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

cxrxwurxcaakvzp

 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.

*

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.

*

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

*

*

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.

*

 
*
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:
*
*
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

*

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.

 

*
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.

*
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.

A HOT AND DRY RAMADAN IN PALESTINE

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mekorot could not be reached for comment.

Source and photos HERE

#InIsrael ~~ UPGRADING APARTHEID

Israel’s finance and defense ministers announced a two-year plan to improve conditions at security checkpoints in the West Bank.

WHY NOT TODAY ???

The 3 Palestinian men waited too long in order to pass the checkpoint, the female soldiers were busy taking selfies

The 3 Palestinian men waited too long in order to pass the checkpoint, the female soldiers were busy taking selfies

Israel Announces $77M Plan to Improve Palestinian Checkpoint Conditions

Israel’s finance and defense ministers announced a two-year plan to improve conditions at security checkpoints in the West Bank.

Moshe Kahlon and Moshe Yaalon, who is expected to be replaced as defense chief by Avigdor Liberman as part of a shakeup in the governing coalition, said the plan would make checkpoints, which tens of thousands of Palestinians go through in order to reach jobs in Israel, more efficient and secure, the Times of Israel reported Thursday.

The program is expected to cost $77 million.

Yaalon said in a statement that the program will decrease the wait times for Palestinians at crossings between “30 to 50 percent” and increase the amount of goods that can be transferred by “approximately 30 percent.”

Last month Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, a member of the Jewish Home party who in 2012 was named by a settler group as the second-most right-wing member of the Knesset, surprised many when he criticized the “shameful” conditions at the checkpoints.

Ariel, a former leader of the Yesha Council settlers advocacy group and longtime supporter of settlement construction, noted that West Bank Palestinians are often forced to wait at checkpoints for hours without shade, water or other shelter from harsh weather conditions.

Ariel also called for a new port in Gaza, which has been subject to an Israeli naval blockade since 2006, when Hamas won control of Gaza.

According to the Times of Israel, Yaalon is said to be under current consideration for the post of foreign minister.

THURSDAY’S TOON ~~ GOLDMAN SACHS FUNDS HEBRON SETTLERS

Image by Carlos Latuff

Haaretz reports that Goldman Sachs has a "clear pattern" of giving to Israeli settler and rightwing groups through their Charitable Gift Fund. And Hillary Clinton hasn't criticized the banking firm that helped propel the 2007 collapse.

Haaretz reports that Goldman Sachs has a “clear pattern” of giving to Israeli settler and rightwing groups through their Charitable Gift Fund. And Hillary Clinton hasn’t criticized the banking firm that helped propel the 2007 collapse.

Goldman Sachs is funding Hebron settlers

Phil Weiss and Annie Robbins FOR

For years American taxpayers have been bankrolling Jewish-only illegal settlements in the West Bank with hundreds of millions of dollars funneled through tax-exempt non-profit organizations (we’ve covered the issue on Mondoweiss since 2009). One of the organizations which is a frequent recipient of these donations is the Brooklyn-based Hebron Fund which supports Hebron’s settler community.

Haaretz reports that Goldman Sachs has a “clear pattern” of giving to Israeli rightwing groups through their Charitable Gift Fund, including the notorious Jewish zealots in Hebron. 

From the article “Why Is Goldman Sachs Funding the Violent, Racist Jewish Settlers of Hebron?“:

So why did Goldman Sachs Charitable Gift Fund, a foundation connected to the world’s most powerful investment bank and run by Goldman Sachs’ top executives, donate $18,000 to the Brooklyn-based Hebron Fund that bankrolls this humanitarian nightmare?

On their IRS tax records, Goldman Sachs Charitable Gift Fund declared the purpose of the gift was “International Humanitarian Program” to needy Hebron families. With revenues of $2,250,000 the Hebron Fund can deliver from hunger quite a few of the 700 Jewish settlers of the city.

Grants to the Hebron Fund are not an isolated occurrence. There is a clear pattern in the Fund’s giving to Israel rightwing groups or their American fronts. In 2012-2013 they gave $708,000 to the American-Israel Education Foundation, AIPAC’s educational arm; $15,000 to the American Jewish International Relations Institute, a right wing organization which “monitors, tracks, and combats anti-Israel voting patterns at the United Nations”; and $6,100 to the American Friends of the Likud Party.

Though the case of granting money to the Jewish community of Hebron is particularly striking, we should see the funding of the Hebron settlement as only one example in the context of hundreds of millions of dollars backing the full range of West Bank settlements.

Of course, Hebron settlers aren’t the only ones experiencing Goldman largesse. Bernie Sanders has made an issue of the $675,000 Clinton received in speaking fees from the investment house just in 2013. And no wonder. Simon Head writes at the New York Review of Books that the connection raises important questions about potential corruption:

These long-running ties with Goldman have paid off for the Clintons. According to a July 2014 analysis in the Wall Street Journal, from 1992 to the present Goldman has been the Clintons’ number one Wall Street contributor, based on speaking fees, charitable donations, and campaign contributions, the three pillars of what I’ve called the Clinton System. As early as 2000, Goldman was the second most generous funder—after Citigroup—of Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign, with a contribution of $711,000. In the early 2000s, Bill Clinton was also a Goldman beneficiary, receiving $650,000 from Goldman for four speeches delivered between December 2004 and June 2005. (The transcripts of these speeches do not appear to be currently available.)

By the winter of 2006–2007, however, Goldman and its CEO Lloyd Blankfein were becoming deeply involved in the collapsing housing bubble—and engaging in the practices that have since resulted in years of investigations and lawsuits….

As long as Clinton refuses to reveal the content of her Goldman speeches, the suspicion will remain that she has cast a blind eye on Goldman’s dark years and that her campaign pledge to “rein in Wall Street” cannot be taken seriously.

TRYING TO CROSS THE ‘FLYING CHECKPOINT’ IN PALESTINE

There are hundreds of fixed checkpoints inside the illegally occupied West Bank, most are between one Palestinian area and another and not on the “Green line” but we also have to face the “flying checkpoints” which literally can be anywhere and anytime.

Hizma flying checkpoint

Hizma flying checkpoint

Biodiversity and terrorism

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

I was with two of my students and an International visitor heading to Birzeit for our first class in biodiversity this semester on Saturday when we got selected for search at an Israeli “flying checkpoint”.  There are hundreds of fixed checkpoints inside the illegally occupied West Bank, most are between one Palestinian area and another and not on the “Green line” but we also have to face the “flying checkpoints” which literally can be anywhere and anytime.  In this case a long line of cars were held at Hizma.  When it was our turn, a young Israeli younger than my son told me to stop.  I said can I pull to the side to let other cars pass.  He said no.  There were several of them young recruits dressed in police uniforms and in army uniforms.   In the occupied territories the two services are indistinguishable and operate as one fascist occupation force.  Another Israeli was nearby so I said why can’t I pull to the side.  He turned over to his commanding officer who nodded his agreement.  Then the officer asked me to pull onto the circle in the middle of the road.  They asked for all our ID cards and handed them to another person who went to check them via his computer.  Then they demanded each of us get out of the car in turns.  My students in the back first, then the international visitor, then me.  Some of the uniformed occupiers pointed their guns at us while others demanded we empty all our pockets and frisked us.

They searched the car and they flipped through the camera memory to see all our pictures. They were saying things in Hebrew and I was telling them repeatedly we do not speak Hebrew and that we can speak in English or Arabic to them.  I think they all understood English and at least two showed they understood Arabic after persistence from us.  I repeatedly asked in Arabic and in English why we were picked on.  One occupier said it is because he liked the shape of my car!  When I turned to a female soldier and asked her the same question and adding “are we living in a fascist state,” she merely shrugged her shoulders and said “he liked your car”.  They did not smile but I did, which seemed to irritate them.  Ryan was asked if he smokes anything and why is he here.  Then they asked him “do you like Palestinians,” to which he answered “I like all people!”  After delaying us for half an hour, they handed our ID cards to the international visitor and let us go.  For me, I was used to this.  One of my students (also a museum employee) is from an isolated village of Nahhalin which is frequently closed off has also been frisked and checked many times in the past.  His village was closed in the last three days and he sleeps in Bethlehem instead.  My other student (also a museum employee) and the international visitor had never experienced such harassment.  We joked later that this was a “good taste” of colonial occupation for them.

We discussed how these are really mild experiences compared to others.  For example, for the first five weeks of 2016, Israel demolished an average of 30 Palestinian structures weekly, displacing an average of 66 persons a week (this is three times the weekly average than that in 2015).  Palestinian young people as young as 12 continue to be murdered by Israeli occupation forces almost every other day.  Israeli soldiers carry knives in their backpacks to plant as “evidence” against many Palestinians they murder.  But there is growing Palestinian desperation.  Israeli occupation forces currently hold hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners without charge (“administrative detentions”.)  At least one of those who has been held for nearly three months is on hunger strike (taking only water and salt.)  He will likely die in the next couple of days if Israel does not release him (Mohammad Al-Qeeq).  The Israeli Knesset continues to add racist laws to an already long list of racist laws (over 50) that discriminate against non-Jewish “nominal citizens”. This is not counting hundreds of military orders that discriminate against us who are not considered “nominal citizens” in our own country occupied by individuals with a superiority-inferiority complex gathered from around he world under the banner of Zionism.

Gaza’s situation is far worse than the West Bank and Gaza prisoners get no family visits and the Strip is besieged and starved of basic supplies.  Most of the tunnels that “smuggled” humanitarian supplies have been destroyed.  A slip of the tongue by Israeli Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz revealed that Egypt’s new policy of flooding the tunnels between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula with seawater had come at Israel’s request.  The promise of rebuilding after Israel’s last genocidal attack on Gaza never materialized.  We shudder to think that it is again time for Israel to test new weapons on the Gaza “laboratory”. Israel’s largest “export” is weapons-related technology, and Israeli leaders have to “test” their weapons on the nearly two million captives in the open air prison called Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile Fatah and later Hamas have taken the bait/infection of “Oslo process” believing it is possible to have an authority under occupation.  Here in teh West Bank many good Fatah leaders admit to us privately that they do not support the president whose erm expired years ago and who firest anyone who criticizes him. Yet he takes unilateral decisions to join the despots in “Saudi Arabia” and his speeches are frequently dotted with statements like “we have our hands stretched for peace.. we stop any armed resistance..we arrest activists… we believe only in peaceful demonstrations…ask [beg] the US and International community to exercise its responsibilities .. etc”.  Contrast this with what Ho Chi Minh once said: “Viet Nam has the right to enjoy freedom and independence and in fact has become a free and independent country. The entire Vietnamese people are determined to mobilize all their physical and mental strength, to sacrifice their lives and property in order to safeguard their freedom and independence.”  Or what Martin Luther King Jr said from Birmingham jail: “I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate…who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.'” Or even what Yasser Arafat said during the siege in Beirut or when Israel was pounding his last two rooms in his Ramallah headquarters “we will have freedom or die as martyrs”.

It is hard to cope with political leaders who do not seem to push strong enough but it is harder to deal state terrorism (which is far more devastating than individual terrorism). I (almost) retain sanity by staying busy (teaching plus other volunteer jobs including directing the Palestine Museum of Natural History, clinical laboratory work, writing, lecturing on Palestine, visitor guiding, research, and more.)  Birzeit University where I teach (more coach) a Biodiversity course is a beautiful campus with great students and faculty.  Before class, and having been delayed at the flying checkpoint, my two students had to rush to finish their work on “fruit flies/Drosophila”.  Spring is here and he gardens are blooming. The smell of freshly dug air mixes with the smell of almond blossoms. Good people and good food ameliorate life under occupation.  It helps to have a larger cause than one self.  Like MLK Jr and Steven Biko and Malcolm X, we are some times bewildered by the people around (including internationals and Palestinians) who show signs of “mental occupation” or are simply apathetic. But I would like to focus on those who have freed their minds and are helping others do the same.  There are literally millions of points of light out there.  We do not “win” over the darkness but it is those lights that make life meaningful. My own students (at Bethlehem Bible College, Birziet, and Bethlehem University) are also lights. For all those points of light we say thank you.

Here are a few lights expressing via writing “We are not just numbers”

And here is a timeline of positive actions using boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) done in 2015 as examples of points of light

Having humility to recognize all these lights can help us amplify our own small light.

If you want to help in lighting our small candle locally, please see this

Photoassay of colonialism

 

ACTION: The UK and US government are introducing new rules that would prevent local councils from supporting BDS.

If you live in the UK, please take action to stop the government doing this.
In the US, please write your representative

PHOTO ESSAY OF REBELLIOUS PALESTINIAN YOUTH

Portraits of Palestine’s youth rebellion

“Nobody organizes us. We do not want to depend on anyone or have money involved. It’s better to be independent.” East of al-Bureij refugee camp, Gaza Strip

“Nobody organizes us. We do not want to depend on anyone or have money involved. It’s better to be independent.” East of al-Bureij refugee camp, Gaza Strip

“We are here to prove to the occupier that we will not accept them. We won’t live in peace with the occupier and we will keep resisting until they leave.” Bethlehem

“We are here to prove to the occupier that we will not accept them. We won’t live in peace with the occupier and we will keep resisting until they leave.” Bethlehem

“Whoever comes here knows they will be either be arrested, or martyred or injured. But in the end, I don’t think anyone is afraid.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

“Whoever comes here knows they will be either be arrested, or martyred or injured. But in the end, I don’t think anyone is afraid.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

“Any rational person understands that stone throwing will not damage a military jeep or kill a soldier. However, we use stones to show they are the enemy.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

“Any rational person understands that stone throwing will not damage a military jeep or kill a soldier. However, we use stones to show they are the enemy.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

Bethlehem

Bethlehem

“They fire a lot of tear gas into the [Al Azzeh refugee] camp.They want families there to stop us. But the families understand that; they support us and take care of us.” Bethlehem

“They fire a lot of tear gas into the [Al Azzeh refugee] camp.They want families there to stop us. But the families understand that; they support us and take care of us.” Bethlehem

Gaza Strip, east of al-Bureij refugee camp

Gaza Strip, east of al-Bureij refugee camp

“We cover our faces because the occupying authority might [otherwise] arrest us. We also fear our own [Palestinian] authority would arrest us in the same way.” Bethlehem

“We cover our faces because the occupying authority might [otherwise] arrest us. We also fear our own [Palestinian] authority would arrest us in the same way.” Bethlehem

“The [peace] agreements didn’t work. The older generations should have changed them. Our role, you can say, is to refuse these agreements. We are against them, because they do no good to us and our land.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

“The [peace] agreements didn’t work. The older generations should have changed them. Our role, you can say, is to refuse these agreements. We are against them, because they do no good to us and our land.” North of Ramallah, near the Beit El settlement

North of Ramallah, near Beit El settlement

North of Ramallah, near Beit El settlement

Bethlehem

Bethlehem

“There is a lot of pressure now. We look at the videos of the women in al-Aqsa who cannot enter. The occupation wants al-Aqsa. Why can Jews enter and I cannot? It’s only 10 kilometers from here, and I have not been able to go to Jerusalem since 2008.” Bethlehem

“There is a lot of pressure now. We look at the videos of the women in al-Aqsa who cannot enter. The occupation wants al-Aqsa. Why can Jews enter and I cannot? It’s only 10 kilometers from here, and I have not been able to go to Jerusalem since 2008.” Bethlehem

“In the night, at around 1am, the Israeli army comes and arrests men. They also threaten families that their homes will be demolished if their sons will continue to go to throw stones.” Bethlehem

“In the night, at around 1am, the Israeli army comes and arrests men. They also threaten families that their homes will be demolished if their sons will continue to go to throw stones.” Bethlehem

“The [PA’s] Presidential Guard stood in our way. We had an altercation with them. They were kind of embarrassed. Then they told us their work there was only for an hour and a half and then they would allow us in. We refused and kept going.” Bethlehem

“The [PA’s] Presidential Guard stood in our way. We had an altercation with them. They were kind of embarrassed. Then they told us their work there was only for an hour and a half and then they would allow us in. We refused and kept going.” Bethlehem

Gaza Strip, east of al-Bureij refugee camp

Gaza Strip, east of al-Bureij refugee camp

“This land is for everyone, not just the men. Of course the women can participate in the clashes.” Bethlehem

“This land is for everyone, not just the men. Of course the women can participate in the clashes.” Bethlehem

Bethlehem

Bethlehem

“The Palestinian Authority exists by agreement with Israel. The Palestinian Authority only exists to make Israelis feel safe. They work hand-in-hand with the Israeli military. In the West Bank, nobody loves them.” Bethlehem

“The Palestinian Authority exists by agreement with Israel. The Palestinian Authority only exists to make Israelis feel safe. They work hand-in-hand with the Israeli military. In the West Bank, nobody loves them.” Bethlehem

“Sometimes, our families try to talk to us and make us stay home. But every home has someone who has been arrested or killed. So you are also ashamed if you prevent your son from going to the clashes. My mother asked me to come back after one hour, just so she can see I am alright.” Bethlehem

“Sometimes, our families try to talk to us and make us stay home. But every home has someone who has been arrested or killed. So you are also ashamed if you prevent your son from going to the clashes. My mother asked me to come back after one hour, just so she can see I am alright.” Bethlehem

A Palestinian youth in Bethlehem wearing a t-shirt with the hashtag “Bahamish” written on it. “Some shout ‘Bahamish’ to the soldiers. It means ‘it’s ok’ or ‘nevermind.’ But if they kill us, this is not ‘bahamish;’ it’s important.”

A Palestinian youth in Bethlehem wearing a t-shirt with the hashtag “Bahamish” written on it. “Some shout ‘Bahamish’ to the soldiers. It means ‘it’s ok’ or ‘nevermind.’ But if they kill us, this is not ‘bahamish;’ it’s important.”

“The resistance started 100 years ago. I hope we will get our freedom and return to our villages. There is a future for Palestine. But there is no future with occupation.” Bethlehem

“The resistance started 100 years ago. I hope we will get our freedom and return to our villages. There is a future for Palestine. But there is no future with occupation.” Bethlehem

For nearly four months, popular protests, violence and general unrest have buffeted the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, leading some commentators to suggest a third intifada or uprising.

Most of this is driven by restive and young people tired of endless and evidently pointless negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel that have brought no end to Israel’s military occupation and only seen its illegal settlements expand.

“This is our land. We must do anything to free it from occupation,” says Mahmoud, 26, from al-Azzeh refugee camp in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

Mahmoud (not his real name, since Israel frequently arrests protesters) has been a regular participant in demonstrations against the military occupation, in which youth confront Israeli forces with stones and, less frequently, Molotov cocktails. The army tries to suppress these protests with tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition.

Since the beginning of last October, which witnessed increased confrontation with the occupation, more than 160 Palestinians and approximately two dozen Israelis have been killed. A United Nations monitoring group recorded a weekly average of 1,000 Palestinian injuries at the hands of the Israeli army during the last quarter of 2015.

Approximately one-third of those Palestinians killed, and many of those injured, were hit by live ammunition while taking part in demonstrations or while they were in the vicinity of protests.

Risks

The youths confronting the Israeli army know all too well the risks involved.

“I have mixed feelings during clashes. Sometimes you are afraid of dying,” Mahmoud explained. “But it’s also good to get the anger out. I have two children. I am married. In the night, I start to think about them, what they will do if I do not come back. But during the clashes, I try not think about it.”

The protests are led by youth and not any particular political party.

Khaled (also a pseudonym), a 21-year-old student from the Ramallah area, said the Palestinian Authority’s only role has been to try to stop them.

“Their role is to bring down the spirit of the people. It does not support us,” he said.

Palpable frustration

Their frustration is palpable and has sparked a debate among analysts and journalists whether this could be termed a third intifada. But the youths themselves seem not to care much about designation.

“First intifada, second intifada, it doesn’t matter. The intifada is connected to the occupation,” said Mahmoud, “and so it will continue. It is an ongoing process.”

The above series of photographs were taken at protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the past four months. The quotations included are from the two Palestinian youths interviewed, neither of whom are featured in the photos.

Images by Activestills photographers Anne Paq in Bethlehem, Ezz Al-Zanoon in the Gaza Strip, Mohannad Darabee in the Ramallah area, Oren Ziv in Bethlehem and the Ramallah area. Photo editing by Shiraz Grinbaum.

Activestills is an independent collective based in Israel/Palestine which uses photography as a tool for social and political change.

NEW VIDEO ~~ MEET THE CHILDREN OF THE CAMP

BETHLEHEM, West Bank — Children from Bethlehem’s Aida and Beit Jibrin refugee camps talk to Mondoweiss about their life in the camps. Filmmakers Sheren Khalel and Abed al Qaisi wanted to know exactly how much the children understood about the military occupation going on around them, and how normal they believed their lives were. With their parents permission, Khalel and al Qaisi asked five children from the streets of the two camps what they thought. All of the answers were spontaneous and unrehearsed, and as it turned out, the kids understood — and have experienced — quite a lot.

Many of the children talked about tear gas, soldiers, and being scared of going outside. All of the children have seen family members killed, injured and detained by Israeli forces — as is the life in the occupied West Bank’s many refugee camps. Still, the children have high hopes, telling Mondoweiss they want to be doctors, lawyers and engineers when they grow up.

‘FILMED IN FRONT OF A LIVE AUDIENCE’ ~~ WATCH THE IDF MAIM PALESTINIAN PROTESTERS

As this video demonstrates, live fire amounts to an enjoyable blood sport for the Israelis charged with enforcing the occupation.

Israeli soldiers praise each other for shooting Palestinians

This video is filmed from the perspective of Israeli soldiers shooting at Palestinian youths protesting the occupation.

Soldiers can be heard making lighthearted comments and congratulating each other as they shoot to maim young Palestinians.

At first, the camera focuses on a young Palestinian, apparently holding a sling used to launch rocks towards occupation soldiers (though not apparently in the direction of the camera).

“What about him, doesn’t he want to stand?” a soldier says in Hebrew.

“Standing … standing,” the soldier says, then the crack of a gun is heard and the youth falls to the ground.

“He took it!” a soldier says triumphantly, and adds “He took it in the ass!”

“Well done,” another voice is heard saying. As the soldiers praise each other, Palestinians rush to evacuate the injured youth to safety.

Moments later, the soldiers can be heard discussing targeting another Palestinian youth. “Be ready, on him,” a soldier, apparently in command, says.

He then gives the order to shoot. “He fell. Well done!” he exclaims after the gunshot rings out.

“What a hit!” “Beautiful!” soldiers say.

The video shows at least half a dozen Palestinians being methodically targeted in this manner before the camera briefly pans and captures the faces of two of the Israeli assailants.

One of the Israelis whose face is captured stretches out his hand to cover the camera lens.

The video reveals that the Israeli gunmen are in an armored vehicle or jeep and are in no conceivable danger from the Palestinians they are shooting.

According to the Ma’an News Agency, the footage was released on Facebook last week by Palestinian activists who say it was recovered from a camera dropped by one of the soldiers.

The copy of the video above was subtitled by Ronnie Barkan.

Lethal weapons

Similar videos published by Israeli soldiers themselves have shown soldiers expressing sadistic joy as they shoot Palestinians.

Last year, Israel expanded its permission to occupation soldiers to use lethal .22-caliber sniper guns against Palestinian demonstrators.

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem noted in September that from the start of 2015 three Palestinians had been killed by .22-caliber bullets “during stone-throwing incidents in which members of the security forces were not in mortal danger.”

Israel’s policy of shooting Palestinians with live ammunition in order to suppress anti-occupation protests frequently causes devastating and lifelong injuries even when it does not kill.

Restrictions on the use of live fire to “mortal danger” situations exist only on paper.

“Experience gained through monitoring [.22] use in the West Bank shows that the restrictions placed on using this type of ammunition get eroded over time, and the result is a constant expansion of the [.22] use,” B’Tselem says.

As this video demonstrates, live fire amounts to an enjoyable blood sport for the Israelis charged with enforcing the occupation.

NUMBERING PALESTINIANS

Israeli army introduces a new system of identification numbers for the 30,000 Palestinian residents in the city.

Is this next?

Is this next?

*

AJtj9O8HqY_1393519418344

 

In Hebron ‘even the kids have numbers’

Hebron, Occupied West Bank – Every sunset, 23-year-old Alaa stands in the balcony of her modest stone house overlooking Hebron’s Shuhada Street.

“I count the minutes until he [her husband] comes home. I wait by the window, and I tell him not to be late,” she said, requesting that her last name not be published.

Shuhada Street (Arabic for “Martyrs Street”) was once a bustling thoroughfare running through the heart of the West Bank’s largest city, connecting Hebron’s outdoor market to the Ibrahimi Mosque.

Palestinians buzzed between busy shops and glass factories, and lived in apartments above the shops. The area is also home to 500 hardline Israeli settlers, and has long been a flashpoint for unrest between Palestinians and the Israeli military.

Over the past month, the few Palestinians, who still live on or nearby the street, are enduring a new set of army restrictions and security searches.

On October 30, the Israeli military announced a closed military zone over the area of Hebron under full Israeli security control.

“No one who can come to visit us. My father couldn’t come to see us,” Alaa said.

To enforce the closure, the Israeli army introduced a new system of identification numbers for the 30,000 Palestinian residents of the cordoned-off H2 district which encompasses about 20 percent of Hebron and includes Shuhada Street and a number of Israeli settlements.The remaining 80 percent of the city is under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority.

In addition to presenting their identification cards at 17 internal checkpoints and undergoing security checks, Palestinians must now orally give soldiers their new ID number when entering and leaving the blockades that enclose Shuhada Street.

The army did not distribute paper documents with the new identification number. Once a soldier is told the number, he then cross-references it with a printed list.

“Anyone who does not have a number is removed or arrested. The Israeli army detained at least 20 international volunteers who monitor H2 area,” said Sohaib Zahda, of the Hebron-based activist group Youth Against Settlements.

Those who forget their ID numbers or chose not to register sneak in and out of the H2 area through fields, careful not to be caught in the heavily monitored region.

“Even the little kids have numbers,” said Anas Murakatan, 27, who lives in an apartment near a checkpoint at the entrance to Shuhada Street. “I am 58; she is 59,” Anas said, pointing to his pregnant wife, Fadwa Murakatan. His children are 60 and 61.

“When the baby is born, she will get one too.”

Fadwa’s child was due four weeks ago – prompting her husband to joke that “the baby is afraid, so he does not want to come out”. Fadwa explained that when she goes into labour, she will have to walk down Shuhada Street and cross a checkpoint, and only then will she be able to enter an ambulance. She said she had to wait 30 minutes the last time she needed an ambulance.

Because of the new regulations, she said, “we are not allowed to bring any guests. When I give birth, they will not allow my family to come and visit me.”

A spokesperson for the Israeli army said in a statement to Al Jazeera: “Precautionary measures have been implemented in order to prevent future attacks and maintain the safety and well-being of residence of the area.” But the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said, in a statement issued last month, that the new measure constituted “a collective punishment of Hebron residents”.

“Anyone whose name is not on the list cannot cross the checkpoint and is forced to take a long, arduous detour to get home. Some neighborhood residents have not had their names put on the list to protest at being required to receive a permit to enter their own homes,” said the statement.

“In other cases, checkpoint personnel have erroneously left some residents’ names off the list, so these individuals cannot cross the checkpoint either.”

Beyond Hebron’s city centre, the Israeli army mounted a series of mobile checkpoints between Hebron and Bethlehem, causing lengthy delays for motorists at the same location where cars were regularly inspected during the second Intifada

In 1994, after the signing of the Oslo Accords, the Israeli military closed businesses and shops along Shuhada Street.

A decade later, at the end of the Second Intifada in 2005, the army shut down the glass manufacturing plants and prohibited Palestinian vehicles from using the street.

Hundreds of people were forced to move, and those who stayed often have to enter their homes through alleyways.

“Palestinians are barred from Shuhada Street. They are prohibited from even walking down part of it,” said Sarit Michaeli, a spokesperson for the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

“This whole situation is meant to facilitate the presence of Israeli settlers. It’s an official policy called the ‘policy of separation’ that the Israeli government has adopted.”

Despite these changes, hardline Israeli politicians say the increased army presence in and around Hebron remains insufficient. Speaking to Army Radio last Monday, Naftali Bennett, the leader of the far-right Jewish Home party, called for a second Defensive Shield, referring to Israel’s large-scale military operation in the West Bank in 2002.

Bennett’s remarks reflect a growing desire among Israeli right-wingers to launch a full-scale advance into Palestinian cities.

While Hebron has long been the site of clashes between settlers and Palestinians, the Murakatans said their neighbourhood has witnessed about three settler attacks a week since it became a closed military zone.

They said the attacks always take place at night, and involve about a dozen settlers parading down Shuhada Street, often stoning Palestinian homes.

“One month ago our daughter, she fell on the stairs, and so my husband took her to the hospital,” recounted Fadwa. “When I came back from the hospital, a settler tried to attack me while I was holding Diala,” Anas said.

In another incident, Israeli soldiers accused Fadwa of concealing a weapon when she left her house to throw rubbish into a bin on Shuhada Street. “I asked, ‘Where is the knife, where is the knife?'” she said, motioning her arms from her chest outward.

As dusk fell, the family of four gathered on their rooftop – the only outdoor play space for the two children, who kicked spent tear gas canisters and a shipping box marked “hazardous”.

A packing slip on the box indicated that its contents were meant for the Israeli army. The container was lobbed on to their house during the near-daily clashes in Hebron between Palestinian youth and the Israeli military.

Below, two settlers strolled across Shuhada Street near a group of soldiers. No Palestinians were on the road.

Meanwhile, Anas reminisced about how different his neighbourhood used to be. “It was very nice; a lot of people were usually here,” he said. “At that time settlers were afraid of us – but now we are afraid of them.”

Source

« Older entries