July 12, 2011

Rachel Corrie’s family claim Israel hid evidence of Rachel’s death

Posted in General Gaza Updates tagged , , , , , , , at 10:54 am by Alexia

The Guardian has a piece of the latest information coming from the civil suit that the Corrie family are pursuing in Israel.  The family claim that evidence has been withheld and misleading information was provided to the US officials at the time of her death.  The hearing has been taking place since March 2010 and finally completed last weekend.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/11/corries-accuse-israelis-death

In March last year the Corrie family launched a civil case, accusing the military of either unlawfully or intentionally killing Rachel or of gross negligence. Hearings in the case ended on Sunday and a verdict is due to be delivered next April.

“After more than a year of hearings, we are at this moment in much the same place as we were when they began – up against a wall of Israeli officials determined to protect the state at all costs, including at the expense of truth,” said Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s mother.

“We came seeking accountability. We demand justice,” said Craig Corrie

 Right up to the end of the hearings, the Israeli military sought to discredit the work of the volunteers there trying to prevent the human rights abuses being perpetrated by the Israeli military. 

 The final witness in the case, Colonel Pinhas Zuaretz, told the court in Haifa that Rafah was a war zone in 2003 and “reasonable people would not be there unless they had aims of attacking our forces”. Members of the International Solidarity Movement, such as Rachel Corrie, were aiding “Palestinian terrorists”, he said.

because of course an unarmed civillian with nothing more than a finger to wag or a camera to document the attacks on civillians is obviously a grievous threat to those heavily armoured tanks the military were permanently ensconced in and those “Palestinian terrorists” who were actually the unarmed homeowners who suffered sustained attacks on their homes by members of the military which usually led to the household abandoning the home and becoming refugees, then the military subsequently demolishing it were also grievous threats.

As the Israeli government has recently shown with its open pressuring of foreign governments to stop the flotilla and tacitly supporting at least one group that behaved in criminal behaviour to try to stop some of the flotilla boats leaving in Greece, it is unlikely that this will cause them to display integrity and admit responsibility for the behaviour of its armed forces.  Will the courts see it differently and judge that the military did distort the truth to hide its culpability in the death of Rachel?  We’ll know next April.

 

January 26, 2011

Countries are starting to recognise the State of Palestine

Posted in ! My Articles tagged , , , , , at 3:16 pm by Alexia

The good news that seems to be escaping the attention of the mainstream media is that more countries around the world are recognising the State of Palestine. 

South America is currently at the forefront of this wave of recognition.  The Arab world has ( along with the Chinese) been making a concerted push to improve trade and strengthen cultural ties and it is culminating in recognition for Palestine ahead of the third Arab/South American Summit (ASPA), hosted in Peru in February.

Of course Israel and the US aren’t particularly happy about this and have been making noises of disapproval

Israel warned that South America’s rush to recognition was “highly damaging interference” by countries that were never part of the Middle East peace process.

The US has lobbied the region to say recognition is premature. That argument has fallen flat with conservative and left-wing governments but Washington will be pleased that Peru, like Chile, hedged its position on Palestinian claims for borders that existed before 1967, encompassing the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

  The US seems to be concerned enough about the encroachment of the Chinese and the Arabs into their “sphere of influence” that they’re taking steps to try to neutralise it.  It even warranted recognition in the State of the Union speech by President Obama on 25 Jan 2011.

This is just a part of how we are shaping a world that favours peace and prosperity. With our European allies, we revitalized NATO, and increased our cooperation on everything from counter-terrorism to missile defence. We have reset our relationship with Russia, strengthened Asian alliances, and built new partnerships with nations like India. This March, I will travel to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador to forge new alliances for progress in the Americas.

The release of the documents by Al Jazeera, which confirms that Israel has been mainly responsible for the stalling of the peace process and just how much the US favours Israel in the negotiations, combined with the recognition of the State of Palestine will strengthen the Palestinian position and enable some headway to be made.

I haven’t been so optimistic in years.

Here’s the current list of countries who fully or partially recognise Palestine.

February 9, 2010

Court Victory for ISM Activists

Posted in ISM Updates tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:19 pm by Alexia

APPEAL Such legal challenges are important for the Palestinian non-violent resistance as it can determine whether or not Israeli occupation forces continue to use particular oppressive practices. But legal work is also quite expensive.

The ISM is asking its supporters to throw fund-raising events to raise money to support the work of the ISM’s solidarity with the Palestinian movement against apartheid. You can donate by check, or online (via Paypal) see http://palsolidarity.org/donate for details.

REPORT A legal victory for ISM activists On Monday, February 8, 2010, the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the release on bail of the two activists who were arrested on Sunday during a pre-dawn raid on the Ramallah media office of the International Solidarity Movement. Ariadna Jove Marti, a Spanish journalist, and Bridgette Chappell, an Australian student at Beir Zeit university have now been banned from the occupied territories. During the hearing for Ariadna and Bridget, the State Prosecutor admitted that it was illegal for the Immigration Police to receive custody of the two in the Occupied Territories, where it has no legal authority.

The illegality of the detention of Marti and Chappell by the Immigration Police is now undisputed. According to Marti and Chappell, they were questioned primarily about their overstayed visas. The Army, however, alleges that their arrests were security driven, despite the fact that the State Prosecutor could provide no evidence to support this claim. The judges have ordered the state to file depositions, if any exist, implicating the two as security threats for a review of the legality of their detention. In response to the accusation that she is a “security risk, Chappell said, “Our ‘weapons’ were not like the ones the Israeli soldiers waved about wildly after barging into our apartment, they were our cameras. These let the world see the violence that the occupiers visit upon the Palestinians and they were quite dangerous to Israel’s institutionalized domination.” “I hope that our presence makes the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine that much more difficult. In light of the illegal raid that led to our incarceration, it seems that the ‘security’ of the Israeli army means that their injustices are securely hidden from the world,” said Marti.

The Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO clearly forbid any Israeli incursion into Area A, which includes the major Palestinian cities in the West Bank, for reasons not directly and urgently related to security, even in “hot pursuit.” In practice however the Israeli military continues to exercise full control on the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip. The overall legality of the raid (under Israeli law) remains contested and should be reviewed by the Supreme Court in the continuation of the court case.

In the mean time the court has ordered the release of the two on a NIS 3,000 bail each, and on the condition that they will not enter the Occupied Territories pending final decision in the case.

The latest raids are part of a recent crackdown on the growing non-violent Palestinian movement of resistance to Israeli apartheid. Leaders of the popular Palestinian struggle are being taken from their homes in night military raids. Abdullah Abu Rahme coordinator of the Bil’in popular committee, Wa’el Faqueeh the coordinator of the Nablus popular committee, and Ibrahim Amiraa coordinator of the Naalin popular committee, all arrested from their homes, remain incarcerated.

In addition dozens of Palestinian activists who have participated in the demonstrations are in prison. Mohammed Khatib, coordinator of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said, “The popular struggle is spreading. More and more Palestinians are turning to nonviolent resistance, the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement is growing here and internationally and Israeli war criminals are being challenged by courts around the world. These night raids show that Israel has panicked, deluding itself that by arresting Palestinian and international activists it can stop the movement and hide its crimes from the world.” Khatib was also arrested recently in a military raid at his home, and is now free on bail.

The raids are continuing. On Monday, February 8, 2010,Israeli soldiers raided the Ramallah offices of Stop the Wall and the Peoples Party stole computers, media equipment and documents from the office. Jamal Juma, the coordinator of Stop the Wall, a Palestinian campaign at the forefront of the global movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli apartheid, and Mohammad Othman, a Stop the Wall activist, were recently released with no charges after being imprisoned by Israeli forces.

Israel is also targeting the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), arresting ISM activists working in support of the popular campaign against the wall. Over the last ten months, the “Oz” immigration unit illegally arrested and attempted to deport four other international activists.

Eva Nováková, a Czech national and ISM media coordinator, was arrested in Ramallah on January 11, 2010, and deported the next day, before the deportation could be appealed. She too was arrested by the Immigration Police. Nováková’s lawyer is currently in the process of preparing an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court to challenge the legality of her arrest.

— PLEASE FORWARD THIS UPDATE WIDELY

 DONATE @ http://palsolidarity.org/donate

WEBSITE: http://palsolidarity.org

YOUTUBE: http://youtube.com/user/ISMPalestine

TWITTER: http://twitter.com/ismpalestine

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/pages/International-Solidarity-Movement/56674479144

June 27, 2009

PSC weekly update 26 June 2009

Posted in PSC Updates tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:35 pm by Alexia

  

  1. Israeli government defies Obama, continues settlement expansion…
  2. Whilst house demolitions continue apace
  3. Scottish TUC says ‘Foreign Secretary out of step with trade unions on boycott of Israel
  4. New! PSC factsheet on Netanyahu’s speech
  5. 40 aid agencies condemn blockade on Gaza
  6. Free Gaza boats – update
  7. Court case in Canada against settlement companies
  8. PLC speaker released from Israeli jail
  9. Doctors demand Yoram Blachar resign over Israeli torture
  10. Israeli group issues report on torture of Palestinians
  11. Israel sells Palestinian refugee properties
  12. B’Tselem’s documentation of Israeli human rights violations wins award

 

1. Israeli government defies Obama, continues settlement expansion

Israel plans to allocate $250 million over the next two years for settlements http://www.palestinecampaign.org/index7b.asp?m_id=1&l1_id=4&l2_id=24&Content_ID=698

 Israel’s defence ministry has proposed legalising 60 existing homes at a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, and building another 240 homes at the site, despite US calls for a halt to settlement growth.’… http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jun/23/israel-palestine-construction-farmers-obama

Israeli government officials then denied this: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/06/200962319400811215.html

The Guardian editorial covered this issue: ‘It would indeed be a victory for Netanyahu if, in return for freezing a few extra flats, Obama let himself be manoeuvred into accepting that the existing settlements are “facts on the ground” that can never be changed. Settlements can be abandoned, or assigned to the sovereignty of another state, and many of them will have to be if a fair peace is ever to be obtained. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jun/25/israel-us-settlements-editorial

 Tony Judt in the New York Times: ‘If Israel is drunk on settlements, the United States has long been its enabler. Were Israel not the leading beneficiary of American foreign aid — averaging $2.8 billion a year from 2003 to 2007, and scheduled to reach $3.1 billion by 2013 — houses in West Bank settlements would not be so cheap: often less than half the price of equivalent homes in Israel proper. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/22/opinion/22judt.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

 2. …Whilst house demolitions continue apace

The Israeli military has issued demolition orders to thirty two different family housing groups this month, saying that they will demolish the homes of 304 Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, in the eastern West Bank, before the end of June. http://www.imemc.org/article/60931

 3. Scottish TUC says ‘Foreign Secretary out of step with trade unions on boycott of Israel

The STUC has ‘rejected the Foreign Office’s “dismay” at trade union’s supporting boycotts of Israel, and suggested this is an indication that the UK Government is out of step with the views of workers on this matter. http://www.palestinecampaign.org/index7b.asp?m_id=1&l1_id=4&l2_id=25&Content_ID=701

 4. New! PSC factsheet on Netanyahu’s speech

A detailed analysis from PSC on the truth behind the rhetoric: http://www.palestinecampaign.org/index7b-2.asp?m_id=1&l1_id=5&l2_id=27&content_ID=702

 5. 40 aid agencies condemn blockade on Gaza

 Forty international aid agencies and non-governmental organizations have released a joint statement condemning Israel’s blockade of Gaza, to mark the second anniversary of the coastal territory being hermetically sealed off from the outside world. http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10613.shtml

 6. Free Gaza boats – update

 On 25 June, the Free Gaza movement issued a press release: ‘our ships were not given permission to leave today due to concerns about our welfare and safety. Our friends in Cyprus tell us that the voyage to Gaza is too dangerous, and they are worried we will be harmed at sea. http://www.freegaza.org/en/home/hope-fleet-news/956-public-advisory-we-did-not-leave-cyprus-today

 7. Court case in Canada against settlement companies

 From 22-24 June, Quebec Superior Court heard a court case by the village of Bil’in against Green Park International and Green Mount International, two companies registered in Quebec who are constructing illegal Israeli settlements on Bil’in lands. http://www.tadamon.ca/post/3903

 8. PLC speaker released from Israeli jail

From the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR): ‘On Tuesday, 23 June 2009, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) released Dr. Aziz al-Dwaik, Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), following three years of arbitrary detention in Israeli jails. PCHR also called ‘upon the international community to exert pressure on IOF to release all Palestinian prisoners, including the approximately 40 PLC Members who are currently detained in Israeli jails. http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/PressR/English/2008/81-2009.html

 9. Doctors demand Yoram Blachar resign over Israeli torture

More than 700 doctors from 43 countries have written a letter of protest to their governing ethical body, the World Medical Association, alleging that its recently appointed Israeli president has turned a blind eye to the involvement of medical staff in torture, and calling for his removal. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jun/21/doctors-israeli-torture-yoram-blachar-resign

 10. Israeli group issues report on torture of Palestinians

 A major new report by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel shows that ‘various security agencies in Israel, chief among them the IDF and the GSS, shackle detainees in painful and humiliating manners that in a number of instances rise to the level of torture in violation of domestic law, High Court of Justice judgments, international law and accepted international standards of practice’ http://www.stoptorture.org.il/files/eng_report.pdf

 11. Israel sells Palestinian refugee properties

For an account of the problems caused by Israel’s decision to sell the property of Palestinian refugees ­ see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYuxeFcOgpk

 12. B’Tselem’s documentation of Israeli human rights violations wins award

 B’Tselem won the One World Media award for its project, which provides video cameras to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for them to use to document human rights violations. http://www.btselem.org/english/press_releases/20090623.asp

 And ‘Midweek’ on Wednesday 24 June featured a campaigner from B’Tselem talking about the project (the discussion starts about half way through the podcast). http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/midweek

 =====================================

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) aims to raise public awareness about the occupation of Palestine and the struggle of the Palestinian people.

PSC seek to bring pressure on both the British and Israeli government to bring their policies in line with international law.

PSC is an independent, non-governmental and non-party political organisation with members from communities across the UK.

Join PSC today!

Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Box BM PSA London WC1N 3XX

Tel: 020 7700 6192

 Fax: 020 7609 7779

Email: info@palestinecampaign.org

Web: www.palestinecampaign.org

June 8, 2009

PSC: Veolia Victory

Posted in PSC Updates tagged , , , , , , , at 3:31 pm by Alexia

From Omar Barghouti

In the first smashing and convincing victory of the global BDS movement in the field of corporate responsibility and ethical compliance, Veolia is reportedly abandoning the Jerusalem Light Rail project, an illegal project that aims at connecting Israeli colonies built on occupied Palestinian territory to the city of Jerusalem. As the Haaretz article below admits, the BDS campaign’s success in costing Veolia some $7 billion worth of contracts is the key behind this decision by the troubled company to pull out of the project.

It is worth mentioning that Le Monde has recently published an expose, revealing to French readers and, crucially, to Veolia’s stock holders the fact that the company is losing a lot of money because of its complicity in a project that constitutes a major violation of international law, if not a war crime.

This great victory came as a result of years of hard, principled, meticulous and persistent work by French solidarity groups, particularly AFPS; by the growing French BDS movement which was instrumental in making Veolia lose a huge contract in Bordeaux; by Dutch activists who achieved the first success in convincing a Dutch bank to divest from Veolia and applied pressure on other banks to follow suit; by Swedish peace and justice groups, mainly connected to the Church of Sweden, particularly Diakonia, and Swedish Palestine solidarity groups who cost Veolia the heaviest, $4.5 billion contract in running the Stockholm metro; by British solidarity groups and activists, particularly affiliated with PSC, who contributed tremendously to excluding Veolia from a lucrative contract in the West Midlands; and of course by the Palestinian BDS National Committee, BNC, which partnered with all the above in the now famous Derail Veolia and Alstom campaign to pressure the company to abandon this illegal project.

The Derail Veolia and Alstom campaign, which involves activists and groups in many countries all working to pressure the two French giants to quit the JLR project, was officially launched at the Bilbao Initiative conference in the Basque city last November. Now is the time to pressure Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Gulf states, among others, to kick Alstom out due to its complicity in this illegal project. Solidarity with Palestine means almost nothing if it cannot be translated into BDS action that can truly cost the Israeli occupation and apartheid regime dearly.

This is the time to DERAIL ALSTOM!

Omar http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1091186.html  

Jerusalem rail operator jumps ship, Tel Aviv group isn’t even responding The light rail projects for Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are both facing difficulties. In a body-blow to the future Jerusalem light rail, the French company Veolia, which was supposed to run the train system after its construction, is abandoning the project. Moving on to Tel Aviv, the city can’t even get a response to the compromise it offered MTS, the consortium supposed to build an urban train system, in order to settle issues in dispute.

It’s waited a month and gotten no answer, causing not a little consternation in government circles. As for the Jerusalem system, Veolia not only wants out of running the future train; it’s trying to sell its 5% stake in Citypass, the light rail consortium. In recent days Veolia has been sending feelers to the Egged or Dan bus consortiums, to potentially replace it as project operator.

Any change in the ownership structure of Citypass, or in the identity of the project operator, requires the permission of the state. Also, the attempt to add Egged to the consortium could arouse opposition at the Antitrust Authority. Veolia has had to contend not only with the delays and difficulties in building the light rail project itself, but with political pressure at home as well.

Two months ago a French court heard a lawsuit by a pro-Palestinian group, demanding that the light rail project be halted. The organization based itself on an article in French law that allows the court to void business agreements, signed by French companies, that violate international law. The political pressure on Veolia has been mounting in another direction.

According to various reports abroad, the French firm had been losing major projects in Europe because of its involvement in the Jerusalem job. Observers claim that’s the real reason Veolia opted out.

Also, for two years the Jerusalem project has been held up by battles between Citypass, the city of Jerusalem and various ministries. (The disputes even include whose fault the delays are.)

Last week the spat between Citypass and the state reached a new low, after the group admitted it couldn’t meet the new deadline for the Jerusalem light rail project. It expects to run nine months behind schedule, the consortium said. The state then accused the business consortium of deliberately dragging its feet and of effecting “a hostile takeover of the streets of Jerusalem.” Sources in Israel’s transportation sector called Citypass’s announcement “chutzpah,” on the grounds that it and the state had agreed on a new schedule only a year earlier. And that was a month after an arbitration process during which the new schedule was ratified.

In response to Citypass’ announcement, the state contacted the arbitrators accompanying the process, asking them to enforce the franchise agreement and force Citypass to finish the works as set in the new schedule, by September 2010, “finally restoring normalcy to Jerusalem.” The state also asked for permission to stop paying Citypass, including the upcoming installment of NIS 32.5 million. Citypass can meet the agreed-on schedule, the state insists: “This isn’t inability to complete the project on time. At most it’s a crude attempt to squeeze more money from the state,” wrote the state in its letter to the arbitrators. “[Citypass] already advised the state and the arbitrators that it doesn’t intend to finish the works on time, but it doesn’t settle for words: It is making sure to work at a pace that assures it won’t meet the agreed-on deadline for completion.”

In summation, the state accuses Citypass of making life in Jerusalem intolerable. Citypass denies the allegations, which it called “absurd,” and claims the state is indulging in baseless legal gambits in response to the lawsuit Citypass filed against it because of the delays.

Sources in the know suspect that the delays ruined the project’s business model. The cost of the works grew, and there were delays in the transfer of state funding for the companies involved in the project, while the companies needed the money to return their own loans.

The upshot, if so, was heightened tensions between the partners in Citypass, mainly between equipment provider Alstom, operator Veolia and the Israeli contractor Ashtrom. After some changes, the partners in Citypass are Ashtrom (27.5%), Alstom (20%), Polar Investments (17.5%), Israel Infrastructures Fund (10%) and Veolia (5%).

The Jerusalem project involves building eight lines. Only the first one has passed the tender process, which Citypass won. The line is supposed to start in Pisgat Zeev, pass along Jaffa Street and end at Mount Herzl. The cost of that line alone is projected at NIS 2.4 billion. The state is providing NIS 1.4 billion.

 =====================================

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) aims to raise public awareness about the occupation of Palestine and the struggle of the Palestinian people.

PSC seek to bring pressure on both the British and Israeli government to bring their policies in line with international law.

PSC is an independent, non-governmental and non-party political organisation with members from communities across the UK. Join PSC today!

Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Box BM PSA London WC1N 3XX

Tel: 020 7700 6192

Fax: 020 7609 7779

Email: info@palestinecampaign.org

Web: http://www.palestinecampaign.org

June 7, 2009

PSC weekly update 5 June 2009

Posted in PSC Updates tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 1:15 am by Alexia

 

1. UN hearings to be held on Gaza war crimes
2. Oxfam report calls for lifting blockade on Gaza, and ending politicisation of aid.
3. On Obama’s speech
4. See speech by Hana Joma at PCS Annual Conference, and report from Sawt el-Amel
5. More on Israel wiping Palestine off the map
6. Scottish TUC supports Edinburgh Film Festival decision to return Israeli Embassy funding
7. Israel declares Nablus area a closed military zone
8. Israel prepares laws to deepen discrimination

 

1. UN hearings to be held on Gaza war crimes

A UN team investigating possible war crimes in Gaza says it will hold public hearings with victims of the conflict in Gaza and Geneva later this month. The team has spent the week interviewing witnesses and visiting sites damaged in Israel’s three-week offensive, which ended on 18 January. Richard Goldstone, who is heading the team, said it had hoped to hold hearings in Israel and the West Bank. But Israel has refused to co-operate in the inquiry, accusing it of bias. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8084734.stm

2. Oxfam report calls for lifting blockade on Gaza, and ending politicisation of aid.

In June 2009 the blockade on the Gaza Strip enters its third year. The intense closure policy, coupled with the government of Israel’s recent military operation ‘Cast Lead’, has had a devastating impact on the lives and livelihoods of one and a half million Gazans, pushing them further into poverty and aid dependency. Parties to the conflict and the international community have, to varying degrees, prioritised their own political objectives over people’s rights and needs, leaving Gazans sitting on the ruins of their homes. By attempting to isolate Hamas, the government of Israel and key international donor governments and institutions have in fact isolated the people of Gaza, thereby reducing chances of securing a peaceful, just and durable resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The report also makes clear that ‘For signatories to the Geneva Conventions, it is not a choice of whether or not to act, it is a legal obligation. http://www.oxfam.org.uk/resources/policy/conflict_disasters/bn-rebuilding-gaza.html And Palestinian psychologists have warned Wednesday that 98% of Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip were suffering psychological traumas, and feel unsafe following Israel’s war on Gaza. In a workshop organized by the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) Palestinian psychologists urged all concerned international institutions to help protect the Palestinian children in a more effective way in order to minimize the effect of the war on them. http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/en/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7vnolVzqr1e1GVIWdAuyEWPlAGV3mfJkdAt2EzlhTOPO6AVzVOofp9PoKHHwJi5jq54jr193D933zQvgQlSqBKmnf10R3COl6bpHlVfO6n5Q%3d

3. On Obama’s speech

Phyllis Bennis: ‘President Barack Obama’s much-anticipated Cairo speech reflected a significant shift away from the ideological framework of militarism and unilateralism that shaped the Bush administration’s war-based policy towards the Arab and Muslim worlds… The shift in discourse, away from justifying reckless imperial hubris, unilateralism and militarism and towards a more cooperative and potentially even internationalist approach was potent. The actual policy shifts were much smaller’. http://www.ips-dc.org/articles/obama_in_egypt_changing_the_discourse Ali Abunimah: ‘Obama’s speech shows little real change. In most regards his analysis maintains flawed American policies. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jun/04/barack-obama-middleeast For Barack Obama’s full speech: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/06/20096410251287187.html

4. See speech by Hana Joma at PCS Annual Conference

and read Sawt El-Amel’s report Available on the PSC website, Hana’s deeply moving speech to the PCS Union’s conference: http://www.palestinecampaign.org/index7b.asp?m_id=1&l1_id=4&l2_id=24&Content_ID=661 And read Sawt El-Amel’s report of their delegation to PCS Annual Conference: http://laborers-voice.org/files/090601-PCSBrighton.pdf

5. More on Israel wiping Palestine off the map

Following our successful campaign against the Israeli tourism advertisements on the London Tube, the story went worldwide: A very public controversy with regard to a map of Israel erupted last month in London. The Israeli Ministry of Tourism placed an advertisement throughout the London Underground showing a map of Israel, the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights in the same yellow color, giving the impression that Israel’s vast geography did not include occupied Palestinian territory. Obviously misrepresentative, because a British tourist cannot sunbath on the pristine beaches of Gaza or shop the markets of Ramallah, all the while travelling from Eilat to Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to Haifa. After mass protests, the Israeli Ministry removed the posters, calling them a “professional mistake.” However, Ministry officials most likely see the incident as a market miscalculation rather than an issue related to the borders of their country. A similar incident occurred when I was travelling through Israel a few months ago. I noticed that my travel map, published by Hertz, all but erased the existence of the occupied Palestinian territory. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-shtenderauerbach/the-cartographic-crux-of_b_208264.html

6. Scottish TUC supports Edinburgh Film Festival decision to return Israeli Embassy funding

Mary Senior, the Scottish TUC’s Assistant Secretary, has written ‘The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) applauds the decision of the Edinburgh International Film Festival to return funding from the Israeli Embassy, and welcomes the intervention on this matter from British director Ken Loach (your report, 19 May). Standing up to the State of Israel is not “extremist”, “sanctimonious” or “self glorifying”. Rather, it is about exposing the illegitimate actions of the Israeli government, for example in Gaza, in the continued construction of the separation wall, and in the growing settlement programme. http://news.scotsman.com/opinion/Pressure-on-Israel.5337562.jp

7. Israel declares Nablus area a closed military zone

In an attempt to prevent Israeli peace activists from entering the Nablus area, the head of the Central Command of the Israeli Army, Gadi Shamni, declared Nablus a closed military zone.’ http://www.imemc.org/article/60652

8. Israel prepares laws to deepen discrimination

BADIL writes: ‘For decades Israel has practiced discrimination and forced displacement against its Palestinian citizenry with impunity. But now it seeks to impose consent for its crimes upon its Palestinian victims. Three bills currently making rounds in the Israeli Knesset reveal an obscene and dangerous targeting of the individual and collective rights of Palestinian citizens. http://www.badil.org/Publications/Press/2009/press507-09.htm

For more news, information and details of more events across the country, see the PSC website: www.palestinecampaign.org

=====================================

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) aims to raise public awareness about the occupation of Palestine and the struggle of the Palestinian people. PSC seek to bring pressure on both the British and Israeli government to bring their policies in line with international law. PSC is an independent, non-governmental and non-party political organisation with members from communities across the UK. Join PSC today!

Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Box BM PSA

London WC1N 3XX

Tel:   020 7700 6192

Fax:  020 7609 7779

Email: info@palestinecampaign.org

Web: www.palestinecampaign.org

May 15, 2009

PSC Weekly Update – Thursday 14 May 2009

Posted in PSC Updates tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:35 am by Alexia

Actions

1. Demonstrate this Saturday 16 May

2. Birmingham education conference 11 July

3. PSC BDS Workshop 20 June

 

News

1. Protests as Lieberman visits London

2. Lieberman’s party proposes to imprison anyone commemorating the Nakba

3. Pope calls for end to Israel’s siege on Gaza and for Palestinian ‘sovereign homeland’

4. Gaza – dialysis supplies running out, families on one meal a day

5. Amira Hass banned from reporting the truth from Gaza…

6. but criticism of Israel’s actions in Gaza continues

7. Twenty Israeli organisations call for Norwegian disinvestment

8. Arab railway workers in Israel have scored a first victory

9. New book on Israel’s attempt to assassinate Khalid Mishal

 

 

Actions

 

1. Demonstrate this Saturday 16 May

Join UK Apache, Mecca2Medina and Lowkey and thousands of others to call for an end to the siege on Gaza NOW! Free Palestine – end Israeli occupation

 Send a clear message to the government – we have not forgotten Gaza!

 David Miliband met with racist Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman this week – but refuses to meet with the democratically elected Palestinian representatives. On the 61st anniversary of the Nakba, tell the government to act NOW to implement international law, end the inhuman siege on Gaza and end Israel’s illegal occupation.

 Please continue to publicise the demonstration on Saturday to everyone you know – transport details from outside London are on the website.

We will be assembling at 12 noon in Malet Street (nearest tubes Euston, Goodge Street or Russell Square) and marching to a rally in Trafalgar Square.

 2. Birmingham education conference 11 July (NOT June!)

Ilan Pappe, Karma Nabulsi, Daniel Machover, Samia Botmeh, Victoria Brittain, Dr. Rita Giacaman, Professor Manuel Hassassian are among the speakers at PSC’s education conference in Birmingham on 11 July (NOT June, as was wrongly advertised in our members’ newsletter). The conference will take place from 10.30am-4pm at Carrs Lane Centre – for further details and to register, go to www.palestinecampaign.org

 3. PSC BDS Workshop 20 June

PSC’s third Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions workshop will take place on Saturday 20 June 2009 in central London from 11am-5pm. It is for PSC members eager to fuel the boycott campaigning momentum at this crucial time – in the wake of Gaza and when BDS actions are making major impact around the world and when the call for BDS from Palestine grows ever stronger. Details of venue will be announced shortly.

 For other events, including the PSC branch forum on 30 May, and the sponsored walk from 4-5 July in Dartmoor, visit www.palestinecampaign.org

  News

 1. Protests as Lieberman visits London

Openly racist Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman visited London this week on his European tour and was met with lively and angry protests. Despite the secretive details of his visit, we were able to find out that he had a meeting in the Foreign Office on the morning of 13 May, and at very short notice, over 200 people gathered, joined by MPs Richard Burden, Jeremy Corbyn, Martin Linton and Baroness Jenny Tonge, in a protest by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, British Muslim Initiative, Stop the War Coalition and the Palestinian Forum in Britain. Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East lent their active support.

Avigdor Lieberman met with both Foreign Minister David Miliband and Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague. A lively and vocal protest publicised by Jews for Justice for Palestinians outside Lieberman’s meeting hosted by the Jewish National Fund on the evening of 12 May.

2. Marking 61 years since the Nakba

‘Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s party wants to ban Israeli Arabs from marking the anniversary of what they term “the Catastrophe” or Nakba, when in 1948 some 700,000 Arabs lost their homes in the war that led to the establishment of the state of Israel. The ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu party said it would propose legislation next week for a ban on the practice and a jail term of up to three years for violators.’ http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1085588.html

Palestine Monitor writes on the Nakba:

‘For 61 years, the Palestinian people have had to deal with a life most westerners cannot even imagine. Being driven out of their homes, villages, and cities. Millions of Palestinians having to leave their land completely in the Diaspora. The continuing theft of their land because of the separation wall and the illegal Israeli settlements that are still expanding in the West Bank. Arbitrary beatings, arrests, and torture by Israeli soldiers. Targeted killings, or murders, by the Israeli military leading to walls being filled with posters of martyrs—some of them teenagers or younger. Hundreds of checkpoints and road barriers making travel inside the West Bank humiliating and long. And so much more…’

http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article945

 3. Pope calls for end to Israel’s siege on Gaza and for Palestinian ‘sovereign homeland’

On his visit this week, ‘the pope made his strongest call yet for a “sovereign Palestinian homeland”. He said mass in Bethlehem’s Manger Square and offered his “solidarity” to the Palestinians of Gaza, telling them he wanted to see the Israeli blockade of the coastal strip lifted.’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/13/pope-benedict-palestinians-gaza

And speaking in Aida refugee camp, standing against the backdrop of the Apartheid Wall, he said: ‘I know how much you have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of the turmoil that has afflicted this land for decades.’

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/pope-challenges-israel-to-give-palestinians-homeland-1684587.html

And Israel tried to hide the reality of its occupation: ‘An official Palestinian Media Centre was set up at the Ambassador Hotel in East Jerusalem; however on Monday Israeli police and intelligence forces shut the centre down…

In his welcoming speech to Pope Benedict XVI on Monday, President Shimon Peres declared that “Israel safeguards the absolute freedom of religious practice and free access to holy places. We are always happy to receive pilgrims from throughout the world in the Holy Land”. However for Palestinian Christians living under occupation Israeli-issued permits must be obtained to visit their holy shrines in Jerusalem and Nazareth. Many Palestinian Christians living in the West Bank were refused permits to attend yesterday’s Mass lead by the Pope at the Garden of Gethsemane.

Israel granted 93 permits to Gazan Christians to attend the Mass, but refused permits to more than 400. Israel cited security reasons for refusing permits to all Gazans below the age of 35. Further, Israel controls access to Bethlehem and it is very difficult for Christians outside the West Bank to obtain visas to visit or to study there. Even Palestinians within the West Bank have to pass through checkpoints to go there. Father Hijazin, a Jordanian, was illegal in the West Bank for some time as the Israeli authorities refused to grant him a visa.

http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article943

4. Gaza – dialysis supplies running out, families on one meal a day

With only three days’ supplies of dialysis solutions left, the Palestinian health ministry said that ‘more than 600 Palestinians are treated for kidney failure and have weekly dialysis sessions including 200 children.’ It ‘previously reduced the dialysis sessions for each patient from three to twice weekly’. http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/en

And Gaza families are ‘down to one meal a day’: ‘Umm Abdullah cannot remember the last time she was able to feed meat to her eight children. She does know that for the past week the single meal she cooked for them each day consisted only of lentils. And that on one day, she had received aid coupons from the United Nations, which she subsequently sold to buy tomatoes and eggplant at the local market.’

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10526.shtml

With construction materials banned by Israel, Gaza’s government is looking at ‘plans to kick off a state home building project that encourages locals to rebuild out of clay bricks’

http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=37675

5. Amira Hass banned from reporting the truth from Gaza…

On 12 May, Israeli police detained Haaretz  correspondent, Amira Hass, as she left the Gaza Strip. Haaretz reported that Hass was released on bail after promising not to return to Gaza for 30 days.
http://www.imemc.org/article/60370

Her latest article in Haaretz – ‘Israel knows that peace doesn’t pay’, focuses on the advantages Israel gains by maintaining the occupation: ‘Successive Israeli governments since 1993 certainly must have known what they were doing, being in no hurry to make peace with the Palestinians. As representatives of Israeli society, these governments understood that peace would involve serious damage to national interests.’ http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1084656.html

6. But criticism of Israel’s actions in Gaza continues

Gideon Levy also wrote in Haaretz: ‘The Israel Defense Forces returned from Operation Cast Lead and, of course, denied everything. The people applauded it for its bogus victory and no one paid much attention to the awful price paid by the Palestinians.

But after the smoke (in this case, white phosphorus) cleared a bit, the blood began crying out from the ground. Foreign journalists and human rights groups investigated and reported their findings. The United Nations said the IDF intentionally targeted its facilities, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International accused the army of illegally using phosphorous bombs, the International Red Cross reported on the injured being denied medical attention and strikes on medical crews, officers at a premilitary course spoke of civilians killed, and Amira Hass wrote for Haaretz about the killing of people flying white flags, the use of flechette shells and the annihilation of entire families…’

‘But let’s assume Amnesty is lying, Human Rights Watch is fabricating, B’Tselem is embellishing, the UN is anti-Israel and the media is full of hatred against us – isn’t there enough in the IDF’s own figures to shake us to the core? Three hundred civilians killed, including 90 children – isn’t that enough to expose the propagandistic lie of “the most moral” army? How many innocent people must be killed for that to happen?’ http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1084418.html

7. Twenty Israeli organisations call for Norwegian disinvestment

 A wide alliance of Israeli civil society and grassroots organizations has sent a letter to the Norwegian Pension Fund, urging it to support their efforts for a just peace and equality in Israel/Palestine by divesting from all companies involved in the Israeli occupation.

http://coalitionofwomen.org/home/english/articles/norway-fund

8. Arab railway workers in Israel have scored a first victory: Israel Railways forced to act!

The Israeli labour court ordered Israel Railways to review its new policy requiring army service as an employment condition in consultation with Israel’s Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. On May 6, 2009, Israel Railways submitted a new policy proposal to the court. However, no action will be taken while the lawsuits are pending as the court has ordered a temporary injunction. The date for the next hearing is still to be determined.

http://www.laborers-voice.org/article_details.aspx?TopID=998&catid=46 <http://www.laborers-voice.org/article_details.aspx?TopID=998&amp;catid=46>

9. New book on Israel’s attempt to assassinate Khalid Mishal

Review of Paul McGeough’s book on Mossad’s attempted assassination of Khalid Mishal: In early September 1997, Danny Yatom, the head of Mossad, arranged a special screening for Binyamin Netanyahu, who was then prime minister. The film, shot on the streets of Tel Aviv, presented the plan for the assassination of Khalid Mishal, the head of Hamas’s political bureau in Amman.

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n09/shtz01_.html

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 The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) aims to raise public awareness about the occupation of Palestine and the struggle of the Palestinian people. PSC seek to bring pressure on both the British and Israeli government to bring their policies in line with international law. PSC is an independent, non-governmental and non-party political organisation with members from communities across the UK. Join PSC today!

 Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Box BM PSA
London
WC1N 3XX

Tel:   020 7700 6192
Fax:  020 7609 7779

Email: info@palestinecampaign.org

Web: www.palestinecampaign.org

April 29, 2009

Remember Gaza… End the Siege now! – Free Palestine! National Demo May 16 2009

Posted in demonstration information tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:15 pm by Alexia

Remember Gaza… End the Siege now! – Free Palestine! National Demonstration 16 May London

With a growing number of supporting organisations, listed in the e-flyer below, we want to ask all members and supporters to help mobilise for the national demonstration on May 16.

Please make sure to circulate the e-flyer below to all you friends, colleagues and other contacts asking them to circulate it…

We have plenty more material available in the PSC office: stickers, leaflets and posters.. contact us to receive some more..

Volunteers needed We are looking for volunteers on the day, to make sure the demonstration will be safe and successful. Please contact us if you are able to help stewarding the demonstration: email info@palestinecampaign.org or call 02077006192.

Thank you for helping us making this demonstration a massive show of support for the Palestinian people.

Free Palestine! National Demonstration Saturday 16 May 2009

Assembling 12 noon in Malet Street, London WC1

Rally in Trafalgar Square

Free Palestine — End Israeli Occupation — End the Arms trade

JOIN US TO MAKE THIS THE BIGGEST DEMONSTRATION FOR PALESTINE IN THE UK

Called by: Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, British Muslim Initiative, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Palestinian Forum in Britain

Supported by: Action Palestine, Amos Trust, Arab Media Watch, Association of Palestinian Communities UK, Britain-Palestine Twinning Network, The Council for Arab-British Understanding, Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Christian Peacemaker Teams UK, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Friends of Lebanon, Friends of Birzeit University, Friends of Sabeel UK, The Green Party, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions UK, Jewish Socialists’ Group, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Labour Friends of Palestine, Liberation, Midlands Palestinian Community Association, Muslim Association of Britain, Muslim Council for Britain, NUS Black Students Campaign, Palestinian Forum in Britain, UNISON, UNITE, Pax Christi, Public and Commercial Services Union, Rail Maritime and Transport Union, Viva Palestina, War on Want, Zaytoun Ltd

Leaflets are available from the PSC office

Please save the date and start organising transport now!

Please contact the PSC office for more information:

Tel: 020 7700 6192

Email: info@palestinecampaign.org

Web: www.palestinecampaign.org

Designed by Mulberry Design

March 31, 2009

ISM Digest 29 March 2009

Posted in ISM Updates tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:36 pm by Alexia

DIGEST March 29, 2009

1. List of actions in Palestine for Land Day and Global BDS Day
2. Israeli forces violently disperse Hebron demonstration, one German citizen arrested
3. CPT: Palestinian shepherds resist settler violence and disruption
4. Settlers using government transition to step up construction, March 29, 2009
5. IWPS: Army incursion in Haris, over 150 minors and youths arrested, March 27, 2009
6. Palestinian, you are on your own!, March 26, 2009
7. Another two children killed by Israeli explosive in the Gaza Strip, March 24, 2009
8. Guardian article about the press conference for tristans parents March 23
9. Jerusalem Capital of Arab Culture events continue despite ban and heavy police repression in occupied East Jerusalem,
10. EU urges Israel to suspend East Jerusalem evictions

1. List of actions in Palestine for Land Day and Global BDS Day
Stop the Wall | Global BDS Movement  30 March 2009
The people in Palestine are mobilizing for the 32nd annual commemoration of Land Day, happening March 30. Land Day marks the date of the Palestinian demonstration that occurred in the Galilee against a wide-scale land confiscation, when Israeli forces killed 6 Palestinians, injured 96 and arrested 300.
Today, the Land Day protests of the people in Palestine and around the world are focused on the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. The call for a global day of action on March 30 came out of the World Social Forum in Belem (Brazil) and aims to promote BDS as the most effective tool to stop Israeli policies of land theft and colonization and the discrimination, massacres and ethnic cleansing that have been carried out against the Palestinian people in pursuit of these goals.
Actions all across historic Palestine tie the ongoing defense of Palestinian land and agriculture from the Wall and settlement project to the call for boycott of Israeli products and institutions. Where farming becomes a form of resistance, choosing Palestinian over Israeli products is an essential part of the Palestinian struggle for justice, freedom, and return. Where a people is besieged, bombed and starved with the complicity of governments around the world, the call for global BDS becomes an essential tool to break the siege.
LIST OF ACTIONS
Galilee (’48 Palestine) – organized by the Higher Follow Up Committee of the Arab citizens of Israel
March 30, Deir Hanna: Demonstration against Israeli racism and fascism. Gathering at 3 pm.
March 30, Kufr Kanna: Demonstration at 10 am
March 30, Sakhnin: Demonstration at 10 am
Jenin
March 30, Rumaneh: Tree planting along with a workshop entitled “Land Day, BDS and the struggle against the Wall”.
Qalqiliya
March 27, Jayyous: Demonstration against the Wall and for the boycott of Israeli products.
March 29, Qalqiliya city: BDS district meeting. Activists, political representatives and students will discuss the boycott strategies in the district to work towards a ‘Qalqiliya district free of Israeli products’.
March 30, Jayyous: Demonstration against the Wall and for BDS along with the planting of olive trees.
March 30, Qalqiliya city: Demonstration against against Israeli occupation and for BDS
April 6 and 7, Qalqiliya city: Workshop in al Quds Open University Qalqiliya on economic and academic boycott as a form of resistance.
Ramallah
March 27, Ni’lin and Bil’in: demonstrations against the Wall and for BDS
March 27, al-Lubban: A day for voluntary work and painting of murals for the children, political workshop on BDS, and a film screening.
March 28, Shuqba: A day for voluntary work and painting of murals for the children as well as political workshop on BDS.
March 28, Sinjil: A day for voluntary work and painting of murals for the children, political workshop on BDS, and a film screening.
March 30, Qalandiya: Demonstration at Qalandiya checkpoint against the isolation of Jerusalem and for BDS.
April 3, Ni’lin and Bil’in: Demonstrations against the Wall and for BDS.
April 4, Beit Liqiya: A day for voluntary work and painting of murals for the children, political workshop on BDS, a film screening, and a dabke festival.
Saffa, April 4: A day of voluntary work, painting of murals for the children and the planting of olive trees.
Bethlehem
March 27, al Ma’sra: Demonstration against the Wall and for BDS.
March 30, Qubbet Rahel (Bethlehem): Women’s demonstration against the Wall and for BDS.
March 30, Beit Sahour: Workshop at the Palestinian Center For Rapprochement Between People covering the topics of communication for western audiences about Palestine and activism on Palestine and abroad, including BDS. (9 am ­ 12am).
April 3, Irtas: Planting olive trees.
April 3, al Ma’sra: Demonstration against the Wall and for BDS.
http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5650
2. Israeli forces violently disperse Hebron demonstration, one German citizen arrested
11:30am on Saturday, the 28th of March, Israeli forces violently dispersed a Hebron demonstration, firing tear gas and sound bombs and arresting one German solidarity activist. More than 50 Palestinian residents of Hebron, supported by international and Israeli solidarity activists, were nonviolently rallying against the illegal Israeli settlements inside of Hebron’s old city. The demonstrators gathered near Beit Romano settlement, holding signs against the occupation and chanting, “free, free Palestine!”
Israeli soldiers and police responded by firing sound bombs and tear gas. At this time, the German solidarity activist was arrested and taken to the police station in Kiryat Arba, where he continues to be held.
Knesset member Mohammad Barakeh was also present to speak in support of the demonstration, which was organized by the Youth Against Settlements group. Barakeh was tear gassed and pushed by Israeli forces as the rally was dispersed.
The Hebron demonstration also marked Land Day, which commemorates the massacre of six Palestinian citizens of Israel by Israeli authorities during demonstrations in the Galilee on March 30, 1976. Every year, Land Day is remembered all over Palestine with protests against the Israeli occupation.
Hundreds of illegal settlers are living in Hebron’s old city. Israeli road closures prevent
Palestinian residents from accessing large areas of the old city, which remain under the direct control of the Israeli military.
http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5637
3. CPT: Palestinian shepherds resist settler violence and disruption
Christian Peacemaker Teams  29 March 2009
South Hebron Hills, West Bank
[Note: According to the Geneva Conventions, the International Court of Justice in the Hague, and numerous United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal. Most settlement outposts are considered illegal under Israeli law.] In three recent incidents Palestinian shepherds asserted their right to graze their sheep on their own land, despite Israeli settlers attempts to intimidate the Palestinians and disrupt their agricultural work.
Palestinians in the South Hebron hills have responded to recent violence and incursions on their lands with a law suit and a nonviolent grazing action.
The morning of March 22, as shepherds from the village of At-Tuwani grazed their sheep in nearby Humra valley, a settler brought his flock to the area from the Israeli settlement outpost of Havot Ma’on. The settler called the police and army, claiming that one of the Palestinians had thrown a stone at him. When the police arrived, they detained the accused Palestinian and took him to Kiryat Arba police station. Internationals who had been present and videotaped the scene showed the police video and pictures demonstrating that the shepherd had not thrown stones, and the man was released. The following day the Palestinian shepherd returned to the police station with papers proving his ownership of the valley. He has filed a suit against the settler for trespassing.
On March 25, while Palestinian shepherds grazed their sheep on land belonging to the village of Juwayye, twenty Israelis approached from the settlement of Ma’on and shot at the shepherds. Despite the presence of Israeli soldiers and the Ma’on settlement security guard at the time of the shooting, no Israelis were arrested. Palestinian shepherds continued to graze their sheep for two hours after the shooting, but were then forced from the land by soldiers claiming they were too close to road 317.
On March 28 shepherds from Tuwani and other villages in the South Hebron Hills responded to recent harassment by gathering peacefully with their families to graze sheep in Khoruba valley near Tuwani. After they had been in the valley for about an hour four settlers, two with their faces covered, walked out from Havat Ma’on outpost into the flocks and among the shepherds and their children. In response, Palestinian shepherds sat down and refused to remove their sheep from the area. Israeli soldiers, police, and border police arrived but did nothing to prevent the settlers from disrupting the grazing sheep.
Palestinians in Tuwani and the surrounding villages face continued threats of violence and intimidation from setters. With the start of the grazing season, villagers say they expect the actions of the settlers will become increasingly disruptive, but that the villages remain committed to nonviolence as they confront the incursions.
http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5654
4. Settlers using government transition to step up construction
Amos Harel | Ha’aretz   29 March 2009
Construction activity on West Bank settlements has increased in the transition period between the February general election and the formation of the new government, Haaretz has learned. One notable example is the extensive earthworks being carried out in preparation for the construction of a road connect the settlement of Eli, north of Ramallah, with the Hayovel outpost Yuval, just south of the Arab city.
The earthworks are being carried out on private land owned by residents of the Palestinian village of Qaryut. The mayor, Abd al- Latif Lavum, plans to submit a petition today to the High Court of Justice today demanding the issuing of a stop order to the Civil Administration to halt the work.
In fact, the Civil Administration, a government body that governs civilian aspects of daily life in the West Bank, has itself already issued an order to stop the work but it has not been enforced. Dror Etkes, Lands Project Coordinator for the nonprofit organization Yesh Din, which is facilitating the High Court petition, said that the organization’s records show the Eli-Hayovel road to be the largest such roadwork project related to the illegal outposts since since the publication of the Sasson Report on activity in the outposts in 2005.
Etkes, who has been monitoring Jewish construction in the West Bank for years, said that the construction began in Eli about two weeks ago. A dirt road was built between the two communities in 2003, but further development of the road was halted.
Etkes said that dozens of trucks brought gravel and earth over the past two weeks for the foundation of the 1,400-meter-long road. The cost of the project is estimated at a few million shekels. More than 90 percent of the road’s course passes through privately owned Palestinian lands.
While public attention was focused on the fighting in Gaza and the election campaign, we have been seeing a renewed effort on the part of settlers in outposts to increase construction,” Etkes said.
He said this renewed effort put an end to a period of relative inactivity that he ascribed to criticism from the United States of construction in the territories combined with tighter enforcement by Israeli authorities.
In addition to the Eli-Hayovel road, Yesh Din has documented recent work at the Havat Gilad outpost, west of Nablus, where settlers built a road to the Nablus bypass road.
The Defense Ministry said in a statement that Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the defense establishment are committed to enforcing law and order in the West Bank and have prevented the creation of new outposts as well as removing people from existing ones.
Minister Barak has instructed law enforcement authorities to act with determination against violations during the transition period as well,” the statement said.
The Yesha Council of Jewish Settlements said the High Court petition was “a legal provocation.”
http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5645
5. IWPS: Army incursion in Haris, over 150 minors and youths arrested
International Women’s Peace Service  26 March 2009
A major military operation took place today in Haris between 2am and 5pm. Around 15 jeeps, 2 border police jeeps and vans belonging to Israeli Intelligence Shabak entered Haris and arrested around 150 people including large number of minors.
A number of people reported injury by the soldiers including several cases of beatings of small children and women. Soldiers also destroyed furniture, appliances, walls and various food products in at least 4 houses.
At 4:30pm most of the people who were arrested were released. At present IWPS is aware of 4 youths all aged 16 who have not been released and whose whereabouts is currently unknown. There are strong indications that more people were taken away and we are hoping to have more accurate figures soon.
At 2 am soldiers and jeeps entered Haris in a major military operation which lasted 15 hours. The soldiers raided most houses in Haris, arresting youths and interrogating them about their friends, family members and the layout of the houses. The IWPS has heard from many parents and adults that soldiers gave them a piece of paper with a number and photographed them holding this paper.
All those arrested were blindfolded, handcuffed and taken to the primary school in Haris. Here they were seated in the classrooms and in the playground and interrogated one by one by Shabak and the military. Those released were given a paper so that other soldiers would not re-arrest them as the arrests continued throughout the day.
The IWPS members witnessed several of the arrests and we have managed to secure photographic evidence and statements form a number of victims and their relatives.
IWPS also received a report of a man who suffered a back injury due to excessive use of force by the soldiers. The IWPS called for an ambulance which arrived shortly after but was denied entry into Haris by the soldiers, in spite of being urged by the IWPS and the villagers living near by. The reason given was that if a person was injured it would be army’s responsibility to take care of them and provide the ambulance. However, the Israeli ambulance parked nearby was not called by the soldiers to treat the injured man.
Two photojournalists who managed to enter Haris close to the primary school where shortly after escorted by the border police out of the village. In addition, a TV van and two other journalists were denied entry into Haris.
The army incursion finished around 4.30 and villagers fear that it might continue in the near future.
When questioned about the purpose of the incursion, IWPS members were told by the army that they were updating their database of information of Haris residents. Last Saturday 21st March there was another army incursion into Haris where army jeeps and Shabak vans parked in front of the primary school and took photos of the school.
IWPS is concerned about the current wave of arrests of residents of Haris and especially minors and youths. IWPS is also very concerned about the violent behavior of soldiers during the arrests and the use of primary school for detention and interrogation purposes. In addition the media access has repeatedly been denied and there is limited flow information including about the very serious human right abuses mentioned above.
http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5599
6. Palestinian, you are on your own!
Natalie Abou Shakra  (see blog at http://gaza08.blogspot.com)
March 26, 2009
He said, “Your wife is beautiful, I want to sleep with her.” During the interrogation, they would hit us extensively. They prevent us from sleeping, urinating, drinking and eating. During my friend’s interrogation, they brought in his wife. They touched her breasts, her sensitive areas in front of him. They wanted him to admit to their accusations. Imprisonment by the occupation forces is the attempting to murder a resistant spirit… all that we have against their state-of- the-art weaponry .
Gilad Shalit “who turned 22 in captivity, will have been a hostage of Hamas for about 1,000 days,” writes Isabel Kershner on March 8th 2009, in the New York Times . öAround 11,700 Palestinians resisting illegal occupation, including children under the age of 18 and elderly, are held hostage by Apartheid Israel, writes the history of the oppressed. Most of those detained, according to Ali ‘Olwan a lawyer at the Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs in Gaza, have spent more than twenty years in captivity. These prisoners are held under inhumane conditions, says ‘Olwan, in denial of medical examination, no visits by their families and children are allowed, in addition to being subject to various torture techniques. Majdi, who is now 43, hasn’t seen his brother, Bashir, who has been in captivity since 1986, 23 years of age then. “My mother’s wish is to see her son before she dies. It has been 15 years that she last saw his face.”
After collecting information about you, they would break into your house one night. The Shin Bet would arrest you, take you into prison, remove all your clothes off. Sometimes with underwear, sometimes without. Undressing you is a must. Then, they begin the hakirah , which includes extensive interrogation… and hitting. They would then bring you clothes with an acrid smell, and begin to use their torture techniques. Have you heard of the shabeh ? Ihab Bidir, 30, arrested by the IOF on the Mata’hin checkpoint in Gaza six years ago after being accused of affiliation with Hamas, was released on the 27th of January, 2009. Before his release by four days, Bidir, in his testimony, admitted that he was taken into a special division of the Naqab prison, called division 1, which is not under the jurisdiction of the Israeli Prisons Authority, but under the military’s control. He specified being accused as an “enemy combatant” and that the officer investigating his case denied him access to legal representation and an independent and impartial court claiming his file as “top secret” and that this was “not a legal matter, but entirely political.” He was released after spending four nights in division 1, in solitude. Bidir was clueless as to why he got to be placed in, and why he was later released. The chair would be made of metal. A low seated chair, with a low back support. They’d tie your hands to the back, so that your spine would be inclined against the metal low back support. Being seated as such for hours, the pain resulting from the back, and the spine, would be intolerable. And, then, they would ask you to spread your legs wide open, and begin to whack your member- you would go insane!
After the Israeli Occupation Forces claimed withdrawing its troops from Gaza in 2005, while redeploying them, it stopped implementing administrative arrest codes, but begun placing the detained under the category of “enemy combatant.” This category was used by Israel in dealing with Hezbollah detainees. Prof. Peter Jan Honigsberg of the University of San Francisco School of Law writes that “enemy combatant did not and does not exist under international law,” that it was a generic term until February 2002,” and that the US administration created it for the case of its detainees (Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghreib) since it “circumvent[ed] the Geneva Conventions and the international human rights laws,” in addition, he continues, to shelter individual members of the administration from being charged with war crimes.” Since January 18, 2009, after the 22 day genocidal attacks on Gaza, Israel has placed more than 20 Palestinian detainees under the category of “enemy combatant”, says Ali ‘Olwan, and the number is increasing, making each individual placed under this category unprotected by international law.
They would ask if you smoked, and then try to lure you into admitting into their accusations by allowing you a cigarette, or with food, water, or by admitting you to go to the bathroom. If you wet yourself, they would rub your body against the liquid on the floor and strike you. Did I tell you about placing detainees in refrigerators?
The Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War in its 13th, 14th, and 15th articles states that the detainees must be treated humanely, with no violence and “physical mutilation” in cruel treatment and torture, in addition to no offenses upon “personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment”, along with “free of charge medical attention.” In placing prisoners under an internationally unrecognized category such as “enemy combatant,” the state of Israel adds on to the growing list of crimes against humanity yet another heinous violation. Kershner in her article published in the New York Times, states that “in a small country where 18-year-olds are conscripted into the army complete strangers feel intimately connected to the Shalits.” On a land whose non-Jewish natives underwent ethnic cleansing genocidal wars since 1948, it is time for the world to stand in solidarity with and be “intimately connected” to the six million refugees worldwide, the remaining families of martyrs, those men, women and children burnt alive, those who became physically challenged, those who live below the poverty line, those who cannot have an education, those who are racially discriminated against, those who want no help in fighting for their right to live with dignity on their land, those who choose to resist, limited resistance against the largest nuclear power in the region. What Kershner also needs to realize is that Shalit is an illegal occupier, and that the 11,700 detained Palestinians have the legal right to defend themselves, their land against any occupier, or modern-day colonizer.
More than 11,000 of us are in there. Is Shalit-the-occupier more human than us?
http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5590
7. Another two children killed by Israeli explosive in the Gaza Strip
(21 March 2009) Mohammed Hiji and Ahmed Ishnayawra, both 14 years old according to medical sources, were killed in Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza city, on Saturday 21st of March by what is suspected to be Israeli ordinance, left unexploded after January’s invasion.
Mohammed was in the store, where he was working to support his family, as his father is handicapped as a result of an accident that caused him the loss of his right hand. Ahmed brought the object to the store where it exploded causing the death of the two boys.
Nobody else was in the store at the time of the explosion, so the details of the incident will never be known. What is sure is that Mohammed and Ahmed are two more innocent victims of a war that Israel has started and is refusing to cease. During the recent onslaught on Gaza alone, at least 313 children have been killed and 1,606 have been injured, according to the PCHR report, updated on the 19th of March.
Photo: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5572
8. Guardian: Parents of critically injured US peace activist demand justice from Israel
Rory McCarthy | The Guardian   March 23, 2009
Peace campaigner was struck in head with teargas grenade during demo in occupied West Bank
The parents of an American peace activist who was severely injured by Israeli forces at a demonstration in the occupied West Bank called on the Israeli government today to take “full responsibility” for the shooting.
Tristan Anderson, 38, was hit in the forehead by a high-velocity teargas canister fired by an Israeli border policeman in the village of Nilin earlier this month. The incident came after a demonstration against Israel’s West Bank barrier, which as elsewhere has cut off a large slice of the village’s agricultural land.
Since last July, four Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in similar demonstrations in the village.
Anderson was rushed to the Tel Hashomer hospital in Israel, where he has already had three operations. He lost the sight in his right eye and doctors had to remove portions of his frontal lobe. It is not clear if he will survive, or how much brain damage he may have suffered.
His parents, Nancy and Michael, who flew out from their home near Sacramento in California to be at his bedside, said he remained in a very critical condition” in a medically induced coma.
We are horrified and overwhelmed,” said Nancy Anderson. “We are scared and really still in shock. To shoot peaceful demonstrators is really horrifying to us. What we want to ask is that the Israeli government publicly take full responsibility for the shooting of our son.”
She said no Israeli official, from either the government or the military, had contacted the couple since their son was hurt. “I don’t carry any negative feelings towards the soldier who shot our son,” she said. “All I feel is love for Tristan and fear for his recovery.”
Tristan Anderson worked in Oakland, California, as part of a crew involved in setting up conventions. He arrived in Israel in February with his girlfriend, and was planning to stay three months before joining his parents in Europe for a holiday.
He had been involved in previous peace demonstrations elsewhere in the world, including in Iraq in 2003, El Salvador and Guatemala. He was at the 2000 demonstration in Prague against the World Bank and IMF.
Tristan has always been interested in how societies that go through conflict are able to resolve their issues,” said his father. “He came to understand for himself what the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was about. It is ironic that the country in which he was shot is a democracy where it is supposed to be a duty for everyone to follow their conscience. We want to know the truth of what happened and we want justice for our son.”
Jonathan Pollack, an Israeli activist who was at the demonstration this month, said Tristan was hit at around 4.30pm inside the village, at least 1km from the barrier, at a time when the demonstration was dispersing. Although, as is often the case, there had been some stone- throwing at the protest, he said Tristan had never thrown any stones or taken any violent action. Pollack said Israeli border police had led an incursion into Nilin that morning.
For hours before he was shot, Tristan was nowhere near the wall,” he said. It is thought he was hit by a high-velocity teargas grenade, a weapon newly being used against West Bank demonstrators. It comes in a black canister labelled in Hebrew “40mm bullet special/long range”, and is silent when fired, according to demonstrators. Tristan was hit from a distance of about 60 metres, they said.
Michael Sfard, an Israeli human rights lawyer acting for the Anderson family, said he had filed an official complaint demanding an independent investigation. He said that evidence from Israeli human rights researchers showed neither the border police nor the barrier itself were under any threat at the time of the shooting.
The incident took place in the village of Nilin when the protesters came back to the village after a peaceful demonstration,” Sfard said. The policemen involved, both the guy who shot and the officers who gave orders, must take the full might of criminal justice.”
The Israeli military described the protest as a “violent riot”, saying that “approximately 400 rioters threw a massive number of rocks at security forces”.
Israel regrets that the Israeli and foreign nationals co-operate with violent rioters against the building of the security fence, whose purpose is saving the lives of Israeli citizens,” it said. “As such, any Israeli, Palestinian, or foreign national who illegally participates in a violent demonstration takes upon himself the risk of personal harm during the dispersal of these disturbances.”
Photo: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5537
9. Jerusalem Capital of Arab Culture events continue despite ban and heavy police repression in occupied East Jerusalem
On the 21st of March, organizers kicked-off the Jerusalem Capital of Arab Culture festival despite an official ban and heavy police repression by the Israeli Authorities.  The festival, which is supposed to continue through 2009, has been banned in occupied East Jerusalem.
Organizers were determined to defy the ban in order to celebrate Palestinian heritage in the city.  20 participants were arrested for taking part in the activities, and dozens more detained. Israeli police and soldiers were heavily deployed in Jerusalem’s old city and in the surrounding neighborhoods.   In the early morning of the 21st, at least two organizations that were hosting events were raided by Israeli forces.   At 1pm, hundreds of balloons with the national colors of Palestine were released over the city.  Several of the balloon releasers were subsequently arrested.
Additionally, children’s games, traditional dabke dancing, and musical acts were conducted near Damascus Gate and in the main streets of the old city.  Israeli police harassed several of these activities, while letting others continue unhindered.  At around 3:30pm, a group of clowns began leading a crowd drummers and celebrators through the old city.  More than two dozen police and soldiers surrounded this group, detaining the clowns along with three international solidarity activists.  After around half an hour in the police station, everyone was released. Palestinian political, cultural, and civil organizations say that activities celebrating Jerusalem as a capital of Arab culture will continue throughout the year in East Jerusalem.  Several other Palestinian cities are also hosting events as part of the festival, including Hebron, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Ramallah.
Photos: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5576
10. EU urges Israel to suspend East Jerusalem evictions
EU business   23 March 2009
The European Union on Monday called on Israel to suspend eviction notices sent to Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, saying they further threaten the chances of peace.
The EU is deeply concerned by the issuing of eviction notices to the al-Rawi and Hanoun families in East Jerusalem,” the EU’s Czech presidency said in a statement on behalf of the 27 member states.
These eviction notices follow other recent orders which adversely affect Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and, combined with the increase in settlement activity in East Jerusalem, further threaten the chances of peace,” the statement added.
Last week the Palestinian Authority accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” after it delivered dozens of eviction orders to residents of annexed, mostly Arab east Jerusalem.
Last month Palestinian officials and residents told AFP that Israel had ordered hundreds of Palestinians to leave their homes in annexed east Jerusalem, warning their houses are illegal. Israel, which considers the whole of Jerusalem its “eternal, undivided” capital, rarely grants building permits to Arab residents of east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want to make the capital of their promised state.
The eviction orders have also triggered United Nations concerns.
The EU presidency said it had “raised our concerns with the Israeli government and call on Israel to suspend these eviction notices immediately”.
http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5565
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March 27, 2009

“The Most Moral Army In The World”

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 12:41 pm by Alexia

Well, that’s what the Israeli Prime Minister claims: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1149572658286

Althoug Ha’aretz thinks differently: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072821.html

This is from the ISM Digest 15 March 2009.  With my emphasis.  You make up your own mind.

1. American citizen critically injured after being shot in the head by Israeli forces in Ni’lin

Tristan Anderson from California USA, 37 years old, has been taken to Israeli hospital Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv. Anderson was unconscious and bleeding heavily from the nose and mouth. He sustained a large hole in the right part of his forehead where he was struck by a tear gas canister. The heavy impact from the tear gas canister being shot directly at him, from about 60 meters, also caused severe damage to his right eye, which he may lose. Tristan underwent brain surgery in which part of his right frontal lobe and shattered bone fragments were removed.

“Tristan was shot by the new tear-gas canisters that can be shot up to 500m. I ran over as I saw someone had been shot, while the Israeli forces continued to fire tear-gas at us. When an ambulance came, the Israeli soldiers refused to allow the ambulance through the checkpoint just outside the village. After 5 minutes of arguing with the soldiers, the ambulance passed.” ­ Teah Lunqvist (Sweden) – International Solidarity Movement

The Israeli army began to use the Rutger rifle and a high velocity tear gas canister in December 2008. The black canister, labeled in Hebrew as “40mm bullet special/long range,” can shoot over 400 meters and weighs 130 grams without the propeller. The gas canister does not make a noise when fired or emit a smoke tail and has a propeller to accelerate the weapon mid-air. A combination of the canister’s high velocity and silence is extremely dangerous and has caused numerous injuries, including a Palestinian male whose leg was broken in January 2009.

Tristan Anderson was shot as Israeli forces attacked unarmed demonstrators, gathered against construction of the annexation wall through the village of Ni’lin’s land. Another resident from Ni’lin was shot in the leg with live ammunition.

Four Ni’lin residents have been killed during demonstrations against the confiscation of their land.

Ahmed Mousa (10) was shot in the forehead with live ammunition on 29th July 2008.  The following day, Yousef Amira(17) was shot twice with rubber-coated steel bullets, leaving him brain dead.  He died a week later on 4 August 2008. Arafat Rateb Khawaje (22), was the third Ni’lin resident to be killed by Israeli forces.  He was shot in the back with live ammunition on 28 December 2008.  That same day, Mohammed Khawaje (20), was shot in the head with live ammunition, leaving him brain dead.  He died three days in a Ramallah hospital.

Residents in the village of Ni’lin have been demonstrating against construction of the Apartheid Wall, deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004. Ni’lin will lose approximately 2500 dunums of agricultural land when the construction of the Wall is completed. Ni’lin was 57,000 dunums in 1948, reduced to 33,000 dunums in 1967, currently is 10,000 dunums and will be 7,500 dunums after the Wall is built.

Updates: Orly Levi, a spokeswoman at the Tel Hashomer hospital, tells Ha’aretz:

He’s in critical condition, anesthetized and on a ventilator and undergoing imaging tests,” She described Anderson’s condition as life- threatening.

Israeli activist Jonathan Pollack told Ynet: … the firing incident took place inside the village and not next to the fence. There were clashes in the earlier hours, but he wasn’t part of them. He didn’t throw stones and wasn’t standing next to the stone throwers.

There was really no reason to fire at them. The Dutch girl standing next to him was not hurt. It only injured him, like a bullet.

13 March: Anarchists Against the Wall reports on Tristan’s condition (volunteers with AWALLS were present when Tristan was injured and have been at the hospital to oversee his treatment):

The impact of the projectile caused numerous condensed fractures to Anderson’s forehead and right eye socket. During the operation part of his right frontal lobe had to be removed, as it was penetrated by bone fragments. A brain fluid leakage was sealed using a tendon from his thigh, and both his right eye and skin suffered extensive damage. The long term scope of all of Tristan’s injuries is yet unknown.

Gabrielle Silverman, Tristan’s girlfriend who was with him when he was shot, spoke to Bay City News and KTVU:

As of Saturday he was on full life support and heavily medicated at Tel Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv, his girlfriend Gabrielle Silverman said today in a telephone interview.

“My understanding is that they are trying to let his brain rest as much as possible and do as little work as possible,” Silverman said.

Palestinian medics immediately came to their rescue and attempted to place Anderson onto a stretcher. But even then, Silverman said, “The army began firing tear gas directly at us … again and again and again.”

“Tear gas was falling at our feet as were loading him onto the stretcher,” Silverman said.

When the medics had successfully situated Anderson, an Israeli soldier stood in front of the ambulance and would not allow it to move, Silverman said.

Silverman detailed with clear agitation in her voice the circumstances that followed, as Anderson was “getting worse, vanishing further.”

She said they underwent another 15-minute holdup at the checkpoint, the reason being, she said, that “Palestinian ambulances are not allowed to enter into the state of Israel from the West Bank.”

“Tristan’s life was in serious danger. He was bleeding terribly everywhere from the head,” Silverman recounted. “We had to just sit and wait until eventually an Israeli ambulance from God knows where showed up and we had to change to another ambulance.”

Once they had arrived at the hospital, Anderson immediately underwent surgery, Silverman said. Surgeons removed a portion of the right frontal lobe of his brain and used a tendon from his leg to seal up the area to help prevent leakage. They also “tried to put his face back together,” Silverman said.

Video and photo: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5324

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