The Qassam commander said: “I am telling you now, based on real information, the next ground battle with the Israeli occupation will be in Askalan”
Days of Palestine, Gaza Strip –Senior Hamas military official confirmed on Sunday his military wing Al-Qassam Brigades has Israeli prisoners.
He also said that the next ground battle with the Israeli occupation would not be in the Gaza Strip, but in Askalan. He meant the Palestinian occupied city that the Israeli occupation calls: Ashkelon.
The military official, whose nickname is Abu-Imad, told a crowd of Hamas supporters in Gaza that “there are good news about the Israeli soldiers captured by his military wind during the 51-day of the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.”
He did not clearly say how many Israeli soldiers his Brigades keeps, but he hinted that there are a more than one. He also hinted that they are alive.
“I confirm the good news about the Israeli prisoners, but cannot say what this good news is,” he said. But he stressed that the Israeli occupation would be obliged to release the Palestinian prisoners in return of the release of its soldiers.
In another clear hint that at least one of them is alive, he said: “Regarding Golden [Israeli officer Hadar Golden who was believed captured in Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip], there is a good news and, like what happened with Gilad Shalit, releasing information about his life would has a price.”
Next battle in Askalan
Abu-Imad, who survived an Israeli assassination attempt in 2005, said that the next ground battle with the Israeli occupation would be in Askala. “Whether it started tomorrow or five years later,” he said.
Reminding with a previous remark for the senior Hamas political leader Mahmoud al-Zahar, he said: “When Al-Zahar has previously said that the next time, we would invade the lands occupied by the Israeli occupation, he based on real information.”
He continued: “I am telling you now, based on real information, the next ground battle with the Israeli occupation will be in Askalan.”
The senior Qassam commander said that “the Israeli occupation asked us, through mediators, three times that they preferred to resolve issues peacefully, but we insisted to respond by hitting Tel-Aviv.”
To tell the truth, he said, when we said we did not show all our surprises in the last war, we said the truth. “We still have many surprises and this will be proved in the next battle, which is coming sooner or later,” he said.
(Source / 29.09.2014)
Palestinian children walk past destroyed houses in Shujaiya, eastern Gaza, which was heavily bombed by Israel in July and August.
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG), along with several other prominent legal groups, is urging the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to “initiate her own investigation” into “crimes committed and ongoing during and immediately before Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.”
In a letter written in August, during the last week of Israel’s 51 days of attacks on the Gaza Strip, NLG president Azadeh Shahshahani states that “Israel’s clearly disproportionate use of force against the 1.8 million residents of Gaza appears to have little to do with any claim of security, but seems to be calculated to exact revenge against Palestinian civilians.”
The letter lists specific examples of numerous violations of the Rome Statute, the ICC’s core treaty which defines international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression.
The NLG and endorsing organizations also write that the international court’s investigation “should include whether certain US officials have aided and abetted the commission of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity in Gaza.”
Meanwhile, revelations have surfaced indicating that the Ramallah-based leader of the western-backed Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has blocked efforts to bring Israeli war crimes in Gaza before the ICC.
As The Electronic Intifada reported weeks ago,
French lawyers acting on behalf of the PA’s justice minister and Gaza’s prosecutor general sent a request [on 30 July] to the ICC to launch an investigation into then-ongoing Israeli war crimes in Gaza.
In the letter, obtained by Al Jazeera, [top ICC prosecutor Fatou] Bensouda recounts that during her 5 August meeting with [PA foreign minister Riad] Malki, she “sought to confirm whether or not” that request had been officially “transmitted on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.”
This was a crucial procedural question since, under the rules of the ICC, only the head of the State of Palestine, or its foreign minister, can authorize such a prosecution. In the letter, a reply to the same French law firm, Bensouda is clear: “I did not receive a positive confirmation [from Malki]. Accordingly, there is no legal basis for my Office to consider” taking forward the prosecution.
However, Shahshahani said in an interview with The Electronic Intifada that “the ICC does in fact have jurisdiction,” despite the pressure by Israel, the US and apparently Abbas’ regime, to prosecute Israel. “Palestine in 2009 issued a declaration to the ICC, which provides the jurisdictional basis for the office of the prosecutor to open an investigation,” she added.
The Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah, in a recent interview with The Real News Network, said that Abbas’ failure to seek war crimes prosecution against Israel is because his regime “is in fact closely allied to Israel in a number of ways.”
He added: “Despite his rhetoric criticizing Israel, the fact is at no point has he ever stopped the so-called security coordination between the Israeli occupation army and the Palestinian Authority. So, while families were being slaughtered in Gaza, Mahmoud Abbas’ security forces were continuing their routine cooperation with the Israeli Shin Bet security services and with the Israeli army in the West Bank.”
“Potential for future violations”
Shahshahani said that as legal organizations wait for a response from the ICC prosecutor, “obviously there needs to be a lot more pressure and activism and asks and calls to the ICC to do something.”
She added, “This letter is definitely a great first step, but there needs to be other voices as well joining this call. Otherwise, we’re going to see potentially future acts of systematic violations of this nature happening by Israeli forces with the support of the US government, without anybody being held accountable, which would mean impunity.”
Nora Barrows-Friedman: About a month ago, a coalition of civil rights advocacy organizations sent a letter to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), quote “urging her to initiate an investigation of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity committed by Israeli leaders and aided and abetted by US officials in Gaza.” In your legal opinion, what specific examples during the 51 days of attacks can you cite that could be considered war crimes and crimes against humanity by Israel in Gaza?
Azadeh Shahshahani: We detailed in our letter a number of different types of violations committed by Israeli forces and aided and abetted by the US, including wilful killing. So, as people know, Israeli forces have killed over 2,100 Palestinians, including over 500 children. This has been very well documented by non-governmental organizations including the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.
In addition, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, so when the letter went out in late August, there were 10,000 Palestinians of Gaza who had been wounded, including 2,200 of them children.
And then in terms of unlawful, extensive destruction and appropriation of property that is not justified by military necessity — so tens of thousands of Palestinians have lost their homes.
And there are a number of other examples in our letter, including wilfully depriving a prisoner of war or civilian the rights of fair and regular trial. So, over one thousand Palestinians were arrested by Israeli forces in June and July of 2014, including members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, dozens of women, journalists, activists, academics and 62 former prisoners previously released in a prisoner exchange. More than 450 of them were held without charge or trial under administrative detention, which is basically a euphemism for indefinite detention.
And there are a number of other examples of potential war crimes during this operation by Israeli forces.
NBF: Can you talk a little about the obstacles facing international civil society organizations, including Palestinian civil society, individual families, and civil rights and human rights advocacy organizations, in terms of being able to pressure the International Criminal Court to take these hearings up, especially in light of the revelations that Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, has been apparently deliberately blocking investigations into Israeli war crimes by the ICC?
AS: Obviously, there are political obstacles. I would imagine that the ICC is under tremendous pressure by the US and potentially other governments in the west to not do anything about this. But as we said in our letter, the ICC does in fact have jurisdiction. So even though neither Israel nor the US is a party to the Rome Statutes for the International Criminal Court, Palestine in 2009 issued a declaration to the ICC, which provides the jurisdictional basis for the office of the prosecutor to open an investigation. So this is the basis that we detailed in our letter, basically asking the prosecutor to open an investigation into these potential war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity against Palestinians on her own initiative.
NBF: Where does this effort stand now, have there been any recent updates in terms of the ICC being receptive to this kind of pressure?
AS: We haven’t heard anything yet. We sent the letter in late August. So we remain hopeful, but obviously there needs to be a lot more pressure and activism and asks and calls to the ICC to do something. This letter is definitely a great first step, but there needs to be other voices as well joining this call.
Otherwise, we’re going to see potentially future acts of systematic violations of this nature happening by Israeli forces with the support of the US government, without anybody being held accountable, which would mean impunity.
NBF: If Israel does face war crimes hearings and even prosecution at an international court level, what kind of message would this send to Israeli leaders, and the US government which as you said has aided and abetted Israel’s crimes in Palestine for nearly seven decades?
AS: That they will be held accountable, that they cannot continue committing crimes, and in the case of the US, really supporting the crimes and providing the weapons and the tools necessary for the committing of war crimes and crimes against humanity without being held accountable for their crimes.
So I think it’s going to send a very powerful message to these governments and other western governments as well, that at various points in time might at least ponder the possibility of lending support to regimes that are in the process of committing war crimes.
NBF: Finally, where can people go for more information and how can people support this letter and pressure their local or national leadership to also pressure the ICC?
AS: People can go to our website, NLG.org, to see a copy of the letter. We’re also onFacebook and Twitter. I would say that people should start by contacting their congressional representatives in regards to the whole issue of US government’s unconditional support for Israel.
We all saw that as people were being murdered in Gaza, our congressional representatives were for the most part unanimously in support of the operation, and that is obviously a badge of shame for this congress.
So they need to hear our voices, loud and clear, that we will not stand for this, and that as Americans we are ashamed that our tax money is being spent for operations that lead to death and destruction in Gaza and for the people of Palestine.
(Source / 29.09.2014)
Most Palestinians would favour resuming rocket fire at Israel if it does not lift its Gaza blockade, although support for armed confrontation is dropping off, according to a poll published on Monday.
“An overwhelming majority of 80% supports the launching of rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israel if the siege and blockade are not ended,” said the survey of 1,200 Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Resarch (PSR).
Conducted a month after the end of Israel’s 50-day Gaza military offensive to stop rocket fire, the poll says 44% of respondents saw armed confrontation as the best way to end Israeli occupation and set up a Palestinian state.
It said that 29% believed negotiations were the best option, while 23% favoured non-violent resistance.
But the poll, carried out between September 25-27 and with a margin of error of three%age points, reflected a falloff in support both for the Islamist militant movement Hamas which rules Gaza and for violence.
PSR said that in a similar survey a month earlier, in the immediate aftermath of the war, 53% backed armed confrontation.
Asked how they would vote if a general election were held now, 39% of those polled said they would support Hamas, down from 46% a month ago.
The rival Fatah of president Mahmud Abbas would win 36%, up from 31% in August, the survey found.
But in a presidential race, Hamas’s Ismail Haniya would romp home with 55% support compared to 38% for Abbas.
Asked if Israel with its massive air, sea and land bombardment of Gaza had won the July-August war, or Hamas — which fired rockets deep into Israel — 69% handed victory to the Islamists in the latest survey, down from 79% last month.
The war killed more than 2,140 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 73 on the Israeli side, almost all soldiers.
(Source / 29.09.2014)
Over the course of Israel’s onslaught, more 2,150 Palestinians were killed – mostly civilians – and some 11,000 others injured.
Suffer, little children… What do our clueless politicians care?
The indifference shown by Barack Obama and David Cameron to the slaughter and unimaginable destruction that Israel – the self-styled “only democracy in the Middle East” with “the most moral army in the world” – inflicted on Gaza a month ago is beyond sickening.
In the UK a petition was raised, addressed to Prime Minister Cameron; Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg; Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond; Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband; and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon requesting them to send the Argus, a fully-fitted hospital ship of the Royal Navy currently lying at Falmouth apparently doing nothing. The petition said:
We have watched with horror the tragic loss of life and systematic destruction of infrastructure in Gaza. Despite the duty of care Israel continues to fundamentally restrict the flow of essential medical supplies, equipment and expertise into Gaza. A health crisis is looming in Gaza for trapped civilians, with dire conditions in the main Gaza City Shifa hospital. Doctors operate on the floor and in corridors. People die untreated. Only one x-ray machine is working with a lack of doctors, nurses, paramedics and the most basic equipment. As David Cameron said in 2010, Gaza is a prison camp. It is unique among world conflicts: people are unable to get out and effective relief can’t get in.
The hospital ship RFA Argus is moored in Falmouth. She is uniquely designed for this type of necessity. Since Israel has abrogated its responsibility to the citizens of Gaza, we request that the British government unilaterally and rapidly deploys RFA Argus to Gaza.
It’s the very least we could do, you might think. But Argus hasn’t sailed. The port and docks authorities say she’s putting to sea on 3 October but not on the sort of expedition we’re talking about. I spent considerable time trying to speak to the Ministry of Defence press office, which didn’t even answer the phone on any of its numbers, let alone say where she’s bound. Eventually I got through to Argus herself but the officer onboard was not allowed to tell me her destination over the phone. OK, understandable.
Meanwhile, Lord Hylton asked in Parliament “whether the official National Health Service medical team promised by the prime minister has yet reached Gaza; whether volunteer British doctors have been refused access to Gaza via Israel; and, if so, what action they are taking on the doctors’ behalf”.
Baroness Northover for the government replied: “A team of medical staff from the UK visited Gaza and East Jerusalem in August to assess the need for specialist medical support. A team was given access to Gaza via Israel to access medical facilities in both locations to assess capacity and recommend future UK assistance.”
Are Cameron, Obama and the rest… going to embarrass us further with their cruel inaction when they could so easily use their leverage?
That’s not exactly true. Dr Swee Ang in an email tells how some of those NHS doctors who went to Gaza were refused permits by Israel to enter the beseiged enclave. When she and another surgeon arrived they were “detained in Ramle Detention Centre and deported the following afternoon”.
Over the years Dr Ang has devoted herself tirelessly to the Palestinian wounded. She worked to help civilian casualties in the Lebanese civil war and witnessed the Sabra and Shatila massacres. She was a signatory to the recent hard-hitting letter in the Lancet by 24 senior doctors and scientists. It said, among other things:
We challenge the perversity of a propaganda that justifies the creation of an emergency to masquerade a massacre, a so-called “defensive aggression”. In reality it is a ruthless assault of unlimited duration, extent and intensity. We wish to report the facts as we see them and their implications on the lives of the people.
We are appalled by the military onslaught on civilians in Gaza under the guise of punishing terrorists. This is the third large scale military assault on Gaza since 2008. Each time the death toll is borne mainly by innocent people in Gaza, especially women and children under the unacceptable pretext of Israel eradicating political parties and resistance to the occupation and siege they impose.
This action also terrifies those who are not directly hit, and wounds the soul, mind, and resilience of the young generation. Our condemnation and disgust are further compounded by the denial and prohibition for Gaza to receive external help and supplies to alleviate the dire circumstances.
Dr Ang in her email goes on to say:
I think an important point to raise is also to ask for an account of how the DEC [Disasters Emergency Committee] money raised which I think amount to several million is going to be spent. Forty five clinics, 15 hospitals, eight fire stations and the main ambulance centre were destroyed in Gaza, so please ask the British government if they have discussed with the Ministry of Health of Palestine, if at least part of this money is going to help rehabilitate these health infrastructures. With more than 12,000 wounded among whom were those crippled for life, the one and only Gaza rehabilitation hospital which was flattened needs to be rebuilt urgently.
The team who got in to make the assessment on 9 August had not addressed this, nor on how to help Gaza recover its medical system after this severe assault. Moreover, the Gaza doctors have asked for us to support training their doctors especially in acute surgical specialties but, with the block on our consultants getting permits, this is not going to happen. All the consultants applying to go are from major teaching hospitals and represent multiple specialties who are ready to teach, treat and transfer surgical and medical knowledge to doctors in Gaza. Several of them are well connected with the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and would be able to help establish quality education. But no permits!
I can get further reports from the Ministry of Health of Gaza if necessary as the first British team seems to imply that things were very much back to normal in Gaza, which is not plausible given the degree of destruction… The total wounded is now more than 12,000. The homeless figure lies between 200,000 to 400,000 depending on which report you read. The entire public health system has collapsed and needs rebuilding.
Are Cameron, Obama and the rest… going to embarrass us further with their cruel inaction when they could so easily use their leverage?
If ever there was a time to suspend or completely end the European Union-Israel Association Agreement, this is it. Its terms require that:
Relations between the parties, as well as all the provisions of the agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this agreement.
The clueless Israelis haven’t a clue how to honour their obligations under the Agreement, and clueless Britain and the equally clueless EU haven’t a clue how to implement its essential and perfectly reasonable conditions…
(Source / 29.09.2014)
IOF Arresting & Shooting Palestinians, Settlers defile Aqsa
IOF arrests 23 Palestinian workmen
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested 23 Palestinian workmen as they were trying to enter the 1948 occupied lands, claiming that they did not have any entry permits .
Human rights sources confirmed that the detainees were exposed to beating, maltreatment and humiliation during their detention.
According to secretary-general of the federation of the Palestinian trade unions Shaher Saad, such Israeli practices and restrictions violate the international law that guarantees the workers’ rights to work and live a decent life.
In another context, the Palestinian prisoner society said that Salam and Ofer military courts sent seven Palestinian prisoners to prison and imposed heavy fines against them.
Israeli extremist settlers defile Aqsa Mosque
A horde of extremist Jewish settlers escorted by policemen on Monday morning desecrated the Aqsa Mosque .
The Palestinian worshippers and sit-inners inside the Mosque kept shouting religious slogans in protest at the violation of the Mosque’s sanctity by the settlers.
Eyewitnesses said the settlers entered the Mosque in small groups, and each one of those groups was led by a fanatic rabbi giving Talmudic explanations about the alleged Jewish temple.
Israeli bulldozers raze parts of historical Jerusalemite home
Israeli bulldozers demolished Sunday under Israeli police and military protection parts of the historical Adila villa in Abu Dis town in east Jerusalem at the pretext of its presence near the separation wall.
The demolition of the villa raised the ire of the Palestinian citizens in the area and prompted them to clash with the Israeli occupation forces
Adila palace was established in 1959 with permission from the Jordanian government before being legalized later by the Abu Dis municipal council.
Palestinian child injured by Israeli gunfire in Gaza
A 14-year-old child was injured on Monday morning when Israeli forces opened fire at a populated border area in Gaza.
Spokesman for the health ministry Ashraf Qudra told Quds Press that the Israeli military watchtowers to the north of Gaza borderline opened heavy gunfire at a Bedouin village near the security fence, leading to the injury of one child.
The child was rushed to Kamal Odwan hospital suffering a bullet injury in his left leg.
In a similar attack, a Palestinian farmer was injured Sunday evening by Israeli gunfire in Beit Lahiya town to the north of the Strip.
(Source / 29.09.2014)
- West Bank clinic treats ulcer patients with free medicines donated by AmeriCares.
For two years, 65-year-old Ata Zidat has been a regular visitor to a charitable clinic in his town of Bani Na’im, in the southern West Bank. Zidat is a father of 11 now grown up children and the grandfather of 22 kids. He suffers from chronic ulcers.
Donation of vital medicines eases financial burden for West Bank partients.
Like many people in his village, he is unemployed and lives in poverty. “Before coming here to consult with the doctor, I used to buy the medication from a private drug store and it cost me $6.50, which is a heavy burden for a chronic ulcer patient like me,” he explained.
Ulcer patient Ata Zidat gets treated in his town clinic.
“If you go into our pharmacy, you will see that one third of our medications are donated through ANERA,” says Dr. Issa Qdeimat. “This recent AmeriCares donation will cover us for the rest of the year, soothing the pain of so many needy patients suffering from ulcers.”
Over the past two years, Zidat has shown great improvement in his health, and now only needs his medication when his stomach and large intestines are irritated. Zidat also admits he has been a smoker since his teenage years and says his biggest failing is his inability to stop. Dr. Issa says smoking, coupled with poor nutrition, can cause major health problems such as ulcers.
His former job as a truck driver between Amman and Baghdad and bad eating habits on the road did not help either, the doctor adds. “Aside from being a heavy smoker, he also relied on coffee, sandwiches and canned foods to stay alert at the wheel.”
Poor patients like Zidat rely entirely on the generosity of the free clinic for their health care. “So when ANERA supplies us with such important medicines, it greatly eases our financial burdens,” Dr. Issa explains. “The donations enable us to function efficiently and ensure that each patient in our clinic gets the medical attention and treatment they need at a minimal cost or no cost at all.”
(Source / 29.09.2014)