What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview:
Press TV: What do you make of this? As soon as the onslaught on the Gaza Strip is over and of course during it also, Israel has continually seized more and more Palestinian land. It is as if no matter what the people in the world, as far as demonstrations say, basically, turns a deaf ear and blind eye to.
Rickard: Thank you for having me. I have to tell you that this is yet again another insatiable heartless appetite by the invaders and occupiers of Palestine now for over 47 years since the 1967 war and obviously over 60 years since 1948, when they were illegally given that land by the imperialists that had actually no right to give that land to the European and Russian immigrants.
So, this is horrific during a month-long slaughter and occupation of nearly 40 percent of Gaza over 1,400 were approved during the last month of August. And now we are talking about 400 hectares additional, being set up with more settlements. That is a large area.
That is about 1,000 square acres. It works about to be 40 million square feet and it could easily house tens of thousands of settlers and is right near Bethlehem and this is, yet again, another sick endeavor, demoralizing the Palestinians across the region and really it is no wonder that the Palestinians continue to fight and resist this kind of horrific, barbaric, and tremendously terrible activity that is being imposed on them for decades upon decades.
Press TV: Mr. Rickard, your perspective. What should be now the responsibility of the Palestinians? What should they do to counter this? If you were giving consultation to the Palestinian leadership, what would be their move at this point in time?
Rickard: Well, unfortunately they do not have a whole lot of possibilities other than to go to the Chinese, go to BRICS… which is probably their best bet and operating and trying to be close to that because it is outside of the empires that rule the world. I would also say that unfortunately any kind of violence is just going to result in additional slaughter. I know from a perspective of being demoralized and backed into a corner for decades upon decades. These poor children who grow up in these environments, this is all they know. So there are probably extremely frustrated and death is probably not a bother for them because of the horrific life styles that they are forced to live in. So I don’t think that you can go to the United Nations. Look at what the US did this week.
They were by themselves once again, puppets for the Zionist empire that rules really much of the European countries, which by the way, have come around with their UN voting, even with the UK. But for some reason the United States has just become the leader of these horrific atrocities on this indigenous people. God bless them.
It is unbelievable that they have to put up with such horrific demoralizing and tremendous repression. I would say stay with countries that are joining and building BRICS because that would be your best future. Because right now the countries that rule the world are certainly not playing fairly.
(Source / 01.09.2014)
The NGOs include the Aldameer Association for Human Rights, the Al-Haq Foundation, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, and the Mizan Centre for Human Rights. The organisations launched a joint campaign to document the war crimes perpetrated by Israeli forces during the 2014 aggression on Gaza
A number of Palestinian human rights groups have called on the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to immediately sign the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in order to facilitate the prosecution of Israeli leaders over war crimes.
The NGOs include the Aldameer Association for Human Rights, the Al-Haq Foundation, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, and the Mizan Centre for Human Rights. The organisations launched a joint campaign to document the war crimes perpetrated by Israeli forces during the 2014 aggression on Gaza.
In a statement yesterday, the organisations said they recruited a team of 100 researchers to carry out surveys and collect data. The team has been trained on collaborative work to compile data on the victims and the circumstances of their deaths, as well as the destroyed properties.
The NGOs have printed tens of thousands of data collection sheets to document the deaths and casualties along with damage to the environment or private and public properties.
The research work is in parallel with investigations on the ground regarding the crimes committed against civilians in Gaza, the statement said.
The NGOs urged all citizens and concerned agencies to cooperate with its field researchers to help accomplish the task as soon as possible.
(Source / 01.09.2014)
A statement issued by the Hamas press office said that Haniyeh [Pictured above] phoned the Egyptian intelligence and said: ‘It is necessary to force the Israeli occupation to commit to what was agreed upon in the ceasefire, which was brokered by Egypt’
Deputy Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh yesterday asked Egypt to force Israel to commit to the terms of the ceasefire deal reached last Tuesday.
A statement issued by the Hamas press office said that Haniyeh phoned the Egyptian intelligence and said: “It is necessary to force the Israeli occupation to commit to what was agreed upon in the ceasefire, which was brokered by Egypt.”
During his phone call, Haniyeh said it is necessary to start reconstructing what the Israeli war destroyed during the 51-day war.
Haniyeh hailed the Egyptians as they played a big role in reaching a ceasefire, underscoring the Egyptian role towards the Palestinian issue and the whole region.
The statement also said that the Egyptian intelligence affirmed that Egypt is to continue its efforts after the ceasefire deal, as well as to complete what is needed regarding all other outstanding issues.
The Anadolu news agency, which reported the news, was unable to obtain any comment from Egypt.
(Source / 01.09.2014)
A Palestinian rests in the ruins of a house after returning to the Tuffah neighborhood of eastern Gaza City, 31 August
With 15,670 housing units damaged, including 2,276 completely destroyed, and up to 500,000 Palestinians displaced over the 51-day onslaught, the number staying with extended families, in temporary rentals and at government and informal shelters is probably higher.
An estimated 108,000 Palestinians will need long-term solutions because their homes were too severely damaged to inhabit or destroyed altogether, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA).
The crisis is compounded by the fact that there was already a deficit of 71,000 housing units for Gaza’s nearly 1.8 million residents even prior to the Israeli attack, UN OCHA estimates.
And with reconstruction yet to begin, and likely to prove difficult due to ongoing Israelirestrictions on the importation of building materials, displaced Palestinians face uncertain futures.
“They might give us a tent”
“We won’t know until they make a decision at UNRWA,” Asma al-Rumi said Sunday at UNRWA Boys’ Prep School A in central Rafah — near Gaza’s border with Egypt — where she and her family have lived since 18 July.
“After they go see our home, they might give us some money to rent another place until they fix it. Or they might give us a tent.”
UNRWA and government schools will reopen in two weeks, almost three weeks after term should begin, but long before any resolution of an extreme housing crisis their buildings have partly relieved.
An assessment by the Shelter Cluster, a consortium of UN and international aid agencies,estimated it will take 20 years, under current Israeli import restrictions, to rebuild Gaza’s devastated housing stock, including 5,000 units damaged during earlier military offensives.
In the meantime, al-Rumi, a refugee from Bir al-Saba (a town, known in Hebrew as Beersheva, in present-day Israel) and a fourth-grade boys’ teacher at another UNRWA school in Rafah, faces the prospect of return to the UNRWA-issued tents used by many of over 750,000 Palestinian refugees uprooted during the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing that preceded and followed Israel’s foundation in 1948.
Her family and their neighbors resisted their most recent displacement for as long as they could, she said.
“We live in the east of Rafah, in al-Shoka near the barrier. They called us on 17 July and told us to leave our houses.
“They called the whole neighborhood, many times. Initially we refused to leave. But after a relative was killed, we evacuated on 18 July.”
On 1 August, Israeli forces sealed the area, preventing its Palestinian residents from leaving, and showered it with artillery fire, killing 190 people over two bloody days.
The barrage, which shattered a humanitarian ceasefire, constituted a war crime, according to Al Mezan Center for Human Rights and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, both of which are based in Gaza.
On 3 August, the rain of fire reached Boys’ Prep School A, where al-Rumi and nearly 3,000 other displaced Palestinians had taken shelter.
Nine people were killed in the attack that day, UNRWA stated.
The death toll later rose to ten, according to Al Jazeera English.
Although she heard the blast, al-Rumi said, she was not outside to see it.
“I was there, but inside the school, not near the gate. My brother was near the gate, getting ready for prayers. But thank God, nothing happened to him.”
But with so many people sharing such a small space, she added, everyone felt the loss. “Twenty-seven families, with 115 people, lived in one classroom,” she said. “Men and boys slept in the yard of the school.”
The strike came as shelter residents had formed lines to receive food from aid workers, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.
The attack, which followed six direct shellings of UNRWA shelters in the Gaza Strip over the 51-day offensive, sparked unusual protests from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who branded it “a moral outrage and a criminal act” and “yet another gross violation of international humanitarian law,” and the US State Department, which called it “disgraceful” and claimed to be “appalled.”
“For this particular installation we notified the Israeli army on 33 separate occasions that this school in Rafah was being used to accommodate the displaced, the last time only an hour before the incident,” Pierre Krähenbühl, UNRWA’s commissioner-general, said in a statement.
“The incident in Rafah is a further tragic and unacceptable reminder that there is nowhere safe in Gaza for people to take refuge. No one feels secure and given that Gaza is enclosed by a barrier, there is also nowhere safe for them to run,” he added.
To put it mildly, Boys’ Prep School A leaves much to be desired as a home.
“It’s an awful experience,” al-Rumi said. “Living here is not a life.”
“Now it is better than before,” she added, referring to the many residents who have returned to intact homes. “Before there were many people, in a small space, with a lot of diseases. It was crowded, with a lot of noise and a lack of clean water. There was only one meal a day. We had to buy the rest ourselves. They didn’t give us enough blankets or mattresses to sleep on.”
Showers, she said, were only installed in the school’s bathrooms ten days before the ceasefire.
Palestinians wait to receive food rations at an UNRWA distribution center in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip on 28 August.
And the shelter’s administration can make it difficult to lead what remains of a normal life, she said. “They come every night to count us, how many people are still here. If one of your family is absent, they don’t give him meals on other days. When we talk with them about it, they say it [the instruction] isn’t from them, but the people in charge, in higher positions.”
But her family’s lot is better than many, she said. Their house, though heavily damaged, with a demolished roof and cracked walls, windows and water tanks, is still standing and can be repaired.
Displaced Palestinians need relief efforts to prioritize their actual needs, she added.
“They bring us things like shampoo. We appreciate this, but we don’t need it. We need them rebuilding our homes.”
(Source / 01.09.2014)
Tripoli, September 1 (RHC)– A Libyan militia group says it has secured the U.S. Embassy and its residential compound in the capital, Tripoli, since last week. An unnamed commander for the Fajr (Dawn) Libya militiamen made the remarks on Sunday.
“We’ve secured the location and the assets of the embassy,” he said, adding, “We’ve informed our command… immediately after entering the place following the exit of the rival militia. The place is secure and under protection.”
A video posted on-line showed unarmed men playing in the embassy courtyard. American diplomats were evacuated from Libya to neighboring Tunisia on July 26th because of raging violence. Libya has been witnessing one of its worst spasms of violence since the overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Recent fighting between armed groups has prompted almost all foreign diplomats and thousands of residents to flee Tripoli.
Rival militiamen, who refuse to lay down arms, are fighting for total rule over the North African country, and the army has been unable to curb the widespread lawlessness.
(Source / 01.09.2014)
|AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– At least 250 Palestinian children, below the age of 18, are incarcerated in Israeli jails and have been subjected to acts of violence that stand in sharp in contrast with all international children rights conventions, the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners and ex-Prisoners Affairs said in a statement released Sunday.The Israeli security apparatuses have been coming down heavily on the Palestinian minor captives throughout the detention phase and until their release.
The most excruciating violations are detected in the psycho-physical torture ways, including the act of forcing children to sit on the investigation chair chained hand and food and covering their entire heads with foul-smelling bags, in addition to depriving them of sleep.
Abrupt break-ins into children prison cells, solitary confinement, heavy beating, denial of urgent medical treatment, strip searches, and demolition threats, are some of the terror tactics, among many others, used by the Israeli prison authorities against Palestinian minor captives, paying no heed to their age and the future psychological disorders held in store.
Media representative of the Prisoners Ministry in Gaza, Rafat Hamdouna, called on children rights organizations to keep tabs on the situation of Palestinian minor detainees and adopt serious measures aimed at restoring their freedom by filing lawsuits demanding the prosecution of Israeli oppressive jailers and the annulment of the prison-terms issued through psycho-physical torture tactics and via illegal deterrent military courts.
(Source / 01.09.2014)
Samidoun campaign graphic
Palestinian Legislative Council memberKhalida Jarrar is resisting an Israeli occupation order to banish her from her home in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank to the district of Jericho for six months.
Jarrar has set up a protest camp at the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) — the Palestinian Authority legislature — in Ramallah where she will remain until the order is lifted. “It is the occupation who must leave our homeland,” she has said.
Jarrar refused to sign the military order “to put her under special monitoring” that was handed to her by an Israeli occupation officer at her home in the early hours of 20 August.
Jarrar is a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and a board member of Addameer Prisoner Support. Forced transfers are prohibited under international law.
In an interview with Wattan TV (below in Arabic with English subtitles), Jarrar said she refused to sign the military order as a matter of principle.
“You are an occupation that is killing my Palestinian people, you practice mass arrests, you demolish homes, you kidnap people from their homes, and you deport them, you must leave my home,” she said of the Israelis.
Persecution of elected Palestinian parliamentarians
The Israeli banishment order is clearly a continuation of the Israeli policy of targeting elected representatives of Palestinian in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, write Palestinian organizations in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
There are currently 36 PLC lawmakers in Israeli prisons, 28 of them held in so-called “administrative detention” without even the pretense of charge or trial. Israel stripped three Jerusalemite lawmakers and one former minister of their Jerusalem residency before their arrest.
In 2006, Jarrar was elected to the Palestinian legislature and serves as the PLC representative to the Council of Europe but has never been able to attend the meetings in Europe due to a travel ban imposed on her in 1998. She was allowed only one time to travel abroad for medical treatment to Jordan in 2010.
The Palestinian organizations call for Ban’s immediate intervention in order to lift the military order for Jarrar’s forcible transfer and to demand that Israel halt its policy of targeting lawmakers and immediately release all imprisoned PLC members.
However, Khalida Jarrar’s case is far from an isolated incident, says Charlotte Kates, coordinator of Samidoun. Ahmad Saadat, Jarrar’s colleague in the PLC and the PFLP’s General Secretary, has been imprisoned by Israel since 2006.
Earlier, Saadat was detained in a Palestinian Authority (PA) prison under US and British guard for four years under the infamous security coordination between the PA and Israel. When Israel feared Saadat would be freed, it attacked the prison in 2006 as the British and US guards stood aside, and Saadat and his comrades were kidnapped by the occupation army.
We have also seen in the past week raids and roundups of dozens of PFLP members, cadres and leaders in the West Bank, Kates writes in an email. “These arrest raids come not only at the same time as the expulsion order against Jarrar, but on the occasion of the thirteenth anniversary of the Israeli extrajudicial execution of PFLP General Secretary Abu Ali Mustafa in his Ramallah office on 27 August 2001.
The Israeli occupation regularly targets political groups on major dates and anniversaries in an attempt to thwart organizing and mobilization.
The entire system of political imprisonment is based on suppressing Palestinian organizing, Kates continues. It works hand in hand with the Israeli assassination policy in an attempt to deprive the Palestinian people of their leaders, their organizers, their community and national voices.
And so the expulsion order against Khalida Jarrar is not an individual act, but part of a coordinated campaign to disrupt and suppress the PFLP as a Palestinian progressive, leftist, resistance party and the Palestinian resistance and liberation struggle as a whole, Kates noted.
Samidoun is inviting people to endorse this statement demanding the cancellation of the expulsion order against Khalida Jarrar.
(Source / 01.09.2014)