr Al Wahidi was indeed sent back to Gaza and has not been allowed out for treatment since. He says he has now lost the sight in his right eye and needs urgent treatment to save his left eye, and that doctors told him a month ago to stop reading or writing to ease the pressure on his left eye.

Shin Bet told PHR that three would-be suicide bombers since 2005 had posed as medical patients and denied that permits are contingent on the supply of information by a patient “except for reliable information on his medical condition.” The military says that the number of those exiting the Strip for medical treatment rose from 8,325 to 15,148 in 2007. It says that the Supreme Court has ruled that “it is the state’s sovereign right to determine who enters its gates and that the extent of discretion granted to the authorities is … very broad.”



Square one again
Khalid Amayreh

A Palestinian policeman is seen in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem. (Mouid Ashqar, Maan Images)
A Palestinian policeman is seen in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem. (Mouid Ashqar, Maan Images)

The enduring strife between Hamas and Fatah took a turn for the worse this week when an explosive device went off beneath a car parked at a Gaza beach, killing five Hamas military personnel as well as a six-year-old girl. The incident occurred Friday 25 July, as thousands of Gazans flocked to the sea, fleeing the unusually severe heat of summer.

The victims, who were also vacationing at the beach, included prominent figures in Hamas’s military wing, the Ezzeddin Al-Qassam Brigades, including the son-in-law of Khalil Al-Hayya, a key Hamas leader. Hamas held “the treasonous trend” within Fatah – an allusion to the US-backed group led by former Gaza strongman Mohamed Dahlan – responsible for the bombing, vowing to capture the perpetrators and punish them severely.

Dahlan and his forces fled Gaza last year after Hamas carried out a pre-emptive coup to foil a planned US-backed coup by Fatah security forces that Hamas says was aimed at eradicating the legitimate Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.

Fatah, which initially displayed signs of satisfaction, denied any involvement in the incident. But in a clear provocation to Hamas, Fatah as well as the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) suggested that the bombing was an internal Hamas matter, which independent Palestinian observers dismiss as a remote possibility.

Seeking to identify and arrest the perpetrators, Hamas security forces in Gaza carried out a widespread campaign of arrests targeting Fatah activists. According to human rights groups, as many as 150 Fatah activists were arrested, many of them released a few hours after their detention.

In the West Bank, the PA, which functions in coordination with the Israeli army, launched a vitriolic wave of incitement against Hamas, accusing the Islamist movement of waging a witchhunt campaign against Fatah. Fatah and PA leaders were careful to deny involvement in the murder of the five Ezzeddin Al-Qassam officers, accusing Hamas of using the incident to justify its crackdown on Fatah.

Seeking to spite Hamas, Fatah’s mukhabarat (general intelligence) raided the homes of suspected opposition figures in the northern West Bank, arresting as many as 100 people. The detainees included elected officials of the Nablus municipal council, judges, professors, students, civic and religious leaders, many of whom unaffiliated with Hamas.

One of the detainees is professor Abdul-Sattar Qassem, a former presidential candidate and outspoken critic of the PA who has nothing to do with Hamas. Qassem, who was released Tuesday night, told Al-Ahram Weekly that he didn’t know why he was arrested.

“They were generally polite with me, but one officer briefly questioned me about articles I write which he considered strongly-worded.” Qassem said he would propose to both Hamas and Fatah to “authorise independent, nationalist Palestinian intellectuals to look into the internal Palestinian crisis and try to find a solution.”

The Weekly sought to ask Nablus Governor Jamal Muhesen why he allowed the arrests despite their being groundless. Muhesen refused to speak, but his personal secretary said: “The arrests were carried out without the governor’s knowledge. The decision came from Ramallah, The governor has nothing to do with it.”

Meanwhile, PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who had described the Gaza bombing and Hamas’s subsequent crackdown on Fatah as “regrettable”, spoke of an impending Egyptian- mediated effort to restart national reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas.

Hamas rejected Abbas’s remarks, calling them an “exposed attempt to divert attention from the Gaza beach bombing.” Moussa Abu Marzouq, deputy chairman of Hamas’s political bureau dismissed Abbas’s call for dialogue as “meaningless and not serious in light of what his security apparatuses are doing in the West Bank.”

Abu Marzouq described the arrest of Hamas’s cadres in the West Bank as “rabid”, accusing the PA of colluding with Israel in targeting Hamas. He also refuted claims that the arrest of Hamas supporters in the West Bank were in response to the arrests of Fatah activists in the Gaza Strip.

“The arrest of some Fatah elements in Gaza took place in the context of an investigation into a murderous crime that killed six innocent people. But Fatah’s arrests of Hamas supporters and other Palestinian citizens were politically motivated and meant to serve the interests of the Israeli occupation.”

The extent of the repercussions of the Gaza bombing on the prospects of Palestinian reconciliation is not clear. What is clear is that the conflict between Fatah and Hamas is assuming an increasingly tribal nature.

On Tuesday, a high-ranking Hamas delegation left for Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials, including General Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman, on strengthening the tahdia, or ceasefire, with Israel. According to Hamas officials, the delegation will press Egypt to reopen the Rafah border crossing in honour of earlier Egyptian undertakings in this regard.

The arrival of Hamas delegation in Cairo coincides with the arrival in the Egyptian capital of an Israeli official in charge of the so-called “Shalit file” – the case of an Israeli soldier captured by resistance fighters two years ago. Israeli media Tuesday reported that beleaguered Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had agreed to relax criteria for the release of Palestinian prisoners in an exchange deal.

According to Israeli press sources, the “flexibility” Israel is showing would have to be reciprocated by Hamas. Yet in this context the Israeli occupation army continues to indiscriminately torment and savage Palestinian society. On Monday, the Israeli army burned down a furniture factory in downtown Nablus, causing losses estimated at more than $3 million.

This ostensibly deliberate crime comes at a time when Western donors are trying desperately to revive the Palestinian economy in order to enhance prospects of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Sabri Hindiyyeh, a proprietor of Qaser Hindiyyeh Furniture, told [Palestinian news agency] Maan, “the Israeli army fired light and smoke bombs into the store at 2am on Tuesday turning everything in the shop to ashes.”

Earlier, the Israeli army destroyed a multi-story building in Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem under the pretext that the building had been built without a valid licence.


‘Ringside seat….’

There can be only one ‘victor’ from the present madness….

Both images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff


In most civilised societies when a child is born, the dreams of the parents are also born. Dreams that show that child growing up, going to school, marrying and having children of his own.
In Occupied Palestine those dreams are nightmares. Nightmares that show that child being slaughtered by Israeli soldiers. The sad part is that the nightmares often come true as in the case reported below….

The Murder of Ahmed, Age 10

By Kim Bullimore – The West Bank

Ahmad. (Photo: Kim Bullmore)

Another child has just been murdered.

On Tuesday, July 29, Ahmed Ussam Yusef Mousa, aged 10, was shot dead with a single shot to the head by Israeli occupation forces. Ahmed was murdered, just before 6pm, when he and a group of youth from Ni’lin village attempted to dismantle a section of barbwire fencing erected on the village’s land by the Israeli occupation forces.

Ahmed is now the twelfth person and seventh child to be killed by the Israeli occupation forces in demonstrations against the apartheid fence [1]. He is one of more than 840 Palestinian children killed by the Israeli Zionist state since the beginning of the Al Aqsa Intifada in September 2000 [2].

My IWPS team mate and myself received the news of Ahmed’s death last night as we arrived in Ramallah. Within fifteen minutes we were at the hospital. As we arrived Ahmed’s little body was being brought into the hospital. My teammate and myself were “lucky” in that we did not see Ahmed but two of our friends and activists from the ISM, who were at the hospital, did. Both experienced activists, they spoke quietly and with disbelief of how tiny Ahmed was.

The initial shock, grief and tears we all felt were held at bay over the next few hours as we worked in the ISM’s media office, ringing media persons, outlets, pulling together media releases. As we emailed out the press releases to the media and our various networks around the world, the emails poured in expressing shock, outrage and heartache.

As the night wore on we sat with each other, listened and supported each other, especially with those of use who had close ties with the villagers of Ni’lin and who had witnessed the arrival of Ahmed’s body at the hospital. None of us could sleep, although we were all exhausted and we sat in the garden as the early hours of the mourning came upon us. Finally at around 3am, we forced ourselves to go to bed, but we all spent a sleepless night thinking about the grief the family must be experiencing – their shock, horror and disbelief – that their little boy was no longer with them.

In the morning, other members of the ISM and IWPS began to arrive in Ramallah, so we could all go to the hospital at 10am to be part of Ahmed’s funeral procession and to accompany his family home with his body. At 10.30am, Ahmed’s family arrived, accompanied by many of the villagers from Ni’lin who came to pay their respects. Soon Ahmed’s body was brought out and placed in the ambulance. As the ambulance drove out of the hospital car park, we took our place in the funeral procession made up of dozens of cars filled with villagers and others had come to pay their respects. Over the next 45 minutes, as we made our way through the streets of centre of Ramallah, we were joined by more cars, trucks and taxis. Many of the cars displayed Ahmed’s shihad or martyr poster (in Palestine the word martyr refers to anyone killed as a result of the Israeli occupation, not just militants who participate in suicide bombings or who are part of the armed resistance in the camps. Martyrs can be children and/or adults, who have died at the hands of the Israeli military). Ahmed’s poster displayed a handsome little boy, who was small and slight of build. Each time I looked at the poster, I wondered how anyone one could think that this tiny child could be such a threat to the security of their state? What could posses any person to think that the appropriate response to a small child was to fire live ammunition, deliberately shooting to kill?

As I looked at his photograph trying to image why Ahmed had to die, his funeral procession began to make its way out of Ramallah. As we left the city and began to traverse the hills and pass through the surrounding Palestinian villages, we sat in silence, very little to say to each other. As the procession drove on the chants from the Palestinian mourners continued, remembering Ahmed, God and opposing the occupation and the apartheid wall.

As we weaved our way through one village after another, more cars joined us and villagers came to stand on the streets to offer their silent condolences and respect for Ahmed and his family. Along with adults, young children also lined the streets of the villages we passed through. My heart broke as I watch their little faces, many of them too young to comprehend what the procession was about. But as I watched these small children through the windows of our car, I kept wondering if one day they too would share the same fate as Ahmed. And the sadness and anger in me grew once again.

As we approached Bil’in village, a young father stood on the side of the road, along with a group of young children, many no doubt his own. They stood silent, bravely, in dignity with Palestinian flags held high in remembrance of Ahmed. Suddenly, all the composure and restraint I had imposed on myself since we first heard the news of Ahmed’s death left me and tears began to stream down my face.

When we reached Bil’in, many of the village residents who had been active in the struggle to save the lands of their village were waiting for the funeral procession. As the procession wound through the village, many of them joined us, as we began to make the last leg of the journey to Ni’lin.

As we neared the settler highway that we must traverse to get to Ni’lin, we began to anxiously scan the hills and fields for the Israeli occupation forces who would be waiting for the funeral procession. As rounded the last bend before the highway, we caught our first glimpse of them and wondered would they try and stop the funeral procession? Would the use violence us? Would they attack the funeral procession, as the Israeli military had done on so many occasions before?

As we reached the highway, we could see the Israeli occupation forces had blocked the road and stopped Israeli plated cars from continuing towards the village’s entrance. This sight was a relief. Perhaps, we thought, they will let the funeral procession proceed unhindered. However, as we got closer to the entrance of the village and we and the rest of the Palestinians mourners and other internationals poured out of the vehicles on to the highway, we could see the Israeli occupation forces had set up another barricade near the village entrance. While the barricade did not prevent entry to the village, it was a clear sign that the military want to make their presence known. By placing the barrier directly opposite the entrance, rather then setting it up 50 or 100 or 200 metres or more away as they could have easily have done, the Israeli military seemed intent on provoking a confrontation with the mourners.

As Ahmed’s tiny body, wrapped in his funeral shroud, was carried above the crowd, the mourners chanted his martyrdom, against the occupation and the wall and for the greatness of God. Soon, smaller groups broke off from the procession to confront the soldiers, yelling at them angrily, as the emotions, anger and grief surrounding Ahmed’s death spilled over. In response the Israeli occupation forces began to throw sound grenades and flash bombs. As myself and one of my IWPS teammates moved closer to the front line to try and offer some sort of international presence, teargas began to be fired by the Israeli military. For the next few minutes, we were caught between the military firing on us and the young Palestinian men throwing stones in response to the occupation forces attack on the funeral procession.

As people began to run, we were swept up in the chaos and at one point people tried to crush past a park car, resulting in several young boys being dragged down and trampled. Suddenly, I saw a man dragging the limp body of a young teenage boy and at first my heart went to my mouth, as I thought another child had been shot. As the young boy was dragged to safety, he began to gain consciousness and my relief was palpable.

Tears streaming down my eyes from the teargas, I tried to locate my teammate and the internationals amongst the mourners who began to regroup. Soon, the funeral procession began to make its way once again, with Ahmed’s tiny body, towards the mosque. As Ahmed was carried up the stairs into the mosque, prayers were called and we waited in quite vigil for Ahmed and his family.

When the prayers finished, Ahmed was brought from the mosque and taken once again by funeral procession to the village burial ground. We walked quietly, as again the chants from the villagers and others Palestinians spoke of Ahmed’s martyrdom, God and the occupation.

As we approached the burial grounds, women stood atop the house near where little Ahmed would be buried. As the funeral procession passed by they ululated, performing the zachrohtah, the traditional sound made to wish someone well. In performing this tradition, the women sought to ensure Ahmed’s journey to paradise would be happy and joyful.

As the men accompanied Ahmed’s body for burial, we decided to remain outside. As we waited quietly, two young girls, both under the age of ten, shyly came to say hello. As we conversed, they asked me my name, where I lived and other innocent questions. As I responded, in my badly pronounced Arabic, they also began to ask if I liked Noor, the widely popular Turkish soap opera (which is dubbed in Arabic) that is showing at the moment on Palestinian television. I asked them if they liked Mohanad, the male lead, who all the Palestinian girls and young women have fallen in love with and they told me yes. As I practiced my Arabic with them and spoke of the things little girls find interesting and joyful, I thought again of Ahmed who will never have the chance to play games with his friends or his family and of how he would never be able to speak of the television shows he loved. And again the sadness swept over me for Ahmed and for his family, who would miss him so much.

*17 year old, Yousef Ahmad Younis Amera was shot in the head, twice, with rubber coated steel bullets at close range by the Israeli military, in Ni’lin village several hours after Ahmed was buried. Yousef was declared brain dead several hours after he was shot by the Israeli occupation forces.

– Kim Bullimore is currently living the Occupied West Bank, where she is a human rights volunteer with the International Women’s Peace Service ( She has a blog and is a regular writer on Palestine-Israel issues. She contributed this article to

God Bless the Child

Billie Holiday

Them that’s got shall get
Them that’s not shall lose
So the Bible said and it still is news
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
That’s got his own

Yes, the strong gets more
While the weak ones fade
Empty pockets don’t ever make the grade
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
That’s got his own

Money, you’ve got lots of friends
Crowding round the door
When you’re gone, spending ends
They don’t come no more
Rich relations give
Crust of bread and such
You can help yourself
But don’t take too much
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
That’s got his own

Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
That’s got his own
He just worry ’bout nothin’
Cause he’s got his own


Palestinians attempt to retrieve possessions from their home before it is demolished by Israeli forces in Anata, December 2004. (Magnus Johansson/MaanImages)

The Struggle Against Jerusalem’s Quiet Ethnic Cleansing

Palestinians Face Home Demolitions Spree by Israel


In the first hours of dawn, Nader Elayan was woken by a call from a neighbor warning him to hurry to the house he had almost finished building. By the time he arrived, it was too late: a bulldozer was tearing down the walls. More than 100 Israeli security guards held back local residents.

The demolition, carried out four years ago, has left Mr Elayan, his wife, Fidaa, who is now pregnant, and their two young children with nowhere to live but a single room in his brother’s cramped home. It is the only land he owns and he had invested all his savings in building the now destroyed house.

Over the past few years, the Elayans’ fate has been shared by two dozen other families in the Palestinian village of Anata, on the outskirts of East Jerusalem. Hundreds more families have demolition orders hanging over their homes. “Not one person in my neighbourhood has a [building] permit,” Mr Elayan, 37, said.

The problem of house demolitions affects Palestinians throughout the occupied territories. But according to Hatem Abdelkader, an adviser to Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister, the situation is particularly acute in the East Jerusalem area.

He noted that Israel’s policy of refusing building permits to many of the 250,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem has resulted in the classification of 20,000 city homes as illegal since the occupation began in 1967. Last year alone, the Jerusalem municipality issued more than 1,000 demolition orders for “illegal dwellings”. It is believed that three out of every four Palestinian homes in the city are now built without a permit.

“Illegal building is simply a pretext for destroying Palestinian families’ homes and lives,” says Jeff Halper, head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).

“The demolitions are part of a policy to stop the natural expansion of Palestinian communities in and around Jerusalem, freeing up the maximum amount of land for use by Israeli settlers,” Halper continues. “The demolitions increase the pressure on Palestinians to move into the West Bank, so that they will lose their residency rights in the city.”

In an act of defiance, Halper’s organization and 40 international volunteers helped the Elayans to rebuild their home this week in an attempt to highlight what the committee calls the “quiet ethnic cleansing” of East Jerusalem. The work was carried out during a two-week summer camp funded by the Spanish government. Madrid also paid for 18 Spanish volunteers to participate.

“This is the first time a government has supported the rebuilding of an ‘illegal’ Palestinian home demolished by the Israeli authorities,” Halper says.

The issue of house demolitions is back in the spotlight now after two separate incidents in July in which Palestinians, both of whom were residents of Jerusalem, rampaged through the city in bulldozers, killing three Israelis and injuring many more. Although the two Palestinians were shot dead at the scene, Israeli officials, including Ehud Barak, the defence minister, are calling for their homes to be destroyed, making their families homeless, to deter others from following in their path.

Such punitive destruction of homes was stopped in 2005, under the threat of legal challenge, but not before some 270 homes were razed on security grounds in the first years of the intifada.

According to Halper, however, the use of demolitions against Palestinians accused of illegal building is a far more significant problem. “We estimate that there have been at least 18,000 homes destroyed during the four decades of occupation.”

In fact, Halper believes the true number of demolitions is likely to be double the official figure. Many razings are unrecorded, carried out by Palestinians themselves fearing a heavy fine if the Israeli army enforces the demolition order.

“Most demolitions are of multi-storey buildings that are home to several families, meaning that well in excess of 100,000 Palestinians may have been made homeless by Israeli administrative policies,” he said.

Since its founding a decade ago, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions has rebuilt 150 Palestinian homes as part of its campaign to bring the issue of demolitions to the attention of Israeli Jews and the international community. It has been an uphill struggle, Mr Halper said. The European Union, which recently upgraded its relations with Israel, announced this month that it was withdrawing ICAHD’s funding.

But this year’s work camp may make the continuing demolition of homes in Anata a little harder, Halper reckons “it’s one thing to destroy a home supposedly built illegally by a Palestinian, but another to destroy one built with money provided by the Spanish government.”

Halper also believes that, by exposing such groups as the summer camp volunteers to the Palestinians’ plight, public perceptions may begin to change.

Alonso Santos, a 21-year-old architecture student from Madrid, said he learnt much from seeing at close hand Palestinian life under occupation.

“It was an eye-opener to realise that the principles of urban planning we are taught at the university are being used by the Israelis, but for exactly the opposite purpose from the one usually intended. The planning rules here are designed not to improve the Palestinians’ lives but to make them more miserable.”

The volunteers were hosted at a peace centre in Anata erected on the site of Salim Shawamreh’s home, which was demolished four times by Israeli authorities. Known as Arabiya House, after Shawamreh’s wife, the building is decorated on one side with a mural depicting the death of Rachel Corrie, the US peace activist, by an Israeli bulldozer that had been demolishing homes in Gaza.

“Imagine your children leaving in the morning for school and returning later in the day to find their home, their whole world, has disappeared while they were gone,” Shawamreh said. “It’s happened to my children four times. It’s cruelty beyond words.”

Shawamreh, whose family were refugees from the northern Negev in 1948, said he and ICAHD established the peace centre to highlight the plight of the Palestinians in Anata. Today the house is overlooked by an Israeli police station across the valley, part of the advance growth of a large Jewish settlement, Maale Adumum, that Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups believe is cutting the West Bank in two.

The peace centre is also close both to the snaking route of Israel’s separation wall and to a new bypass road – part of what critics call an apartheid road system – being built to ensure that Jewish settlers can drive separately from Palestinians across the West Bank.

Arabiya House is under a temporary reprieve from demolition while Israeli courts determine its status.

Halper says the judges have been reluctant to confirm the destruction order because his group has threatened to take the case to the International Court of Justice if the ruling goes against it.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is

This article originally appeared in The National (, published in Abu Dhabi.



Google is still at it… banning Blogspot bloggers… who dare to be critical of Israeli policies.
The latest two victims are
Both were determined to be ‘Spam Blogs’…. an unquestionably non kosher entity on any Google site.


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We find spam by using an automated classifier. Automatic spam detection is
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* Be sure to see the first comment on this post


Mohammed Omer, ‘the voice for the voiceless’ people of Gaza speaks again… this time to The Nation. Read of his ordeal in his own words.

The might of the Israeli military will not silence my pen or darken my camera lens.

Truth and Consequences Under the Israeli Occupation
By Mohammed Omer

I am a Palestinian journalist from Gaza. At the age of 17, I armed myself with a camera and a pen, committed to report accurately on events in Gaza. I have filed reports as Israeli fighter jets bombed Gaza City. I have interviewed mothers as they watched their children die in hospitals unequipped to serve them because of Israel’s embargo. I have been recognized for my reporting, even in the United States and United Kingdom, where I have won two international awards. I have also been beaten and tortured by Israeli soldiers.
This summer, at age 24, I was honored to learn that I had become the youngest journalist to receive the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, named for the famed American war reporter and awarded to journalists who counter propaganda with the truth. Although Israel has sealed Gaza’s 1.5 million Palestinians in what many now call the world’s largest open-air prison, Dutch MP Hans Van Baalen lobbied the Israeli government to let me leave Gaza to receive my award in person. Upon my return from London, I was surrounded by Israeli security officers. I was stripped naked at gunpoint, interrogated, kicked and beaten for more than four hours. At one point I fainted and then awakened to fingernails gouging at the flesh beneath my eyes. An officer crushed my neck beneath his boot and pressed my chest into the floor. Others took turns kicking and pinching me, laughing all the while. They dragged me by my feet, sweeping my head through my own vomit. I lost consciousness. I was told later that they transferred me to a hospital only when they thought I might die. Today, I have difficulty breathing. I have abrasions and scratches on my chest and neck. My hands don’t function well; typing is difficult. My doctor informed me that due to nerve damage from one kick, I may be unable to father children and will need to have an operation.

Israeli attacks on journalists are not new; nor are they rare. In April, Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana was killed by fire from an Israeli tank. He was in a car, clearly marked as press. According to Amnesty International, “Fadel Shana appears to have been killed deliberately although he was a civilian taking no part in attacks on Israel’s forces.”

Reporters Without Borders has condemned the Israeli military’s widespread “abusive behavior” of Palestinian journalists. And the Committee to Protect Journalists reports that journalists covering Israeli military actions in the West Bank and Gaza “contend with perennial abuses at the hands of Israeli forces.” In 2007 alone, Israeli soldiers shot photographers from Agence France-Presse, Al-Ayyam newspaper and Al-Aqsa TV. The television cameraman, Imad Ghanem, fell to the ground when wounded. Israeli forces then shot him twice more in the legs. Both of his legs have been amputated.

Could it be that despite their tanks, fighter planes and nuclear arsenal, Israel is threatened by our cameras and computers, which give the world access to images and information about their military occupation of Palestinians? Indeed, this month a Palestinian girl filmed an Israeli soldier shooting a blindfolded Palestinian at point blank range with a rubber bullet. The video aired widely, on CNN, NBC News and the BBC, among other media outlets.

Although Palestinians face this violence daily, the images and our stories rarely travel beyond our borders. Israel seems intent on hiding its oppression of Palestinians under its rule–including its dual system of laws, one giving civil, political and social rights to Israelis, and the other denying those rights to Palestinians living under occupation. This system allows Jewish settlers in the West Bank to enjoy freedom of movement and access to healthcare and education, while Palestinian children in Gaza die of curable illnesses because hospitals have run out of medicine.

Martha Gellhorn brought to light atrocities committed in World War II and in the Vietnam War. In her tradition, I remain committed to accurate reporting from Gaza today. For this I may suffer lifelong consequences. But I hold on to the hope that Americans–as well as journalists worldwide–will impress upon Israel the need to respect the rights of reporters. Freedom of speech and a free press are hallmarks of any democracy. I am proud to call myself a Palestinian and a journalist. The might of the Israeli military will not silence my pen or darken my camera lens.

For more on this story, see John Pilger in the Guardian and Alison Weir in CounterPunch.


By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

In recent days, the American-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) carried out a shameful crackdown against non-conformist Palestinian intellectuals, journalists as well as civic and religious leaders all over the West Bank.

PA security agencies have also violently suppressed peaceful rallies by the pan-Islamic Liberation party commemorating the downfall of the Ottoman Caliphate. Eyewitnesses said undisciplined policemen beat participants using plastic truncheons.

In Beit Jala, PA men beat four camera men who were filming police cars. And in Hebron, a Reuter cameraman, Yosri al Jamal, was assaulted and his camera broken.

The latest acts of violence took place under the watchful eyes of the Israeli occupation army without whose consent the PA can hardly function.

In Nablus and neighboring towns and villages,  US-trained security personnel  raided private homes, municipal buildings and public institutions,  elected mayors, public figures, college professors, student leaders and prominent religious figures.

One of the people arrested was Professor Abdul al Sattar Qassem, a well-known author and political activist.

A former presidential candidate,  Qassem is not affiliated with Hamas or any other political organization, but his daring writings seem to have proven too unbearable for a self-proclaimed “national” authority that claims to represent Palestinian aspirations for freedom and liberation.

In Dura, near Hebron in the southern West Bank,  PA security forces arrested Awadh Rajoub, the West Bank correspondent of the Arabic service of  after raiding and thoroughly searching his press office and confiscating his PC.

Rajoub is still being detained at the Preventive Security headquarters in Hebron where he has been interrogated in connection with  a  report he had written on the mistreatment of prisoners in PA jails and lockups.

Four other journalists have also been arrested by the PA police recently, including Muhammed Halayka and Alaa  al Titi of Hebron, Ausayd Amareneh of Bethlehem and Mustafa Sabri of Qalqilya.

PA spokespeople  claim that the arrests are carried out in accordance with the rule of law.

However, it is amply clear that such claims carry very little weight if only because  the “rule of law” doesn’t  really exist in a police state (without a state),  whose very existence and survival depend almost completely  on the extent to which this  entity meets the needs, obey the instructions and  serves the interests  of the Israeli occupation.

These are conspicuous facts that every Palestinian man, woman and child is aware of. Hence, it would be foolhardy to try to hide the obvious from  one of the most politicized people on earth.

Interestingly, the stepped-up clampdown on freedom of expression by the PA  coincides with the ghoulish escalation of Israeli criminality and ethnic cleansing throughout the West Bank.

During the past few days, trigger-happy Israeli soldiers murdered in cold blood two Palestinian minors, including a 10-year-old boy who was taking part in a peaceful protest against Israeli schemes to grab more Palestinian land under the pretext of building the so-called “separation wall.”  (the Israeli Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi this week admitted that the route of the wall was decided by political, rather than  security considerations as Israeli officials have been claiming)

Similarly,  Israel has been demolishing Arab homes, including a multi-story building  in East Jerusalem as  Nazi-like Jewish settlers are given a free rein to take over Arab property and  terrorize and savage Palestinian children in the southern Hebron hills  for the purpose of driving their families away form their homes.

So, as if Zionist ethnic cleansing were not enough, the PA is finding it necessary to  complement Israeli criminality by arresting, humiliating  and tormenting  patriotic Palestinians for criticizing the Ramallah regime for compromising Palestinian national interests and for throwing itself squarely into the lap of the Bush administration which itself is at Israel’s beck and call.

It is really difficult to make any sense of what is happening except that the PA is effectively becoming another layer of the Israeli occupation.

Otherwise, one is prompted to ask what national purpose does this  wave of repression of Palestinians by Palestinians serve?

Does it strengthen Palestinian steadfastness in the face of the Israeli occupation?

Does it enhance the Palestinian ability to liberate the usurped homeland from the criminal Zionist hands?

There is no doubt that in light of its shameful behavior against the Palestinian people, the PA has effectively become a serious liability undermining the enduring Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice.

Indeed, a situation where Palestinians have to keep guessing  if their children will be abducted by “the (Palestinian) authority” or “the (Israeli occupation) authorities” is unbearable, to say the least.

It is a stigma of shame that  a time has come when Palestinian homes have to be   raided in the quiet hours before dawn by Palestinian policemen in order to arrest young Palestinians activists.

Today, the PA has proven itself  a moral, political, economic and security disaster for the Palestinians and their enduring just cause.

The Palestinian people had been dreaming of a “free authority” that would heal their wounds, sooth their afflictions and strengthen their steadfastness in the face of the Nazis of our time.

They never dreamt of a ‘Judenrat’ of quislings and collaborators that would arrest, torment, torture and  even murder Palestinians in order to receive a certificate of good conduct from the occupiers of our country and their guardian-allies in Washington.

Hence, it is paramount, for the sake of our future and  the future of our children that this outrageous  PA apparatus,  where  pseudo-nationalists,  money-grabbing careerists,  hangers-on,  opportunists and probably foreign agents as well  hold sway, be dismantled as soon as possible.

In fact, one can go as far as saying that the dissolution of the PA is now a sine qua non for a successful Palestinian struggle for freedom from diabolical Zionism.


This episode of The Listening Post takes an in depth look at Iran and its relationship with the media, past and present.
Part 1
Part 2
The above videos were sent to me this morning by a fellow Blogger named John who manages the site the Patriotic Activist. The site is an interesting combination of business and political news and views for the patriotic activist…. a site definitely worth following daily.
Thank you John.

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