ISRAEL’S LOVE FOR PALESTINE CAUGHT ON VIDEO

First see THIS previous post …..

This video shows four Palestinian youths sitting and relaxing outside a home when an Israeli jeep drives up to them and stops briefly.

As it drives off a few seconds later, the youths leap from their chairs and there is a huge explosion that sends smoke and debris into the air.

Israelis use stun grenade in unprovoked attack on youths

The website Ramallah News, which published the security camera video on its Facebook page on Tuesday, says it was filmed a day earlier in the village of Kafr Laqif, near Qalqilya in the northern West Bank.

At 30 seconds, as the jeep drives off, an object can be seen flying from the back of the vehicle towards the young men, just before the explosion.

Stun grenades, also known as flashbang grenades or sound bombs, are meant to be used to temporarily disorient an enemy.

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, says stun grenades are “a predominant crowd control weapon” used by Israeli occupation forces.

The US-made weapons “are designed to cause panic, thereby enabling security forces to overpower people,” it adds.

Stun grenades are part of a whole arsenal of allegedly non-lethal Israeli “crowd control” weapons. “In fact, however, they are dangerous weapons that can cause death, severe injury and damage to property if used improperly,” B’Tselem states.

B’Tselem says it has “documented cases in which security forces have thrown stun grenades directly at demonstrators or into a crowd, causing injuries and burns.”

The Israeli army is investigating the incident, according to Israeli media.

Harassment and scorn

Israeli military occupation means death, injury, destruction, land theft, imprisonment and loss of livelihood, among other grave abuses.

But it also means countless other acts of daily, gratuitous cruelty and humiliation inflicted by armed men against a population that has no rights and few protections.

While this is Palestinian daily experience, it seldom makes headlines.

In a recent incident, also caught on video, an occupation soldier in Hebron assaulted a Palestinian girl. The soldier took the 8-year-old’s bicycle and threw it away. Her apparent crime: playing on a Jews-only street.

Another feature of occupation is the systematic impunity Israeli forces enjoy for crimes and violations big or small.

Not surprisingly, Israel’s occupation authorities ruled on Monday that the combatant who took the girl’s bicyclewould face no charges.

Back in 2007, the late Yosef Lapid, a former Israeli justice minister and then chairman of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial’s advisory council, compared life for Palestinians under Israeli occupation to the abuses faced by Jews in 1930s Europe.

“It was not crematoria or pogroms that made our life in the diaspora bitter before they began to kill us, but persecution, harassment, stone-throwing, damage to livelihood, intimidation, spitting and scorn,” Lapid said, commenting specifically on attacks on Palestinians by Jewish settlers in Hebron.

Seeing the video of the bicycle incident and the stun grenade attack brought Lapid’s words back to me.

#InPalestine ~~ IT KILLED IN THE PAST, WHY NOT USE IT AGAIN?

An old weapon appears to have re-emerged in Palestine.

Over the past six months, say activists in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli military has resumed the use of Indoor Barricade Penetrators, a form of high velocity tear gas 40mm projectile designed to deliver its payload inside buildings or homes and used during raids, demonstrations and clashes.

An Israeli soldier fires tear gas towards Palestinian protesters at Beit El on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah in November 2015. (Shadi Hatem/ APA images)

An Israeli soldier fires tear gas towards Palestinian protesters at Beit El on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah in November 2015. (Shadi Hatem/ APA images)

Deadly gas projectiles return to West Bank protests

An old weapon appears to have re-emerged in Palestine.

Over the past six months, say activists in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli military has resumed the use of Indoor Barricade Penetrators, a form of high velocity tear gas 40mm projectile designed to deliver its payload inside buildings or homes and used during raids, demonstrations and clashes.

The use of such heavy duty tear gas projectiles fell by the wayside in 2013 after a number of high-profile court cases demonstrated how easily this particular form of delivery could kill or maim. However, a modified version is now employed across the West Bank, say protestors, and no matter what claims the military and manufacturers may make, these barrier piercing projectiles remain potentially lethal.

Israel has used them to deadly effect before.

In 2009, Bassem Abu Rahmeh was killed during the weekly protest in the West Bank of Bilin, after he was struck in the chest with an Indoor Barricade Penetrator.

Just a few weeks earlier, Tristan Anderson, an American volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement, was hit with a high velocity tear gas canister in the nearby town of Nilin. He didn’t die, but was permanently paralyzed on his left side and suffered massive brain damage.

Recent injuries

Anderson and Abu Rahmeh are among the best known victims of such attacks: many others sustained injuries.

According to Murad Shtaiwi, head of the popular resistance committee in the village of Kafr Qaddum, there have been three moderate injuries from these projectiles since March alone. Ahmad Nasser, a medic working in the Ramallah district, has noted two injuries at clashes outside Ofer prison in the same time period. Nasser himself was also struck with one of the projectiles, but was not injured since he was wearing a bulletproof kevlar vest.

Indoor Barricade Penetrators are a more dangerous means of using tear gas for several reasons. As the name implies, they are not intended for use directly against individuals, rather they are designed to penetrate doors, windows and interior drywalls, and release their payload inside a building.

US weapons manufacturer Combined Systems, a longstanding supplier of tear gas to the Israeli military, makesspecial note that these “less lethal” weapons are intended for use on doors, windows and wallboard, and operators should take caution to avoid firing them in a way that risks hitting a person.

Like other kinds of tear gas, barrier penetrating projectiles are fired from a grenade launcher; however some models used by the Israeli military also have a secondary propulsion mechanism, which takes them further and faster. And unlike outdoor short range tear gas, it does not disperse gas until after impact. This means that protesters cannot see the trajectory of the projectiles until they are detonated, making them much more dangerous.

Harmful gas

In addition to the dangers posed as a high velocity projectile, activists from Ramallah and Nabi Saleh have also reported that the projectiles are more likely to carry an Oleoresin Capsicum- (OC spray — more commonly known as pepper spray) based gas than the more common, and less harmful, CS- (O-chlorobenzylidene malonitrile) based tear gas.

Manal Tamimi, an organizer in Nabi Saleh, cannot find a lab in the West Bank with the capacity to analyze the different types of tear gas. She told The Electronic Intifada that protesters who were exposed to gas from Indoor Barricade Penetrators exhibited symptoms consistent with OC gas, including immediate loss of motor control.

The renewed use of these tear gas projectiles has had a significant impact on demonstrations. In Kafr Qaddum, which Israeli soldiers raid on a regular basis, houses near the village’s weekly protest route have installed metal shutters to protect their interiors. But this provides little protection against a projectile that can move at 122 meters per second.

In Nabi Saleh, where demonstrators try to walk from the center of the village to a spring located in a nearby valley which Israel has confiscated for settlers, there’s little hope of ever getting close. The military can keep protesters at bay from a cool 500 meters with these tear gas projectiles, according to those who have taken part in the demonstrations.

Their renewed use was first noted in early 2016 by activists in Ramallah and came after a new wave of protest and deadly confrontation between Palestinians and the Israeli military that began in October last year.

Activists in Ramallah started to note the return of these tear gas projectiles during weekly demonstrations in Kafr Qaddum and Nabi Saleh and speculate that the army has chosen to reintroduce them because they serve a dual purpose: like live ammunition, it is long range and potentially deadly, thus keeping protesters farther away from soldiers than almost any other weapon. However, unlike live ammunition, deaths caused by high velocity tear gas can more easily written off as accidents.

The Israeli military declined to comment for this article.

For demonstrators who face these projectiles, the threat is very tangible.

“After the October uprisings, more Palestinians broke the wall of fear inside themselves. They began to take more risks,” said Tamimi. “This prompted the Israelis to find a weapon that will not directly cause death. In the middle of all the chaos … they don’t want more criticism.”

*Clare Maxwell is a journalist and human rights activist working in the Salfit region of the West Bank.

THE REAL MEANING OF ISRAELI ‘COUNTERTERRORISM’

THE REAL VICTIMS

Every year, the Israeli military arrests and prosecutes around 700 Palestinian children. For 25 Years, our lawyers have defended thousands of these children in the Israeli military court system. This is Osama’s story.

Israeli “counterterrorism” means abuse and torture of children

This brief video illustrates the fear instilled in young Palestinians, mostly boys, arrested by Israeli occupation forces, often during night raids.

Produced by Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), it features 14-year-old Osama, who was taken from his home in the West Bank during a raid at 3am one night.

“It was the worst feeling to be far away from family and friends,” Osama says. He spent four months in an Israeli prison for allegedly throwing stones.

In a report released at the end of July, Human Rights Watch lists Israel among six countries that have adopted far-reaching “counterterrorism” policies that have led to sweeping arrests of children.

Israel joins Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Nigeria and Syria as governments Human Rights Watch describes as “trampling on children’s rights in a misguided and counterproductive response to conflict-related violence.”

“The indefinite detention and torture of children needs to stop,” said Jo Becker, the organization’s director of children rights advocacy.

Not a week goes by when about a dozen to as many as 38 Palestinian children from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are arrested.

In June, Israel extended administrative detention orders for seven children.

Solitary confinement as coercion

Israel appear to be increasing the use of solitary confinement against Palestinian child detainees to pressure them during interrogations. One 16-year-old boy spent 22 days in isolation.

“The practice of using solitary confinement on children, for any duration, is a clear violation of international law, as it amounts to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and in some cases, torture,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP.

Israel doesn’t use solitary confinement for disciplinary, protective or medical reasons, according to DCIP’s documentation, but as an interrogation tool.

Children are confined in cells that barely fit a mattress while they undergo lengthy interrogations during which Israeli authorities attempt to extract confessions or more information on other people, according to DCIP.

“The cell was closed tightly and had no windows, except two ventilations gaps,” 17-year-old Rami K. told DCIP.

“The walls were gray, which hurt my eyes, and the surface was coarse, so I could not lean on them. The cell had a sink and a toilet, but the toilet had a nasty smell. The lights were on the entire time.”

Rami was held for 16 days in isolation while being interrogated. The interrogation was drawn out over hours, during which his wrists and ankles were bound to a metal chair.

Blaming Palestinian culture

Israel defended its treatment of children earlier this month, following criticism by several countries at the United Nations Security Council.

Amit Heumann, the legal adviser to Israel’s UN mission, blamed Palestinians for Israel’s treatment of them.

“It is the responsibility of leaders everywhere to protect children at all costs, to protect them from the ravages of war and to shelter them in a protective environment, where children can thrive,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the Palestinians are failing at this most critical responsibility.”

“Instead of nourishing their youth with the dreams of a bright future, Palestinian children are fed a steady diet of hatred for Israel and glorification of violence in the lessons they learn in school, in the sermons they hear in the mosque and in the streets that are named after terrorists.”

Such debunked claims that “incitement” – rather than the reality of Israel’s military occupation – are to blame for violence, have long been a staple of Israeli government propaganda.

In its report, Human Rights Watch criticizes Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children under its occupation regime in the West Bank, where 500 to 700 children are brought before military tribunals annually, and an average of 220 children are held in prison each month.

But the line between Israeli civil and military law regarding children has become increasingly difficult to discern since violent confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli forces escalated in October 2015.

Last week, the Israeli parliament passed a new law allowing the imprisonment of children as young as 12.

Israel’s military regime in the occupied West Bank has always allowed the detention of 12-year-old Palestinians.

According to DCIP’s statistics, of the 440 Palestinian children in Israeli prison in February, 104 were between the ages of 12 and 15. This represents a four-fold increase from the number of young teens in prison prior to October 2015.

And though the law ostensibly applies to Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel alike, it was explicitly created to target Palestinians.

Imprisoning 12 and 13-year-olds will be permitted in cases where the child is convicted of so-called terrorism, a charge that almost exclusively applies to Palestinians.

“This law was born of necessity,” said Likud lawmaker Anat Berko, who proposed the measure. “We have been experiencing a wave of terror for quite some time. A society is allowed to protect itself. To those who are murdered with a knife in the heart it does not matter if the child is 12 or 15.”

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel warns that the Israeli parliament may soon allow life sentences for children under 14.

This is the latest amendment to Israel’s penal code that expands the criminal culpability of Palestinian children in order to allow harsher penalties.

Last year, the Israeli parliament imposed mandatory minimum sentencing and extended the maximum sentence on people who throw stones at traffic.

Israel also revived administrative detention against Palestinian children ostensibly living under Israeli civil law in the last year.

HYDRO-APARTHEID

Water shortages are not new for Palestinians. Whether in the occupied Gaza Strip or the West Bank including East Jerusalem, the supply of water flowing into Palestinian homes is strictly capped or obstructed by Israel.

Palestinians collect water from a spring, in the West Bank village of Salfit on 27 June. Villagers had been without water for days as chronic supply shortages induced by Israeli occupation authorities continue to hit many parts of the territory. Nedal Eshtayah APA images

Palestinians collect water from a spring, in the West Bank village of Salfit on 27 June. Villagers had been without water for days as chronic supply shortages induced by Israeli occupation authorities continue to hit many parts of the territory. Nedal Eshtayah APA images

Israel’s hydro-apartheid keeps West Bank thirsty

Water shortages are not new for Palestinians. Whether in the occupied Gaza Strip or the West Bank including East Jerusalem, the supply of water flowing into Palestinian homes is strictly capped or obstructed by Israel.

As temperatures climb during the summer, taps run dry. Clemens Messerschmid, a German hydrologist who has worked with Palestinians on their water supply for two decades, calls the situation “hydro-apartheid.”

This year, Israeli journalist Amira Hass published data proving that the Israeli Water Authority had reduced the amount of water delivered to West Bank villages.

In some places, the supply was slashed by half. Her records contradict official denials that water supplies to Palestinian cities and villages are cut during the summer, even though that too is not new.

Cities and small villages have gone as long as 40 days without running water this summer, forcing those who can afford it to haul in water tanks.

When Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967 it also seized control over the West Bank Mountain Aquifer, the territory’s principal natural water reserve.

The Oslo accords of the early 1990s gave Israel 80 percent of the aquifer’s reserves. Palestinians were supposed to get the remaining 20 percent, but in recent years they have been able to access only 14 percent as a result of Israeli restrictions on their drilling.

To fulfill the population’s minimum needs, the Palestinian Authority is forced to buy the rest of the water from Israel. But even then, it’s not enough.

Israel is only willing to sell a limited amount of water to Palestinians. As a consequence, Palestinians use far less water than Israelis, and a full third less than the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 100 liters per person per day for domestic use, hospitals, schools and other institutions.

The Electronic Intifada spoke with Clemens Messerschmid, who has been working in the water sector throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1997, about the engineered water scarcity for Palestinians in the West Bank.

Charlotte Silver: Is scarcity of water in the area driving the water crisis in the West Bank? Or is the scarcity engineered?

Clemens Messerschmid: Of course there is no water scarcity in the West Bank. What we suffer from is induced scarcity – it’s called the occupation. This is the regime imposed on Palestinians immediately after the war in June 1967.

Israel rules through military orders, which have the direct and intended result of keeping Palestinians short on water. It is not an ongoing gradual dispossession as with land and settlements, but was done in one sweep by Military Order No. 92, in August 1967.

The West Bank possesses ample groundwater. There is high rainfall in Salfit, in the northern West Bank, now known for especially hard water cuts.

The West Bank is blessed with a treasure of groundwater. But this is also its curse, because Israel targeted this immediately after taking control.

What we need is simple: groundwater wells to access this treasure. But Israel’s Military Order No. 158 strictly forbids drilling or any other water works, including springs, pipes, networks, pumping stations, irrigation pools, water reservoirs, simple rainwater harvesting cisterns, which collect the rain falling on one’s roof.

Everything is forbidden or rather not “permitted” by the Civil Administration, Israel’s occupation regime. Even repair and maintenance of wells requires military permits. And we simply don’t get them.

It is a simple case of hydro-apartheid – far beyond any regime in history that I am aware of.

CS: Israel has increased the amount of water it sells Palestinians, but it is still not enough to prevent villages from running dry. Putting aside the fact that Israel’s control over the aquifer’s resources is very problematic, why won’t Israel sell the Palestinians enough water?

CM: Israel first of all has drastically reduced the amount of water available to Palestinians. It has prevented all access to the Jordan River, which is now literally pumped dry at Lake Tiberias.

Then, Israel imposes a quota on the number of wells and routinely denies permits for much-needed repair of old wells from the Jordanian days – Jordan administered the West Bank from 1948 until the Israeli occupation – especially agricultural wells. That means the number of wells is constantly shrinking. We have fewer than in 1967.

Now, the only thing that has increased is the dependency on buying water from the expropriators, Israel andMekorot, Israel’s national water company.

This is reported over and over in the western press, because it is the point Israel stresses: ‘See how benevolent we are?’

So, yes, since Oslo, purchases from Mekorot have grown steadily. Ramallah now receives 100 percent of its water from Mekorot. Not a drop comes from a single well field we have.

The supply of villages by Israel was not done as a favor. It was initiated in 1980 by Ariel Sharon, then agriculture minister, when rapid settlement growth was starting. The water supply was “integrated,” in order to make the occupation irreversible.

What is important here is the structural apartheid, cemented and cast in iron in these pipes. A small settlement is supplied via large transmission pipes from which smaller pipes split off to go towards Palestinian areas.

Israel is very happy with Oslo, because now Palestinians are “responsible” for supply. Responsible but without a shred of sovereignty over resources.

The current so-called water crisis is not a crisis at all. A crisis is a sudden change, a new turn or a turning point in development. The undersupply of Palestinians is desired, planned and carefully executed. The “summer water crisis” is the most reliable feature of the Palestinian water calendar. And the amount of annual rain, or drought, has no bearing whatsoever on the occurrence and scale of that “crisis.”

I should stress that however routinely this occurs, in each and every single case, it is a conscious decision by some bureaucrat or office in Israel or the Civil Administration. Someone has to go to the field and turn down the valve at the split off to the Palestinian village. This, like every summer, was done in early June. Hence – water crisis in the West Bank.

CS: What factors may be contributing to the worsening water cuts this year?

CM: It seems settler demand rose drastically since last year. The Israeli Water Authority found 20 to 40 percent higher demand, which is quite remarkable.

Alexander Kushnir, the Water Authority’s director general, attributes this to expansion of settler irrigation in the mountains of the northern West Bank settlements, around Salfit and Nablus.

CS: How is it that people in present-day Israel are reportedly enjoying a surplus of water since the country has started using desalination, while the people under occupation in the West Bank are left with so little? Even Israeli settlers have reportedly experienced water cuts.

CM: It’s true that Israel declared for the first time a few years ago that it had a surplus water economy and iskeen to sell more water to its neighbors, from whom it expropriated water in the first place.

Palestinians are already buying water Israel stole, but as noted, not reliably or at sufficient rates.

Frankly, I don’t know. Why this special, elevated and aggravated desire of Israel not even to sell enough water to the West Bank?

In some areas, water is actively used as a weapon for ethnic cleansing, like in the Jordan Valley. Agriculture was always targeted from day one of the occupation.

But this logic does not apply to the densely populated Palestinian towns and cities in so-called Area A of the West Bank, that are still struggling. After 20 years, this still leaves me puzzled.

Another element is important to understand: Israel needs to constantly teach Palestinians a lesson. Any water procurement, any drop delivered should be understood as a generous favor, as an act of mercy, not as a right.

Israel has augmented water sales to the West Bank from 25 million cubic meters per year in 1995 to around 60 mcm/year now. Why does it not sell much more? It certainly could afford it waterwise – it has a gigantic surplus.

One of the material issues I can detect is the issue of price, and therefore meaning of water.

Israel wants to eventually get the highest price for desalinated water it sells to Palestinians. While we are only speaking about a few hundred million shekels a year [a few tens of millions of dollars] – which is not a lot for Israel – Israel wants to end the debate once and for all over Palestinian water rights.

Israel demands nothing short of a full surrender: Palestinians should agree that the water under their feet does not belong to them, but forever to the occupier.

By demanding full prices for desalinated water, Palestinians would admit and agree to a new formula.

A word on the Gaza Strip – unlike the West Bank, Gaza has no physical possibility of access to water. The confined and densely populated Strip can never supply itself. Yet, Gaza does not get such water deliveries from Israel. Only recently did Israel start selling to Gaza the five million cubic meters per year agreed in Oslo. A tiny cosmetic increase has been enacted.

In a way you could interpret this differential treatment between Gaza and the West Bank as an Israeli admission of a certain degree of hydrological dependence.

Israel receives the bulk of its water from the territories conquered in 1967, including Syria’s Golan Heights, but not a drop from Gaza.

Waterwise, Gaza has no resource to offer Israel. This is the same as with the main resource: land. Hence a very different approach to Gaza right from the start in 1967. Israel does not depend on Gaza in any material form. Ever since Oslo, Israel has demanded Gaza supply itself by its own means, such as through seawater desalination.

CS: How have donor countries acted in all this? Have they defended global minimal water standards or have they affirmed and bolstered Israel’s control over the water resources in the occupied West Bank?

CM: Unfortunately the latter. When Oslo started, we all were under the illusion that a phase of development would start. Wells that were forbidden to be drilled for 28 years would finally be put in place.

Soon, we learned that Israel in fact was never willing to give “permits … for expanding agriculture or industry, which may compete with the State of Israel,” as then-defense minister Yitzhak Rabin said in 1986.

What was needed then and now – and everybody knew it – was political pressure to extract the minimum well-drilling permits guaranteed under Palestinian-Israeli accords. This pressure never came. Never did the EU or my German government issue even a public statement in which it “deplores” or “regrets” the obstructions in the water sector. This is a true scandal.

But even worse, what was our Western answer to this? All donor-funded projects actually abandoned the vital branch of well drilling. The last German funded well was drilled in 1999.

As for the current so-called water crisis, we as donors are now busy generously funding anachronistic water tankering in the cut-off Palestinian towns and cities – adapting to and stabilizing the status quo of occupation and water apartheid.

WHY SHOULD AN ‘ISRAELI ARAB’ BELIEVE ANYTHING NETANYAHU HAS TO SAY?

‘THROW PAPA FROM THE TRAIN’

Israeli officials have forfeited the moral high ground in their denunciations of Palestinians. Pictured: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: Thierry Ehrmann / Flickr Commons)

Israeli officials have forfeited the moral high ground in their denunciations of Palestinians. Pictured: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: Thierry Ehrmann / Flickr Commons)

Yesterday I took a trip to downtown Jerusalem on the Light Rail. On the way home the train was stopped by Israeli Border Police because there was a Palestinian sitting in my car with his son. The Police rudely demanded to see his Identity Card and then ordered him to get off the train. He was dong nothing wrong, just going home with his son the same way I was doing …. They held up the train for ten minutes as the man protested that he was doing nothing wrong. By this time his son was hysterical as other passengers surrounded the man to give (im)moral support to the Police. Eventually he agreed to leave the train and we continued on our journey.

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Just another day in Jerusalem😦

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BUT you must remember …

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The man was a Palestinian … a major crime in the city of Jerusalem.

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This just a week after Netanyahu’s infamous speech where he said;

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Jews and Arabs should reach out to each other, get to know each other’s families.
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Listen to each other.
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Jews and Arabs should treat one another with the same dignity and respect you’d want for your own family

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Our land is too small, it’s too precious to fill it with discord and hate.

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Here is the complete speech on video …

So I ask, after what I witnessed yesterday, how is this Arab man and his son supposed to believe anything that Netanyahu says?

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Hate still rules in the Holy Land!

CATERPILLAR ONCE AGAIN USED AS A WEAPON IN PALESTINE

The D9 is the type of machine that an Israeli soldier used to kill American activist Rachel Corrie in Gaza in 2003.

idf-photo-caterpillar-gaza-august-2014

Israel uses Caterpillar equipment in apparent extrajudicial killing

Israeli occupation forces used a Caterpillar excavator to carry out the apparent extrajudicial execution of a Palestinian man using the so-called pressure cooker procedure in which construction equipment is employed as a lethal weapon, analysis by The Electronic Intifada shows.

Caterpillar, based in Peoria, Illinois, has long been the focus of boycott and divestment campaigns for selling equipment Israel uses in human rights abuses and war crimes, including the demolitions of homes and construction of settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

Late on Tuesday night, Israeli forces massed in the town of Surif, near the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, and launched an assault on a house in which they besieged Muhammad al-Faqih. The Israelis eventually demolished the house with al-Faqih still inside.

Israel’s internal intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, claims that al-Faqih, from the nearby village of Dura, carried out a shooting near Hebron earlier this month that caused the crash of a car, killing an Israeli settler and injuring his wife.

According to the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz, the Shin Bet, whose use of torture is systematic, accused al-Faqih of the killing after obtaining confessions from two other Palestinians who allegedly assisted him, including al-Faqih’s brother.

As the journalist and close observer of Israel’s occupation Marian Houk noted, Israeli media reproduced the Shin Bet’s allegations as fact “without an ounce [or] gram of doubt” and without the need for any judicial process.

Anti-tank missiles

The Israeli army claimed that its forces “called on the operative [al-Faqih] to surrender, and he responded by opening fire and hurling explosives.”

The army said that it “responded according to procedure and returned fire” and that al-Faqih “was killed in the exchange.”

Military spokespersons also told media that soldiers fired anti-tank missiles at the house and then used an excavator to demolish it with al-Faqih inside.

Video published on YouTube shows Israeli soldiers pulling al-Faqih’s body from the rubble of the house and loading it into the excavator’s bucket before taking it away.

The Quds news website, citing witnesses, said dozens of Israeli military vehicles took part in the seven-hour siege and assault as drones circled overhead.

Village youths responded by throwing stones at Israeli forces, and several protesters were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets. Israel also sealed off the village, cut electricity and Internet services and barred Palestinian ambulances from entering the area.

The Ma’an News Agency reported that a woman was also injured during the operation and several people from Surif, including the owner of the destroyed home, were detained.

The lethal raid comes amid massive Israeli closures and arrest sweeps in the Hebron area in recent weeks following attacks on Israeli settlers, including the killing of a 13-year-old child in her home. A field director with UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees, decried Israel’s closure for “collectively punishing innocent people for the acts of others.”

In his home village of Dura, al-Faqih’s family received condolences and his mother praised her son as a “hero” and as “stubborn,” adding that he would never have surrendered himself to Israeli forces.

“Pressure cooker”

While the Israeli army said that al-Faqih fired first, a claim that cannot be independently verified, the “procedure” its forces appear to have used is the “pressure cooker” in which construction equipment is deliberately used as a weapon.

Who Profits, a group that researches companies involved in Israel’s occupation, describes the pressure cooker procedure in a 2014 report on the use of construction machinery in Israel’s occupation.

Originally developed to handle alleged hostage-takers barricaded inside a building, the procedure was modified during the second intifada of the early 2000s and used against any Palestinians who were inside a house who Israeli forces wanted to detain.

First, the forces surrounding the house use a loudspeaker to order anyone inside to come out immediately. If the persons remain inside, the soldiers start shooting at the building first with small arms, then machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades and finally tank shells or missiles.

If the persons survive and still refuse to surrender, an armored bulldozer or excavator is sent to the scene. The bulldozer initially shakes the house and then starts peeling off the walls, ultimately destroying the house and burying the target of the attack beneath it.

“Although heavy engineering machinery clearly plays a significant role in the human rights violations caused by different types of house and property demolitions, its brutal use in the framework of the pressure cooker procedure upgrades it from a potentially deadly tool to a lethal weapon used systematically for extrajudicial killings,” Who Profits states.

In August 2014, Israeli forces used a militarized Caterpillar D9 bulldozer in a similar assault on a building in the village of Qabalan near the West Bank city of Nablus. Zakaria al-Aqra, the 24-year-old target of the attack, was killed, six of his relatives were wounded and the house was badly damaged during the eight-hour operation.

Armored excavator

Analysis of video and photos of the Israeli assault on Surif allows the large machine used to demolish the house where al-Faqih was besieged to be identified as the Bagger E-349 armored excavator.

As the Israeli army’s ground command website shows, this is a weaponized version of Caterpillar’s model 349E Hydraulic Excavator.

An independent UN inquiry into Israel’s assault on Gaza found that Palestinian resistance organizations used tunnels only to attack “legitimate military targets.”

“Primary weapon”

As long ago as 2004, Human Rights Watch called on Caterpillar to halt sales of bulldozers to Israel because of their use as a “primary weapon to raze Palestinian homes, destroy agriculture and shred roads in violation of the laws of war.”

Since then, pressure has mounted on Caterpillar as dozens of campaigns have urged institutions to divest from the firm. The Presbyterian Church USA and the United Church of Christ have voted to do so since 2014.

In 2012, Caterpillar was dropped from a leading index of socially responsible investments in part because of concerns over its products’ use by Israel to violate human rights.

Caterpillar has always tried to distance itself from the Israeli army’s use of its equipment but has done nothing to halt sales. The company says that the machines are not sold to Israel directly, but through the US government and that it “cannot monitor the use of every piece of its equipment around the world.” Caterpillar says that it does not militarize the machines it makes, but that this is done by Israel.

But photographs published by Evenor appear to show Israeli army weaponized bulldozers being serviced at Caterpillar corporate facilities in Israel, suggesting that the company’s complicity is more direct than it claims.

Additional research by Dena Shunra.

More photos at SOURCE

ISRAEL’S REAL MESSAGE TO PALESTINIANS

Surely NOT THIS ….

THIS is more like it ….

A Palestinian family stands amid the remains of their home after it was demolished by Israeli forces in Masafer Jenbah in an undated photo. (AFP/Hazem Bader, File)

A Palestinian family stands amid the remains of their home after it was demolished by Israeli forces in Masafer Jenbah in an undated photo. (AFP/Hazem Bader, File)

Israel demolished more Palestinian homes in past 6 months than in all of 2015

Israeli authorities have demolished more Palestinian homes in the West Bank in the first six months of 2016 as they did in all of 2015, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem revealed in a report released on Wednesday, in a worrying confirmation of Israel’s ongoing crackdown on Palestinian communities in Area C of the West Bank.

The report, which was also presented by the Arab Joint List during a Knesset conference on Israel’s home demolition policy the same day, said that 168 homes were destroyed during the first half of 2016 for lacking hard to obtain Israeli-issued building permits, leaving 740 Palestinians homeless.

B’Tselem’s report did not include punitive demolitions enacted on the home of suspected Palestinian attackers and their families.

The B’Tselem tally marked a higher count than the total number of houses destroyed by Israeli each year in the past decade, with the exception of 2013, when 175 homes were demolished.

The 2016 statistics marked a drastic increase from 2015, when 125 homes were demolished, leaving 496 Palestinians without a home.

B’Tselem further estimated that Israel had demolished some 1,113 Palestinian homes in the West Bank alone from 2006 to June 2016, primarily targeting Palestinian communities east of Jerusalem, in the South Hebron Hills and in the Jordan Valley — where a large number of illegal Israeli settlements are located.

The group added that during that decade, at least 769 Palestinians in the West Bank, including 340 minors, saw their homes demolished more than once.

During the Knesset conference on the report, Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint List which brings together political factions representing Palestinian citizens of Israel, said the demolitions showed that in spite of calls by Israeli right-wing groups to annex all of the West Bank, “actually and practically, we know that Israel prefers to perpetuate its control in a gray area… while paying lip service to the international community.”

Beyond homes, B’Tselem highlighted the fact that Israeli authorities also demolished structures Palestinians depended on for their livelihoods, such as livestock pens, sheds, and bathroom facilities, and confiscated solar panels and water tanks.

“In doing so, the Civil Administration not only leaves these residents homeless but also severely lacking basic services and the ability to earn a living,” the report read.Joint List MK Dov Khenin denounced the demolitions during the Knesset conference as a deliberate move by the Israeli government to annex parts of Area C — the 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control.“

Demolishing houses, water tanks and solar panels does not happen by coincidence or by mistake,” he told the Knesset. “It is an organized policy that aims to change the current political condition, force Palestinians to leave the area and annex parts of Area C to prevent the two-state solution. Therefore, it is no longer a human rights case but a first-degree political case.”Natalie Grove, a representative of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights also present at the Knesset, said that “Israel does not fulfill the minimum of its basic commitments as an occupying power.”

“Israel is creating humanitarian crises, and when the international community intervenes to solve these crises, Israel increases obstacles in front of these interventions,” Grove added. “This policy has led to the worsening of the humanitarian crisis and created the danger of population transfer which leads to a confrontation between Israel and the international community and raises fears that Israel is not serious regarding the two-state solution.”

The publication of the report came two days after some 30 Palestinian families lost their homes during demolition raids of unprecedentedly large scale in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Issawiya and Ras al-Amoud, and in the village of Qalandiya in the West Bank district of Jerusalem.According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Israel only granted 33 building permits out of 2,020 applications submitted by Palestinians between 2010 and 2014.

The dismal number of permits granted by Israeli authorities has forced many Palestinians to build without permission, at the risk of seeing their homes demolished.

B’Tselem said Israel’s pretexts in demolishing so many Palestinian homes constituted “a spurious claim given the absence of any real possibility for Palestinians to build legally in the area.”

“The Israeli authorities impose an impossible daily reality on Palestinian communities in Area C,” B’Tselem concluded in its report. “Israel acts to establish facts on the ground and to create a reality that it will be difficult to change in any future agreement.”

 

Source

IN PHOTOS ~~ PALESTINIAN LIVES MATTER

New Yorkers took to the streets yesterday in front of the Israeli Consulate to demand Freedom for Bilal Kayed and all other (7,000) Palestinians held in illegal administrative  detention.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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DEBUNKING THE MYTHS ABOUT GAZA ~~ A 20 MINUTE VIDEO

In 20 minutes, this film debunks many of the Israeli-perpetuated myths — myths that have been conveniently adopted by others — by focusing on facts. 

‘Gaza in Context’ says root of conflict is quest for Palestinian land, without Palestinians

Philip Weiss

This is inspired. Two years after the onslaught on Gaza that killed over 2200 people, a group of activists, academics and artists has produced a new teaching video that aims at shifting the western narrative of the conflict.

Its new 20-minute video is called “Gaza in Context.” Narrated by Noura Erakat, the film points out the roots of the conflict: for 70 years Israel has sought as much Palestinian land with as few Palestinians on it as possible, and the peace process has only served as a cover for this project. Erakat uses simple descriptions to convey the reality, that Israel now seeks to accustom Palestinians to “domination as a way of life– an unfathomable possibility to all humans, whose first instinct is to be free.”

The film avoids the term Zionism entirely, and identifies the root of the conflict as settler colonialism. “This is a human-made disaster,” Erakat explains, and its resolution is a political one that depends on all of us to take action.

The film was written by Erakat and Nour Joudah (the Palestinian-American teacher who was repeatedly denied entry to Israel) and directed by Erakat and Dia’ Azzeh.

Here’s Erakat on the misinterpretation of the 2014 Israeli offensive.

During the devastating offensive, news media repeatedly framed the issue as Israel’s fight against a marauding Muslim mob driven by religious hatred. Gaza seemed to float outside of history. But understanding these systematic offensives means understanding where Gaza fits in the larger question of Palestine.

Israel claims that it’s responding to Hamas rocket fire. But no one’s stopped to ask: If Hamas didn’t launch its first rocket till 2001, nor its first suicide attack until 1994, then what explains an ongoing conflict for nearly seven decades?

The larger issue is Israel’s “abject disregard” for Palestinians. “What explains settler takeovers? Home demolitions? Forced displacement? Disproportionate use of force?” She answers:

The campaign is not aimed at Gaza or Hamas, it’s aimed at Palestine. The aim is to gain the maximum amount of Palestinian land with the minimum number of Palestinian people.

There’s some shocking video I’ve never seen before, at 5:52: settlers taking over a Palestinian house, I believe in East Jerusalem.

Here’s more about the outfit behind the video:

Gaza in Context is an Arab Studies Institute pedagogical project about the Gaza Strip…. The film is available in full 20 minutes as well as in 4, 5-minute parts. Its other components include a teaching guide for instructional purposes, a bibliography for research purposes, and a compendium of Jadaliyya articles featured in what we call a JadMag. All of these elements will be housed on the project’s own website, which is part of a broader research initiative on Gaza led by the Forum on Arab and Muslim Affairs. This interdisciplinary pedagogical project aims to resituate the question of Gaza within a larger Israeli settler-colonial framework, and it uses Israel’s most recent military onslaught, Operation Protective Edge, to do so.

The release of this project coincides with the two-year anniversary of the brutal operation and aims to use the war as a teaching moment to counter Israel’s ahistorical claims that saturated the media. Gaza In Context seeks to provide an assertive framework for understanding Israel’s systemic attacks as part of the larger question of Palestine.

You can read expert assessments of the film here, from Richard Falk and Robin D.G. Kelley. Nadia Hijab wisely links the project to the larger burgeoning movement:

It is an excellent entry point for the many thousands who are beginning to support Palestinian rights and an important refresher for others that have been involved in the movement for longer.

Diana Buttu captures its powerful manner:

In 20 minutes, this film debunks many of the Israeli-perpetuated myths — myths that have been conveniently adopted by others — by focusing on facts.

Here is the distinguished scholar Sara Roy‘s comment on the film: 

I did not think it was possible to examine in 20 minutes what Gaza in Context does with such compelling clarity: Israeli policies toward Gaza and Palestine, which are inseparable; the core problems affecting Gaza and the deliberateness of the policies that have led to Gaza’s disablement; Gaza’s centrality in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and some common myths surrounding Gaza and the history of the conflict overall, which are straightforwardly debunked.

An immensely valuable teaching tool, the film’s power also lies in its fundamental humanity, a heartfelt entreaty to end the oppression and violence so that all people in this tortured part of the world may aspire to a future in which their children can flourish.

Here is novelist Raja Shehadeh’s comment:

[It] helps explain the consistency in the Israeli policy over the years and throughout Palestine while focusing on its implications and manifestations for Gaza. The film ends with a cri de Coeur to all of us to do what we can to bring an end to what the film convincingly argues is not a natural but a human-  made disaster and save Gaza from continuing to be a zone of death.

BREXIT TOONS ~~ POST VOTE RACISM GONE RAMPANT

Images by Carlos Latuff

Racist Attacks After Brexit Referendum

Racist Attacks After Brexit Referendum

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‘MISTAKEN’ ETHNIC CLEANSING

The army has admitted the Palestinians were bystanders, saying they were “mistakenly hit” while soldiers were responding to reports that Palestinians were throwing rocks and firebombs on a highway that runs between Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and the town of Modi’in.

Relatives of Arif Jaradat, a 22-year old who was fatally injured by Israeli occupation forces, mourn over his body during his funeral in Sair village near the West Bank city of Hebron, 20 June. (Nasser Shiyoukhi/ AP Photo)

Relatives of Arif Jaradat, a 22-year old who was fatally injured by Israeli occupation forces, mourn over his body during his funeral in Sair village near the West Bank city of Hebron, 20 June. (Nasser Shiyoukhi/ AP Photo)

Down syndrome man, child, killed by Israeli soldiers

Charlotte Silver

Israeli soldiers opened fired on a car of young Palestinians returning from a late-night pool party celebrating Ramadan, killing 15-year-old Mahmoud Badran and injuring four others.

The army has admitted the Palestinians were bystanders, saying they were “mistakenly hit” while soldiers were responding to reports that Palestinians were throwing rocks and firebombs on a highway that runs between Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and the town of Modi’in.

But the mayor of Beit Ur al-Tahta, Mahmoud’s home village, said the boys’ vehicle was not attacked when it was on Highway 443, but on a smaller road that isn’t used by Israeli drivers.

The highway was built on land expropriated from Palestinians in the occupied West Bank but is reserved for Israelis.

Mahmoud’s father told the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz that the car his son was in was driving on an underpass beneath Highway 443 when it was fired on.

“As they approached the passage, a car stood on the bridge, next to a man with a gun who opened fire on the vehicle,” the elder Badran said.

“As far as I could understand, some of the passengers jumped out of the vehicle and some remained inside, and were hit, including my son who was very seriously wounded and died a short time later.”

The Palestinian news website Quds tweeted these photos of Mahmoud.

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A total of seven people were in the vehicle when it was fired on. Three of the injured passengers were taken to a Palestinian hospital in Ramallah and another to an Israeli hospital.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said that soldiers prevented paramedics from attending to the injured Palestinians for over 90 minutes.

The Palestinian health ministry reported that the three teens treated at the Palestinian hospital had bullet wounds in the head and chest.

Israeli soldiers detained the other two passengers, according to their father.

The Israeli army has opened an investigation into the shooting, but such investigations have been criticized for habitually whitewashing incidents in which Palestinians are killed or injured.

According to the Israeli army, an Israeli and two tourists were injured at 1am on Tuesday after a firebomb and rocks were thrown onto Highway 443. A group of soldiers arrived at the scene and reportedly chased after a stone thrower. That is when they shot at Mahmoud Badran’s car.

The Palestinian Authority has called the shooting a “coldblooded assassination.”

“The most loveable person”

In a separate incident, a 22-year-old man with Down syndrome died Sunday evening from wounds sustained when Israeli forces raided his hometown of Sair in the occupied West Bank over a month ago.

Arif Jaradat was shot in the abdomen on 4 May when Israeli forces raided his village.

He is the 14th Palestinian from Sair to be killed by Israeli forces since last October.

Jaradat’s father, Sharif, told Agence France-Presse that his son went outside when he heard villagers confronting soldiers.

“He got about 10 meters from the soldiers and put his hands in the air,” Sharif Jaradat said.

He added that his other sons were there and shouted to the soldiers in English and Hebrew not to shoot.

“There were seven soldiers there; they started to leave but one came back and fired,” Jaradat said.

Arif Jaradat was treated at al-Ahli hospital in Hebron, where he died on Sunday.

On Monday, Jaradat’s family held a funeral attended by dozens of relatives and neighbors.

“He was the most loveable [person] in the village,” his father told AFP.

Beaten by mob

On Saturday night, a mob of bystanders in Tel Aviv beat an unconscious man they believed to be a Palestinian who had intentionally crashed his car into a restaurant.

The man, who later died, reportedly had a heart attack at the wheel, causing him to lose control of his car and crash into the crowded restaurant.

In addition to the driver, who was in his 50s, two customers were killed and six were injured in the accident.

According to reports, customers pulled the unconscious driver from his car and immediately began beating him.

ISRAEL HAS BECOME THE GLOBAL TREND-SETTER FOR RACIAL PROFILING

Republican Donald Trump said on Sunday the United States should consider more racial profiling in law enforcement, after urging harsher policies following last week’s mass shooting in Orlando.

“You look at Israel and you look at others, and they do it and they do it successfully. And you know, I hate the concept of profiling, but we have to start using common sense,” he added.

Trump. "You look at Israel and you look at others, and they do it and they do it successfully." (Photo: AP)

Trump. “You look at Israel and you look at others, and they do it and they do it successfully.” (Photo: AP)

Donald Trump Says America Needs More Racial Profiling — Like Israel

Republican Donald Trump said on Sunday the United States should consider more racial profiling in law enforcement, after urging harsher policies following last week’s mass shooting in Orlando.

“I think profiling is something that we’re going to have to start thinking about as a country,” Trump said when asked on CBS whether he supported more profiling of Muslims in America.

“You look at Israel and you look at others, and they do it and they do it successfully. And you know, I hate the concept of profiling, but we have to start using common sense,” he added.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, has drawn criticism from many in his party for his comments on American Muslims after the Orlando attack, in which a U.S. born Muslim man killed 49 people at a gay nightclub.

Trump also reiterated his support for more scrutiny of mosques, saying that could resemble a controversial New York City surveillance program that has been shut down.

“If you go to France right now, they’re doing it in France. In fact, in some instances they’re closing down mosques.”

Police in France closed some mosques shortly after gunmen aligned with Islamic State militants killed 130 people in Paris in a series of attacks on Nov. 13.

The Orlando gunman, Omar Mateen, expressed support for Islamic State, but officials believe he was “self-radicalized.”

Trump has drawn criticism from many in his Republican Party for calling for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States. He also has called for a suspension of immigration from countries with “a proven history of terrorism.”

Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has said the comments show Trump is unfit to be president.

House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan endorsed Trump but has said a Muslim ban is not in U.S. interests. In excerpts of an NBC interview released on Friday, Ryan said Republicans weighing whether to vote for Trump should follow their “conscience.”

Trump brushed off the criticism on Sunday and said he would put up his own money for his campaign if needed. “It would be nice if the Republicans stuck together,” Trump said in an ABC interview. “I can win, one way or another.”—Reuters

Is this the ultimate goal?

Image by Bendib

Image by Bendib

A HOT AND DRY RAMADAN IN PALESTINE

Ramadan 2016: Israel ‘cuts off water supply to West Bank’ during Muslim holy month

 Israel Cuts Water to West Bank During Ramadan Image by Carlos Latuff


Israel Cuts Water to West Bank During Ramadan
Image by Carlos Latuff

Israel has cut off the water supply to large areas of the West Bank, Palestinian authorities have claimed.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians have reportedly been left without access to safe drinking water during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, a period of fasting, at a time when temperatures can exceed 35C.

The northern city of Jenin, which has a population of more than 40,000, said its water supplies had been cut in half by Mekorot, Israel’s national water company. Jenin is home to a refugee camp, established in 1953, which contains 16,000 registered refugees.

Ayman Rabi, the executive director of the Palestinian Hydrology Group, told Al Jazeerathat in some areas people had not received water for more than 40 days.

He said: “People are relying on purchasing water from water trucks or finding it from alternative sources such as springs and other filling points in their vicinity.

“Families are having to live on two, three or 10 litres per capita per day.”

A spokesperson for the Israeli government told The Indepedent there is “no truth” in the claims, and said the shortages were down to faulty water lines.

They said: “Several hours ago, COGAT’s Civil Administration team have repaired a burst pipe line, which disrupted the water supply to the villages of Marda, Biddya, Jamma’in, Salfit and Tapuach. The water flow has been regulated and is currently up and running.

“Any effort to connect the disruptions with terror is mistaken and misleading.

“Given the failure to develop infrastructures as a result of the unwillingness on behalf of the Palestinians to convene  the Joint Water Committee (JWC), there are problems in the water supply.”

Saleh Hijazi, Amnesty International’s Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories researcher, said the reports were “alarming”.

He told The Independent: “Israel already allows Palestinians access to only a fraction of the shared water resources in the occupied West Bank, with unlawful Israeli settlements getting almost unlimited water supplies which enable settlers to maintain lush gardens and even fill up numerous private swimming pools.

“Water is a basic need and a right. Mekorot should restore any water supplies to Palestinians it has cut off and the Israel authorities should end their discriminatory water policies, lifting all arbitrary restrictions it currently imposes on Palestinians’ access to this vital resource.”

According to UN guidelines, 7.5 litres per person per day is the minimum requirement under nornal conditions but in some areas of the Palestinian territories the minimum requirement is much higher.

The municipality of Jenin, several villages in Nablus and the city of Salfit and its surrounding villages claimed to have suffered cuts to their water supply.

Almost 200,000 Palestinians in the West Bank do not have access to running water, and require permission before collecting it themselves, according to a report by Amnesty International.

Since 1967, Israel has limited the water available to Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since its forces occupied the territories.

Mekorot could not be reached for comment.

Source and photos HERE

WATCH AS ISRAELIS CELEBRATE 49 YEARS OF JERUSALEM’S NAKBA

Tens of thousands of Israelis took hours to stream through the monumental Damascus Gate and weave their way through the alleys of the Muslim Quarter, eventually reaching their final destination, the holy Western Wall plaza, where they were treated to musical performances and a series of speeches by top religious and political officials.

‘Worship God By Nakba’: Jerusalem march celebrates Israeli occupation with messianic fervor

Dan Cohen and David Sheen FOR

The Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City was cleared of its Palestinian inhabitants on the eve of the Ramadan holiday, June 5, to make way for a flag procession by Jewish religious nationalists, celebrating Israel conquering the eastern half of the city 49 years earlier.

Store owners, street merchants, and shoppers preparing for that evening’s celebratory feast were driven out of the lanes that fell along the route chosen by march organizers and approved by Israel’s Supreme Court. From a safe distance behind police barricades, Palestinian residents of Jerusalem watched silently as ultra-nationalist Jews paraded through the quarter, singing songs of praise to Yahweh and calling for the ethnic cleansing of non-Jews.

Almost all of the shops along the march route shuttered their doors, while some took the added measure of taping over their door locks, to prevent paraders from sabotaging them, a common occurrence in previous years.

Tens of thousands of Israelis took hours to stream through the monumental Damascus Gate and weave their way through the alleys of the Muslim Quarter, eventually reaching their final destination, the holy Western Wall plaza, where they were treated to musical performances and a series of speeches by top religious and political officials.

A determination to assert Jewish sovereignty in the Muslim-majority areas of Jerusalem’s Old City was not the only cause of concern for some marchers. Opposition to a government plan to partition the Western Wall into gender-segregated and gender-mixed prayer areas also occupied some of the paraders.

In recent weeks, pressure from Netanyahu’s Ultra-Orthodox coalition partners convinced him to renege on his prior commitment to support the construction of a mixed-gender prayer area at the southern stretch of the Western Wall. The flag march was an opportunity for conservative religious forces to reassert their adamant opposition to any concessions to liberal Jews at the holy site.

Some marchers wore stickers and held aloft flags that criticized the proposed plan for an egalitarian prayer space. The traditionalist campaign materials read: “You don’t divide a heart – You don’t compromise on the Kotel [Western Wall]”. At the end of the march, Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch echoed these sentiments in a celebratory speech, claiming that the current layout of the site – gender-segregated according to Orthodox rules – should not be tampered with:

“May the call go out to all the Jews of the world, whoever and wherever they are: The Western Wall is a place that unifies and consolidates. It is forbidden to allow arguments to rip holes in the beating heart of the Jewish nation. Here we must act according the tradition of the House of Israel, the House of the father, the eternal tradition of Israel. At the Western Wall plaza, with God’s help, people will continue to pray next to one another, religious and non-religious, Jews and non-Jews. Because as it says, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer by all nations’ – because of unity, and because of Jewish tradition. From here we issue a call to leave the Western Wall as a unifier and a consolidator. We earned the kindness of God, in order to return here, for the sake of unity. Don’t ruin it!”

But Rabinovitch’s remarks were measured, bereft of some of the harsh language he has used in the past towards liberal Jews. One enthusiastic young parade participant sporting a gay pride sticker on her backpack was also spotted in the crowd. Her presence would seem to indicate that event organizers had sufficiently camouflaged their reactionary intentions, making the march more palatable to at least some liberal Zionists.

As Orly Noy reported last week in the liberal Israeli news site Local Call, there were concerted efforts to improve the optics of the march in the eyes of onlookers. Police reduced the size of the flagpoles they permitted to be carried into the Old City, confiscating planks that could be used to attack Palestinian people and property. Some Israeli youth sporting stickers calling to ethnically cleanse the country of Palestinians covered them up when they noticed they were being filmed.

But the theme of driving non-Jews out of Israel was not driven out of the march – it was only tamped down by authorities, in order to give the event a thin veneer of respectability. Stickers calling to expel Palestinians from the land reading, “There is no coexistence with them – Transfer Now!”, were freely distributed at the march by far-right activist Baruch Marzel. Jewish youth chanted “May your village burn!” as they marched towards the Old City. Once inside, they called to worship Yahweh by committing more Nakba’s, embracing the Arabic term for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians that Israel carried out in 1948.

By minimizing the most overt calls to kick Arabs out of the country, event planners managed to rebrand the country’s largest annual “Death to Arabs” rally as a family-friendly show of support for Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem. Those that stand to gain from the mainstreaming of the march, however, are not only advocates of one apartheid state, or advocates of fast-track-ethnic-cleansing. Also hoping to gain from the march’s normalization are advocates of building a Jewish temple on the al-Aqsa compound.

Once considered a marginal movement of messianists, Jewish Temple advocates have made major inroads in recent years. More Israeli Jews than ever before are visiting the compound annually, and increasing numbers of Israeli legislators are voicing support for a change in the status quo of the site. A long list of government officials, both religious and secular, have called to officially sanction Jewish religious rituals on the mount. WithTemple Movement leader Yehudah Glick entering the Knesset late last month as a member of the Likud list, efforts to apply Jewish sovereignty to the mosque compound are only expected to increase.

At the flag march itself, many of the participants wore T-shirts that prominently featured drawings of the Jewish Temple that messianists hope to build and T-shirts portraying the existing Islamic Dome of the Rock with calls for its elimination. At the massive celebration held in the Western Wall Plaza at the end of the march, one high profile Israeli official after another used the opportunity to call for the fulfillment of Jewish prophecies that call for a Jewish temple to be built where a mosque has stood for more than a thousand years.

Shmuel Rabinovitch, the rabbi in charge of the Western Wall site for over two decades, told the crowd: “We ask to be worthy of complete redemption, to return to the Temple Mount, pure and holy.” Rabinovitch added: “We are now living in the prophecy, and praying for it to be complete.”

David Lau, one of Israel’s two chief rabbis, and the son of a former chief rabbi, said: “Already by next week, as we are graced with the Pentecost holiday, grace us with making a pilgrimage, as we were graced by your first steps to stand here, grace us by showing us the construction of the Temple and cheer us with its renovation, returner of priests to their [Temple] worship and Levites to their singing and music-making.”

Moshe Leon, Jerusalem city councillor, said: “Here, facing the site of the Temple, as we set our eyes towards the holy mount, we all pray for a full redemption, to the building of the Temple speedily, in our era.”

Uri Ariel, Israel’s Minister of Agriculture, said: “Between the river and the sea will only be the State of Israel. There are not two states west of the Jordan. And the Temple Mount is ours! And it is not to be divided, not with the waqf (Muslim religious authorities), and not with anyone else! Sovereignty is within the power of the State of Israel, it must use it and implement it all the way. We say to Prime Minister Netanyahu, it is time for sovereignty. It is time for sovereignty on the Temple Mount.”

The underlying ideology of the march was best exemplified by the only event speaker who is not a resident of Israel, but rather its primary patron, the United States: Simon Falic. Chair of a large chain of duty-free stores in the US, Simon “Simcha” Falic was honored with a slot on the program because his family is the top contributor to the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which manages the Jewish holy site, under the auspices of the prime minister.

Last week, Ha’aretz investigative reporter Uri Blau revealed that the Jerusalem Day flag march is funded by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office. In years past, Blau has also exposed that the Falic family is the top contributor to Netanyahu’s personal election campaign, and also the top contributor to Lehava, a violent Jewish Supremacist street gang that follows the teachings of far-right Rabbi Meir Kahane and attacks mixed Jewish-Arab couples. Lehava regalia and other Kahanist identifiers were spotted along the parade route and amongst the Western Wall revelers.

At the Western Wall celebration, Falic reassured the crowd that Israel’s 49-year military occupation of territories conquered in 1967 is morally justified. He also urged Israelis to visit Mount Zion in far greater numbers:

“Forty-nine years ago, the Israel Defense Forces conquered Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. We should be proud of it! There is no shame in it! Better to be conquerer than conquered. They say we have 70,000 participants here today. Next year: 170,000 are waiting for you. There are more devout friends waiting for you. Brothers, come, we need half a million people here.”

The directive to increase the number of Jews who visit the al-Aqsa mosque compound is a declared tactic of the Temple Movement. Vastly expanding the Jewish presence on the site is part of its strategy to create the political pressure necessary to force the Israeli government to alter the status quo of the site and permit augmented Jewish activity there.

Once exclusive control of the mount has been wrested from the hands of the Jordanian waqf, Jewish messianists hope to build a Yahwist temple on the site, replacing prayer with daily animal sacrifices and turning Israel’s somewhat-secular ethnocracy into a full-fledged Orthodox theocracy. Under religious rule, all non-Jews who refuse to sign a contract committing themselves to a special subset of Jewish laws reserved for gentile subjects would be deported or put to death.

By discouraging only the most overt manifestations of base racism while simultaneously infusing the event with ultra-nationalist sentiment and messianic fervor, organizers managed to frame the parade as moderate and mainstream, even though the march route dispossessed Palestinians temporarily and marchers openly voiced unbridled hopes of soon dispossessing them permanently.

A LOOK AT HATE IN TOONS

All images by Carlos Latuff

This cartoonist does not condone homophobia AND Islamophobia, since both are rotten fruits of ignorance.

This cartoonist does not condone homophobia AND Islamophobia, since both are rotten fruits of ignorance.

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Feeding a Monster Called ISLAMOPHOBIA

Feeding a Monster Called ISLAMOPHOBIA

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I was born surrounded by “armed citizens”.

I was born surrounded by “armed citizens”.

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I play games where I can kill many creatures, including humans.

I play games where I can kill many creatures, including humans.

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Donald Trump's response to the Orlando massacre

Donald Trump’s response to the Orlando massacre

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Why do we not call US crimes Christian crimes???

Why do we not call US crimes Christian crimes???

COLLATERAL FIRES CONTINUE TO KILL IN GAZA

Deadly candle fires have occurred repeatedly since Israel imposed the siege in 2006. Since 2010, 29 Palestinians, mostly children, have died in home fires.

Gaza family mourns children who burned to death

Dan Cohen FOR

On May 7, 2016, fire broke out in the Abu al-Hindi home in Gaza’s Shati (Beach) refugee camp. Started by a tipped candle, the flames grew quickly grew out of control.

Three children, Yusra, 3, Rahaf, 2, and Nasser, 6 months, perished in the burning house, and Muhannad, 8, was severely burned. Ali, 6, is the only survivor without physical injuries but lives with deep psychological trauma.

Neighbors attempted to rescue the children by breaking a hole through the wall, but by the time they could reach the children, it was too late.

The fire is a direct result of severe electricity shortages due to the ongoing and tightening Israeli/Egyptian since and repeated Israeli military assaults.

In April, Gaza’s sole power plant ran out of fuel. Prior to that, the power plant was working at partial capacity due to repeated Israeli military attacks since 2006.

This has only been exacerbated by political infighting between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

Since the beginning of 2016, the Palestinian Authority, which is dominated by Fatah, has gradually lifted fuel tax exemptions to Gaza’s power plant and imposed a ‘blue tax’, rendering the power plant unable to purchase fuel and further forcing Gaza’s residents to rely on candlelight.

Deadly candle fires have occurred repeatedly since Israel imposed the siege in 2006. Since 2010, 29 Palestinians, mostly children, have died in home fires.

The fire came just hours after Israeli member of Knesset Bezalel Smotrich said that the Israeli government, rather than private citizens, should carry out revenge attacks against Palestinians, specifically referring to the burning of Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir in occupied East Jerusalem in 2014 and the firebombing attack in the West Bank village of Duma in 2015 which killed baby Ali Dawabshe and his parents as they slept.

While Smotrich’s call to burn Palestinian children alive made headlines in Israeli media, actual burning of children did not. The burning of the Abu al-Hindi family, for which Israel is ultimately responsible, went unnoticed in Israel. Such is the normalization and institutionalization of even the most grotesque forms of violence Israel metes out against Palestinians. Rather than a group of settlers carry out vigilante attacks under the cover of night, the deaths of the Abu al-Hindi children were written by some office worker tasked with overseeing the power Israel allows Gaza’s electrical company to purchase, which is just 45% of the required amount.

FRIDAY THE 13th TOON ~~ WHO IS KEEPING GAZA IN DARKNESS?

Image by Carlos Latuff

Still no luck for Palestinians😦

 Who's Behind Gaza's Power Crisis?

Who’s Behind Gaza’s Power Crisis?

PHOTO ESSAY ~~ THE TAINTED MEMORY OF ISRAEL’S INDEPENDENCE

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This Wednesday evening at sundown Israel will mark 68 years as an independent state as Palestians mark 68 years since the Nakba which destroyed their nation.

Here are some of the photos …. (Click on link)

Photos of the Nakba (“the catastrophe”): the expulsion and dispossession of hundreds of thousands Palestinians from their homes and land in 1948. 

REMEMBERING THE TERROR THAT LED TO JEWISH STATEHOOD

#DeirYassinMassacre let us remember the innocent lives lost to terror

#DeirYassinMassacre let us remember the innocent lives lost to terror

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Palestinians mark 68th anniversary of Deir Yassin massacre

Palestinians on Saturday marked the 68th anniversary of the massacre of more than 100 Palestinians civilians carried out by Zionist paramilitary groups in the village of Deir Yassin in 1948 prior to the establishment of Israel.

Deir Yassin has long been a symbol of Israeli violence for Palestinians because of the particularly gruesome nature of the slaughter, which targeted men, women, children, and the elderly in the small village west of Jerusalem.

The number of victims is generally believed to be around 107, though figures given at the time reached up to 254, out of a village that numbered around 600 at the time.

The Deir Yassin massacre was led by the Irgun group, whose head was future Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, with support from other paramilitary groups Haganah and Lehi whose primary aim was to push Palestinians out through force.
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Records of the massacre describe Palestinian homes blown up with residents inside, and families shot down as they attempted to flee.
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The massacre came in spite of Deir Yassin resident’s efforts to maintain positive relations with new Jewish neighbors, including the signing of pact that was approved by Haganah, a main Zionist paramilitary organization during the British Mandate of Palestine.
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An Israeli psychiatric hospital now lies on the ruins of Deir Yassin, the remainder of which was reportedly bulldozed in the 1980s to make way for Jewish housing and incorporated as a neighborhood of Jerusalem. Streets of the neighborhood hold names of Irgun militiamen who carried out the massacre.
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The massacre was one of the first in what would become a long line of attacks on countless Palestinian villages, part of a broader strategy called Plan Dalet by Zionist groups to strike fear into local Palestinians in hopes that the ensuing terror would lead to an Arab exodus, to ensure only Jews were left in the “Jewish state.”
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Thus the attack on Deir Yassin took place a month before the UN Partition Plan was expected to be carried out, and was part of reasons later given by neighboring Arab states for their intervention in Palestine.
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The combination of forced expulsion and flight that the massacres — what would later become known among Palestinians as the Nakba, or catastrophe — precipitated left around 750,000 Palestinians as refugees abroad. Today their descendants number more than five million, and their right to return to Palestine is a central political demand.
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The anniversary of the deadly razing of the village comes as modern day Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank continue to fight for their livelihood in the face of illegal Israeli settlement expansion, widespread detention campaigns, extrajudicial executions by Israeli forces, and a surge in housing demolitions — most recently leaving 124 Palestinians homeless in a single day.
The 97 known victims of the Deir Yassin Massacre committed by Zionist Terrorist  in Palestine

The 97 known victims of the Deir Yassin Massacre committed by Zionist Terror in Palestine

FROM

SAVE OUR CHILDREN BY SUPPORTING BDS

Don’t buy Israeli products.

Don’t allow Israeli firms to operate in your respective country.

Don’t invest in Israel. 

This is the very least you could do to save the Palestinian people from the clutches of diabolical Zionism.

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To the Peoples of the world: Please don’t kill our children 

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Palestine

In the past few months, especially since the beginning of the current wave of Palestinian resistance against Israel’s enduring brutal military occupation, about six months ago, the Israeli army and other security forces adopted a decidedly murderous policy against Palestinians, especially children. 

A shoot-to-kill policy was adopted by the Israeli political and military leadership, apparently for the purpose of terrorizing and “deterring” the Palestinian populace.   Consequently, dozens of young Palestinians were needlessly murdered on the streets of the West Bank on the pretext that some of the victims may have put the life of Israeli soldiers at risk. 

In some incidents, soldiers fired additional bullets at the heads of the already completely “neutralized” Victims. 

In the Israeli army lexicon, this is done for the purpose of verifying their death. 

The gruesome killings leave no doubt as to the nefarious behavior of the murderous soldiers. 

Israel has no credible justice system when it comes to dealing with the Palestinians. 

Jewish religious laws don’t ascribe real humanity to non-Jews in general. This disgusting mindset is applied to the fullest when dealing with the Palestinians. 

Occasionally, Israel does some PR work to mitigate anger wit regard to a specific crime that had its way to the world media, especial the social media. 

Israeli Hasbara would cite alleged extenuating circumstances such as claiming the murdering soldiers were under mental pressure, thought they were about to get killed or didn’t really intend to murder the Palestinian victim!! 

However, when protests get quieter and the specific crime fades away from memory, the specific murderer is shamelessly exonerated of any wrong-doing, celebrated as a hero, and given citations for valor. 

This shows that that Israel effectively encourages its soldiers to murder innocent Palestinians on the spot if there is the slightest suspicion that they might be planning to hurl a stone toward the soldiers or stab them with a small and virtually innocuous kitchen knife. 

In many verified instances, the murderous soldiers hastened to place a knife they carry with them, near the already murdered Palestinian lying on the ground. 

The purpose of this criminal behavior is to give the impression that the victim had sought to stab and kill Israelis. 

More to the point, Soldiers patrolling the streets of the West Bank receive hair-raising instructions, illustrating the evilness and brutal ugliness of the Israeli mentality. 

They are commanded to shoot first and ask questions later. . Of course we can all imagine how a young soldier would behave vis-à-vis the Palestinians, having been indoctrinated in school and synagogue that the life of a non-Jew in general and a Palestinian in particular has no sanctity because, according to the Talmud, he is not a bona fide human being.” 

Such soldiers are raised to be “Born to kill murderers.” That is why they murder children and innocent civilians without the slightest compunctions. They even would celebrate the murder with their comrades and superiors! 

As to the victim, he or she is treated as another number rather than a human being. 

Not only that, his home is often demolished in the quiet hours before dawn, relatives arrested and harassed. Israel has even threatened to deport families of Palestinians involved in the current mini-intifada to the Gaza Strip or elsewhere. The timeless principle of “innocent until proven guilty” has no existence in Israel, especially as far as Palestinians are concerned. 

Today, Israel is having a free season on helpless and unprotected Palestinians. Israel is ganging up on the Palestinians in what seems to be slow-motion annihilation. 

I am not saying that Israel is carrying a holocaust similar to the German holocaust 70 years ago. 

But even the German holocaust lasted for 3 years whereas the Palestinian plight has been going on for nearly 70 years. 

By the end of the Second World War, the West rose up to help the Jews by establishing a state for them at the expense of the native Palestinians. 

However, the international community is effectively abandoning the Palestinian people, granting evil Zionism a carte blanch to further torment the Palestinians and uproot them from their own ancestral homeland. 

This is why the peoples of the world must intensify their boycott and sanctions against the apartheid entity. 

So, we say to the peoples of the world, in all solemnity and seriousness: 

Don’t buy Israeli products.

Don’t allow Israeli firms to operate in your respective country.

Don’t invest in Israel. 

This is the very least you could do to save the Palestinian people from the clutches of diabolical Zionism. 

We are not making this outcry because we are anti-Jewish, God forbid. 

We are making these modest demands because buying Israeli products and doing business with Israel enable the apartheid entity to have more bullets to kill our children. 

Please, don’t kill our children.

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