Monday, November 30, 2009
Israeli forces opened fire at houses and farmland in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday, eyewitnesses told Ma’an.
The witnesses said Israeli forces opened fire while withdrawing from an area southeast of the town of Beit Hanoun where they had entered in the morning.
...Meanwhile, the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades, claimed responsibility for firing a homemade projectile toward Israeli forces attempting to enter Gaza via the Nahal Oz crossing.
Israeli forces patrol inside the Gaza Strip along the border with Israel on a daily basis. There are frequent reports of Palestinians coming under fire simply for setting foot inside this band. Full story
In an interview with ABC News last week, the former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate told Barbara Walters that Jewish settlements “should be allowed to be expanded upon” because “more and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead.”
At least two other likely candidates for the GOP nomination in 2012 have made similar comments in recent months.
...former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee ....former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney ....
...Tevi Troy, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a former Bush administration liaison to the Jewish community...
“If you want to be a conservative candidate, you have to check that pro-Israel box,” he said.
Some GOP insiders also said that Jewish Republicans make up a significant portion of the party's financial base, and one way for candidates to become more attractive to such donors is to shore up their pro-Israel bona fides...
The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Monday charged two Border Police officers with grievously attacking an Arab youth passing by them near the Old City of Jerusalem.
... has also been charged in two other incidents of assault, causing grievous bodily harm, obstructing legal proceedings, providing false testimony.
Discussion of Israeli forces suspected of attacking Arabs has centered around the Border Police of late, following the release of a damning video clip on YouTube in which officers filmed themselves verbally and physically abusing Palestinians.
Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan last month rejected an appeal against the decision not to investigate Border Police officers who documented themselves abusing Palestinians.
National - Jonathan Cook
Israel’s finance minister was accused last week of trying to deflect attention from discriminatory policies keeping many of the country’s Arab families in poverty by blaming their economic troubles on what he described as Arab society’s opposition to women working.
A recent report from Israel’s National Insurance Institute showed that half of all Arab families in Israel are classified as poor compared with just 14 per cent of Jewish families.
Yuval Steinitz, the finance minister, told a conference on employment discrimination this month that the failure of Arab women to participate in the workforce was damaging Israel’s economy. Eighteen per cent of Arab women work, and only half of them full time, compared with at least 55 per cent of Jewish women.
But researchers and women’s groups pointed out that employment of Arab women in Israel is lower than almost anywhere else in the Arab world, including such employment blackspots for women as Saudi Arabia and Oman.
“Most Arab women want to work, including a large number of female graduates, but the government has refused to tackle the many and severe obstacles that have been put in their way,” said Sawsan Shukha of Women Against Violence, a Nazareth-based organisation.
That assessment was supported by a survey this month revealing that 83 per cent of Israeli businesses in the main professions – including advertising, law, banking, accountancy and the media – admitted being opposed to hiring Arab graduates, whether men or women. Full story
Twelve Palestinian detainees held at Juneid prison in Nablus continued their hunger strike for the fourth consecutive day in protest against their detention on Monday.
One of the prisoners told Ma’an in a telephone interview that the strike was undertaken as a protest against Israel’s refusal to pardon the prisoners and a call to Palestinian Authority officials to discuss their cases with Israel. Full story
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Israel released a Palestinian law professor on Thursday after holding him for 20 months in three different prisons without charge.
Dr Ghassan Khaled (known as "Abu Nasser") is a lawyer and lecturer in commercial law at An-Najah University in the West Bank city of Nablus.
Khaled was arrested in January 2008, interrogated for 20 days, then released and re-arrested on 31 March 2008. He was held in administrative detention until last Thursday. According to the human rights organization Ahrar, Khaled was tortured while in Israel's Negev, Megiddo and Ofer prisons.
Akram Daoud, the dean of the law faculty at An-Najah, told the Chronicle of Higher Education earlier in November that his colleague was held completely without charges.
“There are no charges. This was the first time he was arrested. He is religious. He is someone who prays and sometimes talks in the mosques, but he’s not connected to any kind of political party,” Doud was quoted as saying.
“They couldn’t prove that he has any link with any political party—this is why they are going to put him in administrative detention, because they don’t have any charges against him,” he said.
“This guy has very close connections to Israelis from the peace movement—they are coming daily to his house. He has many friends in Israel and among the Israeli people,” he also told the journal. Full story
Israeli forces detained a Palestinian teenager from the Barqa village, west of Nablus, on Saturday night.
Palestinian sources told Ma'an that Munjed Ragheb Salah, 16, was detained at the entrance of the village and was taken to an unknown location. Full story
Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, has an idea. That happens to him quite often. One might almost say – too often. It goes like this: The US will turn its back on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The entire world will follow. Everybody is fed up with this conflict. Let the Israelis and the Palestinians sort out their problems by themselves.
Sounds sensible. Why must the world be bothered with these two unruly children? Let them kick each other as much as they like. The adults should not interfere.
But in reality this is an outrageous suggestion because these two children are not of equal strength. When an adult sees a 14-year old mercilessly mistreating a 6-year old, can he just look on?
Israel is materially a hundredfold, indeed a thousandfold, stronger than the Palestinians. The fourth strongest army in the world (by its own estimate) dominates the life of a helpless people. The Israeli economy, with some of the most advanced technologies in the world, dominates a people whose resources are next to nil. A 42-year old occupation dominates every single corner of occupied Palestine.
This did not come about by a miracle. The huge gap between the strength of the two peoples has also been created by the support of the US for Israel. Israel would not be where it is today without this political, economic and military underpinning. Billions of dollars in annual aid, access to the most advanced weaponry in the world, the political immunity assured by the US veto in the Security Council and all the other forms of assistance have helped successive Israeli governments to maintain and intensify the occupation.
Friedman does not propose ending this support, which itself is a massive intervention in this conflict, and is given to the stronger side. When he suggests that the US withdraw from the conflict, he is actually saying: Let the Israeli government do what it is doing – continue the occupation, set up new settlements, withdraw the land from under the feet of the Palestinian people, go on with the murderous blockade that denies the 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip – men, women and children –almost all the necessities of life.
This is a monstrous suggestion.
...Benjamin Netanyahu could not wish for more in his wildest dreams. In the meantime he is satisfied with something less: President Obama’s acceptance of his latest trick.
...And Obama? He capitulated again. After giving up his original demand for a total freeze of building in the settlements, he had no choice but to give in again. He reacted to Netanyahu’s shabby performance as if it were high drama.
Obama is in need of an achievement. It is being said that he has not achieved a single objective in the international arena. So here is an achievement. Netanyahu is freezing – sorry, restraining – sorry, suspending - settlement activity.
...We saw poor George Mitchell. The man who brokered peace between the murderous factions in Ireland came to Jerusalem. He came again and again and again.
...Israeli officials laughed at him behind his back. They are used to the likes of him. They have eaten them for breakfast. Remember William Rogers, Nixon’s Secretary of State and his peace plan? And the great Henry Kissinger? And even James Baker, who tried to impose economic sanctions on us? And Bill Clinton’s “Guidelines”? And the “vision” of George Bush? The political graveyard is full of American politicians who tried to impose limits on Israel, without being able or willing to use the necessary force. Welcome, George. Nice to see you, Hillary. Full story
Catholic Custos of the Holy Land Father Pierre Battista Pizzaballa arrived in Bethlehem Saturday morning and traveled to the Nativity Church to mark the memorial for Saint Catherine and the Feast of Christ the King on Saturday.
Arriving in Bethlehem via Israel's 300 Checkpoint next to Rachel's Tomb and the separation wall, Pizzaballa was received at the gates by Latin Parish Priest of Bethlehem Samoel Fahim Habib alongside representatives from several Christian organizations in the area.
The streets were closed as the convoy traveled from the checkpoint to the Nativity Church, where Pizzaballa was received by Bethlehem Mayor Abdul Fattah Hamayil and Bethlehem Deputy Mayor George Sa’adeh, Beit Jala Mayor Raji Zeidan, Beit Sahour Mayor Hany Al-Hayek and Father Ibrahim Faltas, director of the school of the Custody of the Holy Land and several police officials. Full story
Bet El settlement leaders publicly ripped up military orders outlining the terms of the 10-month partial construction freeze on Friday, Israeli media source reported.
The freeze applies only to West Bank settlements, where about 60% of Israel's settler population lives, seen as a move to appease demands from the American administration. In an attempt to placate settlers in the move, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised all existing construction permits would be honored - about 3,000 in all - and that the construction of public buildings like schools and synagogues would continue as usual.
...Moshe Rosenboim of the Bet El settlement council tore up the orders in front of the soldier who delivered them, screaming in the officer's face that he did "not respect" the order...
...Israeli Minister of Information Yuli-Yoel Edelstein - the only minister in the Security Cabinet to vote no during the session that saw 11 out of 14 ministers support the freeze plan - will meet with settler leaders in the coming week to devise strategies to get around the new order. Full story
Fifteen Israeli settlers from the [illegal] Yitzhar settlement near [the Palestinian city of ]Nablus attempted to set fire to a home in the village of Burin, Palestinian sources said Saturday.
Wearing white prayer shirts marking the Jewish Sabbath the group stormed the home of Ayman Attalla Safwan carrying flame excellents but were confronted by several villagers who tried to prevent their entry into the home, eyewitnesses described. Full story
A second Palestinian died from wounds sustained from an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip on Friday morning, Israeli media was reporting late the sa
A second Palestinian died from wounds sustained from an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip on Friday morning, Israeli media was reporting late the same day.
Ma'an could not confirm that report, and an Israeli military spokeswoman said the army was aware of only one Palestinian who died in the raid on northern Gaza. Full story
Saturday, November 28, 2009
On Friday afternoon, around 70 Israeli and Palestinian peace activists gathered in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood to protest a court order that denies Palestinian owners the right to remain in their homes. Full story
PHOTO CAPTION: Rioting settlers forced a Palestinian family from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah out of their home on Tuesday, after the district court denied the residents' appeal to remain on the premises.
Shortly after the verdict was passed - to the Hanun family's surprise - dozens of settlers stormed their house with hired security guards, and demanded that they vacate immediately.
The Palestinians who currently reside in the area were housed there as refugees by the United Nations after they fled western Jerusalem following the War of Independence in 1948.
During the 1970s, a committee of Sephardic Jews claimed ownership of the land, according to papers which proved that they had purchased it from the Turks before the war. Recently the lawyer of the Palestinian families found that there is no record of the settler ownership in the Turkish archives and so it would seem there ownership papers were fake.
This take over is the fourth in less than a year in that neighborhood an is part of the settlers movement attempt to prevent the devision of Jerusalem and the two state solution. -- icahd
According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights' Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, during the week of 19-24 Nov. 2009, 9 Palestinian civilians, including two children, were wounded by Israeli forces in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Also this week, Israeli warplanes launched 8 strikes on the Gaza Strip. A factory, a workshop and a house were destroyed and a number of other civilian facilities were damaged. Full story
Friday, November 27, 2009
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu described his offer to temporarily restrict construction of all-new Jewish settlements on the West Bank excluding Arab East Jerusalem as a “far-reaching and painful step”, which was part of a policy he hoped would give a new impetus to peace talks.
Netanyahu is not stupid. He knows that some of us know he is not remotely interested in peace on terms the Palestinians could accept. So what then is his real game plan of the moment? Simple. He is seeking to make peace with the Obama administration. And its response suggests that with the help of the Zionist lobby and its stooges in Congress he’s got that matter firmly under control.
On 18 November President Obama himself expressed his dismay at Israel’s decision to approve 900 more housing units in East Jerusalem. He said it could lead to a “dangerous situation"...
Eight days later the Obama administration says Netanyahu’s new offer... will help “move forward” peace efforts.
What nonsense. It seems to me that the Obama administration doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going on the matter of how to deal with Netanyahu.
The response of senior Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti was much more in tune with reality. “What Netanyahu announced today is one of his biggest attempts at deception in his history.”
It is, of course, a deception but nobody should be surprised. Not only has deception always been the name of Zionism’s game, it knows no other.
Its very first mission statement way back in 1897 was a deception. The previous year Zionism’s founding father, Theodore Herzl, had written and published Der Judenstaat, The Jewish State. It opened with these words: “The Jews who will it shall have a state of their own.” But as all of Zionism’s founding fathers gathered for their first Congress at Basel in Switzerland, Herzl was among the first to appreciate the need to drop the word state from all public policy pronouncements.
...The proof that Zionism’s founding father knew the substitution of “home” for “state” in the first mission statement was a deception is in his diary, which was not published (was kept secret) for 63 years. Herzl’s entry for 3 September 1897, as published in 1960, included this:
Were I to sum up the Basel Congress in a word – which I shall guard against pronouncing publicly – it would be this: At Basel I founded the Jewish state… Perhaps in five years, and certainly 50, everyone will know it… At Basel then, I created this abstraction which, as such, is invisible to the vast majority of people.
It wasn’t only the Arabs and the major powers Zionism didn’t want to scare by using the term state. All of its founding fathers were fully aware that most informed and thoughtful Jews everywhere were opposed to the idea of creating a sovereign Jewish state in the Arab heartland. They believed it to be morally wrong. They feared it would lead to unending conflict. And most of all they feared... it would one day provoke anti-Semitism.... Full story
- Arrests (per person): 5, 4 in Hebron & 1 in Salfit
- Detentions: 14, At checkpoints & in residential locales
- Raids: 31, Incl. 1 on Tulkarm & 1 on Qalqiliya
- Checkpoints: 8, Access impeded at 5 checkpoints
- Flying Checkpoints: 19, Incl. 1 in Nablus & 1 in Ramallah
- House Demolition * Notices to demolish 4 houses in Tubas
- Destruction of Property * Notices to demolish 2 shacks & a room
- Wall Construction: 21 Jer., Raml’h., Qalq., Salfit, Heb., Beth.
- Closure (per District): 7, Jer., Beth. (2 villages) & Hebron (4 areas)
- Closure of Main Roads: 40 Incl. 1 in Jenin & 1 in Tulkarm
- Closure of Crossing Points: 3 Partial opening of 4 crossings
- Settler Violence: 1 Severely beat a civilian in Nablus district Full report
A Palestinian man was shot and killed on Thursday evening by an Israeli soldier after he stabbed two Israeli settlers in southern West Bank.
Israeli media said that attack took place at the entrance of the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba.
...an off duty soldier present at the scene opened fire at the Palestinian man killing him. The two settlers were lightly injured, Witnesses told Reuters. Full story
The villagers of Nil'in, central West Bank... staged their weekly protest on Friday.
Villagers along with their international supporters conducted the midday prayers at the villagers lands were Israeli is building the wall.
After the prayers people marched closer to wall, Israeli troops stationed their fired tear gas at the protesters. Full story
...dozens suffered teargas inhalation in Bili’n’s weekly protest.
...A Greek group participated with the people in Bil’in to give their support. The international activists carried banners showing their solidarity with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian right to resist the occupation and live in peace on their land. A British activist, Jody Macantyre, said “We came to be in solidarity with the Palestinians, we believe in their right to live in peace.
"We are here today in Bil'in because we see the Wall as an obstacle to the building of a Palestinian state” from America Sasha Solanas said “...I have heard a lot about this village and the weekly protests against the wall and settlements. I admire the struggle in Bil'in, and I’m happy to be here with you today.”
....When the demonstration reached the razor wire placed by Israeli soldiers to block the protesters, the Israeli army announced a closed military zone, but the protest kept moving towards the gate. The Israeli soldiers fired teargas canisters and stun grenades, dozens suffered teargas inhalation. Full story
Israeli settlers took over on Thursday 10 Acers of lands owned by Palestinian farmers from Yannon village, northern West Bank.
Villagers said that settlers invaded the village then took over the land and started to work one it using machinery they brought with them. Full Story
Israeli military confiscates electricity pylons; Palestinians prohibited from improving quality of life
Palsolidarity - CPT
On Wednesday, 25 November, the Israeli military and police removed and confiscated two standing electricity pylons from the village of At-Tuwani. The electricity pylons had been installed by the villagers of At-Tuwani in an effort to connect to the electrical grid in Yatta, a Palestinian city to the north. The Israeli military declared the area around the pylons a closed military zone in an attempt to prevent Palestinians and international activists from obstructing or documenting the confiscation. Nonetheless, dozens of villagers came out in protest, and barricaded a police jeep from entering the village.
Despite a recent visit by Tony Blair, the Quartet’s special Middle East envoy, in which Blair assured villagers of At-Tuwani that the Israeli authorities gave oral permission to carry out the electrical construction work, the community has faced repeated interruptions as it struggles to bring electricity to the area. Full story
...a drip-drip effect in which a steady stream of expropriating activities are undertaken at a slow but relentless pace, in the hope that insufficient feathers are ruffled to put a halt to the overarching campaign of annexation.
The Jerusalem light railway is a case in point: in isolation, few Israelis would be too perturbed by the idea of providing a rail link between the city centre and outlying towns and suburbs on the periphery of the capital. However, in doing so, the authorities are simultaneously declaring their view that settlements such as French Hill and Pisgat Ze'ev are integral parts of Jerusalem and banging yet another nail into the coffin of a viable Palestinian state.
Under the guise of a desire to ease traffic congestion on Jerusalem's streets, the project bears all the hallmarks of previous efforts to stake a permanent and intractable claim...
Palestinian officials this week issued a call for overseas assistance in preventing the completion of the rail link, having recognised that without such external pressure there is no hope of putting a halt to the illegal construction...
The Palestinians know full well that the rail link's presence will further ingrain in Israelis' minds the idea that every affected township over the Green Line is to be viewed simply as a benign part of Greater Jerusalem, rather than a malignant settlement that threatens the security of both Israelis and Palestinians in the long term...
Last week's international criticism of plans to build a further 900 homes in Gilo raised hackles among the Israeli public. Many Israelis have become so accustomed to the idea that Gilo is part of Israel proper that they cannot for the life of them understand why anyone should deny them the right to construct houses there at will. Such a mind-set did not develop overnight; rather, it took years of patient joining of the dots by successive Israeli governments...
When my army unit was based in Har Gilo (a suburb of Gilo even deeper into West Bank territory), none of the residents living alongside our headquarters saw themselves as settlers....... Israelis are unquestioningly becoming more and more used to their collective status as perpetual oppressors of another people – and time is not on the peace camp's side. Full story
On Thursday, November 26, 2009 at 1:00am, five settlers and settler security, who are currently occupying the Gawi family house in Sheikh Jarrah, attempted to take over a section of a house belonging to the Palestinian al-Kurd family.
The Israeli police were alerted immediately, however, before they managed to arrive, the settlers started attacking the Palestinians living in the house. One settler violently pushed a member of the al-Kurd family, Maysa, against a wall and thereafter grabbed her son, Munjad, by the lapel. After their arrival and a long discussion with the al-Kurd family concerning the legal status of the house, the Israeli police reluctantly escorted the settlers out.
As a result of the tumult, Refka Kurd, 85, suffered a stroke. She was taken to a hospital and is in stable condition.
This is the third settler incursion into the al-Kurd family house in the last three weeks.
In a strategic plan, settlers have been utilizing discriminatory laws to expand their presence in Occupied East Jerusalem. Palestinians, who face difficulties in acquiring building permits from the municipality, are often left with no legal recourse for extending their homes to accompany their growing families. The Israeli authorities exercise their abilities to demolish and evict Palestinian residents, while ignoring building violations from the Israeli population in East Jerusalem. Full story
...The men, a civil rights activist and a student, attempted to enter the West Bank via the Allenby Bridge from Jordan.
"The Israelis did not deny us entry into Palestine for legitimate security reasons," Bin Wahad announced in a video statement following the denial. "Ultimately we barred because of what we think and not for any other reason."
... they "rode a tourist bus to the bridge separating Jordan from Palestine, where, as the only two Black people on the bus, they were separated from the rest of the tourists, who were permitted to go on their way."
The report said they were then interrogated, strip searched, and had their belongings confiscated before they were ordered to return to Jordan. Full story
Christian Peacemeker Teams observers responded to a call from vendors in the old city of Hebron Thursday, saying a Palestinian man was being beaten by Israeli forces.
When the observers arrived, a statement said, "six soldiers were detaining a young man who appeared to be in distress. He was holding his abdomen and crying. His mother and a man held him while an older man spoke with the soldiers."
The observers said they conducted interviews with four eyewitnesses to the event, including two Palestinians and two internationals.
... the "young man was stopped and asked for his identity card. A soldier pushed him against the wall. When the youth asked, 'Why do you push me?' the soldier beat him. He was struck on the head, stomach with a rifle butt and kicked in the groin. His mother intervened as did an older shopkeeper."
... " With the mother and a man supporting the youth, the soldiers escorted him to just inside the gate of the Beit Romano settlement at Bab Ab- Balidiyah, where he collapsed. The mother hung on to her son and refused to have him taken through the gate to the army barracks.
"The soldiers kept pushing back the crowd of about 100 Palestinians during a loud and animated exchange between the soldiers, the mother and several men. After about 10 minutes the soldiers withdrew into the base and observed the crowd from a guard post. The crowd surged forward and carried the youth across the street but then returned to the concrete block at the Beit Romano gate.
"The soldiers fired a sound grenade that temporarily dispersed the crowd, but which quickly reformed. A Palestinian ambulance arrived five minutes later and evacuated the young man to the hospital. His condition is not known at this time." Full story
... the minister of detainees and detainees affairs, said on Thursday he would not sign a peace agreement with Israel until all Palestinian prisoners had been released from its jails.
... said children and women in Israel's jails deserved the attention of the international community, which he urged to intervene.
...Palestinians suffer widespread torture and medical neglect... Full story
Short video and additional information about Palestinian prisoners
...Saeb Erekat, the PLO head negotiator, called on Washington to compel Israel to freeze construction completely so it will be possible to renew peace talks.
Late Wednesday night officials in Erekat's office called the Israeli plan a diversion, "What Israel is talking about is a slowdown - not a freeze," one PLO official said.
The official noted that Netanyahu's definition of a settlement freeze, in which synagogues, schools, and public facilities expand unabated in the West Bank, was not even being offered in East Jerusalem. Full story
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Egyptian authorities permitted the entry of humanitarian aid and stationary donated by French charities into the Gaza Strip via the Rafah border crossing on Wednesday evening, according to an official for the Arab Doctors’ Union, Mustafa Tayeh.
...numerous French charities had donated the consignment which included books, pens and school bags, to school children in the Gaza Strip, particularly those children with parents detained in Israeli jails.
The French charities' donation included nine tons of medical equipment...
...Meanwhile, Israeli authorities have refused to permit the transfer of a consignment of toys donated to Palestinian children in Gaza, which remains at the Al-Oja commercial border between Egypt and Israel, despite Egypt’s consent to the delivery of the toys. Full story
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Was Zionist Samuel Untermyer behind the Scofield Bible?
Dissident Voice - Maidhc Ó Cathail
...Since it was first published in 1909, the Scofield Reference Bible has made uncompromising Zionists out of tens of millions of Americans. When John Hagee, the founder of Christians United for Israel, said that “50 million evangelical bible-believing Christians unite with five million American Jews standing together on behalf of Israel,” it was the Scofield Bible that he was talking about.
Although the Scofield Reference Bible contains the text of the King James Authorized Version, it is not the traditional Protestant bible but Cyrus I. Scofield’s annotated commentary that is the problem. More than any other factor, it is Scofield’s notes that induced generations of American evangelicals to believe that God demands their uncritical support for the modern State of Israel.
Central to Christian Zionist belief is Scofield’s commentary on Genesis 12:3. For the sake of clarity, Scofield’s notes have been italicized in the following passage:
“‘I will bless them that bless thee.’ In fulfilment closely related to the next clause, ‘And curse him that curseth thee.’ Wonderfully fulfilled in the history of the dispersion. It has invariably fared ill with the people who have persecuted the Jew – well with those who have protected him. The future will still more remarkably prove this principle.”
Drawing on Scofield’s speculative interpretation, John Hagee claims, “The man or nation that lifts a voice or hand against Israel invites the wrath of God.”
However, as Stephen Sizer points out, in his definitive critique, Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon?: “The promise, when referring to Abraham’s descendants speaks of God blessing them, not of entire nations ‘blessing’ the Hebrew nation, still less the contemporary and secular State of Israel.”
...“Sustained by a dubious exegesis of selective biblical texts,” Stephen Sizer concludes, “Christian Zionism’s particular reading of history and contemporary events … sets Israel and the Jewish people apart from other peoples in the Middle East… it justifies the endemic racism intrinsic to Zionism, exacerbates tensions between Jews and Palestinians and undermines attempts to find a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, all because ‘the Bible tells them so.’”
The incredible Scofield
In his 2008 book, The Rise of Israel: A History of a Revolutionary State, Jonathan R. Adelman describes the crucial support Israel receives from Christian fundamentalists as “totally fortuitous.” The incredible career of the man who wrote “the Bible of Fundamentalism,” however, casts considerable doubt on that assertion.
Two years after Scofield’s reported conversion to Christianity in 1879, the Atchison Patriot was less than impressed. Describing the former Atchison resident as the “late lawyer, politician and shyster generally,” the article went on to recount a few of Scofield’s “many malicious acts.” These included a series of forgeries in St. Louis, for which he was sentenced to six months in jail.
Being a “born again” preacher, however, did not preclude Scofield from becoming a member of an exclusive New York men’s club in 1901. In his devastating biography, The Incredible Scofield and His Book, Joseph M. Canfield comments, “The admission of Scofield to the Lotos Club, which could not have been sought by Scofield, strengthens the suspicion that has cropped up before, that someone was directing the career of C. I. Scofield.”
That someone, Canfield suspects, was associated with one of the club’s committee members, the Wall Street lawyer Samuel Untermeyer. As Canfield intimates, Scofield’s theology was “most helpful in getting Fundamentalist Christians to back the international interest in one of Untermeyer’s pet projects – the Zionist Movement.”
Others, however, have been more explicit about the nature of Scofield’s service to the Zionist agenda. In “Unjust War Theory: Christian Zionism and the Road to Jerusalem,” Prof. David W. Lutz claims, “Untermeyer used Scofield, a Kansas city lawyer with no formal training in theology, to inject Zionist ideas into American Protestantism. Untermeyer and other wealthy and influential Zionists whom he introduced to Scofield promoted and funded the latter’s career, including travel in Europe.”
Absent such powerful connections, it is hard to imagine “this peer among scalawags” ever getting a contract with Oxford University Press to publish his bible. Full story
Israel's top court on Tuesday urged the state and a Palestinian deported to Gaza to cut a deal so she can return to her studies in the West Bank city of Bethlehem in exchange for "high bail."
...the court said it saw no reason to order the state to allow Berlanty Azzam to return immediately to her studies in the occupied West Bank, where she had lived since 2005.
Azzam, 22, had just two months left to complete her bachelor's degree at the Vatican-sponsored Bethlehem University.
She was detained and sent to the Gaza Strip handcuffed and blindfolded on October 28, because her ID card listed a Gaza address...
In a statement filed with the court on Tuesday, the state attorney said Azzam should not be allowed back, insisting she had failed to obtain proper Israeli authorisation to live in the West Bank.
...Her lawyer, Yadin Elan, said in his submission that Azzam considered her residence in the West Bank to be legal, and that her basic rights outweighed the claim that she had broken "some unwritten rule."
He also told AFP it was "absurd" and contrary to international law that a Palestinian should need an Israeli permit to live in the West Bank.
Israel controls the Palestinian population registry and since 2000 has not permitted address changes from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.
"All I want is to be able to return to my studies in Bethlehem. I need the court to deliver justice," Azzam said before Tuesday's hearing.
The court said it will hold another hearing within a week and ordered the state attorney's office and Gisha to coordinate for Azzam to be able to attend. Full story
- Caused Injuries: 4, 3 in Rafah & 1 in Jericho districts
- Arrests (per person): 7, Incl. 3 in Salfit & 1 in Jericho
- Expulsion: 1, Jerusalem file official expelled from Aqsa
- Detentions: 14, At checkpoints & in residential locales
- Raids:26, Incl. 1 on Rafah & 1 on Jericho
- Checkpoints: 10, Access impeded at 6 checkpoints
- Flying Checkpoints: 23, Incl. 2 in Jenin & 1 in Tulkarm
- Attacks: 3, Incl. 1 in a raid & 1 by military post
- Air Attacks: 3, F-16 warplanes attack Gaza & Rafah
- Air Patrols: 3, 2 F-16 warplanes & 1 reconnaissance
- Curfew: 1, Over Huwwara town in Nablus district
- House Occupation: 1, In Al Arrub refugee camp in Hebron
- Confiscation of Property: 1, A rifle from a house in Jayyus town
- Attack on Property * Notice to cease house construction
- Destruction of Property: 3, Incl. leveling plants in Rafah district
- Land Leveling: 1, Agricultural land in Rafah district
- Wall Construction: 21, Jer., Raml’h., Qalq., Salfit, Heb., Beth.
- Closure (per District): 7, Jer., Beth. (2 villages) & Hebron (4 areas)
- Closure of Main Roads: 40, Incl. 10 in Nablus & 15 in Hebron
- Closure of Crossing Points: 4, Partial opening of 3 crossings only
- Settler Violence: 2, Incl. running over a child in Jericho city
- Demonstration: 1, Against settler violence in Hebron city
- Palestinian Attack: 1, A mortar was fired towards the Green Line Full report
The Fatah-dominated Palestinian leadership based in Ramallah is developing a new diplomatic strategy that would free itself from the failing framework of US-brokered bilateral negotiations with Israel, officials say.
The new strategy, sources in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) explain, is more “pluralistic” and more internationally-oriented.
As a first step in implementing this strategy, the PA will launch a diplomatic campaign on Sunday 29 November, which marks the UN’s International Day in Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Full story
US officials, some of them aides to special envoy George Mitchell, have been visiting illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank as a part of an investigation, the Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported on Wednesday.
In the first such visit on Monday, officials from the US consulate in Jerusalem and Mitchell’s team visited the settlement of Efrat, southwest of Bethlehem, the newspaper said. The officials were reportedly comparing the boundaries and number of buildings in the settlement with earlier maps to see whether settlements are expanding.
...Mitchell has been at the forefront of Obama’s unsuccessful effort to convince Israel to stop expanding settlements as a step toward resuming peace negotiations. President Mahmoud Abbas has said he will refuse to resume talks unless Israel complies with its prior obligations to halt construction.
Last Wednesday Obama himself criticized an Israeli decision to expand the settlement of Gilo, on Bethlehem’s northern side..
"I think that additional settlement building does not contribute to Israel's security, I think it makes it harder for them to make peace with their neighbors," Obama told Fox News.
"I think it embitters the Palestinians in a way that could end up being very dangerous"... Full story
...Ministry of Health warned of a severe shortage of medicine, resulting from the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, it was announced on Wednesday.
... “among the medicines that have run out include the ones used for the artificial kidney unit, surgeries and other needed medicines.”
“There are 10 kinds of medication that could only cover three months; another 26 kinds that could cover two months, and 29 types that will only cover one month,” he added.
The Ministry of Health urged support for patients in Gaza by allowing all the necessary medicines and medical supplies into Gaza, whose health continues to deteriorate under the Israeli blockade.
Since Hamas’ takeover in 2007 , Israel has intermittently opened Gaza's borders leading to the limited entry of vital supplies of food, fuel and medicine. Full story
"Households, bakeries and hospitals in Gaza will be left short of cooking gas as the major annual festival of Eid Al-Adha begins," unless Israeli authorities to allow in the daily needed quantities of domestic gas, Oxfam International said Monday.
The appeal followed the release of a report from the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs saying domestic gas imports into Gaza for the first half of November were down 88%. One day after the report was released Israeli officials opened the Nahal Oz Crossing, and transported 257 tons of domestic gas into Gaza.
No deliveries of domestic gas have been reported since.
"Five out of ten households Oxfam talked to on Sunday reported running out of cooking gas," a statement from the organization said. It also repeated concerns expressed by the UN around the shortage of gas at hospitals and the risk to hygiene and cooking abilities at the institutions.
“The people of Gaza should not have to celebrate Eid without being able to cook because their cooking gas supplies have run out ,” Oxfam International Executive Director Jeremy Hobbs was quoted as saying in the statement. “ Limiting the cooking gas needed by families, bakeries and hospitals is collective punishment and must stop.” Full story
Israel forces said 10 Palestinians were detained during raids in the West Bank on Tuesday night, while PA forces said five were detained and another five were served notices to report to Israeli intelligence.
...All of the detainees were taken because of their status as “wanted” individuals. Full story
Israeli settlers from the illegal colony of Yitzhar injured a Palestinian man travelling in a public bus on a main road near the settlement on Tuesday, the victim of the attack reported.
The service taxi, carrying seven passengers in total, was assailed by a barrage of stones launched by Israeli settlers in the northern West Bank. Full story
Two Egyptian banks petitioned the Israel High Court of Justice, demanding the return of their shares in the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, Israeli media reported on Monday.
The Egyptian Arab Land Bank and the Bank of Egypt stated that the shares in the hotel were purchased during the 1930s and are worth millions of US dollars, according to the Israeli daily Ma’ariv.
The petition put forward stated that after the 1948 war, the shares were transferred to the Israeli Absentee Property Custodian, which in turn sold the shares to Israeli companies. Full story
South Africa deported an Israeli airline official last week following allegations that Israeli intelligence agents had infiltrated Johannesburg's airport in an effort to gather information on citizens, particularly black and Muslim travelers.
The move by the South African government came after an investigation by local TV showing an undercover reporter being interrogated by an official with El Al, Israel's national carrier, in a public area of OR Tambo International Airport.
The program also featured testimony from Jonathan Garb, a former El Al guard, who claimed that the airline had been a front for the Shin Bet, Israel's intelligence agency, in South Africa for many years.
Over footage of the undercover reporter's questioning, he commented, "Here is a secret service operating above the law in South Africa. We pull the wool over everyone's eyes. We do exactly what we want. The local authorities do not know what we are doing."
The Israeli Foreign Ministry reportedly sent a team to South Africa to try to defuse the diplomatic crisis after the government in Johannesburg threatened to deport all of El Al's security staff.
Garb's accusations have been supported by an investigation by the regulator for South Africa's private security industries.
They have also been affirmed by human rights groups in Israel, which report that Israeli security staff routinely carry out racial profiling at many airports around the world, apparently out of sight of local authorities.
Concern in South Africa about the activities of El Al staff has been growing since August, when South Africa's leading investigative news show, Carte Blanche, went undercover to test Garb's allegations.
A hidden camera captured an El Al official in the departure hall claiming to be from "airport security" and demanding that the undercover reporter hand over his passport or ID as part of "airport regulations." ...
...AaGarb went public after he was dismissed over a campaign he led for better pay and medical benefits for El Al staff.
...Suspect individuals, the former workers say, are held in an annex room, where they are interrogated, often on matters unrelated to airport security, and can be subjected to strip searches while their luggage is taken apart...
But all of these practices would be in violation of South African law, which authorizes only the police, armed forces or personnel appointed by the transport minister to carry out searches.
The former staff also accuse El Al of smuggling weapons – licensed to the local Israeli embassy – into the airport for use by the secret agents.
A South African Jew, Garb said he was recruited 19 years ago by the Shin Bet. "We were trained at a secret camp [in Israel] where they train Israeli special forces and they train you how to use handguns, submachine guns and in unarmed combat."
Garb added that he was assigned to "armed security" in the early 1990s. "Armed security is being undercover, carrying a weapon, a handgun and at that time as well, sounds crazy but we carried Samsonite briefcases with an Uzi submachine gun in it."
He claimed to have profiled 40,000 people for Israel over the past 20 years, including recently Virginia Tilley, a Middle East expert and chief researcher at South Africa's Human Sciences Research Council. The think tank recently published a report accusing Israel of apartheid and colonialism in the Palestinian territories.
"The decision was she should be checked in the harshest way because of her connections," Garb said.
Tilley confirmed that she had been detained at the airport by El Al staff and separated from her luggage. Garb said that during this period an agent "photocopied all [her] documentation and then he forwarded it on to Israel" – Garb believes for use by the Shin Bet.
...A report published in 2007 by two Israeli human rights organisations, the Nazareth-based Arab Association for Human Rights and the Centre Against Racism, found that Israeli airline staff used racial profiling at most major airports around the world, subjecting Arab and Muslim passengers to discriminatory and degrading treatment in violation both of international law and the host country's laws.
"Our research showed that the checks conducted by El Al at foreign airports had all the hallmarks of Shin Bet interrogations," said Mohammed Zeidan, the director of the Human Rights Association...
The human rights groups approached four international airports – in New York, Paris, Vienna and Geneva – where passengers said they had been subjected to discriminatory treatment...
"It is remarkable that these countries make no effort to supervise the actions of Israeli security personnel present on their territory, particularly in light of the discriminatory and humiliating procedures they apply," the report states. Full story
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Although ignored by much of the Western media, a battle which echoes the biblical story of David and Goliath is taking place in The Hague. In the modern-day version, young David is personified by a soft-spoken 15-year-old girl named Amira Alqerem. Goliath takes the form of the world’s fourth most powerful, nuclear-armed military state: Israel. At stake is victims’ rights the world over and the international commitment to “never again.” It is this commitment—as well as to international law, as laid down in the Fourth Geneva Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—that Amira is asking the International Criminal Court (ICC) to recognize and uphold.
The teenager’s story begins in the pre-dawn hours of Jan. 14, 2009, in the waning days of Israel’s murderous “Operation Cast Lead” assault on Gaza. Residents of the Tal Al Hawa neighborhood, her family awoke to the sound of a missile smashing into their home, killing Amira’s 42-year-old father, a shoe industry businessman with permission to enter Israel on business, and injuring her in the leg. With Amira wounded, her 16-year-old sister and 14-year-old brother left her in the damaged home and went to seek assistance. Both were killed by another Israeli missile before they could return to Amira. For several days the injured teenager lay in the rubble beneath the veranda, surviving on water dripping from a partially functioning faucet and drifting in and out of consciousness. Finally, realizing that help would not come to her, she stumbled to her father’s dead body, hoping his cell phone would work—but it no longer did.
Looking out at the rubble of her former neighborhood, the young girl recognized a journalist’s home which was still standing. Painstakingly, dragging her injured leg, she made her way to the door, found it open and entered. Inside she found water bottles and clothing. Weak, she lost consciousness again. She was saved when the home’s occupants returned and discovered her.
Fast forward to Monday, Aug. 31, when Amira—cheered on by French, Belgium, German and Dutch supporters carrying banners and shouting “Justice for Amira” in French and English—and her lawyers entered the International Criminal Court and formally filed suit against the Israeli government.
Although bereft of her family and home, severely injured, and exhausted following several surgeries, the resolute teen had decided that the time had come to put an end to the killing and oppression that caused the death of her entire family. Rather than take up arms, however, she took up advocates, trusting in the law for justice and humanity for truth.
“I am here to lodge a complaint against the occupying army,” the young woman stated softly in an interview outside the courthouse in The Hague. “I hope this complaint will succeed,” she added, “because it is the truth.”
Elaborating on the reason for the lawsuit, Amira’s lawyer, Gilles Devers, focused on evidence suggesting the attacks killing the teen’s family and other Gazans were aimed at civilians rather, than away from them. “This was a crime against humanity,” he stated. “That is why we brought it to the ICC.”
Another of Amira’s lawyers stated emphatically as he entered the building, “Israeli politicians and military leaders must be held responsible.”
And attorney Narriman Kattineh said she had full confidence in the ICC judicial process to uphold international law. “We expect this will put an end to the impunity of the Israeli state,” she said. “We are establishing facts that can be qualified in international law as war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
On Sept. 1, Palestinian Authority Justice Minister Ali Kashan and more than 360 parties, including non-governmental organizations, submitted complaints and evidence to the office of ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo...
After first initiating a “preliminary analysis” of alleged crimes committed by Israel during its Gaza offensive, the ICC’s Moreno-Ocampo noted that, due to Palestine’s status as a non-state, the court does not have jurisdiction in Gaza. However, in a July 1 New York Times op-ed, Moreno-Ocampo noted that the fact that “the Palestinian National Authority accepted the jurisdiction of the court” laid the groundwork for a possible investigation. According to ICC officials, the issue of Palestine’s status is still pending.
Israel is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court and claims it does not fall under its jurisdiction. But, asserted attorney Kattineh, “This does not mean that Israel cannot be punished for war crimes.” The leaders of the Nazi, Rwandan and Sierra Leone governments were not members of the ICC, she pointed out, but this did not prevent the international community from prosecuting those in power for war crimes they committed.
Another solution was proffered by South African law professor John Dugard, formerly the U.N. Human Rights Council’s special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. “The U.N. Security Council could refer the situation [assault on Gaza] to the ICC as it did in the case of Darfur,” he suggested, although he admitted that “this is unlikely, as such a move would certainly be vetoed by the United States.”
Certainly a U.S. veto or move to protect Israel remains a strong possibility, given Washington’s history of vetoing Security Council resolutions critical of Israeli aggression against neighboring states or illegally occupied territories. Moreover, the mainstream American media rarely report on the deaths of American citizens such as Rachel Corrie at the hands of Israel’s military occupiers, much less on the lives of Palestinians wounded and killed. Amira’s story, despite its potential impact on U.S. foreign policy, is no exception.
Nevertheless, many people hope that this teenager’s nonviolent search for justice finally will tip the scales of justice in favor of peace and reconciliation. And Amira herself remains undeterred.
“I am doing this for all the children of Gaza,” she told the court. “I want to do something to change the situation.” Full story
Of course there is prima facie evidence that Judge Richard Goldstone is biased. He is Jewish, chair of Friends of the Hebrew University, president emeritus for the World ORT Jewish school system, and has a devoted Zionist daughter who made “aliyah” to Israel. But Hamas somehow neglected to make the allegations, even though Goldstone’s Sept. 15 report devoted over 70 pages to considering allegations of Hamas war crimes—compared with some 350 pages to allegations against Israeli forces, which the report suggested may have committed “acts amounting to war crimes and perhaps, in certain circumstances, crimes against humanity.”
Bearing in mind the more than 100:1 ratio of Palestinian to Israeli casualties during Operation Cast Lead and in the months leading up to it, it shows remarkable forbearance on Hamas’ part not to have accused him in advance. They waited until afterwards to complain of the “imbalance” in the report. In fact, if Israel had deigned to present evidence to the U.N. Human Rights Council inquiry, Goldstone almost certainly would have devoted many more pages to Israeli allegations.
However it was pro-Israel sources that pre-emptively and retroactively calumniated Goldstone, his committee and his report for being “one-sided” and, even more hilariously, “anti-Semitic.”
It has long been a tactic of Israel and its apologists to refuse to cooperate with investigations, judicial or journalistic, and then to pounce on the result and declare it to be “one-sided,” or “biased.”
...Anyone who has ever met Goldstone, or had dealings with him, knows him to be a person of deep integrity, firmly committed to human rights and very sensitive to suggestions of bias. When he accepted the Human Rights Council assignment, in fact, he did so only on the assurance that he would be able to look at the behavior of both sides in the conflict in Gaza. He must have really summoned all his courage to take this position and, on all evidence of his past career, weighed every word very carefully.
...The hysteria and outrage is even remarkable in its lack of substance, since there is little new in the report. Previously, broadcasters have shown Israeli servicemen backing up the allegations of murderous treatment of civilians in Gaza. The U.N. had protested attacks on its premises. The world had watched the phosphorus shells raining flesh-eating agony on civilians, and seen the tortured aftermath. Israeli television viewers had heard a doctor’s agony as his family was murdered.
Every single credible human rights organization, from Human Rights Watch to Amnesty International and the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), has reported on the IDF’s criminal behavior during the operation. Just cast your mind back to January when the normally restrained ICRC said the Israeli military had “failed to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded,” when for four days Israeli forces refused to allow ambulances to go to casualties. When the ICRC eventually gained access, rescue workers found 12 corpses lying on mattresses in one home, along with four young children lying next to their dead mothers.
Goldstone points out, reasonably, that if the Israelis were to carry out a credible investigation it could avert the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation he has called for. In fact, that is the report’s major understated conclusion: that there is a serious case to answer.
A Crisis and an Opportunity
This offers both a crisis and an opportunity to Obama’s Middle East peace strategy. Hitherto Israel has relied on an automatic U.S. veto on its behalf. Obama has to weigh this very carefully. The reflex action has been to defend Israel, but optimists could detect some signs of nuance in the administration’s response.
...A U.S. abstention, let alone a vote for a referral to the ICC, would send a seismic signal way up the Richter scale to Israelis about what Netanyahu is doing to relations with their only ally in the world.
While a U.S. veto would indeed protect Israel from the ICC, a report with the credibility of a revered and honored jurist like Goldstone will certainly help mount prosecutions in other countries across the globe, particularly in Europe. Already, there are many Israeli military and civilian officials who find themselves having to check with government lawyers as well as their travel agents before setting off. There undoubtedly will be many more.
As Goldstone wrote the report was issued: “Pursuing justice in this case is essential because no state or armed group should be above the law. Western governments in particular face a challenge because they have pushed for accountability in places like Darfur, but now must do the same with Israel, an ally and a democratic state. Failing to pursue justice for serious violations during the fighting will have a deeply corrosive effect on international justice, and reveal an unacceptable hypocrisy.”...the supporters of Israel among the liberal majority of American Jews...overwhelmingly supported Goldstone when, with Washington’s support, he prosecuted Yugoslav war criminals. They also supported Sudan’s referral to the ICC, in part based on the work of one of Goldstone’s colleagues on the mission, Hina Jilani, who was a member of the commission of inquiry on Darfur. Full story
Soon after the mass murder of September 11, 2001, Senators Joe Lieberman and John McCain emerged as early advocates for the invasion of Iraq. In response to that provocation, both men routinely cited "intelligence" that has since been proven false, flawed or "fixed" around an agenda sought by Jewish nationalists in pursuit of an expansive Greater Israel.
With 24 hours of the mass murder at Fort Hood, Senator Lieberman called for hearings by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security to assess the military's role in this tragedy and why our military commanders did not do a better job protecting people on a U.S. military base. Senator Lieberman made no mention of the role of civilian authorities in creating the underlying conditions.
As Committee Chair, he opened the November 19 hearings by portraying this incident as a "homegrown terrorist attack." The day before the hearings, committee member John McCain said in a speech at the University of Louisville that "We ought to make sure 'political correctness' never impedes national security."
In a series of recent analyses, readers have been exposed to facts that explain HOW national security has been undermined by those who are skilled at waging war "by way of deception" oftentimes through the manipulation of pliable and reliable "assets." See How Israel Wages War in Plain Sight, Fort Hood Tragedy and the Introduction to Guilt By Association.
The facts suggest that the greatest threat to U.S. national security is the "political correctness" that precludes a rigorous investigation of the role that Israel has played in undermining national security by virtue of the influence wielded by the Israel lobby over our corrupted civilian leaders. Israel can do anything it wants and our military is expected to bear all the risks of their behavior and to clean up the consequences of their conduct. Full story
Intent on shaking up the ultimate sacred cow for Jews, Israeli director Yoav Shamir embarks on a provocative - and at times irreverent - quest to answer the question, What is anti-Semitism today? Does it remain a dangerous and immediate threat? Or is it a scare tactic used by right-wing Zionists to discredit their critics?
Speaking with an array of people from across the political spectrum (including the head of the Anti-Defamation League ...) and traveling to places like Auschwitz (alongsideIsraeli school kids) and Brooklyn (to explore reports of violence against Jews), Shamir discovers the realities of anti-Semitism today. His findings are shocking, enlightening and - surprisingly - often wryly funny. Full story
Sixty Days after his Arrest, Human Rights Defender Mohammad Othman Receives his First Administrative Detention Order
On 23 November 2009, after 61 days of detention for the purpose of interrogation by Israeli Security Agency officers, human rights defender Mohammad Othman received his first administrative detention order. The administrative detention order is set for a three month period, during which time Mohammad will be held without charge or trial. The judicial review of the order is scheduled to take place on 25 November at the Military Court of Administrative Detainees in Ofer Military Base, near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
The administrative detention order against Mohammad comes just one day after a hearing on 22 November 2009 at the Military Court of Appeals ended Mohammad’s interrogation period. In the Appeals Court hearing, the judge decided to release Mohammad because no measurable progress had been made during the two months he had been held in interrogation, no external evidence had been brought to the attention of the court and the military prosecution had been unable to formulate substantiated allegations or charges against him. The Appeals Court judge thus accepted Addameer’s appeal against the seventh extension of Mohammad’s detention, which had taken place five days earlier. At the same time, the judge ordered Mohammad’s release on 10,000 NIS bail (about $2,500 USD) and with the conditions that he not travel outside the occupied Palestinian territory, and that he regularly reports to the Israeli police. However, the military judge also gave the military prosecutor 24 hours to issue an administrative detention order against Mohammad, and remanded Mohammad to detention during this period. At 6:30 p.m. on 23 November 2009, Addameer confirmed with the Israeli Security Agency that an administrative detention order had been issued against Mohammad, and that he would not be released.
Mohammad Othman, a long-time human rights defender and activist with the “Grassroots Stop the Wall Campaign”, was arrested at the Allenby Bridge Crossing between Jordan and the West Bank. On the day of his arrest, 22 September 2009, Mohammad was on his way back to Ramallah from an advocacy tour in Norway where he had been engaged in a number of speaking events.
Addameer is alarmed by reports from Mohammad that he was repeatedly threatened with administrative detention during his two-month long interrogation period. Addameer believes that with these repeated threats, the Israeli interrogation police aimed to coerce Mohammad into giving a false confession to crimes he did not commit. Most recently, on 19 November, after Mohammad was transferred back to Kishon detention center from Ohalei Keidar prison in Beersheba where he had been held in a so-called “collaborators’ cell”, he was told by one of the Israeli interrogators that his detention would not be extended again and that he would be placed under administrative detention if he failed to confess. Addameer therefore contends that Mohammad’s arrest and administrative detention are completely arbitrary and are a prime example of Israel’s use of administrative detention as a substitute for prosecution, rather than as a preventative measure allowed by international humanitarian law for “imperative reasons of security” or “if the security of the Detaining Power makes it absolutely necessary” (Fourth Geneva Convention, Articles 42 and 78).
...Addameer believes that Mohammad is being detained administratively as a punishment for his human rights activism. In addition, there is reason to believe that the Israeli military authorities use Mohammad’s continuous detention as an example to deter other activists, including those active against the occupation and the Annexation Wall in particular, from continuing their human rights work.
BACKGROUND ON ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION
Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold detainees indefinitely on secret evidence without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. In the occupied Palestinian West Bank, the Israeli army is authorized to issue administrative detention orders against Palestinian civilians on the basis of Military Order 1591. This order empowers military commanders to detain an individual for up to six months renewable periods if they have “reasonable grounds to presume that the security of the area or public security require the detention.” On or just before the expiry date, the detention order is frequently renewed. This process can be continued indefinitely.
There is no explicit limit to the maximum amount of time an individual may be administratively detained, leaving room for indefinite legal detention. The grounds on which someone can be detained under Military Order 1591 are also unclear, leaving it up to the military commanders to decide what constitutes “public security” and “security of the area”. Detainees subject to administrative detention orders are rarely informed of the reasons for their detention; neither are their lawyers. At the judicial review of a detention order, which is held in a closed hearing before a military judge, the judge can uphold, cancel or shorten the order. In most cases, however, administrative detention orders are confirmed for the same periods as those requested by the military commander. Although the detainee can appeal the decision at the judicial review, in practice, the vast majority of appeals are rejected.
For more information about administrative detention and Addameer’s Campaign to Stop Administrative Detention please visit our website: www.addameer.info.
The Israeli High Court issued a two-day extension for military prosecutors to file a report that will ultimately determine whether deported Bethlehem University student Berlanty Azzam will be allowed to finish her degree.
Israeli prosecutors have until 11am on Tuesday to file a report on their findings from a 17 November interview with Berlanty at the Erez crossing.
...According to Gisha, the Israeli rights group defending Berlanty, a hearing will be held in the next seven days, though their move to have the young-woman transferred back to Bethlehem to resume her studies immediately was denied. The group noted, however, that the court recommended the consideration of a bail-system, where Berlanty's family would post a substantial amount of cash, apparently to ensure she does not threaten Israeli security.
The rights group also noted a high likelihood that Berlanty will be able to leave the Gaza Strip in order to attend her trial. Full story
The International Conference on Palestinian Prisoners began in Jericho on Tuesday, attended by delegations representing local and international human rights organizations.
...Fayyad highlighted that, "The death of over 200 detainees inside Israeli prisons as a result of medical negligence, torture or deliberate killing, or as a result of beatings or injury from live bullets, calls for the need to investigate the causes and to put an end to Israeli inhumane and oppressive practices, mainly by allowing specialized and neutral medical committees to take responsibility for providing proper medical care for sick detainees.” Full story
As she awaits a final verdict, Bethlehem University student Berlanty Azzam (who was sent blindfolded and handcuffed back to Gaza last month) can at least take some consolation from the global campaign on her behalf. Human rights NGOs and the media have pushed her case enough to put genuine pressure on the Israeli government and their policy toward Gazan students.
Most Palestinian students will not share the world's shock at Azzam’s case. To them there is nothing strange about suffering for their degree. Israeli restrictions seem designed to thwart academic potential, arresting lecturers, embargoing equipment and shutting down whole universities.
Birzeit University, situated on the main road from Ramallah to Nablus, attracts the cream of Palestinian students. Entrance demands are comparable to Oxford and Cambridge. Its reputation is founded on liberal values that treat women as equals and leaves no intellectual stone unturned, including thorny political issues. This partly explains why 85 of its students are currently locked up in Israeli prisons, bringing the total detained to over 400 in the last six years.
Ala Masalmeh, a final year English student, believes the reason for their treatment is both practical and symbolic. "Education is the main reason for the development of any society. They don't want Palestinian people to be literate and intelligent.
"Very few of my friends take higher education because of the problems we face. If you tell a soldier at a checkpoint you are a student they will keep you for hours, searching and interrogating you."
..."In the last few years these movements have not been popular, because people are scared to be arrested," he said. In one recent case an engineering student, who wished to remain anonymous, was held for almost six years after being filmed at a campus demonstration. He was told his degree course was "dangerous" and switched for fear of further punishment.
... As recently as 2003 [Hebron University] was shut down for eight months by the Israeli military, who explained their decision by claiming it was a "wing of a Hamas terror cell," a decision condemned by the UN as an "utterly unjustified and illegal act of collective punishment." This was not the first instance of education being effectively banned in the city. A three year closure in 1987 was followed by a six month ban in 1996.
Iyad Barghouti, head of the Ramallah Cultural Centre for Human Rights Studies, says it is "an old argument to connect all student activities with security. We have had tanks on our campuses and attacks on our schools for generations. They try to say that students and terrorists are the same."
...The frequency and unpredictability of these attacks makes it difficult to arrange courses with any confidence that they can be completed. "We cannot draw a yearly calendar and we never know when to schedule courses because there are so many obstacles,"...
These obstacles are higher still for students from Gaza. Despite movement restrictions, the trauma of constant violence and an embargo that has made even paper difficult to come by, students there have maintained an excellent academic record. Almost 2,000 Gazan students were offered scholarships to international universities in the past year. As recently as 2005 there were 370 students from Gaza enrolled at Birzeit, before Israel made it illegal for them to cross the divide "Israel continues to regard the West Bank and Gaza as separate entities and Gazans are being punished for their government. They cannot pass through Rafah (into Egypt), so most of them have lost their places at foreign institutions," said Barghouthi.
Of the 2,000 with scholarships, 985 have lost their places, leaving them in limbo, awaiting a change of mood from the Israeli authorities who block their travel. "The siege is destroying every part of human life in Gaza, every part of society. They [Israel] want people to be isolated and living only from foreign aid,” says Barghouthi.
“Schools and factories are especially targeted. Resources are not allowed through the borders so they have to be smuggled in through tunnels from Egypt. Because of this even basic resources like paper cost four times more than in the West Bank."
Students in Gaza who wish to study abroad rely on an inconsistent system of permits, which have no reliable timescale and can be withdrawn at any time. There are many cases of students waiting so long for permission that their place is cancelled by the time it arrives. Full story
...He was at times both an agent of the Soviet KGB and the Israeli Shin Bet; he made his money under shady circumstances in apartheid-era South Africa; he recently transformed himself into a promoter of women’s basketball, and he was even once rumored to be romantically involved with Liza Minnelli. His end, Moscow police are speculating, came as a result of a business deal gone bad... Full story
His prominent speech — which earned him a standing ovation by the collected leadership of the American Jewish federation world — was the privilege given to him as international chairman of the yearly gathering and its major sponsor. And though the exact figure has not been disclosed, organizers of the G.A. have told the Forward that his money played a significant part in making the three-day event happen. Nevzlin’s charity, NADAV, was also conspicuous as one of the main organizers of the conference’s many forums and workshops.
The speech represented a crowning moment of what has been a complete rebranding effort by Nevzlin, 50, erasing his past as a Russian oligarch who just narrowly escaped jail, convicted in absentia last year in a Moscow courtroom to life in prison for ordering the murder of five people. A recent article about him in Forbes magazine — which estimated his wealth in 2004 to be $2 billion — was headlined, “The One Who Got Away.”
Israel, which has refused repeated attempts to extradite him to Russia, has helped greatly in this transformation. He has become an important philanthropist there, using his charity to fund projects that promote “Jewish peoplehood” and to gain influence and respectability in the process. This past September, he made a donation of $6 million to establish the Museum of the Jewish People, a new iteration of Beit Hatfutsot, Tel Aviv’s Diaspora Museum.
Now, with a very visible onstage handshake with the Israeli prime minister and a visit with President Obama at the White House as one of 50 invited guests during the G.A., Nevzlin is effectively positioning himself to become a philanthropic force in the United States, as well.....Among the dead were Valentina Korneyeva, a Moscow businesswoman who owned a building in central Moscow that Yukos’s holding firm, Menatap, wanted to buy, and Vladimir Petukhov, mayor of Nefteyugansk, where Yukos’s largest production unit was based.
Twice the Russian authorities tried to extradite Nevzlin, but both times Israel’s State Attorney’s Office denied the request, citing insufficient evidence.
...he has been given a de facto exoneration by America’s government. The White House confirmed his visit and his meeting with Obama on November 9, but not whether he was vetted by the state department or any other government agency. Full story