Occupied: Headlines From Palestine

Blogging From Gaza, Palestine

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Unacceptable! Israeli Occupation Knows Who Burned Palestinian Family Alive-suspects not being identified to protect the ‘sources’

Israeli Authorities Know Who Burned Palestinian Family Alive, Defense Minister Says

Haaretz Jonathan Lis and Chaim Levinson

Ya’alon says suspects not being identified to protect the sources; since attack that killed members of Dawabsheh family, three Jewish assailants have been detained.

Israel’s defense establishment knows who is responsible for the arson attack that killed three members of a Palestinian family two months ago, but has chosen to prevent legal recourse in order to protect the identity of their sources, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told a closed meeting of some 20 young Likud activists in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
Three Jewish suspects were put under administrative detention following the attack.

The Dawabshe family home in Duma, West Bank, was torched on July 31, immediately killing 18-month-old Ali and critically wounding his mother, father and brother. His mother, Reham, and his father, Sa’ad, have since died as well. His 4-year-old brother Ahmed is still hospitalized in serious condition.

The words ‘Vengeance’ and ‘long live the Messiah’ were spray painted on the torched Dawabshe family home, and an empty house was set ablaze as well. An eyewitness reported seeing four men flee the scene toward the settlement of Ma’aleh Ephraim.
The IDF described the incident as “Jewish terrorism.’ At Ya’alon’s request following the attack, the political-security cabinet approved the use of administrative detention against suspected Jewish terrorists. Such practice is commonly used against Palestinians suspected of terror activities.

Three Jewish suspects are currently being held without trial for terrorist activities: Meir Ettinger, who according to the Shin Bet headed an extreme rightist organization intent on toppling the Israeli government though violent means, and encouraged others to carry out terrorist acts; Mordechai Meyer, the alleged arsonist behind a fire at Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem; and Eviatar Slonim, accused of setting fire to a home in the Palestinian town of Khirbet Abu Falah.
None of these names has been explicitly tied publicly to the attack on the Dawabshe family home in Duma.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/news/israel/.premium-1.675422?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter


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Apartheid Policies Put Israel on Path to Becoming Failed State

Apartheid Policies Put Israel on Path to Becoming Failed State

It is not right-wing governments that institutionalized racial domination here; the process started decades before they took power.

Roy Isacowitz for Haaretz

I like and respect Benjamin Pogrund enormously, but he is wrong on three counts (“Israeli policy is not apartheid,” Haaretz  August 25.)
Since 2002, apartheid has been defined as a crime against humanity in international law. That definition is enshrined in Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which refers to the definition of apartheid in the 1973 United Nations International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.

South Africa (or to be accurate southern Africa) is only mentioned once in the ICSPCA, as providing an example of the “policies and practices” of racial discrimination. It then goes on to define them in detail, without reference to South Africa. The Rome Statute doesn’t mention South Africa at all, other than specifying it as a signatory to the treaty (from 1998) and in various footnotes and references.
All of which means that apartheid has an international legal standing beyond and irrespective of its roots in South Africa. It is the exemplar of apartheid, but by no means the required model.

All that is necessary is that a country commit “inhumane acts,” as defined by the statute, in the context of an “institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime,” as paraphrased in the first paragraph of Article 7 of the Rome Statute.

Anyone who thinks Israel fits that description can legitimately and accurately describe it as an apartheid state. Those are the facts. The rest is just semantics – and the pedantic flogging of a dead horse.
The fact that Israel is not a signatory to the Rome Statute has no bearing on the validity of its definition of apartheid in international law.

But it’s another statement by Pogrund that’s the real hair-raiser. “What [Bradley] Burston insists is apartheid,” he writes, “are the actions of a right-wing government behaving like a right-wing government.”

Really? As if the occupation began with Benjamin Netanyahu and he, rather than Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin, was the godfather of the settlements. As if it was a right-wing government that conducted the ethnic cleansing of 1948 and developed Israel’s clandestine nuclear capacity (according to foreign reports), thus thrusting the entire region into a nuclear arms race.

As if Israel’s current government is a Jewish version of Margaret  Thatcher’s or Silvio  Berlusconi’s – a little rough around the edges, a bit too strident in its pronouncements and no friend of the working man – but basically well within the Western, democratic consensus.

Israel’s colonial dispossession and subjugation of the Palestinians began long before Netanyahu and long before the first right-wing government took office in 1977. In fact, it began long before the first so-called left-wing government took office as well.

The Israel of today – irredentist, paranoid, intolerant and increasingly unhinged – is the culmination of a process that began at the turn of the 20th century, when the early Zionists created the myth of a “land without people for a people without land” and set about expropriating Palestinian land. (Not dissimilar, by the way, to the hundreds of years of racial discrimination that preceded the formal system known as apartheid.)

It took more than one group of right-wing Israeli politicians, however toxic, to create the “institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime,” described by the Rome Statute. It took over 100 years of determined effort – including wars, massacres, population upheavals, mass detentions, discriminatory legislation, military administration, arbitrary killings and so on – until Israel got to where it is today.

Rather than Pogrund’s blithe “right-wing government behaving like a right-wing government,” (with its promise that everything could just change at the next elections,) Israel is a solid, seemingly immovable edifice of colonial revanchism and ethnic superiority, led by a fanatic cult bent on ultimate glory or suicide.

In such a situation, I’m afraid Pogrund’s prescription of “Keep strong, stay on track” is of little comfort.

And then there’s Pogrund’s outlandish statement that “Opponents [of the apartheid regime in South Africa] felt helpless to stem the tide. But they stood firm and went on believing in a nonracist and democratic South Africa.”

Come on, Benjy, that’s just a little too much icing on the rainbow-nation cake. Some, mainly white, opponents stood firm and kept on believing, but many others – black, white and in-between – turned to violence. The regime deliberately turned tribes against each other; hundreds of thousands of people died in ethnic violence. Even more left the country in despair. The economy collapsed and South Africa became a failed state. Over 20 years later, it has yet to recover.

That South Africa didn’t disintegrate into civil war was more luck, Nelson Mandela and F. W. de Klerk than anything else. It could easily have gone the other way. Is Pogrund really recommending that we chance the same thing here in Israel?


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Palestinian Prisoner Held In Solitary Confinement Since April 2014 By Israeli Occupation

RAMALLAH, August 26, 2015 (WAFA) – The Israeli prison authorities placed a Palestinian prisoner in solitary confinement back in April 2014, and continues to detain him until this moment in cruel conditions, according to the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs (CPA).

Prisoner, Issam Zain Eddin, 31, from Nablus, has now been in solitary confinement in Asqalan prison since April of last year, and has been forced into a cell that lacks the basic humanitarian standards, according to his attorney, Kareem Ajwa, who was recently allowed to visit him.

Zain Eddin, who is suffering stomachache and skin rashes, has also been denied medical healthcare as well as family visitation rights by the prison authorities, Ajwa added. Zain Eddin was arrested back in 2006 and is serving a life sentence.

The prisoner has requested to enjoy his right in family visits, but was denied repeatedly. According to Zain Eddin the prison administration transfers prisoners placed under  solitary confinement from one prison to another regularly and on purpose to build on their sense of instability.

Borrowing the description of Zain Eddin, solitary confinement cells resemble graves. The prisoners, who are cut off from the world, have to endure the unbearable living conditions and lack of connections with the outside world.

CPA, Chairman Qaraqe Issa, said some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are serving a sentence of +15 years in prison, including 30 prisoners serving a 20-year jail sentence.

He stressed, in a statement Wednesday, that any political or peace initiative shall include the release of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.

To be noted, solitary confinement is widely used in Israeli prisons against Palestinian political prisoners, and has at times led the prisoners to go on hunger strikes.

Detainees in solitary confinement are held in empty cells containing only a mattress and a blanket, and rely on the Israeli Prison Service to address all other needs.

Adalah, a Haifa-based human rights group, says that “solitary confinement of Palestinian political prisoners who are classified as “security prisoners” is doubly harsh because of the restrictions imposed on their contacts outside of prison, even when they are not held in isolation.”

“All types of solitary confinement in prison should end, given its severe impact on the physical and psychological health of prisoners,” Adalah adds.

“Solitary confinement constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment and thus violates the International Covenant Against Torture (CAT) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The Israel Medical Association and Ministry of Health should strongly oppose its use as a method of imprisonment.”

M.N/M.H


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The Only *Democracy* In The MIddle East Is Going to Demolish A Palestinian Mosque

Israel issues demolition order for mosque in East Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli municipality officials delivered a demolition order Friday to the al-Qaaqaa Mosque, a house, and a studio apartment in the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, local sources told Ma’an. Majdi al-Abbasi, from the Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan, said that Israeli municipality members delivered a demolition order to the al-Qaaqaa mosque in the Ein al-Luza area of Silwan.The mosque, built three years ago, is a 110 square meter space that serves 5,000 worshipers.Al-Abbasi added that the Israeli municipality also delivered a demolition order to a studio apartment and its facilities. The studio belongs to Iyad al-Abbasi and was built 12 years ago.A demolition order was also delivered to a home housing six people.Earlier this week an Israeli court ruled to demolish a football field and its facilities in Silwan, a local committee said.

The ruling includes the demolition of a 1.5 dunam (.4 acre) sports field as well as a neighboring warehouse and animal shed.Silwan is one of many Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem that is seeing an influx of Israeli settlers at the cost of the demolition of Palestinian homes and eviction of Palestinian families.

Israeli authorities have carried out around 370 demolitions of Palestinian property in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank since the start of 2015, displacing an estimated 432 residents, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Thousands of Palestinian residents are at risk of losing their homes, as members of the current right-wing Israeli government continue to champion longstanding policies to obtain a Jewish majority in East Jerusalem.
East Jerusalem was occupied by Israel in 1967 in a move never recognized by the international community, and four decades of Israeli policy in the area have neglected the Palestinian community while fostering the growth of Jewish settlement.


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Israeli Occupation Court Orders Demolition Of Palestinian Football Field -Sports Under Occupation

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli court has ruled to demolish a football field and its facilities in occupied East Jerusalem, a local committee said Thursday.The owners of the property, located in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, received a demolition order in the mail over 70 days after the court had passed the ruling at the beginning of June, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center said.The “demolition and removal” order had allowed for an appeal to be lodged within 30 days of the ruling.The ruling includes the demolition of a 1.5 dunam sports field as well as a neighboring warehouse and animal shed.Silwan committee member Ahmad Qaraeen said the ruling required that anyone who chose to object to the order would be fined and forced to pay demolition and removal fees. He added that Israeli authorities are aware that the owners of the land — the heirs to Atallah Siyam — regularly allowed the area to be used by Mada Creative center for activities. Qareen said that the Israeli municipality attempted to confiscate the land in 2007 and turn it into a parking lot, but that the move was appealed in court and the land owners built a football field on the property in 2009 after receiving approval from the central court. In 2012, the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority demolished several of the family’s facilities under the pretense of “removing trash,” he added.Silwan is one of many Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem that is seeing an influx of Israeli settlers at the cost of the demolition of Palestinian homes and eviction of Palestinian families.Israeli authorities have carried out around 370 demolitions of Palestinian property in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank since the start of 2015, displacing an estimated 432 residents, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.Thousands of Palestinian residents are at risk of losing their homes, as members of the current right-wing Israeli government continue to champion longstanding policies to obtain a Jewish majority in East Jerusalem.East Jerusalem was occupied by Israel in 1967 in a move never recognized by the international community, and four decades of Israeli policy in the area have neglected the Palestinian community while fostering the growth of Jewish settlement.


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It’s Time to Admit It. Israeli Policy Is What It Is: Apartheid

Bradley Burston for Haaretz

What I’m about to write will not come easily for me.

I used to be one of those people who took issue with the label of apartheid as applied to Israel. I was one of those people who could be counted on to argue that, while the country’s settlement and occupation policies were anti-democratic and brutal and slow-dose suicidal, the word apartheid did not apply.

I’m not one of those people any more.  Not after the last few weeks.

Not after terrorists firebombed a West Bank Palestinian home, annihilating a family, murdering an 18-month-old boy and his father, burning his mother over 90 percent of her body – only to have Israel’s government rule the family ineligible for the financial support and compensation automatically granted Israeli victims of terrorism, settlers included.

I can’t pretend anymore. Not after Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, explicitly declaring stone-throwing to be terrorism, drove the passage of a bill holding stone-throwers liable to up to 20 years in prison.

The law did not specify that it targeted only Palestinian stone-throwers. It didn’t have to.
Just one week later, pro-settlement Jews hurled rocks, furniture, and bottles of urine at Israeli soldiers and police at a West Bank settlement, and in response, Benjamin Netanyahu immediately rewarded the Jewish stone-throwers with a pledge to build hundreds of new settlement homes.

This is what has become of the rule of law. Two sets of books. One for Us, and one to throw at Them. Apartheid.

We are what we have created. We are what we do, and the injury we do in a thousand ways to millions of others. We are what we turn a blind eye to. Our Israel is what it has become: Apartheid.

There was a time when I drew a distinction between Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies and this country I have loved so long.
read more:

No more. Every single day we wake to yet another outrage.

I used to be a person who wanted to believe that there were moral and democratic limits – or, failing that, pragmatic constraints – to how low the prime minister was willing to go, how far he was willing to bend to the proud proponents of apartheid, in order to bolster his power.

Not any more. Not after Danny Danon.

Not when the prime minister’s choice to represent all of us, all of Israel at the United Nations, is a man who proposed legislation to annex the West Bank, effectively creating Bantustans for Palestinians who would live there stateless, deprived of basic human rights.

The man who will represent all of us at the United Nations, the man who will speak to the Third World on our behalf, is the same man who called African asylum seekers in Israel “a national plague.”

The man who will represent all of us at the United Nations is the same politician who proposed legislation aimed at crippling left-leaning NGOs which come to the aid of Palestinian civilians and oppose the institution of occupation, while giving the government a green light to keep financially supporting right-wing NGOs suspected of channeling funds to support violence by pro-settlement Jews.

What does apartheid mean, in Israeli terms?

Apartheid means fundamentalist clergy spearheading the deepening of segregation, inequality, supremacism, and subjugation.

Apartheid means Likud lawmaker and former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter calling Sunday for separate, segregated roads and highways for Jews and Arabs in the West Bank.

Apartheid means hundreds of attacks by settlers targeting Palestinian property, livelihoods, and lives, without convictions, charges, or even suspects. Apartheid means uncounted Palestinians jailed without trial, shot dead without trial, shot dead in the back while fleeing and without just cause.

Apartheid means Israeli officials using the army, police, military courts, and draconian administrative detentions, not only to head off terrorism, but to curtail nearly every avenue of non-violent protest available to Palestinians.

Late last month, over the explicit protest of the head of the Israeli Medical Association and human rights groups combatting torture, Israel enacted the government’s “Law to Prevent Harm Caused by Hunger Strikes.” The law allows force-feeding of prisoners, even if the prisoner refuses, if the striker’s life is deemed in danger.

Netanyahu’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who pushed hard for passage of the bill, has called hunger strikes by Palestinian security prisoners jailed for months without charge or trial “a  new type of suicide terrorist attack through which they will threaten the State of Israel”.

Only under a system as warped as apartheid, does a government need to label and treat non-violence as terrorism.

Years ago, in apartheid South Africa, Jews who loved their country and hated its policies, took courageous roles in defeating with non-violence a regime of racism and denial of human rights.

May we in Israel follow their example.

Ma'an News


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Israeli Terrorists Set Fire To Bedouin Tent In West Bank

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers torched a Bedouin tent in the area of Ein Samiya near Kafr Malik village in northern Ramallah Thursday morning, local sources told Ma’an. A group of Israeli settlers raided the village of Ein Samiya and threw flammable material on a Bedouin tent before the residents noticed and attacked the settlers, making them immediately flee the area.An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the attack but could give no further details. The fire caused substantial damages to the tent but locals were able to put the fire out without any injuries, locals said.Israeli settlers also sprayed “price tag” near the scene and signed slogans calling for the killing of Palestinians and expelling them out of their lands.Locals said the Israeli forces and police arrived to the area, investigated the incident and took fingerprints.On Wednesday, Israeli forces had closed the Ein Samiya area road and prevented Palestinians from using it.Recent weeks have seen a rise in Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank.
An 18-month-old Palestinian, Ali Dawabsha, was burned alive when alleged Israeli extremists firebombed their home at the end of last month in the village of Duma near Nablus. The toddler’s father, Saad Dawabsha, succumbed to his wounds a week later, after suffering third degree burns on 80 percent of his body.On Saturday morning, Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian home with firebombs and rocks in an area east of Tayba in the Ramallah district. The bombs landed outside of the house, causing no damage, locals told Ma’an. Israeli settlers have carried out at least 120 attacks on Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank since the start of this year, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

(MaanImages/Zakariyya al-Sidda)

(MaanImages/Zakariyya al-Sidda)

(MaanImages/Zakariyya al-Sidda)

(MaanImages/Zakariyya al-Sidda)

(MaanImages/Zakariyya al-Sidda)

(MaanImages/Zakariyya al-Sidda)

(MaanImages/Zakariyya al-Sidda)

(MaanImages/Zakariyya al-Sidda)
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