Posts Tagged ‘Terrorism’
International action has been called for in solidarity with prisoners held in Israeli jails. Corporate Watch has been investigating the companies involved in the Israeli prison system and interviewing ex-prisoners. This interview is part of a series of articles which will be released over the coming months focusing on companies providing equipment and services to the Israeli Prison ‘Service’ (IPS).
Israeli surveillance technology overlooks Palestinian farmland in Beit Hanoun
We met ‘Salah’* at his home in Beit Hanoun in the Northern Gaza Strip a few weeks after his release from seven years prison in Israel. A celebration tent had been set up in his house since his release. We wanted to speak to Salah about the conditions for sick patients in Israeli jails, the particular problems for prisoners from Gaza and the complicity of international companies like G4Sand Hewlett Packard in the Israeli prison system. The Ketziot prison where Salah spent some of his period of imprisonment has been receiving servicesfrom British/Danish company G4S since 2007.
The effects of Israeli air attacks are never far away in Beit Hanoun. As his sons and grandsons bring us tea to drink, Salah tells us that during the Israeli bombardment in November 2012 his grandson ‘Hisham’, who was three and a half years old, “was playing a little way away from a government building. The building was struck by an F16 and rubble hit him on the head. He was in intensive care for seven days.” We are invited to feel the soft patch in Hisham’s skull where he was injured. Salah goes on to tell us: “My son ‘Abed’, now 20 years old, was in the street when the group of boys he was with was targeted by an Apache [helicopter]. One of them was killed and 18 injured. Abed’s hand was amputated, he is seriously psychologically affected.”
When we defended our children, our homes and our homelands
Salah tells us that he wants to tell us the story of what happened when, as he puts it, “we defended our children, our homes and our homelands”. “I was arrested during the first intifada [uprising] and detained under administrative detention for four months. During my arrest I was hit on the head with a stone. While I was interrogated they tortured me by squeezing my testicles. I was released for ten days then detained without charge again for another two years. During that period I remember one of the soldiers pissed on the ground and then scooped up the urine and forced it to my mouth. During the interrogation they hit my legs and toes with sticks.” He rolls up his trouser leg and shows us his bent and scarred legs and feet.
He goes on to say that in November 2006 the “Israelis invaded [Beit Hanoun] and ordered all the men aged from 15 to 50 to gather in one place and asked for our IDs. When they came to me they looked at my ID, then they told me to take off all my clothes except my underwear. They made me walk around several times, it was embarrassing. Then they arrested me.”
At the time of his arrest Salah was being treated for a heart problem. He was taken to the Beit Hanoun (Erez) checkpoint where he was detained for three days, then they took him to Ashkelon prison where he was allowed to see a doctor. The doctor said ‘that he would not be responsible for what happened during interrogation’ as Salah ‘might die’ due to the weakness caused by his health problems. Despite this Salah was interrogated continuously for ten hours. During the interview he had a pain in his chest. They gave him painkillers but the interrogation continued.
Salah told us: “I spent 35 days inside the interrogation cells without any medical care. During my interrogation my health deteriorated. The last part of the interrogation was non-stop for 17 hours – I was exhausted. When it was over they forced me to sign documents in Hebrew which I didn’t understand.”
“They accused me of being a leading figure in Fatah and of membership of the Al Aqsa Martyr Brigades [an armed resistance group aligned to Fatah] and of inciting the Al Aqsa Martyr Brigades. I told them that I had nothing to do with these things.”
“In Bir al Saba [Beeersheva] prison in 2007 I had a heart attack. They put me in a prison vehicle similar to an ambulance but I was on a stretcher handcuffed and leg-cuffed and wearing an oxygen mask. When I got to Bir al Saba hospital I said ‘where am I, where am I?’ But they didn’t tell me anything.
I stayed there for a few hours. The doctors in the hospital didn’t communicate with me, they just spoke to the soldiers. Then I was driven back to the prison. I asked what the doctors had said about my condition when I returned to the prison. I was told by the officer that he could not tell me anything about my health, as it was a security matter.
I had to return to the hospital regularly. It took more than nine hours from the hospital to the prison. I asked to be transported in a proper ambulance but they refused.
“He is a dog”
In 2012 when I was being taken to hospital one of the guards slammed the door on my legs on purpose. The other guard said to him, ‘why did you do that?’ The first guard answered, ‘he is a dog, don’t worry about him.’
I was always protesting about inappropriate medical care and because of this they constantly transferred me from prison to prison. Painkillers and water drinking are the only solutions they give to medical problems when you bring them up. I met with the International Committee of the Red Cross inside the prisons. I explained to them about the conditions. They made promises but it seemed like it was only slogans, only words.
During the 2012 hunger strike I was in Nafha prison. I was too sick to participate in the strike. The guards tried to make people eat. I saw how they did this. Me and the other sick prisoners threatened that if the Israelis did not meet the demands of the other prisoners we would join the hunger strike and not take food or water.
When I was in the prison clinic getting oxygen I saw the Israeli units kicking and punching the hunger strikers. The guards had food with them and were telling them to eat.
I saw doctors telling the hunger strikers: ‘if you do not stop your hunger strike we will not give you your medicine.’ It was like a battle of defiance between the Palestinian prisoners and the IPS. If an inmate did break the hunger strike the guards tried to humiliate them. Sometimes our clothes were taken and we were left in our underwear. They invaded our cells all the time.
The lives of the people on hunger strike were worth nothing – but what can you expect from people who kill children?”
Denial of visits
After the election of Hamas in 2006 and the power struggle between Hamas and Fatah, which ended with Hamas remaining in control of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military decided to end all visits to Israeli prisons by the families of Palestinian prisoners from Gaza. According to Salah, “From 2006-2012 I received no visits. Then, after 28 days of the hunger strike there was an agreement under the supervision of the Egyptians. The IPS agreed to allow some family visits. I received visits about every 2 months”. The number of visits received by prisoners from Gaza is still limited by the IPS.
Salah was imprisoned in Ketziot in the Naqab (Negev) for three years. G4S have a contract to supply equipment and services to Ketziot. Salah told us that the conditions in Ketziot were particularly bad: “We were kept in the caravans. There were three sections to Ketziot: tents, caravans and cement huts. One of the Israeli officers at Ketziot came to my cell and threatened to kill me, another of the guards there took a stapler and fired a staple into my head.
When they invaded our cells in Ketziot they shot tear gas grenades and used pepper spray. They sprayed canisters of gas into the cells. There was a bad smell – you would wash your clothes but the smell would still linger for days. It made you sneeze. Some people lost consciousness because of this. During that time in Ketziot they no longer distinguished between the healthy and the sick and the elderly. My friends used to put me under the bed to protect me because I was weak and they were afraid that I would be killed.
I was also imprisoned in Ramon and Ohalei Keidar prisons.”
‘From a small prison to a big prison’
“When I was released they said ‘let it be the last time for you Salah’. They claimed they could get me back easily if I caused trouble. Since my release I am very nervous, I cannot bear to hear any loud noise. I prefer to be alone.” As he describes this Salah begins to cry.
“I have gone from a small prison to a big prison, here there are drones in the sky and the crossings are closed.
The Israeli border fence in Beit Hanoun
The British government should put pressure on Israel to release the prisoners – it is Britain’s responsibility. Administrative detention is their law and the Balfour Declaration started all the problems.
I would like the international community to continue their efforts to raise awareness of the conditions for people in Israeli jails. G4S and other companies should be prosecuted and pursued in the International Criminal Court, they are making money out of the crimes being committed against the Palestinian people.”
Physicians instrumental in the Israeli prison system
A group of doctors has called for a boycott of the Israeli Medical Association in line with the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions. The call is on the basis of the IMA’s complicity in torture and Israeli violations of the rights of the civilian population under the fourth Geneva Convention. Dr. Derek Summerfield, a British supporter of the boycott, said it was justified as many Israeli physicians were complicit in the occupation’s crimes. According to Summerfield, one Israeli physician had confessed that he had “removed the intravenous drip from the arm of a seriously ill Palestinian prisoner, and told the man that if he wanted to live, he should co-operate with his interrogators.”
One way to act in solidarity with sick prisoners is to support calls for the Israeli Medical Association’s expulsion from the World Medical Association over its complicity in Israeli militarism and apartheid. For more details see www.boycottima.org
Or you can join the campaign against G4S, click here to find out more.
(Source / 07.03.2014)
Khirbet al-Makhul community, which Israel razed in September.
There are nearly 300,000 Palestinians living in “Area C” of the occupied West Bank, according to new figures published this week by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Area C constitutes the over 60 percent of the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, designated to full Israeli civil and military control by the 1995 Oslo II agreement. The area is home to 532 residential communities, “compromising some of the most vulnerable communities in the West Bank in terms of humanitarian needs,” according to the UN.
But Naftali Bennett, an extreme rightwing politician and Minister of Economy and Trade, previously claimed that only 50,000 Palestinians lived in Area C. Bennett, who is from the Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party, called on Israel to fully annex the area and impose Israeli citizenship on its inhabitants.
OCHA estimates that around 18 percent of the West Bank is designated as closed military zones for military activities. Some 6,224 Palestinians live in communities in these areas, known as “firing zone” communities. Another more than 12,000 reside in close proximity of them.
In Masaffar Yatta – called “Firing Zone 918” by Israeli occupation authorities – more than2,000 persons are slated for eviction and have lived in a state of uncertainty for years.
In September 2013, twelve families (around 120 persons) were displaced when Israeli bulldozers razed the Khirbet al-Makhul community in the Jordan Valley, as Dylan Collinsreported for The Electronic Intifada at the time.
The overwhelming majority of Palestinian “firing zone” communities rely on herding and farming for their economic livelihood. More than 80 percent of them have reported “a decrease in their number of livestock during the last two years due to a number of Israeli measures, including restrictive planning and zoning, settler violence and military activities,” the OCHA fact sheet reported.
According to the statistics, the Jerusalem district is the most densely populated part of Area C, where 74,000 Palestinians reside.
In occupied East Jerusalem, Israel imposes a complex web of bureaucracy on the city’s indigenous Palestinian residents as part of the ongoing process of expelling them to make way for the expansion of Jewish-only settlements.
Hundreds of families were forcibly relocated in the past, and today all of the communities have had land stolen by settlements and live without electricity. Israeli authorities have also issued demolition orders to the majority of the homes.
Palestinian residents of occupied East Jerusalem hold special Israeli-issued blue identity cards. The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem estimates that more than 14,000 persons have had their Jerusalem-residency revoked since 2000.
Between 1999 and 2012, Israeli occupation authorities demolished 928 homes in occupied East Jerusalem, according to B’Tselem’s statistics.
Below is a list of other alarming estimates from the OCHA fact sheet:
- Israeli authorities have issued demolition orders to nearly 70 Palestinian residential areas.
- 49 percent of the communities suffer from severe restrictions on freedom of movement.
- Half of the communities have or are experiencing land confiscation.
- 21 percent suffer from physical violence by Israeli settlers.
- 32 percent suffer from settler attacks on their property.
- 27 percent of the residents in Area C are already UN-registered refugees in crowded camps that constitute just six percent of the total area.
“This is our home,” Naftali Bennet said at an Israeli settler conference in January 2013. “We are the tenants here, not occupiers.”
But despite an ever-growing list of Israeli policies designed to displace and ghettoize Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, there are nearly twice as many Palestinians still living in Area C than previously estimated.
Though Bennett’s plan was already improbable, the fact that over 300,000 Palestinians live in the area he wants to annex means that his racist designs are also little more than a pipe dream.
(Source / 06.03.2014)
Ishtayyeh said in a meeting with diplomats organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Ramallah that the PA had tried with all its might to “end the suffering” of Palestinians in Syria through international mediation.
Israeli officials, however, had refused to allow them to come to the Palestinian territories.
At least 1,500 Palestinians have been killed in the ongoing Syria conflict, and around 250,000 Palestinian refugees have been forced to leave their homes in Syria due to violence in the country.
Prior to the conflict, 600,000 Palestinian refugees lived in Syria.
Between 7-800,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes inside Israel during the 1948 conflict that led to the creation of the State of Israel, and today their descendants number around five million, spread across the world.
Occupied West Bank, ALRAY – Prisoner Club Society said Israeli forces assaulted Thursday Omar Daraghma,18, when arresting him in Tubas town, to the north of Nablus.
The forces beat Daraghma over the head and hands.
Society’s lawyer said that administration of Hawwara prison refused to receive Daraghma in prison due to his bad health condition.
The lawyer pointed out that daraghma’s clothes were blood-stained and clear injuries could be noticed on his face and right eye.
(Source / 06.03.2014)
Al Qassam website- Occupied Jerusalem- The Magistrate Court in Jerusalem on Tuesday sentenced Sheikh Ra’ed Salah, the leader of the Islamic movement in 1948 occupied Palestine, to eight months imprisonment.
The Islamic movement said on its website that the court sentenced the Sheikh to 16 months including 8 months actual imprisonment and an 8 months suspended sentence.
It recalled that the court had found the Sheikh guilty in November last year of incitement in what came to be known as Wadi Al-Jauz sermon.
The Khutba or sermon was delivered on Friday 16/2/2007 after Israel was charged with demolishing part of the Aqsa Mosque ten days earlier.
Sheikh Salah is a prominent Islamic figure in 1948 occupied Palestine and is well-known for his strong defense of the Aqsa Mosque and his criticism of the Israeli Judaization policy.
The Islamic leader’s active defense of Islamic and Christian holy places in Jerusalem and 1948 occupied Palestine has led to his repeated detention at the hands of Israeli security apparatuses.
(Source / 06.03.2014)
Omar is a 7-year-old boy from Gaza. His family managed to obtain the necessary permits that allowed him to cross the Erez checkpoint to Jerusalem, through the West Bank, in order to undergo surgery. He was accompanied by his father. On the way back, the boy and his father were stopped at the Qalanidya checkpoint, separating occupied East Jerusalem from the West Bank. The father needed another permit from the Israeli military to take his son, whose wounds were still fresh hours after the surgery, back to the strip. But the soldiers were in no obliging mood.
This story was reported in its painful details by an Israeli rights activist Tamar Fleishman, of Machsomwatch (checkpoint watch). Her name is synonymous with the Qalanidya checkpoint, because she has been hovering there for countless hours, reporting on the Israeli military’s infuriating torment of Palestinian travelers. Her report, although painful to read, shed a light on a side of the Israeli occupation that oftentimes goes unnoticed. Many speak of Israel’s checkpoints dotting the occupied territories, but few truly appreciate the real experience of living life imprisoned between checkpoints, by being held hostage to the temperament of unruly soldiers.
Omar’s “body was still full of anesthetics (as he) collapsed on the metal bench at the shed in front of the DCL offices at Qalandiya checkpoint,” Fleishman wrote in the Palestine Chronicle. “It was very cold as the day turned into evening. Omar’s father took his leather coat off and wrapped it over his son. Omar didn’t open his eyes. Neither the healthy eye nor the one that was swollen from the surgery. He kept sleeping. He seemed to be in a state between sleep and loss of consciousness.”
The story goes on, and seems to never end. Omar is a representation of every Palestinian child and his dad embodies every Palestinian parent living under occupation.
Omar’s heartrending photo, also taken by Fleishman, is of him lying awkwardly at the metal bench, covered by a black leather coat. The boy was likely unaware of much of the reality that encircled him. He might have heard his father pleading his case to the soldiers; or felt the gentle caressing of his hair by a Palestinian mother, also held at the checkpoint; he might’ve even sensed the cold air penetrating his skin to his frail bones. Or he might’ve felt nothing at all. But still, Omar, is every sick Palestinian and his story symbolizes the very depravity at the heart of the Israeli occupation.
Omar is not a poster child for victimhood. His pain and that of his dad should not merely invoke sights of petty, or philosophical diatribes of how the occupation is killing Israel’s soul, or reignite yet more arguments of what ‘solution’ to the ‘conflict’ we like most. Neither the action of the soldiers, that of their military and political superiors, or of those who have armed and financed them (mainly the United States and European countries) are in the least influenced by fervently debated political and academic discourses. They simply have the means and power to maintain such a colossal matrix of control that turns the lives of ordinary Palestinians into a never-ending nightmare, and they have no reason to stop.
And why should they? Israel’s military occupation is a hugely successful business venture. Jewish settlers are rarely aware of how their presence in occupied land constitutes a violation of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention. It’s a war crime. But do they know that? And if they do, should they care? They live in government subsidized housing, connected through a very costly road system – preserved for ‘Jews only’ back to Israel – enjoy numerous perks, ones that even those living in Israel cannot access. Settlers siphon Palestinian water from West Bank aquifers, while Palestinians barely get by with a small share of their own water resources. Settler children receive excellent healthcare, the best schooling, and their parents cruise around with nice cars as they enjoy the finer things in life. Most Palestinians subsist at a low-income and live life negotiating access through checkpoints, from the day they are born, until the day they die, and every day in between.
Israeli leaders thrive at the political support they receive from settlers, and cringe at the very thought of losing favor with the most messianic and ultra-nationalist and rightwing among them. The Israeli army is deployed throughout the West Bank – aside from ensuring that the Palestinian population is thoroughly subdued – to safeguard settlers and settlements. The checkpoints, like those of Qalandiya, are there to serve that purpose. As in many checkpoints in and around the West Bank, the fast lane is reserved for Jewish settlers, who are ushered in with ease. While Palestinians have to squeeze between concrete walls, giant cement blocks or fences as they wait to plead their case to the soldiers.
Some of the checkpoint’s waiting areas look like massive cages. Ma’an news agency reported on January 6 that a man was crushed to death at the Ephraim/Taybeh checkpoint near the West Bank city of Tulkarem. 59-year-old Adel Muhammad Yakoub from the village of Balaa “died as a result of extreme overcrowding,” it reported. “Some 10,000 Palestinian workers cross through the checkpoint every day and that inspection procedures at the checkpoint go very slowly causing dangerous levels of overcrowding inside the checkpoint.”
Yakoub left behind a wife and seven children. Now, 9,999 workers continue to cross through the Taybeh checkpoint. Even if the Israeli army increased the number of soldiers that process the permits for Palestinian workers, or enlarged the cage-like fences a few feet to the right or left, the fundamental question remains: what will compel Israel to end its occupation, tear down its walls, fences, and bring this horrific and protracted episode to an end?
How long will it be before Palestinian workers push back the fences and soldiers who take part in the collective and daily torment of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians?
As for the rest of us, will we continue to espouse this banal debate: one side that justifies Israel’s action, at times in the name of God and his ‘Chosen People’ and at others in the name of ‘security; and another side that is stuck promoting Palestinian victimization as if an end in itself, without much understanding of the true political underpinnings, or the sheer desire to carry out tangible acts of solidarity for the likes of Omar and his dad?
Omar was finally woken up by his distressed father, who managed to produce the boy’s original birth certificate (a copy, said, Fleishman, is unacceptable); and both, after a long wait, were allowed to go home to Gaza before Erez was scheduled to close. But still, another Omar must be waiting at some checkpoint, somewhere, with his original birth certificate in hand, accompanied by a distressed relative, beseeching the sense of morality of an unfeeling soldier, who has none.
(Source / 06.03.2014)
Assad warned that the Israeli regime attempts to create a buffer zone in Golan Heights as it did in southern Lebanon, According to Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar.
Assad also told an Argentinean newspaper a few months ago that Israel is assisting the militants fighting in Syria.
“Israel is directly supporting the terrorist groups in two ways,” he claimed. “Firstly it gives them logistical support, and it also tells them what sites to attack and how to attack them.”
The daily further reported that the “axis of resistance” is fighting in the area and decided to foil the Israeli plans.
In an interview with Beirut-based Al-Miyyadeen television on Monday, Bouthaina Shaaban, who serves as the political and media adviser to Syria’s Al-Assad, claimed that Israel was sending fighters to help the militants fighting to oust Assad.
The advisor also said that Israel is using weapon convoys as an excuse to strike in Syrian and Lebanese territories.
Nearly 1,600 wounded militants, fighting in Syria, have reportedly received treatment in Israeli hospitals.
In September, Syrian army troops confiscated Israeli-made missiles in the possession of foreign backed militants in the southern city of Dara’a.
Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since March 2011. A very large number of the militants operating inside Syria are reportedly foreign nationals.
According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies, especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, are supporting the militants operating inside Syria and are providing them with required military equipment.
(Source / 06.03.2014)
Some 45,000 Palestinians living in the Shuafat refugee camp and the suburbs of Ras Shehadeh, Ras Khamis, As-Salam and Anata in Jerusalem have had their water cut off for nearly three days.
The residents said Israel’s water company Gihon started by gradually reducing the water supply nearly two weeks ago until it stopped entirely.
A member of Shuafat’s popular committee; Khaled Al-Khalidi said on Wednesday that 23,000 refugees had no access to water for three days while the residents of Ras Shehadeh; Ras Khamis, As-Salam and Anata have been without water for 20 days.
Al-Khalidi demanded “UNRWA, the camp’s service provider, to fulfil its obligations towards the refugees and prosecute the Jerusalem municipality and Gihon to oblige them to return the water supply.”
Al-Khalidi pointed out that “UNRWA and Jordan signed an agreement in 1956 to provide water service to the Palestinian refugees without charge and in 1967 the Israeli Civil administration joined the Convention. However in 1988 when Israel tried to cut off the water supply to the camp residents, the refugees prosecuted the company and forced it to return the water supply.”
The Chairman of the Ras Al-Khamis Development committee, Jameel Sandouqa, said the educational and health institutions were paralysed by the company’s actions. “We addressed the Association for Civil Rights and filed a complaint against Gihon. We also contacted Gihon’s Deputy Director General Eli Cohen, but he denied any cut off in the water supply.”
Sandouqa said his committee contacted Minister of the Knesset Effie Cole and asked her to hold an urgent meeting at the Knesset to press the water company to return the water supply to the areas’ residents.
“Gihon has cut off water to the region to force us to receive services from the Jerusalem municipality and impose a new reality in the region,” he said.
Sandouqa added that the Israeli army has closed the Shuafat military crossing for three days now for maintenance which forces the camp’s students to walk all the way around the terminal to their homes causing them great suffering and endangering their lives.
(Source / 06.03.2014)
The Israeli army, on Wednesday, abducted two people from the West Bank city of Hebron, including a minor, in addition to a youth from the Jerusalem area, according to local sources.
In Hebron, army forces took 14-year-old Shehda Salaymeh, after raiding and searching his house in the old city of Hebron, tampering with its contents, WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency reports.
The army also abducted a 22-year-old university student from al-Sheikh quarter, in Hebron, after searching his house and seizing his personal mobile phones and laptop.
Meanwhile, forces have set up flying military checkpoints in several neighborhoods in the city, and at the entrances of several towns and villages, stopping cars and checking the drivers’ identity cards, causing a traffic jam.
(Source / 05.03.2014)
NAZARETH, (PIC)– According to data published by an Israeli governmental body, the Israeli authorities have demolished 11 Palestinian buildings in the Negev, south of the 1948 occupied territories, under the pretext of illegal construction.
Israel Land Authority said in a press statement that its inspectors, in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior and the Green Patrol, demolished this week eleven illegal buildings in the Negev.
The Israeli authorities demolished a tent on an area of 70 meters, a residential building, a hut and a mobile home over an area of 50 meters in the town of Kseifa.
Bulldozers belonging to the municipality in the city of Haifa, north of occupied Palestine, demolished on Tuesday a restaurant owned by a Palestinian citizen from the village of Ras al-Ain.
(Source / 05.03.2014)