This video shows an Israeli soldier firing at Palestinian youths who are running away across a field. One of them, a 17-year-old boy, is hit and falls down. The Israeli soldier then strikes the boy on the head with the barrel of a gun as he lies on the ground, causing serious, potentially life-threatening injuries.

 Israeli soldier shoots, beats fleeing teen

The youth, identified only as D.T. by the human rights group B’Tselem, suffered a fractured skull, bleeding inside his skull, a fractured rib and a bruised left lung. He required surgery and a prolonged stay in hospital where he was unconscious for five days.

B’Tselem said that the conduct of Israeli occupation forces in this incident “is particularly grave.”

The shooting took place on 10 March, in the occupied West Bank village of Silwad, where youths had earlier been responding to the incursions of Israeli occupation forces by throwing stones.

Shot while running away

Video of the incident, captured by the security cameras of a local gas station, was published this week by B’Tselem.

“A Border Police officer fired a sponge bullet at D.T., who was running away from him and posed no danger to anyone,” wrote B’Tselem. “Then, with D.T. lying on the ground, wounded and helpless, the officer hit him with the barrel of his gun, fracturing his skull and knocking him unconscious.”

Along with live rounds designed to kill, Israel employs a number of supposedly “less lethal” weapons to suppress protest against its military occupation, including, 22-caliber rifles, rubber-coated metal bullets and foam-tipped or sponge bullets, which are composed of an aluminum base and a dense foam nose.

But these weapons have nonetheless continued to claim children’s eyes and lives and to cause permanent disabilities.

Parents barred from visiting

B’Tselem said that it took another 15 minutes for the occupation forces to evacuate the boy to hospital “where he underwent head surgery” and was “treated as a dangerous prisoner, guarded round-the-clock by security personnel who prevented his parents from going near him.”

Israeli occupation authorities only gave his parents permits to go and see him for the first few days of his hospital stay and then cited “security” to ban his father altogether. During this traumatic period, the boy’s parents were not allowed to enter his room and could only look at him through a window.

Through all of this, according to B’Tselem, “D.T., a 17-year-old boy, remained in hospital completely alone, away from his home and family and restrained to the bed for part of the time.”

Routine violence and impunity

B’Tselem added: “While this account may be shocking, it is not all that uncommon: Firing unlawfully at a fleeing Palestinian youth, who posed no danger to anyone, and hitting him hard on the head – actions that could have resulted in disability or death; followed by disgraceful conduct during hospitalization in Israel, including placing restraints on an injured teenager and denying family visits are not a rare occurrence.”

In January this year, Israeli soldiers shot and killed Qusay al-Amour, 17, in Tuqu, a village near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Video from the scene shows Israeli soldiers violently dragging away the boy after he was shot.

In December 2016, Israeli occupation forces were filmed shooting and killing 17-year-old Ahmed Zeidani as he ran away, during a night raid on the West Bank village of Beit Rima.

And in April 2016, the Israeli army closed an investigation into Yisrael Shomer, a commander of its Binyamin Brigade, who in 2015 shot to death 17-year-old Muhammad al-Kasbeh while the Palestinian teenager was fleeing. The Israeli army decided that Shomer’s videotaped slaying of al-Kasbeh had been nothing more than “a professional mistake.”

B’Tselem described the closure of the case as “an integral part of the whitewash mechanism which is Israel’s military investigative system.”

The following month, B’Tselem announced it had stopped cooperating with the Israeli army unit that is supposed to investigate such abuses. The group said it no longer wanted to be a “fig leaf” for a system that guarantees impunity for perpetrators.

In the rare cases where an Israeli perpetrator is brought to trial, the penalty is normally a slap on the wrist.

B’Tselem reaffirmed in the case of D.T. that typically no one is held accountable, “guaranteeing that incidents of this sort will continue so long as the occupation does.”


As envisaged during the last days, at this very moment the daily clashes during the rallies to support Palestinian prisoners increased in the West Bank. The population feels very close to the protest of the empty stomachs, even if there are no hopeful news. The number of arrested minors is also increasing, in particular in the refugee camps. In this article, I am trying to tell you my impressions on-site. 

Broad support for Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike


Rallies in the West Bank

By Antonietta Chiodo,  from the West Bank. English Translation by Milena Rampoldi

I am here in the West Bank, close to the Palestinian population to describe daily life and to show that a child is forced to live a completely different life than the life we could imagine in a normal Western country, even if the latter is often rather boring.

In my previous articles, I have talked about what is happening here these weeks, after the participation of almost 2.000 prisoners detained in Israeli prisons in the hunger strike proclaimed by al Fatah leader Marwan Bargouthi.

On April 27, 2017, next to the Aida refugee Camp where there is the “famous” separation wall, embellished by the artists’ murals, early in the morning the rally in support of the prisoners starts. Many bins were reversed and burned to avoid the approach of the Israeli military forces to the main road leading to Jerusalem.

Many children carry stones, and are ready to escape at the start-up of their friends. In the distance, the emptiness, suffocatingly waiting for the Israeli soldiers. On the earth, hundreds of tear gas cartridges used to stun the population.

A moment later I try to take some photos. Then a military car at high speed moves in our direction. The tear gas makes our eyes water, and the confused voices of the children stun us.

On the day Abu Mazen called a general strike, all protesters hope to find a place of refuge. We are happy to see a small shop which has left the roller shutter open so that we can enter. Inside wet wipes and water are distributed to clear our throat and to blot the swollen eye lids.

In the end when I am able to open my eyes, among the shelves I see people bent to the ground with the head between their hands. Others run along the streets, and hide their face in the pullovers trying to get away as fast as possible from the main road. We stop for an hour, outside the air has become unbreathable.

At last, we come back to the street. In the meantime the boys have become tired, and some of them has taken the bicycle from home to run faster than the gas. In the distance, we can see three silhouettes of Israeli soldiers; directly in front of us there is an ambulance of the international Red Cross. At least 15 people have been rescued since this morning, among them also a couple of American tourists.

The children always stand in readiness, while from the roofs somebody with the face covered by a kefia throws stones towards the wall. The alarm restarts again, and the ambulance reverses to park behind a partition. We hear children crying, while they are running towards us… to make us understand that the time has come… again we have to find a place of refuge.

They run as swift as the wind, all of them scream, the gun-shots are blown in the sky, and the general escape starts again. A Palestinian photojournalist is hunched over his legs because he is without gas mask. He tightens his eyes between his hands. Then he stands up suddenly, and starts to escape to avoid the toxic powders. The smell is indescribable.

In the meantime, my companion sprays perfume on paper handkerchiefs and distributes them among the people. As a good Palestinian, he has gained experience over all these years.

A child runs towards us and tells us that a 17-year-old guy was arrested. He was kicked to the ground by four Israeli soldiers and then dragged on the asphalt like a lamb to the  slaughter. We cannot intervene, because we understand how quickly they would arrest us. And if arrested, we could not tell the latest in a long string of stories of ordinary  guerrilla where children play the role of disarmed, small heroes, like David played against Goliath.

So this is the result of today, April 27, next to Bethlehem: 4 minors arrested, at least fifteen people rescued because of the damages caused by toxic gas, and among them a couple of tourists.

The Israeli military forces did not just attack the rally, but also prepared an invasion into the near village arresting 7 people, the majority of which were minors.

In the  village of Betunia two people, one adult and one child, were arrested.


Written FOR



By Sam Bahour

Still from AFP video shows Israeli agents who moments before were posing as demonstrators pull guns on Palestinians.

Still from AFP video shows Israeli agents who moments before were posing as demonstrators pull guns on Palestinians.

It happened today, only five minutes from my house. Watch closely as the impostor (IDF) demonstrators (dressed as Palestinians) instigate violence to lure real Palestinians to clash, then capture them. If you watch even more closely, the “most moral army in the world” actually shoots point-blank the person they are trying to arresting in the leg while soldiers take turns punching and kicking him. Israel is begging for widespread violence, it is the only game book they have.


P.S. Here is what I posted on Facebook yesterday morning:


Related report by Ali Abunimah (Click on link)

Video: Israel plants armed “stone throwers” among Palestinian protestors

And THIS report from Ma’an

Undercover Israeli forces injure, detain 3 youths near al-Bireh



Ghost town detainees: inside the US immigration detention system

After a detention centre was built in one of Georgia’s poorest towns, the promised financial benefits never arrived. Instead thousands of immigrants are locked up, awaiting deportation

By Antony Loewenstein FOR


The operators claim the facility isn’t run like a private prison. In reality it operates like one.’ Photograph: Antony Loewenstein

‘The operators claim the facility isn’t run like a private prison. In reality it operates like one.’ Photograph: Antony Loewenstein


Stewart immigration detention centre is situated on the outskirts of Lumpkin, Georgia, a ghost town seven days a week. Visitors and detainees arriving at the centre – capacity: 2,000, all male – are greeted by a huge painted sign on a water tank: “CCA: America’s Leader in Partnership Corrections.”

I toured the centre, with the exception of the isolation ward, when I visited Georgia in August. Five men followed me everywhere: one from the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the centre operator, and the rest from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It felt like overkill. They looked nervous the entire time, worried about my questions, worried something unexpected could happen and worried that I’d see something that would embarrass them. Down a long hallway, lit brightly with neon lights and smelling of paint and detergent, lines of inmates walked past me – some smiling, some waving and some looking forlorn.

Since October last year, ICE has removed more than 100,000 people from the US.’ Photograph: Antony Loewenstein

‘Since October last year, ICE has removed more than 100,000 people from the US.’ Photograph: Antony Loewenstein


Despite the White House this year describing the surge of immigrants as an “urgent situation”, and privatised detention centres opening across America, Barack Obama continues to postpone his long-awaited immigration reforms, leaving many feeling betrayed. Since October last year, ICE has removed more than 100,000 people from the US. They are mostly Guatemalans, Hondurans and El Salvadorans who were in the US unlawfully – the three countries comprise roughly 29% of ICE removals federally. Just this year 70,000 children will arrive alone on America’s border, fleeing poverty and the US-led drug war in Central America.

The average inmate stay at Stewart is only 38 days, far less than most prisons. It’s virtually impossible for the detainees to establish any sense of permanence. It’s positive that long-term detention is largely avoided, unlike in detention centres in Britain, Greece and Australia, but inmates are often moved from one facility to another while others with deep roots in America are deported back to their country of origin without transparency. They are numbers to be processed.

Many inmates live in large, barred pods, with a maximum occupancy of 62. Others live in smaller rooms or the segregation unit. I spotted a few female CCA staff inside the pods with the male inmates. A sign next to one of the rooms read, “Upon Entering Detainee Pod All CCA Female Staff Will Announce Female in POD.”

Another pod had its lights dimmed because the inmates started working in the kitchen at 5am and were resting. CCA pays US$4 per day for inmates to perform kitchen duties, and less for other jobs (barbers receive $2, for example). ICE was proud to tell me that the law only mandates the state paying $1 per day, so CCA is doing a fine job.

‘Keep Detention Safe: ICE has zero tolerance for sexual abuse and assault.’ Photograph: Antony Loewenstein

‘Keep Detention Safe: ICE has zero tolerance for sexual abuse and assault.’ Photograph: Antony Loewenstein


Men in a different, brightly lit pod were laying on their bunk beds under blankets and sheets. A microwave, cable TV, sink, Playstation and Wii were inside. One man was wearing headphones to listen to the TV in front of him. Basins and toilets were behind a curtain. Metal tables and seats were fixed to the floor. “I’m not saying it’s like the Hilton here”, an ICE manager said. Signs in English and Spanish read, “Keep Detention Safe: ICE has zero tolerance for sexual abuse and assault”.

A notice listed a phone number for inmates to call if they needed assistance. Telephones are available for inmates to call lawyers, embassies and friends, but the cost is exorbitant because of price gouging from companies making a fortune selling phone cards to inmates. It’s ahugely profitable business, just one of many markets to be exploited inside America’s incarceration system.

The library was stocked with countless Bibles and romance novels. Detainees played soccer and basketball, both inside and outside under the bright, blue sky. They have two hours daily to enjoy the outdoors. In the medical centre I saw an inmate in an orange jumpsuit and orange Crocs shoes hooked up to a drip. The medical offer refused to tell me about his condition. I wondered if it’s sickness or something worse; a few months before my arrival detainees went on hunger strike after complaints about rotten food. As soon as I see him we’re moved on.

I then passed a guard staring into a darkened cell. He was looking through a small window at an inmate sitting, looking straight ahead, with eyes wide open. He wasn’t handcuffed, but sat perfectly still in a flame retardant suicide smock, like a straitjacket. What exactly could he use to light himself when locked in a cell on his own, with the guard watching him like a hawk? The medical officer said that suicide watch wasn’t always necessary, but with the high rate of removals from Stewart a detainee’s state of mind was often fragile.

Another door led to the centre’s own court, where claims by immigrants who wish to remain in the country were assessed. The courts are under the executive, not the judicial branch of government, and serious questions exist over their lack of accountability. Many decisions aren’t even written down, hearings are secretive and access to lawyers is difficult. Almost every immigrant brought before the court is issued a deportation order.

Unlike America’s prison population, where drug and alcohol use and abuse are common, ICE told me that these problems don’t exist at Stewart. Throughout the visit I never saw any abuse, violence or racism. It was the ideal tour. My hosts were friendly and attentive, and dismissed the numerous inmate claims. One detainee I spoke to told me of racist taunting and abuse by guards, and boredom. He had heard about maggots in the food from a fellow detainee but hadn’t seen it himself. His own story was troubling, a migrant from Guyana in the 1970s facing deportation to a nation he hadn’t seen in 40 years.

Although both CCA and ICE claim the facility isn’t run like a private prison, in reality it operates like one. But according to Silky Shah, co-director of Detention Watch Network, CCA and other operating companies have only so much power. “They don’t have complete control,” she says. “Decisions are being made by politicians.” She is campaigning against a Congress-mandated quota that dictates 34,000 immigrants must be imprisoned in ICE centres nightly; CCA is effective at lobbying to ensure ongoing contracts.

A report released recently by some of America’s leading advocacy organisations found that ICE arrests in Georgia increased by “at least 953%” between the 2007 and 2013 financial years. Georgia’s rate of imprisoning immigrants was directly related to the colour of their skin: over that same period of time, only 1.6% of those detained by ICE were of “fair or light complexion”.

Huge numbers of families have also been separated, including individuals who had been living in Georgia since at least 2003. On the day I arrived at Stewart, 1,766 detainees were behind bars, the vast majority from El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala, with 60 other countries represented.

Shah’s organisation believes that “private interests should not be involved” in the detention business. But privatised incarceration is only one profitable area of commerce. She worries that companies selling ankle monitoring and surveillance will benefit if Obama even moderately reduces the number of people in detention.

“We believe in abolishing all detention centres in US”, Shah says. “At the moment, the burden is on the detainee to prove why they should stay but the burden should be on the government to justify expulsion. They should assess if the immigrant has community support.”

‘CCA’s strong financial performance never arrived in Lumpkin.’ Photograph: Antony Loewenstein

‘CCA’s strong financial performance never arrived in Lumpkin.’ Photograph: Antony Loewenstein


Out in Lumpkin, the streets were deserted. The shops on Main Street were mostly empty, paint fraying on the window panes. A taxidermy outlet was one of the few open businesses. The town, in one of America’s poorest counties, is all but unknown to most Americans. Its population barely breaks 1,000.

I met a man in his 20s, either high or drunk, who was hanging out at a petrol station with his friends. He had a tattoo on his bare chest: “Me Against The World.” He told me he’s been living in Miami. “It’s so much better there,” he said. He was only there for a short visit.

The town’s dwindling youth population are leaving for greener pastures in bigger cities nearby. CCA started building Stewart in 2004, and sold the idea to ICE and the local community years later as both an economic benefit for local residents and a deterrent in a state traditionally hostile to immigrants.

Although the company’s 2014 financial results were strong, the benefits never arrived in Lumpkin. Many staff members don’t live in the town, but commute from more viable cities. Lumpkin reminds me of crumbling towns next to other detention facilities I’ve seen in Australia, Britain and Greece. The same failed promises from the same centre companies and state authorities were made in those nations too. The economic promise of a local detention centre is usually a lie.

Even in the detention centre itself CCA’s own employees struggle financially. I met one guard who was selling potato crisps, bottled water and chocolates to raise money from staff to support struggling CCA employees around the country. Although it’s admirable that people want to help, it’s revealing that the company doesn’t raise wages, but instead facilitates the sale of junk food.

In tough circumstances this kind of charity is often all people have. In Lumpkin, a small, Christian-run volunteer group, El Refugio, supports the visitors and families of detainees coming to the town. They operate a house over weekends very close to Stewart detention centre and offer free meals, accommodation, clothes and shoes – and comfort.

When I pay a visit one Saturday, a few days before my official tour inside Stewart, people from Atlanta and Columbus are providing a compassionate ear to an inmate. The conversation goes on for around an hour, with some hearing horrific stories. One man, Greg, tells me that “many Americans think anyone who enters America ‘illegally’ should be deported but we want to show a different side of people.” One of the group’s founders, Katie Beno Valencia, says El Refugio remains committed to shutting down any facility that makes money from misery.

This kind of humanity is sorely missing from America’s immigration debate, defined by toxic rhetoric from many Republicans and timidity from Democrats. Adelina Nicholls, executive director of Georgia Latino Alliance For Human Rights, doesn’t believe America wants to solve its immigration issues. “US people often care more about hunger in Ethiopia then poor Guatemalans here”, she told me at her office on the outskirts of Atlanta.

‘The economic promise of a local detention centre is usually a lie.’ Photograph: Antony Loewenstein

‘The economic promise of a local detention centre is usually a lie.’ Photograph: Antony Loewenstein


As a key representative of the large Latino community in Georgia, Nicholls sees the effect immigration detention has on individuals and families. “Stewart detention centre hurts us deeply and many detainees inside have been in the US for years,” she says. “They ask, ‘Why are gringos doing this to us?’ These workers have been employed for years in farms and restaurants and anger is growing. We are trying to mobilise resistance and civil disobedience.”

Her organisation receives at least 600 calls a month on its hotline, mostly Latinos asking for help. “It’s hard getting effective pro-bono lawyers here”, she tells me. “There are overly high bails for our clients … it’s a racist mindset [in Georgia]. It’s white supremacy with its concerns over brown people. It’s more profitable to behave this way.”

I saw just how profitable the industry can be when I visited the American Correctional Association conference in Salt Lake City in August. The five-day event brings America’s prison industry, wardens, county officials and lobbyists under one roof. As America shifts slowly but noticeably away from mass incarceration towards privatised probation, half-way houses and surveillance, new markets emerge. CCA’s CEO, Damon Hininger, has noted that his company is “well-positioned for growth opportunities”.

At Salt Lake City everything is on show: surveillance devices, Swat team uniforms, weapons, plastic e-cigarettes for inmates, drug-testing kits and prisoner-made furniture. Green prison designers and service contractors offer their services to public officials eager to spend tax dollars.

These are people who look at America’s prison and immigration system and see dollar signs. One night at an outdoor rooftop party I spoke to a man who works at GTL, a provider of communication and technology to prisons. The company’s website describes itself as a “corrections innovation leader”. He said he loves his job because he embraces new technology and revels in the chance to promote it.

“This industry hasn’t changed for over 100 years because of men who didn’t see any need to do so”, he said. “But new technology is forcing these shifts and my generation is at the forefront of it.”


Kudos to all of the following who had the courage to speak the truth!




Stories from an occupation: the Israelis who broke silence

A group called Breaking the Silence has spent 10 years collecting accounts from Israeli soldiers who served in the Palestinian territories. To mark the milestone, 10 hours’ worth of testimony was read to an audience in Tel Aviv. Here we print some extracts.

Children of the occupation: growing up in Palestine

Peter Beaumont Tel Aviv FOR


Israeli soldiers arrest Palestinian protest against Jewish settlement

Israeli soldiers arrest a Palestinian after clashes at a protest against a Jewish settlement in the West Bank near Ramallah, January 2014. Photograph: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters


The young soldier stopped to listen to the man reading on the stage in Tel Aviv’s Habima Square, outside the tall façade of Charles Bronfman Auditorium. The reader was Yossi Sarid, a former education and environment minister. His text is the testimony of a soldier in the Israel Defence Forces, one of 350 soldiers, politicians, journalists and activists who on Friday – the anniversary of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land in 1967 – recited first-hand soldiers’ accounts for 10 hours straight in Habima Square, all of them collected by the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence.

When one of the group’s researchers approached the soldier, they chatted politely out of earshot and then phone numbers were exchanged. Perhaps in the future this young man will give his own account to join the 950 testimonies collected by Breaking the Silence since it was founded 10 years ago.

In that decade, Breaking the Silence has collected a formidable oral history of Israeli soldiers’ highly critical assessments of the world of conflict and occupation. The stories may be specific to Israel and its occupation of the Palestinian territories but they have a wider meaning, providing an invaluable resource that describes not just the nature of Israel’s occupation but of how occupying soldiers behave more generally. They describe how abuses come from boredom; from the orders of ambitious officers keen to advance in their careers; or from the institutional demands of occupation itself, which desensitises and dehumanises as it creates a distance from the “other”.

In granular detail, the tens of thousands of words narrated on Friday told of the humdrum and the terrible: the humiliating treatment of Palestinians at checkpoints, shootings and random assaults. Over the years the Israeli military’s response has been that these stories are the exceptions, not the rule, accounts of a few bad apples’ actions.

“What we wanted to show by reading for 10 hours is that the things described in the testimonies we have collected are not exceptional, rather they are unexceptional,” says Yehuda Shaul, one of the founders of the group and a former soldier himself.

Shaul breaks off to greet the European Union ambassador and a woman soldier who served in his own unit whom he has not seen for years. We talk about the solitary soldier in the square, now talking to the researcher. “We’ll get in contact. See if he wants to talk. Perhaps meet for coffee. Then, when we interview people, we ask them to recommend us to their friends. We might get 10 phone numbers, of whom three will talk to us.”

It is not only word of mouth that produces Breaking the Silence’s interviews. At the annual conferences that soldiers leaving the army attend to prepare them for the return to civilian life, researchers will try to talk to soldiers outside. Shaul explains why he and his colleagues have dedicated themselves to this project, why he believes it is as necessary today as when he first spoke out a decade ago about his own experience as a soldier in Hebron. “In Israeli politics today the occupation is absent. It’s not an issue for the public. It has become normal – not second nature; the occupation has become part of our nature. The object of events like today is for us to occupy the public space with the occupation.”

His sentiments are reflected by the Israeli novelist and playwright AB Yehoshua, who gets on the stage to read a comment piece he had written the day before to mark the event. “The great danger to Israeli society,” Yehoshua explains, “is the danger of weariness and repression. We no longer have the energy and patience to hear about another act of injustice.”

A man appears holding a handwritten sign that condemns Breaking the Silence as “traitors”. Some of those attending try to usher him away while others try to engage him in conversation. A journalist asks Shaul if the man is “pro-army”. “I’m pro-army,” Shaul answers immediately. “I’m not a pacifist, although some of our members have become pacifists. I’m not anti-army, I am anti-occupation.”


Nadav Weiman

Nadav Weiman. Photograph: Quique Kierszenbaum

2005-08, Nachal Reconnaissance Unit, Jenin
We’d spread out above Jenin on “the stage”, which is a tiny mountain top. That evening an arrest mission was in progress, there were riots inside the refugee camp, and we sat above and provided sniper coverfor the operation. Things got rolling and there were arrests, some rioting began in the city.

There was random peripheral fire so there were generally no people on rooftops. Some time in the middle of the night, we detected someone on a roof. We focused our sights on him, not knowing for sure whether or not he was a scout. But we targeted him and got an OK to fire because he was on a rooftop very close to one of our forces.

We were several snipers, and we took him down … Later when we got back to Jalame, it started: “Was he armed or not?” But we’d got our OK from the battalion commander. He was also the one to come and speak with us when we got back to the base in Jalame. We were with the guys with whom we sat to debrief after the action, and it was wall-to-wall, “You don’t realise how lucky you are to have actually fired in an operation. That hardly ever happens, you are so lucky.”

And according to the way we implemented the rules of engagement, we declared him a target by documenting him. We thought the Palestinian had been speaking on the phone, he seemed to be raising his hand to his head, looking sideways, going back and forth, just like a person scouting and sending information back. You could see the angles of his body, his whole conduct facing the soldiers who were north of him, in the alley below, a few metres away.

Undisclosed Reservist unit, Gaza Strip 2009, Operation Cast Lead
The actual objective remained rather vague. We were told our objective was to fragment the Strip, in fact we were told that while we were there, not knowing how long, we would have to raze the area as much as possible. Razing is a euphemism for systematic destruction. Two reasons were given for house demolitions. One reason was operational. That’s when a house is suspected to contain explosive, tunnels, when all kinds of wires are seen, or digging. Or we have intelligence information making it suspect. Or it’s a source of fire, whether light arms or mortars, missiles, Grads [rockets], all that stuff. Those are houses we demolish.

Then we’re told some will be destroyed for “the day after”. The rationale is to leave a sterile area behind us and the best way to do that is by razing it. In practical terms, it means you take a house that’s not suspect, its only transgression is that it stands on a hill in Gaza. I can even say that in a talk with my battalion commander, he mentioned this and said half smiling, half sad, that this is something to add to his list of war crimes. So he himself understood there was a problem.

Tal Wasser

Tal Wasser. Photograph: Quique Kierszenbaum

2006-09, Oketz (canine special forces), Nablus
Standing at the roadblock for eight hours a day puts everyone under this endless pressure. Everyone’s constantly yelling, constantly nervous, impatient … venting on the first Palestinian to cross your path. If a Palestinian annoys one of the soldiers, one of the things they’d do is throw him in the Jora, which is a small cell, like a clothing store dressing room. They close the metal door on him and that would be his punishment for annoying, for being bad.

Within all the pressure and the stress of the roadblock, the Palestinian would often be forgotten there. No one would remember that he put a Palestinian there, further emphasising the irrelevance and insignificance of the reason he was put there in the first place. Sometimes it was only after hours that they’d suddenly remember to let him out and continue the inspection at the roadblock.

Nablus Regional Brigade, Nablus, 2014
“Provocation and reaction” is the act of entering a village, making a lot of noise, waiting for the stones to be thrown at you and then you arrest them, saying: “There, they’re throwing stones.”

Lots of vehicles move inside the whole village, barriers. A barrier seems to be the army’s legitimate means to stop terrorists. We’re talking about Area B [under civilian Palestinian control and Israeli security control], but the army goes in there every day, practically, provoking stone throwings. Just as any Palestinian is suspect, this is the same idea. It could be a kid’s first time ever throwing a stone, but as far as the army is concerned, we’ve caught the stone thrower.

Avner Gvaryahu former Israeli soldier

Avner Gvaryahu. Photograph: Quique Kierszenbaum

2004-07 Orev (special anti-tank unit), Nablus
It was when I was a sergeant, after we had finished training. 200 [the number of the commander] said to us unequivocally: “That’s how you’re ranked. With Xs. Every night I want you to be looking for ‘contact’ [an exchange of fire] and that’s how you’ll be ranked.”

At some point I realised that someone who wants to succeed has to bring him dead people. There’s no point in bringing him arrests. [The message was:] “Arrests are routine, the battalions are making arrests. You’re the spearhead, the army has invested years in you, now I want you to bring me dead terrorists.”

And that’s what pushed us, I believe. What we’d do was go out night after night, drawing fire, go into alleys that we knew were dangerous. There were arrests, there were all kinds of arrests. But the high point of the night was drawing fire, creating a situation where they fired at us.

It’s a situation, totally insane, you’re in it, it’s hard to explain. You’re looking through the binoculars and searching for someone to kill. That’s what you want to do. And you want to kill him. But do you want to kill him? But that’s your job.

And you’re still looking through the binoculars and you’re starting to get confused. Do I want to? Don’t I want to? Maybe I actually want them to miss.

Kfir Brigade, Tul Karem, 2008
There was one checkpoint that was divided into three lanes: there’s a settlement, a checkpoint, and then Israeli territory. In the middle, there’s a Palestinian village, so they just split the checkpoint into three lanes. Three lanes, and the brigade commander ordered that Jews should only wait at the checkpoint for 10 minutes. Because of that we had to have a special lane for them, and everyone else, the Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, had to wait in the other two lanes. I remember that settlers would come, go around the Arabs, and just did it naturally. I went over to a settler and said: “Why are you going around? There’s a line here, sir.” He said: “You really think I’m going to wait behind an Arab?” He began to raise his voice at me. “You’re going to hear from your brigade commander.”

Gil Hillel

Gil Hillel. Photograph: Quique Kierszenbaum

2001-03, Sachlav (military police), Hebron
On my first or second day in Hebron, my commanders asked me to go on a “doll”, a foot patrol that we conduct in the casbah and Jewish settlement. I agreed, it seemed cool. It was my first time in the field, come on, let’s do it. We went on patrol, into the casbah, and I think that was the first time I sensed the existential fear of living under constant threat.

We started the doll and I started feeling bad. The first time in the field is not simple. One of my commanders, the veteran among them, took an old Palestinian man, just took him aside to some alley and started beating him up. And I … it wasfine by all the others … I sort of looked at them and said: “What is he doing? Why is he doing that? What happened? Did he do anything? Is he a threat? A terrorist? Did we find something?” So they said: “No, it’s OK.” I then approached my commander, the [one] who trained me, and asked: “What are you doing?” He said: “Gil, stop it.”

And that really scared me. I was scared of their reactions, of the situation we were in. I felt bad with what went on there, but I kept quiet. I mean, what can I do? My commander told me to shut up. We left there and went back to the company and I went to my commander and said: “What are you doing? Why did you do that?” So he said: “That’s the way it is. It’s either him or me and it’s me and …”

They took him aside and just beat him up. They beat him up, they punched him. And slapped him, all for no reason. I mean, he just happened to walk by there, by mistake.

Nachal Brigade, 50th Battalion, Hebron, 2010
The Jewish settlers of Hebron constantly curse the Arabs. An Arab who passes by too closely gets cursed: “May you burn, die.”

On Shuhada Street there’s a very short section where Arabs may walk as well, which leads to Tel Rumeida neighbourhood. Once I was sent there and we found three Jewish kids hitting an old Arab woman. Another man from the Jewish settlement happened along and also joined them in yelling at the woman: “May you die!” When we got there they were mainly yelling, but there had clearly been blows dealt as well. I think they even threw stones at her.

I believe the [policeman] was called but ended up not doing anything. The general atmosphere was that there was no point in summoning the police – the policeman is a local settler from Kiryat Arba who comes to pray with the Hebron settlers at the Tomb of the Patriarchs on Fridays.

Nadav Bigelman former Israeli soldier

Nadav Bigelman. Photograph: Quique Kierszenbaum

2007-10, Nachal Brigade, 50th Battalion, Hebron
During patrols inside the casbah we’d do many “mappings”. Mappings mean going into a house we have no intelligence on. We go in to see what’s inside, who lives there. We didn’t search for weapons or things like that. The mappings were designed to make the Palestinians feel that we are there all the time.

We go in, walk around, look around. The commander takes a piece of paper and … makes a drawing of the house, what it looks like inside, and I had a camera. I was told to bring it. They said: “You take all the people, stand them against the wall and take their picture.” Then [the pictures are] transferred to, I don’t know, the General Security Service, the battalion or brigade intelligence unit, so they have information on what the people look like. What the residents look like. I’m a young soldier, I do as they say. I take their pictures, a horrible experience in itself, because taking people’s pictures at 3am, I … it humiliated them, I just can’t describe it.

And the interesting thing? I had the pictures for around a month. No one came to get them. No commander asked about them, no intelligence officer took them. I realised it was all for nothing. It was just to be there. It was like a game.

Paratrooper, 2002, Nablus
We took over a central house, set up positions, and one of the sharpshooters identified a man on a roof, two roofs away, I think he was between 50 and 70 metres away, not armed. I looked at the man through the night vision – he wasn’t armed. It was two in the morning. A man without arms, walking on the roof, just walking around. We reported it to the company commander. The company commander said: “Take him down.” [The sharpshooter] fired, took him down. The company commander basically ordered, decided via radio, the death sentence for that man. A man who wasn’t armed.

I saw with my own eyes that the guy wasn’t armed. The report also said: “A man without arms on the roof.” The company commander declared him a lookout, meaning he understood that the guy was no threat to us, and he gave the order to kill him and we shot him. I myself didn’t shoot, my friend shot and killed him. And basically you think, you see in the United States there’s the death penalty, for every death sentence there are like a thousand appeals and convictions, and they take it very seriously, and there are judges and learned people, and there are protests and whatever. And here a 26-year-old guy, my company commander, sentenced an unarmed man to death.


“The images captured on video show unlawful killings where neither child presented a direct and immediate threat to life at the time of their shooting,” said Rifat Kassis, executive director of DCI-Palestine. “These acts by Israeli soldiers may amount to war crimes, and the Israeli authorities must conduct serious, impartial, and thorough investigations to hold the perpetrators accountable for their crimes.”



Video shows unprovoked, cold-blooded killing of Palestinian boys by Israeli forces

This shocking video shows the unprovoked, cold-blooded killings of two Palestinian teenagers, 17-year-old Nadim Siam Nuwara, and 16-year-old Muhammad Mahmoud Odeh Abu al-Thahir on 15 May near Ofer military prison in the occupied West Bank city of Beitunia.

Both boys were fatally shot with live ammunition. The video was obtained by Defence for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI-Palestine) which sent the following description to The Electronic Intifada:

The CCTV footage was captured by cameras mounted on the building where the incident took place, which is owned by Fakher Zayed.

“The images captured on video show unlawful killings where neither child presented a direct and immediate threat to life at the time of their shooting,” said Rifat Kassis, executive director of DCI-Palestine. “These acts by Israeli soldiers may amount to war crimes, and the Israeli authorities must conduct serious, impartial, and thorough investigations to hold the perpetrators accountable for their crimes.”

Nadim Siam Nuwara, 17, sustained a fatal gunshot wound to the chest. Muhammad Mahmoud Odeh Abu al-Thahir, 16, sustained a fatal gunshot wound to the back.

The boys were participating in a demonstration near Ofer military prison to mark Nakba Day and express solidarity with hunger striking prisoners currently held in administrative detention by Israel. The demonstration reportedly began peacefully and then turned violent when Israeli forces clashed with Palestinian youth.

The deaths on Thursday raise the number of Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces in 2014 to four, according to data collected by DCI-Palestine. Over 1,400 Palestinian children have been killed as a result of Israeli military and settler presence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 2000.

The Israeli military’s own regulations dictate that live ammunition must be used “only under circumstances of real mortal danger,” but the regulations are not enforced and frequently ignored by Israeli soldiers, according to research by DCI-Palestine.

Read more on the killings on DCI-Palestine’s website.


Israeli soldiers pose for photos while abusing Palestinian child

 Ali Abunimah


Israeli forces in the eastern occupied Jerusalem village of al-Eizariya were caught on video on Friday posing for trophy photos as they held a wounded, handcuffed Palestinian child in a stranglehold.

The disturbing video, shot by Rami Alarya was published by the Independent Media Center (IMC), however that publication’s website, which regularly documents Israeli abuses in the village, appeared to be down.

The images in this post are screenshots from Alarya’s video.



The International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC) which translated IMC’s reportprovided this description and analysis:

The soldiers assaulted the child during clashes that took place in the [al-Eizariya] town, east of occupied East Jerusalem.

One of the soldiers tried to push the cameraman, Alarya, and his colleague, Amin Alawya, away from the scene, and was yelling at them, “Enough, enough…. go away… what do you want…”

Medical sources said the soldiers shot the child, Yassin al-Karaki, 13 years of age, with a rubber-coated metal bullet which hit the 13-year old in the leg. After he fell, the soldiers began assaulting and abusing him.

The attack took place after soldiers, who hid in a building near the Annexation Wall in the Qabsa area, ambushed a group of children, and one of the soldiers opened fire on the children.

Several soldiers then attacked and assaulted the wounded child before kidnapping him.

The soldiers took pictures of themselves with the wounded child, and one soldier picked up a Molotov cocktail from the ground, while the child shouted in Hebrew, “it’s not mine, it’s not mine”, and a soldier responded, “it’s yours, it’s Ok … it’s yours”.

One of the soldiers was holding him in a chokehold, and was mocking the child by imitating wrestling moves while other soldiers took pictures, although the child was barely able to breathe.

The soldiers then placed the child in their jeep, while one of them was still filming the incident.


In his book Goliath, The Electronic Intifada contributor Max Blumenthal writes that such so-called “trophy” photos have a long tradition in many military forces, including Israel’s.

Blumenthal recalls a series of such photographs released several years ago by Breaking the Silence, an Israeli group which documents testimonies of Israeli soldiers while protecting their identities:

Among the disturbing shots culled from Facebook pages belonging to young Israelis was a photo of four smiling troops towering over a blindfolded preadolescent Palestinian girl kneeling at the point of their machine guns; a pretty female soldier smiling winsomely beside a blindfolded Palestinian man cuffed to a plastic chair; two soldiers posing triumphantly above a disheveled corpse lying in the street like a piece of discarded trash; a soldier pumping his rifle in the air directly behind an older Palestinian woman tending to pots on her kitchen stove; a soldier defacing the walls of a home in Gaza by spray-painting a star of David and the phrase, “Be Right Back”; troops in the Gaza Strip playing with and posing beside corpses stripped half nude in acts of post-mortem humiliation; a young soldier mockingly applying makeup from a Pal- estinian woman’s dresser. The Facebook pages were so replete with documents of humiliation, domination, and violence it seemed that army basic training had been led by Marquis de Sade.

Blumenthal sees these images as documents of a “colonial culture in which Jewish Israeli youth became conditioned to act as sadistic overlords toward their Palestinian neighbors, and of a perpetual conquest that demanded indoctrination” beginning “at an early age” and continuing “perpetually throughout their lives.”

The latest shocking images from occupied Jerusalem are proof that this ugly tradition persists.




Written FOR


Read THIS report first …
What Hansen’s camera left out was a story of a family that was at home, many of its members just watching television one November evening before they met their doom. Nur Hijazi, 18, relayed to HRW the events of that fateful night. “Mohamed and Sohaib were with my father in another room. The rest of the family was in another room watching TV. At 7:30, I saw the whole place turn red and suddenly the whole house collapsed on our heads.”

Award-Winning Photo Shares
Human Tragedy of Gaza War

Paul Hansen of Sweden, a photographer working for the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter,
poses holding his picture that won the World Press Photo of the year for 2012, at Dagens Nyheter’s
office in Stockholm Feb. 15, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Fredrik Sandberg/Scanpix)
By: Dalia Hatuqa*  

On the evening of Nov. 19, a bomb dropped by an Israeli aircraft struck the Jabalya refugee camp home of the Hijazi family, tearing it down and killing Fouad Hijazi and two of his infant sons. This horror story was one of many told by neighbors and loved ones, and documented by Human Rights Watch (HRW) (among other groups) in the aftermath of the Israeli onslaught on Gaza last year. In addition to crushing Fouad and his two sons — Mohamed, 4, and 2-year-old Sohaib — the bomb that leveled the two-story cinderblock house wounded Fouad’s wife, Amna, and the rest of their children.

The aftermath of this tragedy was documented by Swedish photographer Paul Hansen, who captured the funeral procession taking the two toddlers to their burial site. The picture, which shows weeping men holding the children shrouded in white cloth with nothing showing but their listless faces, earned Hansen the 2012 World Press Photo award. Hansen’s picture, one of the many searing images of the eight-day war in Gaza, was taken just one day after the Hijazis were killed, as their bodies were marched through the neighborhood to the cemetery and as their mother lay in an intensive care unit, unable to receive or be consoled by mourners and now homeless.

A staff photographer for Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter newspaper, Hansen submitted the image as just one of more than 103,000 photos sent by 5,666 photographers from 124 countries. Awards in nine themed categories were given to 54 photographers from 32 countries under what is widely known as one of the most prestigious prizes in photojournalism.

Hansen’s picture is telling: Out of last year’s 165 Palestinians killed throughout Israel’s “Operation Pillar of Defense,” at least 33 were children, according to numbers provided by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. During the November onslaught, “several Israeli missiles and a bomb struck civilians and civilian objects, such as houses and farm groves, without any apparent military objective,” said Human Rights Watch, which determined earlier this week that these air strikes were in violation of the laws of war.

Cameras did not capture many of the deaths during that time. Of these, HRW mentions “three men in a truck carrying tomatoes in Deir al-Balah and a science teacher who was sitting in his front yard with his 3-year-old son on his lap, talking to an acquaintance — only the toddler survived, but was seriously wounded.” Israeli-manned drone attacks also killed a 79-year-old man and his 14-year-old granddaughter in the family’s olive grove in Abasan, and a young woman in her backyard in the town of Khuza’a.

On Nov. 18, an attack on a Gaza City house led to the death of 12 people, the single largest number of Palestinians killed in a single incident throughout the war. One day before the Hijazi family tragedy struck, an Israeli bomb leveled the three-story house of the Dalu family, killing ten of its members and two neighbors. Of the family, one man, five women, four children, a grandson and grandmother who lived next door were killed, according to HRW. The strike only spared a 16-year-old, who survived the attack, in addition to the head of the household and his son, who had gone out to buy food.

Gaza was still reeling from this tragedy (the bodies of two of the victims — Yara and Mohamed Al Dalu — were not recovered until Nov. 22) when the Hijazi family was struck. The harrowing retrieval of the bodies of Fouad, Mohamed and Sohaib Hijazi was captured on video. According to HRW, no one knew why their home was targeted. A neighbor was quoted as saying no shooting was ever heard in the neighborhood, and according to the group, the Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center stated that the three victims were “non-involved” civilians.

The rights group’s field investigations of the incident found no evidence of any military objectives at the time of the attack. Under international law, individuals who deliberately order or take part in attacks which target civilians or civilian infrastructure — whether intentional or unintentional — are responsible for war crimes. 

Labels by Israeli authorities aside, the human loss captured by Hansen’s camera is striking. The body of the father of two can barely be seen in a stretcher behind the grieving men carrying the dead toddlers. What Hansen’s camera left out was a story of a family that was at home, many of its members just watching television one November evening before they met their doom. Nur Hijazi, 18, relayed to HRW the events of that fateful night. “Mohamed and Sohaib were with my father in another room. The rest of the family was in another room watching TV. At 7:30, I saw the whole place turn red and suddenly the whole house collapsed on our heads.”

*Dalia Hatuqa is a contributing writer for Al-Monitor‘s Palestine Pulse. A print and broadcast journalist specializing in the Middle East, she is based in the West Bank city of Ramallah and writes for several publications about politics, the economy, culture, art and design.

Written FOR


Image by Bendib

Video: Massive explosion as Israeli bomb hits Gaza City residential area

Submitted by Ali Abunimah

This video posted on YouTube by user Ahmed Erheem shows a massive explosion said to be from a bomb or missile dropped by a US-supplied Israeli F-16 jet in the residential al-Zaytoun quarter of Gaza City today, according to the video’s description.

Separately, news agencies have reported Israeli attacks on that neighborhood todayinjuring 7 civilians including a pregnant woman.

Ma’an News Agency said in its live blog earlier this afternoon that “Muhammad Yasin dies of wounds sustained Saturday in Gaza City’s Zaytoun neighborhood, raising the death toll to 40 since Wednesday.”

This screenshot shows the missile streaking toward the residential buildings in the fraction of a second before the massive explosion.


Screenshot shows missile streaking toward Gaza residential buildings

Homes, schools, sporting facilities, public buildings and hospital damaged

It is unclear if this video relates to those specific attacks, but in its most recent update on the toll of the Israeli assault, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights stated that intense Israeli attacks have caused serious damage to civilian infrastructure including homes, schools, sports facilities and a hospital in many parts of Gaza City:

Israeli forces have launched dozens of airstrikes on Gaza City, targeting governmental and civilian facilities and other objects mostly located in densely-populated areas. The targets have included the building of the Council of Ministers in the west of the City, which was completely destroyed and a number of nearby houses damaged; the building of the police command in the center of the City, which was completely destroyed and a number of nearby housesdamaged; the building of the Civil Department of the Ministry of Interior in the south of the City, which was attacked for the second time, causing damage to al-Quds Hospital and a number of public and UNRWA school; and Palestine Stadium in al-Remal neighborhood in the center of the City, which was extensively damaged.

Written FOR


Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

updates from Gaza under Zionist attack

Prepared By Eva Bartlett

*photo of Khan Younis bombing, taken hours ago by Emad Badwan in Deir al Balah    

*photo on left: Hussein Amody; photo on right “Samar”

UPDATE: please check RT Gaza under Israeli attack: LIVE UPDATES

I spoke with Joe Catron (@jncatron), who is in Gaza City and gave a summary of what has been happening in the last week and just how these Zionist attacks on Palestinian civilian and children began.


Israel is talking about a protracted operation, primarily airial. I’ve heard anywhere from 6 to 9 casualties in the last hour alone.

Bombs are falling everywhere, at least 20 targets have been hit since around 4 pm (said at 6:40 pm).  I heard the first airstrike today, which was an assassination of Ahmed Al Jabari, (the leader of Hamas’ military wing) somewhere up the coast… I heard it very distinctly from here.

Ranan Arafat, a 4 year old girl was killed, that’s confirmed, also heard possibly a 7 year old but don’t know if that is confirmed or the same girl.

It’s worth remembering that this exchange began over a week ago with the (Zionist army’s) murder of a 13 year old boy who was playing football, and continued with murder of 2 more children playing football and 2 men who came to their rescue

Now after every major resistance faction in Gaza has offered a ceasefire, the occupying power has decided instead to escalate things



British activist, Adie Mormech, wrote this:

Dear All. I am calling on all your support for the besieged people of the Gaza Strip.

Here in Gaza, more than 10 people have been killed so far in the Israeli operation named “Pillar of Defence” within the last 7 hours, including countless children such as 7-year-old child Ranan Arafat and an 11 month old baby. We’ve seen charred bodies of dead and injured children  pouring in to Al Shifa hospital of Gaza City and the other depleted hospitals around the Gaza Strip. 50 airstrikes all over the Gaza Strip so far. Deafening explosions shook us all as bombs landed close to us in the streets near the Universities. Huge explosions are landing all around us in Gaza City now as I write, some entire families have been injured. We can also hear the shelling of Israeli Gunships. Announcement of possible Israeli land invasion very soon.

More than 330 children were killed in the last bloody operation like this in operation Cast Lead, killing over 1400 in total the vast majority civilians. We are reporting from hospitals, streets and bombed areas. How many, terrified in there homes will have their lives shortened by tomorrow, or after the days of airstrikes, tank shellings and Gunship missiles Israel has announced. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. MOVE. ACT NOW TO STOP ANOTHER GAZA BLOODBATH. INACTION AROUND THE WORLD HAS LEAD US TO THIS POINT. ACT NOW.
I can be reached on +970592280943 also for media
But expecting electricity and phones to be out

Scanning Facebook updates from Palestinians throughout the Gaza Strip, updates report bombings all over Gaza:

Hussien Amody
2 minutes ago
at least 10 injures after targeting a house in Tal Al-hawa ..
Hussien Amody
5 minutes ago
This is gaza now .. 11 months old kid killed
Photo: This is gaza now .. 11 months old kid killed
Fadi F. Hamada
12 minutes ago
F16s warplane jet just lunched 2 heave missiles to the west of my neighborhood.O Aallah save my family and all Gazans
Via @Muhammad Omer “Israeli F16s are bombing the hell out of Gaza now. Seeing smoke and burned cars. Ambulances rushing, people panic, but I applause to the policemen for keeping strong abs helping people despite the falling missiles aiming to hit their flesh…”

10 minutes ago ·

Hussien Amody:

Another huge airstrike on Nusirat camp just now

Sami AbuSalem

bombing continues, explosions shake our house, my kids screaming, I am trying to lull them, but infact I am so scared !

Hussien Amody
28 minutes ago
at 6:45 – Gaza : 9 martyrs more than 25 injures 15 of them seirously injured ,the total numbers in the attacks on Gaza Strip ..
Hussien Amody
about an hour ago
another attack just now near Star factory in Salah al-deen street
Hussien Amody
2 hours ago
the last airstrikes :
A car in Shoekh Radwan
airstrike on Shajaaya.
Abo Jarad military site in central Gaza strip
Alqadisia site west khanuones
A car in Rafah

a house in Biet Lahyia
a car in /zaytoon area
Hussien Amody
8 minutes ago
Gaza Today ..!
Photo: Gaza Today ..!
Hussien Amody: this is from the TV
The Guardian’s Gaza Live blog notes:

We now are seeing multiple reports that Israeli warships are firing from the Mediterranean into Gaza, which has a densely packed population of about 1.5m people living inside 140 square miles.

The IDF confirms the Israeli Navy is striking Gaza.

As many commenters have noted, the latest assault on Gaza coincides with early campaigning for Israel’s parliamentary elections, planned for 22 January.

The IDF says the current assault was provoked by hundreds of missile strikes out of Gaza. Political observers note the attack reflects on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who was to meet with his senior security cabinet “after sundown” tonight, as a strong leader.

John Glaser wrote a comprehensive account of the latest Zionist attacks on Gaza and Palestinian resistance’s response to them:

Israel has again attacked Gaza. In its aerial and ground assault that began on Saturday, November 10th, at least 7 Palestinians have been killed, 5 of them civilians, 3 of whom were children. Up to 52 others, including 6 women and 12 children, have been wounded.

One of the wounded is carried into a hospital in Gaza City following Israel’s shelling (Reuters/Mohammed Salem)

As in every vicious military offensive Israel carries out in Gaza, the dominant narrative is that it is a response to rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel. This is how it’s being reported in the US, and this is how virtually every American understands it.

And it’s a lie.

It’s true that on Saturday, prior to the expanded Israeli bombardment, the military wing of the Popular Front For the Liberation of Palestine shot an anti-tank missile at an Israeli Defense Forces vehicle near the Gaza border, wounding four Israeli soldiers. But what prompted the firing of the anti-tank missile?

First, on Monday, November 5th, Israeli forces shot and killed 23 year old Ahmad Nabhaniwhen he “approached the border fence with Israel.” According to at least one account, Nabhani was mentally challenged.

Then, on Thursday, November 8th, the Israeli Occupation Forces – eight tanks and four bulldozers, to be exact – invaded southern Gaza, shooting and killing a 13-year old boy. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (via):

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 16:30 on Thursday, as a result of the indiscriminate shooting by IOF military vehicles that had moved into the ‘Abassan village, 13-year-old Ahmed Younis Khader Abu Daqqa was seriously wounded by a bullet to the abdomen. At the time he was shot, Ahmed had been playing football with his friends in front of his family’s house, located nearly 1,200 meters away from the area where the IOF were present.

So, even if honest observers brush to the side the cruel and inhumane Israeli blockade on Gaza and refuse to let it influence the equation of exactly which side started this flare up of violence, it is clear Israel started this latest clash. And in response to the response, Israel has waged a harsh, disproportionate military assault.

This would be a simple thing to understand if, for example, Western media bothered to ask the other side what happened. Palestinian news media immediately reported that the anti-tank missile Israel was supposedly responding to was admitted to by the Popular Resistance Committees, who described it as “revenge” for preceding Israeli violence on Gaza. But that basic task of honest journalism is apparently out of the question.

Every single Israeli incursion or attack on Gaza is accompanied by the same narrative: Israel fairly responded to unprovoked Palestinian rocket fire. The last major war on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead in December ’08-January ’09, also carried this narrative. Israel committed war crimes in that one-sided conflict, targeting and killing hundreds of civilians, using indiscriminate weapons, and intentionally destroying civilian infrastructure. It has become an accepted fact – even among critics of Israel – that the offensive was a response to Hamas rocket fire. The rocket fire did indeed occur immediately before the assault, but it was in response to Israel’s breaking of the six-month cease-fire, which even Israeli officials in WikiLeaks cables admitted Hamas had kept to.

see also:

#GazaUnderAttack | Israel warns of major retaliatory operation on Gaza

‘Israeli crimes against Palestinians have gone unpunished due to Western cover’

Al Jazeera’s Gaza Live Blog

The Israeli “#StopTheRockets from Gaza Myth” – Photography



And Khalid Amayreh in interview….

Amira Hass adds the following from HaAretz

After Israeli operation, Gazans brace for the worst

Gaza residents stock up on gasoline and cooking gas; some say they believe the Israeli attack will be a unifying factor backing the Hamas government.

By Amira Hass
A relative carrying a wounded girl into Shifa hospital in Gaza City

A relative carrying a wounded girl into Shifa hospital in Gaza City after an Israeli air strike yesterday.Photo by AP

Immediately after the identity of the dead man became known, about half an hour after the Israeli aircraft hit Ahmed Jabari, panic-stricken residents of the Gaza Strip starting preparing for the worst. They gathered at gas stations to get gasoline and cooking gas, and at bakeries to make sure they had enough bread for the days to come. Some of them said over the phone that everyone was hurrying home while the Israel Defense Forces was bombing different sites in the Strip, and they could see that Israeli aircraft movement was brisk.

Some people said the Hamas police seemed confused and panicked, and armed men from various factions were firing in the air as a sign of mourning. The mosques were broadcasting eulogies and praise for Jabari.

As of Wednesday night at about 8 P.M., at least four Palestinian civilians had been killed in the Israeli air raids, among them a 7-year-old girl and a baby a few months old, according to Palestinian reports. About 55 people had been injured, eight of them seriously. The hospitals went on emergency footing, and the Economics Ministry in Gaza warned merchants against price-gouging.

The assassination came as residents were preparing for a long, quiet weekend. November 15 is a day off for two reasons: It marks the Palestinian independence day declared by Yasser Arafat in 1988, and the Muslim New Year falls this year on that date. Schools were to have been closed in any case.

Over the past week the IDF, as of Wednesday morning, had killed six Palestinian civilians, among them three children. Fifty-three people were injured, including 12 children and six women. Gaza residents who are not Hamas supporters said that in closed conversations and on the social media there had been criticism of Palestinian rocket fire and questions as to whether it had been necessary. Nevertheless, everyone accepts the position that the shooting came in response to Israeli aggression.

People in Gaza say they believe that the Israeli attack will be a unifying factor backing the Hamas government. Opponents of Hamas in the Strip say that the escalation suits the political aims of both Hamas and Israel: It dwarfs the importance of the PLO initiative to bring to a vote the Palestinian bid for observer status in the United Nations.


 Image by Oliphant
After being released by the Israeli kidnappers, Marco Ramazzotti Stockel tells what has happened since yesterday morning, when at 10 am he was abducted from the ship Estelle, attacked by Israeli Navy ships.
He confirms the reasons behind his choice to take part in this peace mission, aimed at breaking the severe blockade of Gaza.
Stockel, is very important for him.. “Write it, please, so they understand I am Jewish and that if I fight against the occupation it is for the Jews themselves, because the occupation harms them and not only the Palestinians” 

Marco Ramazzotti has over 35 years of experience in development aid, as a legal anthropologist and socio-economist, and project manager and NGO representative. He has worked in twenty-six developing countries for Italian and international NGOs, international consulting companies, the EU and several UN agencies (FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP), and Italian Development Cooperation. He has been advisor to an African government and, most recently, has organised and taught in security courses for NGOs, religious missions and companies working abroad. He holds a degree in international law and is a Fellow of Churchill College Cambridge, UK.

He has a political past in the Italian Communist Party and was a member of the major Italian trade-union, CGIL. Since the year 2000, he has been a member of ECO (Ebrei contro l’Ocupazione, Jews against Occupation) and of EJSP, European Jews for a Just Peace. He joined the Freedom Flottilla for Gaza in Athens in 2010, with the French group.



EXCLUSIVE: Photos from the Gaza aid boat intercepted by the IDF

Mouse over photos for description

The following are exclusive photos taken on board the Estelle, as the ship was sailing toward the Gaza Strip in an attempt to break Israel’s siege on the coastal territory. The Israeli navy took over the ship before it reached its destination, and arrested some twenty activists, among them three Israeli citizens.

Huge efforts were made by the IDF Spokesperson’s Office to curtail media coverage of the story. The ship was brought into the Ashdod Port after dark, more than ten hours after the Israeli forces took it over. Later that night, the Israeli citizens under arrest were brought to a police station through a back door, to prevent media from covering their arrival. The IDF spokesman told Israeli media there was no humanitarian aid on the boat, as claimed by activists, but refused to release documentation to support his claims.

The photos below shows the hours before the ship was intercepted, and minutes before the IDF takeover. The activists are seen releasing pigeons towards the Israeli forces. The last photo shows Israeli naval commandos advancing towards the ship, and we can assume that it was not possible to continue shooting afterwards. According to testimonies given by the arrested activists, IDF used taser guns during the takeover. All international activists were transferred to the custody of Israel immigration authorities.

The three Israeli aboard the boat were brought before an Ashkelon court on Sunday. The judge extended their custody until Tuesday, despite them not posing a threat. According to witnesses at the courthouse, the activists were charged with violating a legal order, violating the Disengagement Law, aiding the enemy and  incitement and sedition. After appealing the ruling, the activists will be summoned to a Be’er Sheva court on Monday at 8:30 a.m.

UPDATE: Most charges against the Israeli Estelle passengers have been unofficially dismissed by a Be’er Sheva judge. They were  released earlier today to house arrest until Tuesday, and are barred from approaching the border with Gaza.



The Audience …

Russell Tribunal conclusion: U.S. facilitates Israeli immunity and impunity

by Alex Kane

After two long days of expert testimony, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine wrapped up Sunday night (see Ethan Heitner’s reports and sketches of the days here andhere). Then yesterday, the tribunal’s jury presented its findings to a United Nations committee–findings that Israel “has achieved a status of immunity and impunity by [its] complete disregard for the norms and standards of international law facilitated by the US.”

The executive summary of these findings has now been published.

The conclusion was essentially preordained, but its importance lies in the fact that the findings were presented by a jury full of luminaries like Angela Davis and Alice Walker to a United Nations body.

Among the other findings, the Russell Tribunal found that “various well-documented acts committed by Israel constitute violations of several basic rules of international law.” These violations include the right of self-determination and violation of various Security Council resolutions. Other Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights noted by the tribunal include: “the establishment of Israeli settlements”; “the expulsions of Palestinians from their territory”; and “military attacks against civilians, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks against Gaza and Palestinian refugees camps.”

The United Nations was also singled out for opprobrium. The UN “cannot simply denounce and condemn Israel’s violations of international law. Since these oft-repeated condemnations have not resulted in the cessation of Israel’s internationally wrongful acts, it follows that the UN must do more,” the Russell Tribunal notes. The executive summary continues:

In conclusion, the UN’s failure to take action proportionate to the duration and severity of Israel’s violations of international law (war crimes, crimes against humanity, crime of Apartheid, genocide), and by not exhausting all peaceful means of pressure available to it, the UN does not comply with the obligations that States have conferred on the UN

The focus on the U.S. enabling of Israel concluded with equally harsh findings. “The Tribunal finds that Israel’s ongoing colonial settlement expansion, its racial separatist policies, as well as its violent militarism would not be possible without the US’s economic, military, and diplomatic support,” the executive summary states.

This echoes what many of the speakers at the tribunal said. Most notably, Diana Buttu, former adviser to Palestinian negotiators, gave a presentation on the U.S.’s record of shielding Israel from any accountability for its violations of international law. Buttu, as usual, was lucid and concise. 

What the US has attempted to do in Palestine is “make what is unjust, just, and what is illegal, legal,” said Buttu. As an example, Buttu pointed to the 83 vetoes the U.S. has exercised as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Of those, half of them were for the benefit of Israel. The most recent example was the Obama administration’s February 2011 veto of a UN resolution that labeled Israeli settlements as “illegal.” 

The conclusions of the executive summary include a call for the “mobilization of international public opinion, especially in the US and Israel, towards a just society based on equality before the law.” The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement was included as a “manifestation of civic society” toward the end of a just society.

Meanwhile, the Russell Tribunal has garnered some media coverage. Watch Al Jazeera English’s The Stream on the tribunal here:



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Photos © by Bud Korotzer


The Jurors













Pierre Galand


Alice Walker


Ronald Kasrils



Special people who were there


The Corries (Dear Rachel’s parents)



Harry Belefonte


Russell Tribunal on Palestine in New York: On US, UN Complicity



Ilan Pappé on BDS: ‘I think it is far more impressive, far more effective, when it is directed toward Israel, not the American society.’


By Christopher Federici


On a clear autumn morning in lower Manhattan the 4th Session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine began amid a surprisingly calm atmosphere, despite lengthy lines weaving across the square in front of Cooper Union’s Great Hall.

The timing of this session is critical, as international attention has been focused on Iran’s nuclear program for months. If nothing else, this Tribunal serves as a reminder to an American audience of the harsh realities of the Palestinian condition.

Draped in a judicial veneer, successive Tribunals on Palestine have focused on the role of the international community regarding Israel’s persistent occupation of Palestinian territories. The New York session’s articulation of the complicity of the United States government and the United Nations in ongoing violations of international law adds to the existing findings of Tribunals in Barcelona, London and Cape Town regarding European Union and corporate complicity, as well as the crime of apartheid.

Before a sold-out auditorium, Tribunal coordinator Pierre Galand reaffirmed the formality of the non-binding proceedings with his introductory remarks admonishing the audience to refrain from outbursts or applause. Galand stressed the importance of preventing the “crime of silence” and he noted the “very effectively independent” status of the Russell Tribunal, which relies on a variety of financial donors, including municipalities, individuals and NGOs.

Galand revealed that Leila Shahid, the EU Ambassador from Palestine, had been denied visa entry by the U.S. Embassy in Brussels. I later confirmed that Raji Sourani, founder of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, was also denied a visa by the US authorities in Cairo, adding to the marginalization of Palestinian voices at the Tribunal. Huwaida Arraf, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement, cancelled due to illness.

However, with the judicial flare of a courtroom environment established, the long anticipated Tribunal was finally in session.

Impassioned Geneva Mayor Remy Pagani applauded members of the jury who have “risked their lives” in opposing fascism, racial inequalities and oppression.

We heard Stéphane Hessel, an energetic survivor of the Buchenwald concentration camp, contributor to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and author of Indignez-Vouz!, speak eloquently of the privilege of living in a world supposedly governed by liberty and international law. His proclamation that Palestinian society has been “abused, abused and over-abused” for 60 years without representation was a testament to the vital need for sustained citizen mobilization.

The Tribunal’s first witness was Professor Ilan Pappé. With the disclaimer that it is “difficult to condense an historical analysis into evidence,” Professor Pappé proceeded to present five concise points essential to any discussion of the conflict between Israel and its Palestinian subjects.

The first of these premises suggests that Zionism’s exclusive focus on Palestine, a land already inhabited with an “Arab, Islamic and Middle Eastern” identity, constituted a form of late colonialism.

Pappé went on to note that the attitudes of early European Zionists toward Palestinians remain present today among many Israelis, chiefly that indigenous Arabs in Palestine were “foreigners” in a land awaiting Jewish liberation. “The idea of an alien native,” according to Pappé, “is exclusive to Zionism.”

His testimony noted that a Jewish democracy required a Jewish majority in Palestine, yet by 1948 only one-third of Palestine’s inhabitants were Jewish, and only 7% of the land had been purchased by Jews. These failures to establish the demographic and geographic foundations for Jewish democracy precipitated policies of ethnic cleansing, “a crime against humanity second only to genocide” according to Pappé, who noted that expulsions of Arabs had been prevalent since the 1930s, well before the rejection of partition by Palestinian leadership, an important point that disabuses the contemporary “immoral judgment” that Palestinians somehow brought the Nakba upon themselves by rejecting partition of their homeland.

Pappé’s concluding points related to the treatment of Palestinians within Israel between 1948 and 1966 and the conditions of occupation since 1967. Pappé suggested that the “same military regime” that oppressed one-fifth of Israel’s population between 1948 and 1966 was transferred to the West Bank in 1967. The Israeli army, thus, was “an already made mechanism” for systematic violations of human rights by the time of occupation.

In his closing remarks, Pappé included one of the most crucial comments of the entire Tribunal, the notion that the idea of two states is a Zionist idea, a flawed paradigm for peace that can never be accepted by Palestinians. He implored members of the Tribunal not to accept this reductive concept of a partitioned Palestine.

The subsequent testimony of the day hinged largely on establishing a narrative consistent with the Tribunal’s international law framework. Peter Hansen, former Commissioner-General of UNRWA, for example, discussed the UN’s role, criticizing its failings while stressing the importance of its monitoring activities in Palestine in keeping the analysis on the stage of the international community.

Later, Vera Gowlland-Debbas, former Rapporteur for the UNCHR, spoke at length on the failures of the United Nations to enforce its own resolutions, as well as the political inconsistencies of UN involvement, while Professor Susan Akram, a legal scholar on immigration and refugees, testified on the rights of Palestinian refugees under international law and the manner in which successive definitions -first established by UN Resolution 194, later by the UNRWA and finally under the 1951 Refugee Convention- have been misapplied in a manner that marginalizes Palestinian efforts to seek traditional refugee recourse, including right of return, restoration of property and compensation.

The sobering inference from this testimony is that the existing international legal framework is insufficient in addressing the Israeli occupation, as the establishment dominated by American and European elite is clearly disinclined to act upon its own mandate. Mired in cynicism, the entire mission of the Tribunal appeared futile with its strict emphasis on discussing a power structure that most speakers acknowledged provides little recourse for Palestinians.

Disillusioned by the apparent contradictions and inadequacies of the Tribunal, I searched for Ilan Pappé to discuss a critical insight he had offered in response to a question by Stéphane Hessel earlier in the day. He had mentioned a prevalent mindset within Israel that is unmoved by legal, moral or ethical critiques of Israeli policies. I asked him about this, and what more could be done. His answer was “the very structural skeleton of the narrative is not the problem apparently. We thought that Israelis, when they would know and would agree that this is what happened, that would inform their ethical and moral view. But this has not occurred.”

He went on to predict that as more western communities begin to offer “ethical evaluations” of Israel’s policies, the more Israeli society can be moved. The Tribunal constitutes a part of that progression, in his estimation.

The second day of testimony was less jurisprudential, with Diana Butto memorably providing the Tribunal’s first Palestinian narrative. The panel of jurists appeared more divided, with a tense sequence on the influence of AIPAC in US defense of Israel, projections on the future and finally David Wildman and Phyllis Bennis introducing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) as a tool of empowerment. The afternoon was also marred by a debate on the use of the term sociocide and the systematic destruction of a society’s culture, culminating in jurist Michael Mansfield antagonizing speaker Saleh Abd al-Jawad over the sensibility of introducing a new term when there is already such stagnancy over existing terms, such as apartheid and genocide.

Ultimately, the Tribunal appeared conflicted by stark contrasts between the desire to project a sense of procedural legality and the inescapable underpinnings of activism that drove the very desire to organize. This conflict, it could be argued, sullied the effectiveness of either initiative.

Returning to my discussion with Ilan Pappé, he expressed something that was conspicuously absent from most of the Tribunal testimony, the idea that the reformation of Israeli society will not come from legal or international institutions, but from the expression of western public opinion against Israeli policies.

Referring to successes of the BDS “tactic” in forcing a conversation within Israel, Pappé offered a sense of optimism painfully lacking throughout the Tribunal when he remarked, “I think that in conjunction with a Palestinian agency of solving the problems of representation, in conjunction with the solidarity movement activity on other issues and in conjunction with our role as Israeli Jews inside Israel to reeducate our compatriots, [BDS is] an important link in this matrix opportunity.”

– Christopher Federici is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, NY. He visited Israel and the Palestinian West Bank in the summer of 2006 during the Second Lebanon War and is currently pursuing his Masters in Middle Eastern Studies at the City University of New York. He has previously published articles on the failure of Israeli/Palestinian peace negotiations and the Goldstone Report. He contributed this article to



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Palestinian child kicked by Border Police in Hebron

By Mairav Zonszein

B’Tselem just released disturbing footage of a Border Police officer kicking a Palestinian child while another officer holds him on the streets of occupied Hebron.  The video was shot last Friday June 29 by a B’Tselem activist, from the window of his house, adjacent to the Tomb of the Patriarchs. According to B’Tselem, the person started shooting the video upon noticing a border police officer hiding behind the wall.

The name of the child is Abed a-Rahman and he is only 9 years old. You can see the policeman at the start of the video appear, then disappear, and then reappear at about 1:22 when he runs to grab the child and says: “Why are you causing trouble?” As the policeman holds the crying boy, another policeman comes and kicks him. The child is then released and runs away and the policemen disperse. B’Tselem is filing a complaint against the two men with the Police Investigation Department.



UPDATE: Now that the video has been widely circulated and made it into mainstream Israel media, Border Police has responded with an official statement:

The Border Police denounces the policemen’s behavior, which contrasts the values of the force. It is important to note that this is a rare incident which does not represent the actions of the Border Police in Israel. The Border Police commander instructed on setting up a team to investigate the incident immediately and its conclusions are due in the coming days.

I will follow the story and see if in fact the Border Police provides “conclusions.”

Report by British jurists reminds of the horrors of Israeli child detention


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Shhhhh ….. did you hear the PA issue a protest? I DIDN’T!


Be sure to read the report from the NYT at the end of this post….

To celebrate the 6 month anniversary of the  #Occupy Wall Street Movement, representatives of the 99% reoccupied Liberty Plaza / Zuccotti Park yesterday

Photos © by Bud Korotzer


Then it happenned….
Eyewitness acccount….
















From the New York Times

Scores Arrested as Zuccotti Park Is Cleared




IDF soldiers release attack dog on unarmed Palestinian protesters (video)

Lisa Goldman


An attack dog released on unarmed Palestinians by Israeli security forces sank its teeth into the arm of a Palestinian man and refused to release it for several minutes.

Soldiers released an attack dog on unarmed Palestinians at a Friday anti-occupation demonstration in the West Bank village of Kufr Qaddoum, report eyewitnesses that include an AP photographer. According to a report from Jonathan Pollack, a political activist, Border Police officers released an army dog at a group of protesters who were standing several dozen meters away. The dog chased the protesters, then locked his jaw on the arm of one of them – Ahmad Shtawi – sinking his teeth into the man’s arm. The dog refused for several minutes to respond to his handler’s order to release Mr. Shtawi’s arm.


IDF attack dog refuses to release his grip on Ahmad Shtawi’s arm (photo: PSCC)

Although he was bleeding, in pain and in need of medical attention, soldiers decided to arrest Mr. Shtawi  after the dog finally released his arm. When Morad Shtawi, a member of the village’s popular committee, tried to reason with the commanding officer and convince him to release the wounded man, he was thrown to the ground, handcuffed and pepper sprayed – as documented in the video below.

Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem has called several time for the Israeli army to stop using attack dogs on unarmed Palestinians. In February 2012 a 19 year-old Palestinian was attacked by an IDF dog; B’Tselem reported another five such incidents in 2011.



The U.S. government has informed Israel that it will recommend that Congress approve a three-year extension of loan guarantees to Israel, worth $3.8 billion. The announcement came after several months of worry in Israel that the loan guarantees would not be extended, despite Israel’s request. (Full report HERE)
And this is where the money goes…..

Eyewitness to Israel’s ethnic cleansing

Purdue University professor Bill Mullen traveled to Palestine with a delegation of academics to find out about the obstacles facing Palestinian students and educators.



In Hebron, graffiti artists have renamed Shuhana Street “Apartheid Street” (Bill Mullen | SW)

AT 4:45 a.m. on the morning of August 2, 2009, the family of Miraym Al-Ghawi was awakened by pounding on the door of their home in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem. A small bomb was detonated, throwing open the door. Through it walked masked and armed Israeli commandoes, who dragged the Al-Ghawis, including the six Al-Ghawi children, into the night.

They collected the family’s belongings in trucks and dumped them outside the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, where they were ransacked. The Al-Ghawi’s youngest child, age 4, stood and watched as commandoes set fire to her bed and her playthings. The daughter still cannot sleep without her mother. Medical experts have diagnosed her ailment as “settler trauma.”

Miraym Al-Ghawi told us this story as we visited Palestine as part of a delegation sponsored by the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI). Five U.S. professors from the delegation, myself included, talked with the Al-Ghawis in Sheikh Jarrah, once one of the liveliest Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

Since 1967, however, nearly 9,000 Palestinians have lost their residency rights in East Jerusalem, 15 Israeli settlements have been built, and Palestinians now have access to less than 15 percent of the available land. The Al-Ghawi family is one of four families in East Jerusalem evicted since 2008 as part of Israel’s annexation, settlement and “de-Arabization” plan for Palestine.

The plan has been effective: unemployment among Palestinians in East Jerusalem is now nearly 35 percent, while the poverty rate is nearly 50 percent. Palestinians in East Jerusalem make up about 35 percent of the population and pay 33 percent of all municipal taxes, while the Israeli municipality spends less than 5 percent on services for East Jerusalem.

A 163-kilometer “separation wall” in Jerusalem denies more than 22,000 residents easy access to their work and markets. There are currently more than 270 Palestinian prisoners from East Jerusalem and 197 detainees. Eight of the prisoners are children.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

ISRAEL’S COLONIZATION of Palestine is a de facto totalitarianism meant to strangle decades of resistance by an entire people. But it has not succeeded.

After her eviction, for example, Miraym Al-Ghawi set up a tent near a fig tree outside their former residence and in defiance stayed there for six months. On 17 occasions, the municipality forced her to tear down the tent; 17 times, she rebuilt. She has repeatedly paid out fines levied against her private “occupation” of her own former home.

Today, she rents an apartment in a neighborhood near Sheikh Jarrah, but comes every day to sit near her old residence in order to demonstrate her refusal to be displaced. She remains engaged in a court battle for her house even as parking lots and playgrounds are built in Sheikh Jarrah for newly arrived settlers on confiscated Palestinian land.

And this is just one story of the terror and violence of the Israeli police state that saturates daily life under occupation.

On a Sunday morning in Hebron, for example, we walked through a Palestinian open market along Shuhada Street. The street sits beside the Ibrahim Mosque, where in 1994 American-born Zionist settler Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Arab worshippers and wounded 125 others. The massacre set off Palestinian riots and protests in which Israeli soldiers murdered 19 more Palestinians.

The street, known as Apartheid Street by locals, has now been closed off at numerous access points by Israeli security forces in order to stop or monitor Palestinian movement, protect newly arrived settlers and restrict commerce. Checkpoints, concrete blocks and impromptu walls appear at nearly every turn.

The market itself is under constant siege by settlers who live above street level and throw trash, feces and even acid onto merchants and shoppers below. Numerous storefronts along the street are closed. Israeli police sealed one of them shut because a demonstration was held at the site.

As we walked through the marketplace, Israeli soldiers perched overhead on street corners and at one point marched two abreast in three rows straight through the market center. No detail escapes the attention of Israeli authorities–even a 100-meter stretch of sidewalk is divided by a three-foot wall, Palestinians on one side, settlers on the other. Children as young as 2 peddled “Palestine” bracelets on the streets as they tried to help their families scratch out an existence in a strangulated economy.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THE USACBI campaign began in 2009 in response to the call by Palestinian civil society to join the boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) movement against Israel. It supports and models the mission statement created in 2004 by PACBI, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. The original PACBI statement read in part:

Inspired by the struggle of South Africans against apartheid and in the spirit of international solidarity, moral consistency and resistance to injustice and oppression, we, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel. We also invite conscientious Israelis to support this call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace.

These nonviolent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

USACBI supports each of the above principles and calls for a number of measures to demonstrate support for them. For example, the campaign asks signatories to:

1. Refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions;

2. Advocate a comprehensive boycott of Israeli institutions at the national and international levels, including suspension of all forms of funding and subsidies to these institutions;

3. Promote divestment and disinvestment from Israel by academic institutions, and place pressure on your own institution to suspend all ties with Israeli universities, including collaborative projects, study abroad, funding and exchanges.

The USACBI call has thus far been signed by nearly 600 U.S. professors, 200 cultural workers, 200 international supporters and 44 organizations. It seeks to point out that the Israeli occupation has damaged or destroyed academic or intellectual freedom, especially for Palestinians living under occupation.

For example, Israel routinely restricts the movement of Palestinian students, forcing them to attend apartheid schools, making them pass through walls and checkpoints on a daily basis, and severely limiting their ability to choose a university within Israel/Palestine or to study abroad.

Israel has severely restricted the number of students from Gaza who may attend Birzeit University, the most prestigious research university in the West Bank. Palestinian students who do travel abroad to study or seek re-entry to Palestine are often labeled “security risks” or denied entry.

Palestinian universities like Birzeit in Ramallah consistently face a “crisis of funding,” according to university president Khalil Hindi, with whom we met on our delegation visit. Though the universities operate under Israeli occupation, the Palestinian Authority is the sole source of funds for the university, and Israel provides nothing.

Israeli academics, meanwhile, often produce research that colludes with the occupation regime, while the state heavily monitors what Palestinian scholars can produce. We met with a group of scholars at the Mada al-Carmel Arab Center for Applied Social Research in Haifa. The center’s advisory board chair Dr. Nadim Rouhana told us that the activities of the Mada Center are heavily monitored by Israel, while Palestinian scholars attached to Mada often work or study in Israeli universities that reproduce intellectual and social apartheid.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

IN ADDITION to attacking the absence of academic freedom in Palestine, USACBI seeks to illuminate the structural relationship between Israeli apartheid and higher education as it impacts Palestinians. As Palestinian scholar George Bisharat has written:

Many Israeli academic institutions either benefit from, or participate in, Israeli government actions that violate Palestinian rights. For example, Tel Aviv University sits in part on land belonging to Sheikh Muwannis, a Palestinian village whose residents were expelled by Jewish militias or fled in fear in March 1948. Hebrew University in Jerusalem uses over 800 acres of land illegally expropriated from Palestinian private owners in the West Bank after the 1967 war. Bar Ilan University has established a branch in an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank…

Finally, discrimination against students who are Palestinian citizens of Israel in admission policies is widespread as revealed by the decision of the heads of Israeli universities in 2003 to reverse experimental admission policies that had increased the number of Arab students.

On our delegation visit, we met with Anan Quzmar from the Right to Education Campaign at Birzeit University in the West Bank. The campaign supports the BDS and USACBI campaigns as part of a larger international strategy to destroy apartheid/colonial education in Palestine. According to the campaign:

— Eight of the 11 universities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been shelled or broken into by the Israeli Army since September 2000.

— Hebron University and the Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron were closed down by Israeli military order for much of 2003, and students had to physically break down the gates to their universities, in defiance of the Israeli Army, to reconvene classes and demand their right to an education.

— Birzeit University has been closed down by Israeli military order 15 times in its history and all Palestinian universities and the majority of Palestinian schools, including kindergartens, were closed down by military order between 1987-1992, denying a whole generation their right to education.

— More than 700 children, 200 university students and 39 teachers have been killed by the Israeli military since September 2000.

— More than 3,000 Palestinian children have been arrested by the Israeli military since September 2000, and some 300 children are currently held in Israeli prisons and detention centers.

— Two presidents of Birzeit University student council were imprisoned in 2004, and four of the 11 members of the student council were imprisoned in the same year. Currently, some 80 students from Birzeit University are held in Israeli prisons and detention centers, 10 of whom are being held without charge or trial, including human rights worker and sociology student, Ziyad Hmeidan.

The Right to Education mission statement calls for “trade unions, education institutions, social and political movements and concerned individuals around the world to support the right to education in Palestine.” The campaign is founded on principles established in UN resolutions that declare education a human right. It calls for scholars, students and activists to “establish connections with Palestinian universities, students and faculty, through solidarity or academic exchange.”

This strategy is meant to counteract the deadly and ongoing collaboration between American and Israeli universities, such as the new partnership between Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Technion is Israel’s leader in “applied science” research and the development of killing machines like the unmanned armored tanks used in Israel’s 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead that massacred more than 1,400 Gazans.

In December, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans for a $2 billion research campus in New York in partnership with Cornell and Technion. USACBI’s mission seeks to shut down forever such deadly collaborations.

Perhaps the most fitting symbol of the need for educators to play a role in the liberation of Palestine was graffiti on the wall of a Palestinian school in Hebron: “To learn or not to learn–that is the question.” The words beckon not just to the education of future generations of Palestinians, but to the education of people everywhere about the urgency of ending Israel’s colonial regime.


>What you can do

For more information about the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, or to pledge your support, go to the USACBI website.

Find more information about the Right to Education Campaign at Birzeit University at its website.

Contact the Civic Coalition for Defending Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem to learn more about organizing efforts to defend Palestinians in East Jerusalem.




“This behaviour is mounting to systematical harassment of The Freedom Theatre by The Israeli army, it is scandalous. This proves that the Israeli army and security apparatus is either lost in their investigation or that they have the actual intention of damaging the theatre. It also seems that after the murder of Juliano Mer Khamis The Freedom Theatre is no longer exempted from the kind of oppression the Palestinian society is subjected to in general.”
Israeli army targets The Freedom Theatre again
Sent by Jonatan Stanczak, co-founder of The Freedom Theatre
After the Israeli army targets the theatre twice during the last month, arresting three of its members, today at approximately 02:00 in the morning of the 22nd August the Israeli army surrounded The Freedom Theatre and the Nagnaghiya family home.
Jacob Gough, the Acting General Manager at The Freedom Theatre left the office at about 01:45: “As I literally entered my home I got a call from neighbours of the theatre saying the army had surrounded the theatre.”

Jacob then returned to the theatre and as he drove into the courtyard was confronted by armed soldiers who forced him to turn around threatening violence if he didn’t. After a second attempt to get closer to the theatre he was forced to strip at gunpoint before being detained. “They said that they’ll beat me up if I even say a word or move”.

During this, the army were inside the home of Mohammed Naghnaghiye, the security guard at the theatre and brother of Adnan Nagnaghiya. Here they beat Mohammed before taking him away in handcuffs then proceeded to ransack all 3 floors of his family home leaving them in disarray.  As the army left the area they fired live ammunition in an attempt to disperse the crowds of youth that had gathered.

These events come after a military court hearing that took place yesterday (21st August) in Jalame prison outside of Jenin. At the court hearing it was established that the three previously taken members of The Freedom Theatre had no connection to the murder of the theatre’s late director Juliano Mer Khamis and must be released within the week.

“This behaviour is mounting to systematical harassment of The Freedom Theatre by The Israeli army, it is scandalous. This proves that the Israeli army and security apparatus is either lost in their investigation or that they have the actual intention of damaging the theatre. It also seems that after the murder of Juliano Mer Khamis The Freedom Theatre is no longer exempted from the kind of oppression the Palestinian society is subjected to in general.” says Jonatan Stanczak, co-founder of The Freedom Theatre.


Life could be so beautiful without wars and hatred …
But…. The night sky is orange again, gone are the stars and romance.He is hugging me, pushing my head down to the ground, protecting from any flying debris. Pointlessly he tries to protect me, but when the blasts are on you no amount of hugging and ducking will do.


stars and bombs

By Eva Bartlett


We are watching the sky, sleeping on the roof to escape the heat. I flatter the clouds’ beauty and am watching sporadic shooting stars when the first F-16 appeared from the direction of the sea. No sound, just a blinking red light quite high up.  Three more follow. Their roar slowly becomes audible and they drop a couple of flares.

We trace their path, above us, chilling.  The roar is normal, F-16s are normal, and reading in the news the next day that some part of Gaza was bombed is normal. They continue eastward and a bombing seems imminent.  It is. A thick cloud of black smoke blots the dim lights of houses in eastern Deir al Balah where the F-16s have struck.

Their roar doesn’t disappear yet.

They’re bombing Khan Younis, Emad says matter of factly. Not a hard guess, what else are they doing up there are nearly 2 am.

He keeps working on his laptop and I keep sleepily tracing the sky, watching this time for their re-appearance not for shooting stars.

After a few minutes of re-contemplating the sky, we know precisely where they’ve gone.

Two massive blasts, the house shakes. They’ve bombed somewhere near the sea, which is only a few hundred metres away.  I remember the shakes of the Ezbet Abed Rabbo house Leila and I were in when F-16s were flattening the area during the Israeli war on Gaza in 2008-2009.  One directly behind that house, the walls ready to cave in; one across the lane some 30 metres away, leaving a massive crater.

The night sky is orange again, gone are the stars and romance.

He is hugging me, pushing my head down to the ground, protecting from any flying debris. Pointlessly he tries to protect me, but when the blasts are on you no amount of hugging and ducking will do.

A bit of confusion… to stay rooftop or run down to the ground. I remember when the Sharouk building with various media outlets was repeatedly hit by smaller missiles, not the one-ton F-16 crater-makers.  The building danced and it felt like the stairs had turned into one long slide, to take us from the 9th or 10th floor down light speed.

The drive to see what happens next is strong, leaving us not wanting to abandon the roof.  We stay, and soon his brothers appear to see where the blasts have hit. We go down to check on his parents, thankfully asleep, hard of hearingness a relief this time. We go back up and the orange has gone, its grey and starless now.

“It’s raining” says Emad.  I’m confused, think he means the bombing triggered some weather reaction.  Concrete dust flutters down upon us, the dry kind of rain. The ambulance sirens wail, the Red Crescent or Ministry of Health ambulances will be racing for the site.  If they are late, the dead and injured will be piled into any car near the explosion that still moves.  There is a sustained honking in Gaza that everyone recognizes as make way, we’ve got another victim here.

Now 3 of his brothers are rooftop with us and going over the blasts.  For a Strip that has seen so many Israeli terror bombings over the years, this latest –comparatively far away at a few hundred metres –has hit a nerve even with these men putting on bravado. They are brave, of course, and endure psychological war in addition to actual blasts.  Every time one of those fucking F-16s flies over us, it’s a reminder of the last war, or of previous attacks, or of random bombings, or of friends and family martyred in their sleep, cars, homes…

Everytime those F-16s intentionally break the sound barrier to create a bomb-like sonic boom, everyone within range instinctively remembers their own personal horror at whichever Israeli war or attacks.

His brothers are talking about their children, how one child clinched up into a ball in his sleep, how hard is for all the children.  But their rapid banter betrays them: its hard for them as well.

In true Palestinian style they mask any fear they might be feeling—as any human should be feeling in these circumstances –with jokes and teasing.

Were you scared? they tease me.  Yes and no.  Once again numb from the fear, as I was during the 23 days of Israeli bombing Gaza in winter 2008-2009, but that horror of what comes next always exists.  How many martyrs will there be? Inshallah none.  Is this the start of the next Israeli slaughter of locked-in Palestinians or will that come tomorrow? What the hell will I do when I am not here… not like I can stop any of this, not like I can protect them any more than Emad’s loving attempt. How can I possibly ever leave here, when that next massacre is always looming from those Israeli war machines above and around us?

The Zionist news tomorrow will blather on about a strategic strike against terror.  But rearrange their scripted words and you get the truth: it is a strategic terror against Palestinians, as always, and involved living, breathing, dreaming, working human beings below those terrorizing F-16s, breathing the dust of another bombed building.

2:30 am

Emad and I are sleeping, not sleeping but lying down, inside this time, not that that makes any difference.  I’m thinking shit,shit,shit, how can I ever leave him and his family and my friends and everyone here? We’re both lost in our own heads, thinking about the blast.

Blast. Another one.  It’s louder inside, because of the echo.  Thankfully the windows are open; blasts like that shatter windows; we’d have a glass shard rain upon us this time.

His younger brother is coming back from work at his grocery shop, laden with yogurt and hummus for “suhoor”, the morning meal before fasting begins anew. His ears are ringing from the nearness of the bomb but he hides whatever anxiety he surely haswith grins and chatter.

They re-play the same jokes made on the roof earlier. It’s for Ramadan, they’re giving us fire-works, they’re making a party.  They’re helping us wake up (we slept through suhoor yesterday, not even hearing the mild beating of the street drummers who circle waking people up for a meal and prayer).

Emad’s father is unplussed. He doesn’t feign bravado or joke, just sits a little sleepily and looks at his paper with the prayer times written down. He goes to the nearest mosque five times a day, including the early morning prayer. He’s lived a long, hard life, expelled from his farm land and village which is now buried under some Israeli name, reared a family in one of Palestine’s many, many, impossibly overcrowded refugee camps where families slept in tents for years until they improved to stifling concrete block homes with entire families in one single, dank room. He’s worked to educate his many, many sons and daughters. He’s lived through all the Zionist hell Israel dishes out, from his expulsion to the occupation and horrors that go with that to the sporadic bombings to the full-out invasions. He’s lost a son to cancer that couldn’t be treated properly because he couldn’t access the needed medical care outside of Gaza.

So when all of us are gibbering or teasing or mulling the last bomb blast, he is off somewhere in his head but his expression doesn’t betray it.  And I think he’s only really concerned about being on time for the next prayer. A life of repeated drama is enough to render bomb blasts somewhat insignificant.

It’s the same target as half hour ago, but this time surely there are casualties, people who waited some minutes before going to see the damage.  Israel, of course, knows this.  During the last war on Gaza, first Israeli bombings would be followed just one or two minutes later, sometimes 5 minutes, by another bomb in the same place. Family and friends who’d come to help rescue bomb victims would themselves be torn apart by the second and third blasts. A technique guaranteed to get the bystander civilians who come to rescue, if not the medics.

We return to sleep, wary.


Written FOR


Commentary by Chippy Dee, Photos © by Bud Korotzer

On August 2nd 100+ people gathered at All Souls Church in N.Y.C. to hear reports from 6 people who went to Greece to participate in Freedom Flotilla 2 – Stay Human to break the siege of Gaza.  It was exactly a year ago that people met at the same location to hear a report from Adam Shapiro and Ann Wright about last year’s flotilla when 9 people were murdered and 50 injured by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara.  That night the decision was made to have a U.S. boat in the next flotilla.  A year of very hard work by dedicated organizers and the contributions of thousands of people from all over the U.S. made our boat, the Audacity of Hope, a reality.


The 6 speakers all believe that their mission was successful despite the flotilla boats not leaving Greek waters (actually the small French yacht, the Dignite, with 10 non-violent peace activists on board  got very close to Gaza before it was stopped by 3 Israeli war ships).  It was a success because it brought the attention of the world to what the people of Gaza are forced to endure under Israeli occupation.  They spoke of the solidarity among flotilla participants and of the strong support they received from the Greek people.  All boats are still in Greek custody but legal action is underway to have them released.


Participants are going around the country on speaking tours to tell people about the flotilla, what happened in Greece, why the flotilla was so important to the people of Gaza and important to people everywhere who stand for justice.  They said their efforts to reach Gaza will continue, they are undaunted, and Gaza WILL be free.  The audience cheered in approval, many ready to join in the preparations for the next flotilla.















Amira Hass Reports on Israeli Navy Seizure of Only Gaza-Bound Ship to Sail in Aid Flotilla

Earlier this week, three Israeli missile ships and seven commando boats intercepted a French ship attempting to reach the Gaza Strip. The ship, Dignite-al Karama, was the sole representative of the original 10-strong international aid flotilla hoping to break the blockade on Gaza and express support for Palestinians living under occupation. At least 150 soldiers were sent to sea early Tuesday morning to prevent the 10 civilian activists, the three crew members and the three journalists on the flotilla from reaching Gaza’s port. Fifteen passengers were arrested, prevented from seeing their lawyers, and sent for deportation. Democracy Now! interviews Ha’aretz correspondent Amira Hass, one of the few journalists who was aboard the ship. Hass is also the one of the only Israeli journalists to have spent several years living in and reporting from Gaza and the West Bank.
Reported AT

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