UN BLACKLISTS THE OCCUPATION

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights al-Hussein warns Israeli firms of their inclusion in ‘blacklist’ of companies operating in West Bank, east J’lem, Jordan Valley; list includes prominent companies such as Bezeq, Hot, Ahava, Cellcom, Bank Hapoalim and others; Bezeq CEO scorns ‘entirely anti-Israeli propaganda.’

130 Israeli companies, 60 int’l corporations on UN ‘blacklist’

Itamar Eichner

In the past few weeks, 130 Israeli companies and 60 international corporations operating in Israel received warning letters from United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid bin Ra’ad al-Hussein cautioning them of their impending inclusion in a “blacklist” of companies active beyond the Green Line in “violation of international law and UN resolutions.”

Ynet has gained access to part of the list, which is set to be published in late December and cites 25 well-known Israeli companies. The companies operate in different sectors—some in food manufacturing, others in services, pharmaceuticals and even high-tech—but have one thing in common: they all operate in settlements, east Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley.

Among the companies in the commissioner’s sights are Ahava, Dor Alon, Amisragas, Angel Bakeries, Arison Investments, Ashdar, Clal Industries, Café Café, Cellcom, Danya Cebus, Electra, HP, Hot, the Israel Aerospace Industries, Matrix Systems, Motorola, Nesher, Partner, Paz, Rami Levy, Remax, Housing & Construction (Shikun Binui), Shufersal, Sonol and Trima.

The above companies are joined by the 12 companies already published on Channel 2 News including Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, Bezeq and Bezeq International, Coca Cola, Africa Israel, Teva, IDB, Egged, Mekorot, Netafim and Elbit Systems.

The “Washington Post” published American companies will also be appearing on the list, including Caterpillar, Tripadvisor and Airbnb.

Some of the companies to be included on the list are still considering their response, but others are already fighting back with the claim their inclusion on the list may cause them financial harm and tarnish their brand, and are therefore looking into filing suits against the Commissioner and the UN’s Human Rights Council that called for the list’s preparation in the first place.

The companies claim the list’s creation was politically motivated and point to the fact that the commissioner constructed no such lists pertaining to other regions of conflict—such as the Crimean Peninsula and Western Sahara—as proof.

Both Israel and the US have been working behind the scenes in the past few weeks to prevent the list’s publication, but it appears it may be presented with a fait accompli. Despite the fact the list carries no operational or legal ramifications, the symbolic move nevertheless caused concern among the Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials due to the fact it may provide a serious boost to BDS efforts, deter foreign investors and convince foreign companies operating in Israel to reduce their operations.

“It may cause large investment firms or pension funds carrying stocks of various Israeli companies to divest in them because they, in turn, operate in the settlements. It may lead to a snowball effect that will greatly harm the Israeli economy eventually,” said a senior Israeli official.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimates the Human Rights Commissioner received most of his information about the Israeli firms from Israeli non-profits operating in the settlements and investigating business activities beyond the Green Line.

AIPAC goes to war

In an effort to scuttle the move, the pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobby has been working in the US on promoting rapid legislation in Congress determining any company divesting its business dealings from Israel will be considered to have “capitulated” to the Arab boycott, and would thus be in violation of American law.

The Human Rights Council’s efforts to isolate Israel—executed through the office of the commissioner—have largely been facilitated by what Israel frequently slams as the UN body’s years-long anti-Israeli majority which has a long record of a bias slant.

Bezeq CEO Stella Handler published a Facebook post 12 days ago in which she made public the overture she received from the UN’s Human Rights Commissioner. After the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted her, Handler took the post down.

“Here’s something the UN’s Human Rights Council doesn’t want you know: we’ve received a message from Special Assistant to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mohammad Ali Alnsour. Alnsour communicated to us that Bezeq was to be included on a list of Israeli companies operating in the West Bank. He asked us to keep that information confidential and to not publically comment on it,” Handler’s Facebook post said.

“Before we get started, here’s some background about the UN’s Human Rights Council. Since it was founded in 2006, it published 68 decisions denouncing Israel, making up 50 percent of the total resolutions pertaining to specific countries the council has made. Not North Korea, not Syria, not Sudan and not Yemen were afforded such attention,” the post continued.

“We will not be cooperating with a move that’s entirely anti-Israeli propaganda. Despite the council’s attempts to harm Israel by harming Bezeq, we give you our solemn commitment to keep focused on what we do best: providing all of Israel’s citizens with quality service, to provide our employees with a fair workplace and to manufacture profits for our shareholders. That is our role as Israel’s communications infrastructures company,” Handler concluded.

WHAT JEWISH HOLIDAYS MEAN TO PALESTINIANS

Closures for Jewish and Israeli holidays are a routine procedure.

Israeli security forces at the Qalandiya checkpoint near Ramallah (Flash90)

Israel set to put West Bank, Gaza under 11-day closure for Sukkot

Exceptionally long closure comes after Har Adar attack; defense minister dismisses as ‘nonsense’ TV report he overruled army’s recommendation

In a rare move, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman approved a plan to shut off the West Bank and Gaza Strip for 11 days for the Sukkot holiday and the following Shabbat, his office said Sunday.

An IDF spokesperson confirmed that this was the current decision. However, she stressed that the closure was subject to further assessments ahead of the holiday and could change.

Closures for Jewish and Israeli holidays are a routine procedure. However, in the past, Israel has shut down the West Bank and Gaza only at the start and end of week-long festivals like Sukkot, rather than for the entire holiday.

As the holiday ends on the evening of October 11 — a Wednesday — the closure is scheduled to last through the weekend, until midnight on October 14, for a total of 11 days.

Channel 2 news reported that Liberman’s decision went against a recommendation by the army and was due to pressure by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, following the deadly stabbing attack at the Har Adar settlement last week in which a Palestinian terrorist shot and killed three security officers and wounded a fourth.

The defense minister’s office dismissed the unsourced report as “nonsense,” and the army similarly denied the claim.

According to both the minister’s and an army spokesperson, since the Har Adar attack, the IDF’s stance has been in favor of a closure for the entire holiday.

The military said that prior to the Har Adar terror attack, it did advocate closing the West Bank and Gaza for only the first and last days of the holiday, but that assessment changed after the attack.

Liberman’s spokesperson said that the new “recommendation was accepted by the defense minister.”

In general, the Jewish high holiday season, which began last week with Rosh Hashanah, is seen by defense officials as a time period of increased tension in the region, when the risk of terror attacks is higher.

Ordinarily, tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank enter Israel and Israeli settlements for work each day. A far smaller number of Gaza residents also travel to Israel, mostly to receive medical treatment.

The IDF makes exceptions to the closures for humanitarian and other outstanding cases, based on assessments by the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration.

West Bank and Gaza closures for holidays are intended both to prevent attempts at terror attacks in Israel during the holiday period and to allow the Israeli security officials who operate the crossings to celebrate the festival.

A similar closure was imposed on Friday and Saturday for Yom Kippur and last week, for Rosh Hashanah.

The above brings to mind a poem that I wrote 13 years ago ….

MY FAMILY IS DIVIDED  

By Steve Amsel 

 

A wall has been built,

I cannot see my neighbor

I know not when he needs my help

I know not when he is hungry.

 

My brother’s child cannot come for an afternoon snack

I cannot bring it to him

The wall is in the way

Dividing families and loved ones.

 

“They” told us the wall is for protection.

From what?

Must our children go hungry?

Must we be jobless?

 

“They” say we are the enemy.

Is going to work a crime?

Is going to school a crime?

Try to tell a child that hunger is a good thing.

 

If the wall stays up

There will be an enemy

Uneducation and hunger leads to resentment

Resentment will lead to revolt.

 

Learn from your history my friends

Learn that walls are not the solution

Learn that unity is strength

And learn that justice triumphs over evil always.

 

RACISM HAS BECOME AMERICA’S GREATEST EXPORT

Ben Packer, a US-born rabbi, is helping to push Palestinians out of their homes.

US-born rabbi aids East Jerusalem eviction

Michael F. Brown

Ben Packer, a US-born rabbi, is helping to push Palestinians out of their homes.

Last week, the Shamasneh family was evicted from a house where family members had lived for more than 50 years in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem.

Packer, who runs a hostel in Jerusalem’s Old City, swiftly welcomed the eviction. Writing on Facebook, he statedthat “our guys were there to help move out the Arabs’ stuff and are now helping to guard the property.”

Packer did not respond to a request asking what he meant by the phrase “our guys” and if staff or residents in his hostel – the Jerusalem Heritage House – had assisted the eviction.

Notorious political activist Arieh King – who sits on the Israeli-run Jerusalem City Council – was instrumental in securing the eviction. King regards Palestinians as “squatters” in Jerusalem and, backed by US donors, has been trying to force their removal. The settlement activities which he undertakes are all illegal under international law.

Applauds ethnic cleansing

Ben Packer is an enthusiastic supporter of King’s work.

Another Facebook posting shows Packer applauding Israeli settlers as he marched with them through the Silwanneighborhood of East Jerusalem in August. Among them is Arieh King.

Both Packer and King were celebrating the placing of a new Torah in a synagogue. The synagogue is located in a building that had been seized two years ago from a Palestinian family. Proponents of the seizure argue that Jews owned the property decades ago. Israeli law, however, prohibits Palestinians who similarly own properties in West Jerusalem and elsewhere from returning to them.

This instance of dispossessing Palestinians was by no means isolated. The day after Packer posted his videos, the Israeli authorities instructed several Palestinian families in the Silwan area to collect demolition orders on their homes.

Packer is an admirer of Donald Trump, another man keen to pursue ethnic cleansing. When Trump was elected US president last year, Packer argued that Israel should “fire up the bulldozers” and build more settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Packer has claimed to be a friend of Stephen Miller, now a senior policy adviser to Trump and an instigator of the attempt to stop people from six largely Muslim countries from entering the US. A decade ago, Packer took Miller on a guided tour of Jerusalem and Hebron.

The two men – Packer and Miller – appear to have similar political views.

Miller has a history of coded racism. Many comments he has made since taking up his current job can be considered as sympathetic to white supremacists.

Soft spot for KKK?

Packer’s response to last month’s violence in his home state of Virginia suggests he may have a soft spot for the Ku Klux Klan.

His first posting on Facebook after the clashes between white supremacists and anti-fascists in Charlottesvillewas to claim that “both sides there hate Jews.” That remark was made one day after Heather Heyer was killedwhen a car was driven into a protest against the far-right demonstration.

There is no evidence that Heyer hated Jews. On the contrary, there are numerous character references indicating she was a strong proponent of equal rights for all.

In subsequent postings, Packer gave succor to white supremacists in an apparent reference to neo-Nazis and the KKK.

“These people have no real record of terrorism or anything else,” he argued.

That profoundly ignorant remark was made during a Facebook discussion prompted by Packer’s sharing an article with a headline about how one Orthodox Jew in Israel was “standing with the KKK on Charlottesville.”

Falsehood

In a further falsehood about white supremacist protesters, Packer claimed, “There was no indication of violence by the protesters, only by the counter-protesters and that does not justify preventing their ‘rally.’”

He defended his views by noting, “I’m from the South, I think I know a thing or two.”

His high school civics classes in Virginia must have been woefully inadequate or non-existent.

Any adult who has lived in the South in the last 60 years is aware of the history of racial terror spread by the Klan.

Packer’s comments bear more than a passing resemblance to those of Yair Netanyahu. A son of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, Yair alleged that the anti-fascists in Charlottesville are worse than the neo-Nazis.

The prime minister’s son thinks campaigners against fascism and activists in the Black Lives Matter are getting stronger while the neo-Nazis are “dying out.” Unrebuked by his father, Yair was unable to distinguish between groups supporting equal rights and those who prefer states led by racist supremacists.

Yair has subsequently circulated a cartoon that recycles anti-Semitic tropes. The cartoon suggested that George Soros, a Jewish billionaire, was a puppet-master of Ehud Barak, a long-time rival to Benjamin Netanyahu – and, in effect, controls the world.

The few public figures who defended Yair over the cartoon included the former KKK leader David Duke and Ben Packer. Benjamin Netanyahu, ever-quick to assign anti-Semitic motivations to leftists for speaking on behalf of Palestinian rights, has remained silent on the matter.

It is disturbing that a rabbi would endorse an attempt to score political points by approving an age-old conspiracy theory about Jewish domination.

It is equally disturbing that Packer would indulge the extremists in Charlottesville who chanted “Jews will not replace us.”

Yet the depravity of the relationship between alt-right American racists and alt-right Israeli racists is becoming clearer in the Trump/Netanyahu era with supremacists such as Richard Spencer – a Duke University friend of Miller’s – referring to his pursuit of a “sort of white Zionism.”

In a recent article for the Israeli settler publication Arutz Sheva, Packer wrote about wishing to “send a message.” Opposition to settlement activities in East Jerusalem, he argued, should be “punished” by the building of more settlements.

What that means in practice is that Packer wants to uproot Palestinians and deny their basic rights. Is it any wonder that someone with such an extremist attitude would indulge the KKK?

Having urged supporters to help “work in the Yemenite Village (right outside the Old City),” Packer was recently asked by a Facebook correspondent: “How about you hit up the KKK? You seem to be buddies with them.”

In an unguarded moment, Packer responded: “They’d probably be more helpful than all the liberal losers out there. Let’s be honest.”

Of course, the saddest aspect of Packer’s comment is that both racists on the far right and many “liberals” – particularly in the US Congress – are doing their utmost to dispossess Palestinians.

Packer calls criticism directed at him “fake news” but he has yet to separate himself explicitly from both the racism and the anti-Semitism of the KKK. Like Trump, Packer often appears to be winking at the racist right in the US.

He claims, “Nobody that knows me at all would ever think I support Nazis or any other Jew haters.” That’s his strongest statement to date but it fails to address directly his position on the KKK and it underestimates the disturbing nature of his other posts downplaying the dangers of white supremacists.

Additional research by David Cronin

Israeli settler leader Arieh King observes protests against an eviction he pushed for in occupied East Jerusalem; Ben Packer supported that eviction. (Oren Ziv /ActiveStills)

FRIDAY’S TOON ~~ THE OCCUPATION IS FOREVER!

Or Not!!!

Image by Carlos Latuff

Netanyahu promises West Bank will be occupied Israel “forever”

ARMED TO KILL WITH ‘NON-LETHAL’ WEAPONS

While Palestinian protesters are generally armed with rocks and a few sporadic Molotov cocktails, Israeli forces are armed with some of the world’s leading crowd control weapons.

Live bullets larger than .22 caliber are the only ammunitions used during clashes that are considered lethal by Israeli standards, but the classifications of tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, sponge rounds and .22 caliber live bullets as non-lethal, is, according to medical professionals, misleading.

Palestinians try to avoid tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers during clashes which erupted after the funeral of Palestinian Mustafa Tamimi in the West Bank town of Nabi Saleh, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011. Tamimi, 28, was hurling rocks at an Israeli military vehicle on Friday in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh when a soldier inside opened the rear door and fired a tear gas canister at him from just a few yards away, witnesses said. He was taken to an Israeli hospital, where he died of his injuries on Saturday. Photo by Issam Rimawi

Sponge rounds, rubber bullets, and tear gas — how Israel’s non-lethal munitions can kill

It was the middle of a cold October night in 2015 when an Israeli army jeep came driving through Aida refugee camp blaring a message through its loudspeaker.

“People of Aida refugee camp, we are the occupation forces,” the message began in Arabic. “If you throw stones, we will hit you with gas until you all die. The children, the youth, the old people – you will all die. We won’t leave any of you alive … Go home or we will gas you until you die. Your families, your children, everyone – we will kill you.”

The Israeli government condemned the message as the act of a single soldier, but Palestinians in Aida, knowing the lethal potential of tear gas, took the threat seriously.

The next day an eight-month-old baby was killed by tear gas inhalation during clashes in a neighboring village.

While Palestinian protesters are generally armed with rocks and a few sporadic Molotov cocktails, Israeli forces are armed with some of the world’s leading crowd control weapons.

Live bullets larger than .22 caliber are the only ammunitions used during clashes that are considered lethal by Israeli standards, but the classifications of tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, sponge rounds and .22 caliber live bullets as non-lethal, is, according to medical professionals, misleading.

Mondoweiss spoke with Doctor Nasser al-Jaberi, the Director of the Emergency Room Department at the West Bank’s Arab Society Hospital, to get a better idea of what these weapons are capable of.

“[They] can absolutely kill,” al-Jaberi said. “Rocks are no real threat against an armed military. When you ask if a rock could injure or kill a soldier wearing a helmet, a bullet proof vest, and army-grade clothing, it is hard to imagine, but a protester dying of tear gas inhalation is very common.”

al-Jaberi told Mondoweiss that in certain circumstances nearly every non-lethal weapon used by Israel can, and at some point has, killed.

We asked al-Jaberi to break it down for us, munition-by-munition.

Sponge rounds

Sponge rounds, also called sponge grenades or sponge-tipped bullets, are used often by Israeli forces when clashes are happening near Israeli Jewish communities, or when the wind is too strong for tear gas to work well.

At clashes it is easy to tell when Israeli forces are using the rounds.

Youth in the streets are more careful about coming out in the open. They hide behind concrete blocks on the side of the road. In the middle of street wooden boards and other barriers are perched up on light poles and metal dumpsters are pushed out into the road, with youth popping up from behind them just long enough to pop off a rock from their slingshots.

The barriers just get in the way if there is a lot of tear gas being fired and are not sufficient to stop live bullets.

Sponge rounds are designed to be shot over a long distance (the required distance changes depending on the precise version of the ammunition), and only at the lower extremities. When used from a proper distance the harmless-looking rounds cause massive black and blue bruises — when shot at a close distance they can easily stop a heart or crack a skull.

Two types of sponge rounds are used by Israeli forces. The blue-tipped rounds are made up of an aluminum base, plastic base and dense sponge. They can cause serious damage on their own, but in 2015 a new black-tipped sponge round was introduced. The black-tipped rounds are heavier, with more dangerous tips created from synthetic rubber.

“If shot at a very close distance, either sponge round can cause fractures to the skull, which could lead to death,” al-Jaberi said. “They can also be deadly if shot at the chest, eye or neck in some cases. They are certainly less deadly than rubber-coated bullets or tear gas, but that does not mean they cannot cause death or serious injury.”

Sixteen-year-old Muhammad Abdelmajid Sunukrut was shot in the head from around 30 feet away with a sponge round in August 2014. After struggling for a week in the hospital Sunukrut succumbed to his wounds. In July 2016, 10-year-old Muhyee al-Din Tabakhi was hit in the chest with a sponge round, causing internal bleeding that led to the child’s death.

Still, the rounds are considered non-lethal.

Rubber-coated steel bullets

Rubber-coated steel bullets are another form of what is, according to al-Jaberi, wrongly considered a non-lethal method of crowd control used by Israeli forces during clashes.

In Arabic sponge rounds and rubber-coated steel bullets go by the same name: “matahta.” While the word and the defense against them (makeshift barriers in the streets) are the same, youth take rubber-coated steel bullets much more seriously when being used in the field by Israeli forces.

“A rubber-coated bullet is actually just a metallic bullet covered in a small layer of plastic or rubber, so it is still a bullet,” al-Jaberi said. “We have seen many skull fractures here at the ER from these so-called rubber bullets, and a skull fracture can cause internal bleeding, as well as contusions to the brain. If it is from a close distance in the head, eye, neck or chest these ammunitions have every likelihood of being deadly.”

Al-Jaberi explained that while a real bullet is more likely to make a clean entry and exit, the nature of a rubber-bullet means the entry point is much more likely to be torn open jaggedly, and if shot at a close distance, the bullet more likely to embed itself into the body.

These days Mohammed al-Azza, an award-winning Palestinian photojournalist from the occupied West Bank, never ventures to cover clashes without a bulletproof vest and helmet. In 2013 doctors told the young journalist he could have died if the rubber-coated steel bullet shot at his face while covering clashes had hit him just a centimeter closer to his eye.

He was shot from the second floor balcony, by soldiers positioned on the street just in front of him — much too close to be within protocol of any use of the munition.

The bullet fractured his upper cheek bone. It had to be surgically removed and the journalist has had to undergo multiple other surgeries to reconstruct his face and eye socket. Today there is only a small scar left on his upper cheekbone, but a quarter of his facial skeleton is made up of metal and plastic.

A myriad of other cases documented by rights groups illustrate just how dangerous the ammunition can be, including the 2016 incident in which 12-year-old Mohiyeh al-Tabakhi was shot and killed by Israeli forces after a rubber-coated steel bullet hit the child in the chest, causing him to go into cardiac arrest and die.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem has documented dozens of other Palestinians killed by rubber-coated steel bullets. According to B’Tselem, the Israeli State Attorney’s Office has stated these deaths are “unavoidable mistakes.”

Countless others, like 10-year-old Yahiya al-Amudi, have been shot in the eyes by the ammunition, leaving them partially blinded.

.22 Caliber Bullets

There is no question that a .22 caliber bullet, also known as a tu-tu bullet, is considered live fire — it is — but Israeli forces still consider the ammunition a “non-lethal” crowd control method.

The small bullets are less powerful than larger cartridges, but they carry a deadly punch, just like any other bullet, particularly when the .22 calibers are hollow-tip bullets, also known as expanding, dum-dum, exploding or fragmented bullets.

According to al-Jaberi, the majority of the bullet wounds he treats are from these types of expanding bullets — the use of which is considered a war crime under international law.

“Most of the bullet wounds we treat here contain fragmented bullets. When they enter the skin they explode into many fragments. If this reaches the bones we call it comminuted fractures,” he said, explaining that these kind of fractures mean the bone was hit at high velocity and fractured into more than two pieces. “We have had some of these cases where the bullet fragments sliced arteries and that is a very serious injury that could definitely kill in certain circumstances.”

In 1981 John Hinckley Jr. shot then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan with a .22 caliber loaded with expanding bullets. While Reagan spent two weeks in the hospital recovering, the former president’s White House Press Secretary James Brady was shot in the head and suffered permanent brain damage that left him partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Israeli authorities deny the use of expanding bullets in their arsenal.

After the first year of the Second Palestinian Intifada, the head of the security department in the Operations Directorate of the Israeli military announced that the .22 bullet was too deadly to use as a form of crowd control and discontinued its use between the years of 2001 and 2008, according to B’Tselem.

The .22’s were eventually brought back into use, and by 2015 B’Tselem found that there was “a steady erosion in the restrictions on firing… leading to ever greater use of this weapon,” which it said was “misleadingly portrayed as a non-lethal measure.”

“The indisputable facts are that we are dealing with a lethal weapon, which the Israeli authorities falsely present as a reasonable tool to employ in dealing with demonstrations,” the report added.

In the first ten months of 2015, four Palestinians were shot and killed by .22 calibers, including 13-year-old Abdelrahman Obeidallah, who was shot with a .22 caliber bullet straight to the heart right after school let out.

Israeli forces said the shooter had not breached protocol in using the .22 as a non-lethal munition at the time of the 13-year-old’s death. According to Israeli officials, the soldier was shooting for the legs of another youth, when the bullet ricocheted up and hit Abdelrahman, showing that even when used according to Israel’s protocol, the bullets can be deadly.

Tear gas

More than 1,000 Palestinians were injured during the two weeks of daily clashes that followed the al-Aqsa mosque crisis last month, according to the Red Crescent. Most of those injuries were caused by severe tear gas inhalation.

Tear gas is actually not a gas at all, it is a powder mixed with a liquid substance that when released as an arsenal, resembles gaseous clouds. It also affects much more than just the eyes and tear ducts. Tear gas works by irritating mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, mouth and lungs. Touching your face, eyes, or trying to use water to wash it off only intensifies the symptoms.

The fact that it is a solid means the “gas” eventually settles on surfaces around the area it was administered. In the occupied West Bank, some areas are tear gassed nearly daily, meaning surfaces like balconies and window ledges, for instance can become caked in the substance. If someone unknowingly touches a railing, then wipes their face or other sensitive areas of the skin, the concentrated powder causes chemical burns.

“I have had many patients come in with serious respiratory distress from tear gas,” al-Jaberi said. “In particular circumstances tear gas can easily kill someone — for example if someone has a pre-existing condition, or if the patient is a small child, a very old person, and even in some cases, healthy people.”

Earlier this year 18-month-old Abdelrahman Barghouti died from asphyxiation after tear gas was shot by Israeli forces into the child’s family home.

Al-Jaberi’s most recent serious patient suffering from tear gas exposure had to be hospitalized for a week before being released because of respiratory damage triggered by the gas.

Even among healthy individuals, concentrated exposure to tear gas causes sharp pain in the chest and the sensation of suffocation.

Palestinian doctors, medics and nurses, as well as the general populace, know very well how to deal with the immediate effects of tear gas exposure, but al-Jaberi is concerned with the unknown effects it could trigger over time.

“I can’t give any specific evidence on the long term effects of the gas until there are serious research studies done about it,” he said. “Unfortunately there have not been many studies on the case, but we should be monitoring the people who are exposed to this gas on a daily basis, like those who live in the refugee camps, because I think it is logical to say that these people would have a much higher likelihood of having serious respiratory problems when compared to people not frequently exposed to the gas. We can feel certain there are side effects, but without studies it is hard to say for sure.”

Tear gas canisters

In addition to the gas itself, the canisters used to administer tear gas are shot at high velocity and can do serious damage if the canister hits vulnerable parts of the body.

“I’ve had many patients injured from the canisters. One of my patients was hit in the head with a gas canister at short range and it caused a fracture to the skull and damage to the bone around the eye,” al-Jaberi said.

The cases of tear gas killing, both from the gas itself and direct contact from the canisters, is well documented.

While Israeli military regulations prohibit firing tear gas directly at people, B’Tselem has extensively documented cases of the practice.

In March 2009 U.S. citizen Tristan Anderson was shot in the head with a tear gas canister and to this day suffers from severe brain damage. A month later, Bassem Abu-Rahmah, from the village of Bil’in, was hit in the chest by a tear gas canister and killed. Bassem’s death was made famous after his killing was featured in the Oscar-nominated film Five Broken Cameras.

The death of Bassem, a beloved and well-known Palestinian activist, was covered by media internationally, but it did not help to mitigate Israel’s use of tear gas against Palestinian protesters.

Two years after Bassem was killed, his sister died due to respiratory failure caused by tear gas inhalation. Eleven months after that Mustafa Tamimi was killed after being hit with a tear gas canister during clashes in Nabi Saleh.

Israeli forces closed both Abu-Rahmah’s and Tamimi’s case files without indictment. B’Tselem condemned the decision, stating that it gave “Israeli soldiers and officers the unequivocal message that, should they kill unarmed civilians, they will not be held accountable.”

“Given this state of affairs, it is hardly surprising that soldiers and Border Police officers continue to shoot tear-gas canisters directly at Palestinians, endangering their lives. Under such circumstances, it is only a matter of time before yet another unarmed Palestinian civilian is killed in this way,” the group said in a 2013 report.

Four years later, injuries and deaths caused by direct contact with tear gas canisters are still common occurrences.

More photos at the SOURCE

IN VIDEOS ~~ DENIAL AND REALITY OF ISRAELI APARTHEID

First the denial …..

Now the reality …..

Thousands of Palestinian workers queue at this Israeli military checkpoint before dawn each day.

Video by Ahmad Al-Bazz, Haidi Motola and Anne Paq/Activestills.org

THE TALLEST MAN IN THE WEST BANK

The tallest man in Ramallah offered to give us a tour of his cage. We would not even have to leave our table at Rukab’s Ice Cream, on Rukab Street; all he needed to do was reach into his pocket.

The Tallest Man in Ramallah

MICHAEL CHABON ROAMS THE WEST BANK WITH SAM BAHOUR

By  Michael Chabon

At nearly two meters—six foot four—Sam Bahour might well have been the tallest man in the whole West Bank, but his cage was constructed so ingeniously that it could fit into a leather billfold.

“Now, what do I mean, ‘my cage?’” He spoke with emphatic patience, like a remedial math instructor, a man well-practiced in keeping his cool. With his large, dignified head, hairless on top and heavy at the jawline, with his deep-set dark eyes and the note of restraint that often crept into his voice, there was something about Sam that reminded me of Edgar Kennedy in the old Hal Roach comedies, the master of the “slow burn.” “‘Sam,’” he said, pretending to be us, his visitors, we innocents abroad, “‘What is this cage you’re talking about? We saw the checkpoints. We saw the separation barrier. Is that what you mean by cage?’”

Some of us laughed; he had us down. What did we know about cages? When we finished our ice cream—a gaudy, sticky business in Ramallah, where the recipe is an Ottoman vestige, intensely colored and thickened with tree gum—we would pile back into our hired bus and return to the liberty we had not earned and were free to squander.

“Yes, that’s part of what I mean,” he said, answering the question he had posed on our behalf. “But there is more than that.”

Sam Bahour took the leather billfold out of the pocket of his dark-blue warm-up jacket and held it up for our inspection. It bulged like a paperback that had fallen into a bathtub. When he dropped it onto the tabletop it landed with a law-book thump. It was a book of evidence, proof that the cage he lived in was neither a metaphor nor simply a matter of four hundred miles of concrete and razor wire.

“In 1994, after Oslo,” Sam said, “my wife and I decided to move back here.” They had been married for a year, at that point, and decided to apply to the Israeli government for residency in Palestine “under a policy they called family reunification.” He flipped open the billfold and took out a passport with a familiar dark blue cover. “As an American citizen, I entered as a tourist, on a three-month visa.”

Sam Bahour was born in Youngstown, in 1964. His mother is a second-generation Ohioan of Lebanese Christian descent; his father immigrated to the United States from the town of Al-Bireh, then under Jordanian control, in 1957. After spending a few unhappy years working for relatives as a traveling salesman in the rural south (“basically a peddler,” in Sam’s words, “selling cheap goods to poor people at like a two hundred percent markup, it really bothered him”) Sam’s father settled in Youngstown, with its sizable Arab population. He bought the first of a series of independent grocery stores he would own and operate over the course of his career, got married, became a citizen, had a couple of kids, worked hard, made good.

A few things Sam said about his father seemed to suggest that though the elder Bahour settled and prospered in Ohio, he did not entirely lose himself in the embrace of his adopted country. When Sam was born his father had named him Bilal, after the most loyal of the Prophet’s Companions. But when non-Muslim neighbors in Youngstown shortened Bilal to “Billy,” Sam’s father—whose name was the American-sounding but authentically Arabic Sami—had his young son’s name legally changed to match his own. The freedom to return home that an American passport would afford, if only for three months at a time, had been among his motivations for marrying Sam’s mother and becoming a naturalized citizen. Some key part of the man—words like heart, mind, and spirit are only idioms, approximations—never left the house on Ma’arif Street where he had been born and raised, in the Al-Bireh neighborhood of Al-Sharafa, which belonged not to the Ottomans, the British, the Hashemites or the Israelis but only to the people who lived in them.

“I was brought up in a household that lived and ate and slept Palestine,” Sam would tell me, a couple of days after our first meeting over ice cream at Rakub’s. “I lived in Youngstown, where I didn’t know most of my neighbors, but I could tell you everybody in my neighborhood here in Ramallah. That’s an odd kind of way to grow up.”

That enchanted blue American passport, part skeleton key, part protective force-field, could work powerful three-month spells, both for Sam’s father and for Sam, once he and his Jerusalem-born wife, Abeer Barghouty, decided to try to make a life in Al-Bireh. For 13 years after his application for a residency card under the Israeli-controlled Family Reunification policy, Sam raised his daughters, built a number of businesses (telecommunications, retail development, consulting), worked for himself and his partners, for his clients and for the future of his half-born country, and lived a Palestinian life, all in tourist-visa tablespoonfuls, 90 days at a time. But in 2006, for reasons that remain mysterious, the magic embedded in his US passport abruptly ran out. Returning to the West Bank from a visa-renewing trip to Jordan, Sam handed over his passport to an Israeli border officer, expecting the routine 90-day rubber stamp. But when the passport was returned to him Sam saw that alongside the stamp, in Arabic, Hebrew and English, the officer had hand-written the words LAST PERMIT. Once this final allotment of 90 days ran out, Sam would no longer have permission to stay in the West Bank or Israel, and when he left—left his home, his family, his business, his community and everything he had worked to build over the past 13 years—he would not be permitted to return.

This is a very long post but definitely worth reading ….

Continue HERE

CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF OCCUPATION

Image by Carlos Latuff

Israel celebrates 50 years as occupier

Israel is to hold lavish celebrations over the coming weeks to mark the 50th anniversary of what it calls the “liberation of Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights” – or what the rest of us describe as the birth of the occupation.

The centerpiece event will take place in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem. The West Bank settlement “bloc” enjoys wide support in Israel, not least because it was established long ago by the supposedly left-wing Labour party, now heading the opposition.

The jubilee is a potent reminder that for Israelis, most of whom have never known a time before the occupation, Israel’s rule over the Palestinians seems as irreversible as the laws of nature. But the extravagance of the festivities also underscores the growth over five decades of Israel’s self-assurance as an occupier.

Documents found this month in Israel’s archives reveal that, when Israel captured East Jerusalem in 1967, its first concern was to hoodwink the international community.

The foreign ministry ordered Israel’s ambassadors to mischaracterize its illegal annexation of East Jerusalem as a simple “municipal fusion”. To avoid diplomatic reprisals, Israel claimed it was necessary to ease the provision of essential services to the occupied Palestinian population.

Interestingly, those drafting the order advised that the deception was unlikely to succeed. The United States had already insisted that Israel commit no unilateral moves.

But within months Israel had evicted thousands of Palestinians from the Old City and destroyed their homes. Washington and Europe have been turning a blind eye to such actions ever since.

One of the Zionist movement’s favorite early slogans was: “Dunam after dunam, goat after goat”. The seizure of small areas of territory measured in dunams, the demolition of the odd home, and the gradual destruction of herding animals would slowly drive the Palestinians off most of their land, “liberating” it for Jewish colonization. If it was done piecemeal, the objections from overseas would remain muffled. It has proved a winning formula.

Fifty years on, the colonization of East Jerusalem and the West Bank is so entrenched that a two-state solution is nothing more than a pipe dream.

Nonetheless, US president Donald Trump has chosen this inauspicious moment to dispatch an envoy, Jason Greenblatt, to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In a “goodwill” response, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has unveiled a framework for settlement building. It is exactly the kind of formula for deception that has helped Israel consolidate the occupation since 1967.

Netanyahu says expansion will be “restricted” to “previously developed” settlements, or “adjacent” areas, or, depending on the terrain, “land close” to a settlement.

Peace Now points out that the settlements already have jurisdiction over some 10 per cent of the West Bank, while far more is treated as “state land”. The new framework, says the group, gives the settlers a green light to “build everywhere”.

The Trump White House has shrugged its shoulders. A statement following Netanyahu’s announcement judged the settlements no “impediment to peace”, adding that Israel’s commitments to previous US administrations would be treated as moot.

Effectively, the US is wiping the slate clean, creating a new baseline for negotiations after decades of Israeli changes stripping the Palestinians of territory and rights.

Although none of this bodes well, Egypt and Jordan’s leaders met Trump this month to push for renewed talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The White House is said to be preparing to welcome the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.

Some senior Palestinians are rightly wary. Abbas Zaki, a Fatah leader, fears Trump will try to impose a regional solution on Arab states, over Abbas’s head, designed to “eliminate the Palestinian cause altogether”.

David Ben Gurion, Israel’s founding father, reportedly once said: “What matters is not what the goyim [non-Jews] say, but what the Jews do.”

For nearly a quarter of a century, the Oslo accords dangled an illusory peace carrot that usefully distracted the global community as Israel nearly quadrupled its settler population, making even a highly circumscribed Palestinian state unrealizable.

Now, that game plan is about to be revived in new form. While the US, Israel, Jordan and Egypt focus on the hopeless task of creating a regional framework for peace, Israel will be left undisturbed once again to seize more dunams and more goats.

In Israel, the debate is no longer simply about whether to build settler homes, or about how many can be justified. Government ministers argue instead about the best moment to annex vast areas of the West Bank associated with so-called settlement blocs such as Gush Etzion.

Israel’s imminent celebrations should lay to rest any confusion that the occupation is still considered temporary. But when occupation becomes permanent, it metamorphoses into something far uglier.

It is past time to recognize that Israel has established an apartheid regime and one that serves as a vehicle for incremental ethnic cleansing. If there are to be talks, ending that outrage must be their first task.

HOW THE ‘SUPER MOON’ AFFECTED THE SUPER LUNATICS IN ISRAEL

Olive harvest time is a traditional season for pogroms in the West Bank, but this was one of the most violent.

Image by Carlos Latuff

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 Israel’s #1 Lunatic

Image by Amos Biderman

Image by Amos Biderman

A Pogrom Shakes a Palestinian Village Strangled by Israeli Settlements

A dozen masked settlers wielding knives and clubs and yelling ‘death to Arabs’ attacked five Palestinian farmers who were harvesting olives; ‘They came to kill,’ one victim says.

Gideon Levy and Alex Levac

It was a pogrom.

The survivors are five congenial Palestinian farmers who speak broken Hebrew and work in construction in Israel, with valid entry permits. On weekends they cultivate what is left of their lands, most of which were plundered for the benefit of the settlements that choke their village, Janiya, outside Ramallah. They are convinced that they survived last Saturday’s attack only by a miracle.

“Pogrom” really is the only word that describes what they endured. “We will kill you!” the assailants shouted, as they beat the men over the head and on their bodies with clubs and iron pipes, and brandished serrated knives. The only “crime” of the Palestinians, who were in the midst of harvesting their olives when the settlers swooped down on them, was that they were Palestinians who had the temerity to work their land.

Olive harvest time is a traditional season for pogroms in the West Bank, but this was one of the most violent. No Israeli official condemned the assault, no one got upset. One victim needed 20 stitches in his head, another suffered a broken arm and shoulder, a third is limping, a fourth lost his front teeth. Only one managed to get away from the attackers, but he was also hobbled, when he injured his leg on the rocky terrain as he fled.

The farmers, who days later were still in shock from the experience, were evacuated by fellow villagers; the olives remain scattered on the ground. Now they are afraid to go back to the groves. This weekend, they promised themselves, they will send young people from Janiya to collect what was harvested and to complete the work. They themselves, their bodies and spirits battered, say they are incapable of doing anything.

The assailants, about a dozen masked settlers, are seen in a video taken by a local resident, Ahmed al-Mazlim, as they – apparently flushed with the excitement of their act – made their way back to their huts, which are scattered below the settlement of Neria, also known as North Talmon, between Modi’in and Ramallah. This was their “oneg Shabbat,” their Sabbath joy: descending into the valley and beating up people who were working their land, as innocent as they were helpless – possibly even with intent to kill. A peaceful weekend.

The settlers are seen climbing slowly back up to the huts of their unauthorized outpost, which is planted on the hillside below Neria. They are not in any hurry – after all, no one is going to catch them. Finally they sit down on the porch of one of the huts to quench their thirst with a canteen.

I’ve never before seen criminals leaving the scene of the crime with such indifference. Maybe they were exhausted from their labors – thrashing Arabs – tired but happy. Yotam Berger, the Haaretz reporter who was the first to publish the video, visited the huts the day after the pogrom. It was clear to him that settlers lived there, even though the structures were empty when he arrived. No arrests have been made so far, and past experience suggests that none will be made. The police are investigating.

Janiya, a small village of 1,400 souls in the central West Bank, made a living from its lands until most of them were grabbed by the nearby settlements, beginning in the late 1980s. Few regions are as dense with settlers as this one; few villages have had as much of their land plundered as Janiya. Of the original 50,000-60,000 dunams (12,500-15,000 acres) owned by its residents, only 7,000 remain in their hands. The village is being suffocated.

From a vantage point at its edge, we can view the valley in which the assault was perpetrated, and the nearby settlements. Our guide is Iyad Hadad, a field researcher for the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. Beneath us, the homes of Talmon A abut Janiya’s remaining lands, quite close to the villagers’ houses. Just stretch out your hand and touch them; one more expansion project and they’re inside Janiya.

To the right – southeast – is the settlement of Dolev, on behalf of whose residents Israel blocked the main road to Ramallah for years. Perched on the hill opposite is Talmon B; next to it is Talmon C; and there, on the horizon, lies Talmon D. An Israel Defense Forces base stands on the top of the hill, at a distance.

Every hilltop here poses another threat to the quiet village. Neria overlooks the olive grove belonging to the Abu Fuheida family and the terraced slopes leading down to it. The dwellings of the “hilltop youths” are scattered across the whole expanse, beneath the Talmons, dozens of meters apart from each other.

It’s quiet in the valley. Some of Janiya’s olive groves now lie on property owned by the settlements; when they are harvested, it’s done in coordination with the Israel Defense Forces. For example, olives were picked in Palestinian-tended parts of Talmon A last week. But the attack by the settlers was perpetrated in a location where coordination isn’t required, because it’s not on the property of any settlement.

This is the end of the harvesting season, and this is a wadi called Natashath. It’s Saturday morning, a beautiful day, and five members of the Abu Fuheida family – Sa’il, Hassan, Sabar, Sa’ad and Mohammed – descend to their family grove, where they have about 70 olive trees. It’s about 8:30; there are no other farmers around. They carry bags (“No knives,” one of them quickly makes clear) that are spread out on the ground to catch the fallen olives, along with a bottle of Coca-Cola, tomatoes, pita and cold cuts. This is not a good year for olives – the harvest has been meager.

They work until midday, sit down to eat and go back to the ladders. Their plan is to complete the harvest by evening. But then the assailants sweep down out of nowhere; the harvesters, up on ladders, heads amid the branches, don’t see them. Only Sa’il, at 57 the eldest of the group and the only one not on a ladder, is able to get away, only to be injured in the course of his panicky flight.

According to Sa’il and to his wounded brother Hassan, there were 10, perhaps 15 attackers. They looked young and robust. One of the four who assaulted Hassan wore glasses; Hassan saw only his eyes. He was the one who gave him the worst pummeling, adds Hassan. All were holding pipes, clubs, sticks or knives. There was also one who seemed to be a lookout: He stood atop the hill next to Neria, armed with a rifle, apparently observing the goings-on. “Kill the Arabs! Kill the Arabs!” the attackers shouted. “We will kill you, you sluts.”

Sa’il: “They were aggressive, violent, I’ve never seen an attack like it. They came to kill.”

The villagers scampered down from the ladders, straight into the hands of the attackers, who grabbed Sabar first, then Hassan, surrounding them – a few settlers for every Palestinian – and walloping them. Sabar was the first to lose consciousness, Hassan says he also passed out. The pogromists tried to hit them on the head, but Hassan protected his with his hands. His right hand is now bandaged, stitched up and in a sling, four of his teeth were knocked out and his lip was cut, too. He is barely functioning and his speech is slurred.

The attack went on for between five and 10 minutes. One of the cousins, Mohammed, managed to flee at one stage, after being slightly wounded, and he summoned help from the village. When the assailants left, the wounded were taken in ambulances and private cars to the Ramallah Government Hospital. Hassan relates that he regained consciousness in his brother’s house, where he had been taken by villagers before being evacuated to the hospital. He gets dizzy when he stands up. He was certain he was going to die, says Hassan, a construction worker in Rishon Letzion (“with a proper permit”).

Only Hassan and Sa’il were in the village when we visited this week (the other three victims had gone to Binyamin Region headquarters, to give testimony to the police.) Their home was packed with visitors offering words of comfort to the victims. The assailants are insane, their cousin Sahar tells us: “They hate the Arabs, they hate the smell of Arabs, they see an Arab and want to trample him underfoot. They want to kill us. They don’t want Arabs here. And they do whatever they feel like.”

We sat in the shade of the bougainvillea in the yard of the family house. I asked Hassan what he thought about what happened. A faint smile crossed his wounded lips, as he replied, “I don’t know what to think. This happens every year.”

Source and photos AT

CAUGHT ON VIDEO ~~ LINEUP OF PALESTINIAN CHILDREN

An Israeli soldier searches a 15 year old boy in Hebron. One of the many incidents that takes place in Hebron that many Israelis don't know about.

An Israeli soldier searches a 15 year old boy in Hebron. One of the many incidents that takes place in Hebron that many Israelis don’t know about.

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This video shows Israeli occupation forces raiding the home of Karam Maswadeh in the West Bank city of Hebron.

Combatants from the Israeli Border Police enter the house and demand the whereabouts of Maswadeh’s son. Unable to find the child, the soldiers seize two other boys, aged 11 and 12.

Israeli soldiers raid house looking for 8-year-old

Ali Abunimah

This video shows Israeli occupation forces raiding  the home of Karam Maswadeh in the West Bank city of Hebron.

It was filmed on 10 August by an international volunteer and published by the human rights group B’Tselem on Monday.

Combatants from the Israeli Border Police enter the house and demand the whereabouts of Maswadeh’s son. Unable to find the child, the soldiers seize two other boys, aged 11 and 12.

The boys are then marched over to a checkpoint where an Israeli settler armed with a rifle is waiting with his son.

The Border Police commander asks the settler and his son if they recognize the Palestinian boys. When they say they do not, the boys are released.

According to B’Tselem, occupation forces later picked up three other Palestinian children, aged 8, 11 and 13, and repeated the same procedure.

This was in connection with a fight that reportedly took place earlier that day between Palestinian children and Israeli settlers.

“Fights between Palestinian and settler children are commonplace in downtown Hebron, where Israel imposes a regime of segregation, causing systematic and extensive harm to the Palestinian population,” B’Tselem states.

Settlers in Hebron habitually harass and assault Palestinians with impunity, often under army protection.

In July, an Israeli soldier was filmed assaulting a Palestinian girl and confiscating her bicycle apparently because she was playing on a street that Israel has designated for the exclusive use of Jews.

According to Maswadeh’s testimony to B’Tselem, the Israeli soldiers later came back to his house at 2am to arrest his 8-year-old son. The father and son were then driven to the nearby settlement of Kiryat Arba where occupation forces wanted to interrogate the boy without his father present. Maswadeh said he refused.

“The video footage – showing Israeli security forces working in the service of the Hebron settlers and launching a night-time raid to locate an 8-year-old boy – highlights the disregard shown by Israeli authorities for the legal rights afforded to minors,” B’Tselem states. “Children below the age of criminal responsibility must not be detained for questioning, and certainly not in the middle of the night.”

The group also condemned Israel’s attempt to interrogate Maswadeh’s son without his parents present.

Sharp contrast

B’Tselem adds: “The immense efforts mounted to locate Palestinians suspected of harming settlers contrast sharply with the near absence of action to protect Palestinians from violence by settlers, be they minors or adults, or to uphold the rights of Palestinian children below the age of criminal responsibility.”

Recently, B’Tselem announced it would no longer cooperate with Israeli investigations into attacks by its soldiers and settlers on Palestinians, calling the military law enforcement system a sham.

“As of today,” B’Tselem executive director Hagai El-Ad wrote on 25 May, “we will no longer refer complaints to this system, and we will call on the Palestinian public not to do so either.”

“We will no longer aid a system that whitewashes investigations and serves as a fig leaf for the occupation.”

Abuse of children

The raid into a family home seen in the video above is routine in Hebron, as are night raids.

Harrowing video filmed last year shows Israeli soldiers raiding the bedrooms of Palestinian children in the middle of the night.

After forcing the children – at least one as young as four – out of their beds, the video shows the soldiers in full combat gear, armed with rifles and hand grenades, photographing and interrogating them.

Former Israeli soldiers have revealed that such raids in villages around the West Bank are often part of “mapping missions.”

Armed soldiers surround a Palestinian family’s home in the dead of night. A squad bangs on the front door, waking everyone up. Once inside, the soldiers gather the residents into a single room.

The family’s ID cards are inspected and recorded, as is how everyone is related, and their phone numbers.

These tactics rarely make headlines, but they are part of the fabric of a regime of seemingly permanent Israeli military rule over millions of Palestinians.

These kinds of abuses against children prompted 20 members of Congress to write to President Barack Obama earlier this year urging him to hold Israel accountable.

The lawmakers wrote of their “profound concern” regarding Israel’s ongoing abuse of Palestinian children, especially during their arrest, interrogation and imprisonment, adding that “ignoring the trauma being inflicted on millions of Palestinian children undermines our American values.”

#InPalestine ~~ THE POLITICS OF WATER AND SEWAGE

The lack of adequate sewage treatment poses a serious risk to public health. During the winter rains, wastewater overflows its containment pipes, creating a higher risk of contaminating groundwater.

A Palestinian woman walks next to sewage water flowing from Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Kafr Thulth, near Qalqilya, December 2012. (Ahmad Al-Bazz ActiveStills)

A Palestinian woman walks next to sewage water flowing from Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Kafr Thulth, near Qalqilya, December 2012. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/ ActiveStills)

West Bank villagers suffer from sewer politics

Abu Mazen Square has become a bit of a joke for Palestinian residents in the occupied West Bank town of Bruqin.

To understand why, it is imperative to delve into recent history.

Two years ago, the site of what is now a public square was an open cesspool. Wastewater pumped out of the nearby Israeli settlement Ariel, one of the largest in the West Bank. This wastewater mingled with overflow from nearby Salfit.

Salfit, a town of some 9,000 Palestinians, has spent the past 22 years trying to update its sewage management system, according to chief municipal engineer Saleh Afaneh, but has not been able to get the necessary permits from the Israeli military authorities. Consequently, wastewater has been flowing down freely, joining the natural stream that runs through Bruqin village.

The Salfit government has little power to reduce the amount of sewage entering Bruqin and the neighboring Palestinian village Kufr al-Dik, but it has supplied a few kilometers of pipeline to keep the mess underground in the most densely populated parts of the two towns.

While only four out of 15 planned kilometers of pipeline have been built so far, the Palestinian Authority took the opportunity to build a lavishly decorated new town square, dedicated to Mahmoud Abbas, the PA president, directly over the line, giving Bruqin’s local residents Abu Mazen Square. A kilometer away, the sewage continues to flow openly.

The story of Abu Mazen Square is an execrable reminder for many in Bruqin that their problems are being glossed over by the Palestinian Authority. While sewage leaks have plagued the village for years, the PA and its Ministry of Health have offered a minimal amount of relief, and have abandoned attempts to advocate for rural communities suffering from wastewater mismanagement.

The PA might claim that all is well, but beneath the surface the situation stinks.

Sewer politics

Wastewater management is a problem in the West Bank.

Approximately half of Israel’s environmental regulations do not apply in the occupied territory. With such lax legislation, companies producing metals, chemicals and plastics flock to settlement industrial zones, such as West Ariel and Barkan. Both Israeli and international companies are drawn to areas where they can pollute more freely, often at the expense of surrounding Palestinian communities.

The Oslo accords signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in the mid-1990s saw the West Bank carved up into areas A, B and C with the Palestinian Authority exercising a diminishing level of control over the internal affairs of Palestinian communities in those areas.

For project approval in Area C — the some 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli civilian and military control — Palestinian towns and villages must apply to the Israeli body which oversees civilian affairs in occupied territory.

It is the Israeli military that ultimately decides whether Palestinians can build new sewage infrastructure and wastewater treatment plants in places like Salfit where, according to Afaneh, there is no available land in areas A and B, where the Palestinian Authority exercises civilian control, for such projects.

But the Israeli authorities refuse the vast majority of applications. Making matters worse, since the beginning of 2016, the Israeli military has demolished more than 50 water and sanitation structures in Area C.

The lack of adequate sewage treatment poses a serious risk to public health. During the winter rains, wastewater overflows its containment pipes, creating a higher risk of contaminating groundwater.

In the summer, when the West Bank faces massive water cuts imposed by Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, Palestinians are forced to turn to polluted water sources to meet needs.

Farmers and herders in the area also report that free-flowing sewage damages crops and can poison animals, undermining livelihoods and negatively affecting the quality of food available in rural communities.

Crisis? What crisis?

One wouldn’t know any of this, however, from talking to Palestinian Authority officials.

Haytham Mansour is director of the Ministry of Health in the Salfit region. Mansour refused to be drawn out on whether there is a water crisis in the area. While he acknowledged both water cuts and sewage leaks, he was adamant that both were under control and did not cause undue suffering in the Salfit region.

He insisted that his department tests local water on a weekly or monthly basis. Yet he would not share the findings of those reports or even confirm that the ministry kept records on water quality.

Mansour did concede that the overflow of sewage, combined with the lack of access to potable water, could hypothetically put communities at risk from anything from scabies to Hepatitis A, but maintained that the Salfit region had not seen any significant increase in those maladies.

But his denials, and those of his deputies, seem to fly in the face of evidence collected independently.

Mohammad Bishr, a doctor with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society’s Salfit branch, is concerned. As a participant in a mobile clinic program, he regularly visits both Kufr al-Dik and Bruqin to offer free consultation and primary health care services to underserved communities.

In an interview with The Electronic Intifada, Bishr said that since the beginning of June, the nongovernmental organization has noted an increase in the number of patients with scabies, gastroenteritis and gastrointestinal amebiasis, a miniature epidemic that repeats itself every summer. He attributed this pattern to a lack of proper sanitation and the domestic use of polluted drinking water.

Bishr also noted that patients were concerned over the size and frequency of mosquito bites they sustained in recent years. Small pools of sewage provide optimal breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

“We’ve started to see this every time the water goes [out],” noted Bishr. “Every summer, it gets worse.”

Bassam Madi, another doctor with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society mobile clinic program, worries that if the sewage crisis is not adequately addressed, there will be further increases in communicable diseases.

Crucial evidence

But to address a problem, it first needs to be acknowledged.

With no access to water quality reports from the Ministry of Health, local clinicians and public health officials are at a disadvantage. The Palestinian Medical Relief Society and local government officials have access to just a single independent report, obtained after an Israeli activist sent samples of water from polluted streams outside the Ariel settlement and the Barkan Industrial Zone to Aminolab in Israel.

Some samples showed high levels of organic waste, consistent with untreated industrial waste. Others showed waste consistent with unrestricted dumping. Additional samples showed evidence of intermittent filtration.

Aminolab noted in its report, seen by The Electronic Intifada, that this level of contamination in certain areas deviates from the Inbar standards, the Israeli regulations on water quality. While the report is not comprehensive, it includes enough detail to confirm that industrial pollutants from settlements are entering water used for agricultural and household purposes by thousands of Palestinians in the Salfit district.

The mayors of Bruqin and Kufr al-Dik have been equally dependent on the lone water quality report from Aminolab and confirmed to The Electronic Intifada that the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health had taken almost no measures to address the wastewater problem in their towns.

Jamal al-Dik, the mayor of Kufr al-Dik, said that in 30 months of construction, the PA had only completed a little more than a quarter of the planned 15 kilometers of the sewage diversion pipeline that gave rise to Abu Mazen Square. Currently, this pipeline is only keeping sewage at bay in the most heavily populated areas.

The mayor did say that the ministry this year had supplied Kufr al-Dik with a small shipment of mosquito spray, though not enough to supply every household. The health ministry, he said, had been ignoring the escalating public health threat for years.

“This is an old story, but also our future,” the mayor added.

After years of trying to hold a public health crisis at bay with minimal assistance from the ministry, local residents and health workers are losing confidence in finding a solution to the sewage crisis, and losing confidence in their government.

Politics of water

The politicization of water in the West Bank is nothing new.

Under the Oslo accords, a Joint Water Committee, with equal numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, was established to oversee water and sanitation issues in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. While representation within the committee was hypothetically equal, Israel’s military control over Area C gave Israel effective veto power over the committee’s decisions. As a result, almost no Palestinian proposals to the joint committee ever came to fruition.

In 2010, Palestinian Authority representatives stopped giving their approval to Israeli proposals at the joint committee in protest. The Palestinian delegation failed, however, to combine their protest with any strategy to mitigate the effects of stressed water infrastructure for the Palestinian population.

The Israeli military occupation puts a burden on the Palestinian Authority’s health ministry as well. The World Health Organization estimates that in 2015 the ministry was unable to procure an estimated 30 percent of essential medicines, and 25 to 30 percent of medical equipment and laboratory supplies, due to budget shortfalls as well as Israeli restrictions on movement, which limit the flow of medical goods and personnel.

In addition to restricting access to medical supplies, the violence of the military occupation mean hospital beds are filled with those who have been injured by Israeli soldiers and settlers. The restricted access to potable water simply adds more pressure on already overstressed Palestinian public health institutions.

The Ministry of Health could face political consequences for protesting the causes of the sewage crisis. The ministry’s budget for 2015 was some $323 million, according to the World Health Organization. During the same year, the US government agency USAID donated $7.6 million to the Palestinian Authority for basic health projects and $45 million for water and sanitation.

The health ministry remains caught between acknowledging the overtly political causes of a public health crisis, and the political risk of taking concrete action against the occupation.The US government has previously set a precedent in using aid as a bargaining chip against the PA as possible punishment for state-building activities.

The Palestinian Medical Relief Society’s Bassam Madi believes that the problem of a lack of access to potable water will be solved when the PA, and its donors, are ready to address the matter as a public health crisis, not as a political issue.

“Let’s address the human issue, let’s address the environmental issue,” he said during a break from his work with the mobile clinic.

But, if Abu Mazen Square is any indication, the PA seems more interested in keeping up political appearances, whatever the underlying reality. The needs of vulnerable villagers in the Salfit district do not compete with this priority.

At present, the Palestinian Authority is addressing neither the “human issue” described by Madi nor the underlying political reality of Israeli control and abuse of the environment.

COLOUR CODED PALESTINIANS

Defense Ministry will produce a map of the West Bank marking in green and red the areas where, respectively, “good” and “bad” Palestinians live.

Portrait of a boy with the flag of Palestine painted on his face

Portrait of a boy with the flag of Palestine painted on his face

Israel to colour-code “good” and “bad” Palestinians

By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

Launched this month, as much of the world was on holiday, Avigdor Lieberman’s plan for the Palestinians – retooling Israel’s occupation – received less attention than it should.

Defence minister since May, Lieberman has been itching to accelerate Israel’s annexation by stealth of the West Bank.

Quislings and propaganda

His “carrot and stick” plan has three components. First, he intends to sideline the Palestinian Authority (PA) in favour of a new local leadership of “notables” hand-picked by Israel.

Preferring to “cut out the middle man”, in his words, he will open a dialogue with supposedly more responsible Palestinians – business people, academics and mayors.

Next, he has established a new communications unit that will speak in Arabic over the heads of the PA in the West Bank and its Hamas rivals in Gaza directly to ordinary Palestinians.

An online campaign – budgeted at USD 2.6 million – will seek to convince them of Israel’s good intentions. The Palestinians’ problems, according to Lieberman, derive from corrupt and inciteful national leaderships, not the occupation.

And finally, his Defence Ministry will produce a map of the West Bank marking in green and red the areas where, respectively, “good” and “bad” Palestinians live.

Sticks and carrots

Collective punishment will be stepped up in towns and villages in red areas, from which Palestinian attacks have been launched. Presumably night raids and house demolitions will increase, while closures will further curtail freedom of movement.

Palestinians in green areas will reap economic rewards for their good behaviour. They will be given work permits in Israel and the settlements, and benefit from development projects, including the creation of Israeli-controlled industrial zones.

This week the Haaretz daily reported that Lieberman is convinced that all the Palestinians can be attributed to Abbas’s “reign of corruption”. In briefings he has stated that the Palestinian leader “doesn’t want to deal with problems of economics and employment. The entire system of management there has failed.”

It sounds like the musings of a 19th century colonial official on how best to prevent the natives turning restless. Ahmed Majdalani, an adviser to Mahmoud Abbas, told the Israeli media the new arrangements assumed Palestinians were “stupid and lacking self-respect” and could be “bought with economic perks”.

Lieberman’s longer-term goal is to persuade Palestinians – and the international community – that their aspirations for self-determination are unattainable and counter-productive

Failed old policy

Israel has tried that approach before, as Palestinian officials pointed out. Decades ago, Israel sought to manage the occupation by imposing on the local population Palestinian collaborators, termed “Village Leagues”. Armed by the Israeli military, they were supposed to stamp out political activism and support for the PLO.

By the early 1980s the experiment had to be abandoned, as Palestinians refused to accept the leagues’ corrupt and self-serving rule. An uprising, the firstintifada, followed a short time later.

Israel’s agreement to the PA’s creation under the Oslo accords in the mid-1990s was, in part, an acceptance that the occupied territories needed a more credible security contractor, this time in the form of the Palestinian national leadership.

Disorganised resistance

Whatever Lieberman and others claim, the Palestinian leaderships in the West Bank and Gaza are the last parties to blame for the recent wave of Palestinian unrest. The attacks have been mostly carried out spontaneously by “lone wolves”, not organised groups. Many occur in Jerusalem, from which all political activity is barred.

Abbas has described the “security coordination” with Israel as “sacred”, aware that his PA will not survive long if it does not demonstrate its usefulness to Israel. His security services have subdued Palestinian resistance more effectively than the Israeli army.

Bereft of regional allies and a credible strategy, even Hamas has chosen quiet since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge, its lethal wrecking spree in Gaza in 2014. It has kept the tiny coastal enclave locked down. Rocket fire – one of the few remaining, if largely symbolic, ways to confront Israel – all but ceased long ago.

The silence from Gaza was briefly disturbed a week ago by a rocket fired by a small group linked to the self-styled Islamic State. Despite Hamas’s disavowal of the attack, Lieberman demonstrated his new big stick by bombarding government sites in Gaza in a show of force unseen over the past two years.

Grassroots rage

The futility of this approach – blaming the official leaderships for the roiling frustration and resentment of those they formally lead – should be self-evident.

Ordinary Palestinians, not officials, endure the endless expansion of settlements and the resulting takeover of their agricultural lands. Ordinary Palestinians, not their leaders, face daily abuses at checkpoints and in military raids. Reports at the weekend suggested soldiers were deliberately kneecapping youths at protests to permanently disable them.

Round-ups, torture, military courts that always find the accused guilty – these are the rites of passage for Palestinians in the West Bank. For Palestinians in Gaza, it is slow starvation, homelessness and a random missile rain of death.

An Israeli strategy that failed decades ago – before the PA even existed – is not going to succeed now. Social media campaigns and paltry handouts will not persuade Palestinians they are nothing more than a humanitarian problem.

They are not about to shelve their dreams of liberation just because Lieberman colour-codes them in red and green.

ISRAEL’S INTIFADA CAUGHT ON VIDEO

Video intifada

Image by Carlos Latuff

third-intifada-palestine

When you hear the word ‘Intifada’ you think of a Palestinian uprising ….

Below are videos of the zionist Intifada, where not a stone is thrown, but bullets are in their stead.

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This video of Mustafa Adel Al-Khatib, 17, being shot in the back and killed in the Old City last year.

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On this video of a Palestinian girl being shot at a bus shelter inside the occupation as she holds up a knife in obvious desperation.

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This video obtained by the human rights group B’Tselem a year ago of Muhammad al-Kasba, 17, throwing a rock that broke the windshield of a jeep a brigade commander was riding in. So the commander jumped out of the vehicle and pursued al-Kasba, shooting him 3 times in his upper body and killing him. The beginning of the execution was captured on the video:
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The above is taken from a report by Yakov Hirsch.
Read it in full HERE

ISRAEL’S LOVE FOR PALESTINE CAUGHT ON VIDEO

First see THIS previous post …..

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

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

Israelis use stun grenade in unprovoked attack on youths

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harassment and scorn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deadly gas projectiles return to West Bank protests

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

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

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

Israel has used them to deadly effect before.

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

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

Recent injuries

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

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

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

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

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

Harmful gas

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Israeli military declined to comment for this article.

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

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

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

THE LATEST IN TOONS ~~ PUTTING THE SCREWS TO SYRIA AND PALESTINE

Images by Carlos Latuff

Erdogan's First Day of School at Kremlin Related report HERE

Erdogan’s First Day of School at Kremlin … Related report HERE

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Google blames bug for removing ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza’ from Israel/Palestine map -

Google blames bug for removing ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza’ from Israel/Palestine map –

Google blames a malfunction for removing the terms “West Bank” and “Gaza Strip” from its map of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.

“There has never been a ‘Palestine’ label on Google Maps, however we discovered a bug that removed the labels for ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza Strip’. We’re working quickly to bring these labels back to the area,” said a Google spokesperson in an email to Mondoweiss.

The bug Google blames for the erasure of the labels set off a wave of outraged Tweets and Facebook posts in the last several days, although the deletion reportedly occurred as early as July 25th. The Palestinian Journalists Forum issued a widely circulated denouncement of the removal.

“The move is also designed to falsify history, and geography as well as the Palestinian people’s right to their homeland, and a failed attempt to tamper with the memory of Palestinians and Arabs as well as the world,” the PJF said, according to Turkish Radio Television (TRT).

Andrew Kadi, a co-chair of the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, told Mondoweiss that he feels Google is part of the problem when it comes to recognizing the occupation. Although the United States and United Nations have repeatedly in the past declared Israel’s military to be an occupying force in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, that obvious declaration has fallen out of style. Google’s omission of the word makes this amnesia possible.

“I just searched Palestine on Google Maps and it brings up Israel basically. Israel is labelled like Israel, like lots of different parts of what is now recognized as Israel, but you do not have a label that clearly states that the Golan Heights is occupied. You don’t have anything that clearly states that the West Bank is occupied. Although you have the Green Line you have nothing that indicates that East Jerusalem is militarily occupied. And these aren’t my definitions, these are the international definitions, recognized by every country including the U.S. So it’s odd,” Kadi said.

The debate over Google’s alleged bug “overlooks that Google has not been correctly labelling these areas correctly anyway.”

Kadi said that for someone unfamiliar with the history of the region, then these dashed lines, labelled in fine print “1949 Armistice Line,” don’t mean anything. If you wanted to fact check whether the Palestinian territories are occupied or not, Google’s map wouldn’t tell you much.

“If they want to be treated as a geographical information resource, then they have to take that more seriously. At a minimum, of meeting the international community’s definition of the Occupied West Bank, Occupied East Jerusalem and the Occupied Golan Heights,” he added.

Kadi also expects that Google’s investment in Israel, and its purchasing of Israeli navigation app Waze, might have inspired the “bug” to happen.

Bug or not, “Google is benefiting from the country that’s erased us,” said Kadi, who is Palestinian-American.

Waze, and human error, was at least partially to blame for a deadly incident this winter, when two Israeli soldiers wandered their vehicle into the Qalandia refugee camp, between Ramallah and Jerusalem, and ended up pinned down by a firebomb, Newsweek reported. In rescuing the wayward soldiers, Israeli forces killed a 22-year-old Palestinian man Iyad Amr Sajdiyeh. Citing a report in Haaretz, the March, 1 Newsweek article details how the Israeli military put in force “Hannibal” orders that allow for commanders to place Palestinian civilians in danger to prevent the capture of Israeli troops. Waze said the soldiers were not using the feature that prevents accidental navigation into Palestinian areas.

“Waze has and is continuing to work directly with the relevant authorities to decrease such mishaps from occurring, but unfortunately there is no ability to prevent them altogether as ultimately some prudence is in the driver’s hands,” Julie Mossler, a representative for the company, told the magazine.

The blindness of the tech industry to the mortal danger of occupation can endanger Palestinian and Israeli lives in other ways, the Daily Dot reports. Some roads are restricted to settlers solely. The author, Jonathan Brown, explains:

“If you’re Palestinian, to travel on Google-endorsed roads, you’ll need to secure a series of permits and agreements, which the Israeli authority now hands out less frequently with each passing year,” Brown wrote in 2014. “Exceptions might be made for a journey to Jerusalem, for prayers at Al Aqsa, but probably only during Ramadan. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) calls some roads in this network ‘sterile roads.’ For Palestinians, use [of] these are prohibited entirely.”

Imagine taking your Google Maps app back in time, to Mississippi in the 1960s, and driving as an African American person through a “sun down town,” where police would arrest people of color if discovered outside after dark. Unless Google wrote the grim reality of Jim Crow into your phone, you could be driving into a lynching. The same thing applies in for Palestinians under Israeli occupation, and living near settler neighbors who threaten them.

As Google labors to fix the bug, some observers of Israel/Palestine have noted that the erasure of the words “West Bank” and “Gaza” inadvertently reflect a reality that hardly gets mentioned in American discussions of the region: the huge degree of control Israel exerts over the West Bank and Gaza. The fact of military domination renders talk of a “two-state solution” divorced from the fact that Israel and its Occupied Palestinian Territories operate as an effectively single but deeply dysfunctional and unequal political entity.

Kadi said that one of his first reactions to seeing the words removed was how much it made Palestine/Israel look like a single country. The Oslo-mandated Palestinian Authority failing to coalesce under military occupation into a sovereign government, quelle surprise, has lead to a the popularity of a “rights-based” approach becoming more popular, Kadi said.

One prominent social media figure appeared to endorse a single, equitable state as the solution to Israel/Palestine’s woes.

Dena Takruri, a correspondent for AJ+, Al Jazeera’s digital first, Facebook news reel, reshared a previous video piece about the immensity of the Separation/Security/Apartheid Fence/Barrier/Wall, with this telling take:

“If only it was one state with equal rights for all, as Google’s maps suggest…” Takruri wrote.

FROM

Hey Google it's called Palestine not Israel ! you can remove it from the maps,but can't remove it from our hearts!

Hey Google it’s called Palestine not Israel ! You can remove it from the maps,but can’t remove it from our hearts!!

ISRAELI APARTHEID CAUGHT ON VIDEO

For those who still might have doubts ……

Israeli soldier assaults child playing on Jews-only road

In September 2012, Israeli security forces put up a chain-link fence along al-Ibrahimi Street in Hebron, separating the paved road from a narrow, rough walkway. Since then, B’Tselem has twice documented security forces denying Palestinians access to the paved road, despite official claims that there is no such prohibition. On 25 July 2016, B’Tselem volunteer Raed Abu Ramileh filmed a Border Police officer seizing the bicycle of 8-year-old Anwar Burqan and throwing it in the bushes for riding it down the paved road, which is reserved for settlers.

 

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The separation and discrimination between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank does not involve public transport only. This video features footage of Border Police officers stating that one side of a newly erected fence is for Jews, the other for Arabs.

The separation principle is an official policy of the Israeli military separating Jews and Moslems in the city of Hebron. The policy is implemented primarily through severe restrictions on Palestinian travel and movement in downtown Hebron, where most Israeli settlement outposts are located. Some of the main roads in the area are completely off limits to Palestinians, and many roads bar any and all Palestinian vehicles. Israel’s strict restrictions have made the lives of Palestinians in downtown Hebron intolerable, forcing many to leave their homes and jobs.

On 23 September 2012 Israeli security forces laid out a chain-link fence, dividing the road lengthwise. On one side of the fence is a paved road and on the other, a narrow pedestrian passageway. Since the fence was erected, Israeli security forces have not allowed Palestinians to walk on the road. Instead they direct Palestinians to the narrow passageway, which is unpaved, rough and ends in a small staircase. The passage is completely impassible by wheelchair and is very difficult to navigate with a baby carriage, pushcart or bicycle.

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The military resumed its segregation on the main street of a-Salaimeh neighborhood, in force from Sep. 2012 to Mar. 2013 when it was abandoned following to the airing of footage by B’Tselem. The military again bans Palestinians from the main part of the street, directing them to a narrow side road. This is part of the military’s overall policy of severe restrictions on Palestinian movement in downtown Hebron, implemented ever since the 1994 massacre of Muslim worshippers at the Tomb of the Patriarchs perpetrated by settler Baruch Goldstein.

 

 

Full report by Ali Abunimah HERE

ISRAEL’S REAL MESSAGE TO PALESTINIANS

Surely NOT THIS ….

THIS is more like it ….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Source

NYT ACTUALLY PRINTS SOMETHING THAT FITS

Every so often something seems to slip by the zionist dominated Copy Desk at the New York Times ….

Here’s the latest one … sent By Sam Bahour with the following comment …

Anyone who has heard me give a talk during the past 6+ years has heard me speak of this crossing the wall phenomena. Now, finally, the NYT has caught up.

‘All the Pro Israeli News that’s fit we print’

‘All the Pro Israeli News that’s fit we print’

Smugglers in West
Bank Open Door to Jobs
in Israel, and Violence

A thriving industry allows West Bank residents to get past what Israelis call a security barrier. It has a dangerous side effect: Attackers sneak through as well.

‘MISTAKEN’ ETHNIC CLEANSING

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

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

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

Down syndrome man, child, killed by Israeli soldiers

Charlotte Silver

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Palestinian news website Quds tweeted these photos of Mahmoud.

CldL30VUoAAkllH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The most loveable person”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beaten by mob

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

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

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

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

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