Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Uproar over arrest of Palestinian activist

Fadi Quran, a Palestinian activist, set to appear in an Israeli court for the second time since his arrest on Friday.

Fadi Quran, a Palestinian activist, set to appear in an Israeli court for the second time since his arrest on Friday. The 24 year old Stamford graduate holds a double major in international relations and physics, was described by Time magazine as "the face of the new Middle East" was arrested in occupied Palestine West Bank for allegedly pushing a poor defenceless Israeli soldier.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Palestinian woman on 11th day of hunger strike, as parents join her to protest no-charge detention by Israel

As Palestinian “administrative detainee” Hana Al-Shalabi, 29, entered her eleventh day on hunger strike, her parents continued their own hunger strike in solidarity, against their daughter’s imprisonment without charge or trial by Israel.

Hana was arrested from her home in Burqin village near Jenin on 17 February in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. She had previously spent two and a half years in administrative detention – with no charge or trial – from 14 September 2009, until she was released last October as part of a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas, according to updates posted by Addameer via itsTwitter and Facebook pages.

Parents on hunger strike

Meanwhile, al-Shalabi’s parents have been on hunger strike for three days, in a solidarity tent near next to their home in Burqin, and have called for international intervention to free their daughter and end the policy of administrative detention.

Call for Action

Samidoun, the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, has issued an action alert calling for people to take action to bring attention to Hana Al-Shalabi’s case.

Renewed attention to Israel’s widespread use of detention without charge came as a result of the 66-day hunger strike of Khader Adnan. Amnesty International called the deal which ended Adnan’s hunger strike “insufficient” and reiterated its demand that Israel end the use of detention without charge or trial.

Currently more than 300 Palestinians are in Israeli administrative detention, including 21 elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. More


Saturday, February 25, 2012

How Mossad Killed An Iranian Scientist



"UN must prosecute Israel for war crimes," says Bloody Sunday lawyer

Israel was the focus of discussions by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) earlier this month.

Israel is obliged to submit a report to the Geneva-based committee on how it has implemented the rights enshrined in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) every two years.

However, Israel waited until this year to submit a series of reports that were formally due in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is a body of independent experts that monitors the implementation of the convention. ICERD states that that any doctrine of superiority based on racial differentiation is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous, and that there is no justification for racial discrimination, in theory or in practice.

ICERD defines racial discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life” (see International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination).

Israel’s presented its last three bi-annual reports in one 183-page volume (see Reports submitted by States parties under article 9 of the Convention17 January 2011).

In addition, Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations submitted shadow reports to inform the committee about the situation, and a designated UN rapporteur for Israel identified a list of themes as guidance for the discussions. After examination of all the reports, the committee will write its concerns and recommendations to Israel in its “concluding observations.”

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine submitted a shadow report about apartheid in Israel in January 2012, and delegated Michael Mansfield — one of its jurors — to address the committee. Mansfield is a well-known, respected attorney from the United Kingdom and is the president of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers. The Electronic Intifada contributor Adri Nieuwhofinterviewed Mansfield in Geneva. More


Friday, February 24, 2012

They Came for the Children

Report on native Canadian abuse

A commission examining Canada's policy to separate indigenous children from their families says the abuse created a legacy of turmoil. From the country's formation in the 19th Century until the 1970s, the children had to attend schools where they were stripped of their identity. Many of the 150,000 children also suffered physical abuse from the staff at the church-run boarding schools.

An interim report says children left the schools "as lost souls".

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada report, They Came for the Children, says their lives were "soon to be cut short by drugs, alcohol and violence". It concludes that the schools were an assault on indigenous children, their families, culture and their nations.

Native Canadians remain among the poorest members of society, with many still living on reserves. The commission was formed as part of a landmark settlement in 2006 that included more than C$2bn (£1.3bn) compensation for surviving former children and their families. It has already taken 25,000 statements from survivors, visited about 500 communities and has heard from about 100 former school employees. The schools were set up to assimilate native children into Canadian society. More


Israeli Forces Destroy Hundreds of Olive Trees and Two Wells in Surif

24 FEBRUARY 2012 In the early hours on February 23, 2012, a combined group of Israeli settlers and soldiers came to Surif, a Palestinian village near the Separation Barrier in the southern West Bank, and cut down 700 trees and destroyed two water wells.

Surif, a large community of 17,000 Palestinian residents, routinely faces large scale acts of destruction and harassment from Israeli settlers and soldiers.

In this attack, Israeli Forces entered the area between the hours of 2am and 6am and cut down 400 olive trees and 300 apricot trees belonging to Ishaq Abdel Fatah Al Qadi.

Ishaq and his family are counting on the support of solidarity activists all over the world in order to buy and plant new trees in his field so that they can support themselves off of the land as they have done for decades. More

The Myth of Israel's Liberal Supreme Court Exposed

Little more than a decade ago, in a brief interlude of heady optimism about the prospects of regional peace, the Israeli Supreme Court issued two landmark rulings that, it was widely assumed, heralded the advent of a new, post-Zionist era for Israel. But with two more watershed judgments handed down over the winter of 2011-2012 the same court has decisively reversed the tide.

Palestinians, both in the Occupied Territories and inside Israel, will pay the biggest and most immediate costs of the new decisions. In one, the Supreme Court has created a new concept of “prolonged occupation” to justify further Israel’s denial of basic protections to the Palestinian population living under belligerent military rule. In the other, it has upheld the right of the Israeli state to strip the Palestinian minority inside Israel of one of its fundamental rights of citizenship.

Both of these new rulings threaten to unleash a torrent of more aggressive legislative and administrative measures against Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line that separates the Occupied Territories from Israel proper, as the center of political gravity in Israel drifts steadily rightward.

Activist Reputation

The judicial mood of today is a far cry from the high spirits of the late 1990s, when the Supreme Court was led by Aharon Barak, feted by his counterparts in the United States as a paragon of enlightened liberalism. Barak is widely credited with entrenching in Israeli jurisprudence the philosophy of “judicial activism.” In practice, Barak’s activism meant that he reserved to the Supreme Court the right both to interpret the law creatively when it lacked clarity and to weigh critically and, if necessary, strike down measures passed by the Knesset when they conflicted with one of Israel’s 11 Basic Laws.

Israel lacks a constitution, but Barak had sought inspiration for what he and others termed a “constitutional revolution” in two liberal Basic Laws passed in 1992 -- one on Freedom and Human Dignity, the other on Freedom of Occupation. He treated these laws as akin to a bill of rights.

It was Barak’s activist Supreme Court that in 1999 -- belatedly, after years of petitioning by human rights groups -- found against the common practice of torturing Palestinian prisoners. The judges prohibited the Israeli security services from using “moderate physical pressure,” as Israel termed it, except in cases of Palestinians who were “ticking bombs,” that is, detainees believed to be withholding information needed quickly if lives were to be saved.

And it was a similar activism held responsible in May 2000 for a court decision in favor of the Kaadans, a Palestinian family with Israeli citizenship that had been barred five years earlier from Katzir, a rural community in northern Israel. Katzir’s admissions committee had justified the family’s exclusion on the grounds that it -- like nearly 700 other such communities -- was intended for Jews only. Describing it as “the most difficult decision of my life,” Barak ordered Katzir to reconsider the Kaadans’ application for admittance. More


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Palestinians Hear the Water

JERUSALEM, Feb 21, 2012 (IPS) - After a recent Israeli Supreme Court decision allowed Israeli companies to maintain quarrying and mining activities in the occupied West Bank, local human rights groups and activists say the decision has opened the door dangerously to Israel’s pillaging of other Palestinian resources.

"On its face, the new rule allows the occupier (in a long-term occupation) to make endless use of the variety of objects found in the occupied territory," Israeli human rights group Yesh Din stated. "To pump its water sources, to transfer its archeological artifacts to elsewhere outside the territory, to use areas within it for garbage disposal, to sell public real estate, and more."

In late December of last year, the Israeli Supreme Court dismissed a petition put forth by Yesh Din, challenging the legality of Israeli mining and quarrying operations taking place in the occupied West Bank.

The court argued that the laws of occupation change when the occupation is long-term; in other words, the powers of an occupying power can expand, while the prohibitions against it become increasingly flexible, in a long-standing occupation.

The court also inferred that the Palestinian Authority (PA) had consented to the quarries’ operation, since the Israeli-Palestinian interim agreement, which was meant to expire in 1999, left the quarries under complete Israeli control in Area C of the West Bank. Shutting down Israeli quarrying activities would harm the local Palestinian population, the court added, since the industry employs Palestinian workers.

On the ground, however, the ruling has left Palestinians concerned that Israel’s illegal exploitation of other resources in the West Bank, including water, will now be viewed as legitimate.

"This law is dangerous. We are talking about one of the main humanitarian needs: water. I don’t think that anybody, any law, any state, has the right to steal one of the main necessary needs for people," said Fathy Khdirat, a Palestinian resident of Jordan Valley and coordinator of the Jordan Valley Solidarity campaign. More


Monday, February 20, 2012

Khader Adnan: His life is in our hands , Noam Chomsky

Speaking today to Gaza TV News, Professor Noam Chomsky issued the following statement on the plight of Khader Adnan, and Israel’s policy of “Administrative Detention”.

Israel’s policies of administrative detention have been an international scandal for decades. The crime is dramatized, tragically, by the hunger strike of Khader Adnan, now chained to his hospital bed and facing death because, in his words, “my dignity is more precious than food.” His life is in our hands, and there is no time to lose. Noam Chomsky More

February 20th 2012


A U.S. double-standard for Bahrain?

MANAMA, Bahrain - Screaming at the riot police, dozens of women dressed head-to-toe in black excoriated the police for dragging away a teenage boy.

The police, dressed in shiny white helmets and black flak jackets, held their billy clubs in check. A policeman with a megaphone finally dispersed the crowd, threatening them with jail if they stayed.

The boy was allegedly picked up by plainclothes officers for organizing a protest.

"Welcome to living under a dictatorship," said a young Bahraini-American, an architect from Ohio who was back in Bahrain for the one-year anniversary of the uprisings here. Those uprisings didn't result in a regime change, the way many of the protests in the Arab Spring did, but they did raise an uncomfortable but important question for the United States: How long can the U.S. keep close ties with a regime that kills and tortures those who protest their rule?

At least 35 people were killed during protests in February-March 2011, according to Amnesty International. More than 20 have died since then in the ongoing protests; dozens of people have been reportedly tortured.

The protesters are mainly Shia Muslims, who make up 70 percent of the population but are shut out of almost all government posts. The Sunni al Khalifa family has ruled Bahrain for more than 200 years, with King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa holding nearly complete control of the country. More


Palestinian child used as human shield by Israeli Army



Saturday, February 18, 2012

Khader Adnan: No food without freedom

Friday is the 62nd day of the Palestinian prisoner's protest against his detention by Israel.

Sixty-one days. That is how long it’s been since Khader Adnan has eaten.

The 33-year-old Palestinian was taken from his home in Arrabeh village near Jenin in the occupied West Bank at 3:30am on December 17. One day later he began his hunger strike to protest against the "humiliation and policy of administrative detention". Adnan, like hundreds of other Palestinians, was arrested under a military order that Israel has named "administrative detention", which allows prisoners to be held without charge or trial for periods of up to six months, spells that can be renewed indefinitely.

Sahar Francis is a lawyer with Addameer, a prisoner rights groups based in the West Bank city of Ramallah, and a member of Khader Adnan’s legal team. She visited the hunger striker in Ziv hospital in Safad, Israel, on Friday.

She described her client, who remains shackled to his hospital bed, as "mentally perfect, but physically very weak".

Francis told Al Jazeera that Adnan was being given only glucose and other sugars through an intravenous drip, but refusing anything else that would be considered a breach of his protest. Doctors told Francis that he could suffer from a heart attack or from the failure of other internal organs and die at any moment.

Adnan's family and legal team were hoping that he would be released this week when his case went before a military appeals court. However, the appeal was denied and the court ordered that Adnan must finish the four month administrative detention, set to end on May 8.

In response to Al Jazeera’s request for an interview, the Israeli military sent a statement that read:

"Khader Adnan was arrested with an administrative arrest warrant for activities that threaten regional security. This warrant was authorised by a judicial review."

Francis and Adnan's legal team argue that, after losing some 40kg from more than 60 days without food, Adnan is wheelchair-bound and too weak to pose a risk to anyone.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have both called on the Israeli authorities either to release Adnan or immediately charge him with criminal offences and have him tried. More


The Carter Center Calls on Israel to Release Hunger Striker Khader Adnan

Atlanta…The Carter Center calls on the Israeli government to immediately charge or release Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan, who was arrested on Dec. 17, 2011, based on "secret evidence" and has been held in administrative detention without charge.

<P><SPAN class=colCHeading>Press Releases</SPAN></P>

Mr. Adnan has undertaken a hunger strike since his arrest 62 days ago and his life is in imminent danger. His grave medical condition has been verified by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel.

Mr. Adnan's case highlights the inconsistencies of Israel's administrative detention policies with internationally recognized rights to due process.

As of Jan. 15, 2012, Israel is holding 307 Palestinians in administrative detention. Read the Carter Center's recent statement on the administrative detention of elected Palestinian legislators. More


Thursday, February 16, 2012

The West Bank's Bobby Sands

 Khader Adnan's two-month hunger strike has made him a hero among Palestinians outraged by Israel's policy of arbitrary detention.
It was only after talking with lucidity and animation for an hour about her husband's 61-day hunger strike that Randa Jihad Adnan's eyes, visible though the opening of her nekab, filled with tears. Until then, this articulate 31-year-old graduate in sharia law from Al Najar University in Nablus, the pregnant mother of two young daughters aged four and one and half, had described with almost disconcerting poise the two months following the arrest of her husband, Khader Adnan, on 17 December.
He was seized at 3.30am by some of the scores of Israeli military and security personnel who surrounded the family home in a West Bank village south of Jenin, and is now being held in the Israeli Rebecca Ziv hospital in Safed. Yesterday she was allowed to visit him with the children and her father-in-law.
There they found him, weak and extremely thin, his beard unkempt and his fingernails long. He was shackled by two legs and one arm to his bed, and was connected to a heart monitor. Though mentally alert, he could speak only with difficulty. "I was shocked," she said yesterday. "I couldn't speak for about three minutes, and it was the same for my daughters."
Mrs Adnan is convinced that the Israeli authorities only allowed the visit because they wanted the family to put pressure on her husband to end his hunger strike. He had started this on 18 December in protest at his arrest, his treatment and the subsequent detention order served on him.
"My father-in-law said to him: 'We want you to stay alive. You cannot defeat this state on your own.' He told him he wanted him to end the strike. I told him I wished he would drink a cup of milk. But he said: 'I did not expect this from you. I know you are with me all the time. Please stop it." Mrs Adnan said yesterday: "I know my husband. He will not change his mind. I expect him to die." More

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Power blackout in Gaza as Egypt stops fuel smuggling

 The Gaza Strip’s sole electricity station has become inoperative because Egypt has begun to crack down on fuel smuggling activities through their shared border, a Palestinian energy official in Gaza said Tuesday.
Gaza Energy Authority official Ahmed Abul Amreen said in a press conference that the authority cannot meet electricity demands for hospitals, educational facilities, and water and sewage stations. He said the amount of electricity Gaza receives from an Israeli company fulfills only 35 percent of the population’s needs.
Palestinian news agency Maan quoted Abul Amreen as saying that the power plant’s inactivity has brought the strip’s primary electricity source to a halt, noting that Gaza already suffers a great shortage in wattage supplies.
The official held Israel responsible for the crisis. He also called upon the Egyptian Parliament to back Palestinians and continue to support them with the necessary fuel supplies.
Abul Amreen said an energy authority delegation that recently met with Egyptian officials received pledges that fuel supplies would resume.
Abul Amreen also stressed that a drastic solution for Gaza’s energy crisis would be to include the strip in an electricity linkage plan approved by the Arab League more than two years ago. He urged that the project begin immediately given the availability of the blueprints and funds required.
For nearly two weeks, Gaza has been undergoing a worsening fuel crisis caused by a halt in supplies smuggled through underground tunnels traversing its border with Egypt. The conundrum has rendered 90 percent of local oil stations idle.
Israel supplies Gaza with about 120 megawatts of electricity a day, while the strip’s only power plant produces 60 megawatts. But since Gaza needs at least 270 megawatts, the strip suffers daily blackouts that can last for eight hours.
The Israeli and Egyptian closure of Gaza’s borders in 2007 severely restricted its fuel supply. Fuel was first smuggled through tunnels from Egypt and eventually used in electricity generation after a local engineer developed a refining process. The engineer was later abducted by Israeli intelligence agents during a trip to Ukraine, Maan said. More

Monday, February 13, 2012

Thousands of Palestinians in the Jordan Valley risk forced displacement, says UN body

Sixty thousand Palestinians live under harsh conditions in the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea area - one of the most isolated and restricted areas in occupied Palestine. 
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has summarized their humanitarian situation in its February 2012 fact sheet.
The Jordan Valley and Dead Sea area covers about one third of the West Bank. Eighty-seven percent of the land is designated as Area C, where Israeli exercises full control over security, planning and construction. The area is earmarked for the use of the Israeli military or falls under the jurisdiction of the illegal Israeli settlements. An additional 7% is designated as a nature reserve. In total, Palestinians are prohibited from using 94% of their own land.
Meanwhile, 9,500 Israeli settlers have established 37 settlements in the occupied Jordan Valley in contravention of international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits Israel from transferring parts of its own civilian population into occupied territory. Supported by Israel, the settlers have developed highly profitable agricultural, tourist, mineral and other businesses, including Ahava cosmetics.
Severe restrictions on Palestinians
One quarter of the Palestinian population of the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea area - around 15,000 – live in Area C, including some 7,900 Bedouins and herders. The Israeli authorities obstruct construction activity by the Palestinian communities by withholding building permits for homes, schools, clinics, roads and water networks.
Palestinians in the area have restricted access to water resources. Water consumption in most herding communities is about 20 liters per person per day. This stands in sharp contrast to the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 100 liters per person a day. The settlers in the area consume a shocking 300 liters per person per day.
In addition, Palestinian access to and from the Jordan Valley is highly constrained. Four of the six access routes to the Jordan Valley are controlled by Israeli checkpoints. Non-residents are only allowed to cross these checkpoints as pedestrians or by traveling via registered public transportation. Palestinians who own commercial vehicles have to coordinate the crossing in advance, according to OCHA. Numerous checkpoints, roadblocks and trenches in the area are an obstacle impeding Palestinian access to grazing and agricultural land, services, and markets for agricultural produce. Moreover, the restricted freedom of movement undermines family and social ties. The map printed in OCHA’s fact sheet provides a clear overview of the situation.
Israel’s full military control of Area C has resulted in food scarcity and water scarcity. A joint survey by UNRWA, Unicef and the World Food Program revealed that 79% of the Bedouin and Palestinian herders in Area C in the West Bank – the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea area included - are food insecure. The food insecurity in the herding communities in Area C is much higher than among the Palestinian population in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip where respectively 25% and 61% of the households are food insecure.
Forced displacement and evictions
In 2011, the Israeli authorities demolished over 200 Palestinian-owned structures in the area, displacing around 430 people and affecting the livelihoods of another 1,200 Palestinians. According to OCHA, thousands of Palestinians in the area are at risk of forced displacement due to home demolitions, forced evictions from closed military zones and a range of restrictions imposed by Israel.
However, the Palestinians are determined to continue living on their land. For example, Abed Yasin Rashaida, who has lived for 15 years in Fasayil in the occupied Jordan Valley, says on video: ”We are Bedouin. Once we were nomads – we used to move from one place to another. Eventually we settled here to let our children study at school.” On 20 December 2012, the Israeli army demolished some houses and animal shelters in Fasayil. “They started demolishing at eight in the morning. The bulldozers destroyed everything and covered the mattresses with soil. Flour, sugar, lentils, oil – they destroyed everything,” according to Rashaida. More

Sunday, February 12, 2012

"Containment" of a nuclearised Iran or Containment of a nuclear Israel?

Will AIPAC and Bibi get their war? 
Does Netanyahu really want a war on Iran, or does he want to prove that no one could stop him if he did?

Washington, DC - These are strange times for those of us who follow the debate about a possible war with Iran. It is clear that the Israeli government and its neoconservative camp followers here in the United States are increasing pressure on President Obama to either attack Iran or let Israel do it (in which case we would be forced to join in). But the idea of another war in the Middle East is so outlandish that it seems inconceivable it could actually occur.
Still, the conventional wisdom holds that it can, because this is an election year and the assumption is that no-one will say no to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
War enthusiasm will rise to a fever pitch by March, when AIPAC holds its annual policy conference. Netanyahu will, if the past is any indication, bring the crowd of 10,000 to its feet by depicting Iran as the new Nazi Germany and by coming very close to stating that only war can stop these new Nazis. Other speakers will say the same. The few who mention the idea of diplomacy will be met with stony silence.
From the convention centre, 10,000 delegates will be dispatched to Capitol Hill with two or three "asks" for members of Congress. One will, no doubt, be that "containment" of a nuclearised Iran be ruled off the table (leaving war as the only remaining option should Iran get the bomb). Another will likely be that the US stop all dealings with the Palestinian Authority should Hamas and Fatah permanently reconcile. A third could apply either to Iran or Palestine and will inevitably demand fealty to whatever Netanyahu's policy of the moment happens to be. I've sat in on those meetings where the AIPAC "asks" are developed, and it was always clear that the substance didn't matter all that much.
The goal of the "asks" is ensuring that Congress follow the script. Invariably at least one of these AIPAC goals will be put into legislative language and quickly pass both chambers of Congress. In fact, usually the "ask" is already in legislative form, so that the AIPAC citizen lobbyists can simply demand that their legislators sign on as co-sponsors (if they haven't already done so). Once the AIPAC bill has the requisite number of co-sponsors, the House and Senate leadership brings it to the floor where it passes with few dissenters.
All hell breaks loose if a member of Congress should object. More
 Perhaps it is not Iran that should  "Contained", rather a nuclear armed Israel who is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that should be "Contained". Editor

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Why is the BBC so afraid of the word "Palestine

 This week, the BBC issued its final ruling on a controversy which has been raging for nearly a year after the words “Free Palestine” were censored from a freestyle rap played on Radio 1Xtra.

Appearing on the popular Charlie Sloth Hip Hop M1X last February, the artist Mic Righteous performed a rap which included the lyrics: “I can scream Free Palestine for my pride/still pray for peace.”
BBC producers replaced the word ‘Palestine’ with the sound of breaking glass and this is the version that was aired and which can be seen on a video on the BBC website (the censorship occurs at 2:59). The edited performance was repeated in April on the same show.
BBC upholds censorship decision
Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has spent the last eight months trying to find out why the decision to censor an artist who raised the issue of Palestine was made. During the course of a long correspondence, the BBC’s head of editorial standards for audio and music, Paul Smith, wrote that the show’s producer “did not edit out the word ‘Palestine’ because it was offensive — referencing Palestine is fine, but implying that it is not free is the contentious issue.” More